Policy research and campaigns
With advice, we help people solve a particular problem. But beyond that, we work to tackle the root cause of the problem and stop it from happening to others.
No one else sees so many people with so many different kinds of problems, and that gives us a unique insight into the challenges people are facing today. We use our clients’ experiences and stories to campaign for positive change, speaking up about the policies and services that cause people problems.
With the right evidence, we can show organisations – from companies right up to the government – how they can make things better for people.
Health& Care and Skilled Worker Visa
In 2023 we have seen cases in Shropshire of people on Skilled Worker Visas working in care homes who due to their visa conditions were vulnerable to exploitation.
We provided evidence to Citizens Advice, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and are working with Shropshire Council to create a local safety net for displaced workers.
In November 2023 we created an information pack for people working in Shropshire on a Health and Care Visa and Skilled Worker Visa.
There is more work happening in the coming months and we will update you in due course.
When the safety net fails: Experiences of navigating local support services during the cost of living crisis
In this 2023 report, we share lived experiences and explore learnings from conversations we had on the support system in Shropshire, along with recommendations for how we can work together to best support residents facing financial crisis.
Shaping Places for Healthier Lives
In 2021, Citizens Advice Shropshire took part in a project with Shropshire Council- Public Health, Healthwatch Shropshire and Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance to research food insecurity in South West Shropshire. The result is a three-year programme funded by the Health Foundation in partnership with the Local Government Association.
You can find out more about the project here.
Council Tax Support Scheme
In April 2018 Shropshire Council changed the way its Council Tax Support Scheme works.
Previously if you received Income Support, Universal Credit or income-based Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (work-related activity group) you received 100% Council Tax Support and didn’t pay anything towards your annual bill. From 1st April 2018, people on these benefits have had to pay 20% of their Council Tax bill for the first time.
In 2018/19 we talked to people affected by this change to understand the impact of having to pay this new bill. You can read about our findings in our November 2019 report here.
In 2019 we used anonymous evidence and welfare benefit expertise to influence Shropshire Council to make some changes to their Council Tax Support scheme for 2019/20 so that there is parity between legacy benefit Council Tax exemptions and those for Universal Credit. Now more sick or disabled people are protected from paying Council Tax, and the scheme is improved and fairer.
In March 2020 Citizens Advice also produced a report on Council Tax (Wrong Side of the Tax: Council Tax debt collection needs to change). This research finds that many people in council tax arrears can’t afford to pay it. They are often struggling with multiple debts, and don’t have the money to cover essential living costs. Currently, the debt collection process doesn’t account for this.
In 2016/17 CAS helped Citizens Advice conduct financial capability research. Citizens Advice used our data (along with that of 37 other Local Citizens Advice) and created the ‘Understanding Money Skills’ research report.
The impact of the Care Act in Shropshire
In 2015 Healthwatch Shropshire awarded us with a research grant, to investigate the impact the Care Act had had on people accessing social care in Shropshire: The Impact of the Care Act In Shropshire
Welfare reform and working people
When people start making the transition from Tax Credits to Universal Credit they are likely to see significant falls in the money they receive. In February and March 2016, we conducted research with local residents to help us understand the options available to them: Welfare reform and working people key findings Report July 2016
Citizens Advice Shropshire joined 15 other offices to research the impact of the delivery of Universal Credit on Citizens Advice clients. Download the report: Waiting for Credit