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
The Keep me Posted campaign have carried out research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) into the additional costs of being offline, which shows that people who are not online pay £440 more per year. Read more here.
• Households who do not use the internet pay an average of £440 more a year for their goods and services, equivalent to 4.4 per cent of their average household income
• This equates to 5.4 per cent of the average household income for older people aged 65 plus and the most vulnerable people in society
• Households that cannot take advantage of lower energy and telecoms tariffs for switching to online-only services miss out on a potential annual saving of £139
• 7 million people in the UK have never used the internet, with the vast majority (72 per cent) being the poorest 10 per cent in society
• Almost half (48 per cent) of those 65 years of age and over have never used the internet