Inclusive design is the practice of designing products and services so that everyone can use them. It aims to include people with a lived experience of an issue in the design process. 

For essential services such as energy, credit, insurance and payments it means regulators, government and businesses making sure all consumers can access the products and services they need. It involves designing out barriers to access that create exclusion, inequality and unfairness in markets. 

Fair By Design works to include people with lived experience of issues within policy development and decision-making to deliver markets that work for all consumers. 

A case study: using inclusive design to create a fair transition to net zero 

A paper by Fair By Design in partnership with Toynbee Hall and Ofgem 

In Spring 2022, we collaborated with Toynbee Hall and Ofgem on a project looking at how we can make the transition to net zero fair for low-income consumers.  

This paper describes how we used inclusive design to place people with lived experience of poverty at the centre of policy decisions within a regulator. It highlights how this can be done by any decision or policymaker, and why inclusive design is essential for delivering markets that works for all consumers.  

We used the participatory action research (PAR) model, working with peer researchers (professional researchers, people with lived experience of an issue or decision makers) to gather insight and co-create solutions to enable a fair transition to net zero for low-income consumers. 

Inclusive Design in Essential Services 

Practical guidance for regulators and firms in partnership with Money Advice Trust 

We worked with the Money Advice Trust on the production of two guides on how regulators and firms can embed inclusive design in policy development and product design, for better outcomes for consumers. 

The guides aim to deliver improved products and services that meet the needs of more consumers, tackling long-standing issues such as the poverty premium and financial exclusion. 

By providing regulators and firms with the tools to implement inclusive design approaches, Fair By Design and the Money Advice Trust hope to build upon recent progress on the treatment of consumers in vulnerable circumstances. 

Regulators’ guide 

The regulators’ guide explores how inclusive design will help regulators achieve their objectives – particularly improving outcomes for consumers in vulnerable circumstances, including those on low incomes. 

Firms’ guide 

A guide for firms working in the credit, energy and insurance sectors. Inclusive Design in Essential Services: A practical guide for firms and suppliers provides practical steps and examples to support firms – from the point of starting out in the design process through to launching the end product.