Citizens Advice publish a number of campaign and policy research reports each year. In these we combine local insights with analysis of wider social and economic trends, and set out new ideas to improve policy and delivery for all. For a full set of reports visit the central Citizens Advice website here . . .
This work has included the following reports.
Falling behind An assessment of debt collection practices in the mobile phone market. January 2016
The Referral Gap How stronger referrals between free guidance and paid-for advice can help people manage their money. January 2016
Money advice has become increasingly important to families’ financial security as people face more unpredictable incomes and have more freedoms in managing their finances. This report focuses specifically on the referral gap between free and paid-for money advice. In a well-functioning system free guidance and paid-for advice should complement each other in these situations. Good referral systems are crucial to this.
The state of debt collection The case for fairness in government debt collection practice
Citizens Advice has seen an increase in the number of people needing help with problem debts owed to local and national government. Between 2005/06 and 2014/15 the number of these issues that we helped people with more than doubled. In contrast, personal loan and credit card debt issues have more than halved since a peak in 2008. This report reviews our clients’ and their advisers’ experiences of dealing with debts owed to government. January 2016
Who’s the Boss? An exploration of the family lives of self-employed people
Self-employed people are happy with the choice they have made to become self-employed, and are more likely to report high levels of job satisfaction than employees. This extends to self-employed parents, who tend to find that self-employment enables them to split their time more flexibly between their work and family to achieve a balance that suits them. However, they have varying degrees of success in achieving a good balance. Some are unwilling to compromise on spending time with their family which can lead to lack of time invested in their work. Others find that investing too much time in their work may lead to missed family events, holidays cut short or taking little time off at all. Self-employment also brings additional challenges for families such as learning to manage the household’s finances on a fluctuating income and deciding when and how much time to take off, for instance for family holidays. December 2015
Last in line An assessment of consumer protection in the event of retailer insolvency
Prepayments form a significant part of the retail economy. Prepayments offer clear benefits for traders in the form of guaranteed payment and valuable cash flow, particularly when trading in high value goods. In the vast majority of cases people who have paid for goods or services in advance do not encounter a problem. But what happens when things go wrong? December 2015
Going Solo The journeys of self-employed people
The growth of and changes to self-employment over the past decade have been well-documented. The majority of people now entering self-employment are women and part time workers.1 But there has been much less qualitative research into the stories and journeys that drive the new self-employed – and too little consideration of whether policy-makers might do more to respond to the particular challenges faced by some of those with lower savings, income and non-financial capital as they try to build their business. This report, based on semi-structured depth interviews with nineteen people, tracks the highs and lows of the self-employment journey. It also identifies specific areas where some self-employed people would benefit from additional advice and support, including from peers, to build up their business and to ensure that it continues to thrive in the future. November 2015
Enabling working parents? The experiences of parents in the childcare market
The face of work is changing in Britain. Female participation in the labour market continues to rise, and two parent families increasingly find it is imperative to have both adults in work. At the same time, changing conditionality, cuts to benefits and changing work incentives within the benefit system all add to the pressure on parents to take on work or increase their hours in work. However, our current childcare system is not set up in the interests of parents who are trying to work or study to move forward in their lives. July 2015
How people think about older age and pensions
We have explored how people think about older age and pensions and what support they need to take control of their retirement. People retiring each year with defined contribution pensions greater choice over how they use their pension pot savings. March 2015
Victims of domestic abuse: struggling for support?
This report uses new evidence from the frontline of Citizens Advice to assess whether victims of domestic abuse can access the support they need to manage their relationships, keep themselves safe, exercise their rights to their property, children, access to justice, and rebuild their lives.
This report reveals the reality of many victims of abuse struggling to access the support they need. Our research finds that more needs to be done to improve recognition and disclosure of domestic abuse. In cases of emotional or financial abuse, many victims don’t recognise the behaviours they are exposed to as even constituting abuse. Victims face emotional and practical barriers to disclosing abuse, and this can be more pronounced for individuals with specific or complicating issues. Male victims, LGBT individuals, those with English as a second language or with learning difficulties or mental health problems, can struggle to access specialist support, and can face additional barriers to disclosure. February 2015