Ingeus’ partnership with HSBC pays dividends for jobseekers

12 Dec 2022
In her latest blog, Julie Graham, CEO of Ingeus’ Employment Services, explains Ingeus’ ground-breaking partnership with HSBC.

Festive enthusiasts across the UK may be decking their homes from top to bottom with glitter and sparkle, but not everyone is looking forward to a sparkling Christmas this year. For homeless people, 25th December is just another day to try to find food and shelter. Next year, however, holds more promise for those with no fixed address thanks to Ingeus’s new partnership with HSBC.

I am absolutely delighted to be writing about our ground-breaking work with HSBC and its No Fixed Address (NFA) service. Ingeus is among the first employability providers to work with the bank, allowing people without photo ID or proof of address, such as a recent bill or tenancy agreement, to open a basic bank account and in turn be able to receive benefits or a regular wage payment.

For most people, having a bank account is something that’s taken for granted. Yet over one million people in the UK are classed as ‘unbanked’ – a term used to describe those without a bank account. 

Life without an account can be much more challenging – especially as we move towards a cashless society. It can impact how someone is paid their wages, pension, and social benefits, as well as disadvantage them with special deals for paying bills through direct debit. Likewise, over time, building up a credit rating opens opportunities for larger financial commitments, such as mortgages and loans.

Soaring costs for food, fuel and other bills mean that having paid employment is becoming more critical than ever. The damage created by the cost-of-living crisis has been clear throughout 2022 and is showing no signs of easing. In fact, Shelter reported that homelessness rose by 11% in the first three months of the year, while latest government figures show that from April to September the number of people seen sleeping rough in London has increased by 21% compared to 2021.

For far too long, homeless jobseekers have been caught in a vicious cycle. Unable to provide the required documents to open a bank account because they don’t have a fixed address, they have no account to get wages paid into, culminating in being turned away by employers – a cycle preventing so many from getting back on their feet. 

I believe Ingeus’s partnership with HSBC will be fundamental to changing this situation for some of our most vulnerable participants.

Enabling better lives is central to all that we do. It’s disheartening to see our advisors working so hard with jobseekers of no fixed abode when their chances of securing work are severely reduced because of financial exclusion. We believe that taking a more holistic view of the help people need, including opening a bank account, will offer a greater chance of turning their lives around.

The scheme sees specialist Ingeus employment advisors meeting customers at a participating HSBC bank branch to verify their identity. Josh Falla from Wigan is one of the first Ingeus customers to have benefited from the partnership. The 22-year-old has been unemployed for six years, since leaving school. Having never worked or been accepted for a bank account before, Josh became homeless, sofa surfing for the past six months.

Among other support, his Restart Advisor, Dean Cumberbirch, arranged for Josh to meet with HSBC and he was able to open a bank account less than a month after joining the Restart Scheme. This bank account means he has become a HSBC customer like everyone else and, more significantly for Josh, it will open the door to more job options, as employers will be able to pay his salary into his account.

Josh feels that his new bank account is his “first step to independence” – here’s to many more first steps and a much happier New Year for many more Ingeus customers in 2023.

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