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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Review of the Money Advice Service

An independent review of the Money Advice Service has recommended that the service take measures to improve the effectiveness and reach of its debt advice. 

The review, available from Gov.uk, was carried out by Christine Farnish who was tasked with looking at how MAS discharges its remit and recommending any changes that would help improve its effectiveness.  The report's author recommends "significant further change" but believes that implementing her recommendations will ensure that customers of the service are better served.  

Recommendations

The report recommends that 

  • the Money Advice Service establish a steering group, with membership comprising comprising senior representatives from creditors together with the Chief Executives of Citizens Advice, Step Change and the Money Advice Trust
  • that this steering group should work to ensure common front end procedures across all main debt providers to ensure customers are triaged appropriately and that available funding for debt advice is deployed in the most effective way
  • MAS should work with charities and lenders to improve awareness of debt, options available to those who are experiencing debt problems and advice services that can help
  • MAS should first pilot and then establish a Financial Helpline and this should be promoted by retail financial services firms. MAS, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service should coordinate to ensure effective triage and a ‘one stop shop’ for consumer queries on financial matters where possible
  • MAS should work with industry sectors to simplify consumer information about products and help make product features more comparable. MAS should commit to a small number of such projects a year to sustain momentum.

The full list of recommendations can be found in the report.   The Government's response to the review, in which it sets out a commitment to publish any changes to the Money Advice Service by next year, is also available for Gov.uk.   

Tagged In

Money Matters, Outside NI, Affordability
This article was written on 26 March 2015. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.