The Vulnerability Registration Service (‘VRS’) is an initiative to help vulnerable consumers protect themselves against the financial, social and very personal hardship suffered as a result of debt and financial problems.

The VRS is a private sector initiative independent of any other database provider or credit reference agency. Its sole purpose is to protect consumers and provide organisations with a tool to complement their regulatory and social responsibilities around dealing with vulnerable people at a particular point in their lives.

It does not replace an organisation’s responsibilities for identifying and counselling vulnerable consumers, but provides a ‘decision agnostic’ platform for consumers and the organisations they deal with as an additional safeguard for consumers during their period of vulnerability.

The VRS is being developed following very positive dialogue with industry and consumer stakeholders. Our aim is to empower vulnerable consumers who in many cases are the best experts in their own vulnerability.

A quarter of people with a mental health problem also have problem debts.  Half of those in debt crisis have a mental health problem. Problem debt can make it harder to recover from mental illness, and three times as many adults with mental health problems report debt or arrears, compared to those without mental health problems (Money and Mental Health Policy Institute).

The VRS recognises the many forms of consumer vulnerability, including that of mental health or incapacity, and provides a single reference point for consumers and organisations participating in the VRS, enabling an individual’s vulnerability issues to be handled sensitively and professionally.