Citizens Advice Campaigns Hit the Target in 2019

People often see Citizens Advice as a “quick fix” centre, rather like the garage that changes your car tyres – you pop into our office or ring Adviceline or you check the facts on our comprehensive website. But there’s more to Citizens Advice than quick fixes.

“Research and Campaigns” (R and C) is a part of Citizens Advice with a different task, a long-term one that demands much effort and patience. It has the job of collecting evidence on emerging social problems and then directly petitioning the people or organisations – including ministers, local MPs and government departments – that have the power to solve or alleviate them.

These campaigns have been remarkably successful, often making use of the media to put their point across. In 2019 R and C contributed to the surge of action that led to the scrapping of tenant fees. It also submitted a “super-complaint” on the Loyalty Penalty, whereby long-standing customers in some services (e.g. insurance) often end up paying more than new customers for the same service. Noting the rise in demand for food vouchers, R and C highlighted the issue of pressure on household budgets because of slow payment schedules for Universal Credit. R and C also issues occasional publications such as “Putting the house in order”, which described failings in the housing market.

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