INSIGHTS ¦ Ten Principles for designing vulnerable consumer data-sharing programmes

Money Advice Trust


This document outlines ten principles for designing vulnerable consumer data-sharing programs. Supported by WhatWeNeed.Support and the Money Advice Trust, the paper advocates for data-sharing practices that are transparent, consumer-centric, and ensure the fair treatment of vulnerable and disabled consumers within essential services sectors.

Key Points

  1. Data-sharing is crucial for improving service access for vulnerable or disabled consumers.
  2. A national debate on data-sharing among essential services is ongoing, highlighting the critical need for such initiatives.
  3. The document proposes ten principles to guide data-sharing program design, focusing on inclusivity and support.
  4. Essential services include financial, energy, water, phone, internet, postal, and delivery services.
  5. Vulnerable and disabled consumers face significant challenges in accessing essential services without a unified data-sharing system.
  6. Current systems do not adequately support consumer disclosure, leading to service gaps and accessibility issues.
  7. The document highlights the importance of transparency and consumer control over their data.
  8. Legal and technical aspects of data-sharing, including compliance with the Data Protection Act, are addressed.
  9. Case studies and existing data-sharing frameworks, such as the Priority Services Register and Support Hub, provide insights into practical implementation.
  10. Future enhancements in data-sharing practices are encouraged to better support vulnerable consumers.

Key Statistics

  • Approximately 14 million disabled and 25 million vulnerable individuals in the UK face service access issues.
  • Only 11-14% of these consumers have disclosed their condition or support needs to essential service providers.
  • Existing systems like the Priority Services Register have begun sharing data between sectors, improving support for vulnerable consumers.

Key Takeaways

  • Establish clear definitions for terms like “data-sharing” and “vulnerability” to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Design data-sharing systems that address known barriers to consumer disclosure and participation.
  • Focus on human-centric solutions rather than purely technical ones to meet the real needs of consumers.
  • Ensure data-sharing leads to actionable support rather than just data collection.
  • Maintain consumer control and transparency in data usage and sharing processes.
  • Accessible consumer data-sharing portals are crucial for inclusivity.
  • Regularly update and refine data-sharing practices to adapt to changing consumer needs and technological advancements.
  • Legal frameworks should support flexible data-sharing practices that respect consumer privacy and control.
  • Encourage cross-sector collaboration to create a unified and efficient data-sharing environment.
  • Monitor and mitigate potential future risks associated with data-sharing to protect consumer interests.

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