31 Jul 2020Back to news
For your reference, you can find a link to our COVID-19 Return to Work Assessment here.
Jacobs have implemented the CIVEA post lockdown support plan, in full consultation with clients, which sets out a comprehensive and unified approach to remobilise visits across the industry. All CIVEA members have agreed the procedures and guidelines as set out in the plan.
The amendment to The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (No. 2) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament on 19th June 2020 enabling visits to recommence from the 24th August 2020.
The plan provides a common sense approach to remobilise visits, by firstly issuing a letter to all customers providing 30 days’ notice of visit and asking customers to get in touch to review arrangements to pay, make new arrangements and to provide full signposting for welfare advice and support available from their local council and welfare benefit advice organisations.
We have comprehensive procedures and initiatives in place driven by our culture of maximising engagement with customers, early compliance collections and ensuring realistic arrangements, significantly reducing the number of cases requiring a visit.
Letters will be supported by outbound telephone, email and SMS messaging and further notices to proactively promote customer engagement.
We have updated our guidelines, including guidelines from CIVEA, and our clients, on case management for customers who may be further isolating, currently have symptoms, or where we identify both social and financial vulnerability as a result of COVID-19.
Vulnerable customers will be managed by our highly trained, experienced and specialist Welfare Team. We have excellent working relationships with both national and local welfare advice organisations and debt charities with an effective third sector protocol providing ‘breathing space’ should a customer require assistance. We will be sign posting at all times and also referring customers to their council for benefit maximisation and support as appropriate. We will of course be working closely with our council clients, discussing cases and agreeing actions.
Letters have started to be issued out to customers and it is our clear aim to maximise engagement throughout July and August before visits recommence from the 24th August.
The CIVEA plan also has requirements for Agents to undertake H&S training to ensure safe visits, the use of PPE and undertaking dynamic risk assessments. An approved Health & Safety training course for all agents is in place to ensure safe working practices, including how to safely ensure socially distancing on the visit, the mandatory wearing of PPE equipment and all aspects of resuming safe visits and protecting customers and staff.
All Agents will have undertaken and passed this course through online learning before resuming visits. PPE will include face coverings/masks, gloves and hand sanitisers for all staff and all payments to agents will be contactless.
Throughout the last 4 months of lockdown we have maintained a fully accessible service for clients and customers with all contact, payment and digital self-service facilities operational and our teams have been working securely from home. We now plan on staff making a gradual return to HQ throughout August and have undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment, compliant to Government guidelines, ensuring safety of staff and visitors returning to our offices, including the redesign of office space and installing floor markings for distancing control, informational signage, comprehensive guides, instructions and training for staff and managers and antibacterial hand wash stations on all entrance and office points. A copy of our risk assessment can also be found on our web site.
Both Partners, Simon Jacobs & Paula Jacobs, issued a joint statement saying “ The CIVEA plan sets out a sensible and common sense approach to remobilising visits, and provides opportunity to discuss cases with customers, set up and reset payment plans and provide welfare support and signposting both over the telephone and on the doorstep. All teams are trained to identify potential vulnerability with updated written procedures and guidance relating to assessing customer impact of COVID-19.
We will be undertaking a gradual return to Head Office for staff commencing on the 3rd August and have undertaken comprehensive risk management planning, in strict compliance to Government guidelines, to ensure safe working environments for both office staff and agents. All staff have had updated written policies, procedures and instructions on safe working, and we have redesigned office space for distance control with antibacterial hand wash stations on all visitor and office entrance points. Enforcement Agents have undertaken a CIVEA on line training qualification ensuring specialist focus of safety on the doorstep and the mandatory use of PPE including face coverings, gloves, handsanitiser and equipment and vehicle wipes.
We look forward to welcoming Team Jacobs back to HQ and continuing to deliver quality services for clients and customers”.