17 March 2020
The COVID-19 virus is having an increasing impact on our daily lives, whether personal or business. The Association is conscious of the huge disruption and concern being faced by you our members and felt it was right to take stock and set out what your Association’s operations are doing and likely to do as we move to a new phase of the contagion in this difficult and unprecedented period.
As your Association our key priority is to provide a high level of service whilst assuring a safe environment for our staff. This remains the case and we are adapting to continue to deliver our services to you. Our members’ priorities are the same as ours in terms of client servicing and safety and care for staff .
We will follow government authorities’ requests and policy directives as they appear. We are aware that members are checking official websites such as the NHS website and media sources which are expected to include direct government communications with the UK public. You will be aware that we have sent out information from a variety of sources through our weekly member newsflash service to members and will continue to do so. You can view a summary of these communications HERE.
Whilst we have robust plans in place to ensure that we remain fully operational, it is possible that there may be some elements of our service that might look slightly different during this period and I would ask for your acceptance of that.
Business Continuity will continue even if, as is likely by the end of this week, we will need fully to work from home. We are partially doing this at present but are responding to the normal email correspondence. If and when we have to leave the London office for a period, we will continue in this vein – and would ask that email is used for correspondence rather than post. It would greatly assist during this period if you could communicate with us by email. Staff would be happy to arrange to talk by telephone of course – in many cases your own normal telephone contact may become a mobile, so please do let us know by email the best number to reach you on and we will respond in kind. Your usual contacts remain the same but we would suggest that in case of difficulties, emails are copied to Roland Earl (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tracey Butcher (email@example.com) as well at this time to ensure continuity, including payments.
Any invoices can be handled if sent by email rather than post and we have a system to authorise payments remotely, using cheques at this time .
We would also like to reassure you that the safety of our staff and members is paramount. Presently we have restricted staff travel to only business critical trips and have cut out all travel to and from all countries. Any staff member who has personally been to a high-risk country or who has been in contact with a person who has would have been required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. This has not been the case and is not envisaged to be the case. We are not currently booking meetings for the next month from members at our office to protect members. All existing member bookings have been kept but in line with common sense, we are not as open as usual.
We have had to postpone some important events until the situation stabilises and makes them viable again for your safety and comfort. Please accept our apologies for any disappointment this may have caused. Being a London-based office, we are acutely aware of the risks posed by crowded public transport in the Capital and getting to and from London.
We hope that this will provide you with re-assurance at this point that the team at BTHA both at HQ and through our other key sources of expertise and action remains operational to the fullest extent possible.
To make things easier please contact Tracey and Roland with any general queries in the first instance and these can be passed on to the relevant person within the team in areas such as safety and sustainability guidance, public affairs work, Make Time 2 Play, the Toy Fair and events (including webinars) and our Toy Trust charity, for instance.
The BTHA is proud to serve its members and our sector . However unpleasant and difficult the coming days prove to be for us all, together we will stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity – as we face and meet the challenges ahead. There will be more actions likely to follow and communicate about but we wanted to share this operational information without delay.
We would like to wish you and all of your families well as always.