Evidence and evaluation is fundamental to the success of the Strategy. In order for the financial capability sector to make the best use of finite resources, it is critical that service design and funding decisions are based on robust evidence of need and what works.
The aim of this element of the strategy is to develop a highly effective financial capability sector, underpinned by a robust evidence base in which resources are directed to areas of unmet needs and interventions which have been proven to work. And to ensure that the impact of innovative new programmes is evaluated in a rigorous and consistent way.
Money Advice Service analysis suggests that around 7 in 10 UK-based financial capability programmes are evaluated or assessed in some way. There are pockets of excellent practice, but much of the activity focuses on monitoring reach, outputs and customer satisfaction rather than measuring outcomes and impact. It is also difficult to compare the results from published impact evaluations due to the diverse and sometimes significantly different ways in which organisations define and measure financial capability outcomes.
There remain significant gaps in our understanding.
Many existing interventions have not been rigorously evaluated and the evidence that does exist is not always taken into account when designing services or making funding decisions. To achieve the sustained cultural change needed, the Money Advice Service will take on a role similar to a ‘What Works Centre’, working with and through a range of strategic partners from across the financial capability and research and evaluation sectors.