Opening a debt advice centre

CMA offer two operating models:

  • Debt Advice Centre - if your organisation already has Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation in place - read on!
  • Connect Centre - if your organisation does not have Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation in place; click here

Debt advice work is life changing. It’s not just about money, it is about enabling people to escape from circumstances that have blighted their lives.

To open a CMA Debt Advice Centre is to make a commitment to operating a full in-house debt advice service. Face to face work with clients is central; it is so important for the client to have real human contact with an adviser both compassionate and professional, not a nameless voice on the phone. You'll help them learn to manage a household budget within their means, and when you have understood their financial situation (income, expenditure, debts) you will provide them with regulated debt advice, including informed options for resolving their financial problems, and take on the work of negotiating with creditors on the client's behalf..

To run a centre you will need: a manager; debt advisers (whom CMA will train); Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation, and you'll operate in compliance with FCA regulation. CMA provides full support, guidance, documentation, and the I.T. (CMA's Catalyst case management software) you need to achieve and manage this.

But it isn't just about the money ...     

Debt can cause the breakdown of relationships, health, homelessness, depression, fear, anger and shame. It can also potentially lead to serious addiction problems and even suicide. If you are thinking of setting up a centre you need to be driven by compassion for those you are going to help.

Opening and running a CMA Debt Advice Centre starts with a clear vision and commitment to helping those in your community who are really struggling financially. It is important to understand that establishing a centre requires considerable organisation and hard work. Most importantly, once you begin to see clients, you and your team will be making an, often long-term, commitment to helping them.

All Community Money Advice centres must offer unconditional, completely free to client services and must operate within all current legislative requirements. If you decide this is right for you. CMA can provide you with all the support you need to establish and maintain your centre. We keep our charges to a minimum, so that small as well as large groups can get involved in this work.

If you would like to know more about, the support CMA can offer or if you are interested in setting up a centre and would like to request an information visit from your local CMA Support Manager click on the links below.

CMA is able to offer the following to those investigating starting up a Debt Advice centre:

  • Resource booklets, P&P templates and guides for everything you need to setup & run a centre
  • A dedicated local Operations Support Manager (OSM) to help you through the whole startup process
  • CMA bespoke adviser training program enabling complete novices to become trained generalist debt advisers
  • Freephone & email adviceline twelve hours a day, five days a week
  • Annual national conference
  • Sector news & updates including guidance on legislative changes
  • Catalyst CMA's bespoke debt management casework software and support
  • CMA's Setting Up a Debt Advice Centre booklet is included in the Enquirer's Application Pack above. For a read-only .pdf of this please click GD-110 here


You are life savers. I didn’t know what to do or where to go and was ready to do something stupid. You have shown me that my life is worth living - Mr D. CMA Client.