Citizens Advice Bureau Social Policy & Stakeholders Conference

Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice is holding two conference events from 7th to 8th of March held at the QE II Conference Centre.

Power to the people?

Empowering consumers, citizens and clients in an age of austerity — a campaigner’s conference for the advice sector: 8th March 2011. Find out more.

Power to consumers

Consumer empowerment: Do consumers just need a nudge in the right direction or can they be empowered to make more informed decisions? — the Citizens Advice and NCF panel debate: 7 March 2011. Find out more.

To find out more about Citizens Advice campaigning work please head here

If you are using social media tools to report on the day remember the hashtag is:

Workshop: Empowering young people

Kids Count ( is a campaigning organisation aimed at finding practical solutions to a broad spectrum of issues that affect children and young people in urban and rural communities. The young people involved attend meetings with policy makers as well as party conferences in order to have a say on issues that affect them directly. […] read more

Submitted jointly by Chelmsley CAB and Birmingham-based campaigning group, Against Legal Aid Cuts (ALAC). read more

Some thoughts on Housing Benefit Reform

by , 08/03/11 7:59pm
With a sister who until recently worked for the CAB, and a mum who has worked in Advocacy and Community Care for 20 years, conversations about all manner of issues affecting the sector are rarely far from the surface at lawson family gatherings. I asked my mum – Joan Lawson (or @joanl on twitter for […]

Audioboo interviews from the Green Deal Workshop. Discussing both the merits and pitfalls of the Green Deal. read more

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Workshop: Tackling cold calling

by , 08/03/11 4:48pm
The ‘Tackling Cold Calling’ workshop was headed by a panel including Susan Marks and Peter Tutton from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Steve Bale from Trading Standards and Scott Flower from the Direct Marketing Association. Many workshop participants gave examples of how seemingly legitimate firms that had contacted them through cold calling turned out to be […]

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 Workshop on Personalisation

This discussion of the personalisation agenda opened with a general definition of personalisation: it's about fitting services around customers' needs, rather than customers fitting into services - "putting people first". It's meant to transform the way that services are delivered and involves a shift of power from service providers to users. read more

David Martin opened the workshop with an overview of what CAB's function is - to solve problems through giving advice and information but also be involved in changing policy and getting services delivered in different ways. The challenge, he said, is getting consumers, citizens and clients involved in the solutions. read more

Can you be powerful if you are disabled and in debt? - workshop

The discussion of consumer empowerment for disabled clients who are in debt centered on research conducted by the Financial Inclusion Fund Disability Project, which is run by Camden Citizens Advice Bureaux Service in conjunction with RNIB , RNID , Contact a Family and MENCAP. FIF looked into the experiences of clients and the experience of […] read more

Richard Dunstan, social policy officer at Citizens Advice

In this workshop Richard Dunstan, social policy officer at Citizens Advice, presented his report Uncivil Recovery. He explains what the report is about in an article in the Guardian: Over the past decade, more than 600,000 people have received letters demanding money as “compensation” for their alleged shoplifting or employee theft – and threatening county […] read more

When the web won’t work? Answering difficult questions.

by , 08/03/11 2:53pm
With increasing frequency and intensity, consumers are turning to the internet for advice and information about everything from buying a fridge to finding a mortgage, self-diagnosing an illness to finding a support network within an ex-pat community.

Justice For All is the campaign “to ensure everyone is treated fairly under the law, no matter who they are, how much money they have, or where they live.” The problem is explained very clearly on their website: “Most people who need legal advice seek help – only half get it. 2.3 million people haven’t […] read more

John Gladwin opens the second day of the Citizens Advice Bureau Conference with remarks outlining what it means to give 'power to the people'. read more

John Gladwin, Chair of CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau "Empowering People?" 8.3.11

John Gladwin, Chair of CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) Hannah Reed, TUC and Adam Sharples, DWP See more photos from the event on Flickr. read more

Citizens Advice Bureau Consumer Empowerment Debate 7.3.11

The opening debate was packed with a multi-sector audience, and the discussion continued on Twitter and beyond (see the Twitter conversation). read more

Not working? The work capability assessment for sickness benefits

by , 02/03/11 11:23am
Citizens Advice has repeatedly voiced concerns that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is fundamentally flawed – leaving countless people who are seriously ill or disabled refused a benefit that they desperately need as they are found ‘fit for work’. At this year’s Power to the People? conference, we’ll be joined […]

The ‘shame factor’ – a lucrative business.

by , 02/03/11 11:22am
How would you feel if you were accused of shoplifting, or stealing from your employer, or unlawfully downloading a pornographic film from the internet?  Shame and embarrassment prevents many people in this situation from seeking advice – even if they are innocent of the alleged offence.   Increasingly, this ‘shame factor’ is exploited by law firms and […]

Can you be powerful if you are disabled and in debt?

by , 02/03/11 11:21am
A deaf man went to his local bureau after finding himself in debt he was unable to repay. The bureau made token offers to each creditor but one debt collection agency refused to accept the offer and wrote to him saying a debt collector would visit his home during the evenings. Despite the fact that […]

It’s no fun living in a cold home…

by , 23/02/11 3:29pm
Poor insulation, bad heating and are all too common, especially in the private rented sector. Friends of the Earth’s Cold Homes campaign aims to make this a thing of the past in modern Britain. With celebrity support from Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes, the campaign encourages people to share their experiences of cold homes. […]

An article from By Maeve McGoldrick from Community Links’ values include the line: “to appreciate that those who experience a problem understand it best.” That’s the ethos underpinning yesterday’s meeting with Employment Minister Chris Grayling... read more

Access for All

by , 23/02/11 3:22pm
“A Thai national with good, but heavily accented, English is mis-understood by the Tax Credit helpline leading to a significant over-payment.” “A mother, who is profoundly deaf, tries to resolve her water debt by contacting the company by Typetalk but is unsuccessful.” “A woman recovering from brain surgery finds long phone conversations bring on seizures. […]

How can we escape ‘Breadline Britain’?

by , 23/02/11 3:15pm
At the Work Foundation we aim to improve the quality of working life and the effectiveness of organisations by equipping leaders, policymakers and opinion-formers with evidence, advice, new thinking and networks. I’m looking forward to participating in Citizens Advice panel debate ‘Empowering people through work’, as many of the people my research focuses on will […]

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View the full set of CAB Social Policy & Stakeholders Conference photos on Flickr. If you have your own photos on Flickr just tag them cabp2p to add them to this collection. read more