One of the key aims of Citizens Advice Colchester is challenging injustice through research and campaign work.
What Is Research and Campaigns?
At the heart of everything we do are our clients and helping them to solve problems they face. As a result of that work we often find common issues on which we collect evidence that we use with government centrally to help overcome these issues. We also work with our local councils to resolve any other local issues that are also apparent.
Current Research at Citizens Advice Colchester
We are currently looking for evidence on the below issues with the view to creating a campaign if enough evidence is collected. If you are providing evidence about a third party we will need to obtain the consent of that person to use their information.
All evidence provided for a campaign can be a anonymised at your request.
Bailiffs (Enforcement Agents) not following the National Standard guidelines
It has come to our attention that some bailiffs in the Colchester area are not complying with the Taking control of goods: national standards guidelines when collecting for a debt. Some of the situations provided to us are about: bailiffs acting outside of their powers, not recognising vulnerability and threatening to take possession of other people’s goods who do not owe the debt.
If you are aware of any of the practices above? We would be grateful if you can contact us so we can collect evidence.
Legal aid cuts- Family issues
The legal aid reforms have greatly restricted the availability of legal aid for Family Law issues. This has prevented access to justice for many, particularly in the area of access to children. The full effects of these reforms are not known, however in Colchester we have seen situations where the lack of legal aid has prevented our clients the possibility of accessing the services they need.
If the change to Legal aid for Family Law matters has had an impact on you or someone you know. We would like you to contact us so we can collect evidence.
DWP/HMRC collecting benefit/tax credits overpayments
Overpayments are a common part of these systems and they usually arise because a change of circumstances, from those supplied when awarded the benefit/tax credits, is reported late. It has come to our attention that, when a lawful overpayment has occurred, it is based on luck for a repayment offer that is affordable to be accepted. This also applies to a change of circumstances when a change is reported to the relevant department, however, their decision can take an excessive amount of time, resulting in a large overpayment.
If you are aware of these being an issue? We would like you contact us so we can collect evidence.
Bankruptcy Changes - impact on those declaring bankrupt
On 6th April 2016 the way individuals declare bankrupt is changing. The charity Step Change has a summarised version of the changes on their website (bankruptcy changes).
We are looking for evidence whether these changes, most notably the increase in the fee and being completely online based, will make it significantly harder to declare bankrupt?
We would like you to get in touch with us if this is an issue you have seen so we can report these findings. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial difficulty. We do have experienced debt advisers able to advise and assist in bankruptcy if that is required.
National Research and Campaigns
Below are some links to the National Citizens Advice Campaigns and the research they are conducting for their campaigns.
Citizens Advice Colchester
Blackburn House, 32 Crouch Street, Colchester, CO3 3HH
Telephone: 0344 477 0808
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