Founding members including HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Tesco Bank, NewDay, Co-operative Bank, and Ovo have joined forces to launch Support Hub, a free platform powered by Experian that aims to address the difficulties faced by disabled people when accessing essential services. According to Experian’s research, 73% of disabled people have delayed contacting service providers because it seemed overwhelming to them, resulting in missed opportunities for crucial support and information.
On average, disabled individuals wait more than two months, or 82 days, before reaching out to a provider. The reasons behind this delay include feelings of emotional drain, anxiety, and demoralization after interacting with organizations. This delay negatively impacts their lives, with 52% of those surveyed stating that they would have spent the time resting or sleeping without anxiety if they could get the time back. Shockingly, less than a fifth (19%) of people with access needs have requested support from service providers.
The impact of this delay extends beyond essential services, as individuals with access requirements are also less likely to switch providers in multiple sectors, including credit cards, savings accounts, energy suppliers, and TV subscriptions. For instance, only 28% of disabled people have changed credit cards compared to 36% of those without any access needs. Furthermore, nearly a third (28%) of disabled people reported that their finances have been negatively affected by their inability to easily contact essential services.
Recognizing the magnitude of this problem, Experian has collaborated with major companies such as HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Tesco Bank, NewDay, Co-operative Bank, and Ovo to launch Support Hub. This platform is the culmination of over three years of work between Experian, the founding partners, and accessibility experts.
Support Hub pilot offers a convenient single portal for consumers to inform multiple businesses about their communication and support needs. This includes their preferred method of communication (such as letter, telephone, or email) and specific requirements, such as longer appointment times or the need for assistance from another adult.
Importantly, Support Hub does not require consumers to disclose their disability. Instead, it focuses solely on the support they require from the organizations they interact with. Users have full control over which organizations they share their information with and can remove their permission at any time.
When surveyed about this solution, 60% of individuals expressed interest in using a service that informs multiple suppliers about their needs. The launch of Support Hub aims to bridge the gap between disabled individuals and essential services, improving accessibility and support for this marginalized group.
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