Bristow & Sutor introduce mandatory lateral flow tests for EAs
Bristow & Sutor, one of the UK’s leading players specialising in debt recovery, has begun implementing twice-weekly lateral flow tests amongst all of the business’s directly employed enforcement agents (EAs).
Whilst there is no legal requirement or evidence to suggest tests must be taken for EAs to carry out their duties effectively, Bristow & Sutor has decided to include these measures as an appropriate next step in the ongoing evolution of their safe working procedures. The company has constantly updated their methods for interacting with the public throughout the coronavirus pandemic and continue to do so as national recovery efforts begin to take shape.
Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but may still have been exposed to coronavirus. They can be obtained free of charge via the government and come in a batch of 7, arriving within a couple of days of being ordered. The test involves taking a sample from the tonsils and nose using a swab, with results available in just 30 minutes.
The availability of free tests and the minimal disruption this will cause to employees, who are now well versed in socially distanced enforcement methods and preparing PPE before starting work, has been a key factor in the decision to make this an ongoing requirement. Emma Watson, Head of External Communications at Bristow & Sutor says,
“As we move forward from COVID-19, Bristow & Sutor has decided that twice-weekly lateral flow tests are both a responsible and reassuring thing to do. After what we have all been through, it is not surprising if some people feel anxious about the increased social interactions happening throughout society. We have successfully conducted enforcement activity throughout the pandemic without testing, but this is an easy way for us to instil confidence for what lays ahead and to ensure the continued safety of our people and those they engage with.”
Bristow & Sutor has over 42 years of experience in the collection of local council tax, non-domestic rates and unpaid Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). All customer-facing members of staff have been trained on the use of PPE and must pass an industry approved course before being allowed to conduct visits. Enforcement Agents are not currently permitted to enter properties and any resolution found is done so in a socially distanced manner from the doorstep.
This year, Bristow & Sutor obtained NQA COVID Secure Verification accreditation, an independent review that provides assurance measures in place successfully mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 per government guidelines. This was in addition to an HSE spot check that was also passed successfully. The business also recently donated boxes of PPE to various Citizens Advice Bureau and local authority offices across the country, to help ensure important community work can continue safely at this time.