Tackling Problem Debt Group: remit and purpose

Remit, purpose and outline of meetings.

The Scottish Government will take responsibility for levy funded debt advice from October 2018. It is vital that this funding is used to support the priorities of the debt advice sector, and to drive improvement where needed.

However, it is also clear that levy funding represents only one part of a much larger landscape, and that advice providers and funders across the sector must come together to develop a long term vision for the future.

In the coming months, supported by the work of the Tackling Problem Debt Group (TPDG) and wider stakeholder feedback, we will outline its immediate plans for the use of levy funding. By September 2019, we propose to publish a debt routemap, which will outline the vision for and steps needed to achieve a sustainable, effective and user-centred debt advice delivery landscape in Scotland by 2025.

At this stage, we envisage that achieving this will require recommendations around four main areas:

  • long term decisions on the provision of vital infrastructure and the scale of channel shift required to meet demand
  • development of collaborative, holistic solutions to funding and delivering free debt advice that make best use of resources and are flexible enough to meet the needs of communities around Scotland
  • development of a strategy to support high standards of advice provision and a skilled, valued workforce with the diversity to reflect local communitiesd
  • development of a sustainable funding model that ensures fair distribution of free debt advice across Scotland

Role of the Tackling Problem Debt Group

The Tackling Problem Debt Group will play a key role in shaping the routemap. In particular the Group should support:

  • evidence gathering, analysis and consultation to understand strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities of the existing system
  • development of recommendations in the four areas identified above
  • development of practical steps to support implementation of the recommendations where required

More detail will be provided in advance of each meeting, but in general, we propose that the TPDG uses its meetings as set out below.


Meeting 1 – Understanding the debt system

This meeting will consider:

  • the remit and purpose of the TPDG
  • an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the current debt system

Meeting 2 – Infrastructure

This meeting will consider:

  • SWOT analysis of potential options for delivery of debt advice lines
  • in particular, analysis will consider value for money, links with the wider free debt and general advice sector, and opportunities to improve outcomes for users

Meeting 3 – Collaborative approaches

This meeting will consider:

  • how to increase collaborative working across the free advice sector, to provide a person-centred advice system and make best use of resources
  • how to develop funding and delivery models that share resources and responsibilities, improve data sharing, and empower users to take control of their own advice journey
  • how to use a range of approaches to meet client and community needs, including encouraging self-service where appropriate and providing face-to-face advice for those who truly need it

Meeting 4 – Workforce planning

This will consider:

  • how to ensure a free advice sector that is inclusive, diverse and able to deliver consistent advice to meet different demand needs
  • how to ensure accountability, both for the overarching outcomes of debt advice, and for the quality of individual organisations and providers

Meeting 5 – Sustainable funding

This meeting should consider:

  • whether the current levy funding arrangements are adequate to achieve the outcomes identified over the previous meetings
  • the realistic scale of channel shift achievable prior to 2025 and the extent to which it will alleviate funding challenges
  • what other funding models might be appropriate if required

Meeting 6 – recommendations

This meeting should be used to review and finalise any proposals or recommendations made during the previous five meetings.


We propose that the group will meet six times between April 2018 and January 2019.

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