An Interview with Nick Myatt: Operations Team
Nick has been a key member of the Recovery First team since early 2019. Two years on we catch up with him to find out how things have developed during that time and what impact COVID has had on the way he works:
Who are the people you interact with most regularly?
Internally I work closely with Sally, the Operations Director as we initiate new projects and Alan Johnstone who deals IT development.
Externally I deal with all panel members from management to individual fee earners and accounts administration. In addition, donor firms and administrators – so pretty much everyone!
I am a big believer in developing relationships across the board so being able to communicate at all levels is key. I prefer to pick up the telephone than send endless emails and think this helps in building good working relationships.
What are the greatest challenges in starting a new Recovery First project?
Each project has its individual challenges and its own unique terms so the understanding behind the different projects can be immense. Of course, the volume of files on some projects causes its own issues in the sheer level of administration.
Dealing with Donor firms who are entering Administration often means that we are expected to step in quickly and with little time to arrange the transfer to our panel – in these circumstances good organisational skills are essential and it requires a lot of time and effort in co-ordinating everything.
And of course, if a firm is closing and people losing their jobs it is an emotional and stressful time for all, so I need my kid gloves.
And what about when the project is underway?
Once up and running the focus changes to monitoring the ongoing work with the panel, to ensure that cases are being progressed quickly and effectively. I am heavily in volved in reporting.
Making sure that we minimize wastage is important e.g., that ATE claim are pursued on aborted cases where possible and that non co-operative clients are pursed for costs.
Some clients may not wish to use our Panel Solicitors and choose their own choice. Obtaining liens or undertaking on these cases and ensuring costs are recovered accordingly all adds value to what we do.
Have you made any changes since joining Recovery First?
In the last two years our operating systems have come on leaps and bounds. Working closely with Alan, we have evolved our IT system (affectionately known as Percy) and our reporting procedures.
Just looking at the ability we now have e.g to update cases electronically, has cut our manual workload massively. The introduction of the Payments Portal for panel to process costs and put information directly onto our system has meant massive efficiency improvements.
We are now able to produce meaningful reports which allow us to analyse each project in more detail.
The introduction of a new costs reporting regime and for cases transferred outside of our scheme has seen improvements to cashflow for all parties concerned.
It is great to work with a company who has the vision to see the improvements they want to make and to be involved in helping that come to fruition!
How does what you have done previously support you in your new role with Recovery First?
I initially started working as an insurance claims handler, so I was that annoying person defending injury claims made by solicitors!
I then moved to a law firm as a claimant fee earner, where I progressed to a management position and was given responsibility for business development. We dealt with Recovery First, so I already had an insight as to how it worked.
I then spent time working with a claim’s management company for 12 months. So having worked from the ground up in most aspects of the claims industry has given me a unique insight and understanding.
What do you know now that would make the biggest difference to your younger self?
A memory I always have from my early years working in the insurance industry was feeling intimidated by solicitors thinking they knew more than I did because they were qualified.
It was not until I went to work for a law firm that I realised that all those years working in the industry gave me as much knowledge as they had, if not more in some areas!
Don’t be intimidated by a qualification, sometimes working from the ground up can work in your favour and provide you with other invaluable skills – customer service, negotiating skills etc.
I realise I was lucky in my career. Would I recommend anyone to follow this path now? Absolutely not! Get the knowledge but back it up with good qualifications!
What have you found hardest to deal with in these COVID times?
I work from home in any event so that has not been an issue – working from home with your partner on furlough, nightmare!
I miss going out to meet friends for a drink, going out to eat, concerts…. I could go on and on….
What is your top tip for working from home?
Be organised, take a break and get out and about when you can. It can be tempting to spend all day at your computer, especially when you are busy. I like to work out for 40 minutes before lunch and helps to keep me focused in the afternoons!
Who are in your family bubble?
Just myself and my partner.
What do you do when you aren’t at work?
Work out, music, concerts, cooking and reading.
What’s your favourite tipple?
There isn’t any alcohol I don’t like but probably a large gin and tonic would be top of the list!
What’s your Desert Island disc, book and luxury?
Book – The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo
Luxury – My I-Pod full of music
Disc – Come on I’ve got my I-Pod! If I could only have one song – 4 Leaf Clover by Erykah Badu. Perfect song for desert island life!