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It has been reported that BIS have published the commissioned independent value for money review of Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland (URN: 11/520 - see the report here) The report is an "Independent review of Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland by Dr Bob Dobbie to inform Government funding. Investigates whether the current way in which Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland operate will meet the needs of the future. Looks at scope for improved effectiveness, impact and efficiency, and whether they continue to provide good value for money. Focuses on Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland as organisations, taking as baseline the review of 2006."
In relation to debt the report notes, inter alia:
"The organisations have been successful in attracting financial support for educating, advising and providing information to clients on financial capability and money advice, including on dealing with debt."
"Following extensive lobbying by Citizens Advice Scotland a new route into bankruptcy was provided in primary legislation. This benefited 8400 Scottish debtors in 2009."
I undertook some Government funded research in 2005 (Tribe, John (2006) Bankruptcy Courts Survey 2005: A Pilot Study. Final Report January 2006. (Project Report) Kingston upon Thames, U.K: Faculty of Business and Law, Kingston University. 222p, ISBN 1872058884 (UK Government commissioned report) – Hereafter referred to as: BCS 2005) which found that, inter alia, "On the whole lawyers are not involved in the bankruptcy process in terms of advice; the Citizens Advice Bureau is the main provider of personal insolvency advice." The empirical research questioned some 10,000 bankrupts and IVA debtors.
Dr Dobbie's report raises some interesting questions in relation to the quality of advice, and the various systems that the CAB have in place to ensure parity. If the findings of the BCS are still relevant some six years later let us hope that the CAB continue to be well funded for their debt advice function.
"This is the ultimate statement of where the law on IVAs is to be found in our great common law...