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MAS attacked over ‘waste of time and money’ report


The author of an independent review into the Money Advice Service has slammed the organisation for “wasting time and money” by carrying out a review into whether it replicates the work of other bodies.

In March, former Consumer Focus chair Christine Farnish published a Treasury-commissioned report calling for the MAS to be overhauled and to slash its money advice budget.

The report also warned the MAS was not delivering good value as it was duplicating services offered by other organisations.

Earlier today, Money Marketing reported that MAS was continuing to investigate Farnish’s conclusions, and was carrying out its own work into whether it was replicating other bodies’ work.The MAS plans to publish its findings in a report in November.

MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes described Farnish’s work on duplication as “light touch”.

She said: “It was a short study with a very small team and in the time available and with the resource available it just wasn’t possible other than to do a fairly light-touch look at what appeared to be out there.

“Those services may be very good, but we don’t know if they’re only reaching the customers of one organisation or people only living in one area, and there’s also the quality of the product they provide and the key question of how impartial they are.”

But Farnish says: “This strikes me as a complete waste of time and money.

“Anyone who has got a laptop or a mobile phone can search for advice and find a whole range of different providers coming up, many of whom are excellent.

“Caroline would say they are the only one set up by government to be impartial, but there are plenty of other providers out there who give good, honest advice.”

Farnish also points to the findings of the Treasury select committee, which said  in 2013 that the MAS was replicating work already being done in the private and charitable sectors.

She adds: “But the MAS seem to be ploughing the same old field again.”

Rookes says: “The Farnish review provided a number of recommendations to streamline and improve the work of the MAS and we are actively working to implement these. The changes we have already undoubtedly contributed to the excellent set of results we issued this week: we continue to expanded our list of partners, we have reduced our marketing spend by a third, and our debt advice projects helped more than 91,300 people in the quarter, more than ever before.

“Our focus remains on continuing to support the 5.5 million people that come to us for support each quarter, continuing to implement the changes the Farnish review recommended, and launching a financial capability strategy for the UK later this year.”



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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “A waste of time and money”. But that’s what bureaucrats do – Christine Farnish shouldn’t be surprised – she used to be one.

  2. 1) How much did it cost? 2) How many staff hours (if any) did it consume?

    A bit more meat on the bones of this article would be better, heaven forbid MM start to go the route of the tabloids with their ‘sensationalist’ reporting.

  3. Rent Seekers.

  4. “Our focus remains on continuing to support the 5.5 million people”.

    5.5 million hits on your website doesn’t mean you actually helped them!

  5. So they cut their staff to 50 then allocate how many to review the review? Disappearing up own b side.

  6. Rookes defends MAS. What a surprise.
    It’s hard to get people to do or say or think anything that would jeopardise their own 6 figure salary and lifestyle.
    The real crime in this is not that she oversees such a patently lame duck but that, when this is finally recognised and MAS consigned to the dustbin of history, Rookes herself will turn up in some other, similarly highly paid, role. For these people, there is simply no penalty for their abject failure

  7. Given that the MAS itself is a waste of time and (OP) money, how could a review into whether or not it replicates the work of other bodies be anything other than a waste of yet more time and money?

  8. Oh the irony! MAS are accused of replicating the work of other bodies in an independent review and then decide to conduct their own review! Any bets on what their own review will say?
    2/1 We dont replicate other peoples work.
    3/1 We spend our money wisely.
    4/1 We dont replicate anyone else’s work.
    5/1 Our adviser list is better than any other adviser list out there.
    5/1 Our adviser list is not a replica of anyone else’s.
    6/1 We are under staffed and need more money.
    10/1 We dont replicate other bodies work.
    100/1 Sorry, you are correct, we are a complete waste of time and money and should be shut down immediately.

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