A busy couple of months for financial inclusion in Wales
Jocelle Lovell, Financial Inclusion Project Manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre, takes a whistle stop tour of the financial inclusion landscape in Wales.
Well what a busy couple of months August & September have turned out to be in the world of financial inclusion:
- We’ve seen the appointment of a new Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty – Lesley Griffiths AM
- Welsh Government are moving forward with recommendations made in their review of Advice Services, to establish a National Advice Network in Wales
- The Financial Education Bill is going through the Assembly’s scrutiny process with experts giving evidence to the Children, Young People & Education Committee (CYPE) at the Senedd
- The Money Advice Service (MAS) have published a key report: It’s time to talk: young people and money regrets
- Home Start published a report: Money Talk: Adults & children’s views on talking about money
- The Department of Working Pensions (DWP) robust trials of the Local Support Services frameworks (LSSF’s) went live this month
- MAS has held consultation events in Wales on the draft UK Financial Capability Strategy
Each of these merits a blog in their own right, but today, I would like to focus on the latter ‘consultation on the draft UK FinCap Strategy.’
Some of the problems commonly experienced by practitioners working in the field of financial inclusion are:
- Interpretation of the language used. An example being, the terms ‘priority’ and ‘non priority debt’. In the world of debt advisors such as Citizens Advice Bureau, (CAB) a priority debt is one where a person could lose their liberty or home, a non priority (or secondary debt) may be a credit card. Just because the term non priority is used, does not mean that the debt is not important and that it doesn’t need to be addressed.
- What we measure and how we measure it. All too often we are all measuring different things, either to meet our funders’ requirements or because we feel they evidence the value of our work which leads to a plethora of outcomes being used.
The aim of the strategy is to bring some consistency to the delivery, monitoring and evaluation of financial capability work across the UK.
Having attended the roundtable consultation event on September 16th, it was encouraging to see so many partners offering constructive feedback on the draft. Although I think most would agree the biggest challenge will be in the delivery of it.
But that said, if we use this consultation process to ensure it meets the needs of all the devolved nations along with England, then we stand a much better chance. The opportunity to measure the impact of financial inclusion work consistently across the UK is too greater an opportunity to miss. Not only could it help to identify some of the most effective interventions in building peoples financial capability, but it will help focus where funding needs to be targeted in the future.
The consultation can be found here – www.fincap.org.uk – and is open until October 24th. If you have a view on any of the consultation questions then please participate.