Category Archives: Vulnerability

What do good banking outcomes look like to consumers?

The Banking Standards Board (BSB) has published a consultation seeking views on what good banking outcomes look like from a consumer perspective.  BSB wants to develop a framework to help identify good practice that will benefit consumers, the economy and society overall.  The consultation runs until 26 January 2018.  ESAN members’ responses are most welcome!

 

Tackling poverty in Wales together

On 28 February the Consumer Council for Water is hosting a conference that will bring together utility companies, Government and consumer representatives, regulators and the advice sector in Wales. The conference aims to raise awareness of the help available for the financially vulnerable and explore opportunities to work together to help reduce poverty in Wales.  For more information please contact jade.painter@ccwater.org.uk, or register here.ccw_logo_best 300dpi

Citizens Advice publishes best practice guide for energy suppliers

On 18 January Citizens Advice published the findings of its research looking at how energy suppliers could effectively signpost and refer vulnerable customers to third parties, such as debt advice and support services.

The research found that fewer than 1 in 4 consumers believe that their energy supplier had ever offered them help and support, with fewer than one in ten being able to recall being signposted or referred to a third party organisation.
The best practice guide is designed to help energy suppliers signpost and refer vulnerable consumers to the right source of help.

#esanevent stimulates debate on consumer voice

On Wednesday 2 November, 18 speakers and 92 delegates came together at the iconic BT Tower for the ESAN Conference: How can the consumer voice be better heard in the regulation of essential services?  “Fantastic speakers, great content, excellently chaired”   #esanevent
Earth Hour

UKRN launches leaflet for vulnerable consumers seeking support services

ukrnThe UK Regulators’ Network has today launched an advisory leaflet to help ensure vulnerable consumers get the help they need to access essential services.

Produced through a collaborative effort between Ofgem, Ofcom, Ofwat, the ORR and the CAA, the leaflet highlights a range of free support services offered by utility, telecommunications and public transport providers.

The UKRN website gives details of how to get braille, audio and large print versions of the leaflet.

Ofgem proposals for prepay customers

OfgemOfgem’s consultation on proposals to improve outcomes for prepayment customers ends 25 February 2016.

The proposals are designed to:

  • help PPM customers to access more competitive tariffs
  • address the costs consumers can face, ensuring these do not fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them, and
  • ensure that PPM customers are treated fairly by their energy providers.

ESAN holds vulnerability conference

ESAN-logo-Jpeg-for-website-On 15th April 2015 ESAN, Citizens Advice and Money Advice Trust joined forces to host a conference on practical steps towards effective implementation of vulnerability strategies.  Over 70 delegates from firms, regulators and voluntary organisations across financial services, energy, water and communications attended.

The theme of the day was practical and designed to be helpful to firms rather than concentrating too much on theory and definitions.  Many common themes that relate to all sectors emerged – around the multi-dimensional nature of vulnerability, how a risk-factor approach rather than categorisation can help, the importance of staff correctly picking up on triggers at the first point of contact, staff training, and maintaining excellent links with advice and voluntary sector groups were all key issues.  Three firms presented case studies on their experiences of developing ways of treating customers in vulnerable circumstances better.  FCA, Ofcom, Ofwat and Ofgem all outlined their developing plans in this area.

A background paper on the relevant issues can be found here:

Tackling Consumer Vulnerability Briefing Paper

Presentations can be found here:

Linda Lennard CCES ESAN Consumer Vulnerability presentation

Martin Coppack FCA ESAN Consumer Vulnerability Presentation

Garreth Cameron ICO – ESAN vulnerability presentation

Money Advice Trust ESAN vulnerability presentation

Wessex Water ESAN vulnerability presentation

Steve Crabb British Gas ESAN vulnerability presentation