COVID-19 Response: SSAIB CEO Pledges to Support Registered Firms

COVID-19 Response: SSAIB CEO Pledges to Support Registered Firms

With the Government directives and guidance brought into action earlier this week, SSAIB has had to change certain aspects of our working practices, while also ensuring that it doesn’t impact negatively on our registered firms and the level of service that we provide to you.

SSAIB is fully aware of the uncertainty and worry that our firms will be facing at this difficult time, but we would like to remind each and every one of you that we are here to support you and we want to work together with you all - as we’re all in this together until a resolution to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found.

Therefore, I just want to provide you with an update as to what we are doing to keep our firms and our staff safe, while still being able to provide SSAIB certification and comply with our own continued requirements for United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation at this difficult time.

Keeping Our Firms and Our Staff Safe

As of this week, we have implemented our business continuity plan and taken the decision to close the SSAIB office to ensure the safety and welfare of all our office staff. All members of staff have been issued with everything they need in order to work from home, so the ‘office’ will still be fully manned remotely - until such time as these latest Government restrictions are relaxed – and we will be doing all we can to ensure that there is minor interruption in service, during what is a big transition for us.

As you will all be aware, our auditors are out in the field day in, day out visiting you all for your initial or annual inspections. However, again, to avoid – or limit – the spread of this virus, we have grounded all our auditors and have started rolling out remote audits with the aim of  having them fully up and running by Monday March 30.

This will allow us to carry on with our certification requirements to meet UKAS requirements, while ensuring that the health and wellbeing of our registered firms and our auditors is not compromised in any way. Our auditors are still here to help you and, if you are worried about your audit or are unsure as to what you need to have in place in order to be able to be audited remotely, please give us a call on 0191 296 3242 and we can pass a message on for them to get in touch with you to discuss your issues.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

We understand that this is a situation that none of us have ever found ourselves in before, so we will do our best to answer any queries you might have with regards to this pandemic.

We have a list of COVID-19 FAQs accessible via the Registered Firms’ portal of our website and these will continue to be updated as and when new information is released. Therefore, should you have an issue or question that is not covered already, please get in touch and not only will we try our best to answer it, we’ll also add to the list so that it can – potentially – help anyone else looking for the same answer(s) as well.

Of course, we are fully aware of the impact of COVID-19 on your jobs and livelihoods. Should you find that you are struggling to make a payment, through no fault of your own, please contact us as soon as possible – as it gives us the best chance of providing support to you. 

Working Together

This is a difficult time for all of us and all our planned changes to working practices has been overtaken by the speed of the Government announcements for home working. Only by working together can we get through this bad situation, so we thank you for your patience and understanding at this time. We will do everything in our power to continue providing a first-class third-party certification to you all, your positive comments to the SSAIB staff really do make all the difference.

Alex Carmichael
Chief Executive
SSAIB