PayPlan has reaffirmed its commitment to helping to develop quality standards across the debt advice sector with the announcement of a major new appointment.
Alistair Chisholm joins the free debt advice provider as Head of Advice Sector Policy & Partnership. The role will see Alistair working alongside the wider PayPlan team and with external partners to enhance current practices to offer even more support to those in financial difficulty.
He will be drawing on his experience at Citizens Advice, where he spent five years as Creditor Liaison Policy Officer. During this time, he worked to forge stronger relationships between the advice sector and big financial institutions such as the high street banks. He also championed improvements to a central Government review of debt collection practices, and led pioneering, practical work on challenging financial abuse. As part of that role, Alistair was previously chair of the Addressing Financial Difficulty Group.
Alistair joins PayPlan, fresh from his success at this year’s Institute of Money Advisers (IMA) Awards, where he received the organisation’s first ever Special Recognition Award. He received the accolade for significant achievement in social policy for his work on the 2016 Addressing Financial Abuse Report, which is credited as leading many creditors to change the way they support victims of abuse and work with advice agencies on these issues.
Commenting on his new role at PayPlan, Alistair said: “There is a rapidly changing debt landscape across the UK and many people are struggling to fund even basic essential expenditure.
“As an industry, I believe that we need to be more self-critical and willing to change in order to offer the best possible support to such individuals. That change needs to be responsive and we need to be finding ways to engage with people at an earlier stage in the debt process to present them with the best possible advice.
“I am enjoying working at PayPlan on developing our services in a more digital way. We’ve spoken to our clients and partners, and that’s what many are asking for – support and advice using digital communications, such as email, web chat and mobile apps, to make the advice process easier and more accessible.
“Ultimately, we need to move away from the image of policy work being the washing up after the meal of advice, and show that with proper engagement and partnership working we can bring about meaningful change to offer better options for those in debt.”