Research and Campaigns
The twin aims of Citizens’ Advice are:
- to provide the advice people need for the problems they face; and
- to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
To improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives we have a key role to play in speaking up for our clients, and in highlighting and campaigning to help resolve issues that affect our communities by influencing both delivery and policy makers. Here in South Somerset we have a small team of volunteers dedicated to campaigning to help resolve issues that affect our communities. When a local adviser identifies a client problem that may impact on others, an Evidence Form is completed giving details of the particular social policy issue. Sometimes, we supplement the data from our Evidence Forms with data from other sources such as surveys, focus groups, and mystery shoppers.
We then anonymise this data and use it to help consumers better understand opportunities, changes and new rules, to raise awareness, and to develop practical solutions to the challenges and issues faced by people in their everyday lives.
The anonymised Evidence Forms are then forwarded to the our Central Policy Unit in London where data from across England and Wales is collated and used, alongside the analysis of wider social and economic trends, to inform national campaigns and influence policy made at the national level.
Meanwhile, at local level we use our data to public debate and inform both public and private sector policies, practices, regulations and ultimately legislation. To do this we might:
- Raise issues with the appropriate MP, Councillor or organisation
- Highlight problems in local newspapers or magazines, or on local radio
- Share posts on our social media (Facebook and Twitter) sites.