Contents: 32 minutes
Our advice is always free and confidential.
The Debt Free Advice partnership is committed to ensuring equal access to our advice services as far as possible. All staff and volunteers are trained to identify barriers to access and make reasonable adjustments accordingly.
All advice agencies providing advice as part of Debt Free Advice have equal opportunities and diversity policies that all colleagues are required to read as part of their induction. Consistent with these policies, when developing services, we always design them to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.
Across our service, our colleagues speak a wide variety of languages and we actively seek to add to this mix in order to meet local need. We also ensure that all staff have access to LanguageLine, a telephone-based translator service, which ensures that a person’s standard of English should never affect their ability to access our services.
Protected characteristics of service users are monitored, allowing us to proactively respond in under-represented areas and adapt to emerging needs.
We recognise that individuals have different needs with regard to accessing and using information. To ensure that our service users receive advice in ways that suit their needs, we provide:
Self-help materials for clients who seek only straightforward guidance. These are available in a range of formats, media and languages
Signposting and referring to other organisations
Access to advocacy for people who need more support to obtain information and advice
Research relevant to specific issues.
The Debt Free Advice partnership is committed to acting in line with its obligations flowing from the Equalities Act 2010, and endeavours to continually adapt and alter our approach to provision in order to make our service as accessible as possible for people who have a disability, long term illnesses or mental health problem.
Reasonable adjustments can mean alterations to the building by providing lifts, wide doors, ramps and tactile signage, but also mean changes to policies, procedures and staff training to ensure that our services work equally well for all our service users. According to the Act, organisations should not simply wait and respond to difficulties as they emerge: the duty on them is ‘anticipatory’ meaning they have to think about what is likely to be needed in advance.
We want all of our clients to have an excellent service. So, whatever your needs or abilities, you can expect equal access, facilities and treatment.
To discuss in more detail please call us on freephone 0800 808 5700.
Capacity and Consent
The Mental Capacity Act sets out the law regarding this. It provides guidance about the correct process in cases where there are concerns that an individual may not have capacity to take an informed decision. One of the key principles of the Act is that a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because s/he makes what is considered to be an unwise decision.
Advisors supporting someone, for example with learning disabilities, mental health issues or substance misuse problems may have difficulties making decisions about capacity in some situations. The Code of Practice provides guidance to anyone who is working with adults who may lack capacity to make particular decisions. This guidence can be found on the GOV.uk site here.
Debt Free Advice advice agencies conduct Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure checks on all staff and volunteers who are in contact with vulnerable users, including young people under the age of 18 and adults at risk.
Advice teams are likely to come across people who may be at risk of abuse or neglect. Concerns should be raised with local authority safeguarding teams if they or others are thought to be at risk of serious harm, or causing harm. There may be times when it is appropriate to go directly to police. The local authority safeguarding team will decide whether to proceed with a full enquiry. If the concern does not meet criteria for an enquiry, there is still a duty to give advice or signpost to other services where appropriate.
Ideally, informed consent should be obtained before a referral is made. If the individual refuses to consent to information being disclosed, a decision needs to be taken as to whether information sharing is justified. Debt Free Advice's safeguarding policies provide the details team members need to consider to ensure they take appropriate action.
There may be instances where the vulnerable person is in immediate danger or urgent medical attention is needed. In these circumstances action should be taken to ensure their safety and well-being. Staff should always consult with someone else, but it may be necessary to make immediate contact with Social Services or emergency health services, and, if there is reason to believe a serious crime has been committed, the Police. In cases involving physical or sexual abuse, care must be taken to preserve evidence.
Debt Free Advice, and our commissioned advice agencies, strive to create an environment, where people feel that they are respected, valued and can achieve their potential regardless of; Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnerships, Pregnancy or Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex or Sexual Orientation.
We are committed to building a service that makes full use of individual’s talents, skills, experience and different cultural perspectives in order to reflect the communities we serve.
Through this we aim to:
- Ensure no one receives less favourable treatment or is disadvantaged by conditions, requirements, provisions, criteria, procedures or practices that cannot be justified, or is victimised for taking action against discrimination or harassment or instructed or put under pressure to discriminate against or harass someone
- Ensure opportunities for employment, training and promotion are equally open to all, and that selection for employment, promotion, transfer and training and access to benefits, facilities and services, will be fair and equitable and based solely on merit
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination and harassment in employment
- Promote equality of opportunity and good relations.
- Value and promote differences with Debt Free Advice's workforce
- Be proactive in complying with our legal duties and responsibilities
- Improve the way we measure and monitor the workforce and potential workforce
- Analyse the impact of our policies and procedures in employment by undertaking effective monitoring
Debt Free Advice is a partnership of organisations working together to provide free and impartial debt advice.
All data collected by the Debt Free Advice partnership is stored on a database controlled by Toynbee Hall, a registered charity , a company limited by guarantee .
Toynbee Hall is committed to good practice in the handling and protecting of your personal data and privacy along with careful compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act (2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation.
Toynbee Hall is registered with the Information Commissioner in the UK as a “data controller” in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018. Further details of the registration are available at ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/Entry/Z6999734
Toynbee Hall are committed to good data management in order to protect people from harm. This means:
- keeping information securely in the right hands;
- holding good quality information; and
- obtaining explicit consent from our clients to record and process their data.
Toynbee Hall also ensures that it takes into account the legitimate concerns of individuals about the ways in which their data may be used. In particular, we aim to be open and transparent in the way we use personal data and, where relevant, to give individuals a choice over what data is held and how it is used.
The GDPR creates new rights for how organisations treats individual’s data and these are detailed below.
Toynbee Hall complies with all relevant DPA legislation and also ensures that the principles of the General Data Protection Regulations are incorporated into the service that we provide.
How long will we keep your personal data?
We need keep your information and details of your case for 6 years. In rare circumstances this may be extended if there is a legal / or potential legal reason to do so.
The right to be informed
Toynbee Hall will ensure that all individuals understand why their data is being obtained, how it is being used and how they can access it. We shall provide this information in a manner that is concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible. This information is provided for all ways in which you may communicate with us.
The right of access
Toynbee Hall wants all people it helps to understand how they can access their personal data, and will ensure that they are able to do this easily and quickly. Please contact us if you want further information on how to access your data.
The right to rectification
In order to provide advice that is comprehensive, accurate and tailored to the circumstances of each person that we help, Toynbee Hall wishes to hold accurate data about them. If you believe that your personal data is inaccurate or incomplete then we will ensure that this is rectified. If Toynbee Hall has disclosed the personal data in question to third parties it will inform them of the rectification where possible. Toynbee Hall will never disclose any data about you without first checking that this is ok with you and making it clear to you why this has been done.
Should you want your data to be rectified, then please write to the Toynbee Hall’s Data Protection Officer (DPO) confirming which data you wish to be rectified.
Toynbee Hall’s DPO can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are licensed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (the UK’s Data Protection regulator) to act as a data controller. Our licence reference number is Z6999734. This can be checked by visiting https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/what-we-do/register-of-data-controllers/.
We will respond to you as soon as possible but no later than within 48 hours. If Toynbee Hall does not take action to rectify the data, we shall explain why and will inform you of your right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office.
The right to erasure
Toynbee Hall wants you to be comfortable about the data that we hold about you and we provide the facility for you to request the deletion or removal of your personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.
You have a right to have your personal data erased and to prevent processing in the following circumstances:
- where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected/ processed
- when the individual withdraws consent;
- when the individual objects to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest of for continuing to process it
- when the personal data was unlawfully processed and the data has to be erased in order to comply with a legal obligation
Toynbee Hall refuse to comply with a request for erasure where the personal data is processed for the following reasons:
- to exercise the right of freedom of expression and information
- to comply with a legal obligation for the performance of a public interest task or exercise of official authority
- for public health purposes in the public interest, archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research historical research or statistical purposes; or the exercise or defence of legal claims
The right to restrict processing
If you wish for us to no longer process your data, then we will ensure this happens. You may wish to do this if:
- you contest the accuracy of the personal data
- where you object to the processing of the data
- when processing is unlawful and you oppose erasure and request restriction instead
- if Toynbee Hall no longer needs the personal data but you require the data to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim
If Toynbee Hall has disclosed the personal data in question to third parties, we shall inform them about the restriction on the processing of the personal data, unless it is impossible or involves disproportionate effort to do so. Toynbee Hall will inform individuals if it decides to lift a restriction on processing.
The right to data portability
Should you wish for your data to be provided to you in a machine readable format (e.g. CSV) so that another organisation can process this data, then Toynbee Hall will facilitate this where possible. Please contact us for more information.
The right to object
You have the right to choose how we use your data, if you object to how we use your data, then please let us know.
The rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling
Toynbee Hall does not use automated decision making in any of its processes. The some of our case management software uses a logic driven model on referral options but this does not constitute automated decision making.
How do we collect information?
We obtain information from you when you enquire about our activities, receive an e-newsletter, make a donation to us or otherwise provide us with personal information.
What information do we collect?
The personal information we collect will vary depending on which service you interact with and might include name, date of birth, email address, postal address, telephone number. We will not ask for information unless it is necessary/relevant to the service/interaction we are providing.
How do we use this information?
We will use your personal information to provide you with the services or information you have requested, administration purposes and to further or charitable aims, including fundraising activities.
How do we protect personal information?
We take appropriate measures to ensure that the personal information disclosed to us is kept secure, accurate and up to date. We may also need to disclose your information if required by law or if we have your permission to do so. We will not sell any information about your web browsing activity.
Right of access
You have the right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you (for which we may charge a small fee) and to have any inaccuracies in your information corrected. If you wish to exercise this right please email email@example.com
Downloads & Media Files
Any downloadable documents, files or media made available on this website are provided to users at their own risk. While all precautions have been undertaken to ensure only genuine downloads are available users are advised to always verify their authenticity using third party anti virus software or similar applications.
We accept no responsibility for third party downloads and downloads provided by external third party websites and always advise users to verify their authenticity using third party anti virus software or similar applications.
Contact & Communication With us
Users contacting this us through this website do so at their own discretion and provide any such personal details requested at their own risk. Any personal information is kept private and stored securely until a time it is no longer required or has no use.
We will only contact you as part of the initial process of receiving debt advice, we will not use your details to send you other unrelated products/services information. We may contact you at various points of your debt advice process to seek feedback on our performance, but this will be discussed with you in full when you complete your initial assessment.
Email Mailing List & Marketing Messages
We operate an email mailing list program for our newsletters – utilising the email management software ‘MailChimp’, and will not send you unsolicited emails/messages. Each email will also contain an option to unsubscribe in a prominent position.
External Website Links & Third Parties
Although we only look to include quality, safe and relevant external links, users are always advised to adopt a policy of caution before clicking any external web links mentioned throughout this website.
Users are advised to take caution and good judgement before clicking any shortened urls published on social media and other platforms by this website and its owners. Despite the best efforts to ensure only genuine urls are published many social media platforms are prone to spam and hacking and therefore this website and its owners cannot be held liable for any damages or implications caused by visiting any shortened links.
We cannot guarantee or verify the contents of any externally linked website despite our best efforts. Users should therefore note they click on external links at their own risk and we cannot be held liable for any damages or implications caused by visiting any external links mentioned.
Unsubscribe from marketing
Debt Free Advice is a partnership of charities working together to support Londoners with their debt and money worries. During our advice sessions, we ask clients if we (the Debt Free Advice partnership) can contact them in future to enable us to continue to support clients whose circumstances may have changed, we do this via email and SMS marketing.
We understand that you may have changed your mind and may wish to no longer receive these communications from us. If that is the case, please complete the form below and allow up to five working days for your email/phone number to be removed from our marketing database.
We welcome all feedback about our service, and we want everyone who uses them to be happy with the services we provide.
That’s why, if you have a concern, we want to hear from you. We promise to deal with all complaints promptly, sensitively and confidentially, and if possible, we will always try and resolve difficulties informally.
You can also contact us if you have a concern about an organisation who we have referred you to.
Stage 1 - Asking us to resolve a problem
It is important for us to know if you are unhappy with an aspect of our service, so we can do our best to put it right.
Don’t be afraid to raise the issue with a member of staff – they will often be able to solve the problem straight away. You should certainly expect a response from us within 3 days.
We expect our staff to report any feedback they receive in order to improve our service where necessary.
If you are still not happy with our response, you can make a formal complaint.
Stage 2 - Making a formal complaint
There are several ways to make a complaint:
• You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
• You can come to our reception and ask to speak to a manager
• You can write a letter and bring it to our reception. Or send it to: Debt Free Advice, Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS. Please mark it “Complaint: Private”
• You can use a feedback service, such as Trustpilot
• If it’s easier for you, you can record your feedback, or you can ask a friend to speak to us on your behalf.
We will be in touch with you within two days to let you know who will be dealing with your complaint, and when you can expect a full response (this will be no longer than 3 weeks).
Your complaint will be treated seriously and confidentially. It will be thoroughly investigated, and you will have an opportunity to discuss the matter with the person investigating your complaint. You will be informed of the outcome of the investigation, and full reasons for any decision will be sent to you in writing. If we’ve done something wrong, we’ll apologise fully and, if appropriate, let you know what we’ll do to put things right.
Stage 3 - Asking for a review
If you feel that we haven’t dealt with your complaint properly, or you are dissatisfied with our response, you can ask us to review the decision. Please tell us why you are not happy with our response within three weeks of receiving our response.
The review will be overseen by a member of Senior Management, who will investigate and respond to you within 3 weeks of receiving your request for review.
Stage 4 - Using an independent adjudicator
We hope that any concerns you have can be addressed by these processes, but we are aware you may not be satisfied with the result.
If you are still not happy, you can contact any of the organisations that fund or regulate our service, and they will decide whether we’ve dealt with your complaint fairly.
We can supply you with details of these on request.
The Financial Ombudsman provides a free, independent service for clients to solve disputes with not-for-profit debt advice providers. They will only be able to help once we have had the opportunity to investigate your complaint, so you will not be able to contact them until you have had your final response from us, or until 8 weeks have passed since you first raised your concerns.
How to complain (financial-ombudsman.org.uk)
0800 023 4567 (from a landline) or 0300 1239123 (from a mobile)
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