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Campaigning for Change

As well as giving advice, we campaign for changes in policies and services where improvements are needed – solving problems for people who may never even use our services. We talk to Government, local councils and other policy makers to help them improve the laws and services that affect ordinary people.

 Why do we Campaign for Change?

It is one of the joint aims of the CAB service and it is the tool we use to change local and national policies to ensure a fairer deal for all. When dealing with a client’s individual problems it is sometimes noticed that other clients have had a very similar problem in the recent past. On these occasions, as well as helping our individual clients, we try to fix the cause of the problem at its source thus ensuring that other people do not have to confront it. People who have never even heard of the CAB still benefit from our Campaigning for Change work.

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 How do we Campaign for Change?

When we talk to policy makers what makes them sit up and take notice is not ideas and suppositions but hard evidence. That evidence comes from the large number of cases we deal with, once all identifying data have been removed to protect the anonymity of our clients. This evidence can be used locally to improve services and influence policies or it can be collated with data from the other 700 Citizens Advice Bureaux and used nationally.

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 Examples of effective Campaign for Change work

Data supplied by bureaux to Citizens Advice, our parent body, is often used in the formulation of legislation e.g. Minimum Wage and in the monitoring of the effectiveness of other legislation e.g. the paid holiday entitlement in the Working Time Regulations.

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 Using the Evidence.

There are many ways in which the evidence collected can be used:-

  • Sending evidence to Citizens Advice, either in response to a specific request or to inform Citizens Advice of local issues
  • Giving feedback to service providers
  • Contacting local MPs and councillors about local and national issues
  • Sending briefings, reports and written submissions to service providers, regulatory and consultative bodies
  • Undertaking media and publicity work on local issues and in response to Citizens Advice reports
  • Working in collaboration with other bureaux or interested groups to provide a joint statement on issues of common concern
  • Responding to consultation exercises by local authorities and agencies.
  • In CAB evidence reports (local and national). Summaries of recent reports are available from the Citizens Advice web site.
  • In Parliamentary briefings for MPs and Lords
  • In letters to Ministers and MPs and their civil servants
  • In reports to bodies such as trade associations and credit companies
  • In responses to consultation documents from government departments and service providers
  • In press releases to alert journalists to concerns of the service that they may want to follow up
  • To respond to enquiries from journalists, researchers, MPs and others

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 Is there anything that you can do?

If the media decide to take up one of our issues they often ask to interview people who can personalize the effect of that issue on their lives in order to “bring the story alive.”

If you come into the bureau with a problem you may be asked if you would be willing to give an interview to the media. It is perfectly all right to refuse.

If you do give permission we will contact you if an interview with a newspaper or television station is requested and you can always change your mind about doing the interview.

We will not release any of your details without your permission.

It can be an opportunity for you to have your say.

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Cheshire East Citizens Advice Bureau North, Sunderland House, Sunderland St.,
Macclesfield SK11 6JF - Charity no.1128265 Company no.6816600