Charity Awards 2024

The YOU Trust

Revolutionising advice services in Portsmouth

Recognising critical wastage and inefficiencies in the way that vulnerable people were being given legal advice in Portsmouth, the YOU Trust transformed client support through its advisory service, with dramatic results.

Through Advice Portsmouth, the YOU Trust provides free support and legal advice to anyone in the local community struggling with poverty, homelessness, disability, ill health or abuse, age-related problems or other care issues. But inefficiencies in the previous system resulted in waiting times of up to three hours, with many people giving up and leaving without being helped.

After a three-month consultation, the YOU Trust completely overhauled the way it was managing the service. Employing a holistic, systems-centred approach, clients’ needs were put at the heart of the advisory process. “Pointless” initial form-filling was abandoned; instead, qualified legal advisers look closely at each individual’s particular circumstance and identify the root cause of their problems. With the help of volunteers, they then map out a plan of action, providing continued assistance and support in a friendly, safe environment.

As a result of the changes, average waiting time has been dramatically reduced to 12 minutes and service cost has plummeted from £300 per case to just £22.

Despite receiving less funding, Advice Portsmouth processes on average 13,500 cases each year, up from 9,000 before, and 99 per cent of client feedback rates the support received as excellent.

Charity Awards judge John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said the charity had achieved “dramatic efficiencies”.

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