Following changes to consumer credit regulations in April 2014 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the number of debt management firms operating in the market has shrunk.
This may have left people in debt without access to the support they need.
It is not known whether more firms will leave the market but Money Advice Service has launched the new partnership to make sure people can easily access advice.
It will do this by funding StepChange to run a free advice service over the phone.
Those affected by any potential closures of debt-management firms are advised to visit the Money Advice Service website or call its debt management helpline on 0300 330 2222.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, head of the debt advice programme for the Money Advice Service, said: “We welcome the FCA’s increased scrutiny of debt management companies, bringing greater accountability, making sure all providers meet the same standards of advice delivery and protecting consumers.
“It is important that those customers whose debt management company leaves the market are able to access high quality, free debt advice to help them decide the best course of action and get their finances back on track.
“This is the first time we have worked in partnership with StepChange Debt Charity and we are pleased to be providing funding to deliver these vital additional debt advice services over the coming year.”
Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Money Advice Service. Dealing with debt can be an extremely stressful and difficult time and it is essential that the people affected by firms leaving the market have somewhere to turn where they can get free and independent advice. This funding means that substantial extra advice and support will be available in the coming months.”