Publication date:November 2023
CAS responded to the Scottish Government consultation on a Human Rights Bill for Scotland which opened in June 2023.
Piloting short-term crisis support alongside holistic advicePublication date:October 2023
A briefing for bureaux and partners.
Publication date:September 2023
CAS has responded to HM Treasury's Consultation seeking views on the design and scope of the ban on cold calling for consumer financial services and products, including a call for evidence on the impacts of the proposed ban.Spotlight:
Publication date:August 2023
CAS has responded to the Finance and Public Administration Committee's call for views on the sustainability of Scotland's finances.
To read our response, download here.Spotlight:
Publication date:August 2023
CAS has responded to the Equality, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee's call for views on the Legal Services Regulation (Scotland) Bill.
In our response:
› CAS reiterates our view that the Roberton model of a single independent regulator would deliver the greatest improvements for consumers in terms of transparency, accountability, and clarity of process. We underline our disappointment that the Bill has disregarded this model in favour of adding more layers of complexity to the existing landscape.
› We express our disappointment that the promise of a regulatory regime with consumers at its heart does not seem to be delivered in the substance of the draft Bill – with many opportunities missed to strengthen the consumer interest.
› We call for a clearer statutory role for consumer representation on the proposed regulatory committees (as distinct from generic lay representation), as well as consumer involvement in setting minimum standards for regulators.
› We query the rationale for affording a lesser degree of scrutiny and accountability to current category 2 regulators in the draft Bill.
› We welcome measures aimed at streamlining the complaints process including reducing complaints handling time, extending the remit to non-regulated for-profit providers, and introducing hybrid complaints. However, we caution that the retention of various layers and channels a complaint can take fails to deliver a simpler pathway for consumers, and we express concern about the removal of compensation for conduct complaints, as well as removal of the right to appeal SLSC decisions to an external body.
› We welcome the expanded remit of the SLSC’s Consumer Panel but caution against the panel being seen as the catch all consumer scrutiny forum without increased resources to enable the panel to discharge these functions.
› Regarding ministerial oversight, we call for greater consideration of the evidence sources for these interventions to be triggered, and the capacity this may require from the named bodies as well as consumer bodies fielding this data.
› We call for urgent clarity regarding the definitions of ‘fee, gain and reward’, upon which third sector liability for entity regulation hinges. The variability of definitions of restricted and unrestricted legal services also poses concerns for the advice sector and we call for statutory consultation with these providers in the event of any change being considered.
› We welcome the intention of the draft Bill to stimulate diversification in the legal services market, but we remain unclear how or whether the current provisions would enable this in practice. It remains difficult to envisage how the provisions around ABS and practicing restrictions might address the significant gaps in provision which CAS has repeatedly highlighted, without corresponding consideration of the pressing issue of legal aid reform.
To read our full response download here.Spotlight:
Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers BillPublication date:July 2023
Citizens Advice Scotland has provided written evidence to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee in relation to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
Publication date:June 2023
Publication date:May 2023Spotlight:
CAS RespondsPublication date:April 2023
We have responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on how the mobility component of the new Adult Disability Payment is working.
Publication date:April 2023Spotlight:
Publication date:April 2023
On 14 March 2023, Citizens Advice Scotland's Strong Communities Team gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament Equality Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee's session on Access to Justice. This supporting evidence was submitted in writing afterwards.
Publication date:March 2023
Citizens Advice Scotland responded to the Ofgem consultation on prepayment meters.
Consultation on revising Ofcom’s Network and Information Services (NIS) GuidancePublication date:March 2023
Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to Ofcom's consultation on proposed changes to Ofcom’s NIS Guidance focusing on Incident Reporting Thresholds for the digital infrastructure subsector.
Publication date:February 2023
Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to Ofcom's proposed plan of work for 2023/24.
Publication date:February 2023
Publication date:January 2023
Publication date:November 2022
Citizens Advice Scotland is launching the Mental Health and Money Good Practice Creditor Guidance. We've prepared this Briefing Note to support the launch.
We are actively encouraging creditors, both public and private to adopt our Principles. These set out the minimum standards someone experiencing mental health and debt can expect from their creditor when seeking support. Our guidance provides practical examples to firms and public bodies on how to achieve these minimum standards.
Debt is often the cause and consequence of poor mental health and wellbeing. This intrinsic link between debt and mental health is well known with it estimated that 1 in 2 people in problem debt also have a mental health issue.
Managing these issues can prove extremely difficult and people can often find themselves in vicious cycles where money problems impact upon their mental health and poor mental health worsens their financial situation.
Our Citizens Advice Network routinely supports people in these situations and with the rising cost of living crisis now being felt by our debt clients and beyond, we have seen countless examples of people with mental health and money issues reaching out to creditors seeking support, only to find barriers in their way such as inaccessible processes, online only options and a lack of understanding around their mental health.
These instances highlight the vast amount of missed opportunities to disrupt that vicious cycle. We believe that creditors, both private firms and public services can do more in breaking this link.
To do this effectively, it is crucial that creditors have the tools to support people struggling with mental health issues. Our Good Practice Guidance seeks to do just that by providing tangible steps that creditors can take to make them more accessible for those dealing with mental health and money problems.
By adopting our Principles, creditors can break this vicious cycle and care for their customers at a time when support for people’s mental health and money is needed now more than ever.
Publication date:November 2022
The report is compiled from a snapshot of Scottish CAB clients with complex or multiple debt issues; 2,987 of these clients had relevant data recorded. Complex debt refers to cases where there are multiple creditors or a single liability where the issue requires intricate legal or administrative work, for example responding to court action. The data was collected between April 2021 and March 2022 with the previous annual period used as a comparator.Spotlight:
Publication date:October 2022
CAS has responded to the Scottish Government's Consultation on Improving Scotland's Social Security.Spotlight:
Publication date:July 2022
The last few years have been extraordinarily tough. The pandemic left 1.8 million people in Scotland financially worse off, and even before the most recent increase in the energy price cap one in three people found their bills unaffordable. Now people are faced with a perfect storm of soaring prices and flat or falling incomes, which risks sweeping tens of thousands of people across the country into poverty, problem debt, and destitution.
Those relying on the social security system are particularly vulnerable to poverty. Just over 447,500 people across Scotland are on UC – equivalent to more than one in ten working age adults in Scotland and almost double the number before the pandemic. Getting social security right is vital to help these people weather the storm.
Recent data from across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland shows the hardship people are facing every day:
- Advice need for food banks has grown by almost a third (31%) since September 2021.
- Advice need for other charitable support, including fuel bank referrals, saw a sharp increase of 23% between September 2021 and December 2021, likely reflecting the additional pressure of winter heating bills.
- Advice on UC sanctions has grown by 53% over 2021-22.
- Advice on UC Budgeting Advances has risen by 25% over 2021-22.
- Advice on UC Overpayments nearly doubled from the average across 2020/21 to Q4 of 2021/22.
Behind each of these statistics are real people. In this report we highlight four real Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) client stories which show the incredible difficulties many people on UC are facing daily. Their names have been changed to protect their anonymity, but their stories demonstrate the reality of the cost of living crisis and the need for further support.Spotlight: