SchuldenLab NL | Deloitte Impact Foundation


Supporting SchuldenLab NL

Deloitte professionals improve effectiveness of Dutch debt support, supported by the Deloitte Impact Foundation

Through the Deloitte Impact Foundation, Deloitte employees are contributing to better debt help and an end debt stress in the Netherlands. Deloitte’s Rogier van der Klauw is part of the team taking the young non-profit organisation SchuldenLabNL to the next level.

Beating debt stress

In the Netherlands, two million households already have payment arrears, 1.4 million of which are potentially in problematic debt, and the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to push these numbers even higher. SchuldenLabNL is a non-profit public-private partnership aimed at fighting debt and the stress surrounding it. It does so by connecting the many local debt help initiatives scattered across the country, fostering innovation and getting their very best practices rolled out nationwide.

Adding organisational expertise

Meanwhile, this young organisation could use some help itself. With strategy, organisation design and a dashboard for impact measurement, for example. The very things that Deloitte employees are good at. This is why Deloitte Impact Foundation is offering SchuldenLabNL support. Through Deloitte Impact Foundation, Deloitte employees give their time and expertise to non-profit organisation that align with Deloitte’s purpose: sharing knowledge to impact society. Rogier van der Klauw is part of a team of young Deloitte professionals advising SchuldenLabNL under the umbrella of the Deloitte Impact Foundation.

‘I joined the team in December, because this project has potential to make social impact. It’s been quite a learning experience,’ says Eva. ‘First of all, it has raised my awareness of how far-reaching the consequences of debt stress are - like poor health, domestic violence, children being taken into care, teenagers dropping out of school. A lot of this stays under the radar, too. SchuldenLabNL’s mission is to make our country Debt Stress Free, and I want to help make that happen.’

Focus, strength and innovation

A first step was to help the passionate volunteers of SchuldenLabNL focus on what they really want to achieve and what they’re good at. This resulted in a strategy and measurable goals. The team sat down with them to design a strong organisation to support the development of local initiatives and mobilise relevant public and private parties to form an ecosystem. An organisation, also, with enough power to lobby with the government -  for example on improving consumer protection against schemes like hire purchase.

Innovation is another area where Deloitte’s experts provide useful input. Rogier gives an example of an innovative way to reach out to people in debt. ‘When people in this situation go online, they‘re targeted by ads from shifty credit firms offering fast loans. Why? Because they’ve been profiled on the basis of their search history. One of the SchuldenLabNL initiatives (the Nationale Schuldhulproute), fights fire with fire and now targets the same profiles with online ads of its own, offering debt help.’

Increased urgency

The first phase of the project has resulted in an impressive set of deliverables for SchuldenLabNL: a redefined strategy, the design of a future-proof organisation including a sound financial model, the design of the entire public-private “Debt Stress Free Netherlands” ecosystem, and a dashboard that measures the impact of best practices.

Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do, and Deloitte and SchuldenLabNL are already discussing further cooperation. Eva is eager to stay involved. ‘This is not the kind of work that you just switch off from when you go home. It’s always at the back of my mind.’ Rogier agrees. ‘We’re currently discussing the knock-on effects of Covid-19 on debt levels and debt stress. Our work to date turns out to have been well-timed, and the urgency is clearer than ever.’

Research report ‘Impact of COVID-19 on debt problems in the Netherlands

Additionally, SchuldenLabNL and Deloitte have joined forces to highlight the urgency of the situation, the numbers involved and which groups are most vulnerable. As one of Deloitte’s first deliverables, a research was performed that clearly reveals the urgency of the situation.

Despite un certainties about the exact impact, the fact that between 368,000 and 822,000 people are likely to experience a significant and prolonged loss of income this year is a mark of the pressing nature. More than ever before, this group is heterogeneous in terms of sector, age and region. They include many self-employed persons and flex workers. Many in these high risk groups have no opportunities to cut costs, neither do they have a financial buffer. What’s clear, too, is that most of the people are not yet on the “radar” of the authorities.


Download the report

Download both the report, as its summary at the top (right) of this page.

Please note that the full report will be made available in English next week. The insights in the report are merely an initial step in the collaboration between public and private parties to tackle this major social issue together. The report identifies problem-solving approaches that will be further explored in the coming period. Especially in these times we need to keep sight of the ambition SchuldenLabNL has: a debt stress free Netherlands.

Update October 2020: With royal involvement towards a debt carefree Netherlands

"Let us make better use of each other's knowledge, strength and innovation", that call was made by her Majesty Queen Máxima on October 13th at Noordeinde Palace. There, the pact to which Deloitte and SchuldenLabNL contributed was signed.

Read the article here.

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