We have partnered with Vulnerability Registration Service, giving vulnerable people a voice by enabling them to inform multiple organisations of their vulnerable circumstances.
The partnership means that those people who have found themselves in vulnerable circumstances will actively be made aware at key touchpoints of the ongoing free support they can access. At the same time, it will enable creditors and other organisations to confidently identify where vulnerability exists.
Working with creditors, we offer simple online affordability assessments for people who have fallen into early or late-stage arrears. It is an alternative to the 45 minutes process of questioning that comes with setting up reduced payment plans, which can be distressing for people who are already overwhelmed by their circumstances. Many individuals struggle to answer questions on the spot and incorrect information is often given, resulting in poor outcomes. The debt charity, StepChange, reported that on average a person has six unsecured debts, which means that this experience is likely to be repeated with several other creditors.
We work with many people who are in debt as a result of a life event that has had an emotional impact on their ability to manage their finances or a physical issue that has impaired their ability to work. Nearly 70 percent of our users told us that they felt anxious when they had to talk to creditors to set up reduced payment plans. Our work takes much of this anxiety away by making it simple, enabling them to do it all online in their own time, and giving them a better understanding of their own finances and a sense of control when they do eventually speak to their creditors.
But vulnerability doesn’t just stop there. We recognise that some individuals need ongoing support, which is why we are pleased to be partnering with Vulnerability Registration Service. There is a clear cross-over in the work we do and by coming together, we can ensure the vulnerable are directed to the right support at every opportunity.
With 27.7 million adults now displaying characteristics of potential vulnerability according to the FCA, the Vulnerability Registration Service plays a vital role in enabling people to register on its database if they want their vulnerability to be factored in by creditors and other organisations. It takes away the anxiety and distress caused by having to engage with multiple companies to share the same details about their vulnerable circumstances.
Helen Lord, Director, Vulnerability Registration Service, said: “If a person’s vulnerability impacts their ability to manage their bills in one area, it is very likely going to impact them in other areas too. It means that they have to explain their circumstances to multiple organisations, whether it is a bank, the council, a utility company, or a telco provider. It can be extremely difficult and distressing for them.
“Both IE Hub and the VRS are committed to ensuring that the vulnerable are not caused further anxiety or harm. By working together, we can reach more people at the right time and help ensure that they do not have to go through these experiences.”