The Debt Review Awards is an industry awards program, specific to the Debt Counselling and Debt Review Industry. According to the organisers, the main aim of the event is to recognise NCR Registered Debt Review Industry Parties who really stand out in the industry and go above and beyond what is expected of them.
Over 2500 registered debt counsellors, 5000 registered credit providers and three payment distribution agencies (PDAs) are reviewed through an online peer review system. This should result in a fair awards ceremony; however, there are a few flaws in the Debt Review Awards system when it comes to measuring the success of credit providers, PDAs and debt counsellors.
The first issue we are wary about is the fact that in the 2017 Debt Review Rewards, the banks’ weighting made up about 60% and the rest of the industry made up about 40%. Furthermore, 23 banks voted in the Debt Review Awards yet only six of them make up almost 80% of the industry; the weighting on all 23 of these banks was the same. In light of this, we have the following questions for the Debt Review Awards panel:
- How can the banks weighting on the outcome of the awards only be 60%?
- How do the banks substantiate the nominations? Is it based on opinion or factual data?
- How can 23 banks participate yet only six make up almost 80% of the Industry?
- How can the weighting of the 23 banks all be the same if some hardly have any accounts under Debt Review, yet others have thousands of accounts under Debt Review?
- Why is the list of the 23 banks not made available to Debt Counsellors?
- Are the retailers voting themselves or do you use one collection company for most of the retailers to vote?
The second issue is that a debt counsellor is only eligible to win one award, yet there are more than 2500 debt counsellors registered. Each PDA, however, is eligible to win four awards, yet there are only three registered PDAs. How can this be fair?
Thirdly, the significance of the Debt Counselling Awards is that it creates a perception to the public of who the best debt counsellor is, resulting in an ultimate financial impact on debt counsellors themselves. In light hereof, should the voting process and criteria not be audited by an independent, well known auditing firm and should the NCR not formally endorse these awards?
Fourthly, who are the people sitting on the panel of these awards and why is there not a blog where people can comment on the awards and openly view other comments.
The reality is that the results of the awards can be manipulated and this can have a very negative financial impact on the businesses of debt counsellors. We hope that the organisers will change the way they conduct these awards so that it will be done in a fair manner. Hopefully, in the future award ceremony, there will be at least 20 awards for debt counsellors, as there are a lot of debt counsellors who invest a lot of time into their businesses and who have contributed a lot to the industry. It is not fair for only one debt counsellor to receive recognition.