No festive freight train

The festive season sometimes feels a bit like a fast train rushing through a station.

All is quiet. Then in the distance, you make out some lights, moving slowly, but surely in your direction… but it is a long way off, no need to pay attention.

Then rails then start to dance with a high-pitched tinkling, like lasers from some sci-fi movie.

Then all of a sudden it is at the end of the platform. Bright lights, noise, and action… a party barrelling through at 100mph. Those that don’t like it take cover, those that do revel in the exhilaration of all the energy rushing past.

Then it is gone, all is quiet, except for bits of wind disturbing rubbish on the track…. what exactly was all that about you are left thinking.

Now maybe I have spent too many hours waiting for trains at the station (or maybe I am just getting old!), but we are at that point now for this year… Christmas is at the end of the platform… and heading towards us fast.

Plan B

Of course this year, like last, we have COVID in the background… a collective wet blanket on festivities and seeing people it seems. With 2021 concerningly following a similar pattern, this week the government here announced, Plan B, a return of more restrictions. More wearing masks, and as of tomorrow, we all need to work remotely if possible.

I wrote in previous weeks about an optimism building. There was definitely a push in some sectors to get people back on-site in the office. And, this week, with the announcement, you could feel a collective sigh from HR departments everywhere as despite all of their efforts, and admittedly working against some resistance, we were all told, once again to work from home… not much you can do really.

Of course, how much people will pay attention to this remains to be seen. Certainly looking at the traffic, shops, and restaurants, over the weekend and in the evening it seemed as busy as ever… and we all, of course, know that the “virus only works during the workday” [err: not true]… or maybe just the balance of risk is different when seeing family and friends [err: likely true]….so whether it will be busy tomorrow morning, on a Monday, at 8 am, getting to the office, the week before Christmas, remains to be seen!…

Remote working dashboard

With this in mind and with so much change going on, I also pulled together a remote-on-site working survey this week, really to find out what people think and are feeling about remote vs on-site work. It is going to be launched via LinkedIn on Monday, but if you would like a sneak preview you can also access here too -> Let’s get back to the office?

Consumer Duty

The other big news this last week was the launch of a new FCA consultation on Consumer Duty. These proposals have the intention to set a higher standard of care for consumers from financial firms.

Firms will need to act on delivering good outcomes for consumers and be able to monitor and evidence these outcomes.

– act in good faith
– avoid foreseeable harm, and
– enable and support retail customers to pursue their financial objectives

A new Consumer Duty. Feedback to CP21/13 and further consultation

Of course, the collections process, often being a litmus test of good outcomes across the rest of an organization, will be front and centre of this.

Policy, process, control and reporting are all going to be critical, and as Kevin Still discussed last week it is something we need to get ready for now.

This is another train en-route and it is a big freight train at that. We to make sure we are not surprised when it arrives, it will likely not be a party.

Light training

I think this is enough talk of trains for one week… so think it is, therefore, time to put some belated decorations up… or ‘winter lights’ as they are called here… Why ‘winter lights’? This provides the perfect cover to leave them up way into later, into the end of January, cheering up the dark days after the festive train has left the station… something I feel we may need this year.

Have a good week everyone.

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