Press release: Money Advice Service publishes revised 2016/17 Business Plan

Wednesday 11 May 2016

The Money Advice Service (MAS) has today published its Business Plan for 2016/17 which sets out our plans for this year to continue to help millions of people manage their money better. The plan will also assist HM Treasury to shape the new money guidance body that will come into existence in two years’ time.

In 2016/17 we will continue to deliver on our statutory objectives. In addition we will focus on developing robust evidence of ‘what works’ to improve financial decisions, through innovative trials and pilots delivered by third-party organisations. The plan will also contribute to ensuring that the transition to the new body is as effective as possible, in co-ordination with the Treasury and the FCA.

Key deliverables:

  • Identifying ‘what works’ - We will increase funding into the front line with up to seven million pounds set aside to commission external organisations to conduct trials, pilots and research into ‘what works’.
  • Funding more debt advice - We will fund help for 425,000 over-indebted people – a 15% increase on last year, by providing more capacity in the free debt advice sector and funding new telephone helpline capacity. We will also run a series of tests with specific target groups of over-indebted people to encourage them to seek advice earlier.
  • Improving financial capability - We will continue to establish the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK to develop clear, accountable action plans for each thematic area.
  • Financial education - We will drive forward collaborations and partnerships with key organisations delivering financial education for children and young people to help them evaluate their work against high standards of evidence and impact.
  • Support for Universal Credit recipients - We will continue our partnership with Department of Work and Pensions to support people transitioning to Universal Credit by providing a free, fast tool to help them with their household budgeting.
  • Payment accounts - We will deliver on our statutory duty to increase awareness of basic bank accounts and work towards enabling customers to compare fees charged on all payment accounts.

Commenting on the 2016/17 Business Plan, Caroline Rookes, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Service, said: “The Money Advice Service will continue to serve millions of customers each year up to April 2018, as well as continuing to grow the financial capability partnerships and evidence base needed for the long-term Financial Capability Strategy for the UK.

“Following feedback on our draft 2016/17 plan and the government announcement on the future of financial guidance, we have taken action to cease all marketing and brand building activity immediately. We have also shifted investment away from the long-term development of our website meaning that we can increase funding into the front line by distributing an additional four million to ‘what works’ initiatives delivered through voluntary partners. Activity will continue as laid out in the consultation document for debt advice and financial capability work.

“Ultimately the job of improving financial capability and encouraging more people to seek debt advice will require the co-ordinated efforts of a wide variety of sectors. A challenge which the Financial Capability Strategy aims to tackle. Most importantly consumers will remain at the heart of our service, so that people across the UK can make the most of their money.”

The business plan is based on five aims:

  1. Delivering through others: To lead co-ordination of the many organisations that can contribute to improving financial capability through collective impact – creating a common understanding of problems and of ways to address them.
  2. Earlier and wider access to debt advice: To support significantly more over- indebted people to access free, high-quality advice, as early as possible, to resolve their crises and build their long-term financial capability.
  3. More people budgeting and saving: To help people most at risk from income shocks to manage their money well day to day and save more.
  4. Improving access to guidance and advice: To fill clearly identified gaps in the guidance and advice landscape so that people get the help they need when taking financial decisions.
  5. Widening and improving financial education: To improve the ability of children and young people to manage their money and take good financial decisions.

Measuring our impact The plan outlines 18 key performance indicators which we will use to understand progress against this target. These have been divided into three different categories; those that already measure impact on consumers at scale, those that represent key stepping stones on the path towards impact on consumers at scale and ongoing proxy measures for quality or influence. These targets can be seen in full on page 47 of the business plan.

ENDS

The 2016/17 business plan can be found here: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/corporate/201617-business-plan

For more information please contact:

Money Advice Service Press Office
020 7947 0068 / pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

2015/16 Performance results

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Annual target 2015/16 Results Q4 (Jan-Mar 2016) Full year (Apri 15 - Mar 16)
Unique contacts to the website (UK only) N/A 6,537,000 19,355,000
Volume of customer contacts* 21.5m 8,487,000 25,929,000
Online contacts (excluding Web Chats)   8,431,000 25,703,000
Face-to-face contacts   20,000 83,000
Telephone contacts   26,000 105,000
Web chats 10,000 39,000
Number of times we have given customers the help they required 12m 5,699,000 17,209,000

*visit to the website, web chat, phone or face-to-face session.

All figures rounded to the nearest 1,000. Figures may not sum due to rounding. These percentages are not statistically significant.

SATISFACTION CRITERIA Annual target 2015/16 Q4 (Jan-Mar 2016) Full year (April 15 - Mar 16)
% of people stating Service provided them with help required) 87% 86% 86%
% of people stating they will revisit the Service 90% 92% 91%
% of people who would recommend the Service 89% 89% 88%

These percentages are not statistically significant.

NUMBER OF ACTIONS TAKEN AS A RESULT OF THE SERVICE Annual target 2015/16 Q3 (Oct-Dec) Year to date (April – Dec 2015)
Total actions taken 11.5m 4,984,000 14,680,000
Budgeting to live within means   3,475,000 10,268,000
Managing debt well   605,000 1,908,000
Saving regularly   570,000 1,579,000
Being prepared for later life and retirement   301,000 704,000
Protected against the unknown   32,000 220,000

All figures rounded to the nearest 1,000. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

DEBT ADVICE Annual target 2015/16 Results Q4 (Jan - Mar 2016) Full year (April 15 – Mar 16)
Debt sessions funded through partners 370,000 108,600 380,600
England & Wales   101,600 352,200
Northern Ireland   300 2,500
Scotland (Scottish figures for Q3 cover December 15 - February 16)   6,700 25,900

All figures rounded to the nearest 100. Figures may not sum due to rounding. These percentages are not statistically significant

Performance methodology

1) The figures referred to represent results from the fourth quarter (Q4 of the Money Advice Service year, which runs from 1 January 2016 to 31st March 2016). Q4 for the Money Advice Service is Q1 of the calendar year.

2) The methodology for the number of actions taken as a result of the Service is as follows: between December 2015 and February 2016 the Service surveyed 1,835 people – a mix of web, phone and face-to-face customers who had had interactions with the Service between October and December 2015. Customers were asked which actions they had taken as a direct result of their interaction with the Money Advice Service, from a list of 20 different actions. These actions could be either something the respondent had started to do, such as taking out new insurance or taking steps to reduce their debt, or things that they had started to do more or less of, such as going into arrears less on bills or sticking to a budget more often.

3) Customer satisfaction scores are measured through monthly exit polls - surveys are conducted by telephone and online by an independent market research agency and measure customer satisfaction across all three Service delivery channels - online, phone, face-to-face. During the three months of quarter four, we interviewed 17,449 customers across all channels.

About the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money guidance online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk or via free phone on 0800 138 7777. Debt advice is also provided through a variety of partners across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system); and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.