MALG member the Money Advice Service has announced that Peter Wyman CBE, chair of the Care Quality Commission, is to lead an independent review of the funding of debt advice across the UK.
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. It 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, which will look at issues affecting some of the most vulnerable people in society, 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.
Peter Wyman said: “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
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 MALG members:
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.”
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.”
MALG will report back on findings as soon as they are available and bring members together to discuss what action needs to be taken as a result.