Improving digital services for Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice


Two hands placing post it notes on a wall

Citizens Advice were at a crossroads in terms of their digital systems

We worked with Citizens Advice to develop a business case to improve their digital services for the public

Citizens Advice is a well known national charity that works with a network of local charities to offer confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. Some of the most popular advice they provide at the moment is:

Over 20,000 trained volunteers support the delivery of their services. They also run campaigns and conduct policy research. While Citizens Advice have offices around the UK, their online information and services play an increasingly important role.

They asked us to work with them to develop a business case to improve their digital services for the public, working with their consumer service department.


We built a viable business case that provides a clear vision for Citizens Advice digital services over the next 5 years. It balances their strategic and economic needs, based on insights and data from an impartial voice.

Ultimately, our work will help Citizens Advice improve their ability to deliver vital services to people in need. We’re proud to have played a part in supporting their journey.

Why was a business case needed?

Citizens Advice were at a crossroads in terms of their digital systems, contracts were coming to an end and it was time to consider whether to redevelop or recommission them while also looking at what capability they had in house.

We were brought in as a neutral voice to help them shape a business case to improve their digital services.

How we did it

We started by conducting research into existing ways of working. We spoke to the teams at Citizens Advice about their current capabilities and capacity. We also looked at their existing contracts with technology suppliers. We wanted to understand how much they were spending, but crucially the ‘why’ and ‘how’.

This gave us the foundation we needed to step back and understand what the options would look like in the unique context of Citizens Advice. We looked at the following scenarios:

  • do nothing (baseline)
  • recontract with existing suppliers
  • new procurement
  • bring everything in house

Using the Treasury’s five case business model we then evaluated these different options looking at the strategic, economic, financial, commercial and management case. We carried out interviews with stakeholders and suppliers and developed 13 critical success factors which we used to measure each of the viable options against. 

Some of the challenges we helped Citizens Advice address included:

  • mapping their technical architecture and user journeys
  • understanding the marketplace for digital services and SaaS solutions
  • evaluating contract requirements
  • identifying opportunities for innovation and new product development
  • understanding the skills required to design, develop, deliver and manage digital projects

The way forward

We ended up developing a fifth option which was a blended option of in house and new procurement. This helped us to maximise the benefits of the existing in house capacity and capabilities we’d identified in our research, while minimising the risks of relying too heavily on untested in house resources.

Taking this approach will save money in the long term and provide a more joined up approach across Citizens Advice as a whole, with one system following the full user journey.