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
National Numeracy, which seeks to improve maths skills in the UK, worked with the Money Advice Service as part of the ‘What Works’ initiative, to ascertain whether improvements in people’s numeracy enhances their attitudes and motivations in making financial decisions.
The target audience was working-age adults within and outside the workplace, and those at risk of falling into problem debt within the ‘struggling’ and ‘squeezed’ segments of society. Activity was split into two strands:
An outcome and process evaluation of the project activities was carried out, including analysis of qualitative feedback. The evaluation was carried out by National Numeracy, with support from an evaluation and learning partner appointed by the Money Advice Service.
Each online participant took part in a pre- and post-attitudinal evaluation test which gives credence to results showing an increase in numeracy and ability and improved attitudes towards finances.
For the delivery strand, National Numeracy and Prospects, their partner, were unable to gather enough outcome data by the end of the project to make a statistically valid evaluation of the outcome for these participants. Key findings were related to the process, the participants’ attitudes, and how to work with a delivery partner to effectively engage this group of adults.
The key findings from outcome evaluation in the Virtual Strand were that:
Improvements in numeracy score correlated with improvements in Financial Capability Mindset.
The Virtual Strand also produced learning about the power of working with a well-known, far-reaching, trusted brand in engaging adults in improving their numeracy. This can work well if the activity is a visibly joined-up effort across multiple communication channels and is seen to be integral to the financial information offered.
The key findings from the Delivery Partner Strand were that:
Learning from the delivery strand should be treated with caution as not enough data was gathered to be statistically significant. The 184 pre-intervention and 60 post-intervention surveys indicated that participants’ financial capability mindset had got slightly worse. In the most striking change, the percentage of people who strongly agreed with the statement ‘I feel confident making decisions about financial products and services’ dropped from 25% to 10%. This could support a theory that less confident adults will initially lose confidence as they reflect on their skills, before their confidence grows in the longer term. If so, it would take a longer intervention and evaluation to assess this.
Relevance and transferability:
Paul Milner, Paul@nationalnumeracy.org.uk