Description of the programme
Get Set is a financial capability programme funded by the Money and Pensions Service. The intended beneficiaries are the parents of children aged 7-11, and ultimately the children themselves. These parents were targeted because children of this age go through a major financial transition that will impact on their later life and into adulthood. Get Set initially aimed to deliver the new curriculum to around 80-100 people divided into 10-12 groups in Islington. The course was delivered through four sessions. The first three were on a one-to-one basis followed by a final group session. Additionally, online resources were made available through a dedicated website and on social media. The aim was to improve the outcomes and increase retention compared to the existing Made of Money (MoM) course, ran by Quaker Social Action. This scheme had focussed on low-income residents in Tower Hamlets, delivering practical money management skills exclusively in a group setting. Key characteristics of the participants in both schemes included living in social housing, being out of work, and being unlikely to have savings.
Rocket Science UK were appointed as independent evaluators in 2017, to produce an outcome, process and economic evaluation of the intervention. The report employs a mixed methods approach, using both quantitative and qualitative techniques to set a baseline and measure the impact of the intervention over time. The intervention was ran alongside the MoM course, to provide a quasi-comparison group . The research questions explored were:
- What impact does the intervention have on both parents and children?
- How do the effects of this intervention compare to a solely group-based intervention?
- Is a focus on social and emotional skills important in delivering certain outcomes (e.g. confidence)?
- What impact does a digital element have on sustained learning beyond the end of the course?
The data collected included:
Surveys - At the first sessions of both the MoM and Get Set courses, a registration form, financial assessment, and survey on financial attitudes/behaviours were completed by participants (57 responses for Get Set and 46 for MoM).
Follow-up surveys - After completion of the course, a children’s session was held (36 participants) as well as administering a second attitudinal/behavioural survey (43 responses for Get Set and 45 for MoM).
Interviews - conducted with parents 4-6 weeks after the course, and again at 12 weeks.
Research interviews with programme management staff.
- The Get Set programme had a positive impact on the financial knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and behaviours of participating parents and the way they communicated about money with their children.
- However, post-intervention findings concerning the extent to which parents understand what their children can and should know about money are inconsistent.
- There was a larger increase in the number of parents on the Get Set programme who reported they planned their spending than on MoM (though results are based on a small number of responses).
- There was also evidence among Get Set participants of parents being more confident when talking to their children about money.
- The interviews suggested that children were given more control over their finances, (for example pocket money and having a bank account), though there was inconsistency in the answers provided by the children.
- The interviews suggested that Get Set increased the financial confidence of some of the participants, resulting in parents starting to appreciate the value of talking to their children about money.
- Due to low completion rates of the pre-and post surveys, it was difficult to draw firm conclusions about the comparative effects of MoM and Get Set. There was some evidence that the one-to-one sessions had a positive impact on financial behaviours. However, the evidence for the impact on financial knowledge and behaviours was mixed.
- Key process elements that worked well included a flexible approach to curriculum design and the skill and creativity of the teachers who facilitated learning, strong engagement, good rapport and strong group dynamics.
- Through the use of case studies the economic analysis suggested the Get Set programme did have some quantifiable, positive impact on individuals, such as better financial planning and renegotiating their energy bills. The author suggests Get Set has enabled greater access to information and support and empowered at least one participant to change their financial behaviour.
Points to consider
Methodological strengths/weaknesses: There was a small number of participants and retention in the scheme was problematic, limiting the ability to make decisive conclusions about the positive impacts of Get Set in comparison to MoM.
Generalisability/ transferability: The evaluation is of significant interest to those looking to commission or deliver financial capability interventions to financially vulnerable families
Relevance: Both interventions took place in London, so findings are not representative of the rest of the UK.