Financial exclusion and poverty are linked but they are not the same. Financial exclusion can be both a symptom and a cause of poverty.
Income equality and financial capability have a deep impact on individuals and communities. Limited access to a full range of financial products can lead to socio-economic inequality which further leads to health inequalities.
Scotland has one of the worst inequalities in Western Europe both in socioeconomic status and health. Financial exclusion and poverty are the root cause of these inequalities. Financial inclusion of disadvantage communities and people who are furthest from labour market is one of the major tasks for Scottish government.
Why is Financial More important now then ever before?
Public services, voluntary organisations and community need to work together to promote financial inclusion.
There is need to focus on improving people’s and communities’ financial capability and promoting financial inclusion through improving access to financial services, and income maximisation .
People more at risk of Financial Exclusion
Research shows that disabled people, people on low incomes, lone parents, people leaving care or prison, people in isolated or disadvantaged areas, minority ethnic communities and housing association tenants are among those particularly vulnerable to exclusion.
What are we doing?
Financial inclusion is a cornerstone of many Scottish Government Policy Initiatives (Achieving Our Potential, Early Years Framework, Equally Well, and Child Poverty Strategy).
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has joined Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Housing Associations and developed a strategic approach to financial inclusion. There is two pronged approach for dealing with this issue. NHS Staff are offered trainings to raise awareness of financial exclusion and are given information on available services which offer Money Advice, Budgeting, Debt Management and service for Food and Fuel poverty. In addition to this in collaboration with Citizen Advice Bureaus and similar agencies Money Advisors and Income maximisers are based in health premises for easy referral and access of patients. In some areas where the previous projects has shown poor engagement with services of particular patient groups new methods are being tested which involves home visits by money adviser/income maximiser.
Following are the main projects:
Healthier Wealthier Children
This was a 15 month project which aimed to develop new approaches to providing money/welfare advice to pregnant women and families with children at risk of, experiencing, child poverty, across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC). Links were developed between NHS staff and money/welfare services.
Despite being a newly established project, operating over a short timescale, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health evaluation demonstrated that:
Over 15 months, the project achieved a total financial gain in excess of £2.25 million for pregnant women and families accessing HWC money advice services.
- Most of the 2,500 plus referrals for advice came from midwives and health visitors
- which suggest they have an important role to play in addressing child poverty.
- Joint work between NHS and HWC money advice staff led to new approaches being developed – such as ‘out-reach’, home appointments and telephone assessment with a client group that had not traditionally accessed mainstream advice services.
The project completed in March 2012, however legacy continues in form of the Financial Inclusion contract between GCC and NHS GG&C under the Financial Inclusion Strategy 2011-2015.The Financial Inclusion Strategy for 2011-15 provides a broad framework to take forward financial inclusion in Glasgow for the next four years. The strategy sets out a vision and a definition of financial inclusion, and identifies the key challenges and priorities going forward
Area Delivery Group
It’s a forum where Glasgow Advice & Information Network (GAIN) meets and discusses common issues within the financial inclusion sector. GAIN includes public sector and voluntary agencies, citizen’s advice bureaux, and legal, housing and independent money advice agencies. The GAIN website has a directory of organisation that is part of the network www.gain4u.org.uk
The Area Delivery Groups current remit includes:
- To highlight local issues in relation to financial inclusion
- To discuss how these issues interact with existing service provision
- To identify gaps in services
- To identify key partnerships within each area required to address issues of financial inclusion
- To ensure effective sharing of information and good practice across all members
- To feed highlighted issues etc into the City Advisory Panel (CAP) for consideration and response via the nominated representative.
The ADGs have set up sub groups to focus on specific issues and progress action, for example, welfare reform and child poverty. Sub groups can also be used to look at issues which are a priority at local level.
Hunter Street Homeless Money Advice Service
There was very low engagement rate between Homeless Patients/clients and Healthier Wealthier Children service and it was observed that the mainstream provision was not meeting the needs of this group.
Hunter Street Homeless Money Advice service is designed to improve the engagement rate between Homeless patients/clients with young families and Money Advice services.
The project worker (Central Citizen Advice Bureau) works with Homeless Families Healthcare Team (Homeless Health & Resources service) to engage their patients/clients with young families.
Poverty is the root cause of inequality. The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
Financial inclusion in the UK: Review of policy and practice, 2008 Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Healthier Wealthier Children