Suspending Samaritans Radar: inadequate mitigation of risks continues

I’ve criticised the limited support that the Samaritans provided to users of their Samaritans Radar app when they deactivated it. I’m pleased to say that (1 week after deactivating the app) they have now the app’s e-mailed users; however, the support provided to users is still inadequate. This is the e-mail they sent:

As you may already be aware, following the feedback and advice Samaritans has received since the launch of Radar, the app has been suspended. As a result we have deactivated all subscriber accounts and are deleting all associated data.

For a full statement on the suspension of the app, please see our website http://www.samaritans.org

Thank you for subscribing to the Samaritans Radar app and for your support to date. If you have any further questions please email radar@samaritans.org

There are a number of problems with this e-mail:

  • There is no offer of support to users. The link in the e-mail takes users to a recent announcement about the app’s closure, not a support page. An e-mail like this might be OK if this was an app for sharing funny cat pics, but when suspending an app which aims to help prevent suicide the Samaritans should be pointing users towards support in case they’re worried or distressed.
  • They don’t give any information on what to do with alerts received but now inaccessible.
  • The e-mail is being sent 1 week after the app was suspended. Users might have been expecting the app to be working and sending alerts during this week.
  • The Samaritans don’t solicit feedback from users (or even link their own feedback survey).

Seriously – 1 week to send a 78 word e-mail and it’s still not especially good. This is really disappointing.

Update: I had linked to the wrong Samaritans announcement; corrected this now.

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