The scope of the project includes agencies that are either AdviceUK members or who employ IMA members, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The pilot included 9 agencies representative of a wide range of different types of organisation providing free debt advice. This is now being extended to more agencies.
Project Process Model
Agencies use the process described below and in the attached diagram. Agencies continue to interview clients as usual, conducting the normal diagnostic interviews, taking a holistic view. In all cases, any option selected should continue to be with the agreement of the client and in their best interests. Options for clients can be summarised:
DMP / IVA / Trust Deeds
Debt Management Plans (DMPs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) and Trust Deeds that fit the Payplan criteria will be referred to Payplan (with the client’s agreement). Payplan’s criteria are, for example for DMPs, that clients must have a disposable income of at least £50 per calendar month. For these cases, client information is recorded in AdvicePro and this is sent electronically to Payplan who will then manage relationships with clients and creditors.
Low offers / Token payments
For cases where only a low offer or token payment is possible, details are recorded in AdvicePro, and the agency sets up a single payment from the client for all creditors. The agency will work with the client as necessary to ensure they have the means to make the single payment, e.g. by standing order or cash payment. We are working with a major bank to provide an easy means for clients to set up a basic bank account with standing order.
Client information is recorded in AdvicePro and a Common Financial Statement agreed with the client. Payplan’s SDAP Paylink disbursement system is then used to automatically send client payments out to creditors, so no cash handling is required by the agency.
The agency will continue to own the relationship with the client so will need to engage further with the client for regular case reviews and if, for example, regular payments are not maintained.
There is no change to any other options (DROs, bankruptcy, write-offs etc.)
The Pilot Process
See attached document: SDAP Process Model V1.3
Who is funding the project?
Friends Provident Foundation generously provided a grant for the pilot phase. Further funding is currently being sought to support more investment in the SDAP model and its roll out.
What do we mean by debt advice?
We use the phrase debt advice to mean the structured framework used to enable clients to manage and resolve their debt problems. To help you decide if your service is eligible, we would expect it would involve:
- a diagnosis of the enquiry and legal issues involved
- giving information and explaining options
- identifying further action the client can take
- some assistance, such as seeking information from third parties or filling in forms.
The service would also take action on behalf of the client to move the case on, for example, negotiating with third parties. We would expect advisers to meet the generalist and caseworker competences set out in the Money Advice Trust’s Money Advice Standards. We would also expect advisers to follow the Institute of Money Advisers’ Money Advice Statement of Good Practice: http://www.i-m-a.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Statement-of-Good-Practice.pdf
What is AdvicePro?
It’s an online case management system that we have developed in partnership with the Law Centres Federation and ACMS. It is easy to use and it continually evolves to meet the needs of advice agencies. It is being modified for the pilot agencies so that it can link to Payplan’s disbursement system for low offers and token payments. There is some more information on our website: http://www.adviceuk.org.uk/supporting-you/advicepro.