JOB VACANCY: Citizens Advice Oxford – Debt and Housing Advice Caseworker (p/t)

Role summary: This post is part of an ongoing project funded by Oxford City Council to provide timely and appropriate money advice for residents in danger of losing their homes because of welfare benefit changes and/or money problems.

The post holder will support referred clients to improve their financial situation and ability to manage their finances using a variety of approaches to secure their tenancy and improve abilities to manage finance

Job location (usual place of work): Citizens Advice Oxford, 95 St Aldates

Pay rate: £ 24,545 – £26,470

Pay is pro rata?: Yes

Job title: Debt and Housing Advice Caseworker

Applications close on date: 5pm Tuesday 22nd October

Hours are: Part time

Contract is: Temporary until 31st March 2020 with likely extension

Job description: Role purpose

This post is part of an ongoing project with funded by Oxford City Council on an annual basis since 2010 to provide timely and appropriate money advice for residents in danger of losing their homes because of welfare benefit changes and/or money problems.

The post holder will support referred clients to improve their financial situation and ability to manage their finances using a variety of approaches to secure their tenancy and improve abilities to manage finance

Casework
• Provide casework covering the full range of money advice and welfare benefits advice including Universal Credit.
• Act for the client where necessary by calculating, negotiating, drafting or writing letters and telephoning.
• Negotiate with third parties as appropriate.
• Act as an intermediary for the completion of Debt Relief Orders and/ or provide high quality referrals to the Citizens Advice national in-house DRO unit.
• Make applications to charitable trust funds to assist with write off of debt.
• Ensure income maximisation through the take up of appropriate benefits or referrals
• Prepare and present cases to the appropriate statutory bodies, tribunals and courts as appropriate.
• Assist clients with other related problems where they are an integral part of their case and refer to other advisers or specialist agencies as appropriate.
• Provide advice and assistance to other staff across the whole range of debt issues.
• Ensure that all casework conforms to Financial Conduct Authority and Advice Quality Standard at casework level.
• Maintain case records for the purpose of continuity of casework, information retrieval, statistical monitoring and report preparation.
• Gather outcome information for each client
• Make home/outreach visits as necessary.
• Monitor and ensure funder targets for outputs and outcomes are met
• Develop a range of case studies for the project

Financial Capabilities and Money Mentoring
• Work in a supportive and empowering way with clients to improve understanding of their finances and options available to improve it
• Support clients to take action to maximise their income and or reduce expenditure
• Make home/outreach visits as necessary
• Provide advice and assistance to other staff and volunteers on financial capability
• Maintain case records for the purpose of continuity of casework, information retrieval, statistical monitoring and report preparation in line with organisations policies

Research and campaigns
• Assist with research and campaigns work by providing information about clients’ circumstances
• Provide statistical information on the number of clients and nature of cases and provide regular reports to management.
• Monitor service provision to ensure that it reaches the widest possible client group.
• Alert other staff to local and national issues.

Professional development
• Keep up to date with legislation, case law, policies and procedures relating to money advice and undertake appropriate training.
• Read relevant publications.
• Attend relevant internal and external meetings as agreed with the line manager.
• Prepare for and attend supervision sessions/team meetings/management team meetings as appropriate.
• Assist with Service initiatives for the improvement of services.

Administration
• Review and make recommendations for improvements to services.
• Maintain local information systems.
• Use IT for statistical recording, record keeping and document production.
• Keep up to date with policies and procedures relevant to work and undertake appropriate training.
• Maintain good working relationships with relevant external agencies.
• Maintain a library of reference material and case law.

Other duties and responsibilities
• Carry out any other tasks that may be within the scope of the post to ensure the effective delivery and development of the service.
• Demonstrate commitment to the aims and policies of the Citizens Advice service.
• Abide by health and safety guidelines and share responsibility for own safety and that of colleagues.

Person specification
1. 1 years’ experience of debt casework including welfare benefits, income maximisation and homelessness prevention advice.
2. Debt Relief Order intermediary or willingness to become one.
3. Effective oral and written communication skills with particular emphasis on negotiating, representing and preparing reviews, reports and correspondence.
4. Ordered approach to casework and an ability and willingness to follow and develop agreed procedures including compliance with GDPR regulations.
5. Understanding of the issues involved in working with vulnerable clients.
6. Experience of making small grant applications
7. Ability to prioritise own work, meet deadlines and manage caseload.
8. Ability to use IT in the provision of advice and the preparation of reports and submissions.
9. Ability to give and receive feedback objectively and sensitively and a willingness to challenge constructively.
10. Ability and willingness to work as part of a team.
11. Ability to monitor and maintain own performance against required Citizens Advice, FCA and AQS standards
12. Demonstrate understanding of social trends and their implications for clients and service provision.
13. Understanding of and commitment to the aims and principles of the Citizens Advice service and its equality and diversity policies.

Post holder will be required to provide or undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

To apply, please contact: https://citizensadviceoxford.org.uk/vacancies/