Report details recommendations for improving efficiency and efficacy of Maps

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published an independent report on the Money and Pensions Service (Maps) that outlines a series of recommendations to improve the organisation’s efficiency and service.

The Departmental Review of the Money and Pensions Service, produced by The Lang Cat director of public affairs, Tom McPhail, called for further exploration of how Pension Wise can be evolved to achieve more efficient outcomes, including the consideration of using commercial organisations to deliver Pension Wise guidance and how Maps works with pension providers.

Additionally, McPhail recommended a review of how Maps engages with other government departments to identify overlapping policy areas to better support integrated policy development and increase efficiency.

Maps should develop a clear ‘Places for Growth’ strategy, in consultation with the DWP and Treasury, according to the report, and deliver more efficient, accessible and impactful financial guidance.

Furthermore, the service should consider how its strategic role can deliver efficiencies in the achievement of government policy objectives.

To allow for scrutiny of its performance, the review urged Maps to develop internal performance metrics, while “clarity and consensus” should be prioritised within its Corporate Plan and Three-year Corporate Strategy.

Maps was encouraged to create and publish measurable ‘stepping stones’, which would set out short- and medium-term goals against which Maps’ progress in meeting statutory objectives could be measured.

McPhail suggested that specific consideration should be given to the funding positions of the Pensions Dashboards Programme, in consultation with the DWP and Treasury, as well as the consideration of a review Maps’ funding structure and the impacts on its operational efficiency.

In terms of governance recommendations, the review called for a review of the composition of Maps’ board and less frequent board meetings.

Furthermore, the chair and CEO should consider how they can work together more effectively, according to the report, while the CEO and executive team were urged to explore how they can form a more cohesive team, following the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Looking at the organisation’s form and function, McPhail concluded that Maps’ statutory functions were still required and best delivered by Maps, and the service should therefore be retained.

In the foreword, McPhail acknowledged that Maps could “not have had a more challenging start”.

“It was born out of the merger of three separate legacy organisations, at least one of which had persistently struggled to establish an effective identity and operating model,” he stated.

“The bringing together of three organisations would of itself have been a significant challenge. Merging three separate workforces, systems, processes, cultures etc. is never easy, however this challenge was compounded by two further disruptions through the course of these first two years.

“On top of these existing challenges, Maps then had to deal with Covid.”

He noted that while it had experienced an unusually high turnover of key personnel, Maps now benefits from the services of a “highly experienced” chair and board.

“Hopefully it now has a stable executive team; they are making good progress in developing the organisation in ways that simply haven’t been possible hitherto," he continued.

"This review has identified areas where Maps has failed to live up to expectations to date. Through the review process I have sought to identify the root causes of the disconnects in delivery.

“It is clear there is much good work now in train within Maps and that it is evolving into a more efficient and effective organisation. The recommendations in this review will I think further build on that progress.

“Maps provides a range of vital information, guidance and advice services, free at the point of use, helping millions of people to manage their money.

“It is a unique service in the UK’s complex and sometimes confusing financial and legal systems. It is a trusted source of impartial help.

“Either directly through its own services, or indirectly through its commissioning partners, Maps changes people’s lives for the better.”

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