Who we are History 1930s The Government is considering the need for an information service linked to the fledgling social welfare service. The prospect of a world war looms so the National Council of Social Services (the forerunner of today's National Council of Voluntary Organisations) establishes a group to look at how to meet the needs of the civilian population in war time. "Citizens Advice Bureaux should be established throughout the country, particularly in the large cities and industrial areas where social disorganisation may be acute." 3 September 1939: War is declared. 4 September 1939: The first 200 bureaux open. From the start, volunteers run the service working from public buildings and private houses. Advisers deal with problems relating to the loss of ration books, homelessness and evacuation. They also help locate missing relatives and prisoners of war. Debt quickly becomes a key issue as income reduces due to call-ups.