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Face Value: the Impact of the Citizens Advice service in Scotland

Scotland’s Citizens Advice service gave 1 million pieces of advice last year, helping over 310,000 individuals – equivalent to over 1 in every 14 adults.

The service also put a total of £120m into the pockets of Scottish citizens, though improving their financial health by helping them to access benefits entitlements and manage debt effectively. This helped some to avoid crisis situations like poverty, debt and homelessness.

Today, Citizens Advice Scotland has published the first ever Impact report, Face Value, for the Scottish Citizens Advice service, showing the results of the work done by the service across Scotland. Alongside these we have published annual statistics for the service which provide a picture of advice giving across Scotland as well as by individual bureau and local authority. 

Highlights include:

  • For every £1 of core funding received, the network returned £11 of value to local communities
  • 99% of Scottish citizens say they regard the CAB network as an essential community service
  • 71% of people who work in the local CABs are volunteers
  • These volunteers receive 6 months of training, which helps them develop new skills: 42% went on to further education or employment.

 Publishing the report, Acting CAS Chief Executive, Anne Lavery says,

 “Citizens Advice Scotland is proud to present this impact report on behalf of the  Scottish Citizens Advice service, which is made up of 61 independent, local Citizens Advice Bureaux, specialist phonelines, and a public advice website, along with the national umbrella body, CAS. We are very proud of the work of the service, and of the fact that our advice is completely free, impartial and confidential.  Our service has a huge positive impact, not just on the individual people we help but also on their families and on the wider community.

 “We can only achieve this through the hard work and dedication of the 3,400 skilled staff and volunteers who provide advice to those who come to the service for help: many of whom are facing challenging circumstances due to strains on employment, finances and the everyday cost of living.

 “But in addition to the individuals we help, we are also very proud of the wider impact we have. By analysing our case evidence at a national level, we have a powerful database of information on societal issues. We provide this information to governments and decision makers to help them improve services and policies for the better.”