COVID-19

Introduction

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty in the UK and across the world. Spence continues to work proactively to maintain a high level of service to our clients while ensuring that we provide a safe and healthy environment in which our colleagues can operate effectively.

We are proud of how we have coped with the challenges of the pandemic so far, however we are not complacent. We would like to reassure you that Spence continues to actively monitor the changing circumstances caused by the pandemic and is taking steps to reduce and mitigate the risks to our service, clients and colleagues.

Our current position

Apart from a very small number of colleagues working in our Belfast office to deal with our critical mail, everyone at Spence continues to work from home. Our systems and processes are working well, and our services have not been affected. Our current operating configuration has proved stable and can remain in place for an indefinite period.

We have undertaken detailed planning for a staged return of colleagues to our offices, starting with a small number initially. However these plans will only be implemented when national (and indeed relevant regional) guidelines allow and we deem it safe to do so. We are therefore taking a measured and prudent approach in our decision making in this regard - as it stands, we do not have an established timeline.

Given the current guidelines, which are similar to the “lockdown” of last year, our colleagues are not attending meetings in person. Their wellbeing, and that of our clients, is very important to us. We have worked hard to ensure that our technology for holding meetings virtually is robust and easy to use, and we feel that there is minimal impact to the effectiveness of our meetings from colleagues not being in attendance in person. We will continue to keep our position on attendance at meetings under review as circumstances and national/regional guidelines develop.

At Spence, we know our strength is in our colleagues and we have ensured that they have been provided with the support, equipment and technology they need. We are conscious that the extended period of remote working is a challenge for many of our colleagues and we continue to have a focus on employee well-being and group communication forums. We keep our business operations and workload management under continual review to ensure that we meet all our obligations whilst minimising the risk to the well-being of our colleagues and our service to our clients.

We also recognise the importance of maintaining our data protection and cyber-security controls in the face of potential challenges from remote working. Our processes are robust and we have implemented a programme of training on cyber security as well as successfully completing assessments by external auditors under our ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 accreditations.

We continue to work with our service providers to ensure the services they provide to us are maintained in a constantly developing environment and we have not had any issues to date.

Our working group within the business continues to closely monitor the situation in the UK and beyond and its potential effect on the economy, our Business and our service. We are confident that our success so far in maintaining our service to our clients and supporting our colleagues will continue in the face of the future challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our continued planning in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

A working group within the business continues to closely monitor the situation in the UK and beyond and its potential effect on the economy, our Business and our service.

Due to the current national guidelines to work from home if possible, our offices currently remain closed. Our working group has undertaken detailed planning for a staged return of colleagues to our offices, starting with a small number initially. However, we are taking a measured and prudent approach to this planning and will only re-open our offices when we feel it is safe to do so – as it stands, we do not have an established timeline.

Given the current guidelines, our preference is for remote meetings with clients and professional contacts. However, our colleagues will discuss the possibility of in-person meetings if requested. We have issued guidance to our colleagues in relation to in-person meetings and expect these only to take place in a strictly controlled environment where adequate safety measures have been put in place to protect the health of all the attendees. We would be grateful if you would please consider this if requesting an in-person meeting.

We are confident that our success so far in maintaining our service to our clients and supporting our colleagues will continue in the face of the future challenges.

Communication

We will continue to update you on the actions we are taking and the position on your pension scheme as the situation continues.

Please do continue to contact us as normal if you have any questions at all.

January 2021