Take a look at the reports, case studies, learning points and briefing papers on a range of issues relating to money advice that we've produced over the course of the project.

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.

    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 were identified, measured and valued by talking directly to the people most affected.

      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

      Guide to using the Partnership Checklist

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      Sandra Sankey - Project Manager, Money Advice