Support for vulnerable clients

Our dedicated vulnerable client team has grown over recent years to ensure that our particularly vulnerable clients receive appropriate support.

By going further than standard requirements, PayPlan is now a recognised leader in its offering for vulnerable clients. This is demonstrated by our internal and external training programmes, dedicated vulnerable client team and by partnering with experts to learn more around domestic abuse and gambling related harms.

Who is classed as vulnerable?

Technically, anyone in problem debt could be identified as vulnerable. So, it’s important that each person who seeks debt advice receives compassionate support and those with extra needs are identified quickly to receive appropriate adjustments.

Thirteen per cent of our client base identifies as being ‘particularly vulnerable’ and almost half of those people are aged between 35 and 55. We work with clients to categorise vulnerabilities such as health, addiction and employment status, into a temporary or permanent category, which is monitored and amended throughout their debt free journey.

Through our strong relationships, we have been able to write off debts for mutual clients, when appropriate to do so. We have also continued to focus on our core training and ensuring that each member of PayPlan staff receives initial and refresher vulnerable client skills training.

Our training team has also upskilled on the support that we offer to victims of domestic abuse both through training that we have developed alongside Nottingham-based Broxtowe Women’s Project and in identifying appropriate support through a pilot with national charity, Refuge.

Signposting for added support – Conversational models

If one of our advisers feels a client may benefit from additional external support, they will signpost them to external partners for specialist help.

The support we get at PayPlan from our partners is also invaluable when it comes to them giving us more awareness of being able to spot vulnerabilities.

We work closely with charities including the Samaritans, Gamble Aware, Macmillan, Bipolar UK, Refuge, GamCare and the Alzheimer’s Society.

By using well-known conversational models and by asking proactive questions, whether on the phone or by email, we try to gain as much insight as possible about an individual’s situation.

This information helps to safeguard clients and make sure that they fully understand the advice they are being given.

Dedicated support for victims of domestic abuse

In December 2018, Rachel Duffey, CEO of PayPlan, announced our commitment to provide additional support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

Since then, we have worked with Broxtowe Women’s Project (BWP) to develop a training programme that has been delivered to all PayPlan frontline staff.

The training has been taken on well. The PayPlan Quality Assurance is already seeing more agents asking probing questions that were discussed in the session and using the Economic Wheel to help identify indicators.

With the support of BWP, PayPlan has refined its internal processes. This ensured that its employees have a safe space to talk about difficult cases and are supported should they want to disclose being a victim or a perpetrator of DA.

Partnering with Refuge

With the Domestic Abuse Bill raising awareness, the emphasis on client support is only growing stronger.

To drive this, PayPlan has partnered with Refuge, national domestic violence charity to develop a bespoke referral partnership which launched in September 2019.

As many as one in five adults in the UK experience economic abuse; by far the majority are women.

A major factor of this abuse often involves perpetrators taking out credit in a woman’s name, often in secret, leaving the survivor with life-limiting future debt. We are working with Refuge to ensure women are given debt solutions to enable them to set up financially stable debt-free future lives.

In early 2020, learnings from BWP and Refuge will be shared with the wider financial services industry. Throughout the year PayPlan will continue to influence policy, build industry codes of conduct and remove the barriers facing survivors of DA that prevent them from becoming financially independent and resilient.

Everyone has the right to live a life free from violence and fear; and PayPlan and Refuge are working together to achieve this aim.

Look at our Vulnerability – spotting the signs and Debt and Domestic Abuse training courses