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Policy 30 March 2022

Policy work on debt advice in London.

MAPS quote London Citizens Advice response

Last year, the Money Advice and Pension service (MAPS) launched a consultation and evidence review looking at access to debt advice during the pandemic. Their subsequent report published last week (23rd March 2022) linked an overall fall in demand for debt advice seen during the pandemic to Government policy interventions, and to the closure of most face to face services. The report concludes that whilst the switch to remote advice has had benefits in making appointments easier, in-person debt advice services delivered in community settings will continue to best meet the needs of some clients, particularly for those dealing with more complex problems.

London Citizens Advice responded to the consultation and our response, highlighting wider problems in people’s lives involving financial exclusion, employment problems, welfare benefits, family breakdown, and poor physical and mental health, is quoted in the report (on page 9). The report and our response can be downloaded below.

Many LCAs will be have pleased to hear that MAPS are reconsidering their commissioning approach and the announcement that the level of funding for local debt advice service delivery (under regional spend) will be retained at £30 million level, with the commissioning process to be reconsidered in consultation with the sector. MAPS CEO Caroline Siarkiewicz recently blogged that "we need to take more time to work with the sector to identify a different approach".

This is a good opportunity to work with MAPS developing a commissioning model that may better meet the needs of Londoners.