The FCA has settled on its definition of consumer vulnerability and the need for firms to ensure indicators of vulnerability are spotted and responded to in a considered manner
remains an important focus.
Whilst firms are making progress to address the expectations of the regulator, many firms recognise the need to improve their internal knowledge and understanding of the key issues facing their colleagues to ensure customers are treated fairly and appropriately. In response to this, UK Finance and the Money Advice Trust have launched the Vulnerability Academy.
Many firms recognise the need to improve their knowledge, policies and practical responses to the challenges their colleagues face in identifying and supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances.
However, in a political and regulatory environment where ‘vulnerability’ remains a fluid concept, and where firm conduct, resources and commercial pressures are under scrutiny, firms need to plan and prioritise.
In response to this, UK Finance and the Money Advice Trust have partnered to launch the Vulnerability Academy.
An effective response
Policy and organisational ambitions on vulnerability cannot be met unless three conditions are fulfilled:
1. Colleagues have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver these ambitions through training.
2. Training initiatives must tackle the actual challenges and tasks that colleagues encounter daily – ‘awareness raising’ about vulnerability will not, in itself, deliver practical change.
3. Each firm’s wider environment must facilitate colleagues taking effective actions on vulnerability by developing quality assurance, monitoring and compliance functions, data architecture and dashboards, and other functions on vulnerability.
This means that an effective response to vulnerability must also be led by and make parallel improvements to the strategic, policy, governance and information environments that these colleagues will be working in.
How can the Academy help?
The Vulnerability Academy is for people who want to gain the skills, knowledge, and relationships to address the most challenging issues and scenarios and meet regulatory requirements.
At its core the Academy is a learning environment where senior managers will have the opportunity to meet, question, and work with leading thinkers across sectors. They will follow a programme that includes five one-day workshops, supplemented by webinars (using voice, graphics and interactive features to engage learners and reinforce the key workshop messages), podcasts (a deep-dive understanding of the issues via interviews with experts, guests and practitioners), plus elearning, reading lists and downloadable resources.
The Academy will require participants to build up throughout the course a personal ‘gap analysis’/critical appraisal of their organisation’s approach to vulnerability.
The aim of this ‘gap analysis’ portfolio is to allow participants to reflect on the specific challenges (and solutions) that they perceive in terms of addressing vulnerability within their own work, while being able to share more general challenges and issues that every single firm will encounter at some point.
Sharing best practice
Participation in the Academy requires participants who are willing to be challenged by the material, but who will also challenge our speakers and one another as well. The aim throughout is to open and change both participants’ minds and practice.
Learn more about the Academy:
- Download the definitive Vulnerability Academy Brochure (PDF)
- Read our latest vulnerability blog: Improving Outcomes for Vulnerable Customers
- Listen to our latest vulnerability webinar. (You’ll need to register to listen)
Participants will be invited to attend five workshops over the course of seven months:
- WORKSHOP ONE – 30th November: Essential Knowledge, Strategic Practice
- WORKSHOP TWO – 20th December: Identifying Vulnerability, Meeting Customer Need
- WORKSHOP THREE – 21st February: Sales, Service, and Product Development
- WORKSHOP FOUR – 25th April: Collections, Fraud, and Quality Assurance
- WORKSHOP FIVE – 17th May: Innovation: Digital and Human
Delegate bonus: Introducing 'Nelly' from Elephants Don’t Forget
If you or your colleagues attend the Vulnerability Academy you now have an opportunity to work with Nelly to support your learning and retention. Nelly is a piece of Artificial Intelligence, developed by Elephants Don’t Forget, that helps employers improve training ROI and works with individuals to gently build their Vulnerable Customer knowledge base.
Using less than a minute of your day, Nelly will work with you to quickly work out what you have learned, or still need to learn, and then adjusts the intensity and content to focus on your specific learning requirements. Nelly guarantees that by working with her every day, you will learn and retain all critical content.
Special Vulnerability Academy Offer worth £2,000
UK Finance and the Money Advice Trust are working with Elephants Don’t Forget to provide Nelly to our Academy participants. As an added bonus, Elephants Don’t Forget will also offer ten extra annual licences to participating firms enabling each to create multiple Vulnerable Customer knowledge and competency subject matter experts. Nelly will then work with firms to maintain that knowledge and competence for the remainder of the annual license term.
Ten licenses including specialist questions and support would normally cost £2000 but is offered completely free to Academy participants who book before 31 October.
As a further benefit, throughout the Academy term Elephants Don’t Forget will offer delegates an anonymous benchmarking opportunity against the other participating firms. Nelly’s AI can report competency and knowledge at given points throughout the Academy curriculum and suggest areas of improvement.
Visit the Elephants Don’t Forget website to learn more about how the technology works. And don’t forget to book onto the upcoming Vulnerability Academy in November
We understand that many members will have questions about the Vulnerability Academy. To help with some of these we ran a webinar on 2nd October, where we were joined by Chris Fitch from the Money Advice Trust to address questions on Vulnerability and the Vulnerability Academy. Watch on demand.