About us

Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove gives independent, impartial, free and confidential information and advice. We help people overcome the problems they face, such as claiming benefits, managing debt, employment issues, housing, relationships and immigration issues.

We use our knowledge about our clients’ problems to identify trends and campaign to improve the policies and practices that affect peoples’ lives.

We value diversity, champion equality, and challenge discrimination and harassment.

We’re here for everyone.

We are an independent charity and we are able to provide services to the community thanks to the commitment of our volunteers and the generosity of our funders.

Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove advises thousands of people every year. As well as our Advice Service we also have specialist services such as Universal Credit Help to Claim, Macmillan Welfare Benefits, Debt Advice and more.

Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove has around 50 volunteers and 14 paid staff. We advise almost 10,000 people a year and our advice generates millions of pounds to the local economy in written off debts, benefit entitlement claims and jobs retained.

Trustees

Fran Harrison

Fran Harrison joined Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove as a Trustee in 2012 and became Chair in 2015. She has a background in consumer policy, law and practice as well as time spent working in the voluntary sector. She is a member of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, a board member of the Consumer Code for Home Builders, a board member of the Motor Ombudsman, an independent member of the Finance and Leasing Association’s Lending Code Group and is the Independent Complaints Reviewer for The Registry Trust. On a voluntary basis she is a trustee of Brighton and Hove Emmaus and acts as a policy adviser to the training organisation, Developing Youth Practice.

In the past she spent ten years working for the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and is very committed to the service we offer.

Karen Johnston

Karen has been a Trustee of Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove since 2014, and is currently the Vice Chair. She is a lawyer with specialist experience in pensions, consumer financial services, regulatory compliance and dispute resolution. She is currently a member of the FCA’s regulatory decisions committee, and between 2015-2020 was Deputy Pensions Ombudsman. Previously, she developed regulatory strategy for the Pensions Regulator and advised on consumer protection issues at the Office of Fair Trading. She began her professional career as a barrister in private practice, representing clients in criminal and civil proceedings before courts and Tribunals.

George Longfoot

George has been a trustee board member of Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove since 2016. He is currently Chief Operations Officer for Ambiental, a Brighton based business specialising in flood and environmental hazard data and analytics. Prior to this, George was CEO of a local digital agency building large scale web applications and virtual reality experiences. From his numerous senior operational management roles overseeing global teams, George brings a wide range of commercial, operational and technical experience to Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove. George can advise on a wide range of issues including legal, HR, IT and marketing issues as well as social media and commercial strategy.

Richard Priestman

Richard is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years experience in the finance and banking sectors. He has spent over 25 years working for NatWest bank and Royal Bank of Scotland group where he was a Managing Director. He was Chair of the business division and a board director of the Finance and Leasing Association. He has worked overseas in Canada for the British Columbian Provincial Government where as a forensic accountant.

His public sector/voluntary experience includes being President and a board director for East Sussex Credit Union and director and trustee for a Canadian social services charity.

He is also the chair of Asylum Aid and treasurer and director of Migrant Resources Centre -a national charity dedicated to refugees, and a board director of the Local Government Association.

Mark Clark

Mark was elected as a trustee at Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove in 2019. Mark has developed his communication skills through a career as a senior manager in public and private sector organisations, including as a Marketing Director. Since his retirement he has been a trustee of Action for Deafness for 10 years, and has been honorary Treasurer there for the last 3. He holds an MBA from the University of Warwick.

Mark Green

Mark Green joined as a trustee at Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove in 2019. On a professional basis he has worked in Human Resources for some 30 years (in corporate roles including Aviation, Distribution and Local Government). He is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel Management.
He has experience of the third sector through managing and organising a successful volunteer-led local charity (Brighton and Hove Independent Mediation Service). He is a workplace mediator and volunteers as community mediator. He is also a trustee with another locally based charity Possability People.

Nigel Meager

Nigel’s professional background is in economic and social research. He has been Director of the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) since 2004. He is an economist by training with a long track record of research on labour market topics, with a particular focus on employment policies for disadvantaged groups such as disabled people. He is committed to social justice and the empowerment of communities, particularly those facing social and economic disadvantage.

CEO Jo Carden

Jo has been active in the third sector around Brighton, Hove and East and West Sussex for a number of years. She has worked as a Deputy CEO for Mind and as CEO for Relate in Brighton and Hove. Prior to these roles she worked as an Area and Service Manager with responsibility for delivering both statutory and non statutory advocacy across Sussex and has spent time in front line work in London, New York and Brighton in the homeless and learning disability sectors.

Funding

Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove is able to provide independent, free and impartial advice to all in Brighton & Hove thanks to the generous support of our funders. 

We are very grateful for their continued support.

Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove leads two local partnerships of advice and community charities:

Moneyworks Partnership

Moneyworks is a partnership of advice charities led by the Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove with Money Advice Plus, Brighton Housing Trust’s Advice Centre, St Luke’s Advice Service and Possability People and the Community Education Hubs: Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project, Hangleton & Knoll Project and the Whitehawk Inn. East Sussex Credit Union are also a partner. See here for more information.

Advice Matters Partnership

Advice Matters is a partnership of advice charities. The partnership delivers person-centred, community-focused and flexible advice services with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of Brighton and Hove residents. Advice Matters combines the experience, expertise, accreditation and quality assurance of: Citizens Advice Brighton and Hove , Brighton Housing Trust Advice Centre, St Luke’s Advice Service, Money Advice Plus, and the YMCA Youth Advice Centre.

History

Brighton Citizens Advice Bureau opened its doors in September 1939 followed shortly afterwards by Portslade and Hove in October of the same year. Staffed by volunteers, the two charities served the area for nearly 60 years until they merged in 1997 to form Citizens Advice Brighton & Hove – an independent and separate charity with its own board of trustees.

We moved into our current offices in Hove Town Hall in 2015 and in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic we moved to remote delivery of our advice services.

Quality Marks

AQS Logo

advicequalitystandard.org.uk/about-the-aqs/

Giving excellent advice is core to our aim to help people to know and understand their rights and responsibilities. The AQS Advice Quality Standard is awarded by an independent group of experts focused on quality within the advice sector. By receiving this award we have demonstrated that we reach the highest standards of organisation, information, knowledge and experience.