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Councils' investment in money advice reaps benefits for citizens

 

Local authority investment in money and welfare rights advice provision reaps significant benefits for citizens with every £1 invested providing financial gains of £21-24 for clients, according to a new report.

 

The Common Advice Performance Management Reporting Framework overview report summarises the contribution made by money and welfare rights advice services funded by local authorities and delivered  on an inhouse or external basis.

 

The key findings in the 2017-18 report are:

 

  • 94,336 new service users accessed money and welfare rights advice.
  • 60% of service clients initially made contact face-to-face, followed by 32% who made contact via telephone, 7% via email, and 1% via the web. Relative to the previous year, this represents a reduction in initial access by face to face and an increase in telephone.
  • Investment by local authorities in money and welfare rights money advice services was £25.76m.
  • 85 external and 32 internal money and welfare rights advice services received funding from local authorities.
  • Local authorities had 486 FTE paid staff members, whilst external organisations supported by councils employed 386 FTE paid staff members. The service is also supported in external organisations by 412 FTE volunteers.
  • 28% of service users had a disposable household income of less than £6,000, 55% less than £10,000 and 88% less than £20,000 - the median household disposable income in the UK is £27,300.4.
  • c66% of service users lived in rented accommodation.
  • 38% of service users were permanently sick or disabled or suffering from a short-term illness or injury.
  • Mixed or multiple ethnic groups are disproportionately more likely to access money and welfare rights advice services.
  • 25% of service users were in some form of employment and 11% were unemployed and seeking work.
  • The total debt owed by service users was c£204m, a slight decrease on the previous year.
  • 24% of service users initially sought advice because of rent arrears.
  • Service users reported a positive impact in relation to their physical health, optimism, and relationships with others.
  • The total financial gain secured for service users was £624.7m.

 

The investment by local authorities in money and welfare rights advice represents good value for money and improves the financial position of the poorest and most vulnerable members of communities.

 

Download the 2017-18 CAPMRF Overview Report.

 

Individual reports for each local authority will be published in January 2019.

 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the report further, please contact Karen Carrick, karen.carrick@improvementservice.org.uk

 

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