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Our response to Covid-19 from Andy Briggs, Phoenix Group Chief Executive
In these truly extraordinary times, Phoenix Group is taking significant steps to support and protect its colleagues, customers and the communities where we operate. Led by our senior leadership team, we are using our established business continuity framework to manage our response.
For our customers, we have done our utmost to continue to deliver our services during these strained times. With our customer service teams now working from home and continuing to answer enquiries, close to normal levels of service have been maintained and we continue to see a very positive customer response, with the vast majority of our customers rating our service ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Inevitably a number of our customers are in the high-risk category through age or illness. We continue to provide a phone service, and to ensure our lines remain available to our most vulnerable customers, we are encouraging those who can to use our website wherever possible.
Importantly, both online and through our direct customer communications, we are raising awareness of the increased threat our customers may face from scams in the uncertain times the pandemic creates.
At the forefront of our minds is the wellbeing and safety of all of our colleagues. We acted quickly to mobilise our colleagues and enable them to work from home. We have supplied around 4,500 individual pieces of IT kit (such as keyboards and cables) to make this possible. With the exception of employees carrying out critical processes at our sites (c.1% that are all socially distanced), all of our c.4,400 employees are set up to work from home other than a small number that cannot fulfil their role from home. None of our people have been furloughed as a result of Covid-19. This has been the biggest logistics exercise we have ever undertaken.
In this challenging time we recognised that our colleagues may need to take time off to care for loved ones. We have provided paid emergency leave for those caring for people during the Covid-19 crisis.
We are extremely thankful to our colleagues and partners for the dedication and spirit they have shown throughout this time.
We, like many, are in awe of the excellent work undertaken by key workers and front-line staff, who are serving our communities. As a small measure of our gratitude we are donating £1 million to be split between, Age UK and charities supporting the communities local to our offices across the UK and Europe. These charities, especially some of the smaller ones, are dealing with unprecedented demand for their services when finances may be stretched, and we are delighted to support them.
Recognising the critical role the Air Ambulances play in the NHS, we have also extended our support for our four existing Air Ambulance Charity partners across the UK.
We will also continue to provide support through investment in socially responsible community assets. In 2020 to date we have provided £70m in lending to Local Authorities, £75m to Housing Associations, and £30m to a renewable energy project. We are actively looking for opportunities to support similar projects.
As we all look towards a time when we can return to normality, I am heartened by the depth of community and determination my colleagues have shown in this trying time. The small gestures and extra hours have really revealed how we are prepared to go above and beyond in order to maintain the services so relied upon. It demonstrates our steadfast approach to delivering for our customers when they need it the most.
CEO Phoenix Group
As at 17 April 2020