Advice Services and Welfare Reform

Advice, Information and Support with Welfare Benefits, Money, Debt and Digital Inclusion

Advice services and welfare reform

Stirling Council Advice Services is an accredited provider of welfare benefits, money and debt advice under the Scottish National Standards for Advice and Information Providers.

The service is also one of the key providers of digital inclusion advice and support in the Stirling area.

Advice Stirling

Advice Stirling offers free, confidential and impartial money, debt and benefit advice to citizens within the Stirling area.

Our advisers can help you with:

  • Maximising your income by checking what benefits you are entitled to, including Universal credit
  • Supporting you to apply for benefits or appeal against benefit decisions
  • Applying for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund for a community care grant or crisis grant
  • Referrals to the local Foodbank
  • Applications for other charitable grants, that may be appropriate
  • Looking at ways of increasing income and reducing expenditure
  • Drawing up a budget so you see where your money is going and prepare a financial statement
  • Identifying priority and non-priority debts
  • Contacting and negotiating with your creditors
  • Explaining your options for clearing your debts, including the Debt Arrangement
    Scheme (DAS), Trust Deeds, token payments and Bankruptcy
  • Help with negotiating with your Housing Officer or Mortgage Company
  • Applying to the Mortgage to Rent scheme if you are facing repossession
  • A referral to an appropriate solicitor for court representation

Referrals to the Advice Stirling service can be made by emailing or by calling 01786233528

We also provide a number of outreach sessions, delivering welfare benefits and money advice directly to communities in a number of locations across Stirling. 

Our advisers are available at St.Ninians Library and Bannockburn Library on alternate Mondays from 10:30am to 12:30pm. You do not need an appointment and can drop-in during this time.

We operate outreach clinics within the following GP practices:

  • Fallin
  • Tor
  • Cowie
  • Killin
  • Drymen
  • Balfron
  • Bannockburn

If you are registered with one of these surgeries you can access advice with them and appointments can be made for these clinics by contacting your GP surgery direct or via our service.

Forth Valley Macmillan Money Matters

The Macmillan Money Matters Project is a joint initiative between Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Forth Valley, Stirling Council, Falkirk Council, the Department for Work and Pensions; and Social Security Scotland.

Living with cancer can be a daily challenge and may cause financial difficulties. Diagnosis can have a huge impact on your life and money worries can be a major cause of stress. The benefits system can seem complicated and finding your way through it can be difficult. Dealing with Government agencies and filling in forms may feel like too much to cope with right now. But you don’t have to do it alone - we can help. If you live in the Forth Valley area and have received a Cancer diagnosis then our team is available to help.

Our advisers can help you with:

  • Completing a benefits check and support you to maximise your income through applying for benefits and charitable grants
  • Challenging benefit decisions including representation at appeals and tribunals
  • Providing budgeting advice and support to anyone with a cancer diagnosis

Referrals to the service can be made by emailing or by calling 01786233525

Stirling Digital Inclusion Project

Stirling Council Digital Inclusion project offers free and tailored help to complete beginners or those looking to improve their digital skills. We aim to improve your confidence using a wide variety of services online.

Our advisers can help you with:

  • Completing Universal Credit claims online and manage your journal
  • Navigating money saving websites
  • Shopping online
  • Staying safe online
  • Completing online paperwork
  • Helping with job applications
  • Applying for training and further education courses
  • Supporting you to keep in touch with friends and relatives through digital platforms such as Skype

Referrals to the service can be made by emailing or by calling 01786233958.

Better Off Stirling Digital Platform

Better Off Stirling is a service for people who live in Stirling. The digital platform gives you access to a benefits calculator where you can input your details and it will show you the benefits you are entitled to. Information and advice is also available to help you apply for them online. Better Off also provides information on debts and options available for dealing with debt, as well as how to find and apply for jobs.

For more information please visit the Better Off Stirling Platform.

Money, Debt, Benefits and Digital Inclusion

The Council's Advice and Welfare Reform Team works in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure Stirling residents are aware of money, debt, benefit and digital inclusion advice and support. 

As well as continuing to provide advice and support over the phone and by email, the service has also introduced a number of new digital platforms which have taken on greater importance during the current crisis.  

These include:

  • Providing face-to-face advice and support through the use of Attend Anywhere.
  • Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms
  • Recording short videos, in partnership with Stirling Carers Centre, which are available to view via the links below:
  1. Information on Cashback Websites
  2. Money, Debt and Benefits Advice and Support
  3. Digital Inclusion

A number of resources are also available for Stirling Citizens from our service and are available for download below.

Our Customer Charter and Service Agreement

Stirling Council Advice Service is free, confidential and provided by trained advisers. Our aim is to help you gain control of your money. To be able to help you we need to assess your financial position. The procedures we use to do this are recognised by most creditors (people or organisations that are owed money). In order for you and your creditors to benefit as much as possible from our service it is essential that you understand what the service is able to do and what will be expected from you.

We will 

  • Treat everyone equally and fairly by not discriminating against clients on grounds of race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • If required, will complete a full benefit check for you.
  • After our discussions, if agreed, we will contact your creditors on your behalf and if appropriate request they suspend recovery action and freeze any interest charges on your account.
  • Make other service areas aware of any change in your circumstances when appropriate and
    help to protect public funds (Revenues and Benefits).
  • Help you prepare a financial statement and/or a personal budget.
  • Discuss with you, all the options available to resolve your financial problems and help you to decide which option might be best for you.
  • If appropriate and with your written permission, send your financial details to creditors in order to negotiate affordable repayments. Where appropriate assist you to complete relevant forms and act for you in respect of Debt Payment Programmes.
  • Keep you informed of the progress we are making on your case.
  • Make you aware of any potential conflict of interest.
  • Withdraw our services and not act on your behalf should you fail to maintain this
    agreement. In such circumstances, creditors would also be informed.
  • Issue customer satisfaction surveys to our clients to let us know how we are doing as we are always looking at ways to improve our service. You can also contact us at any time to tell us
    about any issue that you are unhappy/happy about. You can write to us or phone us and we will endeavour to resolve the problem as soon as possible. If we can’t and need time to
    check it out, we will get back to you within an agreed time.
  • If you wish to lodge a complaint use the complaints page here.

You will be expected to:

  • Attend all appointments or tell us if you are unable to attend. (Failure to attend or to tell us that you cannot attend appointments may force us to withdraw our services).
  • Supply accurate details of your circumstances, including all income and outgoing expenditure. (We will need to see your payslips or benefit award letters etc.). We need this information so we can give you and your creditor’s correct advice and information.
  • Keep us informed of any change in your circumstances (for example, if you get married, move house or have children). Any change may make it more difficult for you to make agreed repayments, particularly where you have a Debt Payment Programme in place.
  • Not enter into separate agreements with creditors or take out further credit without
    reference to our money advice service who will advise you accordingly.
  • Sign an authorisation mandate allowing us to contact your creditors and act on your behalf, and for the service to forward any application for a Debt Payment Programme to the Debt Arrangement scheme Administrator.
  • Keep us informed if you decide that you want to approach another money advice service other than ourselves as it is not beneficial to you to have more than one agency acting on your behalf.

What our advisers can not help you with

Although we can refer you to appropriate partner organisations, the service cannot directly assist with the following:

  • Representation at Court or Tribunal where Stirling Council is the creditor (e.g. housing benefit, rent arrears)
  • Providing regulated financial advice (e.g. advice related to investing, retirement, insurance, college savings, estate planning, taxes etc)

Welfare and money advice reports and statistics