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“I’ve got someone from the SRA here, they say all our lives are but dust in the wind.”


Pouring salt in the wound of a firm it was shutting down, the Solicitors Regulation Authority sent an agent to oversee the closure who was infected with COVID-19.

The SRA’s intervention agent visited the troubled firm, which RollOnFriday is not naming, earlier this month, when about 12 employees were at the office along with staff from another firm which was taking over its files.

The day after the visit, the SRA agent developed symptoms, and the regulator called the firm to let it know that an infected person “may or may not have attended your office”. The day after that, the agent tested positive for the coronavirus.

As a result, the SRA effectively shut down the firm twice - once in a regulatory role, and then again with an infectious disease. That's dedication.

However, a source at the firm alleged that staff were unaware of the agent's diagnosis for days. They blamed the SRA for the delay, and said staff were "fuming" that the regulator was failing to keep the firm abreast of the agent's condition in a timely fashion. The insider said that several days after the agent tested positive, everyone was still working in the office and waiting for an update. 

“We will find out tomorrow if we potentially have infected all our families and put our entire region into Tier 3!” joked the insider at the time. They described how staff at the failed firm were all at the office winding down the business and maintaining a “practically vacuum-packed” workplace, but now “had to make sure we kept checking ourselves to make sure we weren't feeling unwell”.

It is now apparent that they should not have been in the office at all, and should instead have been self-isolating for 14 days, having come into close contact with an infected person.

The SRA said that any failure to pass on the bad news to staff was not its fault, as it told the firm that its agent had the coronavirus as soon as they tested positive two days after their visit.

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Comments

Mungo Jerry 30 October 20 08:44

"The SRA said that any failure to pass on the bad news was not its fault...". Eh? 

 

Anonymous 30 October 20 10:12

"The day after the visit, the SRA agent developed symptoms, and the regulator called the firm to let it know that an infected person “may or may not have attended your office”.

 

The SRA notified them within 24 hours - what is the issue?

"everyone was still working in the office and waiting for an update. "

Well that was rather stupid of them.

Scep Tick 30 October 20 10:15

If the SRA tells the partner immediately, and the partner fails to tell the staff, then it's not the SRA's fault.  That seems consistent with the story.

BetterSkypeSaul 30 October 20 11:55

EXCLUSIVE SRA sent seemingly well agent to close down law firm and then told the firm promptly when the individual developed symptoms

That's better.

Hasss 30 October 20 12:19

I see the SRA is out in force in these comments.

“the regulator called the firm to let it know that an infected person “may or may not have attended your office”” so it’s clear the SRA waited for confirmation of that the person was indeed infected before calling the firm. Completely the fault of their agent who should have been isolating but only the SRA could compound it even more by dealing with it in their usual rubbish way and being sly enough to try and disguise their own delay.

Stamper 30 October 20 13:33

The piece doesn’t blame the sra, betterskypesaul, although clearly the source did. The headline is accurate - the SRA sent in an agent with covid. They may not have known it, but they did. The impression I get is that it’s probably an unfortunate accident. 

Anonymous 30 October 20 14:05

Another case bungled by Capsticks. Questions need to be asked regarding how they were appointed as the SRA's solicitor given that they are a firm specialising in NHS work.  

Spudbuster 30 October 20 15:31

“may or may not have attended your office”.

One can only conclude this was either Majikthise  or Vroomfondel.

Anonymous 31 October 20 21:19

The SRA does what it wants, when it wants to whom it wants and is answerable to nobody.  Rather perversely, it also seems to think its above the law.

Anonymous 02 November 20 10:00

Maybe the firm shouldn't have allowed itself to be shut down by the SRA, thus removing the risk of infected SRA agents attending the premises... 

Toby Greenlord, Freeman on the Land 05 November 20 07:43

If they'd stuck a copy of article 61 of The Magna Carter on the front door they couldn't be shut down.

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