What is Social Policy work?
The second aim of the CAB service is:
To exercise a responsible influence on the development of policies and services both locally and nationally
Social Policy work sets out to identify existing polices and practices which are unfair or detrimental to our clients and then to campaign for change and reform. Perth Citizens Advice Bureau is committed to social policy work and has a designated social policy coordinator and social policy team.
CAB advisers will raise or ‘flag’ issues they have encountered with their clients that they deem to be ‘social policy issues’, the social policy coordinator submits the anonymised issues to the policy team at Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) in Edinburgh who use the evidence to produce periodic briefings and reports such as ‘Voices from the Frontline’.
The Perth CAB social policy team also researches and raises awareness of issues which have affected our clients locally, for example by preparing a report or a press release. We often work in partnership with other local organisations who share our concerns .
On-going social policy campaigns:
Faucets of knowledge, citizens’ knowledge of water and sewerage charges:
Water and sewerage charges are paid on a combined bill with Council Tax. However many people do not know that whilst they are charged together water and sewerage is a separate charge from Council Tax, resulting in charges going unpaid and households falling into ‘water debt’. Following our participation in a pilot awareness raising project run by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), Perth Citizens Advice bureau decided to explore citizens’ general knowledge of water and sewerage charges in more detail. We ran a survey with our clients which was later adopted by Stirling CAB and Airdrie CAB. The findings were pooled to produce a research report, the link to which and a separate summary sheet is available below:
Completed social policy campaigns:
Since 2004 the cost of a ‘basic funeral’ in the UK has increased by over 90%. Perth CAB jointed forces with the social policy team at Stirling CAB to conduct research into what impact the rising cost of funerals is having on bereaved citizens within both Perth and Kinross and Stirling local authorities. The following research report was completed in March 2016:
Perth CAB/MEAD: BME worker employment issues research project:
Perth CAB worked in partnership with the Minority Ethnic Access Development Project (MEAD) to investigate employment issues faced by BME workers within Perth and Kinross. Whilst anybody can experience mistreatment at work, BME workers are highly susceptible to it, particularly those working in low paid and low skilled jobs. The aim of the project is to produce both a research report and good practice guidelines for local employers on employing BME workers.
Food Poverty and Food Aid in Perth and Kinross
Over the last year the UK has witnessed a drastic rise in the number of people experiencing food poverty (being unable to buy food for themselves and their families). Consequently this has caused an increasing number of people to turn to ‘food aid’ such as charity foodbanks. Perth CAB’s social policy project sets out to explore the causes of food poverty within Perth and Kinross and to map local food aid provision for those who are in need.
Knowing your rights-employment issues facing young people
In 2012 social policy volunteer Sarah Mitchell independently researched and produced a report and briefing on the employment issues encountered by young people within Perth and Kinross. Both publications were formally launched at an event at Perth Concert Hall attended by CAB volunteers and staff and local politicians. Both publications can be accessed via the following links to the Citizens Advice Scotland website:
To find out more about our Social Policy work or how to join our team please see our Contact Us page