Press release: Money Advice Service sees record breaking demand

Thursday 28 January 2016

  • Over 12.8 million unique contacts to Money Advice Service website between April and December 2015
  • Over 11.6 million actions taken to improve finances as a result of using the Money Advice Service between April and December
  • 91% would revisit the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service today publishes its third consecutive record breaking quarterly figures. Q3 2015 (October-December) saw 33,000 more contacts than the previous quarter. Demand for online support also reached a record high with nearly 5.9 million contacts in the three months to 31 December. Preliminary results from January 2016 indicate that this demand continued to increase. Blue Monday on 18 January was the busiest day ever for the website, achieving 129,779 unique visits.

Survive January Campaign

At the end of December, the Service launched the Survive January campaign to give people tips about how to get their finances back on track after Christmas. The Service collaborated with over 50 commercial, local authority and charity partners for this campaign. In a new way of working, the Service partnered with Wrap and MySupermarket to create reciprocal blogs and content about saving money by avoiding food waste, as well as how to be a savvy shopper.

The Service also worked with Netmums to drive conversation about taking control of money matters and to identify the impact that working with a supportive community can have on people’s finances. Following the launch of this campaign, there have been over 2.2 million unique visits to the Money Advice Service website so far during January. This is a 32% increase on 2015 and nearly 60% on 2014*.

Help for people seeking debt advice

In Q3 over 89,000 people received debt advice through our funded partners** across the UK. As expected we saw lower numbers of people presenting for advice in December however, year-on-year debt advice sessions increased by 35 per cent. Furthermore, 79,000 of the 89,000 people who sought debt advice between October and December went on to take a positive action to better manage their debts. In addition to this there was a 38 per cent rise in the number of actions to manage debt well year-on-year.

Moving towards a more financially capable UK

In its third quarter The Money Advice Service worked with The Financial Capability Board to launch a ten-year strategy to improve people’s ability to manage money well day to day, prepare for and manage life events, and deal with financial difficulties.

The Strategy is now well underway across England, Scotland and Wales taking account of specific needs in each nation as well as existing Government initiatives in each area. Steering groups have been formed from product providers, policy makers, charities and educational groups and the Financial Capability Board met again at the start of the year.

Future plans for Money Advice Service

At the end of 2015 the Service published its 2016/17 Business plan and three-year Corporate Strategy for consultation with stakeholders and industry. It builds on significant changes already implemented following the Farnish Independent Review in March 2015. It also outlines how the Service will complete a shift towards encouraging a wide variety of organisations to help consumers with money management, using approaches built on solid evidence. The period of consultation will end on 15 February 2016.*

Commenting on these results, Caroline Rookes, CEO of the Money Advice Service said:

“Our activity in the final months of 2015, including the Survive January campaign and launch of the UK Financial Capability Strategy, builds on the changes we’ve made to focus more closely on coordinating the provision of guidance and working with industry partners to encourage people to engage with their money.

“For me, the real test of our success is in how many people make changes to their lifestyle and I’m thrilled to see that over 8 million positive actions were taken to budget and live within their means. We are helping more people than ever whilst maintaining the quality of our service.

“Our draft Business Plan for the year ahead provides our thoughts on how we plan to continue to change the way we work and I look forward to hearing industry’s feedback. I’m confident this will enable us to build on our success over the coming years.”

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Money Advice Service Press Office

020 7947 0068 / pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • There have been 2,270,019 unique visits to the Money Advice Service website so far during January. This is a 32.02% increase on 2015 and 59.63% on 2014

**Debt sessions are delivered by the following partners:

England and Wales

  • Citizens Advice
  • East Midlands Money Advice
  • Capitalise
  • Money Advice West
  • Greater Merseyside Money Advice

Scotland

  • Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB)

Northern Ireland

Department of Enterprise and Trade NI

*Responses to our Business Plan consultation can be submitted to businessplan@moneyadviceservice.org.uk

Results

Key Performance Indicators Results Q3 (Oct - Dec 2015) Year to date (Apr - Dec 2015) Annual target 2015/16 Year-on-Year difference
  Unique contacts to the website (UK only) 4,379,000 12,818,000 N/A +30%
  Volume of customer contacts - a visit to the website, web chat, phone or face-to-face session 5,942,000 17,442,000 21.5m ** +32%
  Online contacts (excluding Web Chats) 5,890,000 17,272,000   +32%
  Face-to-face contacts 20,000 63,000   -8%
  Telephone contacts 24,000 78,000   +16%
  Web chats 9,000 29,000   -30%
  Number of times we have given customers the help they required 3,864,000 11,510,000 ** 12m +28%

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

Satisfaction Criteria Q3 (Oct - Dec 2015) Annual Targets 15/16 Year-on-Year difference
% of people stating Service provided them with help required 85% 87% -2%
% of people stating they will revisit the Service 91% 90% 1%
% of people who would recommend the Service 88% 89% 1%

These percentages are not statistically significant

Number of actions taken as a result of the service Q2 (Jul - Sep) Year to date (April - Oct 2015) Annual Targets 2015/16
Total actions taken 4,766,000 11,618,000 11.5m
Budgeting to live within means 3,372,000 8,152,000  
Managing Debt well 630,000 1,532,000  
Saving Regularly 527,000 1,218,000  
Being prepared for later life and retirement 170,000 527,000  
Protected against the unknown 67,000 189,000  

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

Debt Advice Results Q3 (Oct- Dec 2015 Year to date Annual target 2015/16 Year-on-Year difference
Debt sessions funded through partners 89,200 273,000 370,000 +35%  
England & Wales 82,700 251,600      
Northern Ireland 600 2,200      
Scotland( Scottish figures for Q3 cover September 15 – November 15) 5,900 19,200      

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

1) The figures referred to represent results from the third quarter (Q3 of the Money Advice Service year, which runs from 1 October 2015 to 31st December 2015). Q3 for the Money Advice Service is Q4 of the calendar year.

2) The methodology for the number of actions taken as a result of the Service is as follows: between September and November the Service surveyed 1,878 people – a mix of web, phone and face-to-face customers who had had interactions with the Service between July and September 2015. Customers were asked which actions they had taken as a direct result of their interaction with the Money Advice Service, and to understand the barriers and enablers they had faced, in doing this. They were given a list of 20 different actions, and asked which ones they had taken. 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 independent market research agencies and measure customer satisfaction across all three Service delivery channels - online, phone, face-to-face. During the three months of quarter three, we interviewed 17,547 customers across all channels.

4) Data about usage of articles and calculators has been taken from internal analytics and site data.

About the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. Set up by government to help people make the most of their money. It provides free, unbiased money support and information and enables access to free debt advice services across the UK – online, over the phone and face to face. 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 & knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system), and to enhance the ability of the public to manage their own financial affairs.

For more information please contact the Money Advice Service Press Office on 020 7943 0593 pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk