Lockdown Team Blog - Series 2: Ann Allister
21 January 2021
3 minutes to read.
Last year, our teams produced a series of blogs written by colleagues across multiple divisions of the company. They provided a small insight into our evolving working practices and values as we all adjusted to our new post-COVID19 world. Now we're back with our second series!
Here is the second in our 2nd series of posts from our Serious Injury Technical Director, Ann Allister.
Working / general life during COVID :
Working from home has been the ‘new’ business as usual, although we have had a change in how we work using technology. Our IT department have continued to be amazing in supporting us. It has sometimes been challenging helping clients to access new technologies and platforms such as; Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp and Zoom, so that clients can continue to receive support with their rehabilitation, but we have persevered, and the results have been rewarding. For those clients that continue to need face-to-face contact, when the regulations have allowed, we have met with Covid-safe measures in place to protect vulnerable clients.
The serious injury team at Carpenters Group have, for many years, taken a team approach to serious injury cases. For example, Jenny (who assists me) and I, have WhatsApp groups with many clients and their families when the client wants family involvement, and this helps to keep us all in touch.
The courts are continuing to try and provide remote access and judges are assisting where they can, but teething problems remain. The online issuing scheme has been problematic, with only ten logins allowed per firm, which for large firms is insufficient, as logins are personal to the fee earner. It has become clear that the Courts service needs to modernise its technology, but without increased and ring-fenced government money allocated to the task, it will, in all likelihood, continue to struggle.
Throughout this strange period, I have become increasingly good at thinking outside the box. For instance, for a client and his family who could not read and write, we purchased a tablet and loaded an app for the blind that reads letters and documents to them. This technology was available of course before Covid but I had never previously considered using it in this situation. It has greatly improved the client’s ability to deal with their personal correspondence that previously piled up and was ignored.
As a firm, we are involved with many charities and organisations and it is one of the key characteristics of Carpenters Group. As a trustee of Headway Wirral and involvement with Road Peace, I have seen first-hand how challenging supporting the vulnerable in society has been for third sector services during Covid. Moving the meetings online has led to higher attendance by some users, especially those living further afield. Many have struggled to access the online meetings and weekly phone calls have continued to try and tackle the very real problem of isolation. When the worst of these difficult times are behind us, I anticipate that we will have a mixture of meetings both online and in person across our lives.
From a personal perspective, with agile working and not commuting to work, I can both support clients when they need and want to talk to us, whilst having a better personal work/ life balance. I miss friends and family a lot and Covid has made me appreciate them all the more. I hope that we will never take friends, family, and colleagues for granted. I have learnt to appreciate those around me even more and have even got engaged to my long-term partner. I look forward to planning the party of all parties post-Covid. I now go for a walk with my wonderful Labradors most lunchtimes andI no longer eat those sneaky treats you might get in an office! I have managed to lose weight and feel fitter and more resilient I hope these good habits continue long into the future!
About the author
Ann Allister - Serious Injury Technical Director
Ann Joined Carpenters Group back in 2003 and has experienced a wealth of change across the business. She has over 21 years’ experience in the industry and specialises in Serious Injury.
Ann is a Trustee of Headway Wirral, an accredited Law Society Personal Injury Panel member, is a Headway and UKABIF specialist brain injury panel solicitor and was the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum Lawyer of the year 2015
Outside of work, Ann is a step-mum, Labrador Retriever dog breeder and she is also a sailor, having sailed on the Atlantic Ocean.