Briefing from Citizens Advice ScotlandPublication date:September 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland is calling for a freeze in the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) until serious policy and administrative issues have been addressed, to ensure that the positive principles behind Universal Credit can be achieved.
Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee call for evidencePublication date:August 2017
In 2016/17, Scotland’s CAB network provided advice on 94,301 new issues relating to the benefits being devolved, representing 37% of benefits advice given, or 16% of all advice given by Scotland’s citizens advice bureaux in that year. CAS has provided a substantial body of evidence based on CAB clients and advisers’ daily experiences of engaging with the current system, together with their priorities for the new Scottish system.We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to ensure the new system is fair, equal and responsive with Scotland’s citizens at the heart of it.
Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income householdsPublication date:June 2017
The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland is inviting tenders for research into a Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households
The role of medical evidence in the benefits systemPublication date:June 2017
Our ‘Burden of Proof’ report explores the role that medical evidence plays in assessing ill health and disability benefits, from the perspective of Citizens Advice Bureaux clients, advisers and some of the professionals involved.
Scottish Parliament Local Government and Communities Communities CommitteePublication date:June 2017
Though not the only driver of homelessness, the past five years have seen a large increase in the number of rent arrears issues dealt with by Scotland’s CAB network. CAS is commencing research to examine the causes and consequences of rent arrears for CAB clients, including those who become homeless as a result. This submission examines CAB data related to homelessness and rent arrears, as well as some of the causes of rent arrears that can lead to evictions and homelessness.
Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee inquiryPublication date:May 2017
CAS is generally concerned about the restriction on families to only being able to claim Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit for two children. Advice on Child Tax Credits is one of the most common issues that clients seek advice on, with 13,363 new issues during the year, an increase of 14% compared with the previous 12 months. A CAB client profile survey in November 2016 showed that 9.3% of clients (1 in every 11) who were given advice on an issue related to Child Tax Credits were from a large family, with three or more dependent children.
Publication date:March 2017
As part of the Scottish Government funding to help bureaux mitigate the impact of Social Security changes, CAS commissioned an external researcher to carry out qualitative research to increase our understanding of:
- The main drivers of effective partnerships between bureaux and other organisations in reaching out to individuals
- The benefits to the organisations involved
- The added-value for clients supported.
The study also set out to capture the impact on individuals and the bureaux as a result of the changes to social security benefits and the roll out of Universal Credit.
Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee call for evidencePublication date:March 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to inform the Committee’s consideration of the Bill. Scotland’s CAB Service sees the effects of child poverty on a daily basis, and the majority of advice provided by citizens advice bureaux in Scotland relates to issues related to maximising low incomes, particularly access to social security benefits and dealing with problem debt.
CAS response to Work and Pensions Committee inquiryPublication date:March 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the Committee’s inquiry. In 2015/16, citizens advice bureaux in Scotland advised clients on 227,561 new issues related to social security benefits. Of those, 98,699 (43%) related to the six legacy benefits that are due to be replaced by Universal Credit. It is likely that Universal Credit will eventually become the largest single issue that Scotland’s CAB Network provides advice on, and in areas where Full Service Universal Credit has already been rolled out, it is quickly beginning to take up a significant proportion of CAB advisers’ time.
Response to Scottish Government consultationPublication date:March 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) warmly welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation. These draft regulations represent the first piece of legislation as part of the social security powers devolved to the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 2016. The use of the Universal Credit flexibilities has been of considerable interest to CAS, alongside the wider rollout of Universal Credit, which is already a significant impact on many CAB clients.
UK Government consultationPublication date:February 2017
CAS welcomes the Government’s ambition to reduce the disability employment gap, which is important in ensuring equality, fairness in the workplace and helping people with disabilities and health conditions maximise their incomes. However, it should be recognised that there are people who will not be able to undertake paid work because of their condition or impairment, in a number of cases for the remainder of their life.
Consultation response from Citizens Advice ScotlandPublication date:November 2016
CAS is generally concerned about the restriction on families to only
being able to claim Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit for two children, and
would recommend the Government reconsider the policy in its entirety rather
than making exemptions to it.
Citizens Advice Scotland briefing for MSPsPublication date:November 2016
Designing a new social security system for Scotland is a major opportunity and challenge. CAS has attempted to bring the best of our unique evidence base to inform the development of the new system based on the experiences of those who work with the current system on a daily basis. In developing a substantial response to the Scottish Government’s recent public consultation on the devolved social security system, CAS carried out specific engagement activity with 144 CAB clients and 102 CAB advisers with direct experience of the current system, in addition to CAB case information which provide real time insights into the daily operation of the system.
CAS responsePublication date:October 2016
Designing a new social security system for Scotland is a major opportunity and challenge. In this substantial consultation response, Citizens Advice Scotland has attempted to bring the best of our unique evidence base to inform the development of the new system based on the experiences of those who work with the current system on a daily basis.
Citizens Advice Scotland has published the first ever impact report detailing the positive contribution the service makes to Scottish society.Publication date:October 2016
In our first report of this kind, we demonstrate the impact of the Scottish Citizens Advice service on the 310,000-plus clients who received help in 2015/16, as well as touching on the wider benefits of our work to the rest of society.
Scottish Government consultationPublication date:September 2016
Citizens Advice Scotland agrees that the Scottish Government should
include in statute an ambition to eradicate child poverty. It is equally important
however that this ambition is backed up by clear strategies with specific,
measurable and deliverable actions that are directly linked to reducing the
levels of child poverty in Scotland.
Second Independent ReviewPublication date:September 2016
CAS has responded to the call for evidence to inform the second independent review of Personal Independence Payment.
Despite improvements having been made to waiting times and other aspects of benefit delivery, fundamental problems remain with respect to the design of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), specifically around assessments, medical evidence, length of awards, accuracy of decision making and mandatory reconsideration.
These are all issues that CAS raised in our response to the first independent review, and it is now crucial that solutions to these issues are found before more people experience similar problems as they undergo the transition from DLA to PIP.
CAB Clients in CrisisPublication date:July 2016
On-going analysis of CAB case evidence over the last four years has shown that more and more bureaux clients are experiencing periods of no income, and are unable to afford essentials including food, gas and electricity to heat their homes, as well as priority payments such as rent. More worryingly still are the number of clients who present at bureaux having not eaten in a number of days.
CAS written evidencePublication date:June 2016
If conditionality is to be used within the benefit system, CAS believes it must be part of a holistic system that supports, rather than compels, jobseekers into sustainable employment. Sanctions should be always proportionate to the “offence” and should be operated as a last resort to ensure that claimants are seeking employment in exchange for their benefit.
Early Evidence of the Impact of Universal Credit in Scotland's CAB NetworkPublication date:June 2016
This report presents many of the Universal Credit cases that Scotland’s CAB network has advised on during the first year of the rollout. At this stage, it is a only a small fraction of the people who will eventually receive Universal Credit – single jobseekers with ‘simple’ claims. However, the evidence allows us to start to identify some of the challenges that may stand in the way of the success of Universal Credit and to make recommendations for how these obstacles can be overcome. These challenges fall into three groups – design challenges, transitional and administrative challenges and future challenges.