Brighton & Hove Council

Consultancy case study

The challenge:

Recognising the significant challenge facing some of the city’s most vulnerable communities as a result of the recession, welfare reform, reduced public sector spending and rising costs of living, Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) identified a need to create a new Financial Inclusion Strategy which set out a strategic approach to tackling financial inclusion.

As a brand new strategy for the city, BHCC approached Toynbee Hall to act as a ‘critical friend’ to its development, structure and content. Toynbee had already been commissioned to undertake a review of the local Credit Union and this work had been useful in forming the basis of a new commissioning plan for community banking.

The team at Toynbee Hall were able to help BHCC see the need for a whole systems approach to tackling financial exclusion: from policy to practice and commissioning to partnership working and organisational change.

Our approach:

At a strategic level, Toynbee Hall were able to help BHCC see the need for a whole systems approach to tackling financial exclusion: from policy to practice and commissioning to partnership working and organisational change.

Through a combination of desk/field research and development work with local financial service providers, we sought to deliver a detailed understanding of the physical, geographical, economic and social environment in which the people of Brighton and Hove receive and make payments.

This approach allowed us to deliver a wide ranging advice that provided a detailed analysis of local service providers, local levels of financial exclusion and poverty, insight into existing access to banking/credit initiatives and examples of existing good practice. Combining this local insight with our knowledge of national best practice enabled us to identify quick wins and recommend actions to help Brighton & Hove deliver the required services for their local area.

Outcomes/Impact

The Review was the catalyst for a more strategic approach to Financial Inclusion across the council laying a foundation stone for the ongoing development of a comprehensive Financial Inclusion strategy. Toynbee Hall continued to work with Brighton & Hove throughout this process, acting as a critical friend and supporting the development of a strategic plan using open space methodologies to engage with community, voluntary and financial service stakeholders. The result was a fully developed Financial Inclusion strategy which is currently being implemented.

A few words from our client

“As a critical friend, Toynbee Hall have been able to bring constructive, expert challenge to our city and sector and this has facilitated diverse partners coming together to talk about shared aims and objectives for financial inclusion. Furthermore, it has provided a high level of credibility to our work and given us a range of national contacts that have become ongoing partners in our work.”

Nicky Cambridge, Financial Inclusion Commissioner, Brighton & Hove Council

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