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Barking and Dagenham Advice Plus project was set up in October 2009 following a successful bid with the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

The need for the project in the borough was identified following evidence from voluntary and community groups, research undertaken by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, in addition to feedback from clients and service users; and later confirmed by a comprehensive review of advice provision within the borough undertaken by the local authority.

The comprehensive review examined the geographical distribution of services, staffing and volunteering capacity, funding, case management systems and quality standards.

The review identified among other things:
  • A low number of quality assured providers operating within the borough.
  • Access issues with an uneven distribution of services within the borough, with a concentration of provision in the Barking wards of Abbey and Gascoigne.
  • The need for improved access for people living and working in Dagenham.
  • The need to improve access to a range of specialist provision including advice on immigration and nationality, and employment.
  • Capacity issues

In 2013, the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund awarded Advice Plus Barking and Dagenham funds under the Advice Services Transition Fund (ASTF) to further the development of

  • Quality assured advice service provision in the borough
  • Further the development of the Advice Academy
  • Expand the partnership