Citizens Advice Ireland
The National Association of Citizens Information Services is the representative body for the network of 42 Citizens Information Services in over 260 locations throughout the Republic of Ireland. In 2014 almost 1 million queries were dealt with by the network of services, which have grown and developed considerably since their early origins in the 1970’s. NACIS supports the development of independent, advice and advocacy services and acts as a voice for CISs both nationally and internationally. The Association also informs policy and planning and aims to promote social inclusion and tackle disadvantage.
All Citizens Information Services share the same ethos of empowering people by providing free, non- judgemental, independent and confidential information, advice and advocacy services to all persons in the Republic of Ireland on their social and civil rights and entitlements. The face to face services deal with a very wide range of issues including Social Welfare, Employment Rights, Housing, Health Services, Immigration, etc. Clients are assisted in accessing their entitlements and may also receive advocacy support particularly in relation to Social Welfare or Employment complaints and appeals. Many centres also provide access to additional services such as Free Legal Advice, Financial Advice, Immigration, Women’s Aid, Interpretation etc.
The network of Citizens Information Services is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board which provides the Citizens Information Website in addition to other supports such as publications, case management systems and training. These tools help the Citizens Information Services to provide up to date information on demand and ensure that all sectors in the community get an effective and efficient service.
All Citizens Information Services in the Republic of Ireland have been awarded the European Foundation for Quality Management Gold Star Service Excellence Quality Mark following a rigorous in depth assessment, which shows that services have reached specified quality standards of customer service excellence.
The Citizens Information Services have a close understanding of the problems citizens face and are well placed to capture and record policy issues which affect clients. The evidence collated from clients regarding specific issues of concern is used to influence policies both locally and nationally and to effect positive changes in government policies.
NACIS is a founding member of CAI and strongly supports the promotion and development of independent, Information, advice and advocacy services on an international level. NACIS is currently a partner in an EU funded project led by ECAS to support the development of Information, Advice and Active help services in the Western Balkans and Turkey.