We would like to update you on the SSRO’s current operations and adjustments we are making as result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Our office at Furnival Street is closed but all our team are operating remotely, and we will continue to provide support to stakeholders and deliver all our statutory functions. Access to DefCARS is available as normal and we will provide support to contractors in the normal way through our Helpdesk. Whilst we will not able to meet with you in person for the time being, we are happy to discuss any issues with you via video conferencing or telephone. We will also provide remote on-boarding support for contractors new to the regulatory framework.
We recognise that contractors may have difficulty complying with their reporting obligations during the pandemic. We are not empowered to agree extensions to statutory reporting deadlines, but we have suspended the release of new compliance queries and follow-up on existing queries, and we will maintain this suspension until 24 April 2020. We will review the position again prior to that date and consider a further pause if the current situation is unchanged. We encourage contractors to try to submit reports on time but, if a date cannot be met, to submit the report as soon as is practical, explaining reasons for late submission in the report. This will inform the MOD, which is responsible for enforcement, and any compliance reviews by the SSRO.
Many of you will be focused on dealing with challenging issues arising from the pandemic and we intend to review our engagement, in order not to distract from that focus. We will not initiate any major consultations or issue working papers for comment for the time being. We have one consultation already open in relation to our reporting guidance and we will extend the closing date for responses to 1 September 2020. We are postponing all site visits. We plan to go ahead with the next Operational Working Group (OWG) meeting on 29 April by teleconference if there is interest, so that we can update you on our current and future work and to hear from you on these and other issues.
We will shortly publish our Corporate Plan for 2020-2023 and I am grateful for your engagement and contributions to the development of the Plan. As the Plan extends over three years, we are confident that we can accommodate a period of reduced engagement during the pandemic. We will keep under review the delivery of our Corporate Plan activities and make appropriate adjustments to the planned pace and timing to reflect the environment in which we are operating.
If you have any concerns or queries, or if you would like some additional support, please do not hesitate to contact our helpdesk or others at the SSRO.
George Jenkins OBE Chairman