Bristow & Sutor expand communication channels and resources

The midlands-based enforcement firm launched its ‘Leading the Way’ blog last year as a platform for staff to discuss industry topics, but has seen this develop into collaborative webcasts, webinars and roundtables contributed to by debt advice sector personnel, local authority clients and other enforcement industry services and suppliers.

From topics such as Breathing Space and vulnerability to Clean-Air Zones, the series tackles key industry discussions and most recently, expanded into a Webcast. The self-produced first series featured guests such as Helen Handzel, Relationship Manager at StepChange; Bath City Council Project Director, Ashley Beighton and Clean Air Zone Manager, Cathryn Brown; Armed Forces Community Covenant Development Officer, Victoria Coomber; British Parking Association (BPA) Head of Innovation, Technology & Research, Julian O’Kelly; Civil Enforcement and Parking Services Team Manager at Derby City Council, Rob Shoebridge and Director of External Affairs at Christians Against Poverty, Gareth McNab.

The positive response to these conversations has seen a second season begin production, which will feature representatives of the Money Advice Liaison Group, YPO and various local authorities later this year. Since the launch of the Leading the Way series, content has been accessed over 6,500 times and engaged with on social media almost 2,500 times. Emma Watson, Head of External Communication at Bristow & Sutor, said, “What started as an opportunity to share internal news has become a resource pool of thought-leadership content and an ongoing opportunity for industry experts to collaborate and be heard. During the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, our Leading the Way content provided an open forum for communicating updates, discussions and considerations. We were able to showcase the effective collaboration happening across the industry and highlight important measures being taken to ensure safely conducting essential work in future.

“Our ambition for this content is to reach and help as many people as possible, regardless of their platform preferences or how they like to consume and discuss information about problem debt. We are delighted that the series continues to evolve and grow and look forward to seeing what other platforms and channels this expands into next.”

The decision to expand onto audio and visual platforms is indicative of the wider digital transformation project that Bristow & Sutor has been commended for in recent times. New technology designed to offer better accessibility for debtors includes the introduction of a webchat function, dedicated WhatsApp and Messenger channels, text reminders for cases in payment arrangements, more payment methods and the prioritisation of successful contact techniques based on behavioural science and analysis. Bristow & Sutor won a Silver award for Digital Transformation at DXA’20 and has been shortlisted for further awards this year, including an IRRV Performance Award for its partnership with Nottingham City Council.

Physical visits from Enforcement Agents (EAs) remain a vital role in establishing vulnerability and in obtaining payment from those that are wilful nonpayers but offering freely accessible information on the recovery process and expanding the channels available for debtors to proactively make contact is undoubtedly helping people to better understand and resolve their problem debt.