I am a research assistant on the Ideas of Legality and Citizenship project, part of the 'New Sites of Legal Consciousness' research programme. The project is exploring the role of these terms in the work of Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) through interviews and focus groups with partner Bureaux taking place throughout 2014.
Despite CAB having long acted as an essential meeting point between citizens, law and the state, there has been little previous study of how CAB workers think about and understand their work. This project is taking an in-depth look at this work, exploring particularly how those working for CAB understand and employ the concept of ‘citizenship’, and how an attention to ‘everyday’ legal practices might shed light on the changing significance of law in personal and social problems. The project takes place amid rapidly changing circumstances for CAB and other advice agencies. By offering a fresh perspective upon the work of CAB and its effect upon their clients and the wider community, the project will offer a range of audiences an important indication of how Bureaux are responding to these changes.
In sum the project will provide a range of audiences with new insights into the vital role played by CAB workers, as well as providing a timely description of how advice work is changing. The research findings will help CAB in explaining the importance of their work, whether to funding bodies or elsewhere, and in exploring new models for funding, organising and delivering advice.