Social Impact

Improving Adult Numeracy

A new engagement campaign for the UK’s National Numeracy helped the charity partner with local government to lead adult numeracy programs

In the UK, 17 million adults (nearly half of the working-age population) possess only primary-school-level numeracy skills. So, in late 2021, the Department for Education announced the £560 million Multiply program to support innovative initiatives to help close the adult numeracy gap.

For more than 10 years National Numeracy has been working to improve adult numeracy in the UK, focusing on confidence building as the critical starting point of a learner’s journey. The charity conducts numeracy training for adults to improve their job opportunities, better manage their money, and support their children. It also leads highly effective engagement campaigns to reach adults most in need of improving their numeracy skills, and maintains the most comprehensive data set on UK numeracy levels at national, regional, and community levels.

National Numeracy delivers incredible impact by upskilling adults struggling with their numeracy and building their confidence in an area that is fundamental to day-to-day life. It has been brilliant to be involved in this project, and to have supported the charity to develop its reach at a critical time
Lisa Quest, Co-Head of Public Sector, Europe, Oliver Wyman

The charity recognized the opportunity to expand its work across the country through the Multiply program. With the UK allocating around £460 million of the Multiply Initiative funds to local authorities to invest in new, innovative numeracy programming, National Numeracy contacted Oliver Wyman for support in maximizing its impact in local communities. Oliver Wyman set out to define the charity’s value proposition to local authorities and design an engagement campaign to reach out to all of the 83 local authorities involved in the initiative, and to develop a scalable operating model to rapidly increase the charity’s capacity to deliver new programs. Together, Oliver Wyman and National Numeracy developed a tailored marketing campaign that prioritized the areas of the country most in need, a fully costed and compelling services proposal and an operating plan to expand services covering a range of possible outcomes and engagement levels.

The result: National Numeracy secured more than a dozen local authority partnerships and is now in a prime position to grow further over the next two years. The new partnerships allow the charity grow organization size by 50% full-time equivalents in 2022, and to support at least 10,000 people with low numeracy. 

Oliver Wyman has helped us set a strategic framework that has enabled a small charity to embrace a national policy initiative. It has also supported a transformation in our internal operational planning and approach to partnership-building that has enabled us to engage effectively with local authorities and other strategic partners across the UK. This has underpinned a near doubling in National Numeracy’s organizational scale. The result has been to significantly expand our reach and impact this year and for years to come
Sam Sims, CEO, National Numeracy

With that, the charity established local delivery partnerships it can build on and expanded its relationship with the Department for Education as a trusted expert. Oliver Wyman helped National Numeracy set up internal processes and tools to pursue new partnerships opportunities with public and private sector organizations.  

I got to see first-hand the real impact Oliver Wyman could make supporting a small non-profit working to improve adult numeracy levels across the UK. I have continued to stay in touch with the team, and I have continued to be impressed with how much progress they’ve made in cultivating relationships with local authorities and exploring new opportunities for the organization
KC Harris, Associate, Oliver Wyman