CARF's guiding aims and principles

Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) is part of the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Service. Put simply, what we aim to do is:

  • To provide the advice people need for the problems they face
  • To improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.

We are an independent, well organised charity – find out more about our management and governance.

Our guiding principles

The Scottish CAB Service is founded on 12 guiding principles, which we are committed to upholding in how we deliver our service.

1. A free service

CARF provides information, advice and assistance free of charge to everyone, regardless of income and assets.

2. Confidentiality

CARF provides confidentiality to our clients. Unless we have your express permission, we’ll never pass on any information about you to anyone outside the CAB Service. Our social policy work is done using anonymous information – unless we have your express consent we won’t make information public that might allow you to be identified.

3. Impartiality

CARF’s service is impartial and is open to all. CARF advisers are trained to provide information solely on the basis of its potential usefulness to you - information will not be selected to conform to any particular point of view. Any representation we make on your behalf will faithfully attempt to express your personal intentions and points of view.

4. Independence

The service provided by CARF is completely independent. The policies and practices of the Scottish CAB Service, to which CARF belongs, are decided solely by the member citizens advice bureaux. No other agency or individual, even if they are giving financial support or other aid to bureaux, influences the decision making process of CARF or other bureaux.

5. Accessibility

We aim to make our services accessible to all by using premises which are centrally located, easy to enter, welcoming in appearance and open at times suited to local demand.

We want to recruit a range of volunteers from the local community.

We promote our service to raise awareness of how we can help, and seek to extend our services to meet the needs of those for whom the service is not presently accessible.

6. Effectiveness

At CARF, we judge our effectiveness by the extent to which we meet the needs of our clients. Ways we measure this include:

  • the extent to which our clients are helped to clarify problems and concerns
  • the accuracy and completeness of any information provided
  • the usefulness of any advice given
  • the appropriateness of any assistance provided to enable clients to carry out the course of action chosen.

An effective service depends on efficient management and administrative practices and our most valuable resource, our volunteers.

7. Community accountability

CARF belong to Citizens Advice Scotland, a membership association for Scottish citizens advice bureaux. Each member bureau is democratically accountable to the community they serve.

Our Board of Directors is elected at our Annual General Meeting.

8. Client’s right to decide

CARF recognise that our clients have a right to set their own objectives and to decide whether or not to accept the advice and assistance we offer.

We try to avoid making assumptions about your objectives. We will endeavour to identify all your options and present these to you fairly so you can decide without pressure what you would like to do.

9. A voluntary service

CARF is first and foremost a voluntary service, giving advice and assistance through people serving Fife in a formal, unpaid capacity. Our advice is an essential addition to services provided by statutory and other agencies. Citizens Advice Scotland advocates our employment of paid staff in member bureaux in order to support and complement our volunteers.

10. Empowerment

CARF wants to help you to help yourself. Like other citizens advice bureaux, we will help you to understand your situation, to decide what action to take and to take steps yourself to tackle your problems. We aim to ensure that each of our clients has the experience and satisfaction of self help.

11. Information retrieval

As part of the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau Service, CARF seek to use the evidence collected through experience in dealing with enquiries to campaign for change both locally and nationally. In gathering such evidence, we will respect the client’s right to confidentiality.

12. A generalist service

CARF, like all citizens advice bureaux, gives information, advice and assistance on any topic. Nobody contacting CARF will be turned away because we do not deal with that type of problem. Because we provide a generalist service, we can deal successfully with problems or groups of related problems that do not completely fit within the field of a single, specialist source of help. Where we don’t have in-house specialists to extend this general advice, we will put you in touch with specialists as required and where possible.

Equality of opportunity

The Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau Service believes that no job applicant, worker, volunteer, or client should receive less favourable treatment than another on grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. There is no situation in which CARF will discriminate unfairly.

In addition to our moral responsibility we recognise our obligation under equalities legislation and will work to comply with the guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.