Review of Fair4All Finance Published

An independent review of financial inclusion body Fair4All Finance details the non-profit’s achievements to date and recognises that, given the scale and complexity of the problem being addressed, it is too early to judge fully the impact the organisation can have on tackling financial exclusion and the development of the market in affordable credit.

The review found that Fair4All Finance can credibly claim to have become a trusted and respected voice in the sector and can point to broad support across government and mainstream finance for its research and style of influencing institutions. It has also provided support to the community finance sector through a very challenging period.

The review notes that, as well as its activities supporting and investing in existing affordable credit providers, addressing financial inclusion requires systemic change for mainstream finance to play its necessary role in developing the provision of inclusive finance, including affordable credit. Changes in policy and regulation will also be required.

The Oversight Trust commissions a Quadrennial Review of the four companies receiving money under the Dormant Asset Scheme in England, one each year in turn. The review looks at the organisation’s effectiveness in delivering against its mission. This year’s review was of Fair4All Finance, the organisation set up by DCMS in 2019 to address the issue of financial inclusion.

The report identified five issues for Fair4All Finance’s leadership to address in its planning for the future:

  • Focus on defining the impact it is targeting, given the complex bundle of issues around financial inclusion.
  • Develop its strategy for successful engagement with mainstream finance.
  • Address issues related to engagement with the community finance sector to help it grow.
  • Build on its positive start as a successful influencer.
  • Further develop its organisational effectiveness and transparency.

The Oversight Trust welcomes the actions detailed in Fair4All Finance’s response to the report. and looks forward to further discussion of its plans and monitoring its progress in the context of the organisation’s updated business plan.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chair of the Oversight Trust, says: “After a successful start, now is the time for Fair4All Finance to take stock and focus its strategy and define what are achievable goals.

“In three years, it has chalked up some notable successes including its coordination role in the No Interest Loan Scheme, providing grants in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its investments in the community finance sector.

“The report outlines a number of issues for Fair4All Finance to consider under five main headings covering its areas of work. We welcome Fair4All’s commitments under each of these and look forward to further discussion of how these will be reflected in its business plan and progress will be monitored.”