Research and Campaigns

Why do we do it?

Every year, Citizens Advice helps thousands of people in St Albans district with their problems. This gives us a unique insight into the challenges that affect our community. We use this insight to help us to understand the issues that are affecting the wellbeing of local people; and then we lobby for changes in the policies and practices of national and local government, and of businesses, that cause these issues. By doing so we hope that people’s lives can be improved. If we did not undertake this work, the opportunity to use our knowledge to change lives would be lost.

Citizens Advice is respected for its independent and impartial analysis, which means it is listened to by all levels of government. This enables us to campaign effectively for social justice.

How does it work in practice?

All our campaigns are based on the experiences of the people who seek our help. We make a record of every issue brought to us and we analyse those records for evidence about the problems that are affecting many people or causing the most detriment. We choose issues to investigate in more depth; identify the changes that need to be made to reduce or eliminate local people’s problems; and lobby for changes in policies and practices to bring this about.

We participate in national Citizens Advice campaigns that are relevant to St Albans district, including National Consumer Week and Scams Awareness Fortnight. We work with other local Citizens Advice offices in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to collect evidence and to develop proposals to improve the lives of residents across the two counties, including on Universal Credit and disability benefits. And we undertake research and campaigns on local issues, such as homelessness, the cost of funerals and council tax debt collection.

Our recent reports on these and other issues can be found here.

Current work

Our current focus is on the many problems caused by the high cost of housing in St Albans district, in particular for people living in private rented accommodation. We are also collecting evidence on the use of food banks and on redundancy processes.

We hope these campaigns will contribute to change that will improve the lives of those who access our advice services, and also of a broader group of people across the district.

We also add our voice to national campaigns run by Citizens Advice and more details on these can be found here.

How can you help?

If you have been to see us for advice, you can ask your adviser how to get involved in a campaign. For example, we could help you to write to your MP or councillor about your problem.

If you would like to get involved in this area of work, then why not consider becoming a campaign volunteer? For further details, click here.