Covid-19 - Visiting procedures for Chilgrove offices
Information notice issued on 3 June 2020 - N.B: Please note that this policy applies to our Chilgrove offices only. We are not presently meeting clients at our serviced office facilities in Chichester and Petersfield but will update this policy if lockdown restrictions are further eased.
In line with government and Law Society advice, we have put in place rigorous systems to protect clients visiting our Chilgrove offices and our staff working there. All our staff have been working from home during the pandemic and members of our team continue to work from home where they can.
Where staff work from Chilgrove, they do so under the terms of a full risk assessment and with substantial social distancing in place. We have a number of large rooms and ample space for our staff. All surfaces and door handles are regularly wiped down.
We continue to offer appointments by video conferencing (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other platforms) to all clients. We have undertaken a significant number of remote court hearings during the pandemic whilst courts have been largely operating remotely, and conducted online mediation meetings, conferences, and settlement meetings.
However, we recognise that as the lockdown restrictions are eased, clients will, in some circumstances, want to meet with us face to face.
We are happy to arrange this, subject to the procedures set out in this document being strictly adhered to. Please note, however, that if you are defined as clinically vulnerable under government guidelines, we will not be able to meet you face to face at this stage.
Please therefore read this notice carefully before visiting our offices for a pre-arranged appointment. We will ask all clients to confirm that they have read this document before attending an appointment with us.
1. If you wish to meet with a member of our team in person, the appointment will need to be arranged in advance. Appointments can be arranged by calling our office on 01243 769001. We will ask you when you call whether you or any member of your household is displaying any symptoms of the virus and if you are presently required to self-isolate under government rules, you will not be able to make an appointment.
2. Our offices in Chilgrove are in a remote, rural location which is not accessible by public transport – you will need to travel by your own private car. This in itself substantially mitigates the risk to clients and staff of being exposed to the virus on your journey to meet with us. We have ample free car parking at our offices.
3. If you prefer, we can offer appointments outside in the beautiful fields adjacent to our office. We will discuss this option with you on the phone if you would prefer an outside meeting and explain to you how this will work. Clearly any such meeting will be subject to reasonable weather.
4. If you wish to see us inside the building and attend our offices for an appointment, you will enter the building into a porchway where you will need to sanitise your hands before entering the building. We will buzz you into the building.
5. You will then need to walk straight up to the stairs to the first floor where a member of our team will greet you from a four metre distance straight into one of our two large meeting rooms (the door to a meeting room is kept open before appointments but will be closed once you have entered it). You will then take a seat at the far end of one of our two meeting rooms to await your appointment.
6. During the meeting and at all times (where the meeting takes place inside or outside the building), your lawyer will stay at a distance of well over the government-advised distance of two metres and will not come within two metres of you at any time. We will ask you to confirm your agreement to the same condition before the meeting takes place.
7. You are of course free to bring a mask and/or gloves with you.
8. We will not provide any refreshments (food or drink) to clients at the present time. We would therefore strongly recommend that you bring a drink with you.
9. If you need to use the toilet facilities (these are adjacent to the meeting rooms), these are cleaned regularly, and we would ask that you ensure that you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before leaving the toilet.
10. All surfaces that you may come into contact with and door handles are wiped down after every client meeting.