Birmingham EA commended for 25 years of service
Neil Mckenna recently celebrated 25 years working for Bristow & Sutor, one of the UK’s leading players specialising in debt recovery, based in Washford, Redditch.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Neil studied Art and Design when attending college but found himself looking for a local job not related to his studies as the country continued to come out of a recession. He admits he somewhat fell into a career in enforcement, but quickly found it enjoyable, “I was open to trying something different and liked the variety that was on offer. Many of my colleagues have similar stories and have remained here throughout their careers”.
“Working as an EA is not easy but there a more positives than negatives. It's appealing if you do not like being in an office environment and like the idea of getting out and about in the local community. Things are more restricted at the moment due to COVID-19, but you normally have a lot of freedom and flexibility in your day-to-day work. Being based in Birmingham has its benefits too, I like working in the region and the fact there are good transport links.”
Neil initially trained with Bristow & Sutor to work on a business rates team but as the years progressed has experienced working on projects dealing with arrest warrants, high court debts and general enforcement needs. He has continued to train internally on a regular basis, ensuring he is always aware of the latest law changes, legislation and bespoke requirements of new clients and contracts. This commitment to training was especially important when the term ‘bailiff’ was replaced with EA, which coincided with significant industry-wide operational changes.
Most recently, Neil has been trained on the use of PPE and best practice techniques for ensuring safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Every Bristow & Sutor EA now possesses equipment such as masks, hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes, disinfectant sprays and gloves as standard. They are not permitted to enter properties currently, so any resolution found is done so in a socially distanced manner from the doorstep.
Much has changed in the world since Neil first jointed Bristow & Sutor in the 1990s, but he claims that improvements in technology have made the biggest impact on his role and the wider enforcement industry. “When I first started, there were no debit card payments, information was on hand-written files and much larger teams were needed for processes to work. The advances in technology and investments made by Bristow & Sutor in this area, has massively helped with individual and company performance. Key information is now available instantly and we are better equipped than ever to help find positive solutions whilst efficiently supporting the vulnerable”.
Bristow & Sutor employees are directly employed and are not paid based on the performance of one visit, their goal remains to help find the best solution and not focus purely on achieving immediate revenue. “My job has not changed in many ways as the key to success remains communicating with people. I still enjoy being on the road, visiting customers and helping debtors resolve their financial problems. Reactions to my visits have remained similar and more often than not, people are keen to find a solution or become more open to a conversation after I visit and leave them my number.”
Andy Rose, CEO at Bristow & Sutor, says, “We are very proud of Neil for his ongoing hard work and commitment to both clients and customers. Our business has strong roots in the local community so it is particularly pleasing to see a Birmingham resident experience ongoing career success as one of our employees.”
In recognition of his 25 years of service, Directors at Bristow & Sutor gifted Neil a brand-new Smart TV. “I was very grateful for my present and for the gesture in celebrating my 25th anniversary,” said Neil, “I had to pick a TV for my gift because my wife has banned me from any more watches!”
Bristow & Sutor has over 42 years’ experience in the collection of local council tax, non-domestic rates and unpaid Penalty Charge Notices. The company regularly assist debtors with completing questionnaires, setting up payment arrangements and directing them towards support and advice where appropriate. Latest Government and CIVEA advice and protocol related to COVID-19 is being followed by Bristow & Sutor employees at all times.