A citizen’s advice service (CAB) could return to Ross-on-Wye from October.

At Ross Town Council’s meeting on Monday, September 12th, Councillors heard a report from the Town Clerk, Sarah Robson. She explained that after some meetings with Dawn Sheppard from the Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau, they were almost at a point where the service could be re-instated on a fortnightly basis.

She added that the CAB meetings would be held in the registrar’s room at Ross Library every other Monday, which would fit around the WISH (Wellbeing Information and Signposting for Herefordshire) meetings currently held in Ross Library on alternate Mondays.

The CAB slots would be appointment only, and it is hoped that a more technological service could be brought in at a later stage.

Cllr Richard Mayo told the Councillors that he would happily back the CAB, as it was such an important service. He added that he thought it would be fair to ask surrounding Parish Councils to make a financial contribution to the cost of the service, as residents in nearby parishes may travel to Ross to make use of the CAB. “Surrounding Parish Councils have a duty of care to their residents, as we do with ours,” he said.

Cllr Jane Roberts suggested that by recording the postcodes of the service users, this would be a suitable way to monitor if residents from surrounding parishes are travelling to Ross to make use of the service.

Cllr Phil Cutter added that he did support the re-installation of a CAB service, so long as Ross residents got their fair share of face-to-face interviews, and the service was not via text or telephone.

Cllr David Ravenscroft said that a face-to-face service would be introduced in Ross, but he added that at a later stage that they could look at bringing in alternative services, such as Skype interviews, et cetera.

Cllr Cutter added that a three month trial might be appropriate to review how the money was spent. Cllr Roberts said that a three month trial would not be long enough, as new services are not used as well in the first few weeks, when people are not aware they are there. She added a longer trial, of at least six months would be more appropriate.

Cllr Bramer stated that although he was in favour of the CAB, he would rather see the results of the trial before more money was spent.

Cllr Ravenscroft said that if the Town Council withheld money, the service may not come to Ross.

Members of the Council unanimously voted to approve the proposals for the provision of a locally accessible CAB in Ross-on-Wye.