Britain’s consumers spend £1.2 trillion on goods and services each year. When markets work well, this spending can be a force for good. But when these markets fail, it is often the vulnerable who are hit hardest.
We’re really pleased to be working with Citizens Advice (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/)to bring you this meetup. They've seen firsthand how people on the lowest incomes often end up paying the most for energy, insurance, banking and telecoms - while the best accounts and rates are reserved for those with the ability to shop around. The poorest pensioners and families in Britain, for example, are paying an extra £250 million each year for being loyal to their energy supplier.
But vulnerability in markets doesn’t just affect people on a low income. Caring responsibilities, mental or physical health problems, or a lack of financial understanding are all reasons consumers struggle. And the problems aren’t always financial - it might be a poor user experience that doesn’t offer the support or functionality they need.
This meetup will discuss how technology can be used to help balance the field, putting power back into the hands of all consumers. It'll look at how, by designing with vulnerability in mind, tech can have a hugely positive impact on consumer markets as a whole. Our speakers are:
Laura Bunt, Chief Digital Officer, Citizens Advice: Laura will talk about how Citizens Advice uses digital to help consumers - how they make sure they're offering the best advice online and how they develop new digital tools for clients.
James Plunkett, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Citizens Advice: James will look at the wider consumer landscape will talk about Citizens Advice’s consumer policy work into issues like the loyalty penalty and expenditure smoothing.
Alex Letts, Chief Unbanking Officer, U Account: U Account helps those at risk of financial exclusion. Their model seeks to address the problems big banks can cause for these consumers.
Amy Johnson, Customer Experience Officer (CXO), MyWave: MyWave aims to simplify complex consumer markets and personalise the relationship between consumer and provider. Amy will talk about some of their work helping elderly consumers in the energy market.
If you’d like to speak about a tech for good project you’re working on in this area then get in touch. ([masked])
We're grateful to the Ministry of Justice Digital and Technology team for hosting this meetup. To get through security you'll need to provide your full name and organisation when you sign up, and bring along some photo ID on the day.
We charge £3 for this meetup to help cover the cost and manage attendee numbers. But we don't want this to become a barrier to attending - just drop us an email ([masked]) if you need a free ticket.