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ICM strengthens ties with DebtCred

28 January 2011

Philip King, Chief Executive of the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) has joined the Shrieval Council of DebtCred, the financial literacy project for secondary schools, in a move that further strengthens the ICM’s long-term relationship with the initiative’s parent group, Credit Action.

Mr King will join Malcolm Hurlston, Chris Tapp (previously the director of Credit Action) and Jeremy Burton (from the High Sheriff’s Association and a Credit Action Trustee) among others in an advisory capacity, helping to steer the future direction of DebtCred, ensuring the project’s objectives are met, and playing a role in forging contacts and partnerships.

The ICM has been a keen supporter of bringing financial learning into the classroom for some time and has been a member of the pfeg (personal finance education group) forum since 2006: “Like Credit Action, we believe that learning about money from an early age is essential if young people are going to be effective managing their personal finances later on,” Philip says.

“As such, it is up to the financial community – and Membership bodies including the ICM – to help educational establishments in taking a lead to teach young people about basic money management such as budgeting, bank accounts and credit.”

DebtCred was launched in 2002 as the High Sheriffs’ Financial Literacy Project for England and Wales as a response to two identified needs: firstly, that of proving that the High Sheriffs’ Association could react as a body to a specific social need; secondly, to raise awareness of the effect on young people of inappropriate offers of credit as well as the effects of external influences on their ability to make sound financial decisions.

DebtCred was seen as a particularly relevant project for High Sheriffs to be involved with, given their historic duty of the collection of County Court Writs. In 2010 DebtCred merged with the national money education charity Credit Action, and now operates as a ring-fenced project within the charity. This acted as a catalyst for the ICM to increase its involvement.

At a practical level, DebtCred reaches teachers and students in a number of ways, one of which is through trained volunteer educators. Several businesses, among them Bank of America, M&S Money and Provident Financial, currently provide volunteer educators, and Philip hopes that similar volunteers can be found from the ranks of the ICM Membership: “Given the size of our Membership, its regional spread and the breadth of skills inherent within credit management, we hope this is something worthwhile for our Members to get fully engaged with,” he says. “We are also looking for credit professionals who can encourage their businesses or organisations to engage in the work of the project.

“The programme allows Members to use existing skills, to benefit young people in the community.”

Joanna Parsley Associate Director at Credit Action is pleased to have the ICM more formally involved: “Building relationships with organisations like the Institute of Credit Management is vital in educating the next generation about handling their money well, so we are excited to we have the support of the ICM in connecting financial experts with schools to provide worthwhile financial education,” she says.

“We are similarly thrilled that the ICM shares Credit Action’s vision that young people should have the skills and confidence to make financial decisions independently. Philip King brings a wealth of expertise to the advisory board for DebtCred and we are confident that with his input the project will flourish.”