This month Peter Selwyn Smith our stakeholder manager talks about our recent Manchester open day on 4 July.
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The opportunity to meet with people in the industry and learn more about their experiences and priorities, is something we value enormously.
The Manchester open day, at the Crowne Plaza, on 4 July was designed to create a space for people to meet and have a conversation with us and where possible for us to resolve any issues and concerns. The format of the day was similar to the London event we held last year with the London Night Czar Amy Lame.
At the Manchester event, our licensing experts were on-hand to provide one-to-one help and support to people renewing or applying for a licence. We also had experts from across the rest of the organisation; from our Training, Quality and Standards team, Partnerships & Interventions North team and our Stakeholder Engagement team.
The day started with a session run by our Director of Partnerships & Interventions, Dave Humphries. He first gave an overview of our key priorities for the next twelve months which included:
- How our licensing system is working well
- The completion of the review of the Approved Contractor Scheme
- An upcoming review of the licence-linked qualifications
- Enforcement activity we undertake to prevent continued lawbreaking.
After a few hours, the event came to life. Some of those attending took the chance to talk with our SIA staff including our Chair, Liz France.
Our partnerships and interventions team, based in the North, also spoke to businesses about initiatives in the region. They discussed how they are dealing with those businesses who don’t comply with regulation. The importance of telling us about any non-compliant businesses in the region, also came up in conversations with delegates.
Our customer support and decisions teams held one-to-one sessions with individuals and businesses, and anyone who needed help with their applications was able to speak to a specialist immediately.
It was clear that people had given up their time and, in some cases, travelled a long distance to talk to us about their needs. For our staff, who were able to help most of the people who came, it was satisfying to see people go home happy.
We met an applicant who did not understand why his application was being held up. Our decisions manager explained the situation was due to a more complex than usual set of circumstances. Before he left, he said he felt reassured that we had not forgotten about his application, understood the situation and was now confident it would be dealt with soon.
Another applicant whom we met had mistyped their name when applying. This meant our system couldn’t find and match his online account to his existing licence, holding up his application. Our customer support experts were able to deal with this quickly as he had ID to show that his licence was linked to him. As a result, his application was able to progress there and then.
We also met with an existing licence holder about our decision to suspend his licence. He brought his employer and a friend along and we spoke with them all to explain the reasons for our decision.
On the day, the training, quality and standards team spoke to a number of businesses. They came to the event to find out more about the Approved Contractor Scheme, whether it would be right for their company and what the application process involves.
All in all, it was a valuable, lively day. The feedback we received from the event was very positive. Some of the comments include:
‘Very pleased with the service and the staff were very friendly’
‘I commend the SIA for taking the initiative to do these workshops well done’
‘Useful information gleaned from each session’
It was good to see the clear difference the day made to the individuals and businesses who came along. On the day, 13 licences were granted and several more licence applications progressed to the next stage.
We would like to thank all those who came along as we know how precious your time is. We have already begun planning the next open day and will be canvassing views on what people would find most useful. We hope to be in Birmingham in the autumn. Do look out for more details on our website, in our newsletters and on our social media channels.z