Members’ Corner – SELECT helps members combat coronavirus crisis with invaluable guidance and behind-the-scenes support

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring Scotland’s construction industry to a standstill, SELECT has introduced a sweeping range of emergency measures to help its members weather the storm.

Scotland’s largest trade association currently has round 1,250 electrical member businesses, from sole traders and small family-run firms to multi-million-pound organisations, who between them employ more than 15,000 operatives. 

With its HQ near Edinburgh now in lockdown, it has now launched a series of specialist services, including online guidance and advice hotlines, and helped set up an industry forum to help contractors protect their livelihoods as the realities of COVID-19 hit home.

SELECT Managing Director Alan Wilson said: “Although all our staff are now working from home, it has not affected the services we provide – and indeed we’ve introduced even more special measures to help during the outbreak. 

“One of the most important things we can do at the moment is to provide information, so we’ve introduced a wide range of specialist support and guidance. 

“As this is a very fast-moving and confusing situation, the nature of the questions we’re being asked is changing on a day-to-day basis, but we’re responding accordingly and working with others throughout the industry to help everyone work through this situation.”

Among the additional online and phone services now being offered by SELECT are:

Expert guidance on everything from site shutdowns and short-time working to workplace disruption, updated regularly as the knock-on effect of the pandemic hits home.

Experienced advice from SELECT’s legal advisors, MacRoberts Solicitors on relevant topics for both commercial and domestic contractors.

Latest updates on the various economic measures being introduced, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Put together in conjunction with a number of industry experts, this covers delays in ongoing contracts, cancellation of projects and difficulties in making or receiving payments.

Strategies to help cope with self-isolation, telephone and Skype counselling, psychiatric assessments and links to other online services, delivered by the Electrical Industries Charity. 

A comprehensive at-a-glance list of contacts at SELECT, from the association’s ever-popular Technical Helpline to relevant email and social channels.

All of this new material is available through the many helplines SELECT has set up, and is also contained in a newly-created dedicated COVID-19 hub on the SELECT website, updated daily with the latest developments and offering external links to the latest UK and Scottish Government advice. 

The association is also extending the use of its Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn channels to bring members breaking news. It has also increased the frequency of its monthly e-newsletter to fortnightly – with the high opening and click-through rates demonstrating that members value the regular delivery of clear and relevant information.

And in everything it’s doing, SELECT is stressing that its information and guidance is open source – meaning that everyone is free to use and share it to help spread the word and combat the effect of COVID-19.

SELECT Director of Membership and Communication Iain Mason said: “SELECT staff are manning the phone lines to offer invaluable advice to members, and our digital channels are also proving an important lifeline during the lockdown. 

“Our staff may not be able to make visits or technical assessments in person, but we’re still in contact with Members across Scotland on a daily basis through other measures. This has been reflected in a steep rise in both social media followers and traffic to our site, and we will continue to keep everyone informed however we can.”

SELECT’s proven track record and ongoing commitment to lobbying means it is also now lobbying hard behind the scenes to help maintain cashflow and protect jobs.  

As part of this, the Association is playing a key role in the newly-created pan-industry Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum, which includes all of the main trade and professional bodies in Scotland, and which is now meeting twice a week to gather intelligence and information. 

The group has already been in touch with Scottish Government on a number of concerns and spoken with Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, to update her on issues raised by members of the relevant trade bodies.

As well as helping the group develop a series of domestic, commercial and contractual guidance documents, SELECT also helped the Forum produce an animation that outlines the measures to be taken during emergency domestic work.

Launched on 20 April, and entitled In This Together, the two-minute animation shows how contractors and customers can keep each other safe, and has already been shared widely across members’ digital platforms.

Alan added: “Having worked in the industry myself for nearly 40 years, I’m used to seeing the ups and downs of things like recessions, but this current crisis is putting us all to the test. 

“Everyone in Scotland is experiencing a situation which we could barely ever imagine, but SELECT is determined to assist Members and the broader industry through these difficult times.”

Find out more at www.select.org.uk or call SELECT on 0131 445 5577. 

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