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Publications

  1. Digital access for consumers only using smartphones to access the internet
    Adam Milne & Keith Dryburgh
    Publication date:
    August 2018

     

    Some people can only access the internet through their smartphone. When CAS surveyed clients, we found that this was the case for more than 1 in 10 respondents - 20% of all respondents who said they used the internet at all.

     This report looks in more detail at these consumers, analysing their characteristics and assessing their digital access and skills.

  2. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee inquiry
    Rob Gowans and Olive Hill
    Publication date:
    August 2018

    In 2017/18, Scotland’s CAB network provided advice on 19,047 issues related to Universal Credit (UC), which by the end of the period had only been rolled out to around half of Scotland’s local authority areas. Additionally, CAB advised clients on 10,562 Working Tax Credit and 11,499 Child Tax Credit issues, which are the main in-work benefits that will be replaced by UC.

  3. Social Security Advisory Committee consultation
    Olive Hill and Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    August 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have already stated that we believe that further roll out and managed migration of UC should be paused until the many issues affecting our clients have been resolved. We note that the intention is to start migration on a small scale from January 2019 before ramping up volumes once process has been tested. While CAS welcomes the changes that have been made to UC during roll out it is clear that there are still issues to be resolved. To proceed with managed migration before resolving all the issues will negatively impact a significant number of people.

  4. Public Accounts Committee inquiry
    Olive Hill
    Publication date:
    July 2018

    CAS published the Learning from Testing Times evidence report which looked in detail at the experience of the first year of Universal Credit roll out through citizens advice bureaux feedback. There have been a few welcome changes since then, e.g. removal of the seven day waiting period, which have ameliorated some aspects of the negative impacts. However cases currently being handled by bureaux show a range of issues causing difficulties for clients.

  5. Scottish Government consultation
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposals for Best Start Foods and Vitamins to replace the current Healthy Start system when powers are devolved. Citizens advice bureaux in Scotland provide advice on eligibility and claiming Healthy Start Vouchers to help clients maximise their income, alongside providing advice on claiming benefits that ‘passport’ people into eligibility for the vouchers, such as Universal Credit and Income Support.

  6. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    In general, CAS welcomes this benefit and the potential improvements for applicants, particularly in terms of a less intrusive, simpler process and faster payment. We also welcome the Scottish Government committing to uprate the benefit annually, as this is an important step that will prevent the benefit further losing value. However, the 'other costs' element of the benefit has been frozen at £700 since 2003 and CAB advisers frequently see clients who cannot afford to provide a dignified funeral for their loved one.

  7. Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    In general, CAS welcomes the introduction of this benefit, and the expansion from the current Sure Start Maternity Grant to include payments at the time of children starting nursery and school where parents will incur additional costs. We also welcome increases to the value of the payment compared with the current system. 

    In 2016/17, Scotland’s CAB network advised clients on 1,009 new issues related to the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

  8. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee inquiry
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    In general, passported benefits play an important role in helping people to maximise their income and by providing help to meet specific essential costs that they would otherwise be unable to pay for. The myriad of passported benefits available includes help with the costs of the school day, health costs, legal costs, costs associated with raising babies and young children and the costs of essential utilities amongst others. They also provide vital support for disabled people, in the form of access to the Motability scheme, Blue Badges and concessionary bus travel.

  9. Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the publication of the Bill and agrees with its general principles. The devolution of social security powers is an extremely significant development in the history of the Scottish Parliament and represents a unique opportunity to create a new system that has the potential to make a positive difference for tens of thousands of Scotland’s citizens.

  10. CAS response to Scottish Government consultation
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft rules for the new Scottish Social Security Tribunals. We support a Tribunal continuing to be the forum for final dispute resolution within the Scottish social security system, and compared with some other aspects of the current system, the Tribunal system is relatively well-regarded by CAB clients and advisers.

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

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including to make sure all new benefit payments are uprated annually with the cost of living; and to make sure no-one is criminalised for genuine error.

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

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including those streamlining the re-determination and appeals process to make it easier for individuals to challenge a decision; to make sure all new benefit payments are uprated annually with the cost of living; to make sure no-one is criminalised for genuine error; and to make sure no one has to make a large repayment for an error caused by no fault of their own.

  13. 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'.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Information leaflet
    Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    October 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland has developed a leaflet for those in receipt of benefits that clarifies what they are due to pay for water and sewerage charges, and includes any exemptions, discounts and reductions they may be due.

  17. Briefing from Citizens Advice Scotland
    Rhiannon Sims
    Publication date:
    September 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland is calling for a freeze in the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) until serious policy and administrative issues have been addressed, to ensure that the positive principles behind Universal Credit can be achieved.

  18. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee call for evidence
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    August 2017

     In 2016/17, Scotland’s CAB network provided advice on 94,301 new issues relating to the benefits being devolved, representing 37% of benefits advice given, or 16% of all advice given by Scotland’s citizens advice bureaux in that year. CAS has provided a substantial body of evidence based on CAB clients and advisers’ daily experiences of engaging with the current system, together with their priorities for the new Scottish system.We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to ensure the new system is fair, equal and responsive with Scotland’s citizens at the heart of it.

  19. Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households
    Rebecca Millar
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland is inviting tenders for research into a Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households

     

     

  20. The role of medical evidence in the benefits system
    Rhiannon Sims
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Our ‘Burden of Proof’ report explores the role that medical evidence plays in assessing ill health and disability benefits, from the perspective of Citizens Advice Bureaux clients, advisers and some of the professionals involved.

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