Money and Pensions Service provides response to challenging financial wellbeing recommendations

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The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has today released its response to 13 ambitious financial wellbeing recommendations from influential sector leaders, which were published last month.

  • Money and Pensions Service commissioned independent report to help tackle the financial wellbeing impact of Covid-19.
  • MaPS will take recommendations into account in building a financial wellbeing movement.
  • Report released following fifth successful ‘Talk Money Week’ – an annual MaPS campaign designed to get people talking about their personal finances.

The response document which details how the organisation will deliver alongside others in the sector to help support and build a financial wellbeing movement from 2021 onwards, includes an explanation of how MaPS will refocus its current campaigning activity to help those most in need of guidance and support as a result of Covid-19.

The original recommendations, ‘Building the UK’s financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’(1), were released in October this year by the Challenge Chairs who advise the Money and Pensions Service on the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing(2).  That report was commissioned by MaPS as one of the significant ways the organisation responded to the immediate crisis as a result of the pandemic.

As well as facilitating the independent Chairs to create their recommendations in ‘Building financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’, MaPS recognised early the need to provide agile and responsive guidance to support customers after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the crisis initially struck, MaPS reacted quickly to the immediate needs of customers through its money and pensions guidance helplines and websites; updating its guidance daily to reflect swiftly changing policy on access to financial support and benefits from both government and creditors.

In the intervening months since the pandemic first emerged MaPS has worked with stakeholders across the UK to ensure it continues to respond to the evolving crisis, including developing up-to-the minute tools and resources for consumers. Some of this activity, including the creation of the new ‘Money Navigator’ tool(3), is also outlined in the report.

As the body with the statutory remit to create a financially healthier nation for individuals, communities, business and the economy, MaPS has an important role to play in many of the recommendations made by the Challenge Chairs. The response document therefore outlines how MaPS is already taking forward aspects of many of the recommendations, sets out how it will take further elements into account as it develops its Corporate Plan for 2021/22, whilst also outlining areas that are clearly outside of the MaPS remit and a matter for the UK Government.

Additionally, MaPS has responded to the independent Chairs’ recommendations by considering the context within Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The nature of the MaPS response in the devolved nations of the UK are outlined in respective ‘story so far’(4) documents, which have been released alongside the UK-wide response document.

Sir Hector Sants, Chair of the Money and Pensions Service, said:

“When the Covid-19 crisis first gripped the UK, MaPS was acutely aware that there would be a significant and adverse impact on people’s financial wellbeing. It became clear that a pivot of the existing programme of work for the UK Strategy was required alongside other measures we took to maintain sufficient guidance support for those in direct need of our services.

“The work of the independent Chairs on the ‘Building financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’ report serves as an important contribution to our wider UK Strategy work. The 13 recommendations produced by the Chairs will be considered in greater detail as the MaPS 2021/22 Corporate Plan is developed, taking into account the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the priorities it sets.”

Read the ‘story so far’ reports for each devolved UK nation:

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Notes to editors

(1). Building the UK’s financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19’

In January 2020, MaPS recruited 11 groups containing a total of 145 of the most experienced minds in the UK to develop financial wellbeing delivery proposals to achieve the five national goals of the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing by 2030.

In April, following the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the independent ‘Challenge Chairs’ of the groups were asked to make urgent recommendations to address the financial wellbeing impact of the crisis. The report, Building the UK’s financial wellbeing in the light of Covid-19 was the result of this work, independently published by the Chairs on 15 October 2020

(2). About the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing

In 2019 MaPS spent 12 months listening to our stakeholders and developing a new UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, which is designed to drive change at scale and shift the dials on personal finance.

The UK Strategy was released in January 2020 as the ten-year framework which will help achieve the vision of everyone making the most of their money and pensions. MaPS will play a key role in achieving this vision, by supporting and working with a wide range of other organisations and by delivering services where appropriate.

(3). The Money Navigator Tool

The Money Navigator Tool is designed to help people who have seen their finances impacted by Covid-19. Since it was launched in June 2020 it has been opened 35,000 times.

(4). A Four-Nation response

To ensure that MaPS fully understood the financial wellbeing impact of Covid-19 across all of the UK, parallel processes of engagement were undertaken in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by way of virtual roundtables on each ‘agenda for change’ and a number of cross cutting lenses and associated areas.  Representatives from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have been active participants in both the UK-wide and devolved level engagement.

Over 200 organisations were engaged with during the virtual roundtables and a number of extra considerations and specific actions were developed in conjunction with local stakeholders, partners, and governments. As well as the contents of this document, full details of all engagement within Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can be found here, within extensive ‘story so far’ documents charting local responses to Covid-19.

Additional background to the response

As MaPS wanted to respond to the independent Chairs’ report in a timely manner, this document has been created at a point before the launch of the MaPS 2021/22 Corporate Plan due to be published March. MaPS will further consider the Chairs’ recommendations as this 2021/22 Corporate Plan is developed.

Some of the recommendations from the independent Chairs align with the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing and as such, MaPS will measure the impact of each recommendation within each relevant ‘agenda for change’. For example, the ‘financial foundations’ agenda for change aims to provide more children and young people with a meaningful financial education, closely aligned with the independent Chair’s recommendations surrounding essential financial skills and parent/child conversations.

Some of the work called for is already being undertaken. Recommendation 1 calls for MaPS to undertake awareness raising for groups in financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19. This year MaPS focussed Talk Money Week (9-13 November) on those negatively impacted by Covid-19. Find out more about Talk Money Week 2020.

Media enquiries

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