What is the Vulnerability Registration Service?
The Vulnerability Registration Service (‘VRS’) has been developed to help vulnerable consumers (or those authorised to act on their behalf) protect themselves against the financial, social and very personal hardship suffered as a result of debt and financial problems. The VRS are committed to helping Lenders and other Financial organisations identify vulnerable consumers at an early stage to ensure they are not approached with inappropriate credit offers or that their applications for credit are treated in a sympathetic manner. The sole purpose of the VRS is to protect consumers and provide organisations with a tool to complement their regulatory and social responsibilities around dealing with vulnerable people at a particular point in their lives.
How the Vulnerability Registration Service works
Once someone’s details are registered, the Vulnerability Registration Service will make sure organisations that take the registration into account are aware that the person is vulnerable and needs to be treated in an appropriate manner and with the right level of sensitivity.
The service was introduced in 2017 but as time goes by so the number of organisations that take the registration into account will increase as they will need to introduce vulnerability checks to meet regulatory requirements from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This is likely to include more retail companies, utility companies, service providers using the service as part of their checks.
How to apply
You do not need to provide lots of detail about yourself, just your name, address and date of birth. The organisation that is made aware of the registration will then take the necessary steps to make sure things are handled correctly.
It may be that you feel you should not be contacted in relation to new products or services or be sent offers. In that case, you may be able to register to prevent that happening. If somebody has dementia, for example, it may be sensible to stop organisations asking them to apply for loans or from sending them marketing material.
You are also able to register a third party if have a formal agreement, usually a Power of Attorney. The Vulnerable Registration Service website will ask for evidence of this and sight of the appropriate document. Get in touch with the VRS for more advice if you are not sure what counts as a formal agreement.
In some cases, circumstances may change over time so an individual no longer needs to be registered. In that situation it is easy to take the person off the register
A bit about Data Protection
The Vulnerable Registration Service website guides you through the consent that is needed to register or if you are registering someone else because you have a Power of Attorney for them. The Vulnerable Registration Service has been discussed with the Information Commissioner’s Office and it is entirely based on the consent you give. This will be checked regularly so it meets with Data Protection Law.