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|PayPlan sets vulnerable client benchmark|
|Thursday, 04 February 2016|
PayPlan, the free debt advice provider, has warned that thousands of vulnerable people in the UK are being left to struggle with debt problems alone.
With almost nine million people experiencing serious financial issues, PayPlan wants greater protection for those falling into the ‘vulnerable’ category, including individuals with mental health issues, physical disabilities, poor literacy skills, victims of domestic violence and those recently bereaved.
To help combat the problem PayPlan has unveiled a major investment in training to ensure staff are leading the way when it comes to supporting vulnerable clients. So far, with the help of the Money Advice Trust and Royal College of Psychiatrists, PayPlan’s client-facing staff have received specialist training totalling more than 4,760 learning hours.
In addition PayPlan has also offered an insight into its own client base. Currently PayPlan has worked alongside more than 4,000 individuals who are classed as vulnerable. Of those:
· 50 per cent fall into the 35-55-age bracket.
· 43 per cent are male and 57 percent are female.
· 30 per cent are married, 58 per cent are single and 12 per cent are divorced.
· 41 per cent have mental health issues, 4 per cent suffer an addiction and 13 per cent suffer some form of disability.
· 18 per cent have a personal circumstance that is defined as vulnerable, such as bereavement, job loss or relationship breakdown.
During a recent round table debate chaired by PayPlan, creditors discussed vulnerable customer best practice for helping vulnerable customers. The group also covered the potential to share data between advice providers and creditors; the approach of a specialist team or an ‘all agent’ approach; the need to make adjustments for vulnerable customers and how other agencies could be brought into the support journey.
“It is vitally important that all those working in the debt industry go above and beyond to support those who are most vulnerable,” commented Sarah Reeve, head of partnerships (vulnerable clients) at PayPlan. “We saw that from our thought-provoking round table, it is incredibly positive to see different organisations come together to discuss the issues more frequently and share best practice.
“At PayPlan we understand the importance of not only supporting society’s more vulnerable individuals, but also the value of rigorously defining our approach through the development of a cohesive policy and a structured, dedicated team to ensure consistency, accountability and genuine empathy.
“We are setting the benchmark in the hope that others in the industry will follow our lead,” Reeve added.
Alongside the comprehensive training programme PayPlan has also invested in resources to embed its Vulnerable Client Strategy within the business. The investment includes a systems upgrade to allow more accurate reporting of the situations clients face. This will allow staff to flag potentially vulnerable people to ascertain if changes need to be made to the support offered.
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