Financial capability forums - what they do
Forums provide a way for local Citizens Advice and other local partners to:
- meet and share experiences and resources such as lessons learned about effective delivery models and training materials
- offer and receive mutual support - important for practitioners working in an emerging discipline
- form new partnerships - including delivery partnerships that can make collaborative funding bids
- make effective links to developing areas of policy and associated delivery in their regions – eg relating to local authority Community Strategies
- support and encourage bureaux and other agencies to engage with this area of work and initiate/extend programmes
- access information on training materials and other resources generated centrally through Citizens Advice.
Forums have attracted more than 2,000 participants from some 1,800 organisations such as housing associations, local authorities, other advice agencies, credit unions, schools, the BBC, local community groups and MPs.
Achievements and activities
All fifteen forums hold at least three meetings per year and attract a range of participants.
Forum members have worked in partnership to deliver financial capability training as part of a range of initiatives. These have included the ongoing Energy Best Deal campaign. This has raised awareness about ways to reduce energy costs and signposting to help that is available
Other activities include:
- The North West, Yorkshire and Humber, Devon and Cornwall and Welsh forums have all run successful conferences to promote financial capability in their regions.
- Forums have run meetings aimed at particular groups of members. These have included strategic sessions aimed at managers and policy makers and practitioner workshops for delegates to share and discuss raining resources and delivery issues.
- Forums run themed meetings on topical issues, e.g. welfare reforms, working with young people, affordable credit.
- Two Welsh forums made a joint response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s Financial Inclusion Strategy. Members presented evidence around things like access to bank accounts through Post Offices.
Citizens Advice would be pleased to hear from potential investors who would be interested in replicating this model and supporting the development of local regional or sub regional forums.
If you are interested in working with us, please e-mail the financial capability team.