Citizens Advice consumer advice and advocacy annual report 2021-22
Our CEO, Dame Clare Moriarty:
Citizens Advice has a unique position in the consumer protection landscape, providing advice and advocacy as part of a single organisation. In recognition of this, I am proud to introduce this report which for the first time presents together our work across consumer advocacy and the consumer service.
This year is a significant milestone in Citizens Advice’s role in the consumer protection landscape, marking ten years since we launched the consumer service, directly helping people to understand their rights and to resolve the issues they face. In that time we have provided one-to-one advice to almost 7 million people, and have helped tens of millions through our website.
Through the data and insights we collect from the consumer service we help drive consumer protection activity by working with partners at a national and local level, and through our advocacy work we look to address the underlying problems driving consumer harm.
Now more than ever, people need our services. As rising energy prices led to 31 energy companies failing in 2021, we had large numbers of consumers turning to us for help navigating the chaos. We are now in the middle of a cost of living crisis and 2022 has seen us break unwelcome records for demand for our advice.
Each day brings more stories of people making heartbreaking decisions. This reminds us of the critical importance which consumer markets play in everyone’s lives and of the impact of each pound wasted through mis-selling, poor quality and overcharging. More and more products and services are now essential for modern life and squeezed budgets raise difficult questions about how consumers can continue to access the services they need.
Things are likely to get worse before they get better. At these times, it is worthwhile to pause and look back with pride at what has been achieved before returning to the challenges of the year ahead. In that spirit, I would like to extend my thanks to all the staff involved in consumer advice and advocacy at Citizens Advice.