Taking steps into the new normal together – and looking to the future

After months of stringent social distancing and “lockdown” measures, it is heartening to see a degree of normality returning with “non-essential” businesses reopening, albeit with masks, hand sanitiser and a “one meter plus” rules in place.

Whilst solicitors have been permitted to maintain operations through the lockdown period, most offices have been effectively closed to clients with staff working remotely from home, adhering to the government’s guidance and helping reduce the spread of Covid-19. The offices of Blanchards Bailey have been no different – since 24 March, we have not allowed client meetings to take place within our offices and 90% of our staff have worked from home. Happily though, that is now changing.

As of this week, we are delighted to have been able to reopen our head office in Blandford to clients for essential meetings by appointment. This has enabled us to see clients that were unable to obtain legal advice over the telephone, email or video conferencing. Whilst there is certainly still some distance yet to travel on the road to ‘normality’, this is a huge step forward and one we are delighted to make.

It goes without saying however that, as with all businesses, the safety of our clients and staff is paramount. That is why meetings between clients and their legal advisors will be subject to a handful of requirements (many of which we are all now familiar with):

  • Meetings will be held by way of appointment only – at this time we are unable to accommodate “walk-in” appointments;
  • Meeting rooms will be subject to a thorough “deep clean” between appointments including the disinfection of all chairs and tables;
  • To allow for cleaning of meeting rooms between appointments, the number of appointments available will be limited to a degree;
  • Where we believe that meetings can be held as effectively by other means, then we will encourage meeting by video or telephone instead;
  • In keeping with current government requirements, all clients and staff will be required to wear masks, save where seated behind protective screens;

As with many professional firms, video and telephone conference remains our preferred means of holding meetings until such time as we can welcome both clients and staff back to our offices without restrictions in place. Alternatively, clients can contact their legal advisors via email, telephone, Twitter, Facebook Messenger or via LinkedIn.

Looking slightly further to the future, the reopening of our offices coincides with the launch of Blanchards Bailey’s sponsorship of the inaugural Love Local, Trust Local Awards.

Born in 2018 from the “love local, trust local” ethos of the Tarrant Valley’s Cossins Family to promote quality, honesty and proximity in local food and drink, the inaugural awards will take place in November 2020. It is anticipated that by this time the majority of social distancing will have been relaxed.

The awards recognise and celebrate small, independent businesses with less than 30 full-time employees that genuinely support and embrace everything “local” in their food & drink production. Namely, food and drink producers who demonstrate:

  • That their food is produced with care and to high ethical standards
  • That the provenance of all ingredients is transparent and traceable
  • That their food fosters community spirit and is environmentally conscious
  • That their main ingredients are sourced from with 30 miles of their Dorset base

With the Covid-19 pandemic turning all our worlds upside down, there is no better time to embrace all that is “local” in food and drink with known provenance that we can all trust

Blanchards Bailey are proud sponsors of the award for Innovation. Through the Covid-19 pandemic, food producers have been forced to adapt their business plans more than ever. Many have blazed their own trails with new and exciting ways of growing their business and helping their communities. We’re looking forward to hearing how local food and drink growers, producers, manufacturers, and distributors have navigated these difficult times to keep their business afloat through thinking outside the box. 

It’s our genuine pleasure to be able to step into “the new normal” this week both by welcoming clients back to our offices and with the prospect of the Love Local, Trust Local Awards celebrating the local food and drink producers of Dorset in the lead up to the awards evening in November.

To read more about the Love Local, Trust Local Awards visit blanchardsbailey.co.uk/lltl-awards/ 

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