About our debt work
When people are struggling with debt it’s more important than ever that they have access to effective advice. We work with partners to make debt advice easier and quicker to access, and to improve standards and quality across the sector.
Services in 2016/17
We have allocated funding for 2016/17 as follows:
England and Wales – integrated multi-channel services in partnership with Citizens Advice, Toynbee Hall, Talking Money, East Midlands Money Advice and Greater Merseyside Money Advice Partnership.
Scotland – face-to-face services and capacity building for advice agencies in partnership with Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Northern Ireland – face to face, telephone and online partnership with Citizens Advice Northern Ireland. Improving reach and engagement activities with South Tyrone Empowerment Programme (STEP) and Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO).
We believe that it is important for people who seek debt advice to have the assurance that both the organisation they access, and the adviser that they engage with, are operating to the highest standards.
To find out how we work with partners to improve standards and quality across the debt sector, please see Raising standards.
We are beginning to develop a commissioning strategy for the approximately £45m per annum we spend on commissioning debt advice services. To help shape our initial thinking, we have started working with stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of:
· The need for an articulated commissioning strategy
· What the objectives of the commissioning strategy should be
· The drivers and context of the new strategy
· How we best respond to the needs of those facing problem debt
We are currently undertaking an evidence review to also help shape our thinking. We hope to conclude this review by early April and establish what gaps / weaknesses there are in our knowledge base. At that point, we will be looking for the sector’s help in addressing those gaps and weaknesses. Once we have gathered views and the evidence required, we hope to articulate a draft commissioning strategy in Summer 2017, which we will then consult upon with the sector. The strategy will provisionally then begin rolling out from Autumn onwards, dependent on responses to the consultation.
Notes from the initial workshops we held on the commissioning strategy can be found here.
Working with others
This task is hugely complex, and we do not underestimate the challenge. We are grateful for the on-going contribution of organisations from across the fields of advice, financial services, and Government – and we recognise the increased contributions of the financial services sector thorough the new allocation from the levy collected by the FCA which funds our coordinating role.
We are advised by our Advisory Forum with membership from across creditors, advice organisations and Government. The involvement of stakeholders is key, and we will continue to work closely with them throughout this project.
Research and other information about our debt advice role:
Our research can be accessed here.