The History of Citizens Advice

xxThe first Citizens Advice Bureaux were launched in September 1939, just after war with Nazi Germany was declared. Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow were among the first cities in Britain to see local Bureaux established. More than 60 operated in Scotland during the war.

The bureaux were founded as an emergency service when it became clear that people would need a lot of help to cope with the impending chaos and disruption.  The reality confronting wartime bureaux was grim. Sometimes mobile advice units were parked near bombed areas to advise people who had lost their homes. Many families had their incomes drastically reduced by the call-up and so bureau started to play an important role in giving debt advice. After the war ended in 1945, the CAB service worked alongside agencies like the Red Cross to help locate missing relatives. 

So invaluable had bureaux proved that the service has continued ever since – from the rising consumer affluence of the 1950’s to the economic difficulties of the present day.  Today the CAB service is even more demand. In 2009/2010, the 83 bureaux in Scotland helped over 270,000 clients deal with nearly half a million new problems. 

In 1970, a meeting was held in Airdrie Police Court Hall, attended by representatives from various local organizations to discuss the setting up of a Citizens Advice Bureau to serve the people of Airdrie.  In November 1971, Airdrie Citizens Advice Bureau opened to public in its original premises on North Bridge Street. In 1984, the bureau relocated to its current home in Anderson Street.  Originally the management of the bureau was undertaken by an Organiser, an unpaid position, supported by a Committee of Management which drew its membership from local statutory & voluntary organizations and members of the public.

In 1995, the bureau became a company limited by guarantee. The first Managing Director was John Dobbin. He retired in 1998.  The present Managing Director Jonny Miller came into post in January 2012.

From September 2014- August 2015, the Citizens Advice Bureau service in Scotland is proud to celebrate its 75th anniversary.

The first bureaux were set up in September 1939 as an emergency response to the outbreak of World War Two – 75 years later they have evolved into an everyday part of community life.  However, they are as valued and as depended upon as much as ever. 

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Citizens Advice Bureau service, we have created a series of infographics charting major moments from the service in Scotland over the last 75 years below we have one from 1939 and another from 1940.



Airdrie Citizens Advice Bureau is a Company Limited by Guarantee No. 157177
Scottish Registered Charity No SCO 12238
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