Evaluation Scotland Wales
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Birmingham Settlement What Works project

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The aim of the project was to better understand how young people who are marginalised in society, and who are potentially more, vulnerable think about managing their money. This will aid Birmingham Settlement to tailor their financial education activities and services to meet the bespoke needs of this group.

The objectives were to test how marginalised/vulnerable young people between the ages of 11-25 years can be effectively engaged in a financial capability curriculum in different settings across Birmingham, and whether short-term interventions can have a longer-term impact on their financial capability. The project was designed around a curriculum of financial capability topics in workshop formats to test the effectiveness of different configurations of delivery with the target groups. The project exceeded its overall target numbers and was successful in reaching children and young people in the full range of proposed settings identified in the delivery schedule. 352 children and young people (CYP) participated.

The study

The project worked with the following groups:

  • Children aged 11-18 who are excluded from mainstream education and attend pupil referral units.
  • Children aged 11-18 who are in mainstream education but may be isolated from their peers.
  • Young people aged 18-25 who have minimal or no qualifications and are unemployed.
  • Young people currently in young offender institutes.

A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods were used to capture data about the project, including:

  • Pre and post intervention questionnaires
  • Questioning after the sessions on ‘core messages’
  • Qualitative end of session feedback
  • Participant interviews at the end of the final session
  • Follow up interviews and focus groups with the participants
  • Interviews and ‘reflection sessions’ with the staff who delivered the sessions

The aim at the end of each session was that participants know:

  • Session 1: What it means to ‘budget’
  • Session 2: What ‘interest’ on savings is and how to open a savings account
  • Session 3: How to make payments from a bank account
  • Session 4: What ‘being in debt’ means
  • Session 5: What ‘credit’ is

The evaluation considered the impact of project delivery on the financial capability of the children and young people who participated and the effectiveness of project delivery in different settings and formats. It also assessed what worked well in engaging vulnerable and marginalised children and young people; what barriers were overcome and how delivery improved over the period of the project.

Key findings

  • Impact against MAS Outcomes (Ability and Mindset) and project process:
    • Children and young people across all settings were able to identify the benefits of having bank accounts, interest on savings and budgeting and reported that they were more likely to save and budget after sessions.o Older participants gained knowledge of priority bills, loans and credit ratings.
    • Children and young people across all settings could identify somewhere to go for help with money matters and reported learning about making more informed spending decisions and keeping track of their money.
    • Children and young people across all settings reported feeling more confident about managing their own money after the sessions. o Young people in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) reported increased awareness of the consequences of previous bad debt and a desire to change their behaviour around money on release.
    • New skills were developed within the delivery team to make sessions more interactive using participative tools and techniques; this approach was highly effective for each group and engagement increased as a result.
  • Key learning - What worked well in engaging vulnerable and marginalised groups:
    • Relevant and age appropriate content
    • Responsive and flexible delivery
    • Interactive approach.
  • Key learning - What factors support effective delivery:
    • A multi-disciplinary team with appropriate skill sets
    • Reflective learning as part of the delivery process
    • Strong partnership working with the delivery settings.
  • Implications for policy and practice:
    • Set realistic and achievable goals
    • Need for earlier and wider financial capability education
    • Project evidence supports previous research.

Points to consider

  • Methodological limitations:
    • There is no control group to benchmark the observed changes against.
    • The numbers of responses collected from surveys and feedback forms are small, so quantitative results cannot justifiably be reported.
  • Generalisability/ transferability:
    • The evaluation was too small in scale for inferences to be made to the wider population, and therefore caution should be exercised in generalising from the results.
    • This research was only undertaken in Birmingham, and as such may not be transferable to the rest of the UK.
  • Relevance:
    • This report is relevant to all stakeholders and policymakers with an interest in financial education and associated evaluations among children.

Full report

Birmingham Settlement What Works project- full report

Key info

Programme delivered by
Birmingham Settlement
Year of publication
Contact information

K Garry & P GoodwinMerida [email protected]