The front line of money guidance: Money Guiders pilot update

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Head of sector skills Michaela Kirsop shares an update on the Money Guiders pilot – a programme which aims to develop the skills, confidence and capacity of the amazing organisations and practitioners across the UK who help their customers with financial wellbeing.

Money plays such a huge role in the fabric of our lives. Whatever the challenge or life event, when people reach out for help, money guidance often forms part of the support they need.

Our Money Guiders pilot specifically focussed on public benefit/third-sector organisations, their employees and volunteers who are helping people with the challenges that many of us face in life. That might be about housing, family, relationships, work, physical and mental health, or a combination of complex needs.

Money guidance in action

Unlike financial advice or debt advice, money guidance is not regulated. Money guidance really does span a wide variety of money-related topics, at varying levels of complexity.  What level is delivered is very dependent on the guider’s role.

For example, a receptionist fielding enquiries from library users about benefits, or where to get debt advice, will signpost to up-to-date and impartial sources of information, and to local or national organisations that provide specialist support.

A support worker at a children’s centre helping families who are struggling to make ends meet may work with them as part of a parenting skills programme to improve their family finances and budgeting skills.

Whereas a liaison officer for a charity that helps people who are ill or injured will assist with immediate financial needs such as temporary accommodation, travel expenses and hospital transfers. But for life-changing injuries or life-limiting illnesses, they will provide long-term support for those individuals and their families, helping them navigate the ongoing impact on their financial wellbeing.

Whatever the level, it is crucial that service users receive good quality guidance.

Resources and support

So we developed the Money Guiders programme to help with that. It comprises four elements, all developed collaboratively and piloted over seven months:

  1. A Money Guidance Competency Framework that covers the breadth and depth of money guidance and all the competencies needed to deliver it.
  2. Money Guider Networks: UK-wide networks for learning, sharing, CPD, quality improvement and connecting.
  3. E-learning linked to the framework which can be used to supplement what organisations already deliver or used stand alone.
  4. A City and Guilds endorsed credential.

Running a money guidance pilot in a pandemic

Though we’d hoped engagement would be good, we didn’t know how possible it would be for organisations and practitioners to join the pilot due to the huge step up in demand many front-line services faced during the COVID pandemic.

However, we had an absolutely fantastic response, with many diverse organisations keen to be involved, to enable and support their staff, develop capacity and improve outcomes for their customers.

Who we've worked with

We’ve worked with over 100 organisations and more than 1500 frontline practitioners from a diverse range of sectors and across the UK. For example:

  • housing associations
  • the NHS
  • mental health charities
  • libraries
  • adult education
  • the police
  • local authorities
  • food banks, and many more besides.

Being a pilot, things were not always smooth, so I want to say a huge thank you to all our brilliant programme partners and practitioners who have used the tools, resources and attended workshops and events.

We have heard so much helpful feedback along the way to help improve the programme and will be gathering together the findings from the external evaluation later this year, all with a view to help us plan the next phase of this much-needed programme.

Take your help further – get involved!

Are you an organisation or practitioner that needs some help around talking to your customers about money? You can:

  • Download the competency framework which can be used in a range of ways, for example to support peer-to-peer discussions, self-reflection, career planning and to be clear about the boundaries between guidance and regulated advice . Or as a leader, training co-ordinator or HR manager for example, you can use the framework to understand training needs, inform service delivery or to inform HR processes.
  • Join the networks – there’s one in each UK nation with a whole range of virtual learning opportunities.
  • Find out how to become a programme partner and access our free e-learning and credential on the Money Guiders webpages.

Join the community

Finally, if you are a working in any kind of position where you talk to your service users about money, do join us at our free UK Money Guiders Conferences on November 9 or 11.

You’ll hear from our team at the Money and Pensions Service who will be sharing our latest tools and resources to help your customers through to financial wellbeing post-pandemic and an opportunity to meet and talk with other practitioners who have been offering money guidance in this space.

Our four UK network delivery partners – Hafal, Improvement Service, Reed in Partnership and Quaker Social Action – will be there to invite you into the community and share their experiences of supporting practitioners over the last six months. We look forward to seeing you there.

Michaela Kirsop headshot

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Michaela Kirsop, Head of Sector Skills and Development