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Publications

  1. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    March 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit has provided feedback on the proposed Revision of the European Commission's Drinking Water Directive (Recast 2017).

  2. 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:
  3. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit has responded to the European Commission’s consultation on how risks arising from pharmaceuticals in the environment should be addressed.

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) initiated research to find out how accessible information is to consumers on their rights and responsibilities for private water and sewerage services. This Insight Report, which accompanies a technical report (see below for download link), summarises the research that was undertaken, sets out the findings that emerged and provides policy recommendations.

  8. Proposed work for the next financial year.
    Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) within Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is seeking feedback on our draft work plan for 2018-19. 

    This consultation will run until 16:00 on the 15th February 2018.

    Please send comments to consumerfuturesunit@cas.org.uk

  9. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland have published our annual report on burial and cremation charges across Scotland.

    Spotlight:
  10. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Scottish Government consulted on potential changes to the Concessionary Travel Scheme. Proposals included raising the age of eligibility for free bus travel for older people and expanding the Scheme to cover Modern Apprentices.

    Key points:

    • Regardless of any decisions made concerning the Scheme Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) recognises the important role that buses play in many people’s lives and this should be held in mind in any considerations
    • Public transport can provide a lifeline, particularly for those living in rural communities
    • If it is decided that any changes in the age are to be introduced it is important that there is a sufficient lead in time

    • CAS would support the provision of free bus travel to Modern Apprentices
    • CAS is in favour of providing a companion card for disabled under 5's where this is needed
    Spotlight:
  11. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Scottish Government consulted on The Future of Smart Ticketing, asking for views on how to develop smart ticketing in Scotland. 

    Key points:

    • CAS recommends that regardless of the option which the Scottish Government chooses it is key that there are offline ways in which to purchase cards; buy tickets; and/or top-up cards
    • CAS recommends that in going forward the Scottish Government remains open to multiple types of smart ticketing
    • It is important that any changes which are made are well publicised and allow sufficient time for the public to be informed of these changes
    • It is important that smart ticketing is available on multiple modes of transport and from multiple operators

     

    Spotlight:
  12. The scale of Scottish surcharging and possible solutions
    David Moyes & Nina Ballantyne
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) undertook extensive research to get to the root of the frustrating surcharges consumers face in parts of Scotland. This report summarises the findings, and makes recommendations for possible solutions. 

  13. Publication date:
    November 2017

    Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland has produced this guide for organisations supporting PPM users. It sets out 5 key support areas and how these can be tailored to PPM users. Organisations should use these guidelines to ensure they are providing appropriate and effective support to PPM users, both in-house and through partnership work.

    Spotlight:
  14. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    September 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit at Citizens Advice Scotland supports ambitious climate change targets. We understand that the negative economic and social impact of climate change on future generations will be greater if action is not taken now.

    However, the near term impacts on the citizens of Scotland must be carefully managed to ensure that decarbonisation policies consider affordability and consumer needs and acceptability in a way that will build positive trust and lead to mutual positive outcomes.

     

  15. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    August 2017

    Response to the Department for Work and Pensions Consultation on proposed reforms to the Funeral Expenses Payments scheme.

    Spotlight:
  16. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    July 2017

    The Scottish Government are undertaking a review of the National Transport Strategy (NTS) in order to develop a successor to the current strategy. The new transport strategy will set out the vision for transport over the next 20 years. 

    Spotlight:
  17. Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households
    Rebecca Millar
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland is inviting tenders for research into a Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households

     

     

  18. nina.ballantyne
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Up and down the country, decisions are taken every year that affect us as consumers of energy, post and water. These can be anything from new laws, to choices made by private companies. A wide variety of interests and priorities are considered by these decision makers, who range from businesses and political parties to government officials and regulators. 

  19. Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit's inaugural consumer tracker survey reveals some of the experiences and habits of consumers of energy, post and water services in Scotland.

  20. Jamie Stewart
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Our Energy Advice in Detail report analyses the energy issues upon which Citizens Advice Service clients in Scotland sought help in 2015-16, and places these issues within the wider policy context. Issues were raised through the following three services:

    • 23,237 new energy issues brought by clients through the 61 Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland, an increase of 5% from 2014-15.
    • 4,210 calls from Scotland to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service-a decrease of 12% from 2014-15.
    • 1,163 vulnerable consumers in Scotland supported by the Extra Help Unit, almost identical to the number in 2014-15.

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