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Performance of essential financial services – Guidance for call centres

The FSCA and the Prudential Authority (PA) issued a joint guidance note to provide further clarification regarding Call Centre Directions issued by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition. The Call Centre Directions aims to clarify the extent and the conditions upon which call centres may operate during the lockdown.

The FSCA and PA did not clarify that the Call Centre Directions will also be applicable to call centres necessary to provide debt restructuring for consumers of retailers, and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income.

Financial institutions with call centre operations that fall within the ambit of both the Call Centre Directions and the Joint Directive, as was published last week, will be expected to take both the Call Centre Directions and the Joint Directive into consideration.

The Call Centre Directions requirements include that:

Only essential personnel must leave their homes and break lockdown to render essential services;
Heads of institutions must identify essential staff;
Institutions must complete a risk assessment of their call centres to identify, mitigate and eliminate potential exposure to COVID-19 transmission;
Social distancing measures must be imposed in the workplace, including limiting the number of persons per room;
Hand sanitiser must be made available to all staff of the call centre;
Access points with biometric contact must be disabled;
No facility should have more than one third its normal workforce at work during the period of the lockdown;
A copy of these Directions must be prominently displayed in the premises of each call centre and a copy given to each employee;
Weekly reports must also be submitted by the institution to the Business Processing Enabling South Africa, who will in turn report to Government.

A recent government notice also includes a full list of the directions.

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