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Publications

  1. 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.

  2. Fraser Stewart
    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.

  3. Consumer Futures Unit Response
    Craig Salter
    Publication date:
    February 2018
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Proposed work for the next financial year.
    Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) within Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is seeking feedback on our draft work plan for 2018-19. 

    This consultation will run until 16:00 on the 15th February 2018.

    Please send comments to consumerfuturesunit@cas.org.uk

  7. 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.”

  8. The scale of Scottish surcharging and possible solutions
    David Moyes & Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) undertook extensive research to get to the root of the frustrating surcharges consumers face in parts of Scotland. This report summarises the findings, and makes recommendations for possible solutions. 

  9. Lessons learned for effective public sector engagement with flood risk communities
    Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    November 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new report today setting out a clear framework to support effective community engagement activities during the delivery of measures to help mitigate flooding.

    Riding the Waves: Keeping the community on board  is based on independent consumer research into the experience of local community resilience groups, Scottish Water and Scottish local authorities. The report looks at good practice in community engagement based on a series of consumer engagement principles.

  10. Ian Shearer
    Publication date:
    October 2017

    Today the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) of Citizens Advice Scotland has published its insight report Warming Scotland up to Energy Efficiency: Putting Consumers First.

    This insight report, and our other detailed recent publications on which it is based, seek to help provide a consumer perspective on this important area of policy.

  11. Ian Shearer
    Publication date:
    October 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit is publishing a series of briefing sheets that draw together evidence and recommendations on issues relevant to energy, post and water consumers in Scotland. This briefing gives an overview of research into consumer views on Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme, and incentivising energy efficiency improvements in the owner-occupied sector. 

  12. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    September 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland supports ambitious climate change targets. We understand that the negative economic and social impact of climate change on future generations will be greater if action is not taken now.

    However, the near term impacts on the citizens of Scotland must be carefully managed to ensure that decarbonisation policies consider affordability and consumer needs and acceptability in a way that will build positive trust and lead to mutual positive outcomes.

     

  13. nina.ballantyne
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Up and down the country, decisions are taken every year that affect us as consumers of energy, post and water. These can be anything from new laws, to choices made by private companies. A wide variety of interests and priorities are considered by these decision makers, who range from businesses and political parties to government officials and regulators. 

  14. Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit's inaugural consumer tracker survey reveals some of the experiences and habits of consumers of energy, post and water services in Scotland.

  15. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Our Energy Advice in Detail report analyses the energy issues upon which Citizens Advice Service clients in Scotland sought help in 2015-16, and places these issues within the wider policy context. Issues were raised through the following three services:

    • 23,237 new energy issues brought by clients through the 61 Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland, an increase of 5% from 2014-15.
    • 4,210 calls from Scotland to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service-a decrease of 12% from 2014-15.
    • 1,163 vulnerable consumers in Scotland supported by the Extra Help Unit, almost identical to the number in 2014-15.
  16. Research into support for people reliant on private water supplies
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland is inviting tenders for research into  the provision of an adequate system of support for people reliant on private water supplies.

  17. Research on face-to-face actions to help consumers in fuel poverty in Scotland
    Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Facing Fuel Poverty explores what projects and services delivering face-to-face fuel poverty advice exist in Scotland and examines the benefits and costs of delivering such services.

    Based on research carried out by Changeworks on behalf of the CFU, we note that tailored fuel poverty advice, delivered in the home, is reported as a necessary service for certain consumers, but that improved monitoring and evaluation of projects is needed. 

  18. Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland has published its work plan for 2017-18. 

  19. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    “We welcome the production of an energy strategy which draws together all aspects of energy production and consumption, and presents a whole system view. 

    We also welcome the ambition of the strategy to deliver targets such as an all energy target for the equivalent of 50% of Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030. However given the significant role that consumers are likely to play in achieving these targets, the impacts upon consumers must be central to proposals and policies set out in the final energy strategy.

    Consumers will be especially important in the delivery of low carbon heating in Scotland’s domestic buildings. Given the uptake of renewable heating systems in Scotland has been relatively low to date, the affordability and understanding of consumer behaviour in new policies must be carefully considered moving forward.

    Currently those who live off the gas grid and often rely on expensive electric heating suffer from the highest rates of fuel poverty. The transition to low carbon heating systems and a low carbon energy system more widely, must ensure that these households are supported as a priority.

    As highlighted as a key theme in the strategy, the energy transition must be stable and managed and consider the needs of all consumers in Scotland.”  

  20. Publication date:
    May 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit is publishing a series of briefing sheets that draw together evidence and recommendations on issues relevant to energy, post and water consumers in Scotland. This briefing gives an overview of consumer issues in relation to district heating in Scotland. 

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