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]
Get Set is a financial capability programme funded by the Money Advice Service. It is aimed at parents of children aged 7-11. Parents of children in this age range were targeted because children at this stage go through substantial financial transitions that will impact on later life including adulthood. This period is a critical phase of ‘financial socialisation’ in a child’s development.
Get Set aimed to develop and deliver a new curriculum to around 80-100 people over 10-12 cohorts. The course would be delivered via four group sessions, three personal one to one sessions and a follow up session. In addition, online resources would be available on a dedicated website as well as a social networking platform. The intention is to individualise the experience to improve outcomes and retention compared to the existing delivery of Made of Money (MoM). The Made of Money course has been run by Quaker Social Action (QSA) for several years. It focusses on teaching low income residents in Tower Hamlets practical money management skills in a group setting.
Rocket Science UK Ltd was appointed as the independent evaluator in October 2017. This is an outcome, process and economic evaluation. The evaluation takes a qualitative and quantitative approach to set a baseline and measure impact over time.
The research questions explored through this project were:
- What impact does a targeted intervention combining one-to-one and peer support have on the financial knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and behaviours of parents of children aged 7-11, and the children themselves?
- How do the effects of this intervention compare to a group work-only intervention?
- Is the inclusion of a focus on social and emotional skills particularly important in delivering certain outcomes, e.g. confidence?
- What impact does the inclusion of an additional digital element have on sustaining learning beyond the end of the courses?
The evaluation process takes a before/ after approach to monitor and measure impact. It uses quantitative and qualitative data. Set out below is a summary process statement.
- On arrival at the first Get Set group session, participants completed a standard QSA registration form, a financial situation assessment form and the first-round parental attitudes and behaviours survey. This sets a baseline.
- On arrival at the first Made of Money group session, participants completed a standard QSA registration form, a financial situation assessment form and the first-round parental attitudes and behaviours survey. This set a baseline for comparison with the Get Set surveys.
- After completing the course, at the graduation session, Rocket Science hosted a children’s session.
- At this point, the second-round attitudes and behaviours survey was completed by parents. This monitored change.
- At four-six weeks after the final group session, Rocket Science interviewed participating parents.
- Around 12 weeks after the final group session, Rocket Science interviewed the same parents to monitor behaviour change.
- During the second half of programme delivery (Autumn 2018) research interviews were conducted with programme management staff.
The project outcomes measured were:
- Exercise/ demonstrate greater control of finances
- Parents have increased confidence in their knowledge of and ability to manage finances
- Improved and effective communication about money within the family
- Children have increased exposure to good money management habits within the family and can describe them (tested in children’s sessions)
- The Get Set programme had a positive impact on the financial knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and behaviours of participating parents. The information, advice and guidance provided by the tutors, plus practical tips and shared experience from other parents assisted parents to become more aware of and make changes to their money management practices and make changes in their communication with and mindset towards money and their children. At the same time, the results about the extent to which parents now understand what their children can and should know about money are inconsistent.
- There is evidence that combining one-to-one and group peer support sessions contributed to positive outcomes. After a weak start with the one to one sessions, closer alignment between course content and one to one discussions created a reinforcing dynamic where individual sessions built on group sessions. This suggests a positive accountability tool. For example, there was a 40% rise in the number of parents reporting they very or fairly closely plan their spending, from 46% (n= 24/52) to 86% (n= 31/36).
- Participants of Made of Money, without the one to one sessions, do not show such a substantial rise, at only 3%. However, drop off in participation does limit the extent to which causality can be attributed.
- There is evidence of positive impact on children, in particular higher levels of talking about money within the family. For example, there was a rise of 20% for Get Set participants who agree ‘I feel comfortable discussing money and spending with my child’, from 61% (n = 30/49) to 81% (n = 9/36). In addition, there was a jump from 40% (n = 18/45) to 89% (n = 18/45) of parents agreeing with ‘Have you ever talked to your child about your budget?’
- The interviews suggest that some children now have control over money by receiving pocket money or have a bank account. Children’s self-reporting also points in this direction. However, due to their young age there is substantial inconsistency in their answers and so concrete conclusions cannot be drawn.
- One of the desired outcomes was greater control over finances. Both the quantitative and qualitative data point to participating parents exercising and demonstrating greater control over their finances as a result of participating in the Get Set course. Behaviours include, more detailed budgeting, savvy shopping (both trading down for cheaper similar items and shopping around), swapping providers and saving.
- In response to the question ‘How often do you keep to the budget you set?’, there was a 22% rise in the number of parents who responded always or most of the time (from 36%, n = 18/50, to 58%, 21/36).
- Greater confidence about knowledge and ability to manage money was a second intended outcome. Confidence can be understood as the culmination of increased knowledge about good financial practices, ability to apply them and positive, reinforcing experiences gained through applying them. Confidence was tested via the interviews and the evidence suggests that Get Set sessions increased some parents’ confidence. The majority (8/12) interviewees reported they did feel more confident to manage their money or tackle a financial problem like a debt.
- The third outcome was improved and effective communication about money within the family. The survey evidence, as referenced above, and the interview feedback shows that parents participating in Get Set made substantial changes to the frequency and quality of their communication with their children about money and also, to a lesser extent, with partners, family and friends. Parents now appreciated the importance of talking about money in constructive ways with their children.
- Key process elements that contributed to the success and positive impact of Get Set were the agile approach to curriculum design and delivery and the skilled, creative tutors who facilitated learning, created good engagement, strong group dynamics, and good rapport.
Points to consider
- It is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the comparative effects between Get Set and Made of Money because the data is limited due to a drop between before and after survey completion rates and concern regarding the accuracy of responses.
- There was limited sustained attendance at the one to one sessions.