Information & Advice

Funded through the Big Lottery’s Advice services Transition Fund, Advice in County Durham is a partnership of local advice providers, committed to working together to improve the provision of advice across County Durham. The partnership aims to provide a seamless service for those seeking advice and enable organisations providing information and advice to work in a more collaborative way for the benefit of all concerned.
With austerity measures and funding cuts leaving more people in need of help and resources available to advice organisations being reduced, the need for new ways of working is greater than ever. The partnership will redesign access routes to advice by joining up the provision in simple pathways that both agencies and clients will understand, to ensure that there is ‘no wrong door’ when it comes to helping clients.
Clients will get a single point referral, easier access, earlier intervention, reduced waiting times and faster emergency response.
Organisations delivering advice will have the opportunity to gain approved centre status as a member of the partnership network, reflecting the level of service delivered.

Sam Scotchbrook– Project Co-ordinator, Advice in County Durham
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 0191 3726704
Armstrong House, Abbeywoods Business Park, Durham, DH1 5GH


Getting help to make a new Universal Credit claim

From April 1st Citizens Advice County Durham will offer support with making a new claim for Universal Credit, from opening your account to receiving your first full payment.

Our trained advisers can help you to:

  • Explore whether UC is right for you.
  • Set-up your Universal Credit account (including guidance on email addresses/ basic bank accounts)
  • Complete your claim to-dos
  • Verify your identity
  • Make sure you’re providing the right evidence to the Jobcentre
  • Exploring any financial assistance that may be available to you in the early stages of UC
  • Understand what Universal Credit will mean for you

If you’re not sure what help you need just get in touch and we’’ll work out what support you need.

Visit us:

Call: Freephone 0800 144 8 444 (England) or 08000 241 220 (Wales)

You can find more information on Universal Credit on the Citizens Advice website.

Attached is info that will help claimants to know what to bring to appts and posters outlining the opening times of each site and the process our advisers will follow.  

Referrals can be made via the AICD Portal….


Jess Arragon

Universal Support Best Practice Lead

CACD Help to Claim Universal Support Project Manager

Direct dial: 0191 372 6710

Extn 6710

Mobile: 07534 518634

Updated Referral Portal Directory …

The AiCD referral directory listing the services you can refer to through the portal has been updated. You can view it in the attached PDF document and at the following link: 

We will be updating the directory on a monthly basis so if you would like to make any changes to your service information please get in touch with Rachel O’Donnell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 03000 266038. 

….hopefully members have found the new format more user friendly – I’d welcome any feedback…

If you are members and don’t have access to the Advice in County Durham referral portal – please contact me for further information on how to access this …This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Referring to Durham Welfare Rights through the Referral Portal 

Durham WR have recently updated their referral criteria for all referrals sent to the service through the portal. As per the description below I have attached a copy of the Welfare Rights Form of Authority and a copy of the HMCTS medical authority form (this form is helpful as it enables the Welfare Rights Officer to secure a copy of the GP records more quickly when needed). The full criteria is copied below and is now available to view on the referral portal…

Welfare Rights Criteria
Durham County Council Welfare Rights specialise in the representation of clients at benefit appeal tribunals. This particular referral route is for the referral of clients requiring representation at tribunal only. Any general benefit queries or checks should be directed through our professionals advice line: 03000 268 978 open 12.30 – 15.30pm or the client can reach us directly through the public advice line: 03000 268 968 open 9 – 12pm.
Welfare Rights will only take on a case for representation once the SSCS1 has been submitted. When making a referral to Welfare Rights for representation we ask referrers to include - a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration notice - a completed copy of the SSCS1 form, – a completed form of authority for Welfare Rights and – a completed HMCTS medical authority form.
Any referrals not including this documentation risk being rejected. If your organisation does not provide support up to the SSCS1 stage you can refer the case to Citizens Advice County Durham who can assist with this and will then send the case on to Welfare Rights once ready.

If you require a copy of the Welfare Rights Forms of Authority or the HMCTS medical authority form please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Update from DWP…

Universal Credit Live Service will end in January and the Jobcentres in County Durham are busy preparing our customer for the change to Universal Credit Full Service, this will be a supported change and customers will be invited into the Jobcentre to make their claim to Full Service. If you have any customers contacting you about a letter they have received on this subject please encourage them to attend their appointment etc. If they have any questions they should contact their local Jobcentre.

The changeover is due to start on 5th September 2018

Information Websites

The following websites have been developed to help people living or working in County Durham access the information they need. Please follow the appropriate link below to access the site you need.

Durham Locate (formerly DIG)

Need help finding the right care and support? Locate is a free online resource providing a wealth of care and support information and services making it easier for you to make plans now and in the future.

Families Information Service (FIS)

The Families Information Service is a free and impartial service providing information to help parents support their children through to their 20th birthday, or 25th birthday if the child is disabled. The website provides information on a wide range of things including – choosing childcare, where to find a nursery, pre-school or playgroup, sport and leisure clubs as well as family leisure activities, information about free and flexible early learning (formerly nursery education) for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, support for children with additional needs or disabilities, parenting groups and classes.

Help 4 Teens

Help 4 Teens provides a range of information for young people around careers and further education including: careers database, qualifications, personal development opportunities, sources of financial support, volunteering opportunities, health and personal wellbeing.

Wellbeing For Life

Wellbeing for Life is a service commissioned by Durham County Council and delivered by five partners who have years of knowledge and experience of working and supporting local people across County Durham

This is Durham

The official Tourism Website for Durham