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Pension Wise staff cut as appointments slump

Pension Wise jenga

The number of people employed by the Government’s flagship guidance service Pension Wise has been cut as appointment bookings drop off from a high in October last year.

When the service launched in April 2015 229 full-time equivalent staff were employed by Citizens Advice to deliver face-to-face guidance. Staff numbers have since fallen to 211 at the end of December, the Treasury and Citizens Advice have confirmed.

In addition, the number of delivery centres providing appointments has gone up, from 124 to 130 across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

A Citizens Advice spokeswoman says the increase was planned before the service’s launch.

Figures published this week show the number of appointments has been steadily falling since October while the cost per session has been rising. The average cost of appointments has increased to £516 per session, a rise of 4.2 per cent compared to November.

Government statistics published today show there were 3,205 appointments in December, down from a high of 6,755 in October.

A Treasury spokesperson says: “Less than one year since its launch, Pension Wise has been a great success – there have been 2m visits to the website and over 43,000 appointments, with satisfaction remaining high.

“To ensure as many people as possible know about the service, we’ve run two national TV, Radio, print and digital marketing campaigns and are continuing to work with Citizens Advice on marketing materials which their guiders can use to promote Pension Wise locally.”

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. peter mulholland 3rd February 2016 at 5:08 pm

    500 a session if you don’t laugh you would cry

  2. What a load of rubbish, a “great success” indeed, it has been a complete waste of money, and still is. They would have been far better giving everyone a £150 voucher to spend with a qualified IFA which was what I said as soon as they announced the changes. They would have got 40% of that back in tax revenue anyway (I should imagine most IFA’s are at least 40% tax payers?)

  3. Considering the great white elephant that the MAS swiftly turned out to be, it might have been a good idea to have made at least some effort to determine likely demand for the service before spending shedloads of OPM to set it up. What this latest lesson tells us (yet again) is that what most people want is simplicity rather than guidance from yet another quango. Failing that, I too was one of the many people who suggested a voucher system for qualified advice. That could have paid for 133,333 initial consultations. But, as usual, we were ignored.

  4. “Failing that, I too was one of the many people who suggested a voucher system for qualified advice. That could have paid for 133,333 initial consultations. But, as usual, we were ignored.”
    So the clients would come to you without any advertising or other promotion, no call centre to take calls from the clients etc? The quoted figures take into account these and also, as you should be aware, as the numbers dropped significantly in December, of course the unit cost rose.

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