Barking and Dagenham Council has led on the creation of a new standalone financial guidance and support website called Barking and Dagenham Money, a focal point for the Council’s communications and support relating to the escalating cost of living crisis.
About Barking and Dagenham Money
Barking and Dagenham Council has led on the creation of a new standalone financial guidance and support website called Barking and Dagenham Money that has become a timely focal point for the Council’s communications and support response to the escalating Cost-of-Living crisis.
Originally developed as part of the council’s strategy of early intervention to prevent financial issues becoming a financial crisis, it brings a comprehensive range of money-related topics, financial services and advice providers together into one co-ordinated and simple to navigate portal.
Importantly, the website incorporates various interactive financial tools from trusted-organisations such as the Money and Pensions Service, StepChange Debt Charity and Turn2Us – including:
- a benefit calculator – to check benefit entitlement
- grant search – to identify potential hardship grants
- a budget planner – to help manage household spending
- an online debt test – to get help with unmanageable debts.
In addition, it enables residents to identify and apply for a range of discretionary and emergency funds (such as DHP and Household Support Fund) administered by the council as well as search for local support services.
Intentionally branded separately to the Council, its design, content and user experience were jointly tested with local partners and potential users. It aims to offer self-help for residents, on all things money-related but also give staff from both the council and local voluntary sector partners the tools to help their clients.
To support its launch and embed its use across the council and external partners, a programme of online workshops has been delivered together with regular blogs, news items and social media posts. Additional digital transformation funds have already been secured for the next phase of Barking and Dagenham Money’s development to create a seamless and integrated journey for residents struggling with living costs.
The intention is to create an intuitive portal that provides tailored triage and support outcomes based on an individual’s financial circumstance – that includes an affordable credit brokerage facility as well as a single application to check eligibility and apply across a holistic range of benefits and discretionary grants and discounted tariffs via a single form.
In the first six months following its launch in February 2022, the website was accessed by 1,278 unique visitors, had a bounce rate of just 8 per cent (the proportion of people who only visit a single page of the site) and an average of 3.5 pages accessed per session.