Vulnerability resources hub
Having delivered practical training and consultancy across sectors in total to more than 30,000 staff in over 300 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.
New guidance: inclusive design in essential services
Inclusive design is increasingly recognised as a way to ensure markets are fair and inclusive, especially for customers in vulnerable circumstances. With an increasing focus on inclusive design from industry, regulators and firms, the Money Advice Trust has launched two reports in partnership with Fair By Design to help firms and regulators understand and translate inclusive design into practical action.Download guides
Vulnerability, GDPR, and disclosure: practical guidance for creditors and advisers
The Money Advice Trust and the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG), have launched a new series of guides to help firms meet data protection regulation and support customers in vulnerable circumstances. The guides are designed to help creditors and advisers understand the overlap between GDPR and vulnerability, and strike the right balance between human experience and data.Download guides
Stay up to date
Vulnerability has never been higher on the agenda for creditors across sectors - to keep up to date with the latest research, guidance, our training and consultancy offering and developments in policy and practice affecting customers in vulnerable circumstances subscribe to Vulnerability Matters.Subscribe
New guidance: inclusive design in essential services
Inclusive design is increasingly recognised as a way to ensure markets are fair and inclusive, especially for customers in vulnerable circumstances. With an increasing focus on inclusive design from industry, regulators and firms, the Money Advice Trust has launched two reports in partnership with Fair By Design to help firms and regulators understand and translate inclusive design into practical action.
January 2021Download guides
Vulnerability, GDPR, and disclosure: practical guidance for creditors and advisers
The Money Advice Trust and the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG), have launched a new series of guides to help firms meet data protection regulation and support customers in vulnerable circumstances. The guides are designed to help creditors and advisers understand the overlap between GDPR and vulnerability, and strike the right balance between human experience and data.
November 2020Download guides
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 2020Download guide
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 2019Download guide
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 vulnerability within 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 2018Download report
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 2018Download guide
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 2017Download guide
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 2017Read the guide
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 2017Read the guide
Vulnerability Matters webinar series
Our free Vulnerability Matters webinar series explores how regulators and firms are supporting customers in vulnerable situations from a range of perspectives including our own vulnerability experts and a number of partner organisations.
Join us for insight, practical discussion and to be part of the vulnerability conversation.
The finalised FCA vulnerability guidance for firms: content, surprises and outcomes
3 March | 11 AM-12 PM (GMT)
It’s nearly ready, but just what will the final version of the FCA’s vulnerability guidance for firms actually include? What surprises might it contain? What outcomes will firms have to achieve? How will it be enforced?
Joining Chris Fitch for a very special discussion on the content of the finalised FCA guidance are:
- Sarah McKenzie - FCA, Head of Consumer Strategy and Policy
- Mike Songer - Lloyds, Director Group Customer Vulnerability
- Fiona Turner - UK Finance, Head of Vulnerability
- Tim Hawley - Capital One, Head of Customer Vulnerability
- Ian Phillips - Vulnerability Academy, Co-Facilitator
Join us for insight, practical discussion, and the opportunity to ask the FCA what your firm should do in response to vulnerability.Register now
Vulnerability Matters podcast
Welcome to the Vulnerability Matters podcast from the Money Advice Trust. A series that examines from a range of perspectives how firms support consumers in vulnerable situations and provides you with the practical tips and guidance to achieve positive outcomes within your own organisation.Listen now
Our latest episodes
- Launch event: new guidance on inclusive design in essential services in partnership with Fair By Design
- Vulnerability, GDPR, and disclosure in partnership with MALG
- Identifying and supporting vulnerable customers: part 2
- Identifying and supporting vulnerable customers: part 1
- A discussion on vulnerability and product design
- Understanding suicide intervention for essential services
- The FCA's proposed new vulnerability guidance: what does this mean for firms?
Working in a crisis podcast series
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, getting help to your customers in vulnerable circumstances as soon as possible and supporting your staff through this crisis will be a high priority. To support you and your staff the our Vulnerability Lead Consultant, Chris Fitch and subject matter experts have developed a series of free webinars to help with challenges your staff and customers are likely to face:
- Episode 1: Dealing with your own resilience
- Episode 2: Dealing with customer bereavement
- Episode 3: Dealing with emotional crisis
- Episode 4: Dealing with financial crisis and serious illness
- Episode 5: How should firms apply 'vulnerability' to small businesses?
Subscribe to our podcast
Subscribe to our Vulnerability Matters newsletter to be notified of newly available podcasts and webinar recordings.Subscribe to be notified
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Request more information
Public course: Supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances
25 February 2021 - Delivered online
Our ‘Supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances’ virtual classroom will help your staff understand the steps and actions they need to take in order to support vulnerable customers. At a time when many customers are likely to be facing a range of challenging circumstances as a result of Covid-19, this course will help staff gain the skills, tools and confidence to help customers across a range of circumstances.Secure your place
Public course: Supporting customers with mental health problems
18 March 2021 - Delivered online
Now more than ever it is crucial that your customer facing colleagues are armed with the knowledge and the tools they need to identify and support customers living with mental health problems. This course has been developed to address these specific needs and to provide your firm with the knowledge to make sure you meet your responsibilities to your customers, colleagues and the FCA.SECURE YOUR PLACE
Protecting consumers in vulnerable situations is a priority for firms and Regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority and ICO, as well as being central to wider legal frameworks.
In our fifth Cohort of the award-winning Vulnerability Academy, in partnership with UK Finance, will once again be bringing this to life across five interactive, practical, problem-solving online workshops, each split into two separate half-day sessions (to allow for participant reflection and development).Find out more