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Publications

  1. 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.  

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Publication date:
    June 2018

    An important aspect of access to justice for consumers is to be able to access redress when something goes wrong, and that this redress should be easy to access, free and independent.

    Spotlight:
  9. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    May 2018

    This report raises issues around the extent of consumers who would be unable to afford household goods, as well as a lack of awareness of consumers of different affordable options that are available to them. This research therefore expanded to look at the wider issues of the affordability of household goods and the different options in accessing them, as well as focusing on the rent-to-own sector.

    This research also explore the consumers experience of the rent-to-own sector as CAB research and evidence had suggested that this was a growing area of consumer concern. The research found positive and negative aspects of the sector and makes recommendations for future change.

     

     

    Spotlight:
  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Findings from the Citizens Advice Scotland bus users survey
    Publication date:
    March 2018

    CAS has explored the experience of bus passengers over the past few years. In 2016, we undertook our first first bus users' survey which looked at transport issues in rural areas, and led to our Round the Bend report. 

    Following this, we wanted to explore what bus passengers want which led us to undertake a public survey, asking consumers what aspects of their bus services they are satisfied with and what they are unsatisfied with. CAS also asked what issues were most important to consumers in relation to buses.  This report analyses this 'Your Bus, Your Say' survey which was completed in 2017.

    Responses

    > 4,677 survey responses in total
    > Received the highest number of responses from Glasgow City
    > Over a quarter of respondents travelled by bus at least 5 times or more per week

    Satisfaction

    > 68% of respondents were generally satisfied with the cleanliness/condition of their local bus
    > 76% of respondents were generally satisfied with feeling safe on their local bus service
    > 71% of respondents were generally satisfied with driver behaviour on their local bus service

    Dissatisfaction

    > 64% of respondents were generally dissatisfied with the service frequency of their local bus
    > 72% of respondents were generally dissatisfied with providing feedback to their local bus service
    > 67% of respondents were generally dissatisfied with getting help from their local bus service

    Top three most important issues to bus users

    > Service frequency - 72%
    > Punctuality - 59%
    > Value for money -39%

    Travel

    > 16% of respondents could not reach their GP surgery or hospital by bus
    > 13% of respondents could not reach their workplace by bus
    > Only 5% of respondents never travel by bus
    > Whereas 46% travelled 3 or more times per week

    Spotlight:
  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 

  16. 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.

  17. 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'.

  18. 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.

  19. Publication date:
    February 2018

    'Disconnected: Understanding Digital Inclusion and Improving Access' has now been published. A huge thanks to the 33 participating Citizens Advice Bureaux who made this research possible. Read on for more information and to download your copy here.

  20. 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.

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