PPI handlers at bank’s head office in Northampton ‘appalled’ by treatment as contractors cut

Nationwide has come under fire for its handling of contractors during the pandemic.Nationwide has come under fire for its handling of contractors during the pandemic.
Nationwide has come under fire for its handling of contractors during the pandemic.
Some contractors have even been unable to claim furlough pay during the pandemic

A big-name, high street bank that is based in Northampton has cut its partnership with contractors who dealt with PPI complaints.

Nationwide, based in Moulton Park, has outside contractors who worked on the specialist enquiries on behalf of the bank.

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When lockdown hit, the PPI contractors were placed on furlough, but due to a change in the way contractors’ taxes are monitored that was due to come into force in April, some were left unable to claim furlough, despite the Government’s delay for the IR35 ruling.

As some contractors were unable to receive furlough pay, they were desperate to get back to work, however, according to one employee the communication was poor and contractors were not kept in the loop about when or if they could return.

The decision has now been made that contractors handling PPI will not return to Nationwide.

A contractor, who has been left ‘appalled’, said: “Having been a contractor at Nationwide for over 10 years the way in which contractors have been treated during the pandemic has been absolutely appalling.

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“Nationwide took the decision at the beginning of the pandemic to furlough their contractor population who dealt with the PPI complaints.

“Nationwide has failed to keep their contracting population updated on their estimated return to work.

“Contractors are human beings with families to support, and due to Nationwide's delaying tactics contractors have lost their homes, have been unable to support their loved ones and have been left with severe mental health concerns.

“Nationwide has treated their contracting population appallingly and now has decided to get rid of their contracting population on a permanent basis meaning that they have asked untrained staff to review member's PPI complaints.

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“Nationwide has been thoughtless throughout this pandemic and for a company which installs PRIDE values amongst their colleagues, they themselves have failed to show any PRIDE values to their contractor population and have not considered the impact of their actions on members PPI complaints.”

The employee believes the company’s PPI complaints are now at risk as members may not get a thorough investigation and could lose out on money, however Nationwide disputes this.

A spokeswoman for Nationwide said: “In preparation for the IR35 changes, Nationwide provided its independent contractors with their assessment of how the change impacted them at the end of last year.

“In February 2020, Nationwide implemented the new rules for these contractors.

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“This was before the country went into lockdown, before the furlough scheme was envisaged or designed and before the delay to implementing the new rules was announced. Unfortunately this meant that some contractors were unable to make a claim under the furlough scheme when the Society decided to pause PPI operations.

“We could not have foreseen this when we made the changes and this isn’t unique to Nationwide, other companies will have faced similar issues.

“As a result of the pandemic a decision was taken to pause PPI complaint-handling in order to maintain social distancing and protect essential workers in our Moulton Park offices.

“Our intention at that time was to bring these contractors back, but during the last few months we have taken the opportunity to review the process and we now have more internal, permanent staff available whom we will use to complete the remaining PPI complaints.

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“These skilled member-facing colleagues will work alongside existing PPI teams to respond to the remaining PPI complaints.

“This decision will not adversely impact PPI complainants or cause delay in their complaints being processed.

“We have spoken with those contractors impacted by this decision to thank them for their service and make them aware of the reason for our decision.”

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