Vulnerable People Policy – UK for UNHCR

Introduction

UK for UNHCR is committed to treating new and existing supporters fairly and appropriately, this is especially important when supporters demonstrate vulnerable circumstances.  

UK for UNHCR is an organisational member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and is registered with the Fundraising Regulator. We are committed to upholding the Fundraising Regulator Code of Practice. 

We think it’s important to have a vulnerable people policy as part of our charity’s commitment to honest, fair and ethical fundraising. This policy outlines how we identify potential vulnerabilities, the measures we have in place to protect supporters in these circumstances and the actions we will take. 

This policy also applies to all staff, volunteers, trustees and anyone acting on behalf of or in partnership with UK for UNHCR. 

Definitions

Words and definitions matter, and it is important to us that we recognise that someone who needs additional care or support or who may be in vulnerable circumstances can have autonomy and the capacity to choose to donate to a charity. As such, we have chosen to avoid using the phrase “vulnerable person” as circumstance and context can change a person’s need for additional support or care when choosing to donate. For example, a recently bereaved person may be in a vulnerable circumstance following the death of a relative but this can change over a period of time. At the time of bereavement, they may have the capacity to make the donation but may require additional support or external advice to help with their decision. 

Capacity to make a decision

Different situations and factors can affect an individual’s capacity to make a decision regarding donating. UK for UNHCR will communicate with supporters on the assumption that they possess the full capacity to make financial decisions unless we have reason to believe otherwise. 

A supporter may experience some or all of the following circumstances:

  • A diagnosed condition such as dementia or schizophrenia 
  • A recent bereavement 
  • An undiagnosed or temporary mental health condition 
  • Learning difficulties 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. We will look for indicators that could show a supporter needs extra care and support or may be in a vulnerable situation through our verbal and written communication with them. We may identify them using the following channels:

  • A supporter informs us that they need extra care and support around decision making and are in a vulnerable situation.
  • A family member, carer or person acting on a supporter’s behalf informs us that they need extra care and support around decision making and are in a vulnerable situation.
  • If we suspect that a supporter may be in vulnerable circumstances even though we have not explicitly been informed.

Our responsibilities 

If we have sufficient reason to believe that a supporter is in a vulnerable situation and does not possess the required capacity to make a financial decision regarding their donation, we will immediately remove the supporter from all fundraising communications (electronic and physical) sent by UK for UNHCR until given notice to do otherwise. We will ensure that our database records this information as soon as possible and we will confirm and communicate this change to the relevant parties (the supporter, a family member, carer or Power of Attorney.) 

We will not process a donation if we believe that an individual lacks the capacity to make a decision regarding the donation.

If we process a donation and receive information or evidence after processing that the person was in a vulnerable circumstance and lacked the capacity required to make a decision about donating, we will refund the donation and confirm this refund in writing. We will immediately remove the supporter from all fundraising communications (electronic and physical) sent by UK for UNHCR until given notice to do otherwise. We will ensure that our database records this information as soon as possible and we will confirm and communicate this change to the relevant parties (the supporter, a family member, carer or Attorney.) 

Our response

We will always endeavour to do the following with an individual who we have identified/has been identified as someone who requires additional care and support or is in a vulnerable situation:

  • Be patient and calm, take time to understand the context and circumstances the individual is in, even if this prolongs the conversation 
  • Check how the individual would like to communicate and offer alternatives that give supporters more time to take in the information being provided e.g. offer to send further details in the post/via email.
  • Ask the individual if they need more time or if they need to talk to someone else before making a decision regarding a donation.
  • Check the individual’s understanding of the information they have provided and what they have agreed to – we will do this by asking them to repeat this information back to us or by sending a further confirmation in writing before proceeding to process anything.

These steps will help us to ensure that the individual involved is safeguarded and is provided with the necessary time and tools to make an informed decision, if they are able to do so. 

Family members / carers / attorney acting on an individual’s behalf 

If UK for UNHCR is contacted by a family member, carer or attorney regarding an individual who they believe or know to be in a vulnerable circumstance, we may ask to see documentation in order to carry out actions requested on that individual’s behalf (dependant on the request made.) 

Other indicators of vulnerability

Age will not be treated as an indicator of vulnerability for an individual. We will take care when communicating with older supporters and ensure that we are conscious of other indicators (listed in section 3 of this policy) that may indicate an individual’s need for additional support or position in a vulnerable circumstance.

The only instance where we will immediately cease marketing communications with a supporter based on age is if we identify them as being under the age of 18. We will also make a note that they are under 18 on our database.

Contact Us

If you require anything further, have questions or feedback regarding this policy, please feel free to contact our Supporter Care Team. They are available via phone on 0203 761 8094, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. 

You can email the team at supportercare@unrefugees.org.uk 

You can also reach the team via post by writing to:

UK for UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency
131 Finsbury Pavement
WeWork
London, EC2A 1NT

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