Research & Campaigning
What is research and campaigning?
Research and Campaigning is a really important part of the work we do here at Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden. One of the aims of the Citizens Advice service is 'to improve the policies and practices that affect people's lives' and this is what is known as 'research and campaigns work'. The stories our clients tell us provide a unique insight into the problems faced by people in Carlisle & Eden Districts but also across the UK.
Some policies affecting Citizens Advice clients are national, such as immigration. Some are national but administered according to local policies and practices such as housing benefit, community care, housing, health and education. Others are local, such as local authority collection of council tax arrears or school uniform grants.
All of us are affected by the rules (policies) and ways of working (practices) which shape the services and benefits that we all rely on.
Helping clients on a case-by-case basis is valuable to those individuals but by tackling the root cause of the problem we can bring about real improvements for everyone, even people who never access the service. To do this we use the experiences of our clients to persuade policy makers to make improvements to policies or services which cause problems for people.
Research and campaigns work happens in different ways. Sometimes local outlets identify research and campaigns issues and report on them; sometimes they are asked to monitor and report on specific unfair practices and all client problems are coded and used to provide statistics and identify trends
In Carlisle and Eden we have a Research and Campaigns Working Group to co-ordinate our activities but we rely on all staff, volunteers, trustees and the general public to draw our attention to things we can get involved with in order to make a difference. We have regular meetings with local elected officials, key agencies such as DWP, use the media to raise the profile of key issues and contribute to both national and local campaigns.Local Work
In 2017 we are working with our two local authorities on local debt collection practices and signing up to a good practice protocol, promoted nationally. We are also preparing a submission for Cumbria County Council's anti-poverty strategy and taking part in a county wide piece of research on the impact of the December 2015 floods in Cumbria and the Citizens Advice response.
If you would like to find out more about the Research and Campaigns work of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden please contact Kitty Booth-Clibborn - firstname.lastname@example.org