Advice projects will test new ways of providing debt help

Twenty advice agencies across Scotland have been successful in applying for funding to improve access for people seeking free debt and money advice.

The £3.25m Debt Advice Journey Programme was launched October 2020, seeking projects designed to assist with the development of changes to working practices that help manage demand on services and improve user experience.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to agencies adapting how they deliver advice. The twenty successful projects focus on testing further new ways of working and maximising available technology to deal with debt problems.

The test projects are being funded through the Debt Advice Journey Programme, being managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board. The programme will contribute to the Scottish Government’s Debt Advice Routemap, providing insight as they work towards their vision for future allocation of the Scottish debt advice levy funds.

The projects are designed to free up time for debt advisers to work more efficiently and help more clients. They will provide long-term benefits to the advice agencies and their clients beyond the end of the three-year programme.

The programme is comprised of projects that focus on improving the client journey through technology, including:

  • the management of cases by designing direct client portals for advice, information and debt advice casework
  • projects that concentrate on managing and monitoring client engagement to ensure more clients successfully resolve their debt problems
  • projects which engage with available technology such as web chat and telephone triage to improve the efficiency of the debt advice process.

A full list of projects can be found on our grant funding page.

Colin Lancaster, Chief Executive of the Scottish Legal Aid Board, said:

“We are delighted to announce the launch of this new programme of projects.

“The programme comes at an important time for the free debt advice sector in Scotland. The sector has shown resilience in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and these projects will help agencies test and embed new ways of working more effectively in the coming years, enhancing their capacity, expanding their reach and improving client outcomes.

“We appreciate the support from the Scottish Government for this programme of grants.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“As we look ahead to our recovery from the pandemic, many people are still dealing with the financial impacts of coronavirus and demand for debt advice will be high. I am pleased this funding can help manage that demand.

“The multi-year Debt Advice Journey Programme will build capacity within the sector and enable debt advice providers to meet demand during an extremely busy time.

“This is an important part of the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to our Debt Advice Routemap, and will help us transition to a sustainable, long-term funding model in the future.”