Evidence type: Evaluation i
Information about the programme design and rationale
Evidence about Financial Capability outcomes for programme participants
Evidence that the Financial Capability outcomes were caused by the programme
Evidence about programme implementation, feasibility, and piloting
Evidence about relative costs and benefits of the programme
The Improving Financial Confidence (IFC) programme originally aimed to improve social housing tenants’ skills and confidence. However, in practice, delivery providers found that many beneficiaries had well-developed financial capabilities, but were unable to make ends meet due to the wider context of welfare reforms. Therefore, the programme evolved to support people through a combination of crisis intervention and helping beneficiaries develop new budgeting skills that would be more effective in the context of economic changes (such as wage freezes or zero hour contracts).
Big Lottery Fund awarded 37 projects across England with funding of between £500,000 and £1 million each, over three to five years. Each project took a partnership approach, with partnerships led by a voluntary community sector organisation or a social housing landlord, and comprised of the Local Authority, social housing landlords, local advice services or a Citizens Advice service. Initially aiming to support new tenants, young tenants and tenants moving in and out of work, the Big Lottery Fund relaxed the target cohorts, so that any social housing tenants could be included. In addition, up to 25% of beneficiaries for each project could also be from the private rental sector. The programme originally aimed to reach 150,000 beneficiaries, while the evaluation captured data on 43,836 individuals.
Big Lottery Fund commissioned a consortium, led by Ecorys UK and comprised of the University of Bristol and Cobweb Consulting, to undertake the Improving Financial Confidence programme evaluation. The consortium utilised a mixed-method approach to undertake a process and outcomes evaluation. These methods were:
The final evaluation report details key findings from the process evaluation and outcome evaluation, and discusses learning about effective referral and engagement, delivery, and partnership approaches.
Referral and engagement: The evaluation found that the key success factors for engaging beneficiaries were establishing effective and diverse referral routes, allowing time to build up the brand locally, conducting outreach support and home visits, and building and maintaining a trusted relationship between the project worker and the tenant.
Delivery models: Learning from the ‘test and learn’ process showed that tailored one-to-one support, group activities, combining financial capability advice with everyday activities, supporting online money management and utilising peer mentoring and volunteer approaches were all effective delivery models.
Outcomes and impacts:
https://www.ecorys.com/Williams, J, S Collard, D Friedman, S Davies, D Hayes and K McKenna.