Background to the framework

The Money Guidance Competency Framework sets out the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to deliver impartial guidance on money management and financial wellbeing in the non-regulated space. The framework also links to further helpful information and relevant training currently available.

It is the first step of a future programme of work that will help practitioners provide the best support for people they help.

The framework has been developed collaboratively with our research partner Pye Tait Consulting; a working group of practitioners; and, feedback from across the UK. Huge thanks to all those organisations and individuals who gave up their time to help shape this framework.

To find out more about how the framework was developed download the report

Who is the Money Guidance Competency Framework for?

The framework is designed for anyone who provides any type of non-regulated money guidance to individuals or groups: from young adults all the way through to older people in retirement.

There is huge diversity in the spectrum of money guidance practitioners – for example, volunteers, community workers, housing officers, mental health workers, money mentors to name a few. Whilst some people they serve are specifically seeking money guidance, we know that many are not. They may be seeking advice on a specific life event, be vulnerable, or have complex needs. We recognise that money guidance will often form just part of a wider but interconnected and holistic service.

The framework is intended to apply to those working in all four nations of the UK and every effort has been made to ensure the language and terms used are accurate throughout with alternative terms used where appropriate.

Why do we need a Money Guidance Competency Framework?

Practitioners are at the heart of many financial wellbeing interventions and have the power to make a real difference to the way people manage their money. And there are tens of thousands of practitioners delivering money guidance in the non-regulated space in one form or another.

Currently, there is no common view of what good looks like, lack of clarity about where regulated boundaries are and there are very few opportunities for practitioners to access evidence or exchange good practice about how to most effectively improve the money skills of the people they help.

We recognise that a framework alone cannot achieve this long-term vision. We are therefore currently developing a programme to further help link back to that section? and support money guidance practitioners. However, in the short term, the framework will begin to:

  • help practitioners provide good support for people they help
  • enable and empower practitioners to be clear and confident about the level of money guidance they provide
  • help set professional standards for this incredibly important work and create opportunities for development
  • aid skills development by setting a benchmark of expected performance across this broad cross sector
  • raise the profile of money guidance giving it the recognition and importance that it deserves
  • be a first step towards building and strengthening a community who will share good practice, experiences, insights, evidence, tools and resources.

Other relevant frameworks

The framework is also intended to complement, and link to, other existing frameworks. These include:

  • The Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers (A Quality Assurance Framework 2009)
  • The information & Advice Quality Framework for Wales (IAFQ Wales)
  • The NI Advice Quality Standard (August 2014)
  • The MaPS Debt Advice Quality Framework
  • The Advice Quality Standard (June 2016)

Understanding the difference between advice and guidance

We recognise that the word ‘advice’ has different meanings in different contexts. In the context of money, giving advice is a regulated activity. Only firms that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) can offer this. This framework is for non-regulated money guidance. Here is a helpful definition of the difference between guidance and advice.

Guidance is an impartial service which will help you to identify your options and narrow down your choices but will not tell you what to do or which product to buy; the decision is yours.Advice will recommend a specific product or course of action for you to take given your circumstances and financial goals. This will be personal to you, based on information you provide.
Providers of guidance are responsible for the accuracy and quality of the information they provide but not for any decision made based on it.Advice will be provided by a qualified and regulated individual or online by a regulated organisation.
Guidance is free unless your provider clearly tells you otherwise.Providers of advice are responsible and liable for the accuracy, quality and suitability of the recommendation that they make, and you are protected by law.
It will suggest what you could do.It will recommend what you should do.

Money guidance practitioners do not provide personal recommendations for financial products or recommendations on a specific course of action. However, money guidance practitioners do need to have a general and broad knowledge of the range of financial products and services available in the market place.

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