Tackling causes for our community
Our twin aims are:-
- To provide the advice people need for the problems they face, and
- To improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
We play an active role in identifying both local and national social policy issues. This year we have raised 181 evidence forms. This evidence is used by ourselves and the national service to show the impact policies can have on people.
Citizens Advice use the evidence from all bureaux to produce reports and to lobby government bodies and organisations.
For example, we have used evidence of unfair treatment of clients who have had difficulties contacting the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP). We used this evidence at a meeting with DWP representatives and as a result gained access to a ‘point of contact’ number at all local Jobcentre Plus (JCP) outlets (i.e. someone we could call having exhausted all normal channels, a number just for our advisers).
We are currently involved in the following campaigns:-
- Talk About Abuse: This campaign seeks to encourage everyone to look for signs of domestic abuse among their friends and family, and to talk about it.
- Secure Self-Employment: Citizens Advice wants simpler and more responsive policies that give self-employed people the security to plan and balance their lives, while developing their business. We also want to reduce “bogus” self-employment, where people whose work has all the hallmarks of employment have been classified as self-employed to reduce their employers’ costs and responsibilities.
- Settled and Safe – A renter’s right: Citizens Advice is running a campaign throughout 2015 aimed at improving the private rented sector.
- Fair Play for Prepay – Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer watchdog for energy customers. We are running a national campaign, to get a fairer deal for energy customers with a prepayment meter.
This is ongoing work – part of the everyday service we deliver.
Furthermore, we have used Social Media such as Cumbria Research and Campaigns Group blog and facebook to highlight county issues.
- We are working with the other Cumbria bureaux in developing a Research and Campaign blog – creating and curating it, and spearheading its development at manager meetings.
- We keep it updated with information provided by Cumbria.
Cumbria Research and Campaigns Group Meetings
- We keep regular attendance at these meetings, which are every three months (more regular when necessary).
- This group is now analysing evidence forms to create campaigns more specific to Cumbria, as well as adapting national campaigns to our county.