Why it’s important to have values

The Citizens Advice service is unique, people expect our services to be there, often in their darkest hour of need. We take that very seriously and our staff and volunteers are reminded of that every day when they see clients.

Citizens Advice Stockport (CAS) is focused on its mission;

We help people find a way forward — whoever they are and whatever their problem and we’ll increase the impact we have on people’s lives by transforming the way we do things — whilst staying true to our core principles.

For me as a CEO, it is important that at every level of the organisation we deliver on our mission which is why we have developed our organisational values. These values will enable us to deliver on our mission every day.

Values are what support this strong mission, shape the culture and reflect what the organisation is. It is my belief that by establishing values we:

  • help our client, partners, staff and volunteers understand the ethos of the organisation, ensuring they know what we are about and how we do things.
  • help ourselves in the decision-making process ensuring the decisions made are true to the organisation’s missions and beliefs.
  • help existing and potential funders understand how we use their money to meet our mission.

Earlier this year, we had our first organisational away day. The focus was “How we move forward” and at the beginning of the day, I led a session on the type of organisation we want to be. As a group agreed that our values should be strong, clearly articulated and a true reflection of CAS’s aspirations.

I want our values to:

  • Represent the organisation we are aiming to be
  • Support our ambition to deliver better services to our clients
  • Guide staff and volunteers, as well as strategic and operations decisions and provide a foundation for our policies and procedures.
  • Over time, improve our organisation’s ethical character as defined by our mission and principles.
  • Demonstrate integrity and accountability to external stakeholders and set the organisation apart from our competitors.
  • Reduce the risk of inappropriate behaviour; and
  • Helps define a culture that develops the organisation in the future.

It was clear that our values should show us as being a forward-thinking organisation that develops in line with the needs and demands of our clients. We should be a place where all our workers feel confident enough to constructively question new ideas allowing us to learn when we get things wrong.

It was clear we wanted an environment where everyone feels respected in the workplace, and where workers can share information, knowledge and experiences. We also want to be an organisation that does what we say we and that keeps our promises.

With that in mind, I am pleased that the trustees have agreed on core values which are based on us being adaptable, respectful and responsible.

We will look to embed these values in every aspect of the work we do; how we work with our clients, behave, make decisions and support each other. Together, we will ensure that our values are brought into the behaviours we demonstrate every day.