At national and local level alike, the Scottish CAB Service gathers and shares the experiences of Scotland's citizens. We always ensure we have an evidence base so we can speak with confidence about real peoples' lives. This means we can call for changes to policies and practices, both curent and planned, across a wide range of organisations - local and national goverment, government agencies, private companies - that could improve outcomes for thousands of people across the land.
How do we gather our evidence?
Scottish bureaux compile statistical information and provide CAS with case studies (both are always anonymous) that tell us more about the people that visit the CAB, their circumstances, and the problems they bring to the bureau. When lots of people experience a similar problem, it may indicate that there is a social policy issue.
For example, recently implemented welfare reform changes are resulting in lots of people experiencing difficulties in making ends meet as they lose income they were previously entitled to. CAS presented the experiences of CAB clients in publications that include:
- a parliamentary briefing, Welfare changes: voices from the frontline that shows the personal impact of systemic welfare changes to Employment and Support Allowance and Tax Credits
- a parliamentary briefing for MSPs outlining the importance of ensuring that the Scottish Government’s Welfare Reform (Further Provision) (Scotland) Bill provides the citizens of Scotland with access to passported benefits when current benefits are effectively abolished and replaced in 2013 by the new Universal Credit
- an evidence report, From Pillar to Post. This report examines the impact of the Incapacity Benefit/Employment and Support Allowance migration on the 170,000 claimants who are to be reassessed in Scotland and the wider impact this will have on advice services, labour markets, and the economy.
CAS also conducts research in order to gain insights into the experiences of people living and working in Scotland. An example of this is our campaign on rural and remote delivery charges, first suggested by Skye & Lochalsh CAB. We conducted an online survey that ultimately captured over 3,000 responses from frustrated consumers who regularly find themselves disadvantaged by their postcode when buying goods online. Free delivery shows the results of the first wave of survey respondents - 863 - and a further report is planned based on the full survey base.