Can you start a Scottish trust deed if you are a prison officer?

The Scottish Prison Service has been subject to major financial cutbacks. This meant that some Scottish prison officers were subject to a pay freeze and changes to their pension arrangements. For many prison officers in Scotland, this resulted in an overall reduction to their standard of living and a greater exposure to personal debt. Where a prison officer already had debts, this made it harder to keep up with their repayments. In such circumstances, it’s wise to quickly access professional debt or trust deed advice.

If you are a prison officer in Scotland and struggling to repay your debts, is a protected trust deed an option available to you?

Irrespective of your occupation, if you are finding it difficult to maintain monthly repayments to creditors you should first seek advice from a fully qualified debt trust deed advisor. They will assess your circumstances in full including your income, expenditure, debts and assets. This will provide the basis for the advice you will be given. Your advisor will go through which debt solutions will best suit your circumstances (which may or may not include a protected trust deed). A good debt advisor will go through the pros and cons of each debt solution as they apply for you. Once you know what the options are, you can start to think through the choices that need to be made.

As a prison officer you have a duty to conduct your financial affairs in a proper and responsible way. There is the argument that seeking debt or trust deed advice as soon as you realise that you are in financial difficulty is the responsible thing to do. If you delay in seeking advice you increase chances of a creditor taking legal action against you (such as the creditor obtaining a decree) which may create some difficulties.

If a Scottish trust deed is suggested as an appropriate debt solution option, you should consider reporting your intentions of taking up a trust deed to your employer. Being a prison officer in Scotland does not in itself prevent access to a trust deed, but it is generally a requirement that you report any serious financial difficulty to the Scottish Prison Service. Signing a trust deed would usually be classified as an acknowledgement of being in serious financial difficulty.

If you have fallen behind on any of your priority debts or payments (such as rent, mortgage, council tax or utility bills) you will need to prioritise these over all other debt repayments. A debt or trust deed advisor will discuss with you which debts to pay as a priority. Your welfare department may also have a welfare fund you can apply to for money to help you pay these. The Civil Service Benevolent Fund also has a fund available for serving prison officers if you meet their criteria.

If you decide that you do want to enter into a Scottish trust deed; there are alterative solutions available. A debt management plan (DMP) is “informal” and you may therefore consider that no requirement to report the matter to your employer exists (though we suggest that you think about this carefully), or the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) might also suit. The DAS is a formal way to restructure your debt payments affordably over a period and benefit from frozen interest charges and other costs.

If, in the end, you come to the conclusion that a protected trust deed will be right for you there may be some steps you need to take to ensure that your employment is not jeopardised.

You can find all the advice, information and guidance you need regarding the protected trust deed at Trust-deed.co.uk. Our site includes facts, figures, expert opinions and even a forum where you can discuss all trust deed and debt topics with our team, industry experts and others who are dealing with personal debt worries. If you’d like to receive one-on-one, confidential trust deed advice from our qualified debt advisors just call 0800 043 7201 today.

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