- Why would an ex-offender choose our service?
Of the hundreds who have registered with us so far, and those who understand the fee basis also, they are registering because they need one or all the services. Some need a banking solution when they know they will fail elsewhere; some will need a phone contract for the same reason and there are those who will sign up for all of the services offered. The need is there. People recognise that there are fees for services. Indeed, if you look at other digital banking solutions, they all have a monthly fee or high transaction costs save for one or two. The issue with those is that credit checks can stand in the way and in some cases, convictions may also be an issue. We are not forcing anyone to register or sign up. We are offering a service to those who choose to use it.
- Why is our service needed?
It is unreasonable to assume that just because High St banks say they are doing something that they do. The same applies to mobile phone contracts. It is a fact that there are 1.5 million unbanked people in this country due to ID, credit or other issues. Our service bypasses all the obstacles that anyone will face when they are looking for banking or phone. It is a proven fact that most unbanked, pay nearly £500 a year more for basic services like utilities and phone because they can’t get on the banking ladder. That is why we are needed. We are not the only organisation in this sector who have recognised that this is a challenge for those leaving prison; we are however the only organisation who have been able to provide a solution.
- Why do we charge £7.99 per month?
It is the fee for an overall service. It was calculated based upon a number of factors and has so far been accepted by everyone who has registered. It is less than some of the other solutions out there and maybe more than some. The difference is that we are offering far more than the other solutions as this fee is not solely for the banking solution.
- When do we take payment?
The payment is taken monthly and will be taken with customers first deposit into the account and then monthly thereafter.
- Why might an ex-offender be rejected from a high street bank or digital banking provider? Rejection is mainly due to Credit or CIFAS issues. Possibly in some cases due to the nature of their convictions.
- Why do Renovare hire ex-offenders?
The word Renovare means Renew. We believe that someone who has the lived experience of those we are trying to help has more empathy than someone who may not be able to understand some of the sensitive emotions that an ex-offender may face when they are released. We are proud of the fact that we hire people from all walks of life.
- Why do we charge for a Job Search assistance, banking solution or mentoring?
We charge for the Renovare service which includes any and all the above.
- How are we supported by MOJ, HMP and probation?
We work with service users who are often supported in making their applications by Probation Officers or Key Workers. We have received applications from individuals in nearly half of the prisons in the UK and have been granted access to prison workshops and resettlement fairs, as well as to approved premises. A number of probation offices have been in contact with us to ask us to explain what we do. We have also had the pleasure of travelling to a number of government registered organisations around the country who have confirmed that our service is much needed and that, like any other service offered to those in prison, that there are many who fall through the cracks who we will be able to reach with our service. We have met with prison governors, ex-prison officers, probation officers and others who work in the system who have all confirmed the vital need for a solution that does not punish the ex-offender. Renovare is proud of what it is doing and will carry on as long as it is needed.
- Are we FCA regulated?
Renovare is not required to be FCA regulated. We are a provider of third-party solutions. The third-party banking solution provider is FCA regulated and will be handling the whole of the platform. Renovare’s’ customers will be managed by them and all regulations and insurances are in place as required. Put simply, we do not handle clients’ monies – therefore this regulation is not required.
- Who is Renovare’s Banking provider? Contis are the e-money issuer. View more info here: https://www.contis.com/
- Why would an ex-offender choose to use a mobile phone service via Renovare?
Renovare has taken a big step to become a registered reseller and will provide the customer with a mobile phone and SIM card. We have been able to negotiate a reduced rate for the package and the phone is included. This unique service exclusive to our customers does not require a credit check and is free for the newly released in first 3 months which then reverts to £18 per month which is the best, if not the only deal of this kind on the market. Reoffending rates are the highest in the first few weeks of release, we hope that providing a free 3 month window will allow the customer time to organise an address and finances. If you are not newly released from prison, £18 per month for the phone and contract will begin from the first month.
- Why have we chosen to be a private company?
We do not believe that ex-offenders are charity cases or a cause, you often read in the tabloid press criticism of taxpayer funded privileges such as sky tv and play stations being given to prisoners. We want to empower them with tools to stand by their peers in society. Like other private companies operating in this sector we seek to provide a service that is not available in government funded organisations such as banking and mobile phones. Not being a charity affords us the privilege of helping all that seek our service and not being forced to select a demographic, it also affords us the luxury of expanding our service as and when our business model allows. Further, being a private company allows us to employ a full team of staff members from all backgrounds without having to rely on ex-offenders working as volunteers. Being a private company does not mean that we avoid stringent security from any authority to whom we owe transparency.
Charities are subject to strict campaigning and trading rules by the Charity Commission and have different reporting criteria. The activities of a charity are restricted to those for the charitable purposes it was registered for otherwise it may lose its charitable status. This would mean Renovare would need to register each component of its business model as an individual charity which defeats the object of bringing all services under one roof.