What Works Fund

Background to the What Works Fund

Many millions of people in the UK find it difficult to manage their money and people are facing hard choices with money throughout their lives. Most of us could and would make better decisions given the right support. Millions of pounds are spent each year, but we don’t know for sure which interventions are most effective in helping people manage their money better.

The programme has been designed to build, gather and strengthen evidence of what works by testing and piloting potential new solutions, scaling up existing fin-cap interventions and evaluating existing projects. This has not been done within the financial capability landscape before and very little evidence currently exists. We used internal and external research, insights and policy knowledge to prioritise the areas we wanted to develop and evaluate.

We aim to enable every organisation offering money support to be as effective as it can be and to embed evidence based practice in public, private and not-for-profit sectors. We want to make sure that every penny that is spent makes a real difference to people’s lives

This approach will span many years, but each year we will learn a bit more, add to the evidence base, and step by step begin to build the picture of what works and just as crucially: what doesn’t.


The What Works Fund

Since its launch, the What Works funds has given grants to 65 projects totalling around £11.7M

Every one of the projects has been through a rigorous and intense development period. Before issuing any grants, we worked with the organisations so they could develop their own project theories of change, evaluation methodologies and intended outcomes for their participants. These link to the Money Advice Service outcomes framework.

The 65 projects are incredibly varied across channel, beneficiary and evaluation design. The fund has projects ranging from young children through to older people in retirement across a range channels ranging from intense face to face interventions through to digital and mobile app based support. Whilst the projects vary all of them have detailed robust evaluation plans in place.

Details of all of the projects can be found via the link on the right-hand side of this page. All of the final evaluation reports will be loaded on to the Evidence Hub as they finish delivery and will be available to view.

The projects will all be finished by summer 2018 and we are expecting the final report from our Evaluation and Learning Partner (ELP) in Autumn 2018.

As well as the individual project evaluation reports, we will also carry out our own What Works programme review which will assess the extent to which the What Works fund has achieved its objectives, using our Theory of Change as a framework for the review.