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Press release: money advice triage tool launched
Press release: money advice triage tool launched13 September 2012
Accountant in Bankruptcy, with funding support from the Money Advice Service, has launched a new online money advice tool which will help money advisers support individuals in finding the best path to resolving their money issues. The ‘advice triage system’ will provide clear, consistent options for a variety of different debt management and debt relief solutions.
The online triage tool has been devised by Accountant in Bankruptcy, Scotland’s Insolvency Service, with funding support from the Money Advice Service and expert advice from professional money advisers, to provide a system which takes full account of each individual’s circumstances, before highlighting the options available. The new online system provides quick and accurate results for different solutions which are easily comparable, enabling people struggling with debt to make informed choices. Those in debt will be provided with full transparency in terms of the choices available – whether it be debt management or full debt relief required – results are automatically calculated to include details such as the full costs to the debtor, length of repayment term and how much debt will be returned to the creditor. It is hoped that, where possible, the new tool will encourage the promotion of debt management routes such as the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) which allows the repayment of debts over an extended period of time, helping to recycle money back into the Scottish economy by guaranteeing at least 90 per cent return to creditors.
The new electronic system will also be used to record valuable anonymised information, not just an individual’s circumstances and the options available to them, but also which solution was chosen and the outcome of this in order to help evaluate the success of recommendations. Data generated will also help refine and develop the system itself during the 12 month pilot period. It is envisaged that the trial period, along with ideas explored through the Bankruptcy Law Reform consultation, will allow sufficient testing of the tool and help shape a future triage function.
Rosemary Winter-Scott, Chief Executive of AiB welcomed the launch of the new tool:
“There are many advantages to having a money advice triage tool, both for the debtor in terms of offering a clear, upfront, and comprehensive range of options which can be easily compared, and also to creditors who will benefit from greater detail on the amount they are likely to receive. We need to think differently about an individual’s entitlement in future. Currently, debtors may choose to enter a solution which sees them paying back less than they can afford. This is not fair to creditors. The new model supports our aims of ensuring that those who can pay, do pay and that we return as much as possible to creditors, while taking account of the needs and circumstances of those with unmanageable debts.”
A recent Scottish Government consultation on Bankruptcy Law Reform showed support for an electronic triage system as part of AiB’s vision for a ‘Financial Health Service’ for Scotland, with financial education at its core.
- Funding provided by the Money Advice Service has created the opportunity for a money adviser to be co-located with AiB for one year and the development of an on-line triage tool. The pilot will test the concept of triage and will help AiB work with the money advice sector to develop it further. Feedback from these users will help inform the final shape of a triage tool in future. The pilot will be fully evaluated and this will include the consideration of outcomes for both individuals and their creditors.
- AiB is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government with responsibility for administering the process of personal bankruptcy, administering the Debt Arrangement Scheme and recording corporate insolvencies in Scotland. AiB’s mission is to ‘ensure access to fair and just processes of debt relief and debt management for the people of Scotland, which takes account of the rights and interests of those involved.’
- The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money advice across the UK – online, over the phone and face-to-face. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Services Authority.
- The Bankruptcy Law Reform consultation, which ran from 24 February until 18 May 2012, examined and made recommendations on many aspects of bankruptcy law. The purpose of the consultation was to seek views on those recommendations with an aim of modernising current Scottish insolvency legislation and it considers the concept of developing a “Financial Health Service” for debt advice, debt management and debt relief for the people of Scotland, ensuring that financial education is central to this. A report of the responses to the consultation was published on 28 August 2012. The Government’s response to the consultation is expected in October.
- Data from the triage tool is gathered using an online form builder. A unique reference number is allocated by the money adviser which is used to obtain the customer’s data for future evaluation and to assess if the advice given and debt solution chosen, was effective. To ensure that an individual's data is fully protected, no personal information which could identify an individual is captured.