Financial inclusion referral pathway toolkit

As part of NHS Health Scotland’s aim to reduce health inequalities in Scotland, a priority area for us is helping to eradicate child poverty. Key areas to address child poverty are increasing incomes, reducing outgoings, mitigating the impact (for example improving housing), and reducing inequity. To focus on one key area of reducing inequalities, we have carried out some work looking at financial inclusion projects across Scotland.

To help create a more consistent picture of provision and to increase equal access for everyone to financial inclusion services, we have created a financial inclusion referral pathway toolkit to support professionals in achieving this.

The toolkit provides practical support to professionals developing or improving partnership working between early years and money advice services. It’s aimed at professionals working with pregnant women and families with young children as a partnership model between the advice services and the NHS to provide advice on the back of health services families have already engaged with, in a setting they are familiar with.

While it’s aimed at use within the NHS, the toolkit could be used by other early years settings, such as early learning and childcare staff, to link in with money advice services.

The toolkit seeks to contribute to the following key principles:

  • increased understanding for early years staff of child poverty and its impact on child development and outcomes
  • increase early years staff knowledge and confidence in supporting families at risk of financial hardship
  • early years staff making referrals understand the role of income maximisation in the mitigating of child poverty
  • advice services working in partnership with NHS and local authority to develop referral pathways between early years settings and advice services
  • availability of good quality advice and information services with a focus on child poverty/ sensitive to needs of families with children
  • development of local partnerships to enable the provision of advice services and referral pathways to be developed and supported
  • encourage local projects to have a knowledge into action approach which are evidence informed and outcome focused

In order to further support professionals’ awareness and knowledge around child poverty we have also produced an e-learning module on child poverty. The learning resource aims to raise awareness of child poverty issues in Scotland, the impact poverty has on children and young people’s health and wellbeing.

Initially developed for health visitors and midwives, the new module is relevant for all working across health, social care, education and the public sector who are in contact with children at work.

For more information on both the toolkit and e-learning module please email:

Link in full to toolkit: 

Link in full to e-learning module:

Contact details for further information:

Ruth Johnston

Health Improvement Manager, NHS Health Scotland