Money Advice Service refuses to reveal expenditure details

The Money Advice Service has refused to answer questions about how much it is spending on redundancy packages, directors’ remuneration and overseas trips for senior management.

Money Marketing submitted questions to MAS chief executive Tony Hobman (pictured) last week but the service has refused to provide detailed answers as it is not yet subject to freedom of information legislation.

The Ministry of Justice says it is in discussions with the MAS to bring it under the FoI Act.

The questions push for details of senior staff remuneration in 2011/12 and the size of redundancy packages being paid to staff.

Earlier this month, Money Marketing revealed that three-quarters of the MAS team of 150 have been put on consultation.

The majority of MAS staff moved across from the FSA’s Consumer Financial Education Body, when it became the MAS in April.

An MAS spokeswoman has confirmed that all staff who moved across from the FSA are entitled to “a comprehensive redundancy” package, as set out in the FSA’s employee handbook. The handbook states the maximum payment allowed is the greater of one year’s salary or £100,000.

The MAS declined to give details of how much the service has paid towards overseas business trips for senior management but confirmed that there have been four trips since April.

The MAS is funded by a statutory industry levy. It has a budget of £43.7m for 2011/12, which includes £13.5m for staff costs.

The service has spent over £2m on the delivery of its online healthcheck and £4m on an advertising campaign.

Money Marketing asked how many consumers who have completed the MAS healthcheck have taken action to improve their financial situation or sought regulated advice.

The spokeswoman says the healthcheck has had 280,000 visits since it launched in June but refuses to disclose the outcome of the visits.

Technology and Technical founder and director Kim North says: “Any public authority with such a huge industry-funded budget must be open about how it spends its money.”