Payplan, one of the UK’s largest providers of free debt solutions, has been awarded a contract to provide free debt advice in Northern Ireland as part of a consortium with Advice Northern Ireland (Advice NI). It is the first time the company has competed for this type of tender and it will provide a new way of working. The service will include the delivery of face-to-face, telephone and web based debt advice and will bring together the strength of the two agencies. Payplan already has a presence in Northern Ireland with over 1,200 clients in Debt Management Plans (DMP) or Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA). Sarah Reeve, Head of Business Development, Voluntary and Corporate Sectors at Payplan, said:
“We are proud to have been awarded this joint tender and to be working with Advice NI. Winning this contract is a significant achievement for Payplan as it confirms our position both within our industry and the wider business community as an expert provider of free debt advice and solutions and a supplier of choice. “We know that Northern Ireland is a debt hotspot and there is a need for free debt advice. Over the last three years Debt Advice NI has dealt with over 6,700 clients with a total debt of over £121 million. Now, more than ever, there are people struggling with debt and often they do not know where to turn for help. At Payplan we offer confidential, non-judgmental advice and now this service will be easily accessible across Northern Ireland.”
The contract, which is for three years with an option to extend a further year, was awarded by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI). Advice NI is the leading independent advice agency in Northern Ireland. They provide an advocacy service, through a network of has 19 local agencies, offering advice on debt, benefits, housing, tax, employment and consumer issues. They also have specialist advisers dealing with mental health and disabilities. Prior to the new tender being awarded the service was divided between Advice NI, Citizens Advice Bureau NI and Action for Employment. It has now been replaced with a ‘one stop shop’ for debt advice. [cta]