New Citizens Advice CEO up for challenges
THE new CEO of Citizens Advice has said that funding and finding volunteers are the biggest challenges she will face in her new role.
Ali Marquis has taken on the role, having previously spent two years with the charity until 2019 as its deputy CEO.
She also trained as a support worker and led the charity’s research work.
That experience meant she knew what to expect from CAG, she said, when she returned in September.
‘One of our biggest challenges is recruiting volunteers, people are having to work longer because of the cost-of-living crisis so don’t have the time to give for volunteering, and we would like to employ young people as well but they usually have to be in paid work,’ she said.
‘Another challenge is finances, we will continue to need funding.
‘We also are dealing with people's problems becoming more complex.’
On average Citizens Advice sees some 4,000 clients a year with more than 12,000 different inquiries, especially support for people who have issues with housing, employment, family matters and legal disputes.
‘Housing and the cost-of-living is our biggest issue. It’s really quite sad as this has a major impact on people’s lives. People come to us because they are sofa surfing, because they can’t find accommodation,’ said Ms Marquis.
The majority of the work that Citizens Advice do is face-to-face or over the phone.
That is a positive but Ms Marquis is also keen to make the service more accessible for people.
‘I would like to improve accessibility by offering our services for longer hours, to attract younger people to want to talk to us, and to broaden what is available on our website,’ she said.
Ms Marquis said that she had thoroughly enjoyed her return to the charity.
‘It’s been great – I absolutely love it,’ she said.
‘We have great staff, a great board of directors, and fantastic volunteers.’