Research & Campaigns
Research & Campaigns work is undertaken by every Citizens Advice office in the country. As well as giving advice to individual clients, all workers and volunteers collect evidence of practices and policies which are causing problems. Our knowledge of clients’ problems and circumstances enables us to try to influence change and get a fairer deal for everyone.
Citizens Advice collects evidence and statistics anonymously so that individual clients are not identified. We use this information to produce reports and to campaign locally and nationally for improvements in services and in the law by:
- Highlighting issues to MPs, Assembly Members, Councillors and other policy makers.
- Talking to our local Council about their services and attending forums and meetings.
- Discussing problems with organisations and companies to persuade them to improve their services.
- Campaigning on social issues, such as availability of NHS dentists, better transport and banking facilities.
Our research & campaigns work has included reports on bailiffs, how consumers pay extra for being loyal to some companies, mental health and social exclusion, clients experience of debt, exploitation of migrant workers, access to justice and legal help. You can read all Citizens Advice’s research work at this link: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/
We use our experience of people’s problems at a local level as well. We act as a ‘critical friend’ to Southwark Council and reflect back the problems people face and how policies they are developing – from digital infrastructure to rent arrears collection – might impact on people.
In a recent campaign, we have noticed how some people entitled to free prescriptions and claiming Universal Credit were getting NHS penalty charges. On the back of a prescription form there is no box to tick marked “Universal Credit” and our clients, understandably, were getting confused, ticking the wrong box and getting a penalty charge. We’ve written to all the pharmacies in Southwark enclosing a leaflet that explains which box to tick (you can download the leaflet by clicking this link).
These are just some of the ways that we can act at both a local and a national level to change things for the better.