Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Mr Malcolm Hurlston

  Founder and Chairman of Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), Britain's largest debt-advice charity. It currently manages around a 10th of UK problem debt. CCCS maintains an industry leading database on people in debt.

  Chairman of Registry Trust Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation which maintains the register of Judgments Orders and Fines on behalf of the Lord Chancellor. Chairman of Hurlstons, which devised the original principles of reciprocity for the sharing of data among lenders.


  1.  Most of these comments relate to the credit industry where I have a large amount of experience and knowledge.

  2.  Despite calls from the banking/credit industry for more data to be shared no amount of data sharing will help in at least half of the cases seen at CCCS. Debt is mainly caused by life problems.

  3.  Some banks currently do not share across their total portfolios, let alone among themselves. Recently merged banking groups can still operate as completely separate entities with little communication between them. If there were a convincing case for data sharing they would have taken speedy steps to share internally.

  4.  Previously my consultancy provided some of the expertise which came up with the principles of SCOR.[245] Representing SCOR I argued to the government at the time that the industry would not need more data in the future. Work on predictiveness would mean that inefficiencies could be avoided and that the data would in effect be better used than in the past.

  5.  In the United States data is routinely shared among lenders. The absence of a paper about this from the protagonists of data sharing in the UK indicates the case for its effectiveness in the world's largest credit market may be weak.

  6.  Data sharing is promoted by the credit industry more generally as the cure for over-indebtedness. However, as I have attempted to prove above, the case has not been made.

  7.  This paper is submitted in a personal capacity.

August 2007

245   Steering Committee on Reciprocity. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 8 June 2008