At Citizens Advice Somerset we see thousands of people every year, and we have a closer understanding of the problems that people experience than any other organisation.
We know which policies are working and spot emerging problems early. In our policy research we combine these insights with analysis of the wider social and economic trends affecting everyone in Somerset, we set out new ideas to improve policy and campaign for change.
Our Research and Campaign team meet regularly to review the key issues faced by people in Somerset and the unfairness that has been experienced. This data is then used to lobby MPs, councillors, the local authority, and others, as well as presenting our ﬁndings in the media and taking part in awareness raising activities.
This year we have campaigned locally on issues such as:
- Cost of Living Crisis – regularly sharing our cost of living dashboards with key partners to demonstrate the impact of the crisis affecting people in Somerset
- Scams awareness – to raise awareness of what to do if you spot a scam
- Big Energy Saving Week – sharing information and advice to help people manage their energy bill
Each local Citizens Advice office sends information about the problems brought to them (but not about their clients) to National Citizens Advice. Evidence is collated to help campaign ofﬁcers identify national trends. Citizens Advice can then present evidence to policy makers by writing reports and submissions and participating in consultations to improve policies.
More information on our national campaigning can be found here
Over the years we have had many successes with our campaign work, such as;
- Launched an ‘ESA have your say’ campaign (which went national) to challenge the quality of ESA work capability assessments
- Hosted a Somerset Welfare Rights conference
- Developed vulnerable person policies with relevant statutory services
- Contributed to changes to the discharge policy for people leaving mental health hospital care
- Responded to the annual consultation of Homefinder Somerset lettings policy
and much more.