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 and Wellingborough. We also provide outreach at venues Countywide
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 35 paid staff of whom 25 are specialist advisors with category specific expertise.
We hold Legal Aid contracts to provide Housing advice and representation at court for people facing repossession, or eviction. Core funding is provided by West Northamptonshire Council and we also receive funding form North Northamptonshire Council for delivery of services in East Northamptonshire. Nationwide Building Society fund a Housing Support Service and we have a partnership with Northamptonshire Carers to provide advice and support for carers across the County. A low cost fee paying immigration Service is also available which includes free initial assessments.
Our current funders are :
- North Northamptonshire Council
- West Northamptonshire Council
- Legal Aid Agency
- Community Justice Fund
- Money and Pensions Service
- Northamptonshire Carers
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Northamptonshire Community Foundation
- Self funded Immigration Advice Service
- The Access to Justice Foundation
- Justice Together
- Weston Favell Foodbank
- AB Charitable Trust