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Positive response from OFT Debt Service clients 23 July 2007

98% of clients who responded to an Office of Fair Trading survey on its Debt Counselling Service found the advice given to be helpful to their situation.

The results of the survey have shown impressive levels of satisfaction amongst respondents across all aspects of the service provision. The results below would be the envy of many other organisations dealing with the public:-

  • 98% satisfied with the length of time taken to see a Debt Counsellor
  • 100% satisfied with the Financial Statement and paperwork prepared by the Counsellor
  • 98% thought the advice given by the Counsellor was helpful
  • 95% satisfied with our overall level of service

Responses showed that the Debt Counselling Service is generating positive results for its clients. Respondents replied that their anxiety levels have been reduced due to the support of the Service. Many state that they are more able to manage their finances and for some their financial circumstances have improved.

Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading Mr Quintin Gill MHK commenting on the outcome of the survey said

“I am very pleased that the service the Office is providing is proving so valuable to its clients. Debt is a serious problem both for the individual and for the creditors. People falling into debt find it a very worrying time. I am delighted to find that clients find the service helps to relieve some of the anxiety they feel”.
“It is also important to point out the creditors also benefit from the service. Counsellors and clients assess the client’s income together and after taking into account essential living expenses remaining funds are allocated to repaying creditors. In many cases if clients were not advised and supported in this way they may not feel able to carry through this process on their own and creditors would not receive any payments at all.”
Research in the UK for the year 2004 has attempted to quantify the financial cost of an individual’s debt problem to society. They found that the average cost to National Health Service of ‘difficult to solve’ debt problems that led to physical or stress-related ill-health was around £50 (£20 per debt problem in general). The average cost to local authorities (in the provision of temporary accommodation) of problems that led to the loss of a home was around £270 (£15 per debt problem in general). In addition, problems that led to the loss of a job and a spell of, on average, 20 weeks unemployment would have resulted in substantial loss of GDP and benefits payments. GDP can be estimated at £369 per week per head in 2004. Benefits payments, assuming standard Jobseekers Allowance rates, would have amounted to an average of around £1,500 per claimant.

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