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Advice in Scotland 2017-18 - Increasing Demand

21st February 2019

Photograph of Advice in Scotland 2017-18  - Increasing Demand

A summary of evidence gathered by the Citizens Advice network in Scotland about their work.

In total, Citizens Advice Bureaux assisted nearly 262,000 clients with almost 766,000 issues during 2017-18. Along with the advice provided, bureaux also supported clients by completing over 44,100 official forms, claiming almost £138 million. Benefits accounted for 81% (35,790) of the forms completed with clients receiving, on average, a benefit gain of almost £4,000.

The Citizens Advice network, comprised of Citizens Advice Scotland; Citizens Advice Bureaux; the Extra Help Unit (‘EHU'); the Citizens Advice Consumer Service; and the Advice in Scotland website, form Scotland's largest independent advice and advocacy network. Citizens Advice Scotland (‘CAS') is the umbrella organisation for Scotland's network of 60 member Citizens Advice Bureaux (‘CAB'). These bureaux deliver frontline advice services at over 280 service points across the country, from the city centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh to the Highlands, Islands and rural Borders communities. In addition the Citizens Advice Consumer Service (‘CACS’), which can offer advice on such as energy and post issues, via a helpline, email, web form and post. The Extra Help Unit (‘EHU’) offers additional support to consumers identified as particularly vulnerable in some way, to address issues relating to the regulated fuel markets and post issues.

1.2 Citizens advice bureaux provide free, confidential advice across a range of issues including benefits, debt and employment. During 2017-18 a dedicated 2,328 volunteers contributed their time, knowledge and experience to the CAB services alongside 923 paid staff providing management, administration, support and specialist advice work. Support from the CAB service not only helps clients to achieve financial gains, but supports them in avoiding negative outcomes such as homelessness, unemployment, bankruptcy, and mental health problems.

1.3 In the last year the CAB service has undergone a number of changes. From April 2017 the process for recording advice codes was improved to increase consistency in reported data, and in October 2017 a new CAB case management system was implemented. Due to these changes, for this year, this report will focus on advice given and its proportion of business during 2017-18.

1.4 Along with providing information for the Citizens Advice network, ‘Advice in Scotland’ is produced as a public-facing document intended to be accessible to a wider audience, from CAB clients themselves through to those who may find the information of interest in their work or academic studies. The report considers:

• The types of advice sought by clients and support given

• Summary data in relation to advice provided by the Consumer Service, Extra Help Unit and via the dedicated advice website.

Read the full report at


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