Research and campaigns (R&C) is one of the twin aims of our service. It aims to improve the policies and practices that affect people's lives. Our other aim is to provide the advice people need for the problems they face.
As a service we have a huge amount of insight and data about the problems our clients and their wider communities face. Through research and campaigns, we use this insight to:
- Help us research issues/difficulties clients face - that are potentially unfair.
- Collect and analysis evidence - to determine if there is a policy and/or practice issue.
- Influence decision makers to change policies and practices through briefings, responses to consultations and/or parliamentary enquiries.
- Campaign to get decision makers such as MPs, Councillors, Local or national government officers to change policies and practices locally and/or nationally.
Research and campaigns gives us opportunities to widen our impact, allowing us to help those who may not be able to access our advice service and prevent issues from occurring. It helps us resolve issues at source to prevent more people experiencing difficulties, some of them equality, diversity and discrimination issues.
We can achieve this by highlighting and raising issues locally and by working with other Citizens Advice agencies and national teams to collect evidence and contribute to policy discussions about how to improve the lives of Sutton residents.
We use the evidence we have of client's problems to influence and make changes to new laws and existing law to make things better for people. The evidence we use is based on real issues and how they affect the lives of ordinary people - it is clear, straightforward, meaningful evidence.
Our R&C activities reflect client and support involvement and act as a conduit to give our clients a voice and share their experiences. Over the next year we aim to:
- Identify ways in which we can proactively extend local client involvement to shape our focus and campaign issues.
- consider how to open new channels of communication to extend our work and messages to a greater number of Sutton residents.
We welcome feedback and suggestions on our research and campaign work. Please contact us through the form on our website www.suttonalps.org.uk
Examples of our local recent, current and planned campaigns work include:
Our Universal Credit Campaign sponsored by the Trust for London – further information is provided here (link to Universal Credit Campaign)
Affordable Rent – One of the biggest issues for London residents is the cost of housing. This is a particular issue in Sutton where there is limited access to social housing and a high number of residents are employed in low paid jobs in retail, health and social care sectors. Approximately 21% of Sutton residents rent from private landlords. We plan to look at the issues associated with high private rents on families.
Retention and Extension of the Covid £20 Universal Credit Increase - We campaigned to retain the temporary Covid increase and extend it to all benefits because our work supporting families in debt showed us that falling incomes and higher living costs mean an increasing proportion of people cannot afford to make ends meet. We submitted evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty and wrote on behalf of the Welfare Rights Forum to our MPs for Sutton & Cheam and Carshalton and Wallington advocating for its continuance and broadening of its scope. We will be pressing to make this increase permanent beyond the current September end date.
National Campaign – Scam Awareness (14-27 June) - We will be helping to spread the message that scams are crimes that can happen to anyone and that we can all take a stand to help stop them. There are actions we can all take to report them, share stories and raise awareness of scams to safeguard ourselves and others.
The Citizens Advice national website has details of past and current campaigns and ongoing policy research co-ordinated by our national office. You can read about our local research and campaigns activity in the our campaigns section of this website.