What to expect from your visit

Two chairs and a table

Your first visit

When you first visit us please speak to our Receptionist.  You will be asked to fill in a form with basic details so we have your contact details and know whether this is your first visit.  The form will also ask for you to give consent for your records to be held by us for continuation of support, and a separate consent so we can follow up your appointment if necessary.

It is always a great help to us when visitors bring the relevant paperwork for their issue. Please take a look at this page from the Citizens Advice national website to see what sort of documents you should try to bring with you when you come in.

Our service is provided by volunteers who have under-gone a comprehensive training programme and who have knowledge and experience in multiple areas.

Initial appointment

Your first meeting with an Advisor will be a ‘Gateway’ appointment. This meeting will last about 15 minutes. You Advisor will ask you questions so they can work out how best to support you and, if possible, provide you will the information you need to move your issue forward or resolve it.

Gateways operate as a drop-in service: you can walk in, no pre-booking required, and we will do our best to have an Advisor see you as soon as possible. On rare occasions we may be so busy that we ask you to come back at another time but we will do our best to see you as soon as possible.

If you have had a Gateway before for one issue and visit us again to get advice on another, unrelated issue then you will need a new Gateway.

If we feel that you require more support then we can arrange an Advice Appointment for you at a pre-arranged date and time or a free 15-minute appointment with a legal professional at our Tuesday morning legal surgery if appropriate.

Advice Appointments

Advice Appointments last about an hour and must be booked with us in advance. These appointments are more in-depth and enable an Advisor to explore your options with you in more detail.

At the end of your appointment, you and your Advisor will come up with a plan of action that will help move things forward. This may include a further appointment at a later date or a referral to an alternative service or organisation if it is evident that you require more specialist information.

We strive to provide the best possible service with information and support on whatever issues you may be facing. However, our Advisors are not legally trained and so cannot offer specific legal advice

We recognise that sometimes clients are late for, or cannot make their booked appointment with us.  Please let us know as early as possible if you cannot make your appointment so we can rearrange if necessary or offer the existing appointment to someone else

Other support

Advice Appointments are not the only service we offer if we decide you need support beyond a Gateway.

Please see our Additional Services page for more details.

What can we help with?

Our Advisors are trained to research your options and look at the possible outcomes of different courses of action.  They will not tell you what to do but encourage you to make your own informed decisions by giving you the facts on which to base those decisions. These include issues with:

  • Benefits
  • Employment
  • Debt and money (Please complete a debt pack before your appointment if possible)
  • Consumer issues
  • Housing
  • Family breakdown
  • Immigration
  • Health service provision

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