The Government has pledged to carry out a thorough review of whether the Money Advice Service is delivering on its objectives by the end of this Parliament and to bring the service under the scope of the National Audit Office.
Speaking at a Treasury sub-committee MAS inquiry today, economic secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid told MPs that while he believes the FSA does have the powers to sufficiently challenge MAS, there was a need to ensure it was delivering the service it was set up to deliver.
He said: “The issue of a review is important because it is an organisation that has only been around for a couple of years, it is entering a new space, and any new organisation will have teething problems and issues. But it is important for the Government to make sure it [the MAS] is meeting its objectives. What I intend to do is have a thorough review of MAS before the end of this Parliament, which would make sure it is meeting its objectives as set out by Government and by Parliament.”
Sub-committee chairman and Labour MP George Mudie said he would be unhappy if another three years were to go by without subjecting MAS to proper scrutiny, given “this is a new organisation that has arbitrarily changed its total way of operation within a year.”
Javid said the MAS would still be scrutinised under a value for money analysis and that the Government also plans to bring the MAS under the scope of the National Audit Office.
He added later in the evidence session that the issue of the MAS being subject to the Freedom of Information Act would be considered as part of a Government review on whether independent bodies should have to respond to FOI requests.