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The freedom report: key findings

The freedom report shows the transformative effect of CAP’s service for clients and their social networks. DROs were found to be an equally effective long-term debt solution and to provide enough opportunity to build financial capability. Nevertheless, the research raises concerns about wider external challenges faced by clients, which impact on their ability to remain free of problem debt.


  • Clients remain debt free following CAP’s support over the longer-term, with DROs an equally sustainable debt solution.
  • Financial education and rehabilitation can be provided effectively during the shorter period of time those granted a DRO work with CAP.
  • Clients still feel in control of their finances several years after becoming debt free, but those granted a DRO are slightly more likely to feel uncertain.
  • Most do not use credit after becoming debt free, with those who went through a DRO most reluctant or unable to obtain it.
  • Where credit is taken out, it is predominantly managed well with repeat problem debt only affecting a handful.
  • Several years on from becoming debt free, there is increased financial resilience and saving compared to the point of falling into financial difficulty. Low income, however, means that those granted a DRO continue to face significant challenges to saving.
  • Repeat problem debt is rare, but where it does occur this happens quickly and often only through priority arrears. This appears to be the result of wider circumstances rather than a lack of budgeting skills.
  • The skills learnt through CAP’s service are considered valuable and have a ripple effect on the financial wellbeing of clients’ social networks.

Watch Matt Barlow, CAP’s CEO, discuss the key findings from the report:

Join in the discussion on Twitter using #FreedomReport #DebtAdviceWorks.
We would also love to hear your personal experiences using #StillDebtFree.

Contact our press team:
01274 761924

Contact our external affairs team:
01274 760589

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