Locked out: financial inclusion post-incarceration

June 10 2015


  • Juliet Lyon & Sam O'Sullivan (Prison Reform Trust)

  • Ian Fiddeman (BBA)

  • Nicky Smith (Bureau Insurance Services)

  • Denis MacShane


When Denis MacShane, former MP, arrived home from seven weeks in jail for fraud, the first letter he opened contained bad news.  “It was a curt, cold missive from Lloyds Bank announcing that my current and saving accounts would be closed, and could I make arrangements to transfer the money somewhere else.” No matter that he had held the account since he was 16, banks don’t take warmly to former convicts – which may be good for banking but bad for rehabilitation.

We were intrigued by Denis’s story, and wanted to learn more about this obviously tricky side to the banking world, particularly since we consider financial inclusion to be part of our brief.

The opportunity to follow up came a few weeks later with sad news of the death of Andrew Fleming-Williams, a member of Lloyd’s of London and a long-time supporter of the CSFI.  In his retirement, Andrew devoted his considerable energies to prison work, particularly rehabilitation, and in the process became Treasurer of the Prison Reform Trust.  And so this round-table came together.

We are delighted that Denis, the Prison Reform Trust, the British Bankers’ Association and a representative of the insurance broking community have agreed to speak at this special gathering.

The panel will consist of: 

  • Juliet Lyon CBE.  Juliet is Director of the Prison Reform Trust with a long career in prison work, education, mental health and child fostering. She is also Secretary General of Penal Reform International. Juliet will share the platform with her colleague Sam O’Sullivan, who will speak about the impact of imprisonment and continuing financial exclusion.
  • Ian Fiddeman.  Ian is a Director in Retail Banking team at the British Bankers’ Association, where he covers credit risk, debt management and data management issues. He is a Chartered Banker and has over 30 years of experience in banking across personal, business banking and wealth banking sectors.
  • Nicky Smith.  Nicky is general manager of Bureau Insurance Services which specialises in non-standard insurance services, including insurance for people with criminal convictions.
  • Denis MacShane, MP for Rotherham from 1994 until 2012 and Minister for Europe under Tony Blair. In his book Prison Dairies he wrote about how his claims for reimbursement for travelling in Europe as Tony Blair’s EU envoy culminated in a short spell in Belmarsh and Brixton and then a struggle to overcome financial exclusion problems. His latest book is the updated version of his Brexit : How Britain Will Leave Europe.