Everyone is affected by rules and principles which shape the services and benefits we all rely on. These may include regulations, codes of practice, legislation, guidelines and policies of service providers; they may be national, regional or local. All social policy work undertaken is rooted in the experiences of real people who are adversely affected by these policies; social policy is about campaigning to bring about changes to make the rules (and their implementation) fairer for all.

Citizens Advice has built a strong reputation for independent analysis and has worked with government, companies, regulators, trade associations and consumer groups to secure change for those who are adversely affected by unfair policies.

It is recognised that the best way to tackle any problem is to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. This is what social policy aims to do. We cannot see everyone who needs help individually and many people do not access our services, for various reasons. However, we can – and do – reach out and help people beyond our core service users through our social policy work, by bringing about changes that reduce unfairness.


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Make ESA fit for work

If you become sick or disabled and lose your job you want to know that you will be supported. Poorly designed rules make it difficult to determine who is fit for work   and who isn’t. We are calling on the Government to make Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) fit for work. The Government is now deciding which companies will run the tests that determine people’s ability to work. Without significant improvements we risk facing another five years of failure. Change is needed now to make sure the tests are fair, consistent and right first time.

Access to basic bank accounts

Over two million people in the UK do not currently have a bank account.
Basic bank accounts should be available to everyone who wants one but they are particularly needed for people with poor credit ratings or on low incomes so they can better manage their finances.
Our campaign is calling for banks to agree on how they will provide basic bank accounts, and the minimum standards the accounts will meet. This must include agreeing ID requirements and access to the LINK ATM network.

Helping payday lenders play fair

Four million people are likely to take out a payday loan in the next six months. With this increase in use the Citizens Advice service has seen a ten-fold increase in the proportion of clients receiving casework help with multiple debts which included a payday loan debt in the last four years.

To make sure payday lenders are acting fairly we are asking everyone who has taken out a payday loan to take part in our national survey. Find out whether your lender is sticking to the rules at


Every year thousands experience harassment from bailiffs.

For decades Citizens Advice have asked successive governments to take action but so far very little has happened. Meanwhile, we’ve seen a 38% rise in problems with private bailiffs over the last five years.

We’re calling for tighter regulation of the bailiff industry, for creditors to work with people in debt and to make sure people are aware of their rights regarding bailiffs.

Choice and support for Universal Credit claimants

Universal Credit is going to change the way around 8 million households receive benefits.

Many people are being asked to cope for the first time with claiming benefits online and budgeting with one monthly lump sum, including the money they need to pay their rent.

We’re are calling on the Government to allow people the choice of how they receive their benefits while they are given support to help them gain confidence and independence.