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Do you have a complaint about Citizens Advice?

Who to complain to 

Complaints Citizens Advice Sandwell 22 Lombard Street West Bromwich B70 8RT 

Local Citizens Advice The Manager of the local Citizens Advice centre or the Chair of the Trustee Board at the address below: 

Citizens Advice Sandwell has a complaint handling procedure. Please email to request a copy of the complaints leaflet to be either posted or emailed to you

Webchat & Non-Adviceline calls: Citizens Advice Sandwell has a complaint handling procedure. Please email to request a copy of the complaints leaflet to be either posted or emailed to you

To contact the Citizens Advice Feedback team: 03000 231 900 

Financial Ombudsman Service By post: Financial Ombudsman Service South Quay Plaza 183 Marsh Wall London E14 9SR 

By phone: 0800 023 4567 – free for people phoning from a ‘fixed’ line (eg a landline at home). 

0300 123 9123 – free for mobile phone users who pay a monthly charge for calls to numbers starting 01 and 02. 

By email: 



If we’ve let you down, tell us 

We want everyone who uses Citizens Advice to be happy with the service we provide.

That’s why, if we’ve let you down, we want to hear from you – no matter how big or small the issue is. 

Often, we’ll be able to put things right. And even when we can’t, knowing where we’ve gone wrong will help us do better in the future. 

We promise to deal with every complaint quickly, professionally, and confidentially.

Asking the local Citizens Advice to resolve the problem 

It’s important to the local Citizens Advice to know what we’ve done wrong, so we can do our best to put it right.

Don’t be afraid to speak to the Manager or person in charge of complaints. They will often be able to solve the problem right away.

If they can’t, or you’re still not happy, you can make a formal complaint.

Making a formal complaint 

There are several ways to make a complaint. You can write a letter explaining what happened and send it to the address on the back of this leaflet, or drop it into the local Citizens Advice centre you are complaining about. 

Alternatively, you can call or email the Citizens Advice Feedback team and they will pass your complaint to the right person.

Your complaint will be investigated by someone who isn’t directly involved. If it’s upheld, we’ll apologise fully – and, if appropriate, let you know what we’re doing to put things right.  

We aim to respond to every complaint within eight weeks. If it’s going to take longer than this, we’ll explain why and keep you informed of the progress. 

Asking for a review 

If you feel we haven’t dealt with your complaint properly, or you aren’t satisfied with the outcome, you can ask us to review the decision. 

Please make sure you ask for this within four weeks of receiving the decision by contacting the Feedback team. The review will be overseen by our Chief Executive. 

Using an independent adjudicator

If you are still not happy with the decision, you can refer your complaint to an independent adjudicator

An independent adjudicator is someone unconnected with Citizens Advice who will decide we’ve dealt with your complaint fairly

If you want to progress to this stage, you must contact us within four weeks of receiving your review decision from Citizens Advice, Contact the Feedback team.

Contacting the Financial Ombudsman Service 

The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free, independent service for clients to solve disputes with not for profit debt advice providers.

The Financial Ombudsman Service will only step in once a local Citizens Advice has had the opportunity to investigate a complaint, so please contact the local service first.

If your complaint is about debt advice or if you were seeking advice about your credit record and you are not satisfied with the final response, or if eight weeks have passed since you first let us know about your concerns, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman to review your complaint

Blog – 06/07/20

Talking about Money – Our super Six Tips

 We are urging the UK to start talking about money now to avoid harm to people’s overall wellbeing. 

47 million adults across the UK don’t find it easier to talk money or don’t discuss at all

Look at these facts if you need anymore evidence to encourage people to

Talk about Money

Nine in ten people still do not find it easier to talk about finances during the Covid-19 pandemic or do not discuss money with anyone at all

 Those who find having money conversations harder due to Covid-19 say the reason they avoid them is because their financial situation causes them anxiety or stress and they don’t want to make others worry about them 

Coping with new circumstances is a barrier to talking about money. People claiming benefits or anticipating they will need to in the next 6 months due to Covid-19 are almost three times more likely to find having money conversations harder than the UK average.

So far, only 1 in 6 people  say they have asked others about their financial situation because they are worried about them, suggesting there could be an opportunity for family and friends to step up in acting as money supporters for their loved ones.

However, of the minority of people who said they have found it easier to talk about their finances as a result of Covid-19, nearly a third  say they do it because they feel better after discussing financial concerns.

 As we rethink how we live our everyday lives in the wake of Covid-19, this is an opportunity for people to start opening up about money matters. Whether that’s with an expert, or the people closest to you, talking is a great first step towards managing financial issues and can often make things feel less daunting.

Our Super Six Tips  for people to enable them to open up about their money worries during the pandemic:

  • Choose who you open up to – Try not to have preconceptions about who you should have these conversations with. Some people might think these are issues to keep in the family but actually some people might find it easier to speak to a professional or a colleague, or someone who may not be directly impacted by your money worries, like a friend or professional.
  • Create a comfortable setting – It will help if you feel as comfortable as possible and your environment can hugely affect this. You might feel more at ease chatting in a kitchen setting, taking in some fresh air as you go for a walk or at your dining room table so you can lay out and refer to relevant papers or budgets. Ensure you won’t be interrupted as this could interfere with your train of thought; put your phones on silent or if you have kids, wait till they’re asleep.
  • Prepare how you’re going to kick it off – Sometimes the hardest part of having a conversation is knowing how to start it. Once you’re past the first few seconds, you might be surprised by how easily the conversation flows. Build confidence by practising your opening sentence; something as simple as, “I need your help with what just happened. Do you have a few minutes to talk?” or “‘I’d like to talk to you about [blank], but first I’d like to get your point of view” can really help.
  • Listen as well as talk – Try to make sure you go into the discussion with an open mind, being prepared to take in the other person’s point of view. Listen to each other as much as possible. Hearing one another’s standpoint in a respectful manner can make the difference between having a constructive conversation versus an unproductive argument.
  • Tie into the news agenda – Covid-19 is dominating news channels and will do for the foreseeable future as new schemes are announced and news on the financial effects are reported. If you see a news bulletin relevant to your situation, use this as a springboard to initiate a conversation – it’s a useful way to break the ice and remember many people are in the same boat right now.
  • Check in with friends and family – Once you’ve made the first step to opening up about your financial worries, you can help others to do the same. Never force someone into a conversation as they’ll only be defensive, but do remind them you’re here to chat if they need support, in person or on a call.

Janet Mylchreest July 2020


We are seeking to recruit a:

Community Navigator (E.U Citizens Support Project) 

Must be able to speak a European Language. 

Hours: 16 hours per week Fte

Citizens Advice Sandwell are delivering E.U citizens support project which provides very practical advice and hands-on support to settled migrants that may be affected by the process of the UK leaving the European Union. Community Navigators will help vulnerable individuals and families to access local services and support agencies. The Community Navigators will be able to assist with processes that may need to be completed in order for individuals and families to remain, work and be an active part of the community. Accessing services can prove extremely difficult for families and individuals who are facing the pressure, stress, and uncertainty that Brexit may cause.

Community Navigators 

We are looking for creative, resourceful, enthusiastic and empathetic individuals who have effective written and verbal communication skills. They will need to be motivated and willing to help others and work across the Sandwell Borough

Candidates must have experience of living or working in a diverse community.

Experience of supporting families /neighbours and or friends and have had or still have Involvement in community groups and activities. 

There will be a requirement for candidates to be able to work on their own and also as part of a team.  Candidates may also be required to work flexibly to meet the needs of individuals and families they will be supporting

This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a great charity and an innovative project.

Salary: £16,835 pro rata per annum

Contract: Fixed Term till March 2021  

Closing date: Monday 13th July 12 noon

Interview date: Friday 24th July 2020 

For an Application Pack or more information (CV’s not accepted)

 please email:

Janets Weekly Blog – 15/06/20

Scam Awareness

It Scam Awareness fortnight from the 15th June and it’s a national campaign that we get involved with every year.

This year we want to carry on with the same good messages.

Help people to recognise a Scam 

Encourage people to take action and report a scam 

and my favourite – Talk about Scams

Please think about how you can include this in the good work you do as well as a point of discussion with your friends and family.

I know some of you may a little jaded with me going on about Scams, so in my endeavour to jazz things up, there are a couple of YouTube clips which are good and short and an interactive quiz  -( not the same one we had last year, this one has been sent to me from my son in Australia.)

So can you SPOT all the mistakes on these SCAMS?

Please Please Please take a quick look – 20 mins at the most of your time to look at all the following:

1) Youtube clip from the Illegal Money lending Team – How to Spot a Loan Shark

(not a scam I know but fits in quite nicely with our mission to help protect people  )

2) YouTube clip from Friends Against SCAMS -What is a Scam, click DEAR DAVID

3 ) YouTube video from the This Morning programme with Martin Lewis

4) The Spot the Scam quiz – have a go!

Take a look at a couple of good resources on our CA public site too

Janet Mylchreest

Janet’s Weekly Blog – 01/06/20

Practicing Kindness

It was Mental Health Awareness week last week and “practicing kindness “ was the overall theme for this year’s campaign and it got me thinking about what that meant to me and my family.

It’s been proved that practicing kindness, both to others and ourselves, can be a powerful way to nurture good mental health.

Kindness is simple but not always easy, especially after a long day, or during a health crisis such as the one we’re facing now

These resources may be able to give you ideas about how to bring more kindness to those around you and yourself.

Check out some of these websites there really is some good ideas, I have tried quite a few from “upgrading tatty items “ to “taking time out “

Kindness and compassion for yourself

                  Kindness and compassion for others

If you need more, help is available – try the in-depth resources on our coronavirus support page, or you can call Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123.

Janet Mylchreest 01/06/20

Janet’s weekly Blog – 11/05/20

Customer Support Standards

Pre-pandemic, we knew that people with mental health problems struggled to manage their financial wellbeing and access essential services, including financial services, water, energy, and telecoms problems and could be exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.  

People with pre-existing mental health problems risk their condition deteriorating as they navigate challenges without much-needed help from loved ones or professionals.

Growing numbers of people start to experience poor mental health, distress and anxiety, which could in turn lead to struggles managing money and a fear of contacting essential service providers.

Many will struggle with the double whammy of reduced income and higher bills from being at home more.

To support essential service providers and their front-line staff, The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute have put together a list of eight urgent standards that organisations can adopt right now 

Eight standards that firms can adopt  to support the growing number of customers in distress

Just a few thought of mine

  • not disconnecting people from essential services writing to customers to let them know what support is available 
  • making it easier to get in touch remotely by increasing webchat capacity 
  • and offering callbacks
  • telling customers on websites and telephone on-hold messages, things like, which documents they’ll need, what questions might be asked, how else people can get in touch and what the likely wait time is 
  • breaking down information into manageable sections and waiting while customers write it down
  • helping customers stay in control of their spending by having easy to use spending caps or blocks on certain types of spending
  • signposting to additional support services

Please take a look at the The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (link above) and see if there is anything you can use to help the people you care for.

Research and Campaigns

Hello and welcome to the first Research and Campaigns blog post!

Citizens Advice commits to campaigning on issues that affect people’s lives. Each week, we’ll be writing about a different Research and Campaigns issue and what we are doing to try to fix it. We will also give tips for what you can do if it affects you.

This week’s blog post is on Council Tax debt. Council Tax debt is the most common debt issue we see. It has risen by a third in the last 3 years.

Due to this rise, Citizens Advice launched a campaign called Council Tax Protocol. As part of the campaign, local Citizens Advice offices are working together with local councils. This is to  have fair debt collection processes and stop people getting into debt in the first place. It is one of the primary campaigns we are working on here.

Are You Struggling to Pay Your Council Tax?

During the coronavirus pandemic, Sandwell Council has suspended all court action for Council related debt. This means you may get an initial letter telling you about the debt, but they will take no further action. It is important to remember that this is only during the pandemic. The council expects you to pay the debt back once the pandemic is over. The usual recovery process will then resume.

If you cannot pay your bill, you should inform the council as soon as possible and then talk to one of our debt advisers.

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction. You can check your eligibility for Council Tax reductions or exemptions here. You can also talk to one of our generalist advisers. They may be able to determine your eligibility, and help you with an application. They can also check your eligibility for other benefits. This will be especially useful if your income has dropped recently due to the pandemic!

We do not have a face-to-face service currently due to quarantine. But you can still get advice over webchat or call our Adviceline service on 0300 330 9017 (local rates apply). Check the opening times for these services on our website. 

Janets Weekly Blog – 27/04/20

Janets Weekly Blog – 27/04/20

Staying happy, healthy and safe- Missing Friends and Family Members

I have shared some great ideas that I saw on a Go Play Sandwell document 

At the moment, things might feel very strange; you might be really missing seeing and being with your friends or family members who don’t live with you. But by staying safe at home, we can keep our family and friends safe too. If you are missing your friends and family, some of the ideas below might help you to stay in touch.

IdeaI have had a go at this
Make a list of your favourite friends and family phone numbers,
email addresses, postal addresses. 

Sharing is caring: remember to tell someone that you live with
about how you feel.

Write a letter, poem or rap to a friend or a family member telling
them why they are a good friend/relative to you and what you
miss most about not being able to spend time with them.
You could also share your favourite memories of times you
spent together. Parents can post letters when they do an
essential shop.

Plan a list of activities that you want to do with your friends
when you can see each other again.

Create a collage of photos of your friends and families; if you
don’t have any photos draw them instead! 

Arrange to watch things on TV or online with your friends and
then call them to chat about what you thought of it on phone
or gaming device. 

Set up a weekly challenge (remember to stay safe online!) 
Create a list of activities between your friends and yourselves.
Share the photos and vote for the best response. Some
examples could includeA weekly bake-off challenge and then
post pictures of your efforts. -A garden/home treasure hunt.
Have a start-stop time and post pictures of the things you have
found Have an online karaoke party Hold a book club and
choose one book to read each week. Think of one question
each about the book and have an online discussion. 
 Choose a time to all visit an online zoo and then talk to one
another about your experience. 

Keep a journal: just a sentence or a picture a day about how
you feel, what you did so you can share it with friends or
family later.

Sharing memories about my family start a family tree; this
is a great way to share memories of our family members,
have a look at family photos (both digital and physical).  
Make a list of your family members and all come up with
a positive thing about them and write it next to their name.
You can do this with your friends on social media too. Make
a keepsake box of tickets, receipts, photos, trinkets – things
that make memories of your family member.  Draw a
picture with yourself in the middle and your family
members around you write a positive thing that links
you to each member. 

Choose a day to have a family picnic in the garden or a
carpet picnic in the house and ask your other family
members to do the same and share the fun on your video phones.

Janets Blog

Something a little more fun this week a Quiz –  Your ATTITUDES TO CASH 

Read each situation and mark which option, A to E most applies to you  

Have a Go ! – it’s a fun way to THINK about Money and if done with a  family member a great opportunity to TALK about Money.

What do you think about money ?You never think about itYou get by You feel that you shouldmanage it betterYou’re pretty good at managing itPeople ask you for advice
Saving money Is …Something others doImpossibleSomething you aim to doAn important part of looking after your moneyThe whole point to life
Your attitude to retirement savings is Your not saving – you’re too youngYou keep thinking about it but don’t startYou have started a pensionYou’re worked out how much you need to saveYou try to save as much as you can
When shopping you like to …Buy what you fancyHave an idea of what you want but get side trackedMake a list but don’t stick to itMake a list and stick to itBuy whatever is cheapest
What is your main aim in life when it comes to money ?Don’t really have oneBuy whatever you wantHave enough to treat yourself regularlyKnow what’s coming in and going out regularlySave as much as possible


Mostly A –  You’re a debt collectors dream

You could be in trouble. If you carry on with this carefree approach you may find you end up in debt . Learn some simple tips for looking after your money.

Mostly B –  Your a day to day debtor

You live for today. You never know quite where you are with your cash. A little bit of planning could make your life a lot simpler.

 Mostly C –  You’re a smart spender

You are reasonably in control, but would like a little more help. You just need to keep a closer track of your cash.

Mostly D –  You’re a careful controller

You plan for every penny and the unexpected will not worry you.

Mostly E –  You’re a squirrel

You love saving – try to learn to spend some today rather than just save for 


For some help and guidance go to our favourite website for information and tips on Budgeting & Saving

Janet’s Blog

More financial information this week 

What’s happening with our bank accounts and credit/store cards

Your Bank

The first £500 of authorised overdrafts can be interest-free for 3months (for overdrafts under £500, the entire balance will be interest-free).

Those with accounts that have an overdraft facility, who are struggling due to coronavirus, should be able to request one of these 0% overdrafts, subject to a credit score.

To be fair, many banks were offering some easing anyway, but this deletes the ‘lottery’ element. After all, no one chose a bank based on how well they’d behave in this never-imagined crisis

Please check what your bank is doing. Many have sent texts to inform us of their policies during this time.

Your credit cards, store cards, personal loans and catalogues

They all must offer a payment holiday

The FCA also proposes that all lenders will be expected to move towards offering payment holidays of up to 3mths on personal loans, credit cards and catalogue debts – so if you can’t pay, you won’t need to.

Don’t just stop payment though – you need to agree with them.

Once done, these payments aren’t allowed to hurt your creditworthiness, nor can there be any penalties or charges if you do, you can’t lose a 0% deal either

-Is it worth taking a payment holiday? 

Yes if you have an emergency cash flow need, no if not. That’s especially true if the interest rate is high, as it’ll still rack up during the payment holiday, and as you’re not making repayments it can be hefty. So only do this if you need it.

– Does this apply to car finance, payday loans & other short-term credit too?

 No, although I hear at least with car finance, the regulator is likely to make an announcement soon, though lenders are already required to show forbearance to customers. 

Janet April 2020