The times we live through are frequently described as unprecedented.

A century pandemic has magnified and entrenched inequality.

But it has also shown that change can happen rapidly and can make a real difference. 

We need change. We need new ideas when old solutions cannot solve new problems.

Our plan sets out our approach towards securing a new different at a time when our purpose is more essential than ever.

Our purpose

Problem debt disproportionately impacts people on lower incomes.

People have limited awareness of the support that is available, and don’t know where to go for help.

Many organisations put their own commercial interests before those of people in debt.

Debt solutions can trap people in an unsustainably low standard of living.

Where organisations do put people in debt first, they are under-funded and under-resourced.

Financial products and services are complex and difficult to understand.

Provision of money guidance and support is limited, and where it is available it is typically judgmental and perpetuates myth and misconception.

Policy measures prioritise the maximisation of returns to creditors, over debt relief and a fresh start for people who need it.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

We believe that people in debt deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity.

And we believe we will achieve that by supporting the advice workforce, empowering citizens to get help and support, and advocating for fairer policy.

How we get there

1. Supporting advisers 

Helping people to deal with problem debt is increasingly complex and demanding. 

Advice changes lives, but this is only possible when training is developed to a standard that recognises the difficulty of the work, and when the wellbeing of advisers is considered a priority.

  • We will deliver a comprehensive learning and development programme that supports the professional growth of advisers.
  • We will develop a leadership programme for advisers which creates new advocates within the sector.
  • We will support advice organisations to adopt digital innovation.
  • We will provide training and resources to support adviser wellbeing.
  • We will gather evidence and insight to understand the structural factors which impact adviser wellbeing and influence change.

2. Improving financial wellbeing 

We recognise how difficult it can be to reach out for help with problem debt. People can wait months and years before seeking advice, and can endure hardship during that time.  

We want to ensure that people can access the advice and support they need, whether at the point of crisis or at any point in their lives.

  • We will help people to access expert, independent advice with debt and money issues.
  • We will deliver an expert-led and evidence-based money guidance programme.
  • We will provide a digital chat service to help people at the point of crisis and undertake the early steps within the advice process.
  • We will help employers support financial wellbeing in the workplace.
  • We will harness digital innovation to help people manage money throughout their lives.

3. Influencing fairer policy 

We are determined to use our position and influence as Scotland’s money charity to secure better outcomes for people in debt.

Anyone can experience problem debt, so everyone benefits from fairer policy.

 We will listen to advisers and use this evidence and intelligence.

  • We will monitor the causes of consumer detriment and respond creatively and quickly to find solutions.
  • We will work with allies to secure a persuasive and progressive movement for change.
  • We will work with people with lived experience to secure evidence-based change and push back against misconception and stigma.
  • We will develop independent and robust research that sets the agenda.