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Settle is a social enterprise that designs and delivers support services to vulnerable young people, specifically dedicated to tackling the causes of youth homelessness.

The programme they offer is made up of weekly, one-to-one sessions that are delivered by Programme Officers in the young person’s home.

In response to Covid19, Settle has adapted their service to be delivered over the phone as some of their clients don’t have access to the internet. In order to provide this service they must get consent. As a result, Settle has been collecting consent via text messages.

A photograph of someone using text messaging on a smart phone

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since March 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Settle’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a staff member, I need to get consent from the participant while delivering the service remotely.
  • As a young person using this service, I need to give my consent to be able to join the program but I need to understand what I’m consenting to and why my consent is important.

Software and tools used

Text messaging

Settle provides work phones for their staff.


Cost dependent on the price of the phone and mobile subscription.


Easy to use, accessible, user-friendly, efficient.

Google Drive

Shared storage space to privately store consent that can be accessed by staff. Pictures of consent are saved on the company shared google drive.


Free for not-for-profit organisations.


Easy to use, accessible, user-friendly, efficient.

Recipe steps

The programme officer calls the young person to get consent

  1. Initially they explain GDPR.
  2. They send the young person a photo of the form.
  3. They send a text message to the young person outlining what they are consenting to and make sure they understand.
  4. Make it clear they don't have to give consent if they do not wish to.
  5. The client returns a message to say “yes I consent”.
  6. The organisation stores a screenshot of the consent online.


  • Take the time to explain the GDPR. Try to use language that is accessible and explain what the consent is being used for.
  • Ask the young person whether they have any questions before signing.
  • Settle recommend their staff to be more direct in their conversations when delivering service over the phone. It is difficult to can't pick up on hesitation when you can’t read someone’s body language.


  • Accessibility remains an issue that should be considered. For example, 20% of Settle clients don’t have credit or data and some don’t have smartphones.
  • It can be harder to know how clients feel without seeing them. Settle have found that without reading body language it’s hard to know whether young people are confused or not.
  • There is a risk of not knowing whether a young person understands GDPR and what the consent is being used for.
  • Risk of not knowing whether a young person is reluctant to sign.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Rich Grahame
CEO & Co-founder


Many thanks to Settle for contributing this recipe.


This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Settle and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on May 6th, 2020. Last updated August 3rd, 2021