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Tribunal threat rocks major help group

PUBLISHED: 16:58 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 August 2010

WHISTLEBLOWERS at a citizens advice bureau claim that volunteers are being pushed to the limit due to staff shortages, writes Kate Nelson. Workers at Bromley Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) are under pressure to take on work they are not qualified for and

WHISTLEBLOWERS at a citizens advice bureau claim that volunteers are being "pushed to the limit" due to staff shortages, writes Kate Nelson.

Workers at Bromley Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) are under pressure to take on work they are not qualified for and putting the public at risk, according to sources.

The organisation, which provides free financial, legal and employment advice to residents, recently settled out of court at the eleventh hour ahead of a tribunal on Monday concerning two former employees.

Jan Lockie was claiming for unfair dismissal while her ex-colleague Caroline Sutton was claiming for unfair dismissal, holiday pay and breach of contract.

According to insiders, both had been "sacked on the spot" by Trustees last year.

The tribunal was due to last two days at Ashford Tribunals Service but all the parties settled for an undisclosed sum last Friday evening.

Confidentiality agreements were signed, prohibiting any of the parties talking to the Times.

One volunteer who works at Bromley CAB contacted the Times before the tribunal was settled. She said: "I am being asked to do managers' work that I'm not qualified to do. It is bad.

"We have managers off sick, we think on work stress related illness. Morale is really low.

"Volunteers are being pushed to the extreme. Everyone is extremely stressed.

"I only became a volunteer to help other people. We don't know what's going on. There is a lack of support for us. Another manager and member of staff were sacked on the spot last year. They are going to tribunal. We are really worried about them. If they lose we think Bromley CAB will close. We're concerned because we don't think we're going to be able to carry on."

An update on the Bromley Citizens Advice Bureau reads: "From May 2009 until further notice, due to staff shortages, services may have to be curtailed at short notice."

A spokesperson for Bromley CAB was unavailable for comment as the Times went to press.

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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