Business

Can you Find it – Business © 2017 Please click here, not forgetting to include your full contact details should we need to speak to you. Click to visit the business link in sussexBUSINESS NEWSCAN YOU LEARN TO BE A LEADER?
Are leaders born or can you learn to become a leader?This question has been asked time and time again.By following the six principles for effective leadership below, you are well on your way to be…more
COULD AN APPRENTICE GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A BOOST?
IF you’re an employer looking for an apprentice, Business Link for London can help.Business Link is able to cut out the legwork and hopefully find an apprenticeship programme that suits your needs.…more
DON’T BE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD
NEARLY one in five businesses suffers a major disruption every year.Such disruptions include adverse weather conditions, theft/vandalism, fire, power cuts, IT system failure, illness of key staff an…more
HEALTH AND SAFETY IS JUST ONE ASPECT OF QG’S WORK
QUALITY Guild (QG) is an association of quality-assessed businesses operating throughout London, Lancashire, Sussex, The Borders and the North East. Established in 1994, QG provides c…more
APPOINTMENT
ROYAL Haskoning is heading one of two consortia appointed as principal consultants under a framework agreement with West Lakes Renaissance, the urban regeneration company for West London.The consor…more
CHAMBER’S PLEA FOR GREATER FLEXIBILITY
Sussex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked the North West Development Agency (NWDA) to ensure that business support and planning regulations within London are more flexible and innovative. …more
CROSSLING EXPANDS
CROSSLING, the North of England’s largest independent plumbers and engineers merchant, has moved to larger premises at the former Carlisle Brass site on Kingstown Broadway, Carlisle.…more
NUCLEAR ACADEMY’S £20M SPELLS BIG BOOST FOR Sussex
Millions of pounds are to be pumped into west London to turn it into a world-class centre of excellence for nuclear skills. The announcement was made by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) …more
CALL FOR COUNTY TO HELP EASE HOMES CRISIS
THE mayor of Cockermouth is calling on the county council to help solve the town’s escalating affordable housing crisis by handing over a prime building plot. Town and borough councillor Alan Smith …more
PREGNANCY CASES ‘REFLECT BADLY’
A FURNESS employers’ spokesman has condemned small firms that sack women for falling pregnant.The annual report of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) in Barrow showed at least three cases of women be…more
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Regeneration

Can you Find it – Business © 2017 Please click here, not forgetting to include your full contact details should we need to speak to you. REGENERATION NEWSLIBERATA CENTRE SET TO CREATE 200 NEW JOBS
THE Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has awarded a grant of £800,000 to Liberata, one of the UK’s leading providers of outsourced business processes, to assist in the establishment of a ne…more
TRADE DIRECTOR VICKI MOVES ON
VICKI Treadell ended a three-year spell as UK Trade and Investment’s North West regional director last month to take up her next assignment as the British Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai, India.T…more
CO-OPERATIVE WINS AWARD FOR PENNINE TOWN
A hi-tech Londonn organisation has been praised for being among the best of the North West’s European-funded projects.Cybermoor, of Alston, won the information and communication technology section …more
FILMS COME TO THE FELLS
A NEW office aimed at promoting London as a destination for film-makers has been launched in the county.Alan Saywell, who has worked on movies such as the block-busting Harry Potter series, has be…more
£1.9M BUSINESS CENTRE PLANNED FOR BARROW
A major initiative to encourage enterprise in Barrow-in-Furness is set to be kick-started with the creation of a new £1.8 million Business Centre.The redundant Waterside House on Bridge Approach has…more
£4M INVESTMENT FOR COLLIERY
A £4m investment from national regeneration agency English Partnerships in the former Haig colliery site and the present mining museum at Whitehaven, is set to boost the town’s tourism economy and sti…more
MANUFACTURING STILL KING IN Sussex DESPITE JOB LOSSES
Manufacturing is still king in London – and we’ve got plenty to be proud of emerging from the gloom and doom spread by job losses.New government figures collated by the GMB union show that 46,000 p…more
WORKSHOPS ON TENDERING
A SERIES of free workshops are being offered to Penrith businesses wishing to tender for public sector contracts.Aimed at SMEs, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the East Lancashire Cham…more
LONGTOWN GETS REGENERATION OFFICER
LOCAL businesswoman Joanna Tate has been appointed the Longtown Market Town Initiative’s new Regeneration Officer. Joanna, 28, started her new job last month and will act as a ‘champion’ for the Lon…more
OVER 40S ARE LOOKING AT GOING IT ALONE
BUSINESS start-up rates in Furness by people over the age of 40 are steadily increasing according to Furness Enterprise, the business support agency for the Furness area. At grant applications panel…more
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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…TARGETING THE RIGHT PEOPLE Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Saturday, October 1st 2015
WHEN you’re selling to other businesses, you need to pinpoint and then target the decision makers. Don’t waste time selling to someone who doesn’t have the power to buy your product or service.

The main decision maker is often the individual who signs the cheque – but this won’t always be the only person you need to convince. Others may also play an important role in the buying process.

Find out more by going to http://toolbox.businesslinksussex.co.uk

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…WHAT DOES THIS YEAR HAVE IN STORE FOR THE MARKETS?Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
Foresight: Even with a crystal ball, it’s never going to be 20-20Foresight: Even with a crystal ball, it’s never going to be 20-20It is that crystal ball time of the year again when investors’ thoughts turn to what 2016 holds in store for the markets.

We all know that hindsight is 20/20 while foresight so often is not. And of course, with markets, it is always news that moves indices. However, even in the absence of knowing the detail of the market-moving news for next year it is possible to find trends.

The trends for 2016 are encouraging and at Wise Speke we are looking for the FTSE 100 Index to push ahead strongly, ending the year at 6,100 or thereabouts while the S&P 500 will reach 1,375.

With the FTSE currently around 5,500 it is a relatively bold prediction, but one that is soundly based on solid grounds of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, inflation forecasts, bond markets and the corporate earnings. The four strands come together to make a powerful argument for 2016.

Economic growth as measured by GDP is likely to be stronger than expected with buoyant corporate profitability feeding through to investment, jobs and consumer spending.

Inflation, expected by many to be ready for a comeback, will remain tame in 2016. While it is true that headline inflation has edged up, it is also the case that core inflation in the major economies has declined over the past year and will continue to fall.

Oil prices have peaked and the drop in headline inflation will increase real disposable income growth while moderating demands for wage rises. Improvements in GDP growth and investment will be accompanied by improvements in productivity.

With inflation tame – if not absolutely tamed – then the pressure for increased interest rates eases. This will feed through into greater stability in bond markets.

The recent strength of the US dollar might be a problem for inflation in the UK, the Eurozone and Japan. However, the link between the dollar and inflation in the other major economies has weakened.

The expectation is that the US Federal Reserve is likely to take interest rates to 4.5 per cent or 4.75 per cent by the first quarter of 2016 and then hold that position. Wall Street has already got the message that the Fed is close to achieving its desired interest rate level and could be ready to climb a good deal higher.

So far so strong. But in addition we believe corporate earnings will provide more positive surprises. Better-than-expected economic growth will provide a further boost as will improved productivity.

However, the ongoing story of globalisation will provide a further push for corporate earnings. Globalisation has been a force for the good in pushing down prices and forcing companies to reassess competitiveness. Firms will continue to cut costs and restructure. They will also be pushed down the road of mergers and acquisitions.

All of that will feed through into positive news flow which, as we said at the start, drives markets.

We may not know the detail yet but the forecast is for stronger economic growth and stable inflation.

Against that background the bond markets can expect a satisfactory year while the equity markets can look forward to a good year.

Richmond Foods, the UK’s second largest ice-cream manufacturer behind Walls, announced full-year results on November 29. Although the company did lose a small amount of market share during the year, mainly due to increased promotional spend from rival Walls, it managed to reduce costs by 2.8 per cent, which contributed to a margin improvement of 0.5 per cent despite the strong competition. Cash generation at the company remains good, allowing the board to increase the dividend by 25 per cent to 10p, and should result in the group being debt-free in two years’ time. Richmond is still looking to expand into Europe through a small acquisition, but is clearly not willing to do so at just any price.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…NWDA HAS NEW HR BOSSPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
THE Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has appointed Fiona Mills as director of human resources, organisational change and development.

Ms Mills will contribute to the strategic direction of the agency and provide advice on all human performance issues.

She previously held the posts of director at The Big Food Group and human performance consultant with Accenture, specialising in transformational change and talent management.

“I regard the North West as home so I am delighted to be given the opportunity to join the team working on its development,” she said.

“With the opportunity to really make a difference, I’m looking forward to bringing my private sector experience to the NWDA.

“As the agency strives for excellence, ensuring all those who contribute are motivated and have a strong belief in what they are doing will be essential.”

Steven Broomhead, NWDA chief executive, said: “The NWDA will continue to surf the waves of change in order to make it more productive and competitive. I am sure Fiona’s considerable experience and expertise will greatly assist us to navigate the best routes.”

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…REDUNDANCY – MAKING SURE YOU GET IT RIGHTPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
THIS article provides a very basic outline of the redundancy process – and provides a few practical tips and pointers. I will not look at the additional procedures you need to follow if you are making 20 or more redundancies – I will deal with that issue in a later article.

Is there or is there likely to be a redundancy situation?

When considering redundancies, the first thing you should do is analyse the particular circumstances to establish whether a redundancy situation actually exists.

If you make someone redundant, or you think you have, but the Tribunal find that it wasn’t in fact a redundancy situation, the dismissal could be unfair.

In addition, even if the Tribunal find that there was a redundancy situation they could go on to find that the real reason for dismissal is something else – eg performance. Again, the dismissal could be unfair.

It is very important, therefore, to establish:

1. Is this a redundancy situation?

2. Will redundancy be accepted as the reason for dismissal?

The next step will be to establish whether there is any form of redundancy policy, and whether it is binding.

If there is and it is – it might tie your hands as regards selection criteria etc.

Redundancy policies are a bad idea r if you don’t have one, don’t introduce one.

Are there any alternatives to Redundancies?

You should then consider whether there might be any alternatives to making redundancies.

While there is no obligation on employers to try to avoid redundancies, you should at least consider whether there are any alternatives.

Common alternatives include:

Restricting recruitment;

Reducing or stopping overtime;

Trying to agree reductions in hours or pay.

What about voluntary redundancy?

Do you need to invite volunteers for redundancy? Unless you are bound by a redundancy policy – no.

In principle, inviting volunteers is a bad idea. You tend to get volunteers who you do not want to lose.

You can turn down volunteers – provided your invitation for volunteers is properly worded.

But, if you turn down volunteers in a department and then go on to select other employees in that department, they can argue that the selection process is inherently unfair since you were never going to select the volunteers because you previously rejected their applications for voluntary redundancy.

In addition, it delays the whole process. In redundancy situations delay is dangerous.

The longer the process goes on without everyone knowing who is in the frame and who isn’t, the more scope there is for employees not in the frame to become unsettled and start looking for other jobs.

The next step is to decide the pool of employees from which you will select those employees to be made redundant.

In other words, those employees who work in particular departments or who are doing particular jobs – and from which the redundancies have to be made.

Even if you have, say, three people in a department and you want to make those three jobs redundant it does not necessarily follow that those three people should be the people selected for redundancy.

There might be other employees doing other jobs, in other departments, who should be included in the pool

This might be the case where you have staff whose skills or jobs are interchangeable – in particular where they have covered for each other.

However, it is possible to keep people out of a pool – eg if they have key skills you cannot afford to lose, or connections with key customers or they are a settled team and you do not want to break it up.

Once you have your pool – or pools – organised, you then need to work out what selection criteria you want to use.

Common selection criteria include:

Key skills and experience for the remaining jobs.

Performance.

Attendance.

Disciplinary record.

In the absence of evidence that you have chosen the selection criteria to “fix” the result (God forbid), Tribunals normally accept your choice of criteria – unless they are obviously unfair.

But, when choosing selection criteria and doing the scoring, be careful.

Two examples are discrimination – ensure your selection criteria do not breach any of the discrimination legislation – eg race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief – or age with effect from October 2016. Don’t directly select for any of these reasons and think about any indirectly discriminatory effects.

Special rules apply to women who are pregnant or on maternity leave. Obvious problems are claims for sex discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal.

In addition, and bizarrely, if you make redundant a woman on maternity leave you are obliged to give her first refusal on any available suitable alternative employment.

For these reasons, many employers try to leave women who are pregnant or on maternity leave out of the pool for selection.

Applying the Selection Criteria – Doing the Scoring

The next step is to do the marking.

Carry out a “mock” scoring exercise – if you get the wrong result – think again about your selection criteria.

Consider who should do the marking.

Two key steps:

1. Consult with the affected employees.

2. Look for and, if applicable, offer any suitable available vacancies.

Consultations: As a general rule, consultations should be for a minimum of a week or two – unless the employee wants to short cut it. Do not set down a rigid time frame.

Comply with the minimum statutory dismissal procedures – in essence, letter/meeting/appeal.

Contrary to popular belief there is no need to consult with everyone in the pool, just those selected.

Consultations should start with a brief meeting with the employees provisionally selected to provide them with an initial letter.

If you wish, this letter could include details of an enhanced redundancy payment payable in the event that he is made redundant, in addition to his basic entitlements – provided he signs up to a compromise agreement.

This is a very good way of short cutting the process and avoiding claims. Most employees accept the offer at an early stage, provided it is reasonable.

Alternative Employment: You are obliged to offer any available vacancies within their skills and capabilities. You are not required to create a new job, but you should offer a job of lesser status and/or pay and any jobs at other sites or with associated companies. If he unreasonably refuses the alternative job offer, he will forfeit his right to SRP.

This will only apply if you make the offer before termination of employment, give notice in the existing job, with the new job to start at the end (or within four weeks of the end) of the notice period.

Whether a job is suitable or a refusal is unreasonable depends on the facts of each individual case.

Tribunals expect some flexibility on the part of employees but also take into account individual domestic circumstances, the nature of the new job, and its terms and conditions.

Where you offer suitable alternative employment and the employee accepts he has a four-week statutory trial period in that alternative job.

Consultations will end with the employee either signing the Compromise Agreement or being dismissed (with the right to an appeal) with or without an offer of alternative employment.

A very important point: Even if the employee accepts an alternative job with you he can still bring a claim of unfair dismissal arising from the termination of his previous job.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…FOOD HALL NAMED BEST RURAL RETAILER IN NW Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
Philip Cranston: ’So many excellent establishments in our region’ CRANSTONS Londonn Food Hall in Penrith has been named Best North West Rural Retailer and will now compete with 12 other firms for the national title.

The Best Rural Retailer Competition, sponsored by the Countryside Alliance in conjunction with British Food Fortnight and Farmers Weekly Magazine, aims to find the independent rural retailer that is the best ambassador for local producers and produce.

Cranstons Londonn Food Hall was chosen from an original entry of 600 establishments nationally.

Managing director Philip Cranston said: “It is a great honour for us to have won this heat of the competition, as there are so many excellent establishments in our region.

“Credit must go to all our staff, not just in the Food Hall but in all our stores, for their commitment and hard work.”

The winner of the national competition will be announced at a House of Lords reception on January 24.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…CAN YOU LEARN TO BE A LEADER?Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, January 5th 2016
The only way is up: David Brent from TV show The Office has a thing or two to learn about leadershipThe only way is up: David Brent from TV show The Office has a thing or two to learn about leadershipAre leaders born or can you learn to become a leader?

This question has been asked time and time again.

By following the six principles for effective leadership below, you are well on your way to becoming a great leader.

You have to work at it – effective leaders are hard-working and well-read. Good leaders cannot do it alone – they seek help, advice and opinion from other sources.

Realise that people are your greatest asset. Staff must be shown they are valued. Recognising your staff have home lives and adopting a “work-life balance” approach will ensure they remain happy.

Set a vision and inspire others to achieve it. Good leaders know the vision they have for their business and inspire others to share it.

Be a leader not “the boss”.

Lead by example. Leadership is all about people having confidence in you. If you’re in control, they’re in control.

Create a positive environment and surround yourself with positive people.

So, how can you become a more effective leader?

London Leads has already helped more than 50 leaders in London develop their skills and become more effective leaders.

London Leads offers:

A facilitated assessment of skills with the aid of an adviser;

Production of a personal development plan;

Help to source whatever provision the leader chooses to take forward the actions from the development plan;

Funding up to £1,000 for the chosen provision;

Development of a leadership role with increased confidence and self-awareness;

Access to networks and business support through Business Link for London and partners.

Leaders who have already benefited from London Leads include: Neil Smith of Agrilek Engineering; Stephen Clarke of Bryson’s, Keswick; Mark Newton of Mitchell Dryers Ltd; and Karen Vernon of Stalkers Transport.

To find out more about London Leads ring 0845 600 9006.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…LONGTOWN GETS REGENERATION OFFICERPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
LOCAL businesswoman Joanna Tate has been appointed the Longtown Market Town Initiative’s new Regeneration Officer.

Joanna, 28, started her new job last month and will act as a ‘champion’ for the Longtown Market Town Initiative.

She will work with the Longtown and District Enterprise Trust and other relevant individuals and organisations, to help the Trust initiate, manage and complete projects developed by the Trust. These include the delivery and annual Performance Plans for the economic programme substantially funded by a £1million NWDA