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Publications

  1. Rebecca Millar
    Publication date:
    October 2018

    Services that are essential for life, such as water and sewerage, should be affordable for all consumers.  CAS' latest research report takes a closer look at characteristics that may indicate whether or not a household will struggle to pay for water and sewerage charges. It also provides an analysis of various proxies that could be used to determine affordability, and at how additional financial support could be targeted towards households that need it most.

    The report found that:

    • Income is the most accurate indicator of whether or not a household is likely to find water and sewerage charges affordable.
    • 12% of households in Scotland spend more than 3% of their weekly income on their water and sewerage charges although not all receive additional financial support through available affordability mechanisms.
    • The current proxy used to provide financial relief, based on households being in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, is the most effective one that exists however, difficulties around more closely linking systems and data sets means that some households in need of additional support do not receive it. 
    • In the longer term, further research is necessary to identify how support could be more effectively targeted to all households that may struggle to pay.
  2. Issues brought to the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland 2016-17
    Publication date:
    August 2018

    The Energy Advice in Detail report provides an annual assessment of the energy issues clients of the Citizens Advice network in Scotland sought assistance with, and places those within a wider policy context.

  3. David Moyes & Kate Morrison
    Publication date:
    August 2018

    Mains gas is both the cheapest means to heat homes and the most common heating fuel in Scotland, England and Wales. However many people, particularly in certain areas and demographics, do not have access to, or do not make use of, mains gas for heating their home.

  4. Consumers and Scottish climate change policy
    Dr Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    August 2018

    The report is based on research carried out by Changeworks and Hilliam Research on behalf of CAS. CAS commissioned the research understand the implications for consumers of energy and climate change policy in Scotland, and provides analysis of the Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Plan and Energy Strategy. In particular, we sought to understand the type of behaviour changes that could be expected of consumers as a result of these policies, and the steps being taken by the Scottish Government and others to facilitate these changes. 

  5. Energy networks in Scotland and their changing role with consumers
    Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    August 2018

    Today Citizens Advice Scotland is publishing our latest report ‘Pylons, Pipes and People: Energy networks in Scotland and their changing role with consumers’.

    In late 2017 we commissioned the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and Changeworks to undertake a research study into the energy distribution network companies operating in Scotland. This study’s particular focus was to explore how these companies currently support consumers and how their role in Scotland can and should change to ensure that consumers, and particularly vulnerable consumers, are most effectively supported as our energy system transforms.

  6. Kristin Hartman
    Publication date:
    July 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland conducted research into the use of postal services by Scottish SMEs - looking specifically at whether they have access to a meaningful choice of postal products, services and providers. We also wanted to find out if the current postal market is meeting the needs of Scottish SMEs or if any changes are required to improve the products and services available to these consumers.  

  7. Modernising Consumer Markets
    Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    July 2018

    CAS welcomes the Consumer Green Paper and a stronger push by the UK government for greater simplicity, transparency and fairness for those that purchase and use goods and services.

  8. Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    July 2018

    We all use energy, post and water services and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is the independent advocate for consumers’ interests in these sectors. We work with governments, regulators and business to put consumers first, designing policy and practice around their needs and aspirations.

  9. Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    Today the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) at Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is publishing its insight report 'Speaking up: Understanding Fuel Poverty Support Needs' alongside a briefing sheet.

    The insight report is based on research carried out in 2017 by Ipsos Mori and Bill Sheldrick. The CFU commissioned the research to explore the characteristics of fuel poor households that may be in the greatest need of support, and the types of support that would benefit them most.  The research included secondary analysis of Scottish Household Survey data as well as qualitative interviews with fuel poor households.

  10. Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    June 2018

    Scotland’s independent consumer advocate has pledged to put consumers first in the regulated industries of energy, water and post. The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland has outlined its priorities in its work plan for 2018-19.

  11. What consumers in rural and remote areas want from Post Office Outreach services
    Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    May 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland carried out innovative deliberative research into what aspects of the Post Office Ltd Outreach network were most important to consumers in remote and rural areas, and why.

  12. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    March 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit has provided feedback on the proposed Revision of the European Commission's Drinking Water Directive (Recast 2017).

  13. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit has responded to the European Commission’s consultation on how risks arising from pharmaceuticals in the environment should be addressed.

  14. Marcus Wilson
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    It is an appropriate time for the Scottish Government to be considering and consulting on Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and the regulation of district heating. Both Scottish and UK Governments expect growth in the number of district heating schemes and for the technology to play a significant part in the decarbonisation process.

    Overall, there is a growing body of evidence of consumer detriment when district heating protections are not consistent, and strengthening protections now should forestall wider negative experiences as the sector grows.

    Recent CFU research highlighted the pressing need for, and possibility of, consumer protection in a Scottish context, which is set out in the response below. 

  15. Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new water report today. Deliberative research was used to get a deeper understanding of consumers’ views on two important aspects of water policy: service standards across urban and rural areas, and how consumers relate to water and the environment.

    Findings from the research supported stronger engagement between Scotland’s water industry and those that use its services, and that involving consumers in the design and delivery of water and sewerage services is more likely to result in mutual benefits for both the industry and those that use its services.

    The report found that consumers are strong supporters of water and environmental protection and conservation, however they need more help to understand how their behaviour in terms of appropriate disposal of household waste can and will protect both Scottish Water’s assets, and the environment. Moving consumers from being largely disengaged users of water services, to willing and informed partners, will require insight and creativity. The challenge for the water industry and government is to bring this about.

  16. Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU)'s report Leading By Example sets out the mechanisms that are used by 40 regulators and service providers within the regulated industries of energy, water and post to develop consumer-focused policy and practice. 

    The CFU uses seven consumer principles to evaluate policy and practice from a consumer perspective, and encourages other organisations to use them as a tool to support the design of regulation, policy and practice.  The principles seek to move organisations from thinking about consumers, to thinking like consumers.

  17. Consumer Futures Unit Response
    Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    February 2018
  18. Stephen Dunlop
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    Following a non-domestic water industry event in 2015, during which stakeholders recognised the need for an industry Code of Practice, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) established an industry-led Working Group which was tasked with developing a Code for the licensed providers in the Scottish market. The CFU consider that the Code of Practice has the potential to deliver improved outcomes for non-domestic consumers – businesses, charities and public sector bodies in Scotland – in terms of service delivery and to act as a driver for greater protections for non-domestic consumers against poor practice.

  19. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) initiated research to find out how accessible information is to consumers on their rights and responsibilities for private water and sewerage services. This Insight Report, which accompanies a technical report (see below for download link), summarises the research that was undertaken, sets out the findings that emerged and provides policy recommendations.

  20. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    “Generally, we believe that the new regulations provide greater protection to those consuming private water from Type A supplies, and greater accountability for those responsible for supplying private drinking water.”

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