Stepchange has published its new four-year strategy that sets out its ambition to double the number of people it can help by 2022 and also plans to launch early intervention services.

Independent analysis suggests that the number of people requiring debt advice will soar to two million by 2022. Stepchange says this stands in stark contrast to the fact that currently the entire debt advice sector currently only has capacity to support about one million people. It is, therefore, taking steps to play its part, along with others, and to innovate to close the gap between the number of people who need help and the number who get it.

Stepchange new four-year strategy, Stepping Forward:

  • Double the number of people we advise annually by 2022 from around 300,00 to 600,000, keeping our advice free, and not compromising on advice quality or client experience
  • Offer new services aimed at helping people earlier, nipping some problem debt in the bud and resulting in better outcomes for people facing financial problems. By 2022 we hope to be helping 175,000 people a year through earlier intervention
  • Increase our partnership working with creditors, local and national government, other charities and organisations to minimise duplication and maximise value and impact
  • Diversify our funding model, which will enable us to protect our core services while also creating sustainable funding for the new early intervention initiatives
  • Implement new technology and new ways of working so that services are delivered efficiently, client experience is improved, and our debt advisors are better supported
  • Make maximum use of our unparalleled data and insight from clients to identify and campaign for evidence-based policy changes that will reduce problem debt.

Phil Andrew, Chief Executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said “We should be shocked that the need for debt advice is estimated at twice the sector’s current capacity to deliver – but we also have to plan ahead to meet it. Debt gives people sleepless nights and costs the economy dearly through knock-on impacts on the NHS, in housing, and beyond. Our new strategy goes beyond triaging and treating problem debt, and will also look for new ways to work in partnership to reach people earlier and deal with problems sooner. There are 1,500 people who work at StepChange and most of them talk to our clients every day, so they know what people facing debt problems need. Each and every one of my colleagues has had a hand in developing our new approach. Their passion is the magic ingredient that will help our plans succeed, and I am deeply grateful to them for their commitment, through which we anticipate providing full, free debt advice to over 1.7 million people over the four years to 2022.”