The Keep Me Posted campaign is a partnership of representatives from over 80 concerned organisations including charities, consumer groups and business. Our partners recognise the importance of communication choice for all consumers, particularly the most vulnerable people in society. Standing together, we’re working to bring about change in the area of consumer choice. Here's why...
CMA’s debt advice service involves supporting clients without any limit on the number of consultations, giving each client all the time they need, sometimes over a period of years, and teaching them to budget so they can avoid debt in the future. Because of this, many of the clients we see are vulnerable, disadvantaged, lacking in confidence: the very people who need CMA’s long term commitment. Many have no access to the internet or have a low level of IT literacy. While CMA is deeply committed to I.T. and online working practices, our long experience nonetheless demonstrates that for many of our clients access to printed documentation is of vital importance to them. So we are very pleased to be supporting the Keep Me Posted campaign. Our clients need to be able to choose paper over pixels as required. In many cases this is a necessity for them.
John Franks, Chief Operating Officer, Community Money Advice
As a professional body for those working in consumer affairs, we welcome anything which will promote and protect the interests of consumers. We believe that it is definitely in the consumers’ interest that they have the choice in how they received their bills and statements, as they are the people who know best how they manage their affairs. It cannot be in their interests to be forced into taking steps, such as managing accounts online, that they cannot access. In our experience, it is some of the most vulnerable consumers in society who do not have access to the internet to enable them to manage their financial affairs; taking away paper billing and statements can increase their vulnerability."
Peter Stonely, Chair, Institute of Consumer Affairs
Youth Access believes all young people have a right to access young person-friendly information, advice, counselling and support. This includes young people having a choice in how they receive information as consumers from service providers. In our experience, many young people – particularly the most disadvantaged – are rather less tech-savvy than they are often portrayed and struggle to deal with practical issues and problems online. It is critical that they have the option of receiving paper bills and statements by post.”
James Kenrick, Advice Services Development Manager
Having campaigned for a number of years for information to be made available to people with learning disabilities in a format that they want and can understand, United Response fully supports the aims of The Keep Me Posted campaign. We know through our work around our accessible news magazine, Easy News, and, most recently our Every Vote Counts campaign to make voting easier to understand, how important it is for many people with learning disabilities to have the option of receiving information in a paper format.”
Diane Lightfoot, Director of Communications
Cruse Bereavement Care, the UK’s largest bereavement support organisation, is pleased to support the Keep Me Posted campaign. After someone dies, there is a lot of bureaucracy involved in registering the death, managing the financial affairs of the person who has died and in paying for the funeral itself. This places huge demands on bereaved people at a time when they feel least able to deal with it. We believe it is essential therefore, that bereaved people are able to manage these processes either through completing paperwork or online, whichever they find easiest and least stressful to deal with and that there not should be not a penalty for people who either choose not to or are unable to use the online option."
Debbie Kerslake, Chief Executive
The Arthur Rank Centre and our “Germinate” initiatives support rural communities and their churches. Until the vital and long-promised high speed broadband arrives in all rural areas, we believe it is essential that residents have a choice of communication methods with government and other authorities.
Jerry Marshall, CEO
Generation Rent supports the Keep Me Posted campaign because we have seen the move to digital-only communications has left many private renters behind when they are trying to find somewhere to live. Landlords very often require original documents when granting a tenancy and so renters are often put at a disadvantage – either practical or financial – when trying to compete in the current competitive housing market.
Ultimately we support the right of consumers to choose the format in which they receive information, without being charged extra – renters already face too many surprise fees as it is. The private rented sector has grown substantially in the last decade and a much wider sector of society is now renting and for longer periods of time; this diverse group of 11 million people should be able to choose paper if they wish and not feel they will be punished if they do."
Sebastian Klier, Policy and Campaigns Manager
JRF/JRHT are supporting the Keep Me Posted Campaign as we believe the needs of our residents should come first and that they should have a choice about how they receive information. In particular we recognise and accommodate the wide range of needs of our residents and customers and aim to always treat them both fairly and as individuals. As part of this commitment we ask all residents and customers how they would prefer to be contacted when we send out important documents like rent statements or communications material such as the residents magazine, JRHT News. Our communications will always be available on our website, jrht.org.uk and through our community facebook pages but we recognise that a large proportion of our residents value receiving printed copies too. We do not make any additional charges for receiving communications, rent statements or letters via post and are committed to keeping this service in place. If residents wish to change from digital communications or digital to online, we will not penalise them financially for doing so. If a resident would like to alter how they receive information, they know they can do this easily by JRHT staff know – either face to face, via our Freephone number or by email.”
Claire Ainsley, Director of Communications and External Affairs
The Howard League for Penal Reform is a charity which campaigns for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison. The charity is pleased to support the Keep Me Posted campaign because many prisoners on release will have very limited access to, or even experience of, the internet. Former prisoners also commonly have issues with money management, or securing proof of identity, and the drive to digital-only communications can simply exacerbate these problems. All consumers should be able to choose which form of communication works best for them.”
Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns
Whilst we all understand that the future to communicate is ‘online’ and that with good support it is possible to achieve this, older people in particular often feel uncomfortable and unable to engage with this. Whilst this is the case there should be the a degree of flexibility to allow those who wish, to be able to access information and communications on paper through the usual mail system."
Jane Finnerty, Joint Chair, Society of Later Life Advisers
With churches in every community across Wales we see at first hand the challenges many people face in getting online. Whether it is because they live in rural areas with no or limited access to broadband or because the monthly bills and the on-going equipment expenses are beyond their reach or simply because the internet age came too late in their lives to persuade them to engage, far too many people are being penalised and disadvantaged and they are increasingly frustrated. By all means encourage people to pay online but it is unfair to discriminate against those who can’t.”
The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan
“Carers UK knows from our work with families caring for older or disabled relatives just how hard it is to stay on top of everything – finding out about your rights and entitlements, struggling to make ends meet when you are hit financially, co-ordinating and arranging care. Caring for a relative can be a full time job. We know that nearly 8 out of 10 carers have found their finances affected by caring for a relative with a disability or illness. Providing expert information and advice to carers we also know the real importance of giving everyone a choice about how they receive their information and our members specifically tell us that they want carers to be able to have information in a range of formats, including print. Carers UK is happy to support the Keep Me Posted campaign so that carers get the vital information and advice that they need in the format that they need.”
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive
As the Keep Me Posted campaign research suggests, paper has a major role to play in today’s society. Whilst we live in a world where paper and digital coexist, consumers should be given the choice, rather than pushed into a digital world they are not ready for. Paper is an important and trustworthy communications medium, which many people continue to rely on. This campaign demonstrates that paper is still very much a part of people’s lives."
Emma Punchard, Head of Communications
This is all about choice and the need for those that require it to have access to paper. Not everyone is able to receive, nor actually wants, bills and other communications in a paperless format. To force them, through additional charges, to go down this road is unjust and unfair. Where requested a paper bill should be supplied and at no charge. There are lots of practical and emotional reasons for this and we cannot exclude from society those that rely on paper based communications. Unite supports the Keep Me Posted campaign because it is arguing and campaigning for equal treatment for those citizens that find it difficult to access information online only.”
Brian Scott, Unite CMA Officer
The Union of Shop, Distributive & Allied Workers, the UK’s fourth largest trade union, represents over 430,000 members, many of whom work part-time in the retail sector. We very much support the Keep Me Posted campaign’s aim to give people choice over how they receive their bills, statements and other correspondence from major companies and organisations. Whilst digital communication is undoubtedly a good thing, one size doesn’t fit all. Disabled members, those living and working in rural communities and those without the means or confidence to access information online need alternatives. We know from our own regular surveys that large numbers of reps and members continue to prefer to receive information from the Union and others on paper. We are happy to support the Keep Me Posted Campaign that recognises that whilst digital communication is welcome, it isn’t for everyone."
John Hannett, General Secretary, Usdaw
Launched in 2010 My Support Broker is a registered Community Interest Company social business, working nationally and bringing together people locally who have expertise, insight and knowledge of support and care for young and old, for those with long term illnesses, disability, dementia, mental health and other conditions. We work with people, their families, carers, friends and loved ones to source, plan and manage their care and support. Our Support Brokers really do understand what people are going through. We are delighted to support Keep Me Posted in their vital campaign for consumer choice as a significant proportion of our customers are older people who want the option to use the post, either because they prefer this method of communication or don’t have ready access to (or prefer not to use) the internet."
Toby Mynott, Commercial Director
If the Government is committed to encouraging everyone to go online it also has to recognise that there will be constraints. For too many in rural Britain, there remains either no access to broadband or limited access. Until the superfast broadband network is rolled out and actually used so that those in rural communities can see the benefits, there needs to be flexibility to allow those who are digitally disenfranchised to continue to use current methods of communication."
Charles Trotman, Senior Business & Economics Adviser
Everyone with Parkinson’s is different. While some people find computers helpful in their everyday life, others find it difficult to use online services. We believe that everyone with Parkinson’s should have the choice about how providers such as banks or utility companies get in touch with them. Those who choose to communicate by post should never be put at a disadvantage."
Laura Cockram, Policy and Campaigns Manager
We at Neopost recognise the importance of choice in the way consumers and businesses are communicated with, particularly in relation to statement and billing information. Customers should be given the choice of free regular paper bills and statements and not be forced into a situation where they are penalised financially or otherwise if they request billing/statement information in a paper format – or worse not have the choice at all. While the advancement in digital communication has been good for business, it must be remembered that not all can take advantage of these advances. To this end Neopost are proud to support the aims of the Keep Me Posted campaign.”
David Beirne, Postal Relationship Manager
We believe that for some customers, forcing them to go digital will have a detrimental impact on their wellbeing and ability to cope with their finances. Whilst accessing digital services suits some, it does not suit all. We deal with people who are experiencing financial hardship and we are only too aware of the issues people face trying to access information online. We agree that customers must have the right to choose which contact method best suits their particular needs and wants. It has been reported that 17% of the UK population still does not have access to the internet. This figure does not count those who are assisted by a third party to access the internet. It is imperative that those who do not have access to or do not have the knowledge and skills to use the Internet are not unfairly disadvantaged. This is why we support and commend the work of the Keep me Posted Campaign."
Sinead Campbell, Head of Money and Debt Services, Advice NI
R.A.B.I - the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution - is a welfare charity which provides confidential help to farming people in financial difficulty. Support is offered to people of all ages and is tailored to meet individual needs. It includes, for example, advice on state benefits and the payment of emergency grants to people of working age as well as long-term quarterly grants to people who have retired from the industry through age, illness or disability. By nature of our work most people we help live in rural areas where broadband access can be a problem and not everyone is able or inclined to communicate by digital means alone. For the same reason we are concerned about the drive to make people access state benefits online. Digital is wonderful but it should never be the sole means of communication and people must continue to have the right to choose. That is why Keep Me Posted’s campaign is so important."
Philippa Spackman, Head of Fundraising and Communication, R.A.B.I.
Pensioners Forum Wales wish to support the “Keep me Posted” Campaign because Governmental proposed digital-enforcement denies personal choice. Not everyone can afford the cost of a computer, ink cartridges or a digital package. Older people value privacy. Even if they are offered help to do on-line transactions, they would be unwilling to take the security risks of disclosing banking details or personal data such as a National Insurance Number. Support is no remedy for technophobia or for personal objection to using technology at all."
Nancy Davies, Chair, Pensioners Forum Wales
Being able to access government services, manage your bank and energy accounts and perform other essential actions online is an undisputed boon of the modern age; however it’s one that many people living in the countryside cannot enjoy. Fast broadband has still to reach many parts of rural Britain, which means removing the option of paper correspondence from those living in the countryside effectively disbars them from those services. We believe that opting for online only services should be a choice not a default position.
Many young people are not being taught the necessary financial skills needed in life, leaving them either financially excluded or unable to deal with their personal finances effectively. MyBnk finds many of young people’s financial difficulties stem from a lack of understanding - taking away paper bills and statements only adds to that confusion. Nearly half of 16 to 25 year olds name debt as their biggest fear, so anything that can help them keep on top of their finances, and prevent them falling into that trap is to be welcomed."
Lily Lapenna, CEO & Founder of MyBnk
We live in an increasingly connected world but there is a digital divide between those who can take advantage of technology and those who cannot or choose not to. Less than a third of people over 65 in Wales (28.2%) use the internet and it is a major concern that people without Internet access may increasingly be unable to access important information and services. It is vital that people are provided with vital information such as bank statements or utility bills in a format they can use. We don’t believe people should be penalised, financially or otherwise, for this."
Graeme Francis, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Age Cymru
Recent statistics show that nearly two thirds of disabled people in Scotland do not have access to the internet at home. People with learning difficulties, visual impairments and physical disability can find computers extremely problematic or impossible to use without support and specialist equipment. We therefore strongly support their right to choose how they are contacted by companies so that they can prove their own identity, manage their finances or get the right advice and support from relatives, supporters and advice agencies who may struggle to represent them without paper documents. There should never be a financial penalty for disabled people who would prefer to receive paper copies of their bills and statements."
Susie Fitton, Senior Policy Advisor, Capability Scotland
The TUC is supporting the Keep Me Posted campaign, having been asked to do so by our Disabled Workers’ Committee, who are concerned that for some disabled people access to printed documentation is essential. The National Pensioners’ Convention, with whom the TUC works closely, has also given its support to the campaign. It is particularly important that provision of vital information from utility companies, banks, and so on is freely available in both printed and electronic form, with the user able to access either or both free of charge. We have circulated information about Keep Me Posted to our affiliated unions and encouraged them to support the campaign."
Sarah Veale, Head, Equality and Employment Rights Department, TUC
“It is essential that banks and other companies do not make sweeping assumptions about young people when designing their products and services. Research shows that more than a third of under 25s still prefer to receive paper statements – and crucially, this can help them keep on top of their finances and budget more effectively. Teaching financial education in schools is crucial when it comes to improving money management, but so is consumer choice. It is absolutely right that paper bills and statements remain an option for those young people who prefer to manage their money in this way.”
Kat Hodgkinson, Head of External Affairs, pfeg
"The Eclipse Support Group is for Lupus UK members with severe light sensitivity. many of our members are made ill by sunlight and energy saving lights. Not all, but many of these patients are adversely affected by computers. So it is alarming to us that some organisations are making online the only way to interact with them. because of the severe restrictions of this condition, many sufferers are housebound and unable to work. With diminished income it seems unfair to us that we should be financially penalised for using paper transactions. The Keep Me Posted campaign will be of great benefit to our members. We are grateful to them for representing our concerns, as no motivayion or training will enable us to use computers."
Brenda Ryder, Co-ordinator, Eclipse Support Group
Many organisations seem to be assuming that the whole world is ready to go digital immediately. This simply isn’t true. Many older people are not on-line and have no wish to be forced to go on-line. The suggestion that third parties should be involved to allow older people to communicate via the internet is not acceptable. Many of us would have grave concerns about privacy issues and the element of compulsion is worrying in a democratic society. Those of us who can use the internet still want to have paper copies of bills and statements for easier checking and as a permanent record. The idea of charging for paper items is discriminatory and unfair.”
John Vincent, Chair, Welsh Senate of Older People
Many of our members do not have direct access to a computer and many do not want to get involved with new technology. Requiring them to request to remain on the paper system they are used to is unreasonable. There is also an increased risk of financial abuse if they are required to rely on third parties to assist them in gaining and accessing their personal data.”
Malcolm Booth, CEO at NFOP
In the current economic climate, where so many people are struggling with financial worries, we are very concerned that 4 in 10 people say the removal of paper statements entirely could seriously affect their finances, leading even to missing a bill payment. The link between debt and mental health problems is well known and businesses should be interacting with people in a way that supports good financial management”
Bridget O'Connell, Head of Information at Mind
The National Consumer Federation backs the 'Keep Me Posted ' campaign. The NCF recently launched The Consumer Charter for Regulators which is supported by the UK's major consumer organisations. One of the clauses says "An effective Regulator will understand what a good outcome looks like for all consumers and deliver it, including.... access for all including disabled people and consumers in vulnerable positions". The switch towards purely digital communication means that those consumers without access to a computer clearly fall into this category and therefore the NCF urges the various Utility and Financial Services Regulators to act immediately to stop this blatant creep towards paperless bills together with cost discrimination for those who do not wish to receive their bills online.”
Mary McAnally, President, The National Consumer Federation
Our customers come first and we believe that they should have a choice when it comes to receiving information. That's why we are supporting the Keep Me Posted campaign. 16 m people lack the skills to benefit fully from the internet. It's critical that they are given the support they need to make the choice as to how best to take advantage of these benefits. We are working hard to support efforts to give people the digital skills they need by helping them access online learning and skills centres.”
Mark Davies, Director of Communications at Post Office