30 years on, calls for ‘Suzy’s Code’ to be adopted by all estate agents to improve personal safety
Three decades after 25 year old Suzy Lamplugh disappeared on a house viewing, the charity set up in her name is calling on UK estate agents to sign up to a new code to protect the personal safety of those selling, buying and renting property.“When Suzy went missing, it was in the days before smart phones – the only clue her company had to whereabouts was an entry in the diary,” said Lara Wilks-Sloan of Suzy Lamplugh Trust. “We know from the work we carry out with companies that things have changed since 1986 but we’ve carried out new research that indicates 30 years on, safety in the housing sector is still a concern for estate agents and consumers too.” In new research carried out by Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a quarter of consumers surveyed said they felt house viewing should be safer; almost three quarters feel it should be down to estate agents to make it safer. Meanwhile 29% of female estate agents surveyed by the Trust said they have felt unsafe at a house viewing – that equates to one in three working in the role. Suzy Lamplugh Trust has teamed up with leading estate agents Knight Frank and_Savills, as well as SoloProtect, The Guild of Letting and Management and The National Association of Estate Agents, to produce “Suzy’s Code” for all UK estate/letting agents and housing associations. Suzy’s Personal Safety Code says organisations should:
- Implement a buddy system so colleagues always know each other’s whereabouts and contact details. This should include checking in and out when meeting arriving at and leaving the property, including out of normal office hours.
- Have a system in place for colleagues to raise the alarm back at the office in case of an emergency while working alone.
- Have a clear procedure to follow if someone does not return or check in when they were expected.
- Where possible arrange for viewers to visit the office before meeting them at the property so that colleagues have also seen them. Offer all staff a personal safety alarm and have discreet lone worker devices available. Before conducting a viewing, find out who else will be present in the property (current tenant, contractors etc) when you visit.
- Finally, make sure all staff are aware of and have access to the personal safety measures available.
Suzy’s Dad Paul Lamplugh welcomes the code, “I think it’s excellent initiative that I thoroughly applaud. I very much hope that all estate agents will adopt it. I still miss Suzy enormously but at least her name is being used to benefit people and that’s wonderful.”
Andrew Hay, Head of Global Residential at Knight Frank said, “We take the safety of our staff and clients very seriously. Despite much improved technology since the tragic incident we have lone workers operating over many markets and strongly support the effort of the Trust to heighten awareness for the benefit of all. As sponsors of this research by Suzy Lamplugh Trust we were delighted to help produce Suzy’s Code and we hope it will be taken up widely across the industry.” Justin Marking, Savills Head of Global Residential said, “Personal Safety is a top priority for our staff and clients and we’re delighted to support the work of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. The Trust has turned a terrible tragedy into a tireless campaign to improve safeguarding in our industry and we hope this new code will set the personal safety standard for all UK estate agents. It should also act as a guide for any homeowner or landlord taking the decision to operate independently and conduct viewings alone. Craig Swallow, Managing Director of SoloProtect said, “We’re delighted to be one of the sponsors for National Personal Safety Day, and hope that Suzy’s Code will lead to safer lone working within the industry”.
“Susie Crolla of the Guild of Letting and Management said, “By supporting and endorsing Suzy’s Code, we’re confirming how seriously we take the issue of the personal safety in the housing sector. We’re delighted to support Suzy Lamplugh Trust on this.”
“Mark Hayward, Managing Director, National Association of Estate Agents said “The safety of everyone in the housing sector is hugely important, but especially those who are involved in viewing properties as part and parcel of their day to day jobs. We welcome this research by Suzy Lamplugh Trust and join the Trust in calling upon all our members to sign up to Suzy’s Code.”
Estate agents and organisations signing up to the code are asked to email LiveLifeSafe@suzylamplugh.org
Find Suzy’s Code/ our ‘Safe as Houses’ report here: https://www.suzylamplugh.org/npsd-2016