Community Law Service
(Northampton & County)
Who we are
Community Law Service (Northampton and County) is a registered charity and an independent specialist social welfare advice provider. The aim of the organisation is to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents through tackling social and financial exclusion, alleviating poverty and advancing education. This is achieved through the provision of specialist advice, casework and representation currently in the fields of Welfare Benefits, Debt, Financial Capability, Energy Advice, Housing and Immigration..
CLS held the advice Specialist Quality Mark since 2000 but has recently achieved alternative specialist accreditation with the award in March 2019 of the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation. We are also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the delivery of our Debt Advice services. We are a member of AdviceUK the national representative body of independent advice providers.
Our services range from one-off specialist advice to a comprehensive specialist casework service and representation at court and tribunal. Our services are for all but are particularly focused on supporting vulnerable client groups and we offer a mixed model of service delivery aimed at promoting equality of access to services. This includes community outreach services, appointments in GP surgeries, home visits, advice centre appointments and advice by telephone or email. We have well developed partnerships and referral arrangements in place with a wide variety of agencies across Northamptonshire and contribute to local social policy development in respect of social welfare issues
Many of our services are for any residents in Northamptonshire and some are for people living in specific geographical areas of the County. We have permanent offices in Northampton, Wellingborough and Rushden and provide some services at the offices of Citizens Advice in Daventry, Corby and Kettering.
CLS is not a volunteer based organisation although we have some input from volunteers from time to time in terms of administration and assisting with completion of benefit claim forms. As a specialist agency we exclusively employ specialist advisors. Currently CLS has 38 paid staff of whom 27 are specialist advisors with category specific expertise. Our specialist advice team includes two solicitors.
We have a diverse funding base and lead on Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service funded by National Grid Warm Homes Fund and since 2006 have been the sole delivery agent for the national Money and Pensions Service face to face Debt advice service across the County. Since 2014 we have also delivered a comprehensive fuel poverty project funded by British Gas Energy Trust working with health services and organisations who support people with physical or mental health problems. We have a diverse funding base and lead on Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service funded by National Grid Warm Homes Fund and since 2006 have been the sole delivery agent for the national Money and Pensions Service face to face Debt advice service across the County. Since 2014 we have also delivered a comprehensive fuel poverty project funded by British Gas Energy Trust working with health services and organisations who support people with physical or mental health problems.
Our current funders are :
- Northampton Borough Council
- East Northamptonshire Council
- Legal Aid Agency
- Money and Pensions Service
- Children in Need
- Northamptonshire Carers
- British Gas Energy Trust
- National Grid Warm Homes Fund
- Northamptonshire Community Foundation
- Self funded Immigration Advice Service