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Focus on consumer vulnerability

The Water UK Innovation Hub earlier this month brought together water companies, regulators and stakeholders to share insights, best practice and new ways to collaborate on tackling consumer vulnerability.

Water company CEOs from Wessex Water and United Utilities offered perspectives on how to engage with and understand customers, stimulating discussion on ways to put theory into practice.

Delegates were challenged by Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross to look beyond affordability and traditional approaches of defining categories of vulnerable customers, to understand customers by their individual circumstances.

Debt advice organisations Money Advice Trust and StepChange offered examples of best practice and advice on how to use partnerships to improve understanding of consumer vulnerability. This was supported by useful insights from British Gas and Barclays.

Outputs from the Innovation Hub will be fed into Ofwat's focus report on vulnerable customers set to be published next February.