Utilities sectors leading the way in supporting vulnerable customers

We are excited to celebrate the first nine organizations who have achieved certification to the new Inclusive Service Kitemark™ to assure that they are providing an inclusive and flexible service that benefits all consumers, regardless of their personal circumstances.

The certified organizations, which all sit within the energy, water and financial sectors include:

  • Anglian Water Services Limited
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • PayPlan
  • Power NI
  • Santander UK PLC
  • Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
  • SP Energy Networks
  • South East Water
  • Wales & West Utilities

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 organizations are creating an inclusive service for all.

Amid the cost of living crisis, and the growing number of vulnerable adults living in the UK, protecting vulnerable consumers has never been so critical. The Inclusive Service Kitemark demonstrates an organization’s ongoing commitment to offering an inclusive service for all at such a critical time.

All of the organizations that have achieved certification have demonstrated they understand the impact of consumer vulnerability and provide an inclusive and flexible approach to address it. Therefore, these organizations are better able to meet a diverse range of consumer needs, making it easier for consumers to access information, services and products, make good decisions and achieve positive outcomes.

The BSI Inclusive Service Kitemark focuses on protecting vulnerable consumers and the certified organizations’ have 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 have tested the organizations’ processes with evidence they are meeting performance metrics in these areas. It provides a framework to help organizations 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.

To achieve the BSI Inclusive Service Kitemark, the organizations were 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.

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