The Debt Advice Peer Assessment Scheme (DAPA) as a quality assurance testing mechanism will cease on the 31st of March 2022. The last case files to be assessed under DAPA have been received and will be being marked and assessed during January and February with final reports being produced in March.
In recognition of the resource challenges and attrition occurring within the organisations that we fund, in October 2021 we took a proactive approach to assessing the outstanding quality activity within the grant agreements. As a result, we decided to stop any Triggered Technical Site Visits until the 31st of December to support grant recipients during this time. Communications relating to this were issued on the 21st of October. We have reviewed this decision, and this will continue now until the 31st of March 2022.
In November we reviewed DAPA activity scheduled for Q4, particularly where – in limited cases – activity would necessarily continue, or reporting would be issued, post March after the grant agreements had ended. Grant recipients that were impacted by this were informed on the 23rd of November and, where required, appropriate adjustments were made.
No additional quality activity has been requested from grant recipients. Monthly and Quarterly reporting (within the MCR and QCR) will continue as usual.
An expectation was set out last year that grant recipients would be working towards compliance with the FCA approved MaPS Standards that were published on the 1st of June 2021. Grant recipients were asked to provide a statement of compliance against these standards by the 31st of December as well as a control self-assessment that will support our future testing. Returns have now been received and are currently being assessed.
From the 1st of April 2022, all testing will be aligned to the FCA approved MaPS Standards with some additional technical requirements specific to the service line being tested. Over the past few months, we have been conducting field testing with our mainstream debt advice grant recipients, as well as in Money and Pensions Guidance services, across a range of channels. This, along with further development work planned in the short term, will help inform the longer-term approach and processes, including the volume/sample size of testing and the methodology. We aim to release the proposed short-term approach to sampling and methodology in advance of the new grants commencing in April 2022.
We are not procuring a direct replacement for the current DAPA Scheme which, as previously communicated, will end on 31st March 2022. Instead, we will be developing a new quality assurance framework through consultation with existing providers. We plan to procure a quality assurance service to fulfil the testing and methodology needed to operationalise the new quality assurance framework.
We are arranging an event for the 28th January to engage current debt advice delivery partners and individual debt advisers to share their experience of the current DAPA. We encourage Lead Organisations to coordinate attendees from across their organisation, and partnerships (where applicable). We will have limited spaces for the event to ensure attendees have the time to share their feedback and want to ensure we have a wide range of views and experiences.
We will provide a list of key areas we will focus on to allow attendees to prepare feedback to share at the meeting in advance.
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About the Money and Pensions Service
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is here to ensure every person feels more in control of their finances throughout their lives: from pocket money to pensions. When they are, communities are healthier, businesses are more prosperous, the economy benefits and individuals feel better off. MaPS delivers free and impartial money and pensions guidance to the public through MoneyHelper, which recently brought together legacy services the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
MaPS is working to make sure the whole of the UK understands that financial, physical and mental health are all deeply connected. MaPS’ role is to connect organisations with the shared purpose of achieving the five goals set out in the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing.
MaPS supports innovation so that everyone can use the most effective methods to help people feel more in control of their money, targeted to those most in need and inclusive of people from all backgrounds. MaPS is an arm’s-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Members of the public can get free guidance about their money and pensions at www.moneyhelper.org.uk