The UK government released updated guidance on the containment of coronavirus yesterday, substantially increasing the rate of self-isolation across the country. Part of this recommendation was that those who can work from home should do so.
I wish to reassure you that your safety, your matter and your data remain our highest priority and subject to the very highest standards of professional conduct.
CONTINUITY OF SERVICE
MW has robust, resilient, and tested Business Continuity and Business Recovery plans, so we can maintain the levels of service you would expect from us despite the external disruptions. These plans are now coming into effect. In the coming days we will significantly reduce the number of staff who are required in branch offices, with no compromise to service levels.
HEIGHTENED RISK OF FRAUD
Times of disruption present opportunities for the unscrupulous to take advantage of heightened confusion.
PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE, PARTICULARLY WHEN MAKING PAYMENTS TO OR RECEIVING MONEY FROM MW, THAT YOU OBSERVE HIGH STANDARDS OF CAUTION, INCLUDING:
- Noting that MW Solicitors will NEVER change our bank-account details mid-transaction
- Making sure that you confirm transactions verbally with your original Solicitor, and never to rely exclusively on email communication
- Treating any communications from new or unrecognised sources, particularly any communications that express urgency or require you to move quickly, with the utmost scepticism
STAFF AND CLIENT WELFARE
To preserve the health of our staff and clients we have been operating policies of restricted travel and meetings. Only essential meetings and inter-office travel have been permitted for the last week. This has now extended to self-isolation in line with government advice. This may affect our ability to conduct face to face meetings, but it will not prejudice our ability to deliver outcomes for clients.
MW Solicitors works on cloud-based infrastructure, meaning our staff can log in and access their client files privately from any computer. This access is protected by two-factor authentication, ensuring no compromise to security for client information.
Further, all of our critical support functions, including finance and compliance, are maintained on the same cloud-based infrastructure. This allows supervision, audit and client payments to also be made as normal even when our staff are working away from their normal office locations.
We will continue to monitor guidance from government as this complex situation continues to evolve. You can always be assured that:
- Your Solicitor’s contact details remain the same and are still functional.
- Your rights as a client are unaffected.
- Your data remains safe.
- Any funds you have with us remain safe.
TRANSFER OF FILES
With effect from Monday 23rd March 2020, the majority of our staff shall be working from home.
This will mean that we may need to take your file of papers or certain documents from the file home with us. We can assure you that these will be transported in a safe manner. These files or documents will remain in your legal representative's home and will be kept private until such time as they return to the office. This will enable your legal representative to continue to progress your matter. We will continue to adhere to our data protection policies and procedures during this time of homeworking.
Please rest assured that we take client confidentiality extremely seriously and the files and documents will only be seen by your legal representative.
HELP US, HELP YOU
To mitigate the risk posed by the current outbreak of Coronavirus, we will be sending all correspondence wherever possible by email and ask that when sending correspondence to MW Solicitors that you only send hard copies when absolutely necessary, for example when an original signature is required. If you need to send original documents to us please continue to use your usual correspondence address.
Please note that MW Solicitors will also, until further notice, agree to accept service of proceedings and documents by email. Service of proceedings and documents by email should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. It remains the position that we do not accept service of proceedings or documents by fax. Please note that these arrangements do not include service of documents by Local Authorities in relation to care proceedings who should continue to serve documents on the MW Solicitor instructed.
We are communicating to you as a critical part of the client-care we owe to our clients. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please contact your solicitor in the normal way. If you wish to contact MW Solicitors regarding a new matter please use our Contact Us to arrange a callback at your convenience.