In 2013 our telephone and in-bureau clients completed a survey about their ability to access and work with the internet. We were particularly interested in seeing how many of our clients were confident with the internet and would be able to complete on-line forms, such as benefit applications. Many people contacting different bureaux across West Surrey completed the survey and the results can be read here.
Over the years Citizens Advice has campaigned on a range of different issues in order to improve the policies and services that affect our clients. These are just a handful of the campaigns we are most proud of.
Ill and disabled people were being let down by Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – the benefit that is intended to support people while they are too ill for work. Many people were facing charges for the medical evidence they needed to support their claim, enduring poor customer service and low quality decision making, and then being left without any financial support if they decided to challenge poor decisions made as a result of this flawed process.
Now, if an ill or disabled person needs to apply for ESA, changes to the form they fill in and the guidance provided around medical evidence should help them get the supporting information they need – for free. The Department for Work and Pensions and a new assessment provider have committed to further training and support to improve the assessment experience and decision making, so claimants should have a better experience and more decisions should be right first time.
Find out more about the Fit for work campaign.
Payday loan companies were not treating their customers fairly. The payday loan industry was breaking its promise to clean up its behaviour. We called for payday lenders to be properly regulated and to stop irresponsible advertising.
From the 1 April 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority introduced tough new rules on payday lenders. More about our payday loans campaign.
We were concerned that low income families on universal credit were likely to see support for childcare costs decrease from a maximum of 95 per cent to 70 per cent. This would mean that most low waged parents with young children wouldn’t be better off in work.
The Government announced it would implement one of our key recommendations to increase the support available for childcare costs from 70 per cent to 85 per cent. More about our universal credit campaign.
Every year, tens of thousands of people experience unacceptable and sometimes aggressive harassment at the hands of bailiffs. We campaigned for tighter regulation of the bailiff industry and to increase awareness of people’s rights regarding bailiffs.
Following our campaign the Government published new guidance for local authorities on collecting council tax arrears. This means 1.5 million residents are better protected from aggressive bailiffs and millions more could be once the Government implement mandatory training and certification for all bailiffs in April. More about our bailiffs campaign.
Reforms to legal aid meant that more and more people could not find help when they needed it most. We were concerned that further reforms would put access to justice for ordinary people at risk.
We campaigned to influence two Ministry of Justice consultations on transforming legal aid and judicial review and secured key concessions on a number of important issues. More about our legal aid campaign.