Investors in Enforcement Agents 
Dear Agents and Associates  
 
I have been trying to put words together that would hopefully sound like some offer of consolation, advice and encouragement but alas, it appears every hour any chosen words may no longer apply.  
I have been trying to put words together that would hopefully sound like some offer of consolation, advice and encouragement but alas, it appears every hour any chosen words may no longer apply. 
 
I don’t think the media have got it far wrong with the way they are reporting this crisis as the largest economic and social upheaval these islands have faced since the start of World War Two. 
 
So many of us are likely to have the main or only source of income in their household reduced to nothing or stop altogether very shortly. You may already have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of available clients you can service and therefore cases your can action. This will NOT be forever. 
 
As frustrating as it may be, your clients and managers are only trying to prevent from putting you in harm’s way. As more and more of the public are forced into self-isolation, it is highly likely that putting yourself in close proximity with the general public, with the processes and requirements necessary to fulfil your obligations to enforcing your debts correctly leaves you in a vicarious position, and at an increased risk of infection. 
 
There are also the heightened emotions of your debtors to consider, families are being forced into spending more time together, at a time of mass panic, and with incomes suppressed and hours depleted, it is not unreasonable to expect an Enforcement Agent or just the ‘next person in authority’ that happens to visit a home and make someone anxious will probably be seen as an acceptable target, and putting themselves in an increased risk of a violent incident. 
 
We must also give consideration to the welfare and increased demands on the finances of the people we are called upon to visit. I think we all accept that no government will insist on perusing debts in such times as these, so we must prepare to protect ourselves and our families. 
 
We have to be honest with each other, these will not be good times and at the moment we cannot see the light at the end of this troubled tunnel, but one will come soon. 
 
The association can only offer you the directives available to the general public, but the association will always be here for its members. If things get too much and you are facing troubles that could soon be irreversible, please reach out to us as we will always try and assist a member as well as we can when things almost seem lost. 
 
With reference to agents concerns regarding certification and dates they have to be called to court, I am being told that the Family and Civil Courts are been regarded as Essential Services and will continue. We would suggest emailing your appropriate court asap on… 
 
bailiffs. ____fill in your court here____ .countycourt@justice.gov.uk 
 
The very best of regards, 
 
The Executive Board 
Covid-19 Checklist for Individuals and Families (CDC) 
 
Get up-to date information about local Corona activity from public health officials. 
 
Create a household plan 
Consider members of your household that may be at greater risk such as adults and people with severe chronic illnesses 
Ask your neighbours what their plan includes 
Create a list of local organisations you and your household can contact in case you need access to information, healthcare service, support and resources 
Create an emergency contact list including family, friends, neighbours, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local health centre and other community resources 
Choose a room in the house that can be used to separate sick members from others. 
 
 
Take everyday precautions 
 
Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with hot water and soap 
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth 
Stay at home when sick 
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a bin. 
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces 
Avoid sharing personal items 
 
 
In case of an outbreak in your household, protect yourself first then others 
 
If you develop any of the warning signs self-isolate and monitor your symptoms 
Keep away from others 
Limit your close contact with others, 2 metres distancing from others is recommended 
Put your household plan into action 
Give more consideration to those at greater risk than yourself, such as the elderly 
Continue to practise every day your preventative actions 
If your symptoms worsen or your breathing becomes difficult, it is time to call 111 
 
 
This list is non exhaustive. 
Get Prepared. 
 
Start to put measures in place now for home working perhaps ask your current companies for some older cases and try a clerical collection on the telephone, do this sooner rather than later as a decision to limit public movement or the need to self-isolate may come at very short notice. You may want to consider reviewing your cyber security and GDPR policies and guidelines if data and/or equipment is being taken out of the office. Encourage your managers, where applicable, to consider a simplified system for your laptops, you will need to check it all works at home and test access to servers, your work emails, shared folders etc. It sounds obvious, but where possible, consider changing face-to-face meetings to alternatives and you must try to avoid unnecessary travel. 
 
For some, it may be worth reviewing your business insurance policies or speaking to your insurance provider to understand what may or may not be covered in the event of a contract cancellation. 
 
Furthermore, we have had some advice from some of our fellow associates, and it may be of interest to some of you. 
 
‘It’s worth everyone speaking to their insurance broker and clarifying what cover they have. 
 
Business interruption is the only element of your insurance which may cover you, without this it is likely you will not be covered. This relates to cover if your internal workplace gets shut down. If the broker advisers you are not covered, and you don’t agree with the broker, seek legal advice- push it back to the insurers. You may still want to proceed with a claim for business interruption cover. 
 
Many companies may well be looking at diversifying services, don’t forget to tell your insurers of any different types of work you might undertake or if you change activity to make sure you are covered’. 
 
For some, it may be business as usual. Some principles are going ahead, and there are a number of considerations for those with agents and teams going out to work. 
 
Duty of care 
 
During this challenging time, you not only have a duty of care to your staff but also yourselves. Looking after the mental health of agents is just as important as their physical health. 
 
There are a number of simple steps we can all take to minimise anxiety and stress at this time: 
 
Keep yourself informed. As already stated though, only use official and reliable sources for your information. Don’t listen to speculation. 
Keep talking. Keep channels of communication open with staff, suppliers, clients and other stakeholders. 
Reach out. Familiarise yourself with the support networks out there – mental health, Samaritans, debt helplines – and share these with your team. 
You’re not alone! In the event of self-isolation or home working use tech to stay in contact. Feeling part of a community via a Whatsapp group or chatting to a friend or colleague via Skype will help. 
 
 
Business support 
 
A number of coronavirus initiatives were announced in the budget which could offer support for SMEs and the self-employed including: 
 
Firms with fewer than 500 staff will be refunded for sick payments for two weeks. 
SMEs will be able to access ‘business interruption’ loans of up to £1.2million. 
Self-employed staff or those on 0 hours contracts will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance if they have to self-isolate and cannot claim sick pay. 
 
Further details can be found here: 
 
Government guidance for employees, employers and businesses- click here. 
 
Some further support initiatives include: 
 
The nature of the industry means many of you will employ freelancers or be freelancers yourselves. Any members of your team who self-assess and who are anticipating making a payment in July should consider contacting HMRC to ask for a reduction in their payments on account if they are now expecting a reduced income for 2019/20 and even 2020/21. 
HMRC have launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The number is 0800 0159 559. 
There is a scaled-up Business Support Helpline so businesses in England, of all sizes, can pick up the phone and speak directly to an advisor. The number to call is 0300 456 3565. 
Companies House has produced guidance if coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected your company and if you need more time to file your accounts- click here. 
 
 
Useful sources of information/ further links: 
 
 
UK Government and Public Health England – click here 
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – click here 
The World Health Organisation – click here 
Tagged as: Coronavirus
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