CASHflow – Assisted self-help for people in debt
CASHflow has been developed by the Money Advice Trust to help people, who have the confidence and skills needed, to negotiate directly with creditors. Clients who received this assisted self-help are empowered to resolve problems with support and the information and knowledge they need to make informed decisions.
This standardised approach to assisted self-help debt advice has encouraged creditors to treat offers made by people in debt in the same way as those made by advice agencies.
Advice agencies are required to obtain a license agreement from the Common Financial Statement (CFS) to take advantage of CASHflow. Debt advice experts can then work with clients who are able and willing to use CASHflow. A financial statement is agreed and is subsequently used by the client to negotiate with creditors without the need for the advice agency to act on their behalf.
The Common Financial Statement is a recognised and straightforward tool that third party agencies can use to present the repayment proposals of people in debt.
More about CASHflow
‘The CASHflow, self-help route will enable people in financial difficulty to ‘self-help’ and will free up advisers’ time to work with clients who require on going face-to-face support’.
Joanna Elson, Money Advice Trust at the launch of CASHflow in October 2009
CASHflow represents a significant partnership between major creditors, trade bodies and the free-to-client advice sector.
Features of CASHflow
The CASHflow project has developed a number of innovative features:
An excellent CASHflow guide is designed to help people make offers of payments to creditors and tells people what to expect when they reply. It explains what people should do at each stage of the CASHflow process.
The CASHflow web portal is used by clients to complete their budget. Clients can also access a holding letter at this stage to send to their creditors to request breathing space. Advice agencies can log into CASHflow to review the client’s budget and lock the financial statement once they have discussed this budget with their client. The client then uses the financial statement to make offers to their creditors, using downloadable sample letters. Creditors who have signed up to CASHflow can also look up their client’s locked financial statement once they have been given the unique CASHflow reference number by their client.
The on-line portal provides practical resources for both advice agencies and clients.
Agencies wishing to participate in CASHflow need to sign up to the Common Financial Statement (CFS) licence agreement. The CASHflow financial statement adopts the style and format of the CFS and also incorporates the CFS trigger figures. Clients using CASHflow will not have access to the trigger figures when compiling their draft financial statement but advisers will be able to use the trigger figures to support discussions around the client’s expenditure.
A recognised brand
CASHflow has a logo that is easily identifiable by creditors. The logo tells creditors that a client has been identified, by an advice agency using CASHflow, as possessing the necessary skills and confidence to manage their own debt negotiations. It also confirms that they have been given holistic advice on their debt options as well as advice on maximising income, budgeting, and dealing with priority and non-priority debts.
Advice agencies participating in CASHflow cover each of the nine English regions, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and serve both rural and urban areas. They include agencies targeting specific client groups such as students, BME women and disabled people.
Money Advice Trust
Money Advice Trust (MAT) is a charity formed in 1991 to increase the quality and availability of money advice in the UK. MAT's vision is to contribute to reducing unmanageable debt of UK consumers and its mission is to support individuals in the UK with unmanageable debts and to improve the capacity, quality and efficient delivery of free-to-client independent money advice.
More about Money Advice Trust
CASHflow, developed by the Money Advice Trust and funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, is based on the recommendations from 'With a little help from my friends', a report written by Citizens Advice’s Creditor Liaison Policy Officer, Alex McDermott, in partnership with creditors, trade bodies, the debt collection industry and the advice sector.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been fully involved in the development of the tool and have also provided funding and support for the national launch.
CASHflow has won two industry awards including the Institute for Money Advisers ‘Best new initiative award’ and the Credit Today ‘Money Advice initiative award’ in May 2010.