Research and Campaigns
One of the twin aims of the Citizens Advice service is to campaign to improve the policies and practices which affect people's everyday lives. Everyone who works for us contributes to this work, by identifying examples of unfairness and writing a report. These reports are dealt with by our team of dedicated volunteers who carry out further research and campaign to bring about improvements for the people of Lewes District. The top subjects we are working on right now are:
Lewes District Research & Campaigns update – February 2019
This is our fourth year of working with Trading Standards on scams awareness. Our volunteers accompany Trading Standards Officers on home visits to victims of scams across the county.
Meridian Surgery, Peacehaven
We continue to work with the Patient Participation Group at Meridian Surgery supplying leaflets for their themed information stand. The current theme is having a warm home and saving energy.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Client Survey
A report will shortly be issued following an East Sussex-wide survey exploring clients’ experiences of claiming ESA and PIP. One aim of the report is to build relationships with local GP surgeries to provide guidance and training on the provision of medical evidence for patients claiming benefits.
Homeless People’s Access to Banking
We are currently undertaking research into whether banks and job centres across our district will accept the address of a post office or PO box as an address for a homeless person to enable them to access the services and support they need.
Indigo Parking operates station car parks across the south east. We have received a number of reports of disabled clients being fined for parking in blue badge spaces at Eastbourne station. We are working with Eastbourne bureau to provide recommendations to Indigo to ensure that disabled people are able to comply with Indigo’s instructions for parking in blue badge spaces.
Bureau Evidence Forms
When we see unfair practices, our specialist caseworkers and volunteers generate evidence forms, which provide qualitative data to Citizens Advice. The graph shows the number of unfair practices identified in 2018. 36% of issues relate to Benefits & Tax Credits. Within this, PIP, ESA and Universal Credit are the most common. However, the number of Debt issues has increased dramatically, particularly with the enforcement of Council Tax arrears by Lewes District Council.
If you would like to support our campaigns or are interested in finding out more about this work you can contact us via Adviceline 03444 111 444. You can read more about National Policy Research here and Campaigns here.