The Group has undertakes inquiries when appropriate. Details of the inquiries can be found by clicking on the links below.

APCRG inquiry into the business response to vulnerable customers

The Group decided in October 2006 to launch an inquiry that would look at the way in which Government and businesses were responding to the talent and skills challenge facing the UK. Vulnerable customers were defined as groups of customers who are especially vulnerable to some aspect of a company’s product or service. The inquiry team took the view that responding well to the needs of these customers required going beyond a simple duty of care to ensure that the product or service did not under normal circumstances cause harm. Different groups of vulnerabilities were identified such as vulnerabilities of personality, including addictive behaviours; vulnerabilities of experience or understanding, for example on the part of young people; and vulnerabilities of access, for example where a lack of financial resources or other barriers could prevent people accessing vital services. The inquiry team looked at these issues over a wide range of areas including body image and health, financial inclusion and new technology.

The inquiry team members were: Baroness Greengross (Chair), Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen, Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick, Lord Newby, John Robertson MP, Justine Greening MP. Mallen Baker, Development Director, Business in the Community, acted as Special Adviser to the inquiry team and Patricia Constant of Central Lobby Consultants provided the Secretariat.

The following meetings were held to hear oral evidence:

  • 11 December 2006, examples of best practice

  • 31 January 2007, new technology

  • 26 February 2007, body image and health

  • 26 March 2007, access to financial services

The inquiry report was launched at the Group's annual reception on 16 July 2007. The report identifies certain common factors where best practice in one area could be transferred successfully into other contexts. Its nine recommendations for business action sought to encourage a stronger focus on the needs of vulnerable customers within responsible businesses.

Download the inquiry report