The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, provides assistance to people, in particular those on low incomes or living on social welfare payments, who are over-indebted and need help and advice with debt problems. As part of its free services, MABS provides help and advice to those in mortgage arrears.
In February 2017, the CIB Board made the decision to restructure the governance arrangements of the network of 93 local Citizens Information Services and MABS companies to 16 regional companies (8 Regional CIS and 8 Regional MABS).
The aim of the restructuring was to enhance the service for users by improving the governance arrangements for CIB’s funded services and optimising the benefits from operating a more modern and streamlined citizen-focused service delivery model.
This restructuring process was completed in October 2018. New service-level agreements are in place for all the new companies, in line with best governance practice.
All staff, assets and liabilities of the local MABS companies have transferred to the new companies. There have been no job losses, no closure of service delivery points and no diminution in services provided to MABS clients. To support the new regional structure eight additional posts were created across the network with the appointment of a Regional Manager in each of the new MABS companies.
The benefits in service delivery to MABS clients are evident. The regional companies have more flexibility in allocating staff resources to areas of need and specialist skills are more easily shared. Administrative resources freed up from previous work associated with supporting 51 local companies can now be focused directly on client's requirements. Standardisation of practices is being achieved. More regular case reviews are being undertaken and there is increased focus on quality assurance and on achieving improved outcomes to clients debt problems.
The total cost of the restructuring of the MABS companies amounted to €668,240, based on an apportionment of the costs between the CIS (45%) and MABS (55%) networks. This figure also includes the 2018 costs of employing the 8 new Regional Managers in the MABS companies.
CIB continues to work closely with the new boards and regional managers to support the new companies and ensure that delivery of high quality services to citizens remain the priority.