Adam Sharples, chair of the Money Advice Trust, outlines the impact of the Trust’s efforts in 2017 and reflects on some of the key areas of work.
Each year, when the team puts together the Impact Report, I am always struck by the breadth of the Trust’s work and the range of ways the charity helps people to tackle their debts.
The figures from this year’s report, Making a difference: our impact in 2017, highlight the scale of this work across all our services in what was a particularly busy year.
In 2017, our National Debtline and Business Debtline advisers helped over 220,000 people over the phone and via webchat and our websites had over 1.5 million visits – an increase of 19 percent on 2016.
We helped more individuals through National Debtline and more small business owners through Business Debtline than ever before. Through our Wiseradviser programme we helped more advisers to support their clients, whilst our growing training and consultancy work in the credit industry, helped more people in vulnerable circumstances.
We also continued our work to improve the UK’s money and debt environment through raising the awareness of our services and the issues faced by the people we help. This included responding to 21 policy consultations from organisations including government departments, agencies and regulators and running campaigns, such as Stop The Knock, which focused on improving local council debt collection practice.
What is consistent across all this is the skilled and committed team that delivers this work day in, day out. I am pleased this year that some of these colleagues have shared their experiences of their efforts in the report, along with accounts from people whose lives have improved through our advice.
Alongside the hard work of our staff, we could also not do this without our many partners, whose support has helped us to expand our frontline services. And while the increase in the numbers of people we helped in 2017 reflects, to a certain degree, the impact of this expansion, it also shows the continuing growth in demand for debt advice, which has continued into the first half of 2018.
Over the coming year, change is also coming in the money advice sector as the new Single Financial Guidance Body comes into being, the Wyman Review’s recommendations progress and the Government brings forward its new statutory Breathing Space.
With these challenges, and the unique opportunities they present, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of the people we serve – as I know our team never does, and the need to deliver high quality services as efficiently as possible.
This report is a testament to their hard work and that of colleagues in our many partner organisations in the advice sector, credit industry and elsewhere in 2017.
Making a difference: our impact in 2017 is available at www.moneyadvicetrust.org/impact.