In this weeks Leading the Way blog, we explore some of the accreditations Bristow & Sutor maintain on a regular basis and discuss why this has a meaningful impact on business performance.
There is an intrinsic link between enforcement and certification which sets the tone for success across the entire industry. As members of CIVEA, Bristow & Sutor is bound to a strict Code of Practice that includes regular reviews and assessment of activity. For employees, an Enforcement Agent (EAs) certificate is granted by the County Court and must be renewed every two years. To qualify, all EAs must show they understand the law and provide evidence that they have been trained to a sufficient standard.
Due to these fundamental requirements, ongoing training, accreditation and certification is something that is respected and understood by most enforcement personnel. At Bristow & Sutor, we aim to go even further and achieve high-level third-party endorsement in additional areas, proving beyond doubt that we are as safe, secure, innovative and trustworthy as we claim to be.
Safe and secure
Bristow & Sutor has recertified in ISO27001 this month, the international methodology for the implementation, management, and maintenance of information security. An ISMS is a framework of policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical and technical controls involved in an organisation's information risk management processes. This remains a preferred qualification in various sectors and requires a full five-day audit and is becoming increasingly necessary as technology in enforcement advances and becomes more commonly adopted. There have been well publicised examples previously where other enforcement firms have faced breaches and have had to close for weeks on end, until the problem could be rectified. Bristow & Sutor aims to always be prepared for these scenarios and already has a fantastic reputation for our approach in this space, and anyone engaging with the company in 2022 can rest assured that they are formally in safe hands.
Earlier this year, Bristow & Sutor also achieved BSI 18477: 2010 - Inclusive service provision for identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability for debt collection. Understandably, priority is often placed on these areas, especially when considering enforcement personnel are sometimes the first people to identify someone who is facing vulnerable circumstances (even more so post-pandemic). Accreditation like ISO27001 is not always necessary for contracts to be awarded in the same manner as proof of social value or vulnerability procedures, but Local Authorities often require prospective partners to demonstrate they are professional and safety conscious, requesting evidence of the commitments a business has made when SLA agreements are discussed. As this becomes more commonplace, additional endorsements such as those related to futureproofing, security and technology, will become even more important to selection processes and are set to play a pivotal role in differentiating the very best service providers.
Beyond what is expected
Certification shows that best practice is taken seriously. Our CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) accreditation, for example, is renewed on an annual basis, demonstrating that Bristow & Sutor maintains high standards of health and safety, has robust related processes and meets the expectations of independent professionals. We were delighted to reveal last month that we had completed our first CIVEA audit and scored a flawless 100%. We are proud to have received this accolade and also to have been recognised for our commitment and success with various recent award nominations and victories. But in addition to service-related recognition, there are other occasions where passing independent third-party endorsements is highly beneficial, albeit for different reasons.
When we passed NQA COVID Secure Verification last year, this highlighted our safe working procedures and adherence to coronavirus guidance from Public Health England. The Bristow & Sutor Group always takes the health and wellbeing of its employees very seriously but showcasing this was even more important after the onset of the national health crisis, in order to instil trust and confidence in our clients, our colleagues and the general public at a potentially confusing and concerning time.
Accreditation is of course useful for shaping perceptions, but it is what can be learned during this process that has the most beneficial long-term impact. For example, we have pro-actively increased the amount of certified Mental Health First-Aid (MHFA) personnel across the entire Bristow & Sutor Group. Not only does this better protect employees but it also harnesses the strength of aligned businesses, with Bristow & Sutor staff able to share their thoughts and feelings with employees at Credit Style or Debt Recovery Plus (DRP). Much like our approach to the public and recent technology developments that are focused on channels where people feel most comfortable, the opportunity to speak to someone without fear of judgement is sure to have positive implications.
All Bristow & Sutor EAs receive conflict management training with useful advice and guidance on how to keep themselves safe out on the road and in the local community. We recognise that internal accreditation is a fantastic measuring device to ensure employees are confident and remain at the forefront of developments and new approaches that will benefit themselves and those they come into contact with.
We hope that by continually achieving standards across different areas of our business we will provide ongoing assurance to employees, debtors and clients that we are a safe, reputable and committed business that do things the right way. Bristow & Sutor continues to commit to its ethos of being Cool, Calm and Collected.