As Registry Trust’s Data Analyst, I’m always looking back at our statistics on monetary judgments in the UK and Ireland to find trends and patterns that may explain economic phenomena. As part of our mission to provide ‘public data for the public good’ to facilitate responsible lending and borrowing, we must look at the bigger picture of what is going on, and this includes the impact of money and debt advice. We know that there is huge demand for debt advice and that the sector often struggles to meet this demand due to lack of funding and resources, but our data may be able to help pinpoint where support is most needed.
Following the release of the Money and Pensions Service ‘Mapping the unmet demand for debt advice in the UK’ in June 2019, I therefore thought it would be interesting to investigate whether the ratio of supply to demand of available debt advice affected judgment levels, on a regional basis.
The graph and table below shows analysis of the Money and Pensions Service ‘Face-to-face Supply as % of Demand’ from April 2017 to March 2018, against Registry Trust judgment numbers in the same period. The trend shows that as the supply of face-to-face debt advice as a % of demand increases, the number of judgments in a region decreases.
This correlation highlights the need for additional debt advice services in financially vulnerable regions, to help reduce levels of indebtedness.
Note: Each vertical point on the x axis represents a region.
This is particularly the case for London, which has the highest number of judgments (235,784) and lowest density of debt advice when compared to its demand (22%). To quantify the availability of debt advice in London, for the 39,000 who received debt advice, there remained 138,000 cases that did not. Alternatively, Wales has the highest density of debt advice compared to demand (135%), and below average judgment levels (90,181). This means for the 25,000 who received debt advice, there was sufficient resources for an additional 6,000 cases. Wales is the only region in the UK with sufficient debt advice services to deal with the demand.
The average face-to-face supply as a % of the demand across the regions was 59%. This means only 5 regions across the United Kingdom between April 2017 and March 2018 had above the average level of debt advice services, with only one region, Wales, having a surplus. 7 out of 12 regions of the UK had below the average of levels of face-to-face debt advice, but in 5 regions there was sufficient face-to-face debt advice for less than half of the people.
The positive correlation in the graph suggests that areas of higher judgments are subject to the least debt advice. These regions with the highest judgment levels and thus highest levels of indebtedness, may also be the most financially vulnerable, although it is important to note the results could be skewed by population density. Nevertheless, as the UK begins a path to normality post COVID-19, the financial vulnerability of these regions may be exacerbated by the two-fold issue of increased financial strain that has accumulated over the lockdown periods, and the limited debt advice and support in place to guide these individuals.
I hope these insights are useful in forging a path towards meeting the demand for debt advice in different areas of the UK. I plan to continue monitoring our figures to see how they correlate with debt advice provision.
We are keen to engage with debt advice providers to share our data and work collaboratively to ensure that consumers and businesses are aware of the County Court Judgments (CCJ) process and can avoid common problems with CCJ debt and credit scores. More information can be found on the 'Learn' section of our website and we'd be keen to hear from you on email@example.com.