Back in 2006 we established the UK’s first professional standards for virtual assistants… They were reasonably simple, but surprisingly a lot of VAs simply hadn’t ever considered the security of freebie email addresses or even what they would do in case of flooding or a burglary… The SVA Approved list was born!
10 years on, the industry has made huge leaps, but we are still somewhat hampered by a reputation of being a home-based industry. That affects every VA who has ever had a client haggling on price, or being unsure of working with us.
The idea behind the professional standards is to raise standards across the board for virtual assistants – and to create something to aim at for new assistants entering the industry.
- Have domain specific email address
- Have a landline telephone number
- Display your contact address on your website
- Back up data securely off site (this can be via automated online backup)
- Answer phone calls or emails received within office hours next working day or to have an answerphone or autoresponder telling clients your return date
- Only take on tasks which you are fully capable of completing
- You must have contributed to the industry via interacting with SVA and displaying a link on your website
Additionally from 1st January 2017 you will also need:
- Terms & Conditions included on your website – MORE INFO
- Acceptable Use Policy (if relevant)
- Data Controller Registration – MORE INFO
- Suitable professional indemnity insurance – MORE INFO
- Landline number – requirement dropped
Don’t panic – over the next few months we’ll be helping to get everyone to comply and to understand what these measures will involve – and crucially, why we think they are essential for every professional VA to have. ***N.B.: These requirements are ONLY for VAs who appear on the Approved List – everyone else will remain a standard member.***
SVA is working with a variety of VA organisations and trainers to raise awareness: