UDAN welcomes extended MaPS funding for community-based debt advice

On 29 September, the Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) announced an extension of funding for community-based debt advice services.


In 2021, MaPS launched a recommissioning process which would have seen cuts of 50% or more in community-based face-to-face debt advice, with funding moving towards telephone and online services. These work for some people, but are simply inaccessible for many people our members support.

Following a campaign led by UDAN and We Are Debt Advisers (WADA), the recommissioning process was halted, saving hundreds of debt advice jobs. As a short-term measure, MaPS extended the existing funding for community-based services. This had been due to end on 31 March 2022, but a further 10 months of funding was announced, securing jobs and services until 31 January 2023.

This was good news for our members, many of whom were preparing for redundancy. As WADA reported in December 2021, many debt advisers were expecting to lose their jobs and seeking other employment. Sadly, many experienced advisers left the sector at this time, and recruitment into the resulting fixed-term vacancies became very difficult.

MaPS announced this would be a ‘test and learn’ period, where future services would be shaped by engagement with debt advice providers and advisers. There have been some meetings since, including between UDAN and MaPS to discuss what our members and clients need.

Extension of funding

On 29 September, MaPS announced the end date for the current funding of community-based services is to be extended from 31 January 2023 to 31 March 2025.

This means our members working in MaPS-funded services have job security for a further two years.

This funding was a crucial source of income for many small services, many of which do brilliant work, rooted in their local communities. Some services had been clear in 2021 that ending this funding would mean their entire service would be at risk. This week’s announcement secures these services for an extra two years.

As the cost of living crisis deepens, these services will be needed more than ever. The extended funding is also great news for people in debt crisis, who will continue to have access to debt advice experts in their communities.

What’s next?

We welcome the extended funding for all the reasons above, but there is still much work to be done. We are pleased to see that MaPS has committed to proper consultation through a new ‘Debt Adviser Panel’. How this panel is set up and operated will be of key importance – it must be the genuine voice of frontline debt advisers. Critically, MaPS must act on the findings to make permanent improvements.

We are pleased to hear that MaPS is moving away from numeric targets to a focus on outcomes – one of UDAN’s initial demands.

With medium-term job security assured, we now need to see action on:

  • Improved pay in debt advice workplaces, including a clear progression path from trainee to experienced adviser with accompanying pay increases
  • Long-term security for jobs and funding, not wasteful and destabilising competitive tender processes every few years
  • Sufficient staffing to meet demand, to relieve our members of unmanageable workloads and unpaid overtime
  • Better practical support for debt advisers, such as free access to credit reports and both translation and interpreting services

MaPS is the sector’s largest funder, and therefore has a central role in setting pay and conditions. These improvements for MaPS-funded advisers would encourage other providers to improve their pay and conditions.

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