Our vision is to create a society free from problem debt. We can only do this by working with organisations that refer their customers to us, once it's recognised that they’re in financial difficulty. By working together we can ensure that all people in problem debt get the help they need.
We want to work with your customers to resolve the debt problems they face, in an empathetic and supportive manner.
We conduct regular client satisfaction surveys to assess how our debt advice benefits our clients. The top three ways they say that our advice improves their situation are:
- They feel less pressure and stress than before
- They feel more in control of their money
- They feel more positive about their situation
We’re highly rated by Feefo, and 95% of clients say that they would recommend us to someone who needed help with their debts.
Free and impartial debt advice
We work with each client to complete an income and expenditure statement. Using this information we then recommend the most appropriate debt solution for them.
Every client receives a personalised action plan to address their debt problem. If we’re unable to offer them a debt solution, we’ll continue to advise them until their situation improves.
One of the most popular recommendations for clients is a debt management plan, known as a DMP. Instead of paying each of their creditors individually, the client makes one monthly payment to the charity and we disburse it fairly across their creditors. Every penny the client pays to us goes towards repaying their debt.
Once it’s set up we work with them to help them stay on track, and conduct reviews at least annually to ensure their DMP is still affordable and the most appropriate solution.
For our Scottish clients a similar solution known as a debt payment programme (DPP) is available, under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). We also advise and support our Scottish clients on these solutions where they are appropriate.
In some cases, a client comes to us when they can’t realistically afford to make repayments and very likely that their situation will improve in the near future. In this situation we’ll work with them and their creditors to manage a token payment plan (TPP). Each creditor receives £1 a month until the client’s situation improves enough to increase their monthly repayment amount.
The aim of a TPP arrangement is to give the client an opportunity to focus on improving their situation. This holding state relieves stress and enables them to move towards setting up a permanent solution.
We believe that if a client can afford to repay their debts within a reasonable period of time then they should do so, but where an insolvency solution is an option, we will always discuss it with a client and recommend the best solution them. In some cases this may be their best, or their only option.
We can help set up a range of insolvency solutions such as debt relief orders (DROs), or individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs).
Our specialist IVA team have been providing high-quality IVA support for over 10 years, our arrangements are more likely to succeed than other providers, and over 95% of our IVAs are accepted by creditors. Where appropriate, we can also help people apply for bankruptcy.
In Scotland, other insolvency solutions are available to clients including sequestration, minimal assets process (MAP) and trust deeds.
Equity release and mortgage advice
For clients who are at or near retirement StepChange Financial Solutions provides free equity release advice and is the UK’s only charity-operated equity release and mortgage advice service. This can be beneficial to a client that is asset rich but cash poor, or if they're coming to the end of an interest-only mortgage term.
We offer whole-market advice and only recommend a solution to a client if it’s truly right for them. Our advisors are fully salaried and so aren’t influenced by targets or commission and a client will never pay a fee to use our service, even if they take out a product through us.
Helping vulnerable clients
All people in financial difficulty are vulnerable, however, many people have additional vulnerabilities which makes dealing with their debt problem even more difficult. All of our advisors are trained to handle difficult and upsetting situations, and to identify additional vulnerability.
We have a specialist team who work with our most vulnerable clients who may be experiencing mental health problems, a long-term or terminal illness, dementia, a brain injury or have difficulty in communicating. Our team have additional training and tools to support them and we also partner with a number of organisations who can offer them extra help such as MIND, Samaritans and Macmillan.
Policy and campaigning
As well as providing debt advice and solutions, we campaign for change. We want to protect people with problem debt and reduce the harm that it causes. Our External Affairs teams in London and Glasgow influence change using our clients’ experiences to make the evidence-based case for changing regulation, law and practice.