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A Day in the Life of...Information & Advice Officer

Green graphic with a white tree text reads a day in the life

Published on 28 November 2023 01:06 PM

Kirsty-Information and Advice Officer

I have worked in advice and guidance within charities and social housing for 16 years. It is a job I enjoy and care about, and I believe that I can make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis.

I usually start work at around 9 a.m. First, I say good morning to my colleagues via Teams as we are based in various locations, followed by checking and responding to emails, before making telephone calls. We operate a triage system, where urgent calls are dealt with and then we have a waiting list.

Every day I make call backs to people who are waiting to be contacted by our team. We have a waiting list for non-urgent queries, which has been up to 4 weeks, but I am happy to say is currently down to 2 weeks. Many people that we call we cannot reach, so a voice message is left where possible, and a diary note for a 2nd and a 3rd call. After this time, we cease contact since we receive hundreds of calls and emails each week and cannot continue to keep attempting to ring. During every contact attempt we make we leave our number and state they are most welcome to call us again should they still need us.

First call of the day: A caller rang to ask about entitlement to benefits. A 30-minute conversation was enough to gather the necessary information and find that as well as approx. £108 weekly in Pension Credit, they were also entitled to £18 of help with their Council Tax on a weekly basis. This will make a big difference to their quality of living. I confirm the information required and will contact them again in 6 weeks to check the outcome of the claims. As a result, this will mean approximately £6,500 in additional income for this person, plus other entitlements as a guaranteed pension credit recipient e.g., free dentistry and travel to NHS medical appointments to mention just two.

Call 2: I assisted this lady 3 months ago in a referral to the DWP’s visiting service which can assist with claims for Attendance Allowance (AA). She had received good news that it had been awarded at the higher rate. She had been struggling to work which was also detrimental to her health, so this award enabled her to stop working. As is routine when an award of disability benefit is granted, I offered to check her benefits entitlement again and we found that she could now claim £42 guaranteed pension credit weekly as well as full help with council tax resulting in an additional £1,300 annually. As such, her annual increase in income from these benefit claims will be £3,480 plus the AA of £5,291.

Call 3: This was a tricky conversation which took around 1.5 hours of work. The caller was upset about several things. The trigger was the recent cancellation of a hip operation. The lady had chosen to cease her care package the day before she was to be admitted to hospital – she had 4 calls a day from carers. She expressed concern about how she would look after herself post-op. Due to the hospital’s decision, as well as her own to cancel the care package, she was left without assistance, and back on the NHS waiting list for the operation. However, she was not willing to pay the top-up amount for her care so was left at something of a stalemate.

After much discussion, it transpired that a support worker from a council-run Visiting Support Service for Older People has been supporting her and I reached out to this person. I recommended that she contact 1. Healthwatch (she had PALS’s details already) regarding her experience with the cancellation of her NHS operation which was to take place in a private hospital. 2. To contact Adult Social Care again since at present she is not safe in the home. 3. Discussed her apparent financial difficulties. She stated that these were in hand, but suggestions were made as to how she could reduce her outgoings, including the costs of the 20-year-old car she keeps. I also gave details of a service that could deliver shopping when she is unable to go out due to the pain she experiences.

Call 4: A gentleman called for help as he felt that he did not have enough support in place. Recently discharged from hospital, his daughter had indicated to hospital staff that she would support Dad at home, however, the gentleman said that this was not happening. We discussed some meal delivery options, and he was happy to call these providers himself. He had some aids and adaptations that had been given to him, and he was finding these helpful. At his request, I sent a message to Peterborough Adult Social Care’s Early Help team so that he could explain to them his current situation and that he would really like some intermediate care (e.g., reablement) while he gets back on his feet. I offered to check that he was receiving all the benefits that he was entitled to, but he declined this today.

Lunch – As usual, I have a walk outside to get some time away from the desk, before having something to eat.

Call 5: I called a lady whose neighbour contacted us to request our support. The lady is concerned that her family are taking advantage of her financially. She requested help to assist with a keysafe. She has recently changed her house locks but was unable to open the keysafe as the combination had been changed, and only her son was aware of the code. I spoke with the lady concerned and her neighbour. The lady has a diagnosis of dementia, however, her neighbour does not believe this to be the case. I suggested to both to report their concerns to the local authority safeguarding team. In many of these cases, the person involved decides not to report concerns as they do not want family members to ‘get into trouble’. Sadly, financial abuse is quite prevalent today and is one of the 5 recognised types of domestic abuse. The neighbour said they would telephone Cambs County Council Adult Social Care to raise their concerns. The neighbour also made a note of our own Handyperson Service contact details as well as The Bobby Scheme, which could help with security issues.


Today, I made 12 phone calls, wrote 19 emails and, all being well, secured an additional £9,980 annual benefit income, in addition to, the £5,291 confirmed annual Attendance Allowance award. This money helps people to cope, it improves their health and wellbeing, and their ability to get the most out of life.

Sometimes, all people want is someone to listen to them. In the more difficult call of the day (Call 3), I didn’t feel I could add a great deal more information and advice to that she’d already had, which became obvious during our discussion, and with the Visiting Support Officer. My hope though is that by talking to me this may have helped her to deal with the disappointment of not having the operation as anticipated (for which she had waited so long), and the other things worrying her were reduced by chatting through options and solutions to make things clearer in her mind, helping her to make decisions on what was right for herself.

I like that in my role I can give people options, so they have knowledge to make informed choices and do what they think is best for themselves. I've learned to accept that people will do what they wish and this may not follow the advice and guidance given.

At 4.30 p.m. or thereabouts, I log off for another day.

Learn more about our Information and Advice Service

Call our Information and Advice Service on 0300 666 9860 or email