Praise for fire-ravaged company in Hemel Hempstead

Steve Harriott, chief executive of TDS.
Steve Harriott, chief executive of TDS.

A Hemel Hempstead company has won national praise for the way it overcome a huge blaze that destroyed its offices.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), based in Boundary Way, ensured it was business as usual for millions of tenants and thousands of letting agents and landlords within hours of the fire at the start of the year.

Now the company has been awarded the Most Effective Recovery title at the CIR Business Continuity Awards, which celebrate achievements in business continuity, security and resilience.

The award to TDS recognises the professional, efficient and calm way the company responded to the blaze that consumed its headquarters on January 9.

All 89 members of staff including management, finance, technology and customer operations teams were evacuated safely,but the fire quickly consumed the building in Mark Road.

Staff continue to work in Hemel Hempstead at interim accommodation and a new permanent site is planned in the area for early August 2019.

Steve Harriott, chief executive of TDS, said: “As a result of meticulous planning and a world-class team effort, the crisis was overcome within a matter of hours.

“It’s a source of great pride that we have been recognised at awards that are not just limited to those working in the private rented sector, but across multiple areas of business.

“You go to great efforts to ensure that, should the worst happen, you’re prepared, but you don’t imagine that you’ll ever have to put these measures in to practice.

“In the face of adversity, when it looks like all is lost, it takes a special kind of team to be able to pick themselves up and come back tougher - that’s just what the TDS team did.

Mr Harriott added: “Usually we like to retain awards each year, but we’re not looking to get this award again.”

Award judges heard that just hours after the blaze, the company’s own call answering time key performance indicator (KPI) had not only been met but it had been exceeded with a time of just 27 seconds.

The company’s own KPI had been set at 30 seconds while Government’s recommended KPI is 60 seconds.