Peter Wyman to head independent review of debt advice funding

Peter Wyman CBE is to lead an independent review of the funding of debt advice across the UK, it was announced today.

The review will seek views from a wide range of interested parties including the debt advice sector itself, and recommend an appropriate funding framework for the future.

The review has been established in response to a challenging and complex debt advice funding landscape. This includes an increasing need for advice, growing consumer debt and challenges to sufficient funding for free advice.

The review will look at issues affecting some of the most vulnerable people in society who are struggling with money worries.

The review is widely supported across the debt advice sector including debt advice providers, existing funders and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Peter Wyman has broad experience at Board level across a range of different organisations, including many years as a senior partner at PwC. As President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales he led the accountancy profession in the wake of the Enron/Andersen crisis. He has advised Government on several complex issues including taxation and deregulation. He has wide experience of working with not- for- profit organisations and vulnerable people. He is currently chair of the Care Quality Commission.

Announcing Peter’s appointment Andy Briscoe, Chair of the Money Advice Service and Chair of the Debt Advice Steering Group, said the appointment of Peter to head the independent review had widespread support.

Andy Briscoe said:

“We are all delighted that Peter Wyman has agreed to lead this timely and critically important review. Each year 1.5 million people seek help from the debt advice sector to cope with over-indebtedness, and these numbers are likely to increase. Meanwhile the current sources of funding for this vital service are coming under pressure.

“Peter’s accountancy experience, his many years working with not-for-profit organisations and vulnerable people, and his impartiality fit well with the scope of this review. His distinguished career in the private, public and voluntary sectors make him ideally qualified to engage with current and future funders of debt advice, and the agencies delivering that advice. He is well placed to ensure the review is transparent, credible, and delivers positive and lasting improvements.”

Peter Wyman said today:

“I am pleased to be chairing this review, which tackles a vital issue at the heart of society. Good advice can make all the difference for those struggling with debt, and it is essential the funding model which supports that is transparent and sustainable. I am looking forward to hearing views from across the sector, including those who provide funding, and the businesses and public sector bodies which engage with people in debt.”

The funding review will consider:

  • How much debt advice is needed as well as how much it will cost, now and in the future
  • How debt advice should be funded and by whom
  • The benefits of the current debt funding model, as well as where this could be improved, based on people’s needs
  • If changes are required, how the sector should transition to the new model

Sheila Wheeler, Director of Debt Advice at the Money Advice Service said:

“Debt advice is a lifeline for a huge number of people across the UK. This review is vital to ensuring that funding arrangements have people’s needs front and centre. Crucially it will consider who should fund debt advice, as well as reviewing where the debt arises, and who benefits from debt advice. I believe this will deliver transparency in the funding arrangements, as well as greater sustainability.”

Peter Wyman will deliver his report and recommendations to the Debt Advice Steering Group, HM Treasury and the FCA. It is anticipated that he will present his findings within the next 12 months.

The review and appointment have both been welcomed by members of the Debt Advice Steering Group:

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:

“Getting the right debt advice at the right time can transform people’s lives. Demand for debt advice services currently outstrips supply - and is expected to rise - so it’s essential funding to frontline services is maximised to ensure people can get the help they need now and into the future. We welcome this review and look forward to working with Peter Wyman and Money Advice Service to ensure a sustainable, transparent and fair funding system for free to client debt advice.”

Fiona Hoyle, Head of Consumer and Mortgage Finance at the Finance & Leasing Association, said:

“When financial difficulties arise, consumers need access to high quality debt advice. We welcome this independent review looking at how such advice should be properly funded.”

Bob Chapman, Chair of the National Advice Network Wales, said:

“I am delighted the Money Advice Service has sponsored this independent review of debt advice funding across the UK. It will help us all to establish a model of how we can best help people through indebtedness, and how this work can be integrated with people’s other advice needs.”

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For more information please contact:

Money Advice Service Press Office

020 7947 0593 / pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Peter Wyman CBE is an experienced Chairman and Non-Executive Director with a current portfolio of appointments in the private, public and third sectors which includes being Chairman of the Care Quality Commission and of Sir Richard Sutton Limited. He was previously a senior partner in PwC and President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Peter was at PwC for 42 years, 32 as a partner. On qualifying as a chartered accountant, he specialised in tax, acting for clients ranging from large multi-national corporations to family businesses and their owners before becoming head of the tax practice and a member of the Firm’s Board. He worked for the then Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine, on the integration of PAYE and National Insurance. He was a co-founder of the Firm’s Corporate Finance Division, leading the tax and M&A units. Finally, he became responsible for PwC’s Government Relations, Public Policy and Regulatory Matters, first for the UK and ultimately for PwC globally when he also became a member of the PwC Global Executive.

2. The Debt Advice Steering Group is an independent cross-sector group whose mission is to coordinate and improve the debt advice sector. MAS provides the secretariat for the Group and its core membership comes from the following organisations:·

  • Advice UK
  • Barclays
  • UK Finance
  • HM Treasury
  • Citizens Advice Northern Ireland
  • Money Advice Scotland
  • National Advice Network Wales.
  • Citizens Advice
  • Finance and Leasing Association
  • Money Advice Trust
  • RBS
  • StepChange

3. 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. It also manages the delivery of free Debt advice across the UK, which is provided through a variety of partners. 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.

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