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Publications

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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:
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. 

  7. 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.

  8. 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'.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Stephen Dunlop
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    Following a non-domestic water industry event in 2015, during which stakeholders recognised the need for an industry Code of Practice, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) established an industry-led Working Group which was tasked with developing a Code for the licensed providers in the Scottish market. The CFU consider that the Code of Practice has the potential to deliver improved outcomes for non-domestic consumers – businesses, charities and public sector bodies in Scotland – in terms of service delivery and to act as a driver for greater protections for non-domestic consumers against poor practice.

  13. Briefing for MSPs
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the general principles of the Bill which has the potential to create a new social security system that will make a positive difference for tens of thousands of Scotland’s citizens. There are, however, a number of areas that could be included on the face of the Bill as opposed to being left to regulations and guidance.

  14. Ruth Mendel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

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

    Spotlight:
  15. Jana Eyssel
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    “Generally, we believe that the new regulations provide greater protection to those consuming private water from Type A supplies, and greater accountability for those responsible for supplying private drinking water.”

  16. 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:
  17. 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:
  18. Lessons learned for effective public sector engagement with flood risk communities
    Consumer Futures Unit
    Publication date:
    November 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new report today setting out a clear framework to support effective community engagement activities during the delivery of measures to help mitigate flooding.

    Riding the Waves: Keeping the community on board  is based on independent consumer research into the experience of local community resilience groups, Scottish Water and Scottish local authorities. The report looks at good practice in community engagement based on a series of consumer engagement principles.

  19. 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:
  20. Scottish Government consultation
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    September 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation, which builds on the previous consultation on the same subject carried out in 2009. Scotland’s CAB network has expertise in addressing socio-economic inequalities through the provision of independent advice, including income maximisation, benefits and money advice to groups who would be considered a priority in considering how the Socio-Economic Duty might be applied.

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