The terminology used in personal finance doesn’t mean much to people as they come across the various words used e.g. inclusion, exclusion, capability, etc. A support worker means something but what does anyone expect from a financial inclusion officer?
With Clean Slate I try and keep my language free from jargon, that’s why I tend to use the phrase ‘financial wellbeing’. At least it gives people a direction about where I’m coming from.
It’s also not very specific – it’s a general descriptive term, leaning more towards an overall assessment of a person’s financial position. It combines the skills and knowledge of the client with their ability to control their finances.
In the work I do for Changing Lives it has become apparent in the 1-2-1 surgeries that many clients have gaps in their money management skills that cover more than one topic.
That has become something quite specific in the approach taken by Clean Slate, in that the service has become holistic in its approach to the help offered to clients. For instance, there is limited long term value in concentrating on a benefit check for someone, finding they are entitled to more money, only to find out they have several outstanding debts and they are about to be evicted.
Every client who attends our 1-2-1 surgery is assessed across a wide range of financial topics, over and above the initial reason for the referral. They are asked about their own perception of their confidence in dealing with benefits, debt, credit, fuel poverty, budgeting, banks & other products, routes back into employment and access to free and confidential advice.
The reason for the referral will become the initial focus of our work, as often it will stem from a crisis situation, but alongside this we will do other work with the client, automatically doing a benefit check (incorporating Universal Credit), checking their energy tariffs, and preparing a budget.
We have now combined this into a qualification that can be achieved during the time the client spends with Clean Slate.
After the work we have done holistically with the client, covering all aspects of their financial wellbeing, it is much more likely that they will be better equipped to make better choices in the future.
Currently there are 2 learners enrolled to take this qualification, with a waiting list for more to follow.