Tackling Problem Debt Group minutes: April 2018

Minutes from the first meeting of the Tackling Problem Debt Group, held on 9 April 2018.

Attendees and apologies

  • Lorraine King – Scottish Government – Consumer and Competition Policy Unit (chair)
  • Allison Barnes – Money Advice Service
  • Sharon Bell - StepChange
  • David Brownlee - Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Karen Hurst – ABCUL
  • Colin Lee - Cemvo Scotland
  • Yvonne MacDermid - Money Advice Service
  • Sharon Macpherson - Scotcash
  • Michael McClements – COSLA
  • Alex Reid - Accountant in Bankruptcy
  • Sandra Sankey - Improvement Service
  • Hazel Thoms - SLAB
  • Kathryn Chisholm - Scottish Government – Social Justice Strategy Unit
  • Laura McGlynn - Scottish Government - CCPU
  • Laura Sexton - Scottish Government – Access to Justice Unit
  • Andrew McConnell - Scottish Government – CCPU (Secretariat)

Items and actions

Welcome and introduction

The chair welcomed the attendees and thanked them for attending the first meeting of the Tackling Problem Debt Group. She explained that Ministers wished the Group to look at all debt advice, not just levy funded debt advice. This work sits alongside the wider review of advice being conducted by Scottish Government.


The following suggestions were made:

  • FCA could be invited to attend as an observer – Maggie Craig is Scottish representative
  • a Law Centre perspective may be useful – Hazel Thoms suggested Angus McIntosh of Castlemilk Law and Money Advice Centre

Remit and purpose

The following emerged as key issues:

  • purpose of Group - advisory
  • recommendations will be around areas for improvement to the current debt advice provision
  • helpful to create an overview of the landscape to understand what currently exists
  • identify what the advice needs will be in 3/5 years
  • links between debt advice and other advice

Other discussion points

The Group explained current issues from their own perspectives. Issues discussed included:

  • fragmentation of current system of debt advice, including duplication or absence in certain areas
  • different outcomes possible – creating availability of at least a minimum provision throughout Scotland against targeting groups most in need of advice
  • experience Panel would be useful (as established for Social Security)
  • BME community to be included
  • standards already exist but there is inconsistency in how they are applied

Action 1

Scottish Government to amend remit and circulate

Action 2

Scottish Government to arrange for existing evidence to be brought together which will help to identify if there are gaps in what is known

Action 3

Scottish Government to circulate possible dates for next meeting of the Group in June

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