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  • COVID-19 is here to stay until the time we find a vaccine

  • Everyone says this is some way off and so we have to plan enforcement service delivery in the “new normal” of working safely to protect everyone involved in the process of taking control of goods

  • So “Cash” and “Flo” our virtual High Court Enforcement Agents (HCEAs) are going to take us through the training and guidance which we will be using to manage the delivery of enforcement services in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

  • These blog posts are designed to explain how we will deliver our  safe working practices programme to everyone involved in the enforcement process including |

  • HCEAs

  • Members of the public we visit

  • Other members of the public we may come into contact with

  • Court staff

  • Our own corporate team

  • We also want to say thank you to all frontline NHS staff who have done an amazing job to keep COVID-19 under control in the UK – a big thank you from us all here at Shergroup

  • We recognize we have a responsibility to protect the NHS by working to minimize the spread of the virus through our enforcement operations

Social Distancing And Preventing Transmission

  • When they are out on their visits CASH AND FLO make every effort to maintain social distancing  of 2 m as far as they can.

  • If an person deliberately attempts to breach this distance or presents a risk to the safety of CASH AND FLO or anyone else then CASH AND FLO are trained to withdraw.

  • They will update their case history notes.  If an incident presents itself as particularly risky then CASH AND FLO will report the incident to the police.

  • On arrival at a property, CASH AND FLO will undertake a dynamic risk assessment. Throughout their visit they will remain on alert to the risks contamination of the virus and will withdraw if they identify a risk to their own or another’s safety.

  • CASH AND FLO have been trained to recognize that keeping a 2 m distance is not always possible in their job as High Court Enforcement Agents.  So when this happens they will use appropriate risk mitigation.  Examples when maintaining a 2m distance might not be possible including entering a home or other property, and when travelling together in their vehicle to get to their next visit. 

  • Guidance on risk mitigation is available in the section on Hygiene and use of protective equipment and in the relevant sections of Public Health England’s guidance for first responders.

  • Guidance on working safely in vehicles is also available.

Social Distancing And Preventing Transmission

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  • CASH AND FLO know how to handle people they are visiting even though their visit is not always welcome.  They keep a consistent tone of voice which is captured on body worn cameras.  They have been trained to appreciate that raising their voices gives the potential to increase transmission of the virus.  But this is not a problem to CASH AND FLO as they approach their job with a professional tone on all visits. 

  • CASH AND FLO are a team who have worked together even before the pandemic.  As such they are an established TEAM which means contact between different enforcement agents is minimised.

  • CASH AND FLO check in with Shergroup’s Operational Support TEAM every morning to confirm they have no COVID-19 symptoms.  They also understand they must not work if they develop symptoms or c or if they are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, for example if they have been identified as a close, recent contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • CASH AND FLO also are trained to take their temperature each morning before leaving for their first visit.  They will stay at home and self-isolate if a member of their household is symptomatic.

  • So far CASH AND FLO haven’t shown any symptoms but if they do they will stay at home and self-isolate. 

  • The procedure is that they will order a test via the NHS Test and Trace website.

  • If a test comes back positive for COVID-19 they will follow the advice provided by NHS Test and Trace.

Enforcement at Residential Addresses

  • Cash and Flo, always follow on in attempts to make contact with households prior going out on visits

  • They take steps to assess risk to ensure their visit can proceed safely and in line with social distancing

  • A Notice of Enforcement is always sent as a pre-requisite to any visit with a letter asking if anyone in the household has COVID-19 symptoms, and whether anyone is self-isolating or has been advised to shield from contact with people outside their bubble

  • If there is any notification that a person has symptoms or is self-isolating or shielding then the enforcement agents will not visit until confirmation is received that the address is free of COVID-19 risks

  • When someone answers the door, Cash and Flo will

    • introduce themselves

    • explain the need to maintain social distancing

    • ask if anyone in the household is symptomatic, self-isolating or shielding

    • If any of these situations are confirmed, or if the enforcement agents finds visible signs of COVID-19 such as a persistent cough or someone in the household obviously unwell, the enforcement agents will terminate the visit, withdraw safely and record the reason for doing so

  • Cash and Flo will not attempt to get people to make or agree to payments in these circumstances. Instead, they will notify the householder about when they will return (although this will be no sooner than the end of any self-isolation or shielding period) and provide contact details

  • Contact details will be provided in a safe manner and while maintaining social distancing, for example by waiting for the householder to re-enter the property and then pushing a card through the letterbox

  • Cash and Flo will establish from a safe distance whether there is a requirement for them to enter the property

  • If they do need to enter, then before they take a step across the threshold, they must assess and discuss arrangements with the householder from a safe distance to enable them to do so safely.

  • This could include taking steps to:

    • maintain social distancing as far as possible, including use of appropriate PPE

    • minimize contact with other householders

    • minimize physical contact with surfaces and objects, for example by asking the householder to leave doors open

    • keep interactions to well-ventilated areas where possible

    • follow good hand hygiene      

Enforcement at Business Addresses

  • When Cash and Flo visit a commercial address they observe any measures that the  that the business has in place to ensure the safety of their customers and workers

  • Standard PPE procedures will apply

  • All attendances will be captured on body worn camera video

How Cash and Flo Approach Vulnerable People in Their Visits

  • Cash and Flo are trained to look out and identify people who are impacted by the COVID-19 virus

  • If they find a person who is or has been symptomatic, self-isolating or shielding, Cash and Flo will follow procedures to withdraw and to notify their findings to the NHS Track and Trace system

  • Cash and Flo are also very aware that some individuals or groups of people with protected characteristics may have a greater clinical vulnerability to severe illness from COVID-19 –see further information.

  • Cash and Flo, along with all their colleague, are trained to follow the guidance on vulnerability set out in the National Standards for Taking Control of Goods

  • They act in accordance with all the relevant legislation

  • Where appropriate, they will as a matter of course, signpost individuals to debt advice organizations and give them an adequate opportunity to get assistance and advice