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evaluation

Evaluation of Advice NI's Building Resilience in Retirement project

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

[This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the evaluation report. Further amendments may be made to this Summary, pending review by the Evidence Hub partner]

Much of the information, tools and resources which can help us to better manage our money is online. However, the use of technology to deal with financial matters can present difficulties for older people who are often digitally excluded, whether by lack of access, motivation, confidence, skills or trust. These challenges have particular significance in Northern Ireland where many areas do not have an acceptable level of broadband, coupled with limited digital skills amongst the older population.

Building Resilience in Retirement (BRIR) aimed to improve the financial capability of older people through a digital inclusion training programme. The programme comprised six two-hour modules on developing digital literacy, avoiding scams, online budgeting tools, comparison websites and accessing online money advice services.

It was targeted at hard to reach older people – in particular, older men, older people from BME groups and older people receiving general support services. The programme was delivered between July 2017 and March 2018 in community settings throughout Northern Ireland; 108 people participated.

The study

The evaluation was designed to find out if the digital training programme could improve older people’s access to financial guidance and develop capability to make the most of their money. It focused on:

  • Ability: Digital skills to access money-related information and financial advice
  • Mindset: Increased confidence to access such information and advice
  • Connection: Awareness of rights and entitlements and how to get help to manage resources
  • Behaviours: Increased resources and benefit take up
  • Financial wellbeing: Improved financial wellbeing

Participants completed a pre and post course questionnaire; 58 paired questionnaires were analysed for the evaluation. This was supplemented by qualitative data collected through focus groups and interviews with older people, as well as consultation with programme personnel and strategic stakeholders from relevant fields.

Key findings

  • Ability: BRIR improved the digital skills of older people; 39% of respondents described their ability as ‘good’ post training compared to 18% before the programme.
  • Mindset: Participants developed increased confidence in accessing and using online financial tools and resources; over 80% reported that they were now aware of how to protect themselves from online frauds/scams.
  • Connection: 89% agreed or strongly agreed that their knowledge of online sources of financial information and advice had increased since participating on BRIR.
  • Behaviours: Participants could see the potential for using the learning to do research and save money; however, there were limitations to the extent to which they would use digital technology for financial purposes.
  • Financial wellbeing: Older people were already fairly confident in their financial skills; nonetheless, 82% agreed or strongly agreed that BRIR had made them more aware of budgeting and managing money.
  • Access: The programme provided a vehicle for accessing older people who may not usually have an opportunity to learn about online information, advice and resources to support financial capability.
  • Messaging: Learning how to keep safe online - rather than financial capability - was the ‘hook’ to promoting interest and engagement.
  • Sustaining: Developing digital readiness for financial purposes takes time, practise and trust. BRIR provided a foundation but older people may require longer-term or more intensive support to develop, sustain and apply their knowledge and skills.

Points to consider

  • Methodological limitations:
    • The nature of the target group and the context in which BRIR was delivered meant it was not possible to collect both pre and post course data for all 108 participants.
    • The sample size is small and so the analysis is limited; the findings are indicative of the perspectives and experience of BRIR participants rather than the population of hard to reach older people overall.
    • The research would have benefited from a longitudinal element to assess the extent to which participants had acted upon their learning and any longer-term impacts.

Full report

Evaluation of Advice NI’s Building Resilience in Retirement project - full report

Key info

Client group
Measured outcomes
Programme delivered by
Advice NI
Year of publication
2018
Country/Countries
Northern Ireland
Contact information

Community Evaluation Northern Irelandhttps://www.ceni.org/