Understanding the Supply and Demand for Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice are a network of independent charities that offer confidential, independent and free advice on a range of consumer, legal or money-based issues. In 2019, 2.8 million people were seen in person, by phone, email or via web chat; and the advice website attracted over 34.5 million visits with 54.5 million page views.

The wealth of data generated by these interactions provides a huge opportunity to better understand and refine service provision. With this as an overarching objective, this project aims to model the characteristics of supply and demand for advice services at the local level. This will involve developing a rich understanding of Citizens Advice consumers, such as their characteristics, behaviours and preferred channels for interaction. Through the examination of supply of services at the local level met and unmet demand will be explored; and provide insights about how network evolution and expansion could improve service outcomes and responsiveness to new arising challenges (e.g. those brought about by COVID-19).

Specifically, the project will:

  • Build a classification of the types of users accessing services using information within Citizens Advice and matched geographical data on neighbourhood demographics
  • Develop an interactive mapping resource for visualising how the types of users vary across the UK
  • Compare how service location compares to local user types
  • Identify how trends in service provision and user types have varied over time including pre- and post-COVID-19

Project reference: LV51

Application deadline: 9th April