We are thrilled to announce that we’ve successfully retained our Inclusive Service Kitemark™, a benchmark for industry best practice, awarded by BSI, the business standards and improvement company.

The Kitemark covers topics such as the identification of customer vulnerability, inclusive design of products and services, as well as the adoption of AI (artificial intelligence) and data collection, protection and sharing to ensure that organisations are creating an inclusive service for all.

It ensures we provide an inclusive and flexible service that benefits all consumers, regardless of their personal circumstances.

John Fairhurst, Director at PayPlan, said: “Being the first debt advice provider in the UK to retain this certification is a significant achievement. We are thrilled to receive recognition for our ongoing work in championing the importance of supporting vulnerable customers.

“Our commitment extends beyond this milestone, as we aim to continually enhance our service, engaging with our customers in the right way and at the right time to deliver trusted support.”

Emma Gibbons, Vulnerability Lead at PayPlan, added: “Ensuring our certification for another year is a testament to the unwavering dedication of our team in making a positive impact on the lives of clients facing challenging circumstances.

“We continue to see year-on-year increases in those needing our support, as well as a growing number of vulnerable adults living in the UK, therefore protecting vulnerable consumers has never been so critical.

“In 2023, we introduced British Sign Language (BSL) Video Interpreting Service, SignVideo, as well as LanguageLine Solutions, to offer real-time interpreting in up to 240 different languages to create a well-rounded and inclusive service for all.

“Ultimately, retaining the Inclusive Service Kitemark is a reflection of the daily commitment of everyone at PayPlan, and I feel privileged to work with colleagues and industry partners who consistently go above and beyond to provide support no matter a client’s circumstances.”

Natasha Bambridge, BSI’s Global Consumer Promise Practice Director said: “By putting in place protections for vulnerable consumers, organizations take positive action to create a fairer and more equitable society.

“We congratulate Payplan for retaining their Inclusive Service Kitemark™ for their second year. Having become the first debt advice provider in the UK to achieve this certification, they have taken further steps with the introduction of their interpretation services. Their actions reaffirm their commitment to ensuring an inclusive and accessible services to all regardless of personal circumstance.”

The BSI Inclusive Service Kitemark focuses on protecting vulnerable consumers and PayPlan has demonstrated compliance to the standard, BS ISO 22458 Consumer vulnerability – Requirements and guidelines for the design and delivery of inclusive service.

It has industry-specific requirements which tested PayPlan’s processes with evidence the free debt advice provider was meeting performance metrics in these areas. It provides a framework to help organisations and their employees understand the underlying factors involved in consumer vulnerability, and work to develop processes, implement services, collaborate with partners and look at new innovations to help overcome this challenge.

Additionally, the Kitemark aligns with regulators including Ofgem, Ofwat FCA, United Regulators NI and their strategies to drive organizations to do more to safeguard customers in vulnerable situations.

To achieve the BSI Inclusive Service Kitemark, PayPlan was assessed by an expert auditor against the BS ISO 22458 standard and scheme requirements. This was a two-part assessment, which will involve a programme of ongoing surveillance now that certification has been achieved to assess continuing compliance.