Research and Social Policy Reports
The Citizens Information Board undertakes social research on topics that are based on the feedback we receive, and are of particular concern to the users of social benefits and services in Ireland. The Citizens Information Board has also given special attention to the study of the information process in modern society and suggested ways forward in improving the availability and usefulness of citizens information.
Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) – The experience of Citizens Information Services (2017)
This study, commissioned by the CIB and undertaken by researchers Dr. Kathy Walsh and Brian Harvey, reflects the experiences of our services in providing information, advice and advocacy in relation to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme within the wider social housing context. The research is in line with CIB’s remit to provide policy feedback and highlight issues that are of concern to users of the services it supports.
While HAP is a valuable housing initiative which helps to address the housing needs of those in low income employment as well as those reliant on social welfare, there are concerns regarding the shortage of available suitable private rented accommodation in some areas and issues related to security of tenure. These and other matters are highlighted in this study which documents the experience of the citizens information network in assisting people in accessing the scheme over the course of its rollout nationally.
Making an Impact – The Public Value of Citizens Information Services in Ireland (2017)
Research on evaluating the impact CIS’s have using a public service value framework. The research was commissioned by the CIS Development Managers Network and carried out by Dr. Nat O’Connor, Institute for Research in Social Sciences, Ulster University. It documents the wide range of services provided by CISs and the economic and social value of this work to the public. It also shows the importance of CISs in dealing with people who can’t access online information or who need a face-to-face service offering advice and advocacy in relation to increasingly complex issues. Over 600,000 people are served by CISs annually with services operating from over 200 locations.
An Analysis of Mortgage Arrears Among South Mayo MABS’ Clients – A Spatial Dimension to a National Problem? (2016)
A study on the nature of mortgage arrears among clients, how clients’ mortgage arrears are being treated and recommendations for change has been published by South Mayo MABS. The study conducted by South Mayo MABS in partnership with Dr. Stuart Stamp suggests that there is a spatial dimension to mortgage arrears, across a range of areas such as borrower age, household composition, lender profiles, arrears persistence, housing stress and shelter poverty. It also recommends that emerging policy developments need to factor in a spatial dimension to resolution of arrears problems.
Employment Programmes and contribution to Citizens Information Services Delivery
This external independent CIB commissioned evaluation of employment schemes within the network of citizens information services considers the role and contribution of these programmes and the Community Employment scheme in particular to the delivery of the information, advice and advocacy service model and the benefits to various stakeholders arising from the use of these schemes. The research undertaken by TMA Associates explores the overall nature of engagement of scheme workers in services, the extent of face to face work with clients and the progression of staff into more mainstream roles in services. The research also looks at the extent to which the employment opportunities and the model provided by CIS’s contributes to the overall government activation and work placement agenda.
Information in Transition: The information, advice and advocacy needs of older people in the technology and information age (2013)
In 2013, the Citizens Information Board provided funding (through the Social Policy Grant scheme) to Co Wicklow Citizens Information Service to research the information, advice and advocacy needs of older people in County Wicklow. The report – Information in Transition: The information, advice and advocacy needs of older people in the technology and information age – sought to establish what types of information older people in County Wicklow are looking for, how they access this information and who they look to for support in both accessing and acting on this information. Although focussed on older people in County Wicklow, the research has broader relevance for agencies and personnel who are working with marginalised, or hard-to-reach, older people and can help to inform the delivery of services in an age-friendly manner to this group.
MABS Clients and Mortgage Debt - a profile of MABS clients in Mortgage Difficulty (2013)
A Report prepared by MABS National Development Limited (MABS ndl) for the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, based on a sample of almost 6,000 cases was published today. The Report found that this group is primarily made up of households with children, located in urban areas and headed by people between the ages of 41 and 65. Furthermore, clients of the State's Money Advice and Budgeting Service experiencing difficulty with their mortgage were more likely to be unemployed, have multiple debts in addition to the mortgage, and be mortgaged to a mainstream lender. The Report, which underlines the need for a holistic, consumer-focused approach towards the whole area of consumer debt, makes further recommendations in relation to the resolution of the personal debt crisis.
Hard Times for the Self-employed (2012)
Citizens Information Services have seen a substantial increase in the number of self-employed people using their services. MABS also reports growing problems of indebtedness, difficulties in accessing credit and subsequent inability to meet loan and mortgage payments amongst self-employed people. Feedback and case studies from both services have informed the new social policy report.
Lifting the Load (2011)
Waterford MABS with the support of the Citizens Information Board and MABSndl commissioned research on mortgage debt and arrears among MABS clients. The report, Lifting the Load - Help for People with Mortgage Arrears, was prepared by Simon Brooke and Michelle Norris. The research focused on the experiences of MABS clients who were having difficulties repaying their mortgages.
The research documents the difficulties that MABS clients are experiencing in relation to mortgage arrears, explores the impact of current supports available to people and the application of options for the resolution of mortgage debt difficulties and makes recommendations based on the findings Current arrangements including forbearance and mortgage interest supplement address the issues of those in short term difficulty. The research found a more serious problem was that existing arrangements do not meet the needs of people who need medium-term support or have non-viable mortgages. In the case of the latter forbearance can worsen their situation by increasing the debts they owe on dwellings which are likely to be repossessed ultimately. The research identifies a number of potential solutions to the problems of these households including extending Mortgage Interest Supplement and Mortgage to Rent Schemes. "The research is an important contribution to the debate on how to resolve the personal debt crisis," Minister Burton concluded at the launch on the 29th September.
Volunteering in Citizens Information Services (2010)
Volunteering in Citizens Information Services (2010).pdf
Volunteering in Citizens Information Services - Executive Summary (2010).pdf
Volunteering in Citizens Information Services - Executive Summary (Irish) (2010).pdf
Getting There: Transport and Access to Social Services (2010)
A new report Getting There: Transport and Access to Social Services published by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) highlights the range of issues experienced by the public in relation to travel, transport and access, particularly in rural areas.
Getting There: Transport and Access to Social Services (2010).pdf
Getting There: Transport and Access to Social Services - Executive Summary (2010).pdf
Getting There: Transport and Access to Social Services - Executive Summary (Irish) (2010).pdf
Citizens Information Services Survey 2008
This Survey is a snapshot of activity in Citizens Information Services (CISs) in 2008 and provides a range of data with regard to the people who use CISs, the types of queries presented and the ways in which these queries are processed. The Survey was conducted by Solution Enable on behalf of the Citizens Information Board and is one of a number of surveys carried out periodically. CIS's deal with over 600,000 callers annually.
5,811 clients were surveyed across 10 participating CIS's for the survey. 23% of clients surveyed were from countries other than Ireland. Although income support issues are predominant, significant numbers of queries relate to other public services, to employment rights, to family matters and to consumer and legal issues. (6%) of the clients surveyed had a disability.
There was a very high degree of satisfaction with the CISs, with almost all survey respondents stating that they were happy with the service they received. 71% of client contacts were face to face and 29% by telephone. The 2008 Survey shows an overall shift in duration of calls or visits towards longer contact times when compared with previous surveys. The provision of information is the most common aspect of the Service but there are also significant advice and advocacy dimensions to the role of CISs.