The Department does not hold this information as central Government funds the umbrella organisation, Citizens Advice, but not individual bureaux. We have obtained the following information from Citizens Advice:
There are currently 292 local members (legal entities, formally known as CAB). There were 360 members at April 2012, representing a reduction of 68.
Citizens Advice has noted this reduction results mainly from a number of mergers of legal entities to provide efficiencies so that more resources can be targeted to frontline advice.
Generally across England and Wales, the number of access points for advice remains largely the same – 2,700 community locations, including GP surgeries, libraries and courts.
There have been 9 closures since April 2012, resulting from either the local service being no longer financially viable due to financial mismanagement, failure to address decreasing funding or the loss of a competitive tendering process.
In all cases where a closure has been necessary, Citizens Advice strive to continue to provide face to face services in those areas, albeit sometimes this has had to be reduced.