VRS – News Letter July 2018

Welcome to the latest Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS) Newsletter to keep you informed about recent events and developments within the VRS and how we are helping vulnerable people to make organisations aware of their circumstances.

“VRS is a new initiative to address vulnerability in an independent way but taking a cross-sector approach.
“We spend a great deal of time talking about vulnerable people, but now is the time to do something tangible and start to protect them.”

Sean Tyrer, Chief Executive Officer
The Money Carer Foundation.

While many of us are taking advantage of record temperatures, we think it is still important to be aware that many people are suffering from difficulties in their lives.  These may be life circumstances, financial problems, health issues or addictions and our objective is to be a one-stop shop to try and prevent people having to repeatedly contact organisations to make them aware of their situation.  

We believe vulnerability can affect people in many areas of their lives – these are likely to include how they deal with financial services or insurance companies, utilities or when they are contacted by charities, so we have aimed to provide a tool that can alert organisation on a cross-sector basis.

VRS is also intended to provide a tool for organisations to help them with their vulnerability strategy and meet their customers’ needs and the requirements of the regulators.  We are confident that we have developed a simple approach that should tick these boxes, particularly after communicating extensively with many sectors.  We have taken on board the views of many including regulators, such as the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Information Commissioner’s Office.  We have talked to many people working in utilities and spoken to Ofcom, Ofwat and Ofgem.  We’ve gauged the views of lenders, insurers, consumer groups and debt advisors.

What we are providing is the opportunity for individuals, or those with authority over individuals, to register with VRS in an easy way without the need to provide lengthy explanations about why they have done so.  Sometimes the registration may be permanent, but in many cases it may be that someone is in a temporary situation that they would like organisations to take account of when dealing with them.  If it is the latter, the individual can withdraw their consent about the registration at any time.


Signposting individuals to VRS

Individual registration to VRS is free.  What we try to do is work with organisations that are regularly dealing with vulnerable people and help us to give people the opportunity to register if they think it is appropriate.

One of the best ways of doing this is to include content on websites to signpost people to VRS.  Recently, we have been working with the Alzheimers’ Society and Carers Trust to ensure that the people who visit their websites are aware of the service.  

We believe that our work with these organisations is essential because they are often dealing with the most vulnerable people in society or their carers who will also be under huge pressure and need to protect those they look after.  Carers can register with VRS on another’s behalf where they have legal authority to do so – having a Power of Attorney, for example, enables people to register on somebody else’s behalf.

If somebody has dementia, for example, it may be that they are no longer able to look after their own affairs, whether that be financial or otherwise.  Those in care are often at risk of having their identities compromised – information about them may still be recorded at their previous address which is rich pickings for fraudsters.

Advisory Board

We feel it is essential to get independent views about the service we are providing so we now have an Advisory Board which consists of people with many years of experience, particularly in dealing with vulnerable consumers in the financial sector.  Our next Newsletter will give more information.

As a new initiative, we value your support. If you know of any organisation that may benefit from using the VRS service please feel free to forward on our VRS E-Newsletter.
For more information regarding the VRS please contact our VRS Directors: 

Bruce Turnbull
Phone: 01273 960 617

Tony Leach
Mob: 07885675045

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