AdviceUK Annual Conference 2018

AdviceUK held its Annual Conference at Trent House in Nottingham on 11th October, 2018.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Re-Adjust – Advice and Justice” How can the advice sector reinvigorate social justice in a changing world of political and economic fragmentation?

Presentations and discussions focussed on legal and political conceptions of justice and citizens’ rights; the historical role of advice services in securing and maintaining access to justice, especially for the poor and disadvantaged, and current challenges driving demand for advice including the introduction of Universal Credit and changes to the Civil Courts system.

Steve Johnson, AdviceUK Chief Executive, began proceedings by posing a series of questions including “Do we in the advice sector any longer believe that we really can achieve justice and bring about change – not just for the individuals who approach us but more widely for communities and society as a whole? “ and “Have we, like so many it seems, lost faith or hope in the ability or willingness of our political systems and institutions to change, to improve or even be influenced?”

AdviceUK Chief Executive, Steve Johnson

In his keynote address John Milbank, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Politics and Ethics at the University of Nottingham, explored concepts of justice and rights in British society, examined past and present views on the potential of free advice services to promote the common good and considered what might be done collectively to introduce a higher level of equality into the justice system.

Professor John Milbank, Keynote Speaker at the AdviceUK Annual Conference

Throughout the day, journalist and broadcaster Louise Hulland, the Conference Chair, guided delegates through a programme of learning and lively debate. Sarah Clarke, of the Public Law Project led a session examining the many problems arising from the introduction of Universal Credit and potential areas of challenge. In the afternoon, a panel session looked at the ongoing changes in Legal Justice, in particular closures of physical courts and the planned introduction of virtual (digital) courts making access to justice even more difficult for some.


Landmark AdviceUK announcements during the day included:

  • AdviceUK Consulting being officially launched
  • The 10th anniversary of AdvicePro (AdviceUK’s cloud-based digital case management system)
  • AdviceUK will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary next year and will be raising money specifically for the AdviceUK Foundation Fund for providing grants and bursaries to members. Fundraising will begin with an entry in the London Marathon on the exact date of the anniversary – 28th April 2019.

Commenting on the day, AdviceUK CEO Steve Johnson said:
“With all of the amazing work that goes on amongst our members, I believe we can make a true difference together. In these complex and uncertain times it is more important than ever that the Advice sector works together to help people overcome and challenge the social injustices they face.”

For more information on AdviceUK please:

To enquire about membership or any of the services AdviceUK offers, please contact the AdviceUK membership team on or call us on 0300 777 0107.

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1979, AdviceUK is the largest network of independent advice centres in the UK, with over 700 member organisations based in all parts of the UK.
  2. The 2018 AdviceUK Conference was sponsored by CapitalOne, AdviceUK Insurance Services and Advanced Case Management Systems Ltd
  3. Exhibitors at the event included AdvicePro, AdviceUK Training & Qualifications, AdviceUK Consulting, AdviceUK Insurance Services, Experian, Money Advice Service, Money Advice Trust, OnRecord, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and UK AdviceFinder.

Some comments from delegates:
“Very informative”
“Inspirational and challenging”
“Friendly atmosphere”
“Keynote speech inspirational and thought-provoking”
“Universal Credit talk was topical and thought-provoking”
“Awesome keynote speaker”
“Thought-provoking ideas from John Milbank and Steve Johnson”

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