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Money Advice Service 'not fit for purpose'


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The service that is supposed to help those experiencing financial problems is "not fit for purpose", according to MPs.

 

In a hard-hitting report into the Money Advice Service (MAS) published today, the Treasury Select Committee said it had wanted to scrap the service completely but had been persuaded to grant a stay of execution because the Treasury has already announced an investigation.

 

The report condemns the "excessive pay" of senior staff and the amount of cash used to promote the service rather than help vulnerable people. The committee has called for an urgent review into the service, which has an annual budget for 2013-14 of £80m.

 

In a telling sign of the importance of the issue, it has demanded the review must be completed "no later than summer 2014".

 

The damning report criticised the "very large amounts spent on marketing" by the Government agency, which was set up to help people needing debt and financial guidance.

 

It splashed out about £20m on communications and marketing in 2012-13, including some high-profile TV advertising.

 

However, critics said the predominantly web-based service failed to help people, many of whom needed face-to-face advice.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/mps-condemn-money-advice-service-as-not-fit-for-purpose-8978820.html

 

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/news/treasury-committee-calls-for-independent-review-into-future-of-the-money-advice-service/

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The Fat Cats at it again...even to the detrement of struggling families:-(

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Has the MAS ever been fit for purpose? The CFS is useful, but not much else is. Their self managed DMP CashFlow has been a total flop with very few signing up for it.

 

I wonder if they'll plan to do anything which thinks more 'outside the box' in order to ensure their survival?

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Hi

 

Hot topic now the MAS, interesting article today from Credit 'Today'

 

http://www.credittoday.co.uk/article/16334/online-news/money-advice-provision-moving-in-right-direction

 

The spotlight will continue to be on the MAS & other agencies, now and into the new year

 

Pressure to deliver will increase in these fascinating times for the debt advice sector

 

Something is cooking

 

My opinions

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Hi

 

 

Treasury Report on the MAS

 

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmtreasy/457/45702.htm

 

Another interesting article with both sides of the debate 'slugged' out a little so to speak

 

http://m.moneymarketing.co.uk/2003913.article?mobilesite=enabled

 

Nice to see that there is plenty of Christmas spirit around, maybe they will save what they really want to say and mean to each other for the New Year:)

 

W

Edited by Wintry
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It's difficult really to see WHY it should continue IMO. So much of what it does is duplicated elsewhere, though I'm not sure the CAB is the right body for all its functions to be given, as for some it could make a direct conflict of interest in the CAB's functions.

 

As you say, interesting times ahead.

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It's difficult really to see WHY it should continue IMO. So much of what it does is duplicated elsewhere, though I'm not sure the CAB is the right body for all its functions to be given, as for some it could make a direct conflict of interest in the CAB's functions.

 

As you say, interesting times ahead.

 

Hi

 

I can see the MAS coming under sustained fire in the new year, Stalins daughters & all

 

I think they will survive however as there is simply not enough time to start again with another re-launch agency... is there???

 

There will be changes and developments no doubt and lets hope the people who need the advice and help benefit as that is what this is supposed to be all about.

 

My opinions

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Do we need a re-launch agency? Which bits of the MAT would you be wanting to keep if you were in control?

 

 

Hi

 

Interesting questions:)

 

No, we don't need a re-launch agency, there isn't time really, just some good thinkers and experienced people with a few new ideas will do the trick.

 

More co-ordinated genuine free independent impartial face to face advisers on benefits, budgeting, debt & housing especially (these areas overlap in debt advice) & network inter agency support, backed up with telephone and digital.

 

All the above made easier to access and taken into the communities, other agencies & education

 

The marketing & advertising have been highlighted already, not rocket science to see this area was a little top loaded cost wise so to speak.

 

I think we will see a few changes for the better in the new year, some good stuff in the pipeline so I hear

 

You wont get anything else out of me sir:) :) - not yet anyway:)

 

PS - I assume you are talking about the MAS and not the MAT? - the MAT should agree with me really you would hope, but then again maybe not on everything.

 

My take

Edited by Wintry
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Yes I was talking about the MAS lol. It was worth asking anyway! :-D

 

 

Hi

 

Shhhhh

 

The MAT people on here might be watching my every post:

 

Cant think why:)

 

Just my humour

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Hi

 

Shhhhh

 

The MAT people on here might be watching my every post:

 

Cant think why:)

 

Just my humour

 

I would imagine the MAT people would agree with much of what you say :)

 

Oh, and I still haven't a clue what the MAS is supposed to do? And I've met the folks from there a few times now.

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I would imagine the MAT people would agree with much of what you say :)

 

Oh, and I still haven't a clue what the MAS is supposed to do? And I've met the folks from there a few times now.

 

Hi

 

Did you ask them?

 

Did you make any suggestions as to what they are supposed to do?

 

Just curious:)

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Hi

 

Did you ask them?

 

Did you make any suggestions as to what they are supposed to do?

 

Just curious:)

 

I understand that they are more than aware of the errors of their ways. Whether or not it can all be fixed is a different story. Personally, like you say, that money could have been better spent funding the coordinated approach that was already in place (ish). Greater funding for front line advisers and investment in a centralised process to ensure people get the type of help they need. There is already a coordinated process of sorts in place between CABx and NDL, and that is working well (though it's a real shame that many CAB branches do not have direct lines for the public - but, of course, I totally understand whay they don't!

 

I think the MAS, like Money Made Clear before it are massive white elephants and a complete waste of tax payers' money.

 

If I had my way I would be funding more f2f advisers to help with rent/mortgage repossessions because it's going to be a massive area in a year or twos time.

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I understand that they are more than aware of the errors of their ways. Whether or not it can all be fixed is a different story. Personally, like you say, that money could have been better spent funding the coordinated approach that was already in place (ish). Greater funding for front line advisers and investment in a centralised process to ensure people get the type of help they need. There is already a coordinated process of sorts in place between CABx and NDL, and that is working well (though it's a real shame that many CAB branches do not have direct lines for the public - but, of course, I totally understand whay they don't!

 

I think the MAS, like Money Made Clear before it are massive white elephants and a complete waste of tax payers' money.

 

If I had my way I would be funding more f2f advisers to help with rent/mortgage repossessions because it's going to be a massive area in a year or twos time.

 

 

Hi

 

Yes, some good stuff here that I have to agree with to a certain extent.

 

Mortgage & rent arrears are already a busy area and have been for years to be honest, I have to agree that they will get worse as many people are living on the limit or below.

 

There is only so much you can do with telephone advice, it has to be a combined approach with support for the vulnerable.

 

Debt advice is not just about spending the majority of time getting people into solutions such as DMPs & IVAs and perhaps on occasions trying to keep them in such payment arrangements when maybe other options and solutions may be more appropriate or at least worth discussion and consideration (this perhaps is more so than ever given the economic climate and the crunch in peoples disposable incomes)

 

Priority debts need dealing with including negotiation and support (we are seeing more and more people getting into trouble with priorities including people currently in DMPs & IVAs)

 

Advice and support with housing, benefits, budgeting and other associated issues go hand in hand with debt advice.

 

The above two areas can be the most demanding and time consuming not to mention the most important, the trouble is that these areas don't really generate income and profit.

 

According to some of the figures I see it appears that the vast majority of people seeking debt advice cannot really be helped by the fee chargers and telephone agencies and on occasions are referred elswhere to agencies like the CAB)

 

A combined approach is needed and the tools to genuinely help themselves with support if necessary and possible.

 

The sheer scale of debt problems means there is no magic wand solution, but there has to be a move in the right direction and change with the times.

 

Of course the key is genuine independent impartial advice in the best interests of those in debt, well there is another story and debate

 

My take

Edited by Wintry
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Of course the key is genuine independent impartial advice in the best interests of those in debt, well there is another story and debate

 

 

Absolutely agree. And as far as I'm concerned there are only two major organisations that provide this. I've mystery shopped most agencies/firms - and the difference in advice between the best and worst is shocking. Interesting to see Stepchange's new approach with priority debts and DMPs, I wonder how that will pan out.

 

According to some of the figures I see it appears that the vast majority of people seeking debt advice cannot really be helped by the fee chargers and telephone agencies and on occasions are referred elswhere to agencies like the CAB)

 

There is certainly a large portion of people that require a caseworker - certainly those with overly complex cases and those that a vulnerable for whatever reason. I think many people, though, can easily cope with telephone advice - so long as they are getting holistic advice about the whole situation and not just some service aimed at getting a DMP/IVA set up.

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I agree with all the above, but I think also that people need time. No two people have exactly the same problem and the joy for me of being small is being able to spend time really getting to know clients. I guess that larger organisations just don't have this luxury. It is incredibly frustrating to see people being channelled into a particular 'solution' - those days should really be long gone, but aren't.

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As someone who was and is in a large amount of debt I felt that initially when it came to getting help I needed more than a telephone. I am not (contrary to some opinion) unintelligent but i ended going with a fee payer. I have to say the fact i knew the person was an advantage.

When i was looking at BR i went to my local CAB and it was a 2 week wait to see anyone and another 6 to see a money advisor.

I am not sure what MAS really does but it is confusing to Jo public to have MAS and MAT. Surely both roles could be done by one agency with a massive cost saving. I am aware MAT is a charity whereas MAS is a government agency.

There is a definite need for both telephone and face to face advice. Just looking at some posts on here demonstrate that. People need help with formulating defences etc. One poster was told by his debt advisor to just take the ccj, no why's or wherefore

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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I am not sure what MAS really does but it is confusing to Jo public to have MAS and MAT. Surely both roles could be done by one agency with a massive cost saving.

 

They do two completely different roles with little overlap. it's frustrating that MAS decided to call themselves that as there is often lots of confusion.

 

 

There is a definite need for both telephone and face to face advice. Just looking at some posts on here demonstrate that. People need help with formulating defences etc. One poster was told by his debt advisor to just take the ccj, no why's or wherefore

 

Few CABs will get involved with helping with legal defences, people generally need qualified legal advice for that. Some CABs do have close links to law centres (Derby and Coventry are both good examples of this. There are also people internal to the CAB that are very clever - the specialist support team is incredible (they taught me much of what I know).

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Hi my friends:)

 

I like this thread, some really good stuff today:)

 

It is (or should be) about getting the best and most appropriate advice and result in the best interests of those in debt or seeking debt advice.

 

Profit & income dependent agencies and companies, can they ever be really independent and impartial?

 

I have heard the term re-habilitate those in debt by going down the DMP & IVA route or punitive is another term I have read.

 

The above is totally contradictory if we are talking about independent impartial advice in my opinion and is arguably just a marketing strategy to make money out of people.

 

Debt advice is not just about selling people Debt Management Plans and IVAs it never has been and it never will be.

 

There we are, a 'wintry' blast from the old bouts of years gone by and gritty exchanges at a very recent high profile debt & money conference

 

We love each other really

 

My take:)

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They do two completely different roles with little overlap. it's frustrating that MAS decided to call themselves that as there is often lots of confusion.

 

 

 

 

Few CABs will get involved with helping with legal defences, people generally need qualified legal advice for that. Some CABs do have close links to law centres (Derby and Coventry are both good examples of this. There are also people internal to the CAB that are very clever - the specialist support team is incredible (they taught me much of what I know).

 

 

Hi

 

There are around 300 CABs in England & Wales, independent branches

 

Links with other specialist agencies and advisers is quite common and vice versa

 

 

W

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Hi

 

There are around 300 CABs in England & Wales, independent branches

 

Links with other specialist agencies and advisers is quite common and vice versa

 

 

W

 

Oh, I know. I've visited several. I have a huge amount of respect for the work they do. My point, though, was specifically around help with defending claims etc. The problem we're seeing is the squeeze on free legal help - many law centres are having to close, my local one went not long ago. It's incredibly sad.

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