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Fair, flexible services for all - guide to BS 18477 - The basics.
The standard for Inclusive Service Provision (BS 18477) was developed by consumer organisations, charities and government bodies.
A summary of the British Standard for inclusive service provision - identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability (BS 18477:2010)
Have you ever felt unfairly treated by a shop, bank or other service provider? Have you ever wished that an organisation had treated you with more understanding or flexibility?
Maybe you couldn't read a contract properly because of eyesight problems or because the print was too small. Or you missed a payment on a bill because you’d just lost your job.
Or maybe the loss of a close friend or relative meant that you weren’t thinking straight and you signed up to a service that you didn’t really want.
What are British Standards?
Everyone has different needs and different personal circumstances, which can change over time. Some circumstances can make you vulnerable, putting you at a disadvantage when buying goods or services. For example, if you are physically disabled, have mental health issues, become ill or unwell, lose your job or are going through a relationship breakdown you might misunderstand a contract, temporarily be unable to pay bills or deal with customer service staff or even lose money by being persuaded to buy something that you wouldn’t normally. Or you might not be able to understand certain information sent to you, because your service provider hasn’t sent it in an accessible format.
The law says that shops and service providers must treat consumers fairly and be especially careful to provide fair service to ‘vulnerable’ people. But it can be difficult for companies, and consumers, to know what this means.
The British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision sets guidelines to help organisations provide a fair, flexible service that can be used by all consumers equally, regardless of their health, age or personal circumstances.