All our impact
Each year, Citizens Advice helps give millions of people the knowledge and confidence to find a way forward. We do this by providing advice, education and support, and influencing policies and practices that affect our clients.
Our impact in 2020-21
Our health, work, education and social lives have all been affected in ways we wouldn’t have imagined as we entered 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it new problems, challenges and uncertainty in the delivery of our services. But we adapted, and with the incredible resilience of our staff and volunteers, were still there to help millions of people find a way forward, whoever they were and whatever their problem.
In 2020-21 we:
Helped over 2.4 million people with one-to-one advice
Had over 60 million views of our online self-help advice
And 9 in 10 people said we helped them find a way forward
Our latest impact report highlights the impact we have on people’s lives, and the difference we make to local communities. You can read our full 2020-21 report here
Using a Treasury-approved model, we can also put a financial estimate on this value. For further details on how we’ve produced our financial estimate, we’ve put together a full technical annex: 2020-21-Financial modelling technical annex
How we make a difference: our impact in 2019/20
We helped 2.8 million people get the advice they needed in 2019-20. To meet our Future of Advice ambitions, we’ve worked collaboratively and innovatively to help more people access support. You can read our full 2019-20 impact report here. [ 0.73 mb]
Our impact data helps us better understand the effect our advice has on people’s lives, and the difference we make to local communities. In 2019-20, over 80% of the people we helped said their problem was resolved following our advice.
Using a Treasury-approved model, we can also put a financial estimate on this value. For further details on how we’ve produced our financial estimate, we’ve put together a full technical annex: Financially modelling our value to society 2019/20 [ 490 kb]
How we make a difference: our impact in 2017/18
This is the story of our impact in 2017/18 - and the start of a wider conversation about what that means to the people we help and society.
We now know more about our impact than ever before. The new research behind our impact report helps us better understand the effect our advice has on people’s lives, and the difference we make to local communities. Using a Treasury-approved model, we can also put a financial estimate on this value.
For further details on how we’ve produced our financial estimate, we’ve put together a full technical annex: Modelling our value to society [ 0.7 mb].
The difference we make: our 2016/17 impact report
The difference we make: our impact in 2016/17 [ 170 kb] [ 170 kb] demonstrates how our network of 300 local centres dealt with 6.3 million issues and saved government and public services at least £430 million.
It also shows the value of our volunteers to support others in their community, develop skills and improve their wellbeing.
Helping people find a way forward - our 2015/16 impact report
Helping people find a way forward [ 0.84 mb] draws together evidence of the impact of our activities across Citizens Advice, and demonstrates our considerable value to society. It’s the complete story of what we do and achieve, and what would be lost to society if we were not here.
For further details on how we’ve produced our financial estimate, we’ve put together a full technical annex: Modelling our value to society in 2015/16. [ 0.88 mb]
The value of the Citizens Advice service: our impact in 2014/15
In 2015, we published our first impact report, The value of the Citizens Advice service: our impact in 2014/15 [ 0.96 mb]. This demonstrated how all of our activities and the way we work come together to help people find a way forward: benefiting individuals, government and society.
- We also produced a technical annex to explain our 2014/15 financial estimate: Modelling the value of the Citizens Advice service 2014-15 [ 0.85 mb]
We are able to demonstrate our impact because we have credible evidence of why people need support from our service, how we help, and what this achieves.
Why we're needed
Life is complicated. Sometimes people encounter challenges and problems that they don’t know how to deal with, and they need help to overcome.
- 9 in 10 of our clients said their problem affected their lives, including causing anxiety and financial difficulty
4 in 5 experienced a shock or life event before their problem
- 2 in 3 say they had difficulty knowing who to contact or how systems work before advice
People need different types of support at various times in their life. We believe individuals should be able to get help in the way that works for them and meets their needs.
We’re here to help everyone in society that needs us. The people we serve through our local network are often among the most disadvantaged in society with the greatest needs.
What we do
We aim to help people find a way forward. Everything Citizens Advice does shares this aim. As a service we:
help people overcome their problems through advice, education and support;
campaign on the big issues when people’s voices need to be heard; and
benefit society through the way we work.
The difference this makes
We have robust evidence on the effectiveness of our advice provision, showing that our service really works.
We help solve 8 in 10 clients' problems, and 9 in 10 find a way forward
Feedback collected through our client satisfaction survey shows that, in 2019/20, more than 8 out of every 10 clients who seek our help will have their problem partly or completely solved. And 9 in 10 clients said that we helped them find a way forward.
And our 2017 outcomes and impact research showed that advice does more than solve the immediate problem: it can reduce stress, improve finances and stabilise housing or employment. Our clients say that advice improved their lives even when their problems are not resolved.
Solving and preventing individuals' problems creates considerable value to society
Using a Treasury-approved model, we know that in 2019/20, for every £1 spent on Citizens Advice, we benefit our clients by £12.60. We saved government and public services £685 million. We estimate that our total social and economic value to society to be over £4bn.
This is a minimum return. We haven’t tried to monetise everything, sticking instead to what we know and can firmly evidence, using credible costings and proxies to illustrate our value to society. Against the backdrop of millions of individuals with different needs and the transformative effect that advice can have, we acknowledge that our findings here are simplified and likely to underplay our true value.
See our full technical annex (above) for more details.
Find out more about:
How we measure our impact
We have a responsibility and are committed to understanding the difference we make to the people we work with and communities across England and Wales.
Understanding our intended impact and what we actually achieved is vital.