Money and Pensions Service update on debt advice commissioning: community-based debt advice in England

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In February 2022, MaPS announced its intention to offer further grants to existing providers of community-based debt advice, including for face-to-face appointments.

  • MaPS confirms grants to be offered to current MaPS-funded providers of community-based debt advice in England.
  • New grants will be effective for a period of 26 months starting from 1 February 2023.
  • £30 million annually to fund community-based debt advice, including face-to-face provision, as part of £76 million total funding for debt advice in England.
  • Ongoing delivery of debt advice assured while MaPS continues work with the sector to develop longer-term thinking on community-based services.

In February 2022, MaPS announced its intention to offer further grants to existing providers of community-based debt advice, including for face-to-face appointments. Today, MaPS can confirm that it has now offered these grants to existing providers for a period of 26 months, effective from 1 February 2023, ensuring there will be no gaps in funding for community-based service provision after the current grants end on 31 January 2023. 

These grants will total £30 million per annum, subject to the usual annual budget setting by government, and will enable people to access the life-changing benefits of expert debt advice each year via community-based provision alone.

The grants will run alongside contracts for the provision of national and business debt advice, and administration hubs for debt relief orders, which will collectively represent £76 million of funding per annum – 80% more than pre-pandemic. This will support people to receive life-changing debt advice across multiple channels and solutions. The outcomes of the procurement for national and business debt advice services, as well as debt relief order administration, will be announced shortly.

The 26-month grants for community-based provision will secure the ongoing delivery of debt advice services, including face-to-face, to those people who need them. People will continue to be able to find expert, free of charge advice through the MoneyHelper debt advice locator toolOpens in a new window

We recognise the vital role that debt advisers play in their community and these grants will provide certainty of funding for them to continue.

During the course of the 26-month grants, MaPS will continue to engage with debt advice clients, advisers, advice organisations and other stakeholders to identify the best ways to commission locally based services long-term. MaPS is currently in an evidence-gathering phase which will continue for at least the next year, followed by a formal public consultation in late 2023. Consideration of the needs of service users, the current funding landscape of the debt advice sector, the impact on people of the pandemic and increases in cost of living will be primary goals of this work. 

MaPS will continue to engage directly with the adviser community, through a series of workshops, meetings and events, on aspects such as quality assurance and wellbeing. An adviser panel will be established in due course which will have broad representation from the sector to ensure that the views and experiences of those working with clients every day are taken into consideration.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive of the Money and Pensions Service, said:

"I am pleased to confirm these new 26-month grants for community-based debt advice, which will provide a longer-term planning horizon for the sector and ensure continuity of service for the many thousands of people who benefit each year from expert debt advice provided in their local area.

"Cost-of-living pressures mean that increasing the availability of debt advice, including face-to-face, has never been more important. Working alongside the future recipients of funding for national and business debt advice services, and debt relief order administration, we are making sure that we have in place a range of options that will provide more debt advice, for more people, than ever before.

"I’d like to thank the debt advice sector, including front-line debt advisers, for their ongoing engagement in our work to develop long-term solutions for debt advice provision. As we work towards a full public consultation in 2023, their expertise, experience and commitment to delivering better outcomes for more people will be invaluable in helping us shape our thinking."

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Notes to editors

  • Community-based debt advice – debt advice services delivered in community settings such as high streets, other local centres and via outreach. These services are typically offered entirely or partially in-person; although many community based organisations use a range of delivery models to provide debt advice and engage people.
  • The outcomes of the procurement of national, business and debt relief orders (Lots 1,3 and 4) will be announced separately, once necessary governance steps are completed.
  • On 14 February 2022, MaPS announced that it would offer existing debt advice delivery providers interim grants for a period of 10 months starting from 1 April 2022 (including Debt Resolution Order administration arrangements and the advisers trained and funded as part of MaPS’ pandemic response) at the same levels as the previous financial year. Following the interim grant of ten months, our intention was to put in place a further grant for our current regional providers whilst we work with them and other stakeholders to shape longer-term plans.
  • You can read more about the government’s Cost of Living support on the Help with the cost of livingOpens in a new window

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