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Publications

  1. Grace Remmington
    Publication date:
    May 2022

    The Warm Home Discount scheme provides important funding for the short-term relief of fuel poverty. However, a combination of research and evidence from the Citizens Advice network in Scotland has previously found that while the Warm Home Discount is seen as vital by those who receive it, it is not adequately reaching those who need it most. Whilst CAS welcomes proposals for a scheme for Scotland for 2022-26, we have raised concerns that the proposals do not go far enough to address the issues of the previous scheme years.

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  2. Proposals to amend the guide to help ensure customers in debt or struggling to pay are treated fairly
    Kyle Scott
    Publication date:
    May 2022
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  3. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    April 2022
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  4. Aoife Deery
    Publication date:
    April 2022
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  5. Citizens Advice Scotland have responded to Ofcom's discussion paper on the regulators future approach to mobile markets.
    Kyle Scott
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    The day-to-day activities of citizens are becoming increasingly dependent on their ability to use telecommunications services, such as mobile phones, broadband or landlines. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential nature of online connectivity and access to internet data, with many people relying on internet access for working from home, staying informed, or interacting with welfare services, and friends and family.

     

    For clients of the Scottish Citizens Advice network, their mobile phones have become increasingly important in accessing vital online services; with one in five of our clients accessing the internet only through their smart phones. Having a reliable, consistent and affordable mobile connection is essential for clients to access services such as Universal Credit journals and online banking.

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  6. CAS Briefing paper on Postal Services in Scotland
    Madeleine Kennedy
    Publication date:
    April 2022

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has served as Scotland’s designated consumer advocacy body for postal services for the past 8 years. From 1 April 2022, this function will be transferred to Consumer Scotland. During our time as the consumer advocate, we have made sure that the voice of Scottish postal consumers has been heard by regulators and service providers alike. Our work has been focused on making postal services accessible and affordable for all consumers, no matter where they live, or what their income level or personal characteristics may be.

    This briefing highlights the key issues facing postal market consumers in Scotland today.

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  7. An analysis of homelessness advice cases provided by Scotland’s CAB network
    Rhiannon Sims (Crisis) and Stephanie Millar (CAS)
    Publication date:
    March 2022

    This report is published jointly by CAS and the homelessness charity Crisis. 

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  8. Madeleine Kennedy
    Publication date:
    March 2022

    CAS has responded to Ofcom's consultation on the regulatory framework for postal services for the next 5 years. 

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  9. CAS briefing on polling conducted with SMEs on postal services
    Madeleine Kennedy
    Publication date:
    March 2022

    This briefing summarises the key findings of research conducted by YouGov in November 2021. The polling reflects the experiences of 500 senior decision makers in small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland.



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  10. Publication date:
    March 2022

    CAS has responded to a Scottish Government consultation on proposed increases to court fees in Scotland. 

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  11. Andrew Fraser
    Publication date:
    February 2022

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the consultation run by the Scottish Parliament's COVID-19 Recovery Committee

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  12. David Scott
    Publication date:
    January 2022

    A new CAS report looks at how UC supported five groups who seek advice from CAB every day: people who are newly out of work; people who are looking for work; people who are in work; people who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities or a disability; and finally people with children.

    Our research found real gaps in the support UC offered to these people. But our report also suggests fixes. Five policy changes would strengthen UC significantly, ensuring our social security system remains accessible and effective for everyone.

    With the cost of living continuing to rise, we need to ask if UC is a strong enough safety net. Investing in social security is the right thing to do for our economic recovery.

  13. Publication date:
    January 2022

    CAS has responded to the Scottish Legal Aid Board's consultation on civil legal aid financial eligibility assessment

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  14. Emma Ash
    Publication date:
    January 2022

    This report examines the value of 'blue-green infrastructure' and how the use of nature-based drainage solutions can mitigate flooding risks as well as benefit communities. In doing so the report addresses the need for community engagement, effective communication and where blue-green solutions fit into Scotland's infrastructure vision. 

    The research comprises of three key elements:

    • Developing an understanding of how local authorities and housing associations meet the challenges of developing blue-green infrastructure, as part of creating positive living environments.
    • Establishing how people understand the terms and concepts used in relation to the field and the water sector more broadly.
    • Collaborative discussion of the main issues identified with other stakeholders in the sector.
  15. Laura Toffolo, David Scott
    Publication date:
    January 2022

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is supportive of the proposed approach to ending poverty and the need for food banks. The twin emphasis on prevention and response ensures the reasons for food bank use are tackled at source, rather than focusing only on how emergency support is delivered, and overall CAS would agree that moving towards a cash-first approach to food aid is a positive step. Measures which enable people to choose their own food can restore dignity in emergency food provision, enable people to buy food they enjoy and choose the items that will make the most difference to themselves and their families.

    However, there are additional dimensions to the need for food banks that CAS would call for further consideration of. These include:

    ›     The role of advice services in food bank referrals

    ›     Availability of social security support for different types of people

    ›     Debt as a driving factor in food bank use

    ›     Fuel poverty as a driving factor in food bank use

    ›     Housing costs as a driving factor for food bank use

    ›     Potential barriers to a cash-first scheme

  16. David Scott
    Publication date:
    January 2022

    This report, the last in a three-part series on UC during the pandemic, sets out what lessons can be learned from the past 18 months to future-proof UC. Updating and contextualising our survey with data drawn from the Citizens Advice network across Scotland, this report outlines the fixes that are needed for UC to properly support five groups of people who seek advice from CAB every day:

    > People who are newly out of work
    > People who are looking for work
    > People who are in work
    > People who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities or a disability
    > People with children

    Citizens Advice Scotland is calling for:

    > Safe access to UC by introducing a non-repayable assessment period grant at the beginning of all UC claims and replacing the DWP’s debt recovery process with a revised system that better reflects people’s ability to pay
    > A permanent increase to the basic allowance of UC
    > A review of UC as an in-work benefit, including reintroduction of Work Allowances for everyone, to make sure UC properly supports those in employment
    > Protecting and uprating support for people with disabilities and caring responsibilities
    > Scrapping the benefit cap and the two-child limit

  17. David Scott
    Publication date:
    December 2021

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the Scottish Government’s support for improving working practices across Scotland. Progress on equal employment access and pay for women, minority ethnic, and disabled workers is welcome, as is the commitment to introduce a requirement on public sector grants recipients to pay at least the real Living Wage to all employees by summer 2022. These actions will improve working conditions for many.

    However, the majority of people CAB see every day do not work in the sectors supported by the most ambitious Fair Work plans. They will instead be in low-paid and insecure work, often facing violations of very basic employment rights. For these people, the first step to a Fair Work Nation must be better enforcement of their already-existing rights.

    Advice services like CAB play an important role in informing people about their employment rights, giving them a more effective voice in challenging unfair work practices. This is particularly necessary for low-paid jobs where union membership is likely to be less concentrated.

    In 2020-21, Scotland’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) network gave 74,994 pieces of employment advice to clients – 8% of all advice provided across the network last year – making employment the third most popular advice area, behind social security and debt advice.

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  18. Andrew Fraser
    Publication date:
    December 2021

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government's Legal Services Regulation Reform in Scotland consultation

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  19. Rebecca King and Michael O'Brien
    Publication date:
    November 2021

    The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019 requires the Scottish Government to publish a fuel poverty strategy, outline what steps will be taken to meet fuel poverty targets and identify the characteristics of households likely to be in fuel poverty or for whom getting out of fuel poverty presents particular challenges.

    The Citizens Advice network in Scotland gathers demographic data on those who contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau for support as well as information on the types of issues on which people seek advice, including fuel poverty. This demographic data allows for examination of CAB clients who have protected characteristics and whether they are more or less likely to seek advice on fuel poverty-related issues.

    This report analyses that data within the policy context, considers other relevant literature, and makes a number of recommendations.

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  20. Gail Walker
    Publication date:
    November 2021

    CAS welcomes the Consumer Duty consultation paper. We believe that, in principle, Scottish public bodies should have an embedded duty to consider the impact that decisions related to policy, and adopted practice could, and does, have on those engaging in its services, particularly vulnerable consumers. Scotland’s Citizens Advice network regularly deals with clients who are impacted by a lack of regard to consumer outcomes or who fall victim to poor service design.

    We believe that a consumer duty will strengthen consumer protection from unintended consequences resulting from public authority decision-making. It is essential that a consumer duty results in meaningful improvements in the consumer journey and achieves positive outcomes for public authority service users.

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