Promising practice details


C4EO - Child Poverty

Children’s Centres Moneywise Project, Kirklees

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Child Poverty
  • General resources

Priorities this local practice example relates to:

  • Development and delivery of effective area-wide child poverty strategies

Basic details

Organisation submitting example

Kirklees Council

Local authority/local area:

Kirklees Early Years Service and Kirklees Citizen’s Advice


The context and rationale

Background details to your example

We wanted to address the issue that Children’s Centres are intended to provide an integrated approach in support of the Every Child Matters Outcomes Framework. It is generally recognised that the hardest of these aims in which to demonstrate significant progress is ‘Achieving economic well being’, particularly with regard to engaging with families who are perceived as especially vulnerable. Current economic circumstances have meant that the need for advice and guidance around monetary matters has become more acute and we wanted to intervene before families get into serious financial trouble.

Making sure clients receive the correct benefits and financial support in relation to debts can have a positive impact on all areas of life, including their relationship with their children, their general health, mental health and well-being, their outlook for the future including going back to work or re-training, and the lessons they pass on to their children about money.


The practice

Further details about the practice

Kirklees Council is working in partnership with Kirklees Citizens Advice on a scheme channelling advice and guidance through Children’s Centres.

The Moneywise project involves Citizens Advice professionals running outreach advice sessions in one Children’s Centre in each of Kirklees’ seven localities. It also includes a dedicated telephone advice line, financial literacy sessions for parents, and training for centre staff.

Over a period of years, Moneywise has been transformed from a pilot project undertaken in conjunction with a local SureStart programme by North Kirklees Citizen’s Advice Bureau to a tried and tested approach in each of the Children’s Centre locality areas.

In 2008, 105 Children’s Centre staff were trained via one-off three-hour sessions, which included learning about specialist help and making referrals. Moneywise advised 556 clients and helped 298 manage debt or boost their income. More than 120 parents went through financial literacy training.


Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

Evidencing your practice has made a difference to children, young people and families

Moneywise advises parents and helps them manage their debt or boost their income. It offers financial literacy training for parents, which was originally a three- or four-week course, but advisers now also deliver one-off sessions which can be held in people’s homes.

Moneywise has made a fundamental difference to many children by reducing the level of poverty to which their families might be exposed by internal or external circumstance, but which they cannot impact in isolation.

Case study
A young parent (under 25) originally approached a Moneywise adviser at an outreach service in a Children’s Centre in January 2009. The client was cohabiting with her partner and they had a one-year-old child. The couple were living in private rented accommodation which was in her partner’s sole name. The client did not work but her partner worked full time. He paid the rent and bills, but kept the rest of the money to himself. The client was deeply unhappy in the relationship and was considering leaving her partner, but wanted to check what she would be entitled to so she could care for her son.
The client visited the same adviser on two more occasions during the period January - September 2009, to clarify information after changes in benefits. On each occasion the client was given advice about what she would be entitled to if she left her partner and this advice was given both verbally and in writing and, on one occasion, with her family support worker present.

In October 2009 the client took the step of leaving her partner, although she was still very dependent on him around money issues. By the time she saw the adviser again she had sorted out the benefits she was entitled to and arranged for the tenancy to be in her sole name. The adviser spent some time showing the client an income and expenditure sheet to work out her budget. She wanted to make more decisions and do things for herself and her son, but did not have the knowledge or confidence to do this.

In November 2009, the client attended a Moneywise financial capability course. During these sessions the client was given information on preparing her budget, checking her bank statements and working out a manual cashflow process that she could keep to. The client is now fully aware of the income she is getting, she knows what she can afford to spend each week and is hoping to start saving with the credit union. At the end of the course the client commented, “I can become me again now, my confidence has increased, and I don’t need my ‘ex’ anymore as I can do this on my own.”

This case study shows the complex nature of the issues presented by clients with whom Moneywise works and the contact time staff potentially have with families.

A number of Moneywise clients will be make repeat visits which are not recorded in the statistics. It can take some parents a long time to trust the adviser and fully open up about all the issues that are affecting them.

On a current survey of Moneywise, 100% of clients found the adviser helpful and were fully satisfied after seeing the adviser. Some comments received were about increasing the number of staff available so that waiting time for an appointment would be shorter, but all other comments were positive.

Along with the links established with Jobcentre Plus and Adult Learning, the practice forms a key component in the contribution of Children’s Centres to combating child poverty. The service now receives direct referrals from staff, including health visitors and family support workers.


By increasing the levels of training offered to staff, we can extend the reach of services across all localities to allow Kirklees Citizen’s Advice to concentrate on those families who are in greatest need of advice.


Sustaining and replicating your practice

Helping others to replicate your practice

• The total number of clients advised in Children’s Centres through the Moneywise Programme in 2008 was 556.
• Its value in contributing to financial literacy has been realised by the income raised for individual families:
o Confirmed income gain: £172,791
o Secured debt managed: £31,267
o Unsecured debt managed: £397,963
o Total: £602,021
• Estimated income gain is likely to be considerably higher than that quoted above, but is dependent on follow-up which can take longer to confirm.
• The number of clients with income gains or debt managed as a result of Moneywise was 298.

Cost versus benefit

• Moneywise receives annual funding from Kirklees Early Years Service.
• Roughly 80% of this money goes on the advice part of the Moneywise project including some administration costs and contributions to overheads. This includes two FTE (full-time equivalent) advisers working across the whole of Kirklees and delivering seven outreach sessions, one per locality.
• The remaining 20% goes on project management, related administration costs and the financial capability work.

15 early years settings benefit from this initiative at a cost of £169,000. This equates to 50 families at £70.41 per family per week. The estimated saving to the Department for Education is £171,000 and to the Department for Work and Pensions is £272,000. This equates to a social return on investment of £1.31 per £1 invested.

Looking at statistics from Jan 2009 to December 2009:

• No. of new clients seen was 449.
• No. of new clients seen with an income gain or debt managed was 204.
• No. of Children’s Centre staff trained was 151.
• No. of parents receiving financial literacy training was 155.
• The estimated income gain for this period was £980,000*
• The confirmed income gain for this period was £264,000*
• The amount of secured debt managed was £93,500.
• The amount of unsecured debt managed was £149,000.

* (Please note: Estimated income gain is likely to be considerably higher but is dependent on follow up which can take longer to confirm)

Hot tips
What helped particularly was:

• Being able to provide a locally accessible resource through the development of the Children’s Centres to local communities where families are most disadvantaged.
• Knowing our communities well by understanding those that needed to be prioritised and ensuring that the most vulnerable families known to us were made aware of the services available.
• Being able to utilise the skills of the voluntary sector, in particular, Kirklees Citizen’s Advice colleagues with particular experience in debt counselling and financial management, and establishing how these skills complement the skills of other professionals to avoid duplication.
• Being prepared to commission Kirklees Citizen’s Advice to work with us and provide this service on our behalf, and knowing that, through the partnership with Citizen’s Advice, parents will get a high quality service.
• Preparing our staff with relevant levels of training in anticipation of increased demands for financial advice.
• Ensuring training is accessible for parents, and that Children’s Centre staff are briefed on the project.
• Establishing a reporting framework that clearly demonstrates value for money to commissioners.

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