Evaluation of DWP Financial Inclusion Champions Initiative

The Financial Inclusion Champions (FIC) initiative was designed at the request of the Financial Inclusion Task Force (FITF) as part of the financial inclusion strategy to build and co-ordinate partnerships with local authorities, social landlords and other potential financial inclusion intermediaries to promote Financial Inclusion (FI). Prior to the initiative, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) used the contacts established through the ‘now let‟s talk money‟ programme to convene a series of regional road shows for organisations with an interest in financial inclusion. In the developmental stages of the initiative research was undertaken to ensure that the Champions would be located in the areas of greatest need. At the request of the FITF, Experian (2007) quantified and mapped the scale of mismatch between existing demand for, and supply of, third sector affordable credit. Local authorities were ranked in order of greatest priority for establishing new affordable credit provision. In addition, FITF/HM Treasury (HMT) decided that there was a need not only for regionally-focused Champions but also those focused on particular crosscutting themes at a national level. Hence, thematic Champions were recruited to address financial inclusion in relation to housing, banking and rural areas. Champions aimed to stimulate the demand for and, where possible and desirable, to increase the supply of, basic financial services for financially-excluded people through the work of local delivery partnerships. The Champions’ objectives supported the FITF aims to increase access to banking, saving, debt and money advice, affordable credit and home contents insurance. (Continues...).