Vulnerability resources hub

The Money Advice Trust is committed to providing the latest resources and research to help you help your staff.

Having delivered practical training and consultancy across sectors in total to more than 21,000 staff in over 250 organisations, our work is underpinned by the insight and research that we have acquired. We hope you find these resources useful.

If you would like further information, or to discuss how we might be able to support your work in this area, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Working in a crisis webinars and resources hub

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, getting help to customers in vulnerable circumstances as soon as possible and supporting staff through this crisis will be a high priority.

To support you and your staff the Money Advice Trust’s Vulnerability Lead Consultant Chris Fitch and our subject matter experts have developed a series of webinars and resources to help with challenges creditor staff and customers are likely to face during this crisis
This includes free access to one of our existing e-learning courses ‘Understanding and supporting customers with a serious illness’ that covers many of the issues that will be helpful in supporting customers affected by Covid-19 during this period.
The e-learning is accompanied by a free mini-guide ‘Vulnerability: serious illness Guide to accompany e-learning’.

The need to know: understanding and evidencing customers' mental health problems
This free guide, produced by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and the Money Advice Trust, is designed to help creditors support customers affected by debt and mental health problems.
The guide features detailed information about how specific mental health conditions may affect a customers’ ability to manage money and provides practical advice on areas including:
  • how to get the best out of conversations with customers about their experience of mental health problems
  • When it is appropriate to ask for further evidence about a customer’s mental health problem, and when this may be the wrong course of action.
The Need to know guide for creditors is supported by UK Finance.
February 2020
Vulnerability Matters podcastsPodcast image 1400.png
This new series of Vulnerability Matters podcasts from the Money Advice Trust examines from a range of perspectives how firms are supporting consumers in vulnerable situations.
  • Episode 1: Supporting customers with gambling addictions
  • Episode 2: A discussion on suicide prevention and financial difficulty
  • Episode 3: A discussion on mental health and financial services
Also available on Spotify, Stitcher and Spreaker.
Dealership guide:
decision-making when
purchasing a vehicle
The dealership guide, Decision making when purchasing a vehicle was written by the Money Advice Trust’s vulnerability experts, Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, with the support of Santander Consumer Finance. The guide outlines the role and responsibilities of credit intermediaries, such as car dealerships, when identifying and supporting customers who may have difficulty with decision-making.

The guide covers key topics including: how customers make decisions, identifying decision-making problems, supporting customers with problems, applying key principles and law and regulation. The guide is designed for staff who engage with customers or have a responsibility for customer vulnerability strategies.
A printable version of the guide as single-page spreads is available here.
November 2019
Supporting business customers in vulnerable circumstances
Much of the work within vulnerability so far has taken place in the person, rather than business customer space. Given the importance of small businesses to the UK economy, understanding the nature and impact of vulnerabilitywithin this context is crucial.
The Lending Standards Board (LSB) and Money Advice Trust have published Supporting business customers in vulnerable circumstances, a joint report exploring vulnerability in this important context.
The report combines insight from LSB-registered firms together with the experiences of callers to Business Debtline, the Money Advice Trust's free advice service for small business owners.
July 2018
Webinar: Vulnerability, decision making and mental capacity
We recently held a webinar for creditor organisations on vulnerability, decision making and mental capacity with the Trust's vulnerability lead Chris Fitch and Tim Farmer (TSF Consultants).
We looked at the importance of identifying customers with mental capacity limitations, and the practical tools and strategies to use to support them.
June 2018
Lending and vulnerability: an introductory guide to mental capacity
Supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances can be a challenge for many organisations. Mental capacity limitations are an aspect of vulnerability that is evident when a customer finds it difficult (and sometimes impossible) to understand what they are applying for, and make a decision about a product or service. Tackling the issue of ‘mental capacity’ can be daunting for any organisation. This is often due to the terminology, regulatory guidance, and legal frameworks that surround mental capacity.
This introductory guide, authored by the Money Advice Trust's vulnerability lead Chris Fitch and building on 2017 research by the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre (funded by the Finance and Leasing Association and UK Cards Association), aims to cut through this by clearly explaining how firms can practically identify and support customers with a mental capacity limitation.
March 2018
Vulnerability, mental health, and the energy sector: a guide to help identify and support consumers
This guide, by the Money Advice Trust and Energy UK, aims to help better identify and support consumers in vulnerable circumstances. It provides practical tools for front-line staff to use with consumers in a range of vulnerable situations.
Written for Energy UK by the Money Advice Trust vulnerability leads Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, the guide draws on the charity’s experience of working with collections staff to improve the experience and outcomes for customers with mental health problems and in other vulnerable circumstances.
Consumer vulnerability is high on the energy industry’s agenda following Ofgem’s recently modified domestic Standards of Conduct requiring gas and electricity suppliers to better identify consumers in vulnerable situations. With the number of energy suppliers increasing, this guide comes at an important time to assist energy suppliers in training staff to improve their support to customers.
In addition to covering a range of vulnerable situations, it also includes specific guidance on helping consumers with mental health problems or mental capacity limitations.
October 2017
Vulnerability cards
These eight cards contain useful tools to enable your staff to identify and support customers in vulnerable circumstances.
Every card has an eye-catching icon with key practical ideas and reminders. Developed by the Trust’s vulnerability leads Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, these cards draw on ‘tools’ such as TEXAS (when a customer tells you about themselves) and BRUCE (for customers experience a mental capacity limitation), to ways to handle a crisis and key legislation and guidelines.
Every attendee on our training course will receive a copy of these cards. To see a preview download of them, please email
Vulnerability: a guide for lending
Mental capacity limitations can result in customers having significant problems with understanding, remembering, and evaluating information about credit products they are applying for, as well as communicating a decision about this.
Where not identified, these can result in detriment including borrowing, lending and contracts that results in ‘later downstream’ financial difficulty and problem debt.
Vulnerability: a guide for lending, written by the Trust’s vulnerability leads Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, with Jamie Evans for the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre, identified that by extending focus on to credit applications, firms can reduce the potential risk of detriment and offer support. The guide, supported by the Finance & Leasing Association and The UK Cards Association, offers practical tools to identify and support customers with mental capacity limitations.
June 2017
Vulnerability: a guide for debt collection
Written by the Trust’s vulnerability leads Chris Fitch and Colin Trend with, Jamie Evans for the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre, this guide is an evolution of the widely-used ‘12 steps’ guide first published by the Money Advice Trust and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
This guide, supported by the Finance & Leasing Association and The UK Cards Association, throws a welcome spotlight on a broader range of vulnerable circumstances that can affect indebted customers such serious illnesses, addictions and those customers that disclose thoughts of suicide.
March 2017
Blogs and other resources
Vulnerability has never been higher on the agenda for creditors across sectors - to keep up to date with the latest research, guidance and developments in policy and practice affecting customers in vulnerable circumstances subscribe to Vulnerability Matters.
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