I have been asked to write a COVID-19 and departmental update so here goes…
We are now in our seventeenth week of working from home. As a company, we have all adapted well to working remotely and interacting via email, Zoom calls or meetings via Microsoft Teams. Personally, I have been to the office a few times to collect files and it has been great to see some of the admin staff and Ray last week, albeit socially distanced. As Partners, we have been discussing the 1m plus socially distanced policy and inviting more people to work from the office, should they wish, as we strive to get back to normality.
The Family department have been very busy with instructions picking up greatly over the past month or so. We offered a free 30 minute consultation for any family-related matter towards the beginning of the period of lockdown which saw a good take-up and both Michael and Mandeep have been busy with new and existing cases. We have recently updated our marketing material too. The main divorce brochure can be accessed here.
The Litigation department have also been busy. You may have read our update on 29 June 2020 that we closed our Sidcup office. Adina-Leigh Collins is now operational in a work space in Kings Hill, close to her home whilst the rest of the team continue to work from home. As is the case in the Family department, the Litigation team are working on existing cases and new work that has been generated whilst in lockdown.
From a personal perspective, it is great to see the return of contact sport with Premier League and Championship football matches taking place practically every day now along with games in Italy and Spain. Restaurants are re-opening and it’s good to see gyms planning to re-open as we get back to normal – well the “new normal”.
Last Wednesday (8 July 2020), Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Government’s plans for recovery via the Summer Statement which brought up some very interesting points. Firstly, the Stamp Duty holiday on residential purchases up to £500,000 should see an increase in enquiries for my colleague, Maria and the Conveyancing team. It is also good to see the Chancellor addressing the problems faced in areas such as hospitality with the “eat out to help out” scheme throughout August and the VAT changes from 20% to 5% on food, accommodation and attractions. Furthermore, we welcome the Chancellor’s pledge via the job retention bonus scheme with businesses being paid £1,000 to retain furloughed staff.
As a firm, we are working hard to make the office COVID-secure and increasing the number of people in the office at one time. We have upgraded the telephony system meaning improved security, remote access and the ability for staff to use their work phones from home. Jamie, our Head of IT, has also worked on DNS changes, pushed through an electronic fax solution, improved dictation software, rolled out DMARC to improve email security for both Grant Saw and our clients as well as ensuring staff members can assess video conferencing facilities and have the relevant equipment to get on with their day-to-day roles.
If you wish to discuss anything further, feel free to email me or contact me directly on 020 8305 4237.