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Publications

  1. Andrew Fraser
    Publication date:
    July 2021

    MPs debated delivery charges in the Highlands and Islands at Westminster on 8 June 2021. CAS has campaigned on this issue for a number of years - read CAS's briefing to MPs here.

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  2. Andrew Fraser
    Publication date:
    June 2021

    The Stronger Communities team has responded to Ofcom's call for inputs on it's review of postal regulation from 2022 onwards. 

    As the statutory advocate for postal consumers in Scotland, CAS believes that there are particular issues that need to be addressed during the review period that are affecting consumers and SMEs. This includes the affordability of services, the quality of service and the impact of location-based surcharging and refusal to deliver in the parcel market. 

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  3. Andrew Fraser
    Publication date:
    June 2021

    This report, based on qualitative research carried out by Progressive Partnership Ltd during Autumn 2020, explores the issues experienced by vulnerable groups accessing postal services in Scotland. The report also examines the impact of COVID on postal services and makes recommendations based on the research findings.

    An executive summary of our findings is available below, along with the full report. 

     

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  4. Publication date:
    May 2021

    Scotland’s Citizens Advice network empowers people in every corner of Scotland through our local bureaux and national services by providing free, confidential, and independent advice. We use peoples’ real-life experiences to influence policy and drive positive change. We are on the side of people in Scotland who need help, and we change lives for the better.

    Our 2021/22 Impact work plan outlines the areas where we will be working to secure changes on behalf of our network’s clients. It has been drawn together following extensive analysis of advice data and consultative workshops with representatives from the network to identify significant trends and areas of concern.

  5. Aoife Deery and Emily Rice
    Publication date:
    May 2021

    Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy. What options do they have in the energy market? This paper is meant to provide a baseline for the SME engagement with the decarbonisation agenda and energy market, on which future research and engagement can be built.

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  6. How to use bodies who deliver public services in Scotland
    Tracey Reilly
    Publication date:
    May 2021

    In 2016 Scotland was selected to join the Open Government Partnership (‘OGP’), an international collaboration of over 90 governments across the world committed to three key principles: openness, transparency and public involvement. As part of membership to this partnership programme, the Scottish Government, together with civic society partners, has developed recently been focused on delivering Scotland’s second National Action Plan 2018-20.  A key commitment under this plan has been “to improve access to the accountability of public services”.

    Supported by the Scottish Government and in collaboration with key partners to this commitment, CAS has produced a booklet explaining how to raise a concern or complaint about a public service in Scotland. It explains how to use public bodies like:           

    The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

    The Care Inspectorate

    The Scottish Information Commissioner and

    Audit Scotland

    as well as providing more information on how to make Freedom of Information requests.

    This booklet follows on from earlier research that CAS undertook on behalf of partners to the commitment, which sought to explore levels of understanding and awareness of members of the public of accountability of public services (hyperlinked here from CAS website) in Scotland.  The research found low levels of knowledge of regulatory bodies. CAS hopes that by producing this booklet, we can provide clearer information on how the public can engage with public services in Scotland, particularly if they wish to raise a concern or question a decision. We hope that by providing this information we can generate greater awareness of the accountability bodies that operate in Scotland and enable people to engage more confidently with them.

    Related work on Scotland's National Open Government  Action Plan 2018-20: Commitment 4 Improving Access to Accountability of Public Services: Peoples & Stakeholder Engagement Final Report and Recommendations July 2020 is also available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-second-national-open-government-action-plan-2018-20-commitment-4-improving-access-accountability-public-services-public-stakeholder-engagement/

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  7. Citizens Advice Scotland response to a Scottish Government Consultation
    Tracey Reilly
    Publication date:
    April 2021

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has responded to a Scottish Government consultation, which proposes changes to the way complaints about legal professionals are handled. CAS broadly supports the proposals, but has concerns about proposed changes to the threshold for eligibility of complaints and about proposals which would affect when a complaint can be treated as closed without the complainer's agreement. 

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  8. Citizens Advice Scotland response to a consultation by the Scottish Civil Justice Council
    Sarah McDermott
    Publication date:
    April 2021

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has responded to a consultation by the Scottish Civil Justice Council. The consultation sought views on recent Rule changes which made use of Civil Online Mandatory for Simple Procedure cases.

    CAS's work on Access to Justice issues aims to ensure that consumers can access legal services and make effective and informed choices about legal issues. We support the development of new and simplified ways of accessing Court services. However, this must not come at the expense of channel choice. We have concerns that the Rule change may have had the effect of excluding party litigants and unrepresented people from the system. We would therefore support additional efforts to ensure inclusivity for those who are digitally excluded. We also have a number of wider suggestions to make in relation to potential reform of the Rules.  

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  9. Water Policy Team
    Publication date:
    April 2021

    Regulation of Scotland’s non-household water market is seeking to move service providers towards operating ‘ethically’. This will better ensure that the market consistently delivers benefits in a way that protects users’ trust and confidence, and safeguards the market’s reputation.

    Some licensed providers choose to operate using the services offered by third party intermediaries (TPIs), which are unregulated. 

    CAS is of the view that the application of ethical behaviour should apply across the supply chain to ensure positive outcomes for all non-household customers, no matter who they do business with.

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  10. Water Policy Team
    Publication date:
    March 2021

    During 2020-21, CAS commissioned Keep Scotland Beautiful to undertake research to better understand why some properties in a localised area in Edinburgh were not properly connected to the mains sewerage, and could potentially be impacting bathing water quality.

    This report highlighted that most home owners whose sewerage is misconnected to the surface water runoff system are unaware of the issue, therefore unless a misconnection is identified, nothing will be done to rectify the issue. Yet, for those interviewed, there was clearly a concern that a misconnection could have a detrimental impact upon the environment.

    Identifying and rectifying misconnections in Scotland poses a significant challenge for relevant authorities.

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  11. Emily Rice and Alastair Wilcox
    Publication date:
    March 2021

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes this consultation, which reflects the pace and scope of Scotland’s climate ambitions. We are pleased that the Scottish Government has proposed a principle-based, people-centred approach. 

    It is essential that the outcomes of this standard reflect the complex heating, cooling, and ventilation needs of Scotland’s housing stock, and widens accessibility to truly affordable, highly efficient housing for low income and fuel poor households. Developers should be encouraged to follow the best practices of community engagement and ethical business practice so that the full potential of the buildings covered by this standard is realised. To aid developers in making future proof decisions, clear, thorough, and accessible guidance should be issued alongside this standard.

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  12. Andrew Fraser
    Publication date:
    February 2021
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  13. MPs will debate excess delivery charges at Westminster on 9 December 2020. CAS has campaigned on this issue for a number of years - read CAS's briefing to MPs here.
    Tracey Reilly
    Publication date:
    December 2020
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  14. Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    November 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to WICS’ Strategic Review of Charges 2021-27: Draft Determination consultation.

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  15. Publication date:
    November 2020

    We work on the issues that matter to our network’s clients and our member CAB. Our focus is on delivering advocacy drawn from the experience and insights of the Scottish Citizens Advice network, which is rooted in communities across the country. 

  16. Alastair Wilcox
    Publication date:
    September 2020

    In 2019, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) commissioned research to ascertain consumers’ views on and experiences of the gas and electricity distribution networks in Scotland, and their priorities for future distribution network investment. We also explored the attitudes of consumers in Scotland towards some of the potential changes in electricity use that may be required as the energy system evolves to support Scottish and UK Government climate change targets, and consumers' understanding and opinions of some of the technologies that are envisaged to aid the energy transition. In addition, we explored consumers’ views on a potential increase in the electrification of heat in Scotland, and their enthusiasm for and opinions of future opportunities to provide flexibility to their electricity distribution network operator.

    This report summarises the results of our research and considers how Scotland’s gas and electricity distribution networks might be able to help redefine consumers’ relationship with the energy system in support of Scottish and UK Government climate change policies. It is published alongside a summary of its key findings and the final report compiled by our research partner, Accent.

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  17. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    September 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the consultation on proposed guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable consumers. We are pleased to see the continued commitment by the FCA to protecting vulnerable consumers.

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  18. Creating a framework for robust consumer protection in the energy efficiency and renewable retrofit sector
    Publication date:
    September 2020
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  19. Open Government Partnership: Report on work by CAS
    Publication date:
    August 2020

    Earlier this year CAS undertook to research how accountable public services in Scotland are. This report presents the findings of that work. 

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  20. Michael O'Brien
    Publication date:
    August 2020

    Scotland has redefined fuel poverty and set targets towards its eradication by 2040. The Warm Home Discount scheme exists, by definition, to support fuel poor households and fuel poverty risk groups. This report examines the effectiveness of Warm Home Discount in the context of the new fuel poverty definition in Scotland.

    'Mind the Fuel Poverty Gap' sets the policy context around the key issues, provides insight into research conducted by Changeworks for CAS, and makes a series of recommendations. 

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