Description of the programme
The main aim of the Family Finance Project (FFP) was to develop more resilient and financially capable single parent families. Face-to-face and online training was delivered to 134 single parents in South Wales with the intention of improving their financial capability and financial decision-making. Lower income people who were struggling financially were targeted, with over half (56%) of the participants being unemployed. The majority (85%) of participants were in receipt of benefits, most commonly Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance. Over nine-in-ten (92%) of the participants were female; and most were aged between 26 and 35 years old (45%).
The training and support was delivered to 134 parents through FFP, using three delivery channels:
- Face-to-face training, comprising of a two-day course. 33 participants signed up for this, and all participants completed the training.
- Online distance learning, to be completed whenever suited the participants. Although 52 people signed up for this, only one completed the training through this delivery channel.
- Online facilitated learning, comprising a one-day course in a computer lab with staff offering support throughout the day. 165 people signed up through this channel, with 100 completing it (60%)..
The evaluation comprised both outcome and process elements.
The outcome evaluation included:
- Surveys using questions from the Money Advice Service Financial Capability framework question bank. The same survey was administered before and after the intervention. 147 participants completed the survey at the start, with 134 completing the survey at the end of the intervention.
- 101 participants completed an identical follow-up survey six weeks after the intervention.
- Four focus groups were facilitated, with participants from both the face-to-face (6) and online (14) channels).
The process evaluation included:
- A review of programme management information including participant profile data, attendance, outreach, and participant feedback in relation to the training.
- A review of data on referral routes and on methods of participant engagement.
- Staff interviews – both face-to-face and online – to identify what worked well and any potential improvements.
- Observation of the training sessions for staff.
The theory of change is focused on delivering the following outcomes:
- Single parents feeling more confident in managing their financial situation;
- Single parents acting to improve their financial situation;
- Single parents having more confidence talking to their children about money;
- Single parents knowing where to access further support.
Significant positive changes for single parents participating in FFP were reported six weeks after completing the programme:
- Participants felt more confident about managing their financial situation.
- There was a significant increase in participants reporting more ways of keeping track of their spending. A quarter (26%) of participants reported using more ways to keep track of spending six weeks after completing the training.
- There was a significant increase in participants reporting they were able to keep to a budget, with 27% reporting adhering to a budget more regularly six weeks after completing the training.
- There was a significant decrease in the frequency of missed or delayed bill payments.
- Many participants acted to improve their financial situation after completing FFP. Key changes included a significant increase in the number of ways in which participants reported putting money aside, with 36% reporting using more ways of saving six weeks after training.
- There was also a significant increase in participants feeling confident to talk to their children about money after training, with 38% of participants reporting feeling more confident six weeks after training, compared to 16% before the intervention.
- Many participants also reported that they understood where to access further support after participating in the training.
- Six weeks after the training, single parents reported feeling significantly more confident in talking to financial advisers.
Points to consider
Methodological strengths and limitations:
- Significance testing is employed which enhances the robustness of the methodology.o However, the reporting of the outcomes can be quite confusing in places, with confusion in the findings presented between the executive summary and the body of the report. For this reason caution must be exercised when considering the results.
- This report is relevant to all stakeholders and policymakers with an interest in improving financial decision-making and financial capability among low-income people, particularly members of single parent families.
- The research is drawn from one geographic region of the United Kingdom. Therefore its findings cannot be readily generalised to the rest of the UK without further research.