The work of a partnership that is supporting people in Kent with financial guidance has been recognised at a national award event.
A team from Kent County Council’s (KCC) Helping Hands financial hardship scheme in conjunction with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) won highly commended from the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation in the ‘excellence in partnership working’ category.
The ground-breaking initiative has provided residents with access to free regulated debt advice on a ‘taxi rank’ basis, with an option for an immediate call back.
In February this year, KCC’s Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS) began making referrals through this innovative digital solution, which aims to simplify how creditors and other partners can ensure customers in financial difficulty receive the help they need.
To date, more than 500 referrals have been made.
Alongside this, KCC has advocated the service MAPS is providing to wider partners, resulting in a number of organisations doing the same – increasing the number of referrals to free debt advice across the county.
One of the feedback forms read: “I found the support helpful. I have had help prioritising my energy and rent and since then I have started to sort out my debts with my gas and electric as well as my rent arrears. I have been passed on to a debt adviser who is going to help me prioritise and organise my debts and finances.
“I’m just about to start a new job and hopeful that I will not have to worry about my debts when I start. I’m very happy with the service I received and would recommend it to others in need.”
The awards panel was looking for organisations to demonstrate they had entered into a partnership that had enhanced the level of service provided and achieved measurable savings, with evidence of its development and evolution.
MaPS is an arm’s length government body, sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, with a joint commitment to ensure that people throughout the UK have guidance and access to the information they need to make effective financial decisions over their lifetime.
People who are worried about debt can also self-refer. More information and a self-referral route can be found here