People can be vulnerable at different stages in our lives. When we are, we are likely to need water, light and heat more than ever. In this country we are entitled to receive extra help, such as receiving additional support during a power cut. However receiving this support relies on people being registered for it.
In 2018, CAS commissioned Ipsos MORI Scotland to investigate the experiences and perspectives of Scottish consumers in vulnerable situations with regard to additional support provided by essential service providers, and how could the customer experience and process of registering across sectors for additional forms of support be improved.
The key findings are that:
- There is good practice and positive customer experience in this area – with significantly increasing registration numbers and corresponding uptake of non-financial support services in parts of some sectors – particularly energy.
- However there is not yet an integrated approach between essential service providers and the public sector, in ensuring that all those eligible and wishing to receive additional support are aware of registration, or of the services available, and that numbers registered are maximised.
In this report we make broad recommendations around:
- Identifying and engaging with consumers in vulnerable situations.
- Simplifying the current registration process
- Data cleansing
The report also makes short and medium term sector specific recommendations to energy companies, Scottish Water, Ofgem, Scottish Government and the UK Government.
Our key recommendation is that:
- A dedicated public/private sector working group should be convened to drive forward simpler registration for consumers in vulnerable situations, and to co-ordinate a number of strands of the other separate recommendations. Such a working group could also consider developing possible long-term solutions for an integrated registration process, or portal, and possibly a universal annual registration scheme offering consumers added control of their data.