Creation of Citizens' Advice Bureaux (press release)
Catalogue reference: AST 7/420


THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE

(INCORPORATED)


Patron: HIS MAJESTY THE KING.
Vice-Patron: H.R.H. THE DUKE OF KENT, K.G., P.C., K.T.
President: SIR P. MALCOLM STEWART, BART., D.L., O.B.E.
Secretary:
L. SHOETEN SACK, O.B.E.
 
Telephone and Telegrams:
Museum 8944 (5 lines)
26 Bedford Square,
London, W.C.1.

IN YOUR REPLY PLEASE QUOTE:

WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE PRESS OFFICER
30th August 1939
CITIZENS' ADVICE BUREAUX

Centres of Information to be opened
following outbreak of war
--------------------------
During the past few months plans have been prepared by the National Council of Social Service for setting up "Citizens' Advice Bureaux", after the outbreak of War, in London and the larger cities and towns throughout the country. These plans have the full knowledge and approval of the Ministry of Health and the Lord Privy Seal.
At these Bureaux it will be possible to get advice about the family and personal problems and difficulties which will face people in time of war. The Bureaux will give personal interviews to applicants, but their main purpose will be to advise them as to which national or local Government Departments, or which voluntary organisations they should apply in their particular difficulty. Although it is important to note that the Bureaux will not be centres of information about A.R.P., or the preliminary evacuation scheme, it is expected that the local and national authorities will find the Bureaux of great value as centres to which they can refer cases of difficulty needing advice or help from voluntary sources. While, therefore, the Bureaux will act mainly as clearing houses, they will, where necessary, try to take action themselves to meet their applicants' needs.
It is impossible to foresee all the cases which will be dealt with, but they are likely to include difficulties due to damage to homes through air bombardment, provision for children, invalids or old people whose parents or companions have been called away or become casualties, problems of getting into touch with children or relations in other parts of the country, information about hostel, canteen and other welfare facilities, difficulties connected with payment of separation allowances and pensions, and similar matters.
The Bureaux are being organised locally by voluntary social service bodies, in all cases with the knowledge of the Municipal Authorities, and in some cases, under their auspices. It is hoped that there will be at least one Bureau in each local Government area, and in densely populated areas several Bureaux. So far as possible each Bureau will be under the control of trained social workers assisted by a staff of volunteer helpers.
It is estimated that about 200 Bureaux will be required in the London area. Plans have already been completed for opening about 90 Bureaux as soon as the need arises in all the 29 Metropolitan Boroughs in the County of London and in 11 other Boroughs of Outer London. Progress has necessarily been slow in some of the Outer London Boroughs and Urban Districts, but intensive efforts are being made and it is hoped that plans will be completed throughout the Metropolitan Police district in a very short time.
Similar plans to those which have been prepared for London are in advanced stages of preparation in all the greater cities and towns throughout the country. Plans for the London area are in the hands of the London Council of Social Service and the Charity Organisation Society. Elsewhere local Councils of Social Service are similarly in charge of the scheme.
There is a need for volunteers to assist in staffing the Bureaux. It is expected that each Bureau will need at least four volunteer helpers who are prepared to give full-time service and also a panel of part-time helpers, who could undertake special pieces of work as required, such as secretarial and clerical work in the office; visiting people in Homes and Institutions; escort duties, etc.
and on application to their local Bureau, those who have not already promised their services to other branches of Civil Defence, can obtain information about the needs for workers. This work requires skilled and experienced people, and they may be assured that it is recognised as of essential national importance in time of war.

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