Debt advice

When people are struggling with debt it’s more important than ever that they have access to effective advice.

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).

Future plans

To inform our development work we have undertaken an extensive programme of research. This includes a survey of advice provision, an assessment of the needs of over-indebted consumers, extensive consultation with creditors, the advice sector and public bodies across the UK and the development of a model for the allocation of funding for debt advice.

Our research can be accessed here.

From an analysis of this research, we have concluded that our focus should be on:

  • Reach and accessibility – to increase the availability of high quality advice
  • Simplicity – to make it easier for people to get the right advice in the right way for them in order to tackle immediate debt problems and show how to be more resilient in the future
  • Self-help – to encourage people to help themselves whenever practical
  • Addressing gaps in delivery – in such way that we use funding and commission services to achieve the maximum value-for-money and do not displace current funding arrangements

To find out more about the areas we are focussing on for our longer-term model, please see our publication ‘ A better deal for everyone’.

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.

Background

The start of our new role followed the Government’s response to the Consumer Credit and Personal Insolvency Review which stated the Money Advice Service is well placed to take a role in the coordination of debt advice services, and to develop a model which ensures that debt advice outcomes can be delivered in an effective, efficient way.

“People struggling with debt need independent, impartial and free advice. The Money Advice Service will be able to build on existing work done by groups such as CAB and develop it further so that it meets the needs of those looking for help. Delivering good quality debt advice will also benefit financial services firms, who will now take over funding the service from taxpayers.”

Mark Hoban MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Through this decision, we will be able to align debt advice with our existing service. This will make it easier for people to know where to turn to get unbiased advice, and means we can help people before debt becomes unmanageable.

Publications

Please click here to view our debt publications

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