Planning model ensures availability of service at local Citizens Advice Bureau
During 2012/13 Citizens Advice helped 2.1 million people throughout Britain to solve 6.6 million problems. One of the 338 individual charities operating as part of this national organisation, Rushmoor Citizens Advice Bureau, delivers advice and information services in NE Hampshire and NW Surrey. With 21 staff and over 100 volunteers, they offer free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to local clients on their rights and responsibilities.
Alex Hughes, Chief Officer at Rushmoor CAB, approached The Cranfield Trust for help in developing a workforce planning model to facilitate the planning of advisory sessions, ensuring equitable and appropriate workloads for supervisory staff. Cranfield Trust volunteer consultant Phillip Merry has extensive experience of operational and change management at Shell and latterly in management consultancy, and was very well suited to work with the charity.
Having spent time getting to understand the business, talking to key operational and supervisory staff as well as volunteer advisors, Phillip was able to propose a framework for the model. This took into account the supervisors’ activities – supervision of advice sessions, responsibility for volunteer training and case checking – as well as the volunteers’ experience, technical capabilities and even levels of self-confidence.
The resulting Workforce Planning Model linked all the volunteer data and workload assumptions, so enabling operational staff to plan and balance advice session rotas, ensure appropriate workloads for supervisors, and maximise the management of the volunteers in order to improve the quality of advice to the charity’s many clients.
Of the work achieved, Alex Hughes commented: “The CAB Trustees and staff all agree that the model produced is excellent, with really good opportunities to address issues such as workload allocation and volunteer recruitment. It will also enable an overview of learning and development activities, and help to inform an effective focus on resource allocation during a time of major funding challenges.
"Our thanks to Phillip and The Cranfield Trust for a great piece of work. This has been confirmed by management, staff and Trustees, who can all see the tangible benefits and direct value to the organisation – at many different levels - of the work that has taken place.”