Institute of Export unveils business helpdesk to aid members during COVID-19 and beyond

Wed 20 May 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
IOE News

ioe business shield
Advice on HR * legal * tax * health & safety * VAT issues all covered by new service
Free of charge to Institute business members

The Institute of Export & International Trade is today launching IOE&IT Business Shield – an expert advice service to help business members run their firms more cost-effectively and with confidence.

With expert telephone helplines and document sources at its core, IOE&IT Business Shield allows the Institute’s business members to have almost unlimited access to advice on HR, health & safety, legal and tax issues – all as part of their existing membership.

Right time

As the COVID-19 lockdown begins to ease and those involved in export and importing look to opportunities from the UK’s future trading agreements, the Institute believes the time is right to launch a helpdesk to support members in the day-to-day running of their businesses.

Marco Forgione, the IOE&IT’s director general, said:

“Managing any business is challenging at the best of times. You need to be outward-facing, exploiting your company’s strengths and opportunities in a post-Brexit world, yet at the same time mastering the detail of internal business management. 

“The coronavirus pandemic makes these tasks especially complex. This is why the Institute is now providing its business members with this range of critical services – including advice lines and business documentation – for peace of mind during the lockdown and after.”

What’s included in IOE&IT Business Shield:


A telephone hotline to experienced advisors covering five areas critical to running any business: HR, legal, health & safety, tax and VAT. Members have unlimited access to all lines, with the HR and legal lines available during office hours 365 days a year.


A document library accessible 24/7 with almost 800 free downloadable template documents covering employment, health & safety and legal services.


  • HR and Health & Safety Healthcheck
  • Newsroom with HR and health & safety articles
  • Legal document library including a link to a debt recovery service

Leading supplier

The Institute has partnered with Quest Cover, a leading supplier of business advice helpdesks to trade associations and chambers of commerce, to provide IOE&IT Business Shield.

Steve Charles, head of business partnerships at Quest, said the firm employs “highly qualified, experienced advisors to give advice on these matters, who are empathetic and yet can give Institute members answers on a range of business issues”.

He said a current focus for the firm’s HR advice lines involves “advice around managing HR through COVID-19, including how to furlough workers, working from home and so on”.

Kelly Rawles, head of membership services at the IOE&IT, said the new helpdesk also would help members “manage their COVID-19 recovery – including hiring staff and re-admitting furloughed staff – as well as providing support to build their businesses going forward”.

She said that in these testing times, “it is more important than ever to support all our members, including individual members who can upgrade to business membership to avail of this timely and practical new membership benefit”.

For further information and comment, please contact:
Kelly Rawles, head of membership services, Institute of Export: