Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Citizens Advice Milton Keynes.
Volunteering can be hugely rewarding! If you’d like to boost your CV and enhance your skills for life and work or you are simply looking to help people from your community, then you should consider volunteering for us.
We are one of a network of over 250 bureaux across England and Wales. You may even have visited us for advice – over 40% of the population has!
We have a variety of roles to suit your skills, experience and interests and we are proud of the fact that our volunteers come from many different backgrounds and walks of life.
We are looking for people who:
- Can commit to a minimum of 8 hours a week
- Volunteer for at least 6 months
- Are up for a challenge and enjoy helping people
- Are good communicators and listeners
- Are non judgmental
- Have a good standard of written and spoken English and do basic maths
We are also interested in hearing from anybody who speaks a second language fluently or has a qualification in British Sign Language (BSL).
We have a selection of volunteer roles available, all of which support the work of the bureau. Without volunteers in each of these positions we would find it very hard to run our service effectively.
Being an Adviser with the Citizens Advice Milton Keynes is an incredibly varied role.
Once trained you can expect to carry out the following duties:
- Conduct face to face and telephone interviews to establish the issue the client wants to resolve.
- Question, probe and check understanding of the issue, and begin to take action to resolve the problem.
- Research the advice required by using the Advisernet system, reference books and other approved information sources
- Give detailed information and advice to the client and check their understanding.
- Explain the options a client may have to resolve their problem and the legal or financial implications of this
- Give practical help by writing letters, making phone calls to third parties, completing forms and doing basic calculations.
- Make accurate written records of all client cases
You don’t need any particular qualifications or experience to train as an Adviser, and we’re proud of the fact that our volunteers come from all walks of life.
All we ask is that you:
- Be aged 18 years or over
- Be good at listening
- Be able to work in a team
- Have good communication, numeracy and literacy skills
- Be open minded and non-judgemental
- Commit to a minimum of 8 hrs per week.
If you’re worried about being an expert at everything then don’t be – even advisers don’t need to know it all. We provide all our trainees with a comprehensive accredited training programme that will provide you with the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to the clients.
Our up-to-the-minute electronic information system contains most of the information you will need when advising clients.
When your training ends you won’t be left alone.
Our senior staff, training supervisor and other experienced volunteers are on hand to give you further support, encouragement and advice.
References will be required.
The following job description is varied and gives a good insight into our Bureau’s processes and procedures.
We provide all our trainee assessors with a comprehensive training programme that will give you the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to our clients. You will be supported by our Training Supervisor, team of Supervisors and experienced volunteers who are all on hand to offer you the necessary support, encouragement and advice that you may need.
Training will be given on all aspects of the work; therefore no prior knowledge is necessary, although experience of Word and Excel would be advantageous. As the work of the Bureau relies on maintaining confidentiality for our clients, it will be necessary for the candidate to sign our confidentiality agreement.
The skills and qualities we would be looking for to fulfil this role would be good verbal and written skills with the ability to record information using proper English. Have the capability to gather and analyse information in a time orientated manner. Display good time management skills by working to a clear defined process of assessment.
- Complete training modules via a self study learning programme. Attend training workshops on our client management database and information tools
- Fielding – answering our telephone service, explaining our advice/information process and taking client details and recording them on to our client management database
- Ability to prioritise and assess the level of advice and information that our clients may need. You won’t be giving ‘full advice’ but you will be carrying out short, ‘diagnostic’ interviews in order to establish the main facts about a client’s situation and help prepare information to allow one of our trained advisers to spend more time with them.
- Ability to gather as much detail as possible in a short period of time. It is essential that you are able to explore the problem whilst being direct and focused in your line of questioning.
- To be the first point of contact for clients accessing our telephone service. You will deal with a wide range of client’s problems and issues. You will have the ability to maintain a professional manner when dealing with clients
- Produce concise summaries of clients issue and record the case notes on our client management database in line with Bureau procedure
- Interviewing clients in our Information Centre. You will demonstrate good communication skills (oral and active listening) when dealing with clients and Duty Manager/Supervisors.
This job description is a guide to the work that you will initially be required to undertake. It may be altered from time to time to meet changing circumstances.
Our Community Mediators are volunteers who live, work or have close connections within the local area, and the service they provide can help bring people together to better help themselves.
The mediation process focuses on improving communication and restoring relationships, and over 80% of those who choose to engage with it say that it helped them to achieve greater understanding of themselves and other people, and made it easier to talk about the impact that a dispute has had on those around them.
The essence of mediation is about rebuilding trust and communication, but the conflict in many cases has almost always arisen because of something practical, often a seemingly ‘small issue’ that has caused irritation or anxiety to one or all of the parties involved.
The following is not an exhaustive list but it best describes some of the main causes of disputes that are known to arise between neighbours.
- Life style or cultural differences
- Use of shared or communal spaces
- Physical boundaries and rights of way – walls, fences, pathways etc.
- Financial arrangements
Our Mediators need to have:
- The ability to communicate verbally and using written English.
- The ability to listen well and use active listening skills such as reflecting meanings and feelings and paraphrasing.
- The ability to relate to people without taking sides and adopt a neutral position in mediation sessions
- The ability to deal with anger and manage conflict.
- The ability to agree ground-rules and set professional boundaries
- The ability to allow both, or all, parties the opportunity to state their views and be heard
- The ability to treat everyone with genuineness and respect and show sensitivity towards people’s differing needs and abilities.
- The ability to treat all information gained in a mediation session with strict confidentiality.
Mediators will also need to be prepared to undergo initial and ongoing training as a mediator and attend ongoing support/supervision sessions.
Although not essential, the ideal candidates may have had some experience in one or more of the following fields: –
- A listening role.
Mediators are asked to commit themselves to a minimum of 2-3 hours per week. The time that you are available can be negotiated individually, plus attendance at all mediators’ meetings and ongoing training as and when necessary.
You will start to mediate only after successful completion of the initial training programme. Mediators work in pairs mediating neighbour disputes that are referred to the service. This may involve talking to one or both parties separately, or a mediation ‘’Roundtable’’ session may be arranged where all parties will be present and, hopefully, at which some agreement will be reached.
These sessions take place either at Acorn House or at another neutral venue near the involved parties’ homes. Mediators will need to be able to travel locally, and preferably, access to their own transport.
You will be aged 18 or over.
Our Digital Skills Service is designed to support people to become more confident about using technology and the internet to improve their everyday lives.
We’re looking for enthusiastic and engaging volunteers to support the growing number of our clients who are struggling to manage and adapt in the era of ‘Digital by Default’.
Purpose of Role
- To offer one-to-one support in learning new digital skills and/or to develop existing digital skills in community location(s)
- To help clients find and use online solutions
Volunteers will need to:
- Assist clients to find online information and to help with online form filling (no advice involved)
- Review someone’s current Digital confidence and help to identify areas of development
- Share their digital skills to help beginners and less confident people to make use of online tools
- Offer support through basic coaching in the areas of development from beginner level using online learning courses
- Develop someone’s understanding of Data Protection and the importance of online security.
- Give guidance on Health & Safety when using IT equipment.
- Signpost to partner organisations who may be able to offer further support
- Alert location supervisor of any faults or issues with equipment, network or internet connections should simple fix not be found.
Skills and knowledge required
- Digital applications and PC software
- People skills and reliability
- Respect for confidentiality
- A willingness to engage the public
- A willingness to follow ways of working and to work as a team
- Monday – Thursdays 9am – 3pm
- 8 hours per week
- Acorn House, 361 Midsummer Boulevard / Milton Keynes Library, Silbury Boulevard
- Citizens Advice Volunteer Induction/ GDPR training/Casebook training/Digital Skills module training Further training opportunities will be available through Citizens Advice Milton Keynes
Do you like to make a good first impression?
We recognise that our clients might have a lot on their mind when they come to visit us, and the last thing they need is to feel uncomfortable when they arrive at the bureau. That’s why our volunteer administration team are so important – both to the clients and to the organisation.
As a Receptionist you will:
- Meet and greet clients ensuring high levels of customer service
- Take client’s initial contact and personal details – creating and updating client records
- Speak to existing clients over the phone in relation to their appointments
- Plan interview room allocation for client appointments
- Ensure clients arriving for appointments are referred to the correct Adviser
- Photocopy clients documentation if needed
- Demonstrate an ability to remain calm and patient with people who may be in distress
You don’t need any particular qualifications or experience to train as a Receptionist, and we’re proud of the fact that our volunteers come from all walks of life.
We are looking for volunteers who are:
- Good at listening
- Able to create a good first impression
- Able to work in a team
- Able to read and write English and do basic maths
- Open minded and non judgmental
- Enthusiastic about helping other people
- Able to commit to a minimum of 8hrs per week
- Able to demonstrate a flexible approach to varying tasks
We provide all our trainees with a comprehensive training program that will provide you with the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to the clients.
You will be supported by their team of managers, experienced volunteers and the Training Supervisor who are all on hand to offer you the necessary support, encouragement and advice that you may need.
Where is the justice?
If you’ve ever asked yourself that question then maybe you should think about joining us.
We are looking for enthusiastic and motivated people who are committed to fighting discrimination and injustice.
As one of our Research & Campaigns volunteers you’ll help us campaign on local and national issues – Lack of affordable housing, discrimination in employment, irresponsible lending from payday loan companies – they’re just some of the problems we tackle every day.
You’ll be working with our Research & Campaigns Co-ordinator and our team of volunteers to identify local issues and run campaigns. You could be gathering evidence to back up a report, looking for clients to do media interviews or writing letters to the local MP.
You’ll be gaining valuable work experience and helping other people at the same time.
Researchers are as vital to our organisation as any advice giving role in the bureau. Without them we could not demonstrate the impact this important service has on the many thousands of people in Milton Keynes who use it every year
Main duties include:
- Contacting clients via telephone, letter or e-mail to establish details of their case.
- Develop case studies from client interviews that can be fed into national and local campaigns.
- Using case management system to research potential cases for further investigation.
- Working with the co-ordinator to draft articles and press releases to highlight the work of the bureau to local media.
- Meeting with other volunteers to promote social policy activities within the bureau.
The ideal candidate will:
- Have a good telephone manner and strong interpersonal skills
- Be able to use a computer and basic MS Office packages
- Be impartial
- Be able to read and write English
- Be open minded and non judgemental
- Enjoy helping people
- Commit to volunteer on a Friday and give at least 1 years commitment
You’ll be given a full induction into the bureau to help you learn about our systems and the service we offer to our clients and a structured training programme that will develop your existing skills.
The best part is you’ll never be working alone – our supervisors, experienced volunteers and our Training Supervisor are on hand to give you support and encouragement every step of the way.
As an independent charity, we have a Board of Trustees who are collectively responsible for ensuring the organisation is financially sound, well managed and that it meets its charitable objectives. The Board provides leadership and guidance to the Director who has day-to-day responsibility for leading and managing the organisation.
Some trustee roles require specific skills. Citizens Advice Milton Keynes welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and experience to its trustee board.
Because our trustee board tends to meet in the evenings, this role can be fitted around a full time job, studying or family commitments.
Trustees are expected to:
- Attend 6 board meetings per year as well as an annual public meeting, usually held in October.
- Attend ad hoc meetings and sub committees as advised by the Chair and the Director.
- Maintain an awareness of the business and operations of the bureau
- Actively contribute to setting policy and strategic direction, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance
- Monitor and review whether the service complies with its governing document, whether it meets Citizens Advice standards, and how well the advice needs of the local community are being met
- Monitor the financial position of the bureau and ensure that it operates within its means and objects, and that there are clear lines of accountability for day-to-day financial management
- Support the development of the bureau through participation in agreed projects
- Maintain confidentiality about any sensitive or confidential information received in the course of duties as a trustee
If successful at interview and selection stage, trustees will be formally elected to serve a 3-year term. As part of our due diligence procedures we will require trustees to undergo routine disqualification checks in line with guidance set out by the UK Charity Commission.
Each individual trustee brings skills and qualities to the board.
They add to the collective knowledge and experience by providing:
- Commitment and availability to attend bureau trustee board meetings
- Effective communication skills and willingness to participate actively in discussion
- Willingness to gain knowledge of local needs and resources
- Commitment to the aims, principles and policies of the CAB service, including those relating to equal opportunities, independence and social policy
- Willingness and ability to act in the best interests of the bureau
- Ability to understand and accept their responsibilities and liabilities as trustees and employers
- Willingness to participate in democratic process which develops CAB policies by area and nationally
- Numeracy to the extent required to understand CAB accounts with the support of a treasurer
- Willingness and ability to learn, and to develop and examine their own attitudes
- Ability to think creatively and strategically, and exercise good, independent judgement
- Ability to work effectively as a member of a team.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial discussion and to arrange a meeting with our Director.