Influencing and Shaping Policy

We are privileged to be able to influence the way financial systems and products are regulated, designed and delivered in the UK. We welcome your thoughts on any of these areas of work and particularly value your case studies and data to help support evidence-based change. Look out for our calls for your input into consultations.

We are currently working with the following stakeholders and policy-makers to shape the financial health landscape:

Payments Systems Regulator

We sit on the Payments Systems Regulator Panel. This statutory group provides oversight of the way UK payment systems are regulated.

Payment Systems Strategy Forum

This new Forum has been set up to develop a new strategy to deliver the payments systems the UK needs to thrive. It will focus on issues which competition appears unable to solve, and agree a strategy for implementing solutions by October 2016. It’s an ambitious agenda, not least because it is attempting to be highly collaborative and include the views of the “Payments Community”. We sit on the Forum and now chair a new working group on User Needs. Read more about the strategy forum here.

Payments Strategy Forum User Needs Working Group

We are chairing this new working group which will help write the UK Payments Systems strategy. Crucial issues to tackle (from the perspective of the financially excluded and struggling) will be the need for a new payment product which gives users a cost-saving alternative to Direct Debits for utility and other regular bills whilst retaining control. And fair and equal access to the payments infrastructure for “challenger banks” will help increase competition and innovation, which in turn improves service and price for all. Sian Williams has recently contributed to Vocalink’s reports Moving Money and Inclusive by design.

Link Consumer Council

We advise the Link Scheme – whose members run the ATM services across the UK – on meeting the needs of all users around access to cash. In 2015 Toynbee Hall conducted research for LINK on access to free-to-use ATMs in deprived areas of the UK. Download the report here.

British Bankers Association Consumer Panel

We contribute to the way the banking sector ensures it meets the needs of vulnerable consumers.

 Post Offices Advisory Group

We have just joined this group, and will be able to feed in the needs of those who are at risk of exclusion.

Consumer Finance Association consumer forum

We represent the voice of the excluded and financially vulnerable to a key group of short-term lenders.

Financial Inclusion Commission

Sian Williams is a Financial Inclusion Commissioner. The FIC was established in 2014 as a group of independent experts and policy influencers in order to ensure the main political parties included financial inclusion priorities within their manifestos. Following the election, the FIC agreed to continue for at least one more parliament to support the progress of the FI agenda. Find out more here.

You can access from our Knowledge Bank the Financial Inclusion Commission’s report, which sets out a vision for a financially inclusive society.

Financial Capability Strategy Board

We sit on the Financial Capability Strategy Board, which oversees the design and delivery of the Money Advice Service’s UK financial capability strategy. We wholeheartedly support the central tenet of the strategy that we need to test and learn what works in a much more focused and coordinated way. This will ensure we make best use of limited resources and deliver better outcomes for the UK as a whole. Find out more here.

Financial Conduct Authority Consumer Organisation Network

We participate on the Consumer Organisation Network which is coordinated by the Consumer Insight’s team at the FCA.  This network brings together organisations that represent a diverse range of consumers and consumer issues.  Members feed in valuable evidence, such as examples of consumer detriment and exclusion.  We work to monitor the impact of new policies and regulatory reform to ensure there are no unintentional consequences for low income consumers and continue to work with the FCA to tackle financial exclusion.

Essential Services Access Network (ESAN)

ESAN exists to try to improve access to vital services, particularly for consumers in vulnerable circumstances.  The Network covers energy, water and financial services.

Rural Credit Unions Programme Steering Group

This project is a collaborative venture run by The Arthur Rank Centre (ARC), The Plunkett Foundation and The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, with the backing of The Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) and the Methodist Church and United Reformed Church. We are a member of the steering group and advise on how credit unions can promote and improve financial health in their communities.