Advice surgeries proposed across St Albans district to handle benefits shake-up

ADVICE surgeries are set to be introduced to support the 2,500 residents who could be affected by changes to their benefits next year.

St Albans district council expects an increase in the number of enquiries from benefit claimants if the Government makes changes to council tax benefit from April 2013.

And to deal with any queries they have proposed to set up advice surgeries for residents and hold sessions with Oaklands College on budgeting and managing finances.

The council has also suggested extending their telephone operating hours, opening their customer service desk for two Saturdays during March and April and bringing in staff from other departments to handle enquiries.

Councillor Julian Daly, executive leader of the council and portfolio holder for resources, said: “The benefit changes will come into effect at a particularly busy time for the council’s customer services team which is responsible for handling residents’ enquiries.

“Plans are being put in place to make sure those residents who require advice and support, receive it when they need it most.”

The plans are due to be discussed a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 14.