Wealden District Council
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Financial Inclusion Strategy

Financial Inclusion Strategy
NosObjectiveMilestonesMilestones DatesUpdates as at March 2022
1.Promote Street Learning
courses, and other council initiatives to help people get online and/or
improve their IT skills
  • Increased awareness of Street Learning amongst tenants
  • Teams to advertise and promote Street Learning
  • Increased take-up of Street Learning courses by tenants
  • Promote the digital Skills booklet highlighting where people can get computer training and advice and access Wi-Fi
  • Assess take-up after a year
2023 – by the end of the lifetime of the Strategy
  • Brochure taken to RL courts.
  • Using social media, website and Wealden Weekly to promote Street Learning – Facebook set up in 2022
  • Worked with library service to support Get online week 2018 and to provide outreach and promote their IT support services including via Threshold and e-newsletter
  • During Covid worked with
    the library service who ran a tablet loan scheme, with data and telephone IT
2.Training to develop the IT skills of the older tenants and leaseholders
  • Identify a training provider
  • Link to incentive approach
  • Promote the availability of training to older people outside the courts
2023 – by the end of the lifetime of the Strategy
  • National Get Online week 2018
  • Drop in sessions held at Rumsey Court, Mary Burfield, Church Bailey.
  • see above 1.
  • In 2022 post the lifting of Covid restrictions there are plans to deliver more outreach services.
3.Consider the installation of WI-FI within the council’s temporary accommodation
  • Consult with tenants
  • Identify the impact on the service charge
  • Plan the installation
  • Ensure details for residents of temporary accommodation are available via the
    Housing Portal
  • Promote take
    up to residents of temporary accommodation
2020Installation cost currently make it unviable but will be kept under review
4.Promote the take up of Direct Debit amongst tenants and leaseholders
  • Link to incentive approach
  • Ensure DD mandates are available electronically
  • Market the availability of Direct Debits to the tenant population
  • Explore offering additional direct debit dates
  • Rent First not proceeding. Being done as part of Tenant Reward Scheme, but delayed due to Covid.
  • Threshold Spring 2021 article promoting the benefits of
    paying your rent by DD.
5.Promote the benefits of being online
  • Consider running a “get online” campaign
  • Link to Street Learning
  • Link to corporate promotion of getting people online
2023 – during the
lifetime of the Strategy
  • National Get Online week 2018 with outreach sessions in 2018 and also 2019.
  • Digital Fund bid with
    SCDA – was unsuccessful
  • Utilising publications
  • Working with ESCC
    library service  to hold outreach
    sessions as well as those in the library
  • Working with partners to
    promote and support All Digital Week
6.Promote internet
Ensure we
run at least 2 internet security courses as part of Street Learning per annum
2023 – during the
lifetime of the Strategy
Now part of all IT
Street Learning courses
7.Increase the number
of  tenants and leaseholders accessing
the internet
  • Promote the
    advantages of being online
  • Advertise
    where tenants and leaseholders can go to access the internet e.g. local
    libraries, Council offices etc.
  • Explore
    providing the internet to our temporary accommodation units
Next STAR survey in 2020Information no longer collected
8.Ensure tenants and leaseholders can access advice on budgeting
  • Refer people to CAB
  • Promote the
    use of our budgeting form
  • Include
    budgeting as part of the online tenancy training modules
  • Run
    budgeting courses subject to demand via Street Learning
  • Develop
    online budgeting course for tenants
2023 – during the
lifetime of the Strategy
  • Promote CAB
  • CAB provide a quarterly
    report on WDC referrals
  • Budgeting is part of
    pre-tenancy training
  • Part of pre-tenancy
  • 2022 new 3 years SLA
    with CAB issued by WDC
9.Help tenants and leaseholders reduce their energy costs
  • Roll out collective energy switches to help households to save money on their gas and electricity bills
  • Promote Warm Home Discounts to tenants on benefits. The warm homes discount is a £140 electricity bill rebate to those on qualifying incomes.
  • Council residents to receive promotional publicity via Council Tax bills as well as social media
  • Target those who have Rointe and gas central heating to make sure they are on correct competitive tariffs.
2023 – during the lifetime of the Strategy
  • Active and on-going with annual collective switch initiative. The big switch since 2020 is for renewable electrify tariffs only.
  • Letters sent to all tenants who have Rointe heaters and Warm Home Discounts promoted in the letter.
  • We have been working with Citizens Advice on a local fuel voucher scheme. Those visiting CAB to get a food voucher may also be entitled to a fuel voucher if the advisor deems the
    individual at risk of self-disconnection. Both for those with and without gas.
  • Your Energy Sussex have now made funding available for fuel vouchers across Sussex.
  • East Sussex set up at the end of 2021 Housing Support Scheme was set-up to help people with Utility
10.Help tenants access basic bank accounts
  • Work with East Sussex Credit Union to promote their basic accounts
  • Financially assist tenants with the set up costs of basic accounts and savings with the East Sussex Credit Union
  • Determine profile using STAR of those without bank accounts
  • At sign-up ensure all new tenants have a bank account or provide them with support to
    access one
2018/19 onwards
  • Credit Union no longer receive funding in Wealden so have withdrawn their outreach service from the
    council offices
  • Finances set aside to help tenants without a bank account set one up with the Credit Union
  • very small numbers, mainly very elderly
  • At sign-ups tenants are asked if they have a bank account, if not they are given information about
    the East Sussex Credit Union and their accounts
11.Increase in the number of tenants who have a bank account
  • Advertise the benefits of being banked
  • Promote the services provided by East Sussex Credit Union
  • Provide financial assistance to help those unable to afford the set-up cost of a Credit Union Account
2020 – next STAR survey
  • All opportunities utilized, including at sign-up
  • Budget set aside for tenants without a bank account to cover any set-up costs
12.Increase home contents insurance take-up
  • On sign-up of new tenants get tenants to complete a form so crystal insurance can call them to quote for contents insurance
  • Target tenants and leaseholders living in flats to ensure they have contents insurance
2022 – Next STAR survey
  • We are no longer able to promote specific schemes for tenants as legal and procurement require more general sign-posting
  • we do general advert in Threshold Autumn 2021
  • looking to procure a preferred partner in 2022
13.Work with the Credit
Union to promote affordable loans and savings
  • Increased awareness of East Sussex Credit Union services
  • Increase in number of tenants saving with the East Sussex Credit Union bank account
  • Reduction in the number of tenants with loans from a doorstop lender or payday loan
  • 2022 – Next STAR survey
  • 2018/19
  • GDPR makes it difficult to undertake general publicity
  • no longer work closely with Credit Union and outreach from WDC offices has stopped
14.Work with CAB to ensure tenants and leaseholders receive debt advice when needed
  • Ensure staff make appropriate referrals to CAB
  • Ensure new staff are aware of CAB services
  • Promote the services of CAB
2022 – Next STAR surveyQuarterly report received from CAB which monitors referrals and use of their services
15.Promote awareness of the dangers of illegal money lending and where to go for help
  • Promote the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team
  • Raise awareness of loan sharks
2022 – Next STAR surveySocial Media campaign supporting national campaign Dec 2018, 2019 and 2020 with Illegal Money
Lending Team
16.Provide advice to ensure tenants and leaseholders are accessing all the benefits to which they are entitled
  • Provide benefit checks for tenants
  • Promote and assist tenants to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
  • Promote Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS)
2023 – during the lifetime of the Strategy
  • Employment of a housing Tenancy Support Officer
  • Tenancy Support Officer has been holding benefit outreach sessions in the retirement living courts
    over 2019/20. On old currently due to Covid but due to re-start in 2022
17.Support and maximise the take up of free Street Learning courses amongst tenants
  • Carry out a survey of tenants training needs
  • Look to provide any new courses identified by tenants ideally as part of Street
  • Promote Street Learning courses
2023 – during the lifetime of the StrategyBrochures taken to all RL courts and all resident groups. Promoted on social media, website Wealden Weekly
etc, Threshold, monthly e-newsletter.
18.Advertise services to help tenants and leaseholders attend structured training courses e.g. those
to develop self-confidence or those to support people access training
  • Promote specific courses e.g. those to help with self-confidence
  • Promote Southdown’s Student Buddies  scheme
2023 – during the lifetime of the StrategySouthdown’s Student Buddy Scheme has ceased so no longer able to do this.
19.Promote free employment support available in Wealden including outreach servicesPromote support services available2023 – during the lifetime of the StrategyWork closely with JCP and People Matter
20.Offer/fund courses specifically to meet tenant’s and leaseholders needs e.g. IT training in Retirement Living Courts, those to help tenants and leaseholders get involved or deliver community projects
  • Carry out surveys to identified what training is needed
  • Deliver training to meet these needs where sufficient need exists
2023 – during the lifetime of the Strategy
  • Tenant Involvement Team have provided accredited courses in 2018. Also part of TPAS which enables
    tenants to attend their courses and conferences.
  • training IT outreach support provided during to some retirement
    living courts provided by the library service
  • 2022 will be running dementia awareness training
21.Develop online training for tenants
  • Explore the possibility to offer online Street learning Course
  • Explore the possibility to expand the Online Housing Applicants Tenancy Training to offer
    modules for tenants
  • Survey Housing Teams to determine what courses should be provided
  • Survey tenants to find out what they need
2020pre-tenancy training used for applicants based on modules they need to cover rather than the whole course
22.Promote Scams awarenessWork with the East Sussex Against scams partnership to promote their SCAMs their work2023 – during the lifetime of the StrategyWealden social media used. IT security part of any Street Learning IT course
23.Provide access to numeracy and literacy coursesProvide as part of Street Learning numeracy and literacy training2023 – during the lifetime of the StrategyACRES and Sussex Coast College and the library service provide free maths and English courses which
are promoted in Street Learning