Report reveals failings in Government’s debt advice strategy
A report published by the Public Accounts Committee has branded the management of the Government’s debt advice strategy a “complete failure.”
Six years ago, the Government introduced a strategy aimed at improving the support to, and cutting the number of people who struggle with unmanageable debt.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shares responsibility for co-ordinating the strategy with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice.
However, there has been a complete failure to manage delivery of the strategy, according to the report.
According to the report, since the strategy was launched, more than 50 different projects had been uncoordinated, with no-one overseeing the projects.
According to the Committee, 11% of adults are struggling with debts, with the population’s total personal debt reaching almost £1.5 trillion.
However, one project, the face-to-face imitative did receive some praise. The report said this was a “gleam of light”.
Commenting on the report, the committee’s chairman, Edward Leigh MP, said: “In 2004, the government launched a strategy aimed at improving the support to, and reducing the number of, people who struggle with unmanageable debt.
“No one is in charge of the strategy; groups intended to oversee it have not met, and there has been no reporting on its progress since 2007.
“The strategy has not been evaluated to assess whether the policy goals have been achieved and the department does not know how effective the interventions making it up have been,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Department for Business spokesperson said: “Close to 300,000 people have been supported by the Department for Business face-to-face debt advice project alone, and the committee has recognised that it is well-liked and provides good value for money.
“We are already in the process of reviewing our schemes and will carefully consider the report’s findings with other departments across government.”