Your Questions Answered
How did you select these pilots?
We opened up applications to any community within the United Kingdom who had identified a challenge with supporting consumers or businesses with their management of and access to cash. These applications were then individually reviewed by an independent board, and 9 communities were initially selected to be part of the pilot scheme, and 8 are now live as pilots. We had some fantastic applications from individuals and groups, all of which had identified a need for access for cash and who shared a passion to make a difference. We selected communities that were different in size, demographic and needs to enable us to pilot different solutions in different types of communities.
Why only eight pilots?
The 8 communities selected differ in size, demographic and need to enable us to trial different solutions in different types of community, but is also a large enough sample size to find out what works and what doesn’t. These are pilots, and we believe that there is sufficient variation in these pilots to enable us to robustly test ideas, and be able to recommend whether they should be rolled out nationally.
Why are these pilots due to end at the end of October 2021?
We want to ensure the pilots have enough time to be successfully run and allow the communities to utilise the solutions and to test what works (and what doesn’t), but at the same time these are pilots, and not permanent new services. A 6 month time period gives us the opportunity to do this. We will review all the solutions throughout the pilot scheme and actively engage the solution providers and the communities with the findings.
If Covid restrictions continue, will the pilots be extended?
We have already extended the pilots to October 2021 and will continue to review this as government guidance and covid infection rates change.
Why do different communities have different services on offer?
Firstly, each community is individual and therefore has individual needs. We already know that there is not one single answer for every community. The solutions we are aimed at improving all aspects of access for cash so are different depending on the need. Secondly, even though some communities may have similar needs, there maybe different solutions available. So we want to try different ideas in different areas to see which ones work best and help us understand why, so we can feed this insight back into the access for cash debate.
Are these services going to be rolled out nationally?
Analysing the success of these solutions will allow us to understand what may work in other communities in the UK. All of the parties involved in sponsoring this work (the banks, consumer groups and small business groups) are keen to find solutions which can be rolled out nationally, but whether or not they are will depend on a variety of factors, including how successful the pilots are. There is a different group set up (called the Cash Action Group) which is actively exploring the future models for the UK, and which the Community Action to Cash Pilots is reporting its findings into.
How will you get feedback on what works and what doesn’t?
We are undertaking analysis of the solutions with help from the providers themselves and from residents and businesses in the community, with the support of a research agency. We will be tracking the use of each service in detail, and we are actively engaging with local communities to understand the impact any solution has had on their access for cash needs. We’d also encourage local residents, shoppers and local businesses to give us feedback, through the feedback form on this website.
Why aren’t all banks involved in all services?
All of the major banks are participating in this work, but each bank operates with slightly different rules, structures and IT systems so they may operate slightly differently. Where possible we are trying to ensure that all customers of all of the major banks can use all of the pilot solutions. After all, we are trying to test the pilot ideas, and not differentiate by which bank you bank with, Where this is not possible we are working with the banks to understand what alternative solutions are available for their customers.
Ampthill was originally selected as a pilot site, but hasn’t become a full pilot. What happened?
As we worked with the local leaders in Ampthill, it became clear that putting the solutions we had identified in place was going to be challenging in the timescales required. We identified the need for a Bank Hub, but after an exhaustive search, couldn’t find a location in central Ampthill of the right size and accessibility which was also affordable. Covid restrictions also made it very hard for the local leaders to progress other solutions. We agreed, therefore, not to use Ampthill as a pilot, but when the solutions are considered for wider roll-out, to come back to Ampthill and seek to put services in place then.
Does everything close in October?
These are pilots, and so central funding is due to end in October. However, we are evaluating these solutions to see what the future is for each.