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29th Jun, 2022

Advice Bureau in 'open warfare'

CLAIMS have been made South Warwickshire Citizens Advice Bureau has been plunged into ‘open warfare’ and service users are suffering as a result.

Stratford and Warwick district Citizen Advice Bureaus (CAB) joined forces last year to form Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, but in recent months, The Observer has been told of in-house fighting between staff and senior volunteers, and management and trustees.

Various staff and volunteers approached the Observer to voice concerns about their treatment and the ‘deteriorating’ service provided to users – of which there were some 9,000 of last year.

They also claim there has been an ‘exodus’ of volunteers.

One said: “It’s the clients, service users, who are losing out because of all this. More will suffer if good people are lost to the service.”

Another told the Observer: “Clients wait for two hours and are turned away routinely. I do not have the figures, but we see far less people than we ever did.”

Many voiced their concerns about management and the dismissal of a volunteer.

Chief executive Aidan Knox recently resigned and his position has been advertised on the charity’s website.

A spokeswoman for the charity said Mr Knox had navigated it through some difficult times and CAB continued to offer a good service.

She said: “There has been no effect on our services to the public since the merger. We continue to offer drop in and appointment sessions at 14 locations across the area, including our main offices in Leamington and Stratford.

“After five years service the chief executive has decided to stand down but will be in post until a replacement is found. He has worked tirelessly to manage the merger period and has demonstrated his commitment to improving the services we offer to our clients.

“We cannot comment on the departure of a volunteer from the service. This is an internal matter which is confidential.”

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