With public finances never so important, Lee Edmonds, Financial Services Commercial Lead, considers how to collect debts while balancing the economic outlook and the best interests of the public

Published 30 September 2020

Last updated 7 October 2020

I’ve been in debt for about 19 years – though, to clarify, I mean working within government and private sector debt-related roles! And, at the risk of stating the obvious, the last year of that has been unprecedented. 

Record sums of money have been paid out by the government to enable businesses to survive and employees to retain their jobs. At the same time, revenues have declined across the public sector, from tax and business rates to the repayment of overpaid benefits and unpaid fines.

Personal debt is forecast to rise, as is unemployment and the number of people in debt with mental health illness while affordable credit could become even more scarce. People and businesses not used to falling into arrears have done so and will continue to suffer short-term financial shock. 

We need a plan, not just for the short term, but for the knock-on effects that will take shape over the coming years.

The way forward

The public sector needs to be supportive, analytical, and agile in our approach. To do this we need;

  • to understand individual circumstances and respond. 
  • data and information to do that and to help make the right decisions on how we preserve the public purse while serving the public. 
  • innovative digital multi-channel contact strategies able to reflect preference, accessibility requirements and emerging trends. 
  • to protect our supply chains, ensuring they remain sustainable, innovative, and able to deliver. 
  • to consult the advice sector and leverage their insight to create the right solutions to these challenges. 

Even better, we need to understand the warning signs to enable us to prevent and detect fraud and error. In doing so, we can prevent people from moving into debt wherever possible.

This, in essence, was the mission statement that our public sector customers set us for developing a new CCS commercial agreement for Debt Resolution Services. The agreement will provide collections, data solutions, litigation, enforcement, spend analytics and recovery, solutions to the public sector from October 2021. 

It will bring together a range of expert suppliers from each area of the market to deliver private sector debt services, generating much-needed income, but in a fair and affordable way. And crucially, it will deliver value for money and tangible social value.

To enable this we are creating a simple route to market that incorporates best-in-class standards across each service that we will contract.

We are now engaging with a broad group of stakeholders across the public, advice, and private sectors to learn lessons, gather insight, and develop the new agreement collaboratively. 

Join the discussion

If you would like to help shape the DRS agreement or have similar challenges and require a solution we’d like to hear from you.

Please get in touch via email and our category team will be in touch.