SICAB Annual Report 2021-2022

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Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau

Annual Report 2021-2022

30 Celebration of Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau’s 30th Anniversary

Introduction from the Chair This year Shetland CAB is celebrating 30 years of providing advice, information and support to the people of Shetland. This feels like a significant milestone in the history of the bureau and represents 30 years of collaboration between the staff and volunteers of Shetland CAB to assist people to access their rights. The bureau was established in 1992 after a long campaign, which started as early as 1963. The need to provide local advice to help us deal with the range of issues life can throw at us means the CAB service continues to be as relevant today as it was back then, and the demand for our services continues to grow. The current cost of living crisis, with spiralling food, fuel and energy costs, makes Shetland CAB a key resource for local people. Since 1992 the number of people and the range of issues addressed has been significant, with many thousands accessing our service from right across the isles. CAB always seeks to empower clients by providing information to enable them to make their own decisions and help themselves. In many cases, good advice helps people to improve their circumstances and their well-being as well as providing crucial financial gain for some. In the last 10 years alone, Shetland CAB has helped local people to gain more than £16 million, mostly through accessing benefits entitlement.


Annual Report 2021-22

Over the last 30 years, Shetland CAB has adapted to address the needs of the local population. This has included ongoing training for staff and volunteers to keep abreast of new developments, and the employment of specialist advisers in areas such as energy advice to meet local demand. CAB’s adaptability – not least over the pandemic period – has enabled the service to address the key issues impacting people in Shetland. The present service would not be possible without the financial assistance of Shetland Charitable Trust, Shetland Islands Council, the Scottish Government and CAS, the national body of the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureaux Network. As an organisation, we are committed to sustaining, improving and developing our service into the future. As Chair of the Board of Directors, I know I speak on behalf of all the Directors in thanking our staff and volunteers for their hard work and for their dedication to the vital work they do in supporting the people of Shetland. Fiona Robertson Chair

2021/22 Our year in numbers We had


We supported



contacts with clients, a 36% increase on the previous year.


by phone

by email

individual clients

820 of whom were new to the service.

8.5% 2%



by letter

social media and video conferencing

We advised on 6,586 issues 9% 60% 11% Benefits

5% 3% 3% Utilities and Debt / Financial 2% Communication Products & Services / Tax 2%

£1,574,709 financial gain was achieved for


Housing Legal

Employment Relationship

This included


Travel & Transport Health & Community Care Immigration

NHS Concern or Complaint



The CAB service was accessed by folk from across NORTH ISLES the isles Unst, Yell, Fetlar,

clients supported by CAB

2% 1% 1% 1%

Whalsay and Skerries

Shetland CAB’s Warmer Greener Homes for Shetland project supported


local households to reduce their fuel costs and maximise their incomes



and achieved carbon savings of tonnes CO2


gained through successful benefit applications, appeals and back payments

14% 83 £573,676 10% 40% £6,911 13% £94,742 People assisted with complex debt problems


Our volunteer advisers and board members donated more than


hours to the work of CAB. If we had to pay them – even if it was only at the National Living Wage level of £8.91 per hour – this would cost more than



Annual Report 2021-22


total debt we helped clients with


Average debt per client


total of debt written off for 40 clients

Volunteering Voice Mairi Macdonald It is with some considerable regret that I am now having to stop volunteering at Shetland Citizens Advice Bureau. This is due to personal circumstances as we are moving south so as to have more convenient access to family and friends on the Scottish mainland. When I first started volunteering for CAB, I found the online training was extensive and somewhat onerous, but the end game made it worth it. I could tell when I shadowed my mentor (an experienced Volunteer Adviser) that enquiries from clients were wide-ranging and often intriguing.

If an enquiry was difficult at first to answer, there were many resources to go to, whether that was fellow volunteers, my supervisor, reference books or the extensive online resources. There is always support on hand when you volunteer at CAB. When I qualified as a Licensed Generalist Advisor, this gave me a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of personal achievement. It is quite possible, however, that I may return to Citizens Advice when we are settled south as I have spotted the familiar blue and yellow sign in what is to be our new home town in Haddington.

The experience of working for CAB has broadened my understanding of the society I live in and the many concerns and issues that are experienced by our clients. It has been very gratifying over the years to see the positive impact on clients. 4

Annual Report 2021-22

Join the Team! Do you enjoy helping all kinds of people? Are you a good listener? Can you commit 6-8 hours per week? Volunteer for your local CAB

• Meet new people and learn new skills • Make a real difference in your community • Volunteer in the bureau or from your own home No special skills or knowledge needed. You will just need good communication skills and to be able to use the internet, email and Word. Contact us to find out about the training and support we can offer. Travel expenses paid.

Contact Shetland CAB on 01595 694696 or by emailing:


Annual Report 2021-22

100% of CeAdB clients satisfi with the service they received! ta Each year we carry ou rvey Client Satisfaction Su our to get feedback from we clients on the service . em th have offered

How easy was it for you to access advice?




3% 3% 5% 5%

Neither easy nor Difficult difficult Difficult Neither Neither easy nor easydifficult nor difficult

of our Here are the results 2021/22 survey.


Don’t know/ no opinion

3% 3% Don’t know/ Don’t no know/ opinion no opinion

89% Easy

89% 89%

How satisfied were you thatEasy the advice or Easy information given to you helped you to sort Neither satisfied out the problem you contacted us about?


Client Quotes “Just a note of thanks for all the work you put into getting me help in my time of need. It truly is a wonderful job you are doing for the folks of Shetland. … I really do appreciate the time you spent over my case and the help given … Everybody is so kind and concerning towards me …”

“Thank you for your help... I think of you with a lot of love and thank you for your humanity!!”

6% 6% Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied nor dissatisfied



0% 0% 0% Difficult Don’t know/ Difficult no opinion 0% 0% Don’t know/ Don’t no know/ opinion no opinion



94% 94% Satisfied Satisfied

Overall how satisfied were you with the service you received?

“… thank you for all your help, time and support you offered me in applying for PIP.”

“Thank you so much for representing me. I appreciate it so much! It’s a great service you all provide for us.”

100% Satisfied

“Just to let you know I have been awarded the higher rate of PIP it has been a long wait but got there in the end thanks to you.”

100% 100% Satisfied Satisfied

no opinion

Neither easy nor difficult

no opinion

Neither easy nor difficult

67% 67% What difference has our advice made? Improved Improved

- Peace of mind


through employment or access to benefits

14% 14% 14%

NoNo change change No change

44% 44% 44%

No change No change

0% 0% 89% GotGot worse worse 0% Easy



No change

0% 0% GotGot worse worse 0%


68% 68% 68%

No change No change No change

Got worse

56% 0% 56% Improved Difficult Improved 56%


Don’t know/ no opinion

0% 0% Got worse Got worse 0% Got worse


Got worse



32% 32% Improved Improved 32%

77% 77% Improved Improved 77% Improved


- Access to the local services you need

67% 67% 67%

No change No change

33% 33% NoNo change change 33% No change


- Ability to manage your money Improved

Don’t know/ no opinion

23% 23% NoNo change change 23%

Got worse Got worse

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied



Easy 0%



- Ability to help yourself

89% 0%

No change

Got worse

86% 86% Improved Improved 86%

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

- Health and wellbeing


- Income

0% 0% GotGot worse worse 0%

No change

0% 0% Got worse Got worse 0% Got worse

Got worse

100% 67% 67% Satisfied Improved Improved 67%

33% 33% Improved Improved 100% 33% Satisfied Improved


Would you use the service again?

Would you recommend the service to anyone else?

44% 44% NoNo change change 44% No change

0% 0% GotGot worse worse 0% Got worse

56% 56% Improved Improved 56% Improved



Annual Report 2021-22 Yes

68% 68%

100% Yes

The Impact of Advice: Client Case Studies Battling with benefits A man in his 40s contacted CAB for help with his benefits. He lives alone in social housing and is unable to work due to chronic mental and physical health conditions. He had claimed Universal Credit (UC) and had been placed on the Standard Allowance whilst awaiting DWP Health Assessment to prove his “Limited Capacity for Work and Work Related Activity”. The DWP had informed him that he would have to wait until he had a “face to face assessment” with a Health Assessor and that there would be a delay in this due to face to face appointments being suspended due to COVID restrictions. Several phone calls to DWP and Job Centre by the client himself and CAB Benefits Adviser drew a blank as we were informed nothing could be done and he would have to wait for a face to face assessment. It took a year before this was resolved and, during this time, the client had to manage on a very low income supplemented by food parcels. He got into debt with his energy supplier and CAB provided support including a successful application to Home Heating Advice which resulted in an award of £1,500, which wrote off his energy debt and made a payment towards his next energy bill. After a year, a DWP Assessor carried out a telephone assessment (despite the earlier insistence that it would have to be face to face). The result of this assessment was that he was not judged to have “Limited Capacity” and was not placed in the “Support group”. The Benefits Adviser helped him to submit a Mandatory Reconsideration which was unsuccessful. CAB then assisted him to register an Appeal with HM Courts and Tribunal Service. The Benefits

The power of numbers 8

Annual Report 2021-22

Adviser prepared a submission including medical evidence. On the basis of this written submission, DWP rescinded their decision and placed him in the Support Group without the need to proceed to a Hearing. This decision resulted in a monthly increase in benefit for the client of £343.63, and a back payment of £8,418.94. During this period, the client had also made a claim for the disability benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and was awarded Standard Rate. The Benefits Adviser explored with the client the option of asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration. However, the client was too worried to do this as he did not want to run the risk of losing the award he already had. The outcome of a Reconsideration can be that a claim can go up, down or stay the same. Within a year, the client contacted CAB as his condition had worsened considerably and he now felt ready to ask DWP for a review of his PIP award. CAB assisted him to submit a Mandatory Reconsideration. After a considerable amount of time and a further DWP telephone Health Assessment, DWP have now awarded him Enhanced Rate PIP for both Mobility and Daily Living so his weekly income has increased by a further £68.45. He was also awarded a back payment of £3,477.10. The client would not have been able to challenge these DWP decisions without CAB support and it is likely that he would have remained on a very low income, dependent on food parcels and struggling to heat his home. As a result of CAB advice, his income has increased considerably and, as the extent of his health problems have been recognised, he no longer has the stress of having to continually seek work. The client felt supported by CAB during what was a very difficult period and his general well-being has improved as a result.

In 2018/19, Shetland CAB advisers started using the CASTLE electronic case recording system to record the work we do with clients. This helps us to work more efficiently and keeps our client case records secure and confidential. It also means we can record standardised statistics on the numbers of people we help, the types of advice we give and the impact we make. We now have 5 years of data on the work of Shetland CAB.

Holistic advice to tackle fuel poverty

CAB’s door always open to deal with debt Person in their 30s came to CAB for assistance with their debts for the fourth time in as many years. Client is single and lives in local authority housing. Client had previously been assisted by the CAB Money Adviser to set up repayment plans and token payments, but these had all failed due to the client’s chaotic lifestyle and inconsistent employment. The client had approached CAB for help again as their circumstances had changed and they now felt in a position to tackle their debt. Client was now a carer for one of their parents and unemployed. Client’s income comprised of Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance and Council Tax Reduction. The Money Adviser started by asking the client to complete a Benefit Check which confirmed the client was in receipt of all the benefits they were entitled to. The Money Adviser prepared a financial statement of the client’s income and expenditure and got information from the client on all their debts. She then went through the options with the client - a voluntary repayment plan or bankruptcy. The client opted for bankruptcy as they felt this was the only real option, as they wouldn’t be working again in the near future due to their caring role. The Money Adviser prepared the bankruptcy application and submitted it to the Accountant in Bankruptcy, together with all the supporting evidence required. The client was awarded bankruptcy and their debts of £9,760.70 were written off. The client stated that it had taken a “massive weight off their mind”, they were feeling much better in themselves, and managing their money well.

A pensioner contacted CAB as she had not received her Winter Fuel Payment. She had tried calling the helpline but couldn’t get through and she was worried as she relied on this money to help with her fuel costs. CAB was aware of a spate of clients with problems trying to contact Winter Fuel Payment helpline and had referred them to the local MP who helped to sort it out. This client was also referred to the MP to get her Winter Fuel Payment of £200 in place. CAB’s Energy Adviser had a discussion with the client about her circumstances and helped her to complete a Benefit Check. This identified that the client’s only income was her State Pension and a small occupational pension. The client said she had health problems, which affected her mobility. The client was advised on Attendance Allowance, a health benefit for people aged over 60, and helped to complete the Attendance Allowance application. The client was awarded lower rate Attendance Allowance of £60 per week. Now she was on Attendance Allowance, the client was entitled to further benefits and the Energy Adviser helped her successfully apply for Pension Credit (an additional £26.36 per week) and Council Tax Reduction. As she was now in receipt of Pension Credit, the client was also entitled to a free TV license. The Energy Adviser also helped the client to register for additional support from her energy supplier: the Warm Home Discount to give her £140 off her energy bill in the winter, and Priority Services Register due to her health problems. The client is an owner occupier and her home was not well-insulated. With qualifying benefits in place, the client was now entitled to grant help to upgrade her property and CAB referred her to Home Energy Scotland for this support. This client came to CAB with a problem accessing a single one-off benefit. CAB’s holistic approach to advice led to a significant increase in her regular weekly income so she now has more money to keep her home warm. Getting her full benefit entitlement in place also led to a range of other entitlements to improve her situation and her home.

In the last 5 years



individual clients have sought advice, over a quarter of Shetland’s adult population.

Annual Report 2021-22

£6.9m+ has been achieved in monetary gains for over 1,000 clients

with an average gain per client of over


Income and expenditure account 31 March 2022 2022




Grant income



ESF funding












Other income

EXPENDITURE Charitable activities


Balance sheet 31 March 2022 2022 CURRENT ASSETS Debtors Cash at bank and in hand














CREDITORS Amounts falling due within one year





Unrestricted funds







The figures contained within the income and expenditure account and the balance sheet shown above were extracted from the charity’s financial statements. These were approved by the board of directors on 19 July 2022. A copy of the charity’s financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2022 can be obtained from our main office or by writing to the following address: Companies House, 4th Floor, Edinburgh Quay 2, 139 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9FF (quoting ref SC176817)


Annual Report 2021-22

Directors Fiona Robertson Chair Sue Beer Vice Chair Richard Lewis Treasurer

Lucy Flaws Jeff Gaskell Kerry Geddes David Marsh Gordon Mitchell Linda Nicholson Gordon Silver

Volunteers and Paid Staff During 2021/22, the following staff and volunteers left Shetland CAB – we thank them for their many years of service: Mairi Macdonald, Isa Kristiansen-Bragg, and Elliot Tait

Outreach Adviser/ Patient Support Adviser Philomena Leask

Generalist Advisers Jenny Anderson, Malcolm Ferguson, Margaret Fiddy, Christabel Garrick, Louis Keogh, Mairi Macdonald, Grizel McGregor, Eleanor Pottinger, Elizabeth Williamson, Helen Wilson, Allan Wishart

Energy Advisers Joanne Fraser, Janice Hawick, Brian Leask

Senior Adviser/Money Adviser Vivienne Tulloch Session Supervisor/ Assistant Manager Paula Dunn


Annual Report 2021-22

Welfare Rights Advisers Gail Finnie, Ros Owen, Nancy Queally

Community Engagement Officer Iona Leask Pension Guide Isla McGhee Triage Adviser Marek Barecki Administrative Assistant Alexis Robertson Bureau Manager Karen Eunson

Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau Shetland Islands Citizens Advice BureauBure Shetland Islands Citizens Advice



A charitable company limitedby by guarantee guarantee A charitable company limited MARKET HOUSE, MARKET STREET Market House, 1414 Market Street A charitable limited by guarantee registered incompany Scotland No.176817 176817 registered in Scotland No. MARKET HOUSE, 14 MARKET STREET A charitable limited by guaran registered No.House, 17681714company Registeredin O Scotland ce Market Market Street, MARKET HOUSE, STREET registered in Scotland No. 176817 Office Market House, 14 Market Street, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0JP 14 MARKET Registered Registered O ce Market House, 14 Market Street, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0JP Registered O ce Market House, 14 Mar Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0JP Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0JP Company Secretary Karen Eunson (Manager) T E Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0JP TEL: Company Secretary Karen Eunson (Manager) T EL L :: 01595 694696 Company Secretary Eunson (Manager) Recognised by theKaren Inland Revenue as Company Secretary Karen Eunson (Man T E L : Recognised by the Inland Revenue as a Scottishby Charity No. SC01978 EMAIL: SICAB@SHETLAND.ORG Recognised the Inland Revenuebyas a Inland Revenue as EMAIL: Recognised the a Scottish Charity No. SC01978 EMAIL: SICAB@SHETLAND.ORG Scottish Charity No. SC019785 a Scottish Charity No. SC01978 EMAIL: SICAB@SHETLAND.ORG

FSA Registration Number 617481

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01595 694696

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