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Publications

  1. Marcus Wilson
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    It is an appropriate time for the Scottish Government to be considering and consulting on Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and the regulation of district heating. Both Scottish and UK Governments expect growth in the number of district heating schemes and for the technology to play a significant part in the decarbonisation process.

    Overall, there is a growing body of evidence of consumer detriment when district heating protections are not consistent, and strengthening protections now should forestall wider negative experiences as the sector grows.

    Recent CFU research highlighted the pressing need for, and possibility of, consumer protection in a Scottish context, which is set out in the response below. 

  2. Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new water report today. Deliberative research was used to get a deeper understanding of consumers’ views on two important aspects of water policy: service standards across urban and rural areas, and how consumers relate to water and the environment.

    Findings from the research supported stronger engagement between Scotland’s water industry and those that use its services, and that involving consumers in the design and delivery of water and sewerage services is more likely to result in mutual benefits for both the industry and those that use its services.

    The report found that consumers are strong supporters of water and environmental protection and conservation, however they need more help to understand how their behaviour in terms of appropriate disposal of household waste can and will protect both Scottish Water’s assets, and the environment. Moving consumers from being largely disengaged users of water services, to willing and informed partners, will require insight and creativity. The challenge for the water industry and government is to bring this about.

  3. Briefing for the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including those creating an independent expert Scottish Commission on Social Security to scrutinise regulations, and to clarify that people should always have a choice of receiving a benefit payment in cash, unless they explicitly choose to receive it 'in kind'.

  4. Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU)'s report Leading By Example sets out the mechanisms that are used by 40 regulators and service providers within the regulated industries of energy, water and post to develop consumer-focused policy and practice. 

    The CFU uses seven consumer principles to evaluate policy and practice from a consumer perspective, and encourages other organisations to use them as a tool to support the design of regulation, policy and practice.  The principles seek to move organisations from thinking about consumers, to thinking like consumers.

  5. Publication date:
    February 2018

    'Disconnected: Understanding Digital Inclusion and Improving Access' has now been published. A huge thanks to the 33 participating Citizens Advice Bureaux who made this research possible. Read on for more information and to download your copy here.

  6. Consumer Futures Unit Response
    Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    February 2018
  7. Briefing for the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including those recognising the role of independent advice, to promote benefit take-up and income maximisation; and to require inclusive and accessible communications with individuals using the system.

  8. Stephen Dunlop
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    Following a non-domestic water industry event in 2015, during which stakeholders recognised the need for an industry Code of Practice, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) established an industry-led Working Group which was tasked with developing a Code for the licensed providers in the Scottish market. The CFU consider that the Code of Practice has the potential to deliver improved outcomes for non-domestic consumers – businesses, charities and public sector bodies in Scotland – in terms of service delivery and to act as a driver for greater protections for non-domestic consumers against poor practice.

  9. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) initiated research to find out how accessible information is to consumers on their rights and responsibilities for private water and sewerage services. This Insight Report, which accompanies a technical report (see below for download link), summarises the research that was undertaken, sets out the findings that emerged and provides policy recommendations.

  10. Briefing for MSPs
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the general principles of the Bill which has the potential to create a new social security system that will make a positive difference for tens of thousands of Scotland’s citizens. There are, however, a number of areas that could be included on the face of the Bill as opposed to being left to regulations and guidance.

  11. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland have published our annual report on burial and cremation charges across Scotland.

    Spotlight:
  12. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    “Generally, we believe that the new regulations provide greater protection to those consuming private water from Type A supplies, and greater accountability for those responsible for supplying private drinking water.”

  13. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Scottish Government consulted on potential changes to the Concessionary Travel Scheme. Proposals included raising the age of eligibility for free bus travel for older people and expanding the Scheme to cover Modern Apprentices.

    Key points:

    • Regardless of any decisions made concerning the Scheme Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) recognises the important role that buses play in many people’s lives and this should be held in mind in any considerations
    • Public transport can provide a lifeline, particularly for those living in rural communities
    • If it is decided that any changes in the age are to be introduced it is important that there is a sufficient lead in time

    • CAS would support the provision of free bus travel to Modern Apprentices
    • CAS is in favour of providing a companion card for disabled under 5's where this is needed
    Spotlight:
  14. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Scottish Government consulted on The Future of Smart Ticketing, asking for views on how to develop smart ticketing in Scotland. 

    Key points:

    • CAS recommends that regardless of the option which the Scottish Government chooses it is key that there are offline ways in which to purchase cards; buy tickets; and/or top-up cards
    • CAS recommends that in going forward the Scottish Government remains open to multiple types of smart ticketing
    • It is important that any changes which are made are well publicised and allow sufficient time for the public to be informed of these changes
    • It is important that smart ticketing is available on multiple modes of transport and from multiple operators

     

    Spotlight:
  15. The scale of Scottish surcharging and possible solutions
    David Moyes & Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) undertook extensive research to get to the root of the frustrating surcharges consumers face in parts of Scotland. This report summarises the findings, and makes recommendations for possible solutions. 

  16. Lessons learned for effective public sector engagement with flood risk communities
    Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    November 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new report today setting out a clear framework to support effective community engagement activities during the delivery of measures to help mitigate flooding.

    Riding the Waves: Keeping the community on board  is based on independent consumer research into the experience of local community resilience groups, Scottish Water and Scottish local authorities. The report looks at good practice in community engagement based on a series of consumer engagement principles.

  17. A summary of evidence gathered by Citizens Advice Bureau about their work.
    CAS Research Team
    Publication date:
    November 2017

    During 2016-17 Citizens Advice Bureaux supported almost 275,000 clients across Scotland with over 930,000 advice needs, none of which could have been achieved without the almost 2,400 volunteers and 938 paid staff.  If standard opening hours are used as a benchmark, that would imply that one advice query is dealt with every 19 seconds!  

    The 'Advice in Scotland 2016-17' report provides all the detail, while the briefing paper covers the highlights.

  18. CAS Research Team
    Publication date:
    November 2017

    Statistical briefing on advice given; client demographics based on an annual survey of CAB clients undertake for 4 weeks in November 2016; map of coverage within the 4 weeks and comparison to SIMD data.

  19. Publication date:
    November 2017

    Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland has produced this guide for organisations supporting PPM users. It sets out 5 key support areas and how these can be tailored to PPM users. Organisations should use these guidelines to ensure they are providing appropriate and effective support to PPM users, both in-house and through partnership work.

    Spotlight:
  20. Ian Shearer
    Publication date:
    October 2017

    Today the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) of Citizens Advice Scotland has published its insight report Warming Scotland up to Energy Efficiency: Putting Consumers First.

    This insight report, and our other detailed recent publications on which it is based, seek to help provide a consumer perspective on this important area of policy.

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