The five bureaux in North Lanarkshire are piloting a new, multi-channel, collaborative approach for debt advice, making it easier for clients to access the service in a way that suits them.
Helpline advisers support clients over the phone, email and webchat, direct to on-line self-help material and provide advice to enable clients to resolve straightforward debt issues.
For more complex situations, the helpline adviser starts the debt advice process, identifies any immediate actions and organises a seamless transfer to face to face advice. This is facilitated by case records accessible by all bureaux (National Client Search). Clients have a choice of bureaux across the region, based on proximity or the earliest available appointment.
Money advisers provide face to face support using a streamlined process. Administration support in bureaux enables clients to prepare for their appointment and gather all the necessary information, reducing no-shows, enabling more effective use of time and quicker progression to debt solutions.
Results so far
In our first three months we supported 320 people. The flexibility of the service delivery model enabled clients to be supported by both the helpline and face to face service:
- 39% of clients supported by the helpline
- 63% of clients received face to face support.
Each client was supported with an average of 3.8 issues. The benefits of the holistic advice service were evident. Although the vast majority of issues, 82%, related to debt, a further 9% were related to benefits, with other issues covered including taxation, finance and charitable support (for example foodbank referrals) and utilities.
There were 240 calls to the helpline, with some clients calling on multiple occasions to access support, provide more information or simply to arrange a convenient time for a longer call to discuss their situation in more detail.
Initial feedback indicates that a significant proportion of helpline clients have had no previous contact with the bureau service, demonstrating reach to a wider client group. The anonymity of the service is encouraging clients to be open about their situation, and take the first step to access support.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org Debt Advice Project Manager