Wed 29 April 20

Pacifica Group proposes government-led social distancing certification to protect engineers and customers

National domestic energy and appliance services company, Pacifica Group has written to the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to recommend an initiative to provide formal social distancing training that would provide increased reassurance to tradespeople and the public.

Kevin Brown, CEO, Pacifica Group
Kevin Brown, CEO, Pacifica Group

Based on a scheme introduced by the Australian government for healthcare workers, the initiative would provide an online training portal that covers the fundamentals of COVID-19 infection prevention and control.

The introduction of such a scheme in the UK would reinforce the continued social distancing guidelines. It would provide a recognised standard that assures the public they are welcoming a professional and responsible tradesperson into their home.

As a result of completing the training tradespeople would receive displayable certification, which would also be an important part of protecting engineers from infection as it would remind customers of their responsibilities when their tradesperson arrives at their home.

The letter from Pacifica Group CEO Kevin Brown to the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Aloka Sharma MP, is part of the Group’s comprehensive approach to protecting the health and wellbeing of its engineers and customers.

It has produced specific COVID-19 Risk Assessments and Method Statements along with specialist training for its 250 field-based engineers and an information film for its colleagues and customers, which sets out its enhanced safety protocols when attending people’s homes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Through its heating, plumbing, renewables and insulation division, Pacifica Home Services, the group undertakes 15,000 services and repairs each year. Pacifica Homs Services also, annually, completes 10,000 heating installations and 10,000 insulation installations working in the utility, new build and social housing markets.

Through its Appliance Services and Home Services Divisions, the Group undertakes repairs across the UK of a range of appliances from washing machines, refrigerators and cookers, to televisions and mobile phones.

The business is currently focussing on repairs to appliances that are essential to customers daily lives such heating systems, cooking appliances, washing machines and refrigeration to ensure these products are repaired quickly and kept in good working order.

Working closely with manufacturers such Electrolux, Sony, Hisense, Vestel, Howdens (Lamona) and LG along with major retailers, such as Argos and Shop Direct, and insurance providers, Pacifica completes in excess of 4,500 repairs each week.

Kevin Brown, CEO of Pacifica Group, said: “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and guidelines evolve, is important to provide reassurance to both the public and tradespeople that social distancing measures will be adhered to while being able to allow engineers to enter people’s homes.
“A scheme for tailored for tradespeople would give the public the confidence to welcome professional and certified engineers into their homes and protect engineers by making customers aware of their responsibilities.
“Having an easily accessible training and certification tool would strengthen the government’s approach to social distancing and society’s continued support of this vital element of preventing the spread of COVID-19 while also helping more people back into work to help overcome the economic challenges the country faces.”
Editors’ Notes:

The letter to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

Rt Hon. Aloka Sharma MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1 Victoria StreetLondon SW1H 0ET

Dear Secretary of State,

Following the Chief Medical Officer’s comments on 22nd April that social distancing measures will need to be in place ‘for some considerable time’, I am writing to recommend an initiative, which would provide increased reassurance to tradespeople and the public.

We are all mindful of the potential impact of lifting lockdown restrictions too soon and too quickly, however it is vital that more areas of the economy are able to resume in the coming months.

This includes businesses required to enter people’s homes, such as plumbers and appliance engineers.

I am Chief Executive of Pacifica Group, a national domestic energy and appliance services provider. In normal circumstances we complete in excess of 4,500 repairs to home appliances each week and undertake 15,000 home heating services and repairs annually.

In this period our team of 250 engineers have been carrying out emergency-only work for customers and we have put in place stringent health and safety, in line with government guidance, along with remotely delivered training for our field-based team. We are also informing our customers of our enhanced procedures to enable our engineers to enter their homes to carry out repairs, which have been well received.

However, as the health crisis continues and guidelines evolve, I believe that it is important to provide reassurance to both the public and tradespeople that social distancing measures will be adhered to while being able to allow engineers to enter people’s homes.

Australia has introduced an online government training portal for health workers that covers the fundamentals of COVID-19 infection prevention and control.

Forming part of our country’s social distancing guidelines, a similar initiative tailored for tradespeople would give the public the necessary confidence to welcome professional and certified engineers into their homes.

Tradespeople completing the training would receive a certificate, which they can carry with them to jobs to create additional confidence among the public.

This certification would also be an important part of protecting our engineers from infection as it would remind customers of their responsibilities when inviting a tradesperson into their property.

This would be an easily accessible training and certification tool that would strengthen the government’s approach to social distancing and society’s continued support of this vital element of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

I encourage you to consider this scheme both in terms of the health of the nation, but also to encourage more people back into work to help overcome the economic challenges we face.

I would appreciate your support of this proposal and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Brown
Chief Executive Officer
Pacifica Group

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