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Publications

  1. Period 1 October 2020 - 30 September 2021
    Isabella Williams
    Publication date:
    October 2022

    The full report, which includes detailed statistics, an overview of activities and case studies, can downloaded below.

    If you would like to access previous reports please contact the project team. 

  2. Publication date:
    August 2022

    This short leaflet introduces the Armed Services Advice Project, provides information about who the service is for and what kinds of problems we can help with, and how to get in touch with us.

  3. Citizens Advice Scotland
    Publication date:
    August 2022

    This is the Annual Report for Citizens Advice Scotland for the 2021-22 financial year.

     

     

  4. David Scott
    Publication date:
    July 2022

    The last few years have been extraordinarily tough. The pandemic left 1.8 million people in Scotland financially worse off, and even before the most recent increase in the energy price cap one in three people found their bills unaffordable. Now people are faced with a perfect storm of soaring prices and flat or falling incomes, which risks sweeping tens of thousands of people across the country into poverty, problem debt, and destitution.


    Those relying on the social security system are particularly vulnerable to poverty. Just over 447,500 people across Scotland are on UC – equivalent to more than one in ten working age adults in Scotland and almost double the number before the pandemic. Getting social security right is vital to help these people weather the storm.

    Recent data from across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland shows the hardship people are facing every day:

    • Advice need for food banks has grown by almost a third (31%) since September 2021.
    • Advice need for other charitable support, including fuel bank referrals, saw a sharp increase of 23% between September 2021 and December 2021, likely reflecting the additional pressure of winter heating bills.
    • Advice on UC sanctions has grown by 53% over 2021-22.
    • Advice on UC Budgeting Advances has risen by 25% over 2021-22.
    • Advice on UC Overpayments nearly doubled from the average across 2020/21 to Q4 of 2021/22.

    Behind each of these statistics are real people. In this report we highlight four real Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) client stories which show the incredible difficulties many people on UC are facing daily. Their names have been changed to protect their anonymity, but their stories demonstrate the reality of the cost of living crisis and the need for further support.

  5. Lesley Sweetman
    Publication date:
    July 2022

    This research report looks at the private rented sector in Argyll and Bute and was made possible through the award of Small Impact Grant from Citizens Advice Scotland and delivered in-house by bureau staff. 

    Scoping this work, the bureau had two overarching objectives:

    -   to raise awareness of freely available advice and support to tenants, as all too often tenants are unaware of their rights or approach the bureau only at the stage when they are potentially facing eviction;

    and,

    -   to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing private rental tenants in the area which also has a thriving and important tourism sector.

    Through a mix of print, radio and digital promotion, an estimated 20,000 people were reached, helping to raise awareness of the bureau and the advice and support available on a wide range of everyday issues facing local people including advice on housing, debt, employment and welfare.

    Central to this research was a private sector rental survey which was designed to capture the views of those currently renting in that sector, as well as those looking for a private rental in the area.  Completing the survey in full, 155 people shared their views and experiences.  Focus groups followed and provided further opportunity to gain deeper insight into private rental experience. 

    Delivering this report comes at a time of significant and potential change in the private and short term rentals sectors in Scotland.  The report seeks to provide useful insight into the private rental sector in Argyll and Bute, the challenges private sector renters face, and how closely aligned economic prosperity and the availability of safe, secure, warm and affordable homes are to the area.  

    Spotlight:
  6. David Scott
    Publication date:
    June 2022

    The cost of living crisis is squeezing household finances across the country. Across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland, we’ve seen an uptick in advice need for energy bills, debt, and food bank referrals. Since September 2021:

    • Advice need for food banks has grown by almost a third (31%)
    • For other charitable support, including fuel bank referrals, advice need has increased by 23%
    • Advice on Budgeting Advances has increased by 25% over 2021–22
    • Advice on sanctions has grown by 53% since the start of 2021-22

    While one-off payments will have provided some relief to people in the short-term, the further planned energy price cap increase in October and higher energy needs in winter mean that the cost of living crisis is unlikely to end in the next few months. Long-term thinking is needed to ensure our social security system is accessible to everyone and offers the right level of support for today’s skyrocketing prices.

    CAS recommends:

    • An immediate uprating of Universal Credit’s basic allowance to present inflation rates and the implementation of a more responsive system to keep track with inflation.
    • Further emergency targeted support for those on the lowest incomes.
    • A continuous review of the adequacy of social security payments to ensure they meet everyone’s needs.
    • Scrapping the benefit cap and the two-child limit.
    • Ensuring any uprating of Universal Credit is extended to all legacy benefits.
    • Reduce all deductions for DWP and HMRC debt to the 5% minimum until the DWP’s debt recovery process can be replaced with a revised system based on a robust holistic affordability check that better reflects people’s ability to pay, such as the Common Financial Statement.
    • Writing-off historic Tax Credit debt and other historic benefit overpayment debt.
    • Abolishing the five week wait by introducing a non-repayable assessment period grant at the beginning of all UC claims.
    • Suspending the use of sanctions until the cost of living crisis is over.
    • Automating where possible the process for claiming the State Retirement Pension and Pension Credit.
    • Developing and publishing an uptake strategy for the DWP to increase claims for pension-age support.
  7. David Scott
    Publication date:
    June 2022

    Key Points

    • CAS is pleased to respond to this call for evidence on health assessments. We have long been calling for fairer processes which put people’s rights at the heart of it, and we want to see a fairer system of dignified, accessible, timely, and fair medical assessments that provide disabled people with the support they are entitled to.
    • Although there will be no new claims for PIP due to the full implementation of Adult Disability Payment across Scotland from 29 August, we have responded to the questions relating to the future of PIP as we have a wealth of data and experience on the administration of PIP.
    • CAS has restricted its responses to those where we have robust data to inform our responses.

    Recommendations

    • A range of assessment types should be available, face-to-face, telephone and in person, and the client should be able to choose their preferred method. Outcomes for each method should be monitored to ensure parity.
    • Descriptors for both PIP and ESA should be reviewed to better reflect social and human rights models of disability and move beyond assessing a lack of functionality.
    • The use of lived experience panels and user groups involved in the design and development of any changes made to the claims and assessment processes.
    • Consideration should be given to the Social Security Scotland approach to assessment, in particular:
      • The use of specialist assessors;
      • Bringing the assessment 'in-house';
      • Gathering evidence on behalf of the client; and
      • Making a medical assessment the last resort.
  8. Grace Remmington
    Publication date:
    May 2022

    The Warm Home Discount scheme provides important funding for the short-term relief of fuel poverty. However, a combination of research and evidence from the Citizens Advice network in Scotland has previously found that while the Warm Home Discount is seen as vital by those who receive it, it is not adequately reaching those who need it most. Whilst CAS welcomes proposals for a scheme for Scotland for 2022-26, we have raised concerns that the proposals do not go far enough to address the issues of the previous scheme years.

    Spotlight:
  9. David Scott
    Publication date:
    May 2022

    Employment advice accounted for 4% of all advice given by the Citizens Advice network in Scotland in 2021-22. Yet while our advisers are able to offer people information about their rights at work, many struggle to enforce these rights in practice.

    CAS is calling for:

    • A three-pronged approach to ensuring fair work in low-paid sectors, covering:
      • A preventative strand focused on awareness-raising for individuals and employers, working with schools and job centres to ensure those entering the workforce are fully informed of their rights and entitlements, and with enterprise bodies to ensure new employers understand their responsibilities.
      • An easy process, anonymised if necessary, where employees, employers, and witnesses can report concerns that result in swift investigative action.
      • A strong approach to enforcement when non-compliance is found, with responses guided by the severity and impact of the non-compliance.
    • Adequate funding for employment support and wider advice services. › A holistic view towards supporting fair work, in particular by providing a strong social security system and other policies to tackle the rising cost of living, in order to give people the security to challenge poor working practices without facing poverty.
    • A prioritisation of the Employment Bill and the introduction of a single enforcement body, adequately funded in order to effectively protect worker’s rights.
    Spotlight:
  10. CAS Impact Workplan 2022-23
    Publication date:
    May 2022

    Citizens Advice Scotland’s Impact work plan this year looks to deliver changes for citizens across 7 key areas, alongside a suite of ongoing work to benefit people. This work is rooted in the experiences of the people who have sought help from the Citizens Advice network in the past year, and developed through quantitative and qualitative analysis of those experiences.

  11. Proposals to amend the guide to help ensure customers in debt or struggling to pay are treated fairly
    Kyle Scott
    Publication date:
    May 2022
    Spotlight:
  12. Issue 8 of the Citizens Advice Scotland network magazine
    Citizens Advice Scotland
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    Welcome to the Spring 2022 edition of Voice Magazine. 

    As we all return to a more normal working life, we talk to Renfrewshire CAB about the innovative approaches they have taken to fill unfunded roles and to welcome new volunteers into the bureau.  In this issue we also take a look at the range of work taking place across the network to help people in Scotland address the current cost of living crisis. We talk to Edinburgh CAB colleagues about how they approached our recent Debt Happens campaign and we speak to Aberdeen and Fife about how they have built relationships and forged partnerships with their local authorities to the benefit of clients.

    We meet some of the new Advice Services Team who explain how they hope to work with the network and we offer up some top tips for getting some local media coverage for your bureaux and promoting the great work you do.   

    Spotlight:
  13. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    April 2022
    Spotlight:
  14. Polly Tolley
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    CAS response to the Finance and Public Administration Committee Inquiry into National Outcomes

  15. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    April 2022
    Spotlight:
  16. Citizens Advice Scotland have responded to Ofcom's discussion paper on the regulators future approach to mobile markets.
    Kyle Scott
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    The day-to-day activities of citizens are becoming increasingly dependent on their ability to use telecommunications services, such as mobile phones, broadband or landlines. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential nature of online connectivity and access to internet data, with many people relying on internet access for working from home, staying informed, or interacting with welfare services, and friends and family.

     

    For clients of the Scottish Citizens Advice network, their mobile phones have become increasingly important in accessing vital online services; with one in five of our clients accessing the internet only through their smart phones. Having a reliable, consistent and affordable mobile connection is essential for clients to access services such as Universal Credit journals and online banking.

    Spotlight:
  17. CAS Briefing paper on Postal Services in Scotland
    Madeleine Kennedy
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has served as Scotland’s designated consumer advocacy body for postal services for the past 8 years. From 1 April 2022, this function will be transferred to Consumer Scotland. During our time as the consumer advocate, we have made sure that the voice of Scottish postal consumers has been heard by regulators and service providers alike. Our work has been focused on making postal services accessible and affordable for all consumers, no matter where they live, or what their income level or personal characteristics may be.

    This briefing highlights the key issues facing postal market consumers in Scotland today.

    Spotlight:
  18. Publication date:
    April 2022

     

     

    Spotlight:
  19. Publication date:
    April 2022

    This briefing presents the impact of the Scottish Citizens Advice network over the last few years, and its value to the communities it serves. 

  20. Polly Tolley
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on the Resource Spending Review. You can download our response below. 

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