It’s critical for people to have access to debt advice when they need it, and the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing sets out a goal of 2 million more people receiving debt advice by 2030.
Debt commissioning in England during 2021/22
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has a statutory duty to provide debt advice in England, which it does by commissioning services (pro-rata funding for debt advice in the devolved nations is administered by the governments in each nation). The core funding agreements for debt advice delivery currently in place were inherited from MaPS’s predecessor body and have been renewed on an annual basis.
During 2021/22 MaPS intends to undertake commissioning for debt advice services and the administration of Debt Relief Orders. This is an opportunity to ensure the services we fund are high quality and built around the latest insight on the wants and needs of customers. It also provides significant opportunities for new and existing providers to establish new partnerships and create new service delivery models to respond to the needs of customers.
Market engagement events will take place during May and June, before the procurement exercise commences. New funding agreements will be in place from April 2022.
Coronavirus debt advice sector support in England
The Coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on people’s financial wellbeing, and we expect the demand for debt advice services to increase. To help combat this, in June 2020 MaPS secured an extra £38 million to help providers deliver advice to more people in England who may be experiencing financial problems due to coronavirus.
This funding was allocated across three areas:
1. Increasing debt advice capacity
A tranche of the funding went to increase the capacity of high-quality, free-to-customer debt advice by recruiting and training 550 additional debt advisers. Funding was allocated to incumbent suppliers and following an open market process to a broader set of providers in the debt sector.
See our full list of our debt advice funded suppliers.
2. Maintaining debt advice capacity
Funding helped some of the agencies we work with to support advisers to work remotely and securely. We also undertook a market engagement exercise to assess the impact of the pandemic on the income streams of debt advice providers, and provided funding to help stabilise providers facing lost income.
3. Improving digital capability of money guidance
Funding also went into improving our digital money guidance and debt advice offering and building our capability to allow more people to access the support they need digitally.