Kirsty Sumner – Bespoke Case Officer
In the first of our ‘day in the life’ series, we take a closer look at what the role of a case officer in the Bespoke Solutions department entails, as Kirsty Sumner gives us a snapshot of her day.
The department specialises in IVA’s for self-employed clients. Once a client’s plan has been approved, they’re passed to Bespoke where the department is broken into three teams – client liaison, the administration team and the collections team.
Between them, they are responsible for every element of a client’s plan for the duration of the IVA. They manage over 6200 case loads, and in an average day can receive up to 150 calls and 75 pieces of post.
Because of her eye for detail, Kirsty works in the administration team within the department. Some of her duties include sorting new client’s details, conducting initial calls and income and expenditure reviews, abstracts, failures, completions and sorting the post.
We joined her for a day …
11.00: It’s my late shift today so I don’t start work until 11. As soon as I get in, I have a quick catch up with my colleagues to see if there’s anything that I need to know from the morning – a lot can happen in two hours.
11.45: I have a lot of duties and although they’re all important, I do have to prioritise, so I always go through my worklist to plan my day. Abstracts – yearly reviews sent out to creditors and clients detailing what’s happened during the year – are very important as they have to be sent out on time.
Our team leader normally sends us a list of client abstracts that need to be completed next. Today, I managed to complete the first one quite quickly as the client has made all his payments, so it’s very straight forward. If a client has had to miss a payment for some reason or is in the middle of a second meeting, it can take a little longer to complete.
13.00: When a client has finished their IVA, I organise their completion documents. I love a completion especially if it’s a case that has naturally ended, as I know how hard the client has worked to get this far. It’s a good feeling to know that we’ve helped them through a difficult time. I get the clients paperwork together and send it all off.
13.40: On average we receive 75 pieces of post a day and it all needs to be actioned and filed as soon as possible. The majority of the post is signed income and expenditure reviews that we’ve sent out following a phone review. We check the proof of earnings and any other documents that have been attached. Today, I’ve also received a letter that the client has received from a creditor. Sometimes it can take a while for the creditors to update their files informing them that their client is now in an IVA, so in these cases our creditor liaison team contacts them again. I let the client know that it’s being processed and that it’s nothing for them to worry about.
15.05: After lunch, it’s time for my first annual review of the day, where I go through the client’s income and expenditure on the phone with them. A lot can happen in a year so it’s a very important appointment as it gives the client the opportunity to raise any concerns they have and we can make sure they’re able to maintain their payments into their plan. This particular client hasn’t got a lot of time to complete his review but fortunately not a lot has changed over the year. However he is earning a little bit more so I work out that his payments need to increase by £30 – we only ever request 50% of any increase in income. He feels like this is manageable and is happy with his review.
15.40: Time for a team meeting, which I always enjoy as it gives us the chance to reflect on what’s been happening that week and we can offer support and advice and discuss ideas with each other. We sometimes use our team meetings to complete any training that also needs doing.
16:00 I have a quick meeting with my NVQ advisor to check my progress. I started a Business Administration NVQ through work in August last year. It covers health and safety, diversity, how a business is run, how to act in certain situations and treating people equally. I normally see my advisor once a month but she’s accessible via email if I need her. It’s been hard work but it will be worth it if I want to progress in my career.
16.30: I ring a new client to go through their initial call with them. This is the first time they’ve spoken to someone in our department so it’s very important to give them all the information they need as they will be with us for the remainder of their plan – normally five years. I check that they have all our contact details and explain what calls they should expect from us, which is normally a courtesy call every three months in the first year and their annual review once a year. At the end of the call, I always try and answer any questions they have. Their plan would have only just been approved – clients at this stage are normally feeling relieved but anxious about the next step, so I always make sure that the information I give is clear and concise.
17.30: Time for another annual review. As most people work 9-5, appointments after 5pm are very popular and can get booked up quite quickly.
19.00: After a busy day, it’s time to go home, ready to do it all over again tomorrow.