• Improving Outcomes in Money Advice

    The Improving Outcomes in Money Advice (MAO) project, which is funded by the Money Advice Service and Improvement Service, aims to improve the impact of Scotland's money advice services, offering support to local authorities and partners in this process. The project is now in its fourth phase, continuing to drive improvements across the money advice sector in Scotland.


    Key project activities underway in 2018/19 include:


    • Publication of the first Common Advice Performance Management Framework (CAPMF), following the inclusion of welfare rights advice indicators, which reports on the performance of welfare and money advice services funded by Scottish local authorities. Formerly, the framework was known as the Money Advice Performance Management Framework (MAPMF).
    • Supporting the embedding of the principles of the Framework for Public Funding of Advice in both funders' and providers' practice.
    • Production of guidance for local authorities to promote and support the delivery of financial capability interventions
    • Coordination and provision of support for the Scottish Financial Education Forum
    • Reporting on the current position of local authority-funded advice services and highlighting the potential impact of future legislation and policy initiatives on the provision of advice
    • Identification of measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of advice services by increasing channel choice for customers and the co-location of advice services


    Achievements of the project to date include:


    • Launch of the Framework for Public Funding of Advice, in partnership with the Scottish Legal Aid Board and Scottish Government in 2015, offering a new approach to funding advice services based on agreed principles
    • Implementation of the Money Advice Performance Management Framework (MAPMF), with the publication of annual reports on the performance of money advice services funded and operated by Scottish local authorities for the financial years of 2014/15, 2015/16, and 2016/17
    • Social Return on Investment (SROI) report on the benefits of embedding advice services in medical practices, highlighting how this model represents an effective method via which to deliver early interventions for the most vulnerable individuals in society, which was shortlisted for a LARIA Research Impact Award for ‘best use of local area research’
    • Production of a strategy and action plan, in partnership with key stakeholders, on the future of money advice services in Scotland
    • Promotion of the importance of financial capability via the publication of a number of case studies highlighting good practice and supporting local authority engagement with the Scottish Financial Capability Week
    • Publication of a research overview detailing the procedures via which local authorities currently monitor the quality of advice provided and performance of the money advice services that they fund
    • Publication of a report on the customer journey to money advice - in partnership with Parkhead Citizens Advice Bureau, Money Matters (Glasgow), and Citizens Advice and Rights Fife – highlighting the barriers experienced by service users when accessing advice services, alongside good practice


    An evaluation of the project in 2017-18 is now available.


    Project Advisory Board

    The MAO project is overseen by a Project Advisory Board including representatives from Scottish local authorities, Accountant in Bankruptcy, Citizens Advice Scotland, COSLA, Money Advice Scotland, Money Advice Service, NHS Scotland, ScotCash, Scottish Legal Aid Board, StepChange, and the University of Edinburgh.

  • Framework for Public Funding of Advice

    The Improvement Service, together with the Scottish Government and Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB), have developed a framework to support the adoption of a common approach to the funding of advice services.


    The framework sets out the key elements that funders should consider when reviewing their current funding arrangements with advice services, and when funding new projects.


    Download the Framework for Public Funding of Advice



    Stakeholder Workshop (14 January 2019)

    The event brought together representatives responsible for the commissioning and monitoring of local authority-funded advice services to:

    • learn from the reviews of advice services which have been taking place this year
    • update on the progress for commissioning approaches for advice services implemented this year
    • discussing the challenges and risks around certain funding models
    • agree what further support and guidance may be needed and mechanisms to assess and review effectiveness on an ongoing basis

    Visit the event page for all the presentations and more information.


    Stakeholder Workshop (15 October 2017)

    This event brought together representatives responsible for the commissioning and monitoring of the local authority-funded advice services to hear about the decisions and approaches being taken across local authorities for funding advice services, and the challenges and opportunities this presents both at a local and national level.

    Visit the event page for presentations and more information.


    Launch event (20 January 2015)

    You can download the summary report from the event, and watch the key speeches here. A Storify was also created to summarise the key points from the launch event.


    SOLACE Briefings


    Case Studies


    Scottish Local Authorities’ Commissioning Approaches for Advice Services in 2017/18 and Onwards

    This review forms part of a series of publications by the IS to track local authorities’ progress towards embedding the principles of the Framework for Public Funding of Advice. By following these principles, local authorities can be confident that they are operating in line with best practice.

    Download the report


    Money Advice Service Quality Monitoring and Performance Reporting in Scotland (March 2018)

    This research addresses a gap in understanding of how local authorities monitor the quality of money advice provided across the in-house and external services that they fund. It also highlights the performance reporting arrangements which are in place to monitor services’ delivery against their agreed remit and any targets. Both the implementation of, and adherence to, quality controls and regular performance monitoring constitute key elements of the Framework for Public Funding of Advice.

    Download the report

  • Publications - Service Delivery

    Money Advice Customer Journey Mapping


    The Improvement Service sought to explore a typical ‘customer journey,’ in relation to the provision of money advice services, by conducting a customer analysis of the pathways taken and channels used to access money advice. The intention was to identify which steps were most likely to contribute to positive outcomes from the service user’s perspective. This was done by identifying which elements of the process were most likely to promote progression and which acted as barriers.


    Arranging individual interviews with a range of service users who had accessed services using a variety of channels proved problematic and, as a result, the report primarily focuses on the customer journey experience in relation to face-to-face services.


    The report’s key findings are:


    • Face-to-face service delivery is the most resource-intensive and time consuming channel through which to provide money advice and is not required by all clients
    • Those who can self-serve should be transferred to other channels, instead of face-to-face, as this would significantly reduce waiting times and allow money advisors to assist more vulnerable clients who need direct, in-person, support
    • Demand for money advice services is increasing
    • Clear communication about likely timescales to access services and an explanation of the alternative options on offer is required from initial contact and on an ongoing basis
    • Waiting areas should be made as comfortable as possible
    • Further research is required to build an accurate picture of how different channels are used
    • Organisations offering money advice should seek to improve their monitoring procedures for tracking channel use, particularly in relation to web-based platforms
    • Money advice services should continue to consider and pursue efficient service redesign and improvement, with the aim of improving the quality of the service they offer
    • Referral pathways with other local services must be regularly reviewed to increase awareness of the service and make accessing it as easy as possible


    Download the report


    Social Return on Investment Analysis on the Co-location of Advice Workers with Consensual Access to Individual Medical Records


    A Social Return on Investment analysis carried out by the Improvement Service, in partnership with NHS Lothian, Dundee City Council and Granton Information Centre, found that every £1 invested in the co-location of advice workers in medical practices would generate around £39 in social and economic benefits. The benefits listed below – among others - were identified, measured and valued by talking directly to the people most affected:


    • Service users said that they experienced improved health and wellbeing, felt less stigmatised, and had better and earlier access to services
    • Medical practice staff are able to make better use of their time and to focus on medical interventions
    • Medical practices are able to deliver more cost-effective services
    • Advisors state that they have improved productivity and the number of appeals and on-going work is reduced
    • Funders were able to target resources at priority groups.


    Download the report


    Case Studies

    Money Advice Service Engagement with BME Communities in Glasgow

    Co-location of Advice Workers in Medical Practices in Dundee and Edinburgh

    West Lothian Council: Implementing a New Approach to Debt Recovery

    Improving Access and Visibility of Advice Services at West Lothian Council’s Advice Shop

    Expanding Channel Choice for Money Advice Clients in Stirling

  • Publications - Advice Networks & Partnership Working

    Case Studies


    Early Intervention and Partnership Working




    Learning points

  • Publications - Investment in Money Advice Services

    Measuring Softer Outcomes in Advice Services

    This briefing paper focuses on the process of measuring softer outcomes in advice services, paying particular attention to practical examples of services that are currently measuring softer outcomes. It also offers recommendations for organisations delivering advice services with the aim of encouraging more local authorities to submit data measuring softer outcomes in the future.

    Download the briefing paper


    Council Tax Debt and Data Sharing

    This report takes data on council tax debt from the Improvement Service, Step Change Debt Charity Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland to examine the relationship between accessibility and funding of advice services and levels of council tax debt. Its reports the indicative findings from the first effort at information sharing and highlights areas for further investigation.

    Download the report


    Accurate Reporting and Case Management Systems

    This briefing paper focuses on the importance of accurate recording and reporting in relation to money advice services, paying particular attention to the case management systems used. It also offers recommendations for both services delivering money advice and their funders, with the aim of encouraging more accurate recording and reporting in the sector.

    Download the briefing paper


    Data and Debt Arrangement Schemes

    The Accountant in Bankruptcy  and the Improvement service  both report on the statistical information that each collect during the year that has relevance for debt and money advice.  This short briefing paper looks at the statistical information each organisation collects and matches the data across a specific area to see if this can be used to improve understanding and enhance the evidence base.

    Download the briefing paper


    Response to Call for Evidence: Independent Review of the Funding of Debt Advice in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

    The Improvement Service welcomed the opportunity to provide evidence for the ‘Independent Review of the Funding of Debt Advice in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland’.


    Our response draws primarily from the findings from the Money Advice Performance Management Framework (MAPMF), for which the Improvement Service collates and analyses data provided by the 32 Scottish local authorities. Additional research carried out by the Improvement Service - on areas such as alternative service delivery models, referral pathways, and customer journey mapping - is also relevant to this response, and is outlined where appropriate.

    Download the response to the Independent Review


    Consultation Response: A Strategic Approach to Debt Advice Commissioning 2018-23

    The Improvement Service welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Money Advice Service’s consultation on the future approach to debt advice commissioning.


    Along with other organisations, the Improvement Service has produced compelling evidence that improving financial capability and increasing levels of resilience, and the provision of debt advice are inextricably linked. As a result, most advice providers adopt a person-centred approach and seek to offer a holistic service to individuals at a time of need- which often occurs when people experience life changes either as a result of personal circumstances (e.g. unemployment) or alterations in state policies (e.g. welfare reform). From 2018, the responsibility for commissioning services that deliver advice relating to financial capability and debt will rest with different bodies, a new financial guidance body and the Scottish Government respectively. In these circumstances, it is critical that a collaborative approach is taken by public service providers which is in line with the Christie Commission’s recommendations to provide effective and efficient services.

    Download the consultation response


    The Future of Money Advice Services in Scotland

    This short briefing paper sets out the need for continued public funding to support the provision of money advice services and outlines the multiple positive outcomes they provide. It follows on from the findings reported in 'A Summary of the Impact of 2016-17 Local Authority Budget Cuts on Money Advice Services'.


    Despite substantial evidence of their effective targeting, impact and value for money, money advice services have experienced significant reductions in funding in recent years, and their future viability is uncertain. Money advice services support core priorities, deliver excellent value for money, secure revenue streams and, through early intervention and reducing inequality, decrease long-term costs to the public sector.


    There is evidence that, at a time of increased demand for services, a flexible approach to service delivery is being adopted by many service providers, which is based on improving outcomes for people and communities and reducing inequality.

    Download the briefing paper


    A Summary of the Impact of 2016-17 Local Authority Budget Cuts on Money Advice Services

    The IS Money Advice Outcomes team carried out a review of the impact of 2016-17 local authority budget cuts on the provision of money advice services which are funded and/or delivered by local authorities. The report provides a snapshot of the position in 2016, and identifies very clearly that the position in 2017-18 is likely to be one of continued reductions in budgetary provision and that the only way to maintain services is likely to be through wide-ranging transformational changes.


    The analysis found that many local authorities have adopted, or are actively considering, a more strategic approach to the delivery of advice services. This is likely to include integration of services, strengthened resource planning, increased generic working, extended partnership working and a review of the channels customers use to access services. Accepting and participating in the transformation agenda will be an integral part of the process of sustaining money advice services.

    Download the report

  • Publications - Financial Capability

    Elected Member Briefing Note: The Importance of Financial Capability in Scotland


    This briefing was prepared for elected members, aiming to give them better insight into financial capability and encourage a greater understanding of its importance. It is hoped that elected members will use this information to influence local government policies, provide leadership, and facilitate and negotiate solutions to the low levels of financial capability in Scotland.


    Download the briefing paper


    Case Studies


    A Partnership Approach to Financial Education in West Dunbartonshire

    Embedding financial capability learning in an adult learning programme (Glasgow Life)

    North Lanarkshire Money and Consumer Advice in Schools Project

    West Lothian Money Week

    Young People's Views on Money Advice Services in Glasgow

  • Webinars

    Increasing Financial Capability Through a Coordinated Approach (27 June 2018)


    Supporting Survivors of Financial Abuse (12 March 2018)

    Sandra Sankey, Project Manager, Improving Outcomes in Money Advice (Improvement Service)


    Download the presentations:


    The Future of Money Advice Services (15 November 2017)

    Karen Carrick and Paige Barclay (Improvement Service)


    Numeracy and Financial Capability: Exploring the Links

    Michael Royce and Helen Pitman (Money Advice Service)


    Money Advice Service’s Youth Practice Outcomes Framework (31 July 2017)

    Steve Stillwell and Rebecca Graham (Money Advice Service)

    Sandra Sankey (Improvement Service)


    Social Return on Investment: Co-location of Advice Workers in Medical Practices (14 March 2017)

    Kate Burton (NHS Lothian)

    Roddy Samson (Granton Information Centre)

    Craig Mason (Dundee City Council)

    Karen Carrick and Paige Barclay (Improvement Service)


    The Impact of Local Authority Budget Cuts on Money Advice Services (20 January 2017)

    Andrew McGuire (Improvement Service)


    Making Effective Use of the Knowledge Hub Across the Frontline Financial Inclusion Sector (28 October 2016)

    Emma Crouch (Dundee City Council)

    Sandra Sankey and Kristoffer Boesen (Improvement Service)

  • Events

    The project team organise and take part in a variety of events, some of which are listed below. Please contact us if you would like our input at an event.


    Talk Money Scotland Annual Conference (16 November 2018)

    The Money Advice Service and the Money Advice Outcomes Team, Improvement Service worked in partnership to deliver the first Talk Money Scotland Annual Conference. The event was planned as part of the National Talk Money Week, which is an annual event organised as part of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK, with the aim to get more people to #TalkMoney.

    Visit the Talk Money Scotland Conference page for videos, presentations and more


    Early Intervention - Stakeholder Session (Scottish Prison Service and Advice Providers) (28 March 2018)

    The Money Advice Outcomes Team was involved with the planning of a stakeholder event which brought together representatives across the Scottish Prison Service, Local Authority and Third Sector advice workers and managers involved with some of the Scottish Prison Advice Projects.


    It provided an opportunity for stakeholders to learn from each other’s area of work and discuss some of the early interventions in place to support prisoners and their wider families, sharing the good practice and any new developments. Discussions took place around these key themes:

    • challenges and barriers to working across this sector
    • strengthening partnership working
    • improving access to advice services


    Download the presentations from:


    16 Days of Action - Stakeholder Event 'Supporting Early Intervention' (29 November 2017)

    Improving access to Advice Services whilst addressing domestic/financial abuse

    The Money Advice Outcomes Team was involved with the planning of a stakeholder event during the 16DaysofAction against domestic violence. This took place at Big Lottery premises in Glasgow and was well attended by a diverse mix of key stakeholders.


    Visit the event page for presentations and event summary


    Addressing Child Poverty Event (22 February 2017)

    In partnership with NHS Health Scotland and Child Poverty Action Group, the Money Advice Outcomes project team organised an event to encourage the development of effective referral pathways between the health and advice sectors, and share good practice.


    Download the presentations and event summary



    Highland & Islands Financial Inclusion Partnership Event (29 April 2016)

    The Money Advice Outcomes project team helped plan and deliver an event to bring key stakeholders across the Highland and Island communities together to share examples of good practice, and strengthen partnership-working. Taking place in Inverness, the event was attended by senior management across council, housing, health, credit union, and third sector organisations.


    Visit the Highlands & Islands 'Financial Inclusion' Partnership event page



    Shared Perspectives on the Outcomes of Advice (27 October 2015)

    The Money Advice Outcomes team was involved in the planning of this event at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which was attended by more than 250 delegates. The event was held in partnership with NHS Health Scotland, Citizens Advice Bureaux, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and the Money Advice Service. Attendees discussed the outcomes of advice, as well as the role that advice services play in tackling inequalities on a national level.


    Visit the Shared Perspectives on the Outcomes of Advice webpage



    Aberdeenshire Debt Conference (26 May 2015)

    The Improvement Service was asked to participate in a Debt Conference, which was funded and co-ordinated by Aberdeenshire Council. The main aims of the event were:


    • To explore some of the challenges & opportunities in the current climate
    • To highlight services and partners working in this sector
    • To identify good practice and increase partnership-working within the sector


    Visit the Aberdeenshire Debt Conference page



    Health and Financial Inclusion Events (2015)

    The Money Advice Outcomes team were involved with the planning of two events on Health and Financial Inclusion in 2015, held in partnership with NHS Health Scotland. The first event was held in Glasgow and was aimed at NHS, financial inclusion and advice service workers across Scotland. The second event was aimed specifically at services operating in Dundee.


    Visit the Health and Financial Inclusion Events page



    Payday Lending and Gambling in Scottish Town Centres and Neighbourhoods Summit (April 2014)

    This summit, hosted by Derek MacKay (Minister for Local Government and Planning), discussed concerns around the clustering and numbers of payday lenders and betting shops in Scotland. It also explored potential measures, good practice and ideas for tackling them.


    Visit the Tackling Payday Lending and Gambling Summit page


Sandra Sankey

Project Manager

Tel. 01506 283788

Email Sandra