Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that customers are aware of the services available to them and SSE staff recognise, record and support customers who are in vulnerable situations. Anyone can find themselves in a vulnerable situation, so it is important to remember that customers can be vulnerable for a wide variety of reasons, which can be permanent or temporary. This can include vulnerability due to circumstances such as age, physical or learning disability, or mental Illness, low literacy, communications difficulties or changes in circumstances such as bereavement.

SSE is committed to ensuring that we recognise any signs of vulnerability so customers who are at risk of detriment or disadvantage can be offered fair and appropriate treatment. We will aim to respond to customers’ individual circumstances so they receive service specific to their personal characteristics and needs.

Legal and regulatory obligations

As a service provider SSE is required to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act (2010), which includes making reasonable adjustments for customers who are covered by this act ensuring everyone is able to access our products and services. Where possible we will make reasonable adjustments, and this may mean doing things differently to ensure these groups of customers are treated fairly.

We must also comply with the regulatory requirements as detailed in Ofcom's General Conditions as detailed below;

“Regulated Providers must establish, publish and comply with clear and effective policies and procedures for the fair and appropriate treatment of Consumers whose circumstances may make them vulnerable.”

Recognising vulnerability

SSE recognise that it is important to remember that each customer is an individual. What one customer needs in a certain situation may be different to what another customer in the same situation needs. All our staff are trained to look for signs of vulnerability during conversations and written communications with customers. Following this, staff will consider how best we support customers to make communicating with us easier.

Recording vulnerability

When we identify that a customer has specific need(s), with their permission, we'll record this on their account with a relevant marker. This will ensure that any advisors accessing the customer’s account are aware of their needs and that we continue to adapt our service in line with the customer’s requirements.

SSE have a wide range of free services available for customers who may need extra support through our Priority Services to make communication with us as easy as possible. Customers can request to receive their communications in a format which best suits their needs to ensure they can read and understand the information sent to them. These services include:

  • Large print text
  • Braille
  • Audio CD
  • Talking Bills
  • Coloured paper / Arial bills
  • SignVideo
  • Text Box
  • LanguageLine
  • Bills to a nominated third party
  • Priority fault repair services for Phone
  • Access to a relay service

Supporting vulnerable customers

We recognise some customers may require additional help, so that all our customers can make the most of their phone and broadband services. This includes, but is not limited to, customers who have mental ill health, dementia, learning difficulties or who simply need more time spent with them to help them with their account. For these customers, specialist help is available. Where a fault is identified we will aim to prioritise and repair this as quickly as practicably possible for any customers with a critical need for an urgent repair.

Customers can find all the information they need on the different services we offer on our accessibility page. Alternatively, customers can call us on 0800 622 838 or write to us at the following address SSE Phone and Broadband, Customer Service, PO Box 230, Havant, PO9 9DT. We’ll be happy to help.

Monitoring and continuous improvement

We'll carry out research and analysis on the experiences of vulnerable customers using customer surveys and forums. We also encourage our staff to highlight and feedback any issues as they are identified. We'll analyse and monitor any complaints received to drive continuous improvement.