Keith Donington, Senior Strategic Partnerships Officer, Money and Mental Health
Introducing: Keith Donington
27 January 2023
I’m delighted to be joining the team at Money and Mental Health. It’s exciting to be working with firms that are embracing our Mental Health Accessible programme and committing to delivering for customers with mental health problems.
When speaking to friends and family about my new role, describing the work we are doing to break the link between financial problems and mental health problems is greeted as a worthy moral cause, which it is.
During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic organisations employing people who are passionately invested in making a positive impact on people’s lives in the work they do. Those leading the way are often driven by the moral cause and a sense that the change they’re working to bring about will make a lasting difference. Yet building the business case is still an essential part of the work in making change happen.
Aligning the business and the moral case
For service providers, the moral case and the business case for being mental health accessible are more aligned than ever.
With awareness improving as to how many of us experience mental health problems, high expectations of essential service providers to address the challenges faced by consumers with mental health problems are justified. Regulators like the FCA strengthening consumer duty requirements is a positive step forward in fair treatment of those with mental health problems.
There is clear evidence that consumers with mental health problems are disengaging (and less likely to sign up) with providers that are not set-up in a way that demonstrates an appreciation of their accessibility needs. Providers who are putting those with lived experiences at the forefront of their consumer duty plans are adopting a strategy that sets their businesses up for longer term success and improving standards for all customers along the way.
The wider case for taking action
Failure to adapt in any organisation can lead to problems and longer term costs. Reports that the FCA are witnessing a lack of preparedness and complacency in many firms for the incoming consumer duty are concerning.
We have known for a long time that at least one in four of us experience mental health problems. When service providers don’t ensure their services are sufficiently accessible, or communication isn’t set up with people’s mental health in mind, this can have an impact across business units within essential services. It can add pressure to overstretched customer service teams, incur reputational damage for communications managers to repair, increase the workload of arrears collection or require more time and effort for compliance and legal departments.