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The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) brings together three respected financial guidance bodies: the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.  MaPS is an arm’s-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, established at the beginning of 2019, and also engages with HM Treasury on policy matters relating to financial capability and debt advice.

MaPS are responsible for the co-ordination of debt advice across the UK and have a role in driving up the levels and consistency of quality across the debt advice sector. They have worked together with the debt advice sector and key stakeholders to create a Debt Advice Quality Framework which not only focuses on driving up standards within debt organisations but also through the individuals supporting clients on the frontline.  It is important for people who seek debt advice to have the assurance that both the organisation they access, and the adviser that they engage with, are operating to the highest standards.

The Money and Pension Service (MaPS) Quality Framework was introduced in 2013 in order to raise the quality and consistency of debt advice across the UK.  Providing a single baseline mechanism to quality assurance, the framework enables standards, membership codes, and training and qualifications in use across the debt advice sector to become accredited by MaPS. The Framework comprises two interlinked and essential parts – the ‘organisational’ quality framework and the ‘individual’ quality framework, which together form the overall approach to assure the high-quality delivery of a debt advice service.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) are responsible for the co-ordination of debt advice across the UK and have a role in driving up the levels and consistency of quality across the debt advice sector. They have worked together with the debt advice sector and key stakeholders to create a Debt Advice Quality Framework which not only focuses on driving up standards within debt organisations but also through the individuals supporting clients on the frontline.

The Money and Pensions Service and the matrix Standard

The matrix Standard is one of only four quality standards that have been recognised as meeting the requirements of the Money and Pensions Service organisational debt advice quality framework.  Organisation who are familiar with the matrix Standard will know the flexibility of the standard and how it can be applied to a range of different types of information, advice and guidance and this includes debt advice. Assessments can be arranged with organisations to cover both the aspects of the matrix Standard and the additional requirements of the MaPS quality framework.

Why should an organisation consider be assessed for the additional requirements?

There may be a number of reasons an organisation may choose to be assessed against the requirements of the MaPS framework:

  • Organisations may, as part of the strategic planning, be looking to develop a debt advice service that can bid for any future MaPS funding and will need to hold, or be working towards, a relevant accreditation
  • An organisation may hold a range of quality standards and wish to consolidate this position
  • An organisation delivering initial debt support, may wish to have this specific aspect reviewed in more detail – which may, or may not, be a stepping stone to providing higher levels of advice/specialist support

Are there any pre-requisites?

As noted above, there are two parts to the quality assurance of debt advice, the organisational aspect and individual aspect.

For the organisational aspect, organisations need to hold Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation, or confirmation from the FCA that they do not need to be authorised.  Professional Indemnity Insurance need to held to cover the provision of debt advice.

For the individual aspect, Debt Advisers need to have completed accredited training relevant to the level of support they provide.  Accredited programmes can be found here: Learning Pathway Hub – Raising the Standards of Debt Advice

Can the framework requirements be used in a different way?

Yes.  Your organisation may not wish to be fully go through the additional requirements, but you may wish to see how you ‘measure up’ to the requirements.  A review of these aspects can be provided, giving feedback specifically against your debt advice service.  This will not lead to accreditation but can be used as an effective development activity for your service.

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