Social policy work is a vital part of the service provided by bureaux. Within the CAB service the term social policy is understood to cover those issues arising from work with clients where it appears that there is an underlying problem with a policy, service or practice. For example, if many clients are having difficulty completing their council tax forms it may be because the forms are too difficult to understand. If the forms were clearer and simpler it may save clients time.
Social policy work is the work we undertake to try to resolve these underlying problems by raising concerns about policies, services and practices, with the aim of producing a change for the better. In this way social policy action can be a more efficient way of tackling the root cause of a problem than repeatedly working on behalf of individual clients who are all experiencing the same difficulties. Often problems individuals have will not be unique but will be part of a more general trend.
How bureau evidence forms are used at National Level
Completes bureau evidence form
Citizens Advice Regional Office
In each office, a member of staff has responsibility for coordinating or leading the social policy work
The Press and Media officers promote coverage of CAB work and concerns through national press and broadcast media. Evidence forms also identify cases where clients may be willing to take part in media interviews
Social Policy Section
The Social Policy officers in Central Office classify and use bureau evidence on issues of concern to the service. They summarise evidence and promote concerns monthly through the Social Policy Bulletin; and work with CAB on developing their own social policy work
Citizens Advice Public Affairs Department
Responsible for national social policy, press, publicity and parliamentary liaison work of the CAB service, it produces and promotes CAB evidence reports and submissions with recommendations for change and liaises with key organisations such as the Benefits Agency and with Whitehall and Ministers
The Parliamentary Liaison officer, who assists bureaux in their work with their MPs, uses bureau evidence forms for parliamentary briefings, seeking to ensure that key committees, MPs and peers are informed about CAB concerns especially with regard to changing legislation
Runnymede and Spelthorne Citizens Advice Bureau