The Citizens Advice Service changes lives across Scotland every day. Whether it is helping people to stay in their home, maximising a client’s income, sorting out overwhelming debts, linking clients to local support services, or advising on a consumer issue when something goes wrong, the service is there for all the people of Scotland. In fact, the service advised on nearly 1 million issues last year, putting over £120 million into people’s pockets as a result of advice.
As well as providing advice, the Citizens Advice Service in Scotland collects evidence from around the country and uses it to demonstrate where change is required. We think this is so important that it's one of our twin aims – to exercise a responsible influence on the development of social policies and services, both locally and nationally. We work with the Scottish and UK Governments, benefit delivery agencies, banks, private companies, and other third sector organisations, to ensure that the problems that are seen in Citizens Advice Bureaux are translated into better policies and practices in the future.
In the last year, we have made a positive difference for Scotland. Whether it is social security, fair employment, funeral poverty, payday loans, or many other issues, the Citizens Advice Service has had and continues to have a positive impact for clients and on policies and practices in Scotland and across the UK.
This document outlines the issues that Citizens Advice Scotland will focus on and the changes that we aim to influence in the coming year. We identified these priorities through an evidence-led process, both horizon scanning and using the huge amount of evidence on policy issues that we collect through the service. It is an ambitious and wide ranging list of priorities, which reflects the service and clients that we represent
We have been testing our priorities and objectives with stakeholders to ensure that we are focusing on the right issues and we will be taking a collaborative approach so that the strengths of different organisations and people are used to their best effect.