Volunteers leave Welsh Citizens Advice office after dispute

It is understood that eight volunteers left the branch in Bangor after the chief executive went ahead with plans to sell the office

The office that led to the dispute
The office that led to the dispute

Half the volunteers at a Welsh branch of Citizens Advice have left after a dispute about a plan to sell the charity’s office.

Eight of the volunteers at the Citizens Advice branch in Bangor, Gwynedd, have left after the charity’s chief executive pushed ahead with plans to sell the office.

The charity has instead rented an office for almost £20,000 a year while it attempts to sell the property, and is negotiating a partnership with Bangor University to remain in the rented offices.

The plan has allegedly created tensions between the branch’s chief executive, Tal Michael, and volunteers, although the charity’s board has recently passed a vote of confidence in his leadership.

Some volunteers had complained of a "toxic atmosphere" at the charity, according to media reports, although Michael told the BBC that, although there were "difficulties", he did not believe the mood was toxic at the branch.

"I wouldn't use the word toxic," Michael said. "But there were certainly difficulties. People had strong disagreements. I wouldn't agree that people weren't listened to.

"They were all given a chance to put forward their views. They were actually more upset because the trustees didn't agree with them."

Michael said the move to the new premises was designed to help get the national Citizens Advice call centre relocated to Bangor, but those plans had been unsuccessful.

He said he expected a decision this week on the potential partnership with Bangor University.

There have been a number of disputes at Citizens Advice branches in recent years between staff and volunteers and senior management, specifically at branches in South Warwickshire and Central and East Northamptonshire.

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