Description of the programme
Money Works is a financial education programme delivered by MyBnk to young people across England and Wales. It is targeted at young people broadly categorised as ‘vulnerable’. They are typically one or more of the following:
- Not in education, employment or training (NEET) or at risk of becoming NEET;
- Financially vulnerable;
- Transitioning into adulthood with a need for support in progressing towards future learning, employment and financial independence.
The programme is delivered to groups of 6-15 young people at a time. Most groups contain a range of ages, abilities, life situations, and backgrounds. The eight-hour programme is usually delivered over four two-hour modules, focused on the following:
Budgeting and habits, including attitudes towards money and budgeting.
Being independent, including wages slips, tax and national insurance, universal credit and shopping for utilities.
Banking, including how banks work, savings and current accounts, interest and staying safe online.
Borrowing and ‘beyond today’, including borrowing, credit history, debt, looking forward and setting goals.
This 2018 evaluation report from ERS Research sought to address the following research question:
“What is the effectiveness of delivering digitally enhanced financial education (Money Works) to NEET young people as they transition towards financial independence?”
The evaluation took place between January 2017 and April 2018, and employed a mixed-methods approach:
Quantitative data was collected from participants through surveys at various intervals prior to, during and after the intervention. A control group was also included to determine the effectiveness of the programme. The final follow-up occurred 3-8 months after the intervention. In total, 2,053 survey responses were collected from 1,243 young people.
Seven focus groups were undertaken with workshop participants at different locations across the country, following programme delivery.
In-depth interviews were conducted with representatives of the funders (Money and Pensions Service and City of London), the Money Works management team, MyBnk and freelance trainers, host organisations and youth workers.
- The findings showed Money Works has been effective in increasing the financial knowledge of young people, along with their awareness and confidence to tackle financial problems and seek advice.
- There was a heightened awareness among participants of their spending habits, with some evidence of altered behaviour, including steps towards saving and defining goals.
- There was no evidence that the intervention reduced financial worries, and many participants remained suspicious of online resources and scams.
- There were differences in the needs and interests of different groups, and it was important for delivery to be flexible and tailored to the participants’ individual needs.
- The effectiveness of delivery depended on the expertise of trainers, engaging activities, a positive environment, and ensuring that both the content and the trainers were up to date.
- The intervention was assessed to have a positive social impact. It was estimated that for every £1 spent on delivery, £5.57 was contributed in social value.
The report also made a series of recommendations for future delivery:
- Establish a balance between alerting young people to the risks associated with digital technology, while reassuring and signposting them to trusted resources.
- Provide take-home resources to participants, to allow them to revisit material as and when it becomes applicable to them.
- Tailor the delivery of financial education to ensure maximum benefits for young people of different ages and backgrounds.
- Consider expanding similar provision to that of Money Works to wider groups of young people who may also benefit from the training.
- Continually review and update materials to ensure they remain relevant to policy changes and technological updates.
- Use interactive activities, share personal experiences and stories to distance learning environments from traditional school settings.
- Employ high-quality trainers who are highly skilled in developing positive relationships and adapting delivery to individual and group needs.
- Maintain and invest in positive relationships with referral agencies and relevant individuals.
- Consider trialling other approaches for collecting follow-up data in order to improve response rates.
Points to consider
Methodological strengths/weaknesses: Some of the findings are tested for statistical significance, adding more robustness to the analysis.
- A control group is used, allowing findings from the intervention group to be compared with an external group for benchmarking purposes. However, the authors note that due to a lack of participants, some of the groups who received the intervention also provided control data, obscuring the findings somewhat.
- Only a limited number of responses (85) were received from rural areas, with only six from Wales. This obviously limited analysis of both urban/rural delivery and differences across countries.
Generalisability/ transferability: The evaluation is of significant interest to those looking to commission or deliver financial capability interventions among vulnerable young people.
Relevance: The majority of findings are based on England, so are not necessarily representative of the rest of the UK.