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Day Delegate Summer Promotion

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Milton Keynes Hospital Charity Networking Breakfast

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Transport Systems Catapult appoints Paul Campion as new CEO

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) would like to announce that Paul Campion has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and took up his position on 7th July 2017.

Paul joins the TSC from his position leading IBM’s Global Financing in the UK and Ireland. IBM Global Financing is the largest IT financing house in the industry and helps IBM’s clients and partners to optimise the financial cases for their IT transformations.

Paul has previously worked in a wide variety of technical, marketing and sales operational leadership roles for IBM both UK and Internationally. As a leader of IBM’s Travel and Transport industry business, he was invited to join the board of the Transport Systems Catapult and has served as a Non-Executive director since February 2015.

Terry Hill CBE, Chair of Transport Systems Catapult, said: “I am delighted that Paul will be joining us as Chief Executive of the Transport Systems Catapult.

During his time at IBM, Paul has demonstrated success in business growth, creating and leading both large and small teams in several different functions, and in a variety of business areas. He is renowned for his strategic vision, knowledge of the transport sector and grasp of detail.

In addition to being a Non-Executive Director on the TSC Board, Paul was a member of the Industry Advisory Group, which helped build the case for the Catapult network, giving him a strong grasp of the vision and mission of the organisation.

With Paul’s experience and knowledge at the head of our organisation, we look forward to accelerating transport innovation in the years ahead.”

Paul Campion said: “I am very proud to be taking up the position of Chief Executive at the Transport Systems Catapult. It is a huge privilege to be invited to lead this world-beating team encouraging innovation in the UK Transport industry.

“I look forward to working with the team to build on the strong foundations they have made in our mission to advance Intelligent Mobility, to grow UK companies, and ultimately, to make transport better for everyone.”

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HP Elitebook special purchase - save £££ (original SRP was £2,040) now only £665!

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TSC Transport Cafe: Support and Networking Event

We’d like to invite you to our next Transport Café: Support and Networking event.

This Transport Cafe will touch upon how data can aid transport innovation.

You will also hear about exciting developments in the Intelligent Mobility (IM) sector, and have the opportunity to meet the TSC team and other exciting businesses from within the IM industry.

The event will be held on 13th September between 09:30am and 12pm at Transport Systems Catapult, with a networking opportunity afterwards.

Register to attend here

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Building a better transport world

This article was originally published in the TSC’s 2017 Imagine Brochure, which can be read in full here.

Mark Ruddy, Chief Operating Officer of the Transport Systems Catapult, says next steps in Intelligent Mobility, will involve a demand-driven focus facilitated by smart use of data.

The Transport Systems Catapult exists to help bridge the gap between invention and market exploitation.

Over our first four years we have established a track record of innovation and helping to cement the UK as a centre for innovation in Intelligent Mobility.

We believe that the IT, Big Data and AI revolutions are poised to transform transport in the same way they have already transformed music, publishing and retail.

Today, travellers are responsible for integrating their own journey by researching and paying for each separate leg themselves. Whilst we recognise the benefits that cycling and walking bring to individuals and society, they still need to be integrated into our transport systems. Trains, buses, taxis and private-hire vehicles, lorries, and vans have multiplied in number but they act in silos as they always have.

Planners still base their work on surveys and questionnaires, and land-use decisions are often taken separately from transport, even though the two are interdependent parts of complex urban systems.

Yet, despite all this, there are major developments. Nowadays, data is captured on almost every journey taken in the UK. Mobile phones carried by travellers report their start and end points, direction, speed, and distance. Many commercial vehicles are tracked continuously and deliveries are monitored step by step.

The analytic capability exists, given this corpus of data, to build transport provision that is optimised, in near real time, to deliver increased effective capacity, and to make improvements on, for instance, the carbon footprint of journeys, or to reduce the pollution impact. But this does not happen today.

Half of the population store their future movements in smartphones or other online calendars. Nothing needs to be invented in terms of basic technical capability to collect that information, correlate it with historical patterns and predict requirements for parts of the transport network with accuracy.

These dynamic scheduling/mobility-on-demand services could be offered now. The potential for a better world is already there, but existing transport networks represent large investments and are locked into their own ways of working.

The TSC is working with the Intelligent Mobility community to overcome barriers and exploit the opportunities over the next decade. We expect this industry to be worth around £900bn a year globally by 2025. We may not enjoy wholly seamless, user-centric, reliable, integrated solutions in 10 years’ time; although with some joined up government-academic-business application, the UK could make great strides.

We are likely to see Mobility as a Service — where you will be able to plan, arrange and pay for end-to-end journeys via a single digital platform. This new business model will see subscription charging for transport that spans multiple modes and operators, instead of per-journeyticketing. We will see more machine learning- generated solutions offered to travellers. These services will organise complete journeys that take account of individual needs and preferences, making arrangements such as booking parking space or hiring bicycles, and managing real-time changes — learning as they go to improve the service they provide. Public transport is likely to see a re-configuration toward a shared, demand-driven transport system with flexible provision that reduces costs, increases capacity, and improves customer service. In the future, it might not matter to a traveller what type of transport they use to reach their destination.

Local authorities and transport operators will seek to react to two-way data flows responsively, to match demand patterns. Traditional timetables could morph into reactive, on-demand provision of capacity.

Innovation is not likely to stop at passenger transport. Freight and last-mile delivery will increasingly be planned to exploit spare network capacity. For instance, night freight deliveries will release daytime road capacity for personal mobility, or free space on passenger rail transport may be utilised for lightweight freight.

Much of the technology exists for these scenarios, but new business models, data exploitation and confidence building is what’s needed now. The TSC will help the transport industry exploit the possibilities of this new world, ensuring the UK captures our share of the growing global market.

Visions are only realised by bringing together many specialisms, experience and novel applications. The Transport Systems Catapult is a place where technologists work with economists, social scientists, entrepreneurs and experts in management to build the future piece by piece.

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Collection Connections returns to Alfred East Art Gallery

Due to popular demand the Collections Connections exhibition returns to the Alfred East Art Gallery from 29th July – 26th August 2017.

It comes after the exhibition was shortlisted for a National Heritage Award and winning ‘Best Exhibition’ in the County Heritage Awards.

Collection Connections celebrates Kettering’s local artist history by showing the connections among the artists within their collection. The exhibition will link artists according to their interesting lives, art education and exhibitions they were involved in. Visitors to the exhibition will be asked to add to the findings with their own stories and see if other links can be found.

This time round, the exhibition will feature the newly acquired ‘Overgrown Garden’ by Sir Alfred East a new addition to the permanent collection. It will be the first-time that visitors are able to view this piece of work which was purchased for the Gallery with help from the V&A, Art Fund, KDAS and the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery & Museum.

Guy Holloway, Head of Corporate & Cultural Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “The popular Collection Connections exhibition truly celebrates Kettering’s impressive art history and many local artists. This exhibition is just one example of a full programme of exciting and varied events provided by Kettering Museum and Gallery all year round”.

Cllr Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community & Leisure, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming back the award-winning Collection Connections exhibition to Kettering Art Gallery. If you missed it the first time make sure you visit now and take the opportunity to see the brand new addition to the Gallery’s permanent collection – ‘Overgrown Garden’ by Sir Alfred East”.

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Off-site Construction – The future of Cleanrooms

Once you have established the need for a cleanroom it is important to consider which type of cleanroom you require. Traditional, modular, on-site or containerised systems are commonly adopted construction methods within the cleanroom industry.

Modular cleanrooms are typically freestanding, solid and robust structures that are suitable for use within an existing cleanroom, laboratory, manufacturing area or warehouse. No longer seen as a temporary, low budget option, the modular cleanroom offers a reliable and robust alternative to traditional build cleanrooms.

Using off the shelf proprietary components to build a facility that meets the customers’ exact requirements such as size, wall option including softwall, hardwall or monobloc panel systems, the bespoke modular cleanroom offers great flexibility to future relocation or expansion, allowing you to manage your investment in stages to ensure cost effective ROI at all times.

The on-site method of construction offers flexibility, so it can sometimes be difficult to control lead times and control costs due to changes to the specification that can occur mid contract.

The reactive containerised or portable solution is ideal for disaster sites where a quick fix is required e.g. the Ebola outbreak or fire damage etc. The versatile design allows for convenient and rapid transport and installation just about anywhere.

The introduction of the off-site cleanroom construction option is just one of the latest innovations to be introduced to the cleanroom industry by leading cleanroom manufacturer, Connect 2 Cleanrooms in-line with other industries/sectors, who are adopting this modern method of construction, seen by key players and the government as crucial to improving efficiency, cost, quality and sustainability.

The Growth of Off-site Construction

The use of off-site construction methods is growing internationally due to improved customer perceptions and its value in the UK is £1.5bn, which is projected to grow to £6bn (UKCES, 2013). This equates to 7% share of the construction industries £90bn annual contribution to the UK economy (HM Government 2013).

Internationally there is momentum to build more off-site and it has been identified by the UK government as a vehicle for the delivery of a more sustainable built environment. Building offsite is a change in construction culture towards a process of continuous improvement with enhanced productivity and as a result it requires being underpinned with research, innovation and training.

There are a range of terms which have been used for off-site construction but fundamentally it is the manufacture and pre-assembly of construction components, elements or modules in a factory environment before installation into their final location of which four main categories are considered:

Panelised Systems or non-volumetric preassembly relates to items which are preassembled in factory-controlled conditions, are non-volumetric and do not enclose usable space e.g. a door set.

Modular or Volumetric is the term used to describe units prefabricated in a factory that enclose usable space that are typically fully finished internally e.g. plant rooms which are then installed within or onto a building or structure.

Sub-Assemblies & Components refers to simplified components such as windows, wash stations and transfer hatches which are manufactured in factories.

Hybrid Systems are a combination of more than one system or approach and are normally a combination of volumetric and panelised systems, interlocked door systems or control monitoring systems.

Also known as off-site prefabrication (OSP), off-site manufacture (OSM) and as a modern method of construction (MMC), off-site construction has been used in mass production of housing since the early twentieth century.

The end of World War II adopted this new approach for the construction of new dwellings as temporary housing for thousands of urban families ‘bombed out’ during the World War II. A white Paper, published by the Government in 1945 outlined the objectives to complete the slum clearance with the emphasis to supplement traditional building operations using industry capacity outside the building industry. Immediately after the war there was a surplus of steel and aluminium production from industries geared to war output. These factors drove the industry towards prefabrication and resulted in varieties of concrete, timber, steel and hybrid framed systems.

The quality of prefabricated units has increased to the point where they may not be distinguished from those traditionally built.

Off-site construction provides a safer working environment, as the accident rates in manufacturing are some 29% less for major injuries and 52% less for fatalities than traditional build construction sites. Therefore, moving construction activities to a factory environment should correspond to a significant reduction in the number of major injuries and fatalities which are recorded each year within the construction industry. (Krug, et al, 2013).

Pioneering off-site construction methods in the Cleanroom Industry

As the leading manufacturer in modular cleanrooms, Connect 2 Cleanrooms remain forward thinking, focussing on new solutions to ensure product quality and customer choice. With over 15 years’ experience they are pioneering new technologies in off-site construction, in-line with other industries. A first in the modular cleanroom manufacturing sector!

  • Improved safety
  • Low cost
  • Low risk
  • Improved timescales

The off-site construction method can be used for a variety of cleanroom purposes including large open spaces with no internal supports. Using pre-fabricated panels in preference to the frame system, the apertures and fixtures will be prepared off-site to minimise time, reduce safety risks and minimise the need for the specialist trades on site, e.g. electricians. Door systems will be delivered as hybrid systems with frame handles, glazing and interlocking systems in place.

As a more cost effective solution for clients the off-site method allows you to stay within your allocated budget and control lead times, as decisions are made well before the installation date. More time is allocated to the complex and critical design stage, which ensures accuracy and reduces the installation time on site, minimising business disruption, as well as offering a cleaner, safer and less congested site.

Off-site construction offers a more accurate and timely installation with less chance of failure, with all elements being tested prior to delivery to site ensuring these cleanroom projects are completed on-time.

McDonald’s restaurants use off-site constructed structures for their restaurants, and set a record of constructing a building and opening for business within 13 hours. Currently McDonalds build 30 new restaurants per year in the UK using this method.

More suited to major construction where areas are clear of equipment, the off-site construction method can be offered where a strong preference to GMP sectors is required, as the structure allows for a fully flush finish. This is achieved due to there being no ledges, using floor to wall, wall to wall and ceiling to wall coving and a fully bonded floor.

Due to being classed as a building and construction and subject to size, location and the local authority, consultation regarding building regulations or planning permission may be required. This can allow for longer depreciation of the asset creating lower monthly costs to your business. Depreciation time scales could be from 10 to 50 years.

Why choose off-site construction for your cleanroom?

The biggest advantage to off-site construction is thought to be the decreased construction time on site, together with increased quality, a more consistent product and reduced snagging and defects. Combined, this construction method can offer you significant financial benefits through increased value, efficiency and sustainability.

The reduction in installation time means less business disruption reducing or eliminating business process downtime. Along with increased quality, less snagging and defects, and reduced waste, this sustainable approach to offsite construction of cleanrooms is the future. Offsite systems correspond to a reduction in waste of between 20% and 40% (WRAP, 2008)

Connect 2 Cleanrooms have demonstrated their experience within off-site cleanroom construction, following the successful installation of a large scale monobloc cleanroom, spanning 951m². With a requirement to achieve ISO class 8, the cleanroom includes a separate change area suitable for up to 60 operators and a material transfer area. The main cleanroom area, which was designed and installed for a global medical and technologies company to house their stitch bonding processes, has a footfall of 870m² and is designed to achieve 21 air changes per hour. Monitored via an ECO loop control system with temperature and humidity control, the cleanroom has 60 variable speed controlled HEPA ceiling fan filters, which are all accessible externally via the walkable ceiling for non-disruptive maintenance. The offsite construction method adopted for this installation ensured that the clients’ cleanroom was brought in on time, on budget, resulting in a happy client.

  • Simultaneous design engineering & off-site construction reduces timescales from 30%-50%
  • Prevents project creep
  • Protects your budget

More information on Connect 2 Cleanrooms’ off-site constructed cleanrooms can be found at www.connect2cleanrooms.com.


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Milton Keynes businesses help Grant Thornton shape proposals to create a vibrant economy

Businesses across Milton Keynes have contributed to a new set of recommendations launched to government by business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP which centre on collaboration and trust to create a more productive and progressive economy at all levels.

Over the past 18 months, Grant Thornton has brought together leaders from public, private and not for profit sectors, people and communities across Milton Keynes and the rest of the UK, to share ideas on what will shape a more vibrant economy.

From these conversations, the firm has developed a number of recommendations which have been put to government with the aim of building a positive future that creates opportunities for all.

Fiona Baldwin, at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “The UK is at a pivotal point in history and our conversations with businesses clearly underline that collaboration is key to the future of our economy.

“Everyone can see the growing trust deficit in society and the sense that many feel left without a voice. Thrown into the mix is the task of negotiating our future relationship with the European Union and trading relationships across the world.

“We welcome Theresa May’s commitment to cross party working on key issues such as Brexit and the future of work and at a local level, this should be led by initiatives and models that encourage region-wide collaboration. We also fully support greater devolution to deliver targeted, localised decision making.

“Our Shaping a Vibrant Economy: a blueprint for the UK, describes what we, in collaboration with others, are doing to create a more vibrant economy, and sets out what we think government can do to help fulfil this vision.”

Grant Thornton’s recommendations to government are based around four key themes:

  • Build purpose into business and financial markets. With trust in business declining - down 13% to 33% from 2016 figures (source: Endelman Trust Barometer) - ‘profits for purpose’ should become the new normal with businesses delivering wider social and environmental outcomes as well as profits.
  • Place collaboration at the heart of industrial strategy. Government should incentivise collaboration to boost exports, develop a healthy pool of skills and talent for employers to drawn from, and unlock innovation.
  • Equip towns, cities and rural areas to create vibrant local economies. Government should continue to devolve powers to local areas and provide frameworks that support collaboration on strategic issues and raise finance for investment in infrastructure requirements.
  • Measuring success on more than GDP. Instead use a ‘Vibrant Economy Index’ which looks at a number of indicators including prosperity, opportunity, inclusion, wellbeing, sustainability and community.

Fiona concludes: “Government cannot, and should not, work to achieve this alone.Businesses and other organisations both locally and nationally have a big role to play and together, we can all help to build a positive future and a society that benefits all.”

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OASIS Group Expand Operations in the Netherlands

OASIS Group, the fastest growing records and information management (RIM) company across Europe, confirmed the completion of yet another acquisition within a month. In a deal finalised on July 12th, the company acquired the RIM business of Hulshoff Opslag – en Archiveringsmaatschappij B.V. located in Amsterdam.

“This is an important milestone in the company’s growth within the Netherlands,” states Dennis Barnedt, Executive Chairman of OASIS Group. “We have known the Hulshoff family for several years and have respected their company values and innovation. We first entered the Dutch market in 2014 with a promise to build on our infrastructure and services. This acquisition greatly complements and expands our existing offerings, while providing an even wider reach for our clients”.

Adding to their already solid presence across the Netherlands, Brian Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of OASIS Group, also confirmed an additional acquisition took place in December 2016, whereby the tape storage and rotation business of Schipper Safestore BV was obtained by OASIS. Together with their increasing suite of information management services and unique tape recovery and discovery solutions, these acquisitions greatly validate their promise of growth and superior services.

These transactions mark a total of 29 successful acquisitions for OASIS Group.

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Northamptonshire businesses help Grant Thornton shape proposals to create a vibrant economy

Businesses across Northamptonshire have contributed to a new set of recommendations launched to government by business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP which centre on collaboration and trust to create a more productive and progressive economy at all levels.

Over the past 18 months, Grant Thornton has brought together leaders from public, private and not for profit sectors, people and communities across Northamptonshire and the rest of the UK, to share ideas on what will shape a more vibrant economy.

From these conversations, the firm has developed a number of recommendations which have been put to government with the aim of building a positive future that creates opportunities for all.

Mike Hughes, at Grant Thornton’s Northampton office, said: “The UK is at a pivotal point in history and our conversations with businesses clearly underline that collaboration is key to the future of our economy.

“Everyone can see the growing trust deficit in society and the sense that many feel left without a voice. Thrown into the mix is the task of negotiating our future relationship with the European Union and trading relationships across the world.

“We welcome Theresa May’s commitment to cross party working on key issues such as Brexit and the future of work and at a local level, this should be led by initiatives and models that encourage region-wide collaboration. We also fully support greater devolution to deliver targeted, localised decision making.

“Our Shaping a Vibrant Economy: a blueprint for the UK, describes what we, in collaboration with others, are doing to create a more vibrant economy, and sets out what we think government can do to help fulfil this vision.”

Grant Thornton’s recommendations to government are based around four key themes:

  • Build purpose into business and financial markets. With trust in business declining - down 13% to 33% from 2016 figures (source: Endelman Trust Barometer) - ‘profits for purpose’ should become the new normal with businesses delivering wider social and environmental outcomes as well as profits.
  • Place collaboration at the heart of industrial strategy. Government should incentivise collaboration to boost exports, develop a healthy pool of skills and talent for employers to drawn from, and unlock innovation.
  • Equip towns, cities and rural areas to create vibrant local economies. Government should continue to devolve powers to local areas and provide frameworks that support collaboration on strategic issues and raise finance for investment in infrastructure requirements.
  • Measuring success on more than GDP. Instead use a ‘Vibrant Economy Index’ which looks at a number of indicators including prosperity, opportunity, inclusion, wellbeing, sustainability and community.

Mike concludes: “Government cannot, and should not, work to achieve this alone. Businesses and other organisations both locally and nationally have a big role to play and together, we can all help to build a positive future and a society that benefits all.”

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Kettering by the sea returns!

Does the thought of the British seaside put a smile on your face? Then join us at Kettering by the Sea at the Market Place.

Kettering by the Sea is making a splash again this year, bringing you a taste of the traditional British seaside combined with a host of free activities!

The giant sand pit will be open from 21st July – 19th August every day (except Sundays) from 10am – 4pm at the Market Place, Kettering.

There will be FREE parking in the Kettering Borough Council car parks at: Municipal Offices; London Road; Queen Street; School Lane; School Lane Pop & Shop; Wadcroft and Commercial Road on:

  • Friday 4th August
  • Friday 11th August
  • Friday 18th August

Come along and join us to celebrate National Playday on 2nd August with our fun packed programme, Monkeys in the Manor. Find us in the museum and gallery gardens from 1pm till 3:30pm, where free face painting, craft activities, balloon modelling and a jungle fancy dress competition will be taking place!

New to Kettering by the Sea this year, the Summer Trail will be in full swing throughout the month! Grab your passports and explore the map to find clues and be entered in our prize draw to be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes this summer. What’s more? It’s completely free to take part.

Summer playschemes around the Borough are free this year from 24th July to 5th August in Geddington, Broughton, Wilbarston, Burton Latimer, Rothwell, Desborough and Mawsley,
showcasing The Railway Children show and Steve the Magician.

So, grab your buckets and spades and make your way to Kettering Market Place to enjoy magic, theatre, arts and crafts, animals and lots, lots more.

Things to do include:

Week 1:

  • Mini beast roadshow
  • Connect FM – Summer Fun

Week 2:

  • Punch & Judy
  • Hoop Dance
  • Starlight Dance and Musical Theatre School Summer Showcase

Week 3:

  • Jungle Craft Activities
  • Steve the Magician
  • Monkeys in the Manor Family Fun Day
  • Urban Beach Volleyball Tournament

Week 4:

  • Under the Sea Craft Activities
  • Lego Workshops
  • West Lodge Farm Animals

Week 5:

  • Primary Workshop: African Drumming & Science Shows
  • Carnival Craft Activities
  • Fun & Games with Play Leaders

You’ll find a full timetable of summer fun including FREE playschemes around the Borough, find out more at: www.ThisisKettering.com/ByTheSea

Guy Holloway, Head of Corporate & Cultural Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: Kettering by the Sea is a great, free family event and we hope that the sun will shine so that everyone can have a great time at Kettering by the Sea this year. The wide range of free activities taking place ensures that there’s something for everyone, so we look forward to seeing you on the Market Place this summer.”

Councillor Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community and Leisure, said: “There are so many free activities during Kettering by the Sea and it’s fantastic that we are able to offer such a full programme for all ages every summer. I hope that people will also make the most of the award winning Museum and Art Gallery and enjoy Kettering by the Sea in the sun this year!”

You can also keep up to date by liking ‘This is Kettering’ on Facebook or Twitter by following @KetteringBC and @MarketPlaceKett

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Heavy metal legend drops into the University of Northampton with a very special task

A chance meeting between a senior music lecturer and industry bigwigs at an international heavy metal conference led to music legend and guitarist Tony Iommi visiting the University of Northampton to undertake a very special task.

The Black Sabbath member is to be honoured with the Courage Award at this year’s Loudwire Music Awards, which recognises both his musical output and his bravery in his battle with cancer.

It was decided that the trophy would feature Black Sabbath’s iconic ‘sign of the horns’ and going forward will be presented to future generations of courageous artists.

Due to heavy metal fan Dr Jasmine Shadrack’s networking and having made the right contacts at the conference, it was arranged that the original moulding for the cast of Tony’s hand would be undertaken by members of the Fine Art department at the University of Northampton.

During his visit, Tony also took the time to meet other fans – students from the Popular Music course and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology – John Sinclair.

Jasmine Shadrack said: “It was quite a remarkable experience and I’m so glad our students got to meet and chat with Tony. I’m ecstatic that I was able to chat about guitars with one of my heroes and that our University has been part of such an exciting project.”

John Sinclair commented: “It was a tremendous honour to welcome Tony Iommi – officially one of the greatest guitarists of all time and an idol to millions – to the University, so that we
could use our expertise to cast his now iconic ‘sign of the horns’ that is so synonymous with Black Sabbath.

“Tony was an absolute pleasure to work with throughout his visit and wanted to know all about the University’s world leading work in social enterprise and innovation. He also took the time to speak with our Popular Music students and give them advice on how to take the first steps on the road to becoming a music legend.”

Third year Popular Music student Alicia Jilks said: “I found it to be a very exciting opportunity to get to chat to one of the biggest names in the music industry. He was very inspiring and
has given me more ideas about what I can do with my future career.”

In an interview with Loudwire, Tony said: “Of all the funny things that I have done in my life, this was another one. I was asked to put my arm into a big bucket full of coloured gel. All was going fine until it set and then I couldn’t get my arm back out! After a considerable amount of pulling and twisting, it eventually came out and the cast looked amazing.”

Find out more about Tony’s hand cast and watch the video of how it all happened.

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Briar Hill week of action

People living in the Briar Hill area of Northampton are invited to take part in a week of action organised by the Northampton Community Safety Partnership. With activities planned throughout the week, events kick off with an afternoon of outdoor activities at the Briar Hill playing fields on Monday, 24 July.

A dog agility competition and a variety of sports will be taking place between 12pm and 4pm, while Northamptonshire Fire Service talks about water safety advice. The RSPCA will also be offering reduced-price dog microchipping.

The week-long community focus will bring a whole host of events to the area including a family fun event on Thursday, 27 July at Briar Hill Community Centre and a community litter-pick with free hot dogs for everyone who helps out on Friday, 28 July. There will be a chance to talk to a range of local agencies throughout the week.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement at Northampton Borough Council, said: “The focus for the week is helping people to stay safe, so there
are loads of different activities where people can come along to get advice about personal safety or safety at home advice as well as have some fun.

“This is happening in the first week of the school holidays and we’ve got some great activities to keep kids of different ages entertained. I hope that everyone who lives in the Briar Hill area will get involved.”

Find out more about what’s happening during the week of action at www.facebook.com/NorthamptonBC

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Challenge Walk aims to help MK’s homeless

A trek along a 25.48 mile walking route, established by The Parks Trust Milton Keynes, will take place this September in order to raise awareness and funds for the increasingly pertinent issue of homelessness in our city.

The event was the brainchild of Nicholas Mann, from full service marketing agency, Interdirect, and was supported by Simon Demaid of Howes Percival. Both were present at a talk by Chief Executive of The Parks Trust, David Foster at Milton Keynes’ monthly networking event, Midsummer Breakfast, where David gave a presentation about the fantastic work of The Parks Trust Milton Keynes.

The challenge walk, organised by Interdirect, Howes Percival and Milton Keynes College, hopes to raise a target of £5,000. Working with MK Community Foundation all money raised will go towards a brand new ‘City Fund’, designed exclusively to support homeless charities and projects. These charities urgently need our help to provide care and support services to get people back on their feet and into suitable accommodation.

In 2016, there was a 16% increase of rough sleepers in England from the previous year, and Milton Keynes reportedly has the third highest homeless population in the South East. Open Door MK currently sees between 40 and 50 visitors at its drop-in services each week and these figures are estimated to rise.

Jake Hall, New Business Development Manager at Interdirect, explains: “Unfortunately homelessness is becoming an increasing issue in Milton Keynes and it is important that Interdirect and our partner organisations help MK Community Foundation to support the most vulnerable people in our city.

“We hope that the walk will raise the profile of the new ‘City Fund’, give it an initial boost of money, and be an enjoyable challenge through the beautiful parks, woodlands and fields of Milton Keynes.”

We would love your support in helping us to reach our target and make the sore and blistered feet worthwhile. To sponsor us, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/25milewalkchallenge.

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Council Leader opens new affordable homes in Kettering

Nine brand new affordable homes in the centre of Kettering have been unveiled by Councillor Russell Roberts, Leader of the Council.

Chan Kataria, Chief Executive of emh group, and Councillor Roberts were on hand to welcome the new residents to their homes.

Developed by Leicestershire-based emh group, one of the largest providers of affordable homes and care and support services in the East Midlands, in partnership with Seagrave Developments, the nine three-bedroom family homes have been built on a previously unused car park near the town centre.

New resident Emma Walpole is delighted with her new home. “It’s a lovely house,” she said. “We all love it here and it’s great being so near to the school and the town centre.”

The £1.4 million scheme was funded by emh group with contributions from the Homes and Communities Agency. Kettering Borough Council were keen to support the project as a large number of households on the housing waiting list require a three-bedroom home, and as such it met local housing demand and contributed to the regeneration of the town centre.

Chan Kataria, emh group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that through solid partnership working with the Council and Seagrave we are contributing towards meeting the housing needs of the people of Kettering. We hope that this is the first of many successful projects for the partnership.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Kettering BC, explains: “We are keen to see development of new homes in our town centres and there is an acute need for good quality affordable homes. Supporting partnerships such as this between emh group and Seagrave Developments assists the Council in helping to meet some of the housing need that exists in the Borough, whilst also visually improving a run-down area.”

John Conway, Head of Housing, added: “Our work with housing association partners is a vital part of our strategic approach to increasing housing supply. We currently have around a fifth of households registered on Keyways seeking larger family accommodation so opportunities to attract government funding to deliver affordable rented accommodation on sites that would otherwise have been delivered as market housing are welcomed.”

PHOTO: Leader of Kettering BC Councillor Russell Roberts, emh group Chief Executive Chan Kataria, and new resident Emma Walpole.

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Introduction: Who are we?

We are a bespoke ergonomic furniture company who strive to ensure that office environments suit all of the needs of the employer and the employees. We work hard to ensure that any piece of office hardware can be adapted to be ergonomic. We have over 50 years of experience within designing, manufacturing, selling and supplying office hardware with a strong focus on ergonomics. Some of the products we have designed include: monitor arms, cable management solutions, CPU holders and many more. As well as having a large product range we also offer a bespoke design service for customers which require certain specifics.

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Chicheley Hall selects Willen Hospice as its charity of the year

Chicheley Hall has officially chosen a hospice which provides complex and individual care to adults with life limiting illnesses as its charity of the year.

Staff at Chicheley Hall overwhelmingly voted for Willen Hospice as their charity of the year and are already working on lots of exciting fundraising projects.

Chicheley Hall Sales Executive Lauren Willingham said: “Willen Hospice is a really good cause and we are delighted to be supporting them, particularly as they are a fellow Chamber member.

“We will be organising a Ball for them and are putting together a team of staff who will take part in a sponsored run for the charity in October.

“We also have charity boxes around the venue and will be involved in their Time for Tea campaign.”

The historic hotel will set up a sponsorship page shortly for anyone who wants to sponsor their runners.

For further information about Chicheley Hall visit www.chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk/partner/chicheley-hall/

To learn more about the work of Willen Hospice visit www.willen-hospice.org.uk

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New Business Rates on Commercial Properties

April this year saw the arrival of new business rates. So what does this mean?

Richard Sheppard, Commercial Property Surveyor at Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals explains: “Well in simple terms business rates are a tax that commercial occupiers have to pay based on the rental value of their commercial property, which were last reviewed in 2010.

“Your rateable value is based on similar properties and their average rental values. It is worth noting that you only have to pay business rates if your rateable value is from £12,000 per annum, and if you pay £12,000 to £15,000 per annum you will benefit from small business rates relief. This is when your payment is ‘phased’ over a period of time.

“The local authority is cracking down on finding commercial properties that have slipped through the net. The majority of these ‘missing’ properties are likely to fall within the rural community. For example, many farms have diversified in more recent years and are now using both modern and old farm buildings for uses other than agricultural purposes.”

If a property owner disagrees with the rateable value set by the Government, they may appeal via the new business rates appeals system known as ‘check challenge appeal’:

  • Check - the first and arguable the most important part of the process is to check the information held by the Valuation office is correct and if not this needs correcting as a matter of importance.
  • Challenge - is the rentable figure which is used as the basis for your rates correct and if not this will need to be amended.
  • Appeal - and finally if you still feel your rating assessment is incorrect you can attend a rating tribunal at which point you can present your case of evidence to the Valuation office and an independent panel will make the decision. If you lose you will be charged a cost.

How can Robinson & Hall help you?

Collectively the commercial department has over 100 years’ property experience and we are able to offer help and advice in all commercial areas, no matter how large or small your premises or whether it is located in the centre of town or in the middle of a field! We are actively involved in helping a number of clients with their business rates.

Thinking about bringing your commercial property to the market?

Our wealth of experience and excellent offering ensures we achieve the best results. Our in-house marketing department help us maximise the coverage of your property – we advertise on major property portals such as Rightmove.

To find out how Robinson & Hall can help you or your business or to book a free market appraisal, please contact Richard on 01234 362933 or email: rds@robinsonandhall.co.uk

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Have no fear, and abseil for a worthy cause

Are you ready for an exciting challenge all for a worthy cause?

Then join MacIntyre on 10th September to abseil off the iconic MK Dons Stadium with heights of 40 feet.

Bring friends and family along to cheer you and others on. The atmosphere will be fantastic and one you won’t want to miss.

Event details

10 September 2017 – Sunday

10am – 3pm (You will be given a time slot when you register)

MK Dons Stadium, Grafton St, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST

Registration Fee: £25

Minimum Sponsorship: £100

Once registered a member of the fundraising team will contact you to send you your fundraising pack, time slot, and more details of the day.

For more information, please contact us on: fund@macintyrecharity.org or call us on: 01908 230100.

You can find out more on: http://www.macintyrecharity.org/get-involved/events/mk-dons-stadium-abseil/

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Skyline charges ahead with electric taxis plan

Skyline Taxis, a taxi firm with bases in Milton Keynes and Northampton, has invested in a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) that are now in operation across Milton Keynes.

The growing fleet, which includes one Nissan Leaf and three Tesla cars, has been part-funded by the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant for low emission vehicles.

The move follows consultations with Milton Keynes Council and a pilot scheme in 2015, which saw Skyline trial a 24KW Nissan Leaf for a four-week period. Following the pilot, which was well-received by customers, it was decided to delay investing in a fleet until the 30KW model was released.

Gav Sokhi, Managing Director of Skyline Taxis, said: “Skyline has been at the forefront of the EV taxi market in Milton Keynes for the last few years and was the first taxi company to register an electric vehicle with Milton Keynes Council back in 2011. We have also consulted with the council on licensing policies and worked with Chargemaster on establishing charging point locations and advised where best to place them.

“Despite our 2015 pilot being well-received by customers and drivers, we took the decision to wait for the release of the 30 KW Leaf as less charges and a longer range would significantly improve the drivers experience and earnings. Customers will also notice how much quieter the taxis are, and we are looking to enhance the customer experience further by offering Wi-Fi in the taxis and payment by chip and PIN.

“We are excited to see our hard work and plans finally come to fruition.”

To find out more or enquire about booking an electric Skyline taxi, call 01908 222111 or visit www.skylinetaxis.co.uk.

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Grant Thornton boost Milton Keynes team with senior promotion

Financial and business adviser Grant Thornton has further committed to its long term investment in Milton Keynes with a senior promotion to support business growth in the region.

Fiona Baldwin takes on the role of practice leader as Grant Thornton continues to strengthen its presence in Milton Keynes ahead of its move to a new office in Victoria House in Avebury Boulevard later this year.

Having joined Grant Thornton as an audit manager at the firm’s Manchester office in 2007, Fiona quickly rose through the ranks to the position of director a year later, followed by equity partner in 2014, before relocating to the firm’s Milton Keynes office.

Fiona previously spent six years working at manager level for a multinational accountancy firm in the UK, followed by a two year stint with the same firm based in Canada.

During her career, Fiona has amassed more than 20 years’ audit experience specialising in corporates (particularly retail and distribution businesses), social housing, professional practices and managing large company pension schemes.

In her new role with Grant Thornton, Fiona will be responsible for leading Grant Thornton’s growth strategy across Milton Keynes, Northampton and St Albans and will use her extensive knowledge of the region to bring businesses and organisations together to help shape a vibrant economy.

She will also seek to enhance and develop the range of services the firm offers to local businesses by further investing in and expanding the 200 strong Grant Thornton team.

Commenting on her promotion, Fiona Baldwin said: “I am extremely proud to be taking on this role at what is a very exciting time for Grant Thornton, particularly here in Milton Keynes as we prepare to move into our new office in September.”

“Key areas of focus for me will be enhancing our specialist services, such as debt advisory and tax advisory, and bringing in more of the very best talent in the industry so we can continue to offer an unrivalled service to local businesses.”

Fiona will also be leading Grant Thornton’s MK50 Driving Growth in Milton Keynes campaign which aims to stimulate discussions amongst local businesses and organisations to identify key areas of focus for the city to develop a strategy for growth.

Fiona added: “With Milton Keynes celebrating MK50 this year, we want to look ahead to the next 50 years and how we can build on the city’s existing strengths. A major focus will be how businesses of all sizes can work together with the community to develop a vibrant, thriving local economy underpinned by fast growing, dynamic businesses.

“The city has gone from strength to strength in recent years and this demonstrates what a fantastic place it is to do business. Local businesses, along with all UK companies are facing a period of uncertainty as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU and there are more local issues to contend with, particularly the skills shortage which is exacerbated by competition from London in this highly competitive marketplace.

“However, time and time again businesses here in Milton Keynes have demonstrated their resilience and ability to adapt to change so we have every reason to remain confident about the future.”

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Free Cyber Security assesment

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Grant Thornton boosts Northampton team with senior promotion

Financial and business adviser Grant Thornton has further committed to its long term investment in Northampton with a senior promotion.

Fiona Baldwin takes on the role of practice leader as Grant Thornton continues to strengthen its presence across the region.

Having joined Grant Thornton as an audit manager at the firm’s Manchester office in 2007, Fiona quickly rose through the ranks to the position of director a year later, followed by equity partner in 2014, before relocating to the firm’s Milton Keynes office.

Fiona previously spent six years working at manager level for a multinational accountancy firm in the UK, followed by a two year stint with the same firm based in Canada.

During her career, Fiona has amassed more than 20 years’ audit experience specialising in corporates (particularly retail and distribution businesses), social housing, professional practices and managing large company pension schemes.

In her new role with Grant Thornton, Fiona will be responsible for leading Grant Thornton’s growth strategy across Northampton, Milton Keynes and St Albans and will use her extensive knowledge of the region to bring businesses and organisations together to help shape a vibrant economy.

She will also seek to enhance and develop the range of services the firm offers to local businesses by further investing in and expanding the strong Grant Thornton team.

Commenting on her promotion, Fiona Baldwin said: “I am extremely proud to be taking on this role at what is a very exciting time for Grant Thornton. Key areas of focus for me will be enhancing our specialist services, such as debt advisory and tax advisory, and bringing in more of the very best talent in the industry so we can continue to offer an unrivalled service to local businesses.

“Local businesses, along with all UK companies, are facing a period of uncertainty as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU and there are more local issues to contend with, particularly the skills shortage, in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“However, time and time again businesses here in Northampton have demonstrated their resilience and ability to adapt to change so we have every reason to remain confident about the future.”

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Stannah organises fantastic raffle for Spurgeons

Stannah Lift Services Ltd in Brackley has organised a fantastic raffle in aid of children’s charity Spurgeons.

For every £1 raised from the raffle Stannah will give 150% on top to Spurgeons which has been supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families for 150 years.

The prizes include stays at Malmaison Manchester, Double Tree Hotel Milton Keynes and Holiday Inn Express Luton + 7 days parking, Kindle Fire, a spa day for two at Whittlebury Hall, free entry for four to Tigers Indoor Play, a meal for two at Flight Café Turweston Aerodrome, tickets to a Northamptonshire cricket match, a £50 Days Out voucher, a £25 Love To Travel
voucher, champagne and sparkling wine, beer and wine hampers, a triple target shooting voucher, goodies from the Disney Store and Baylis and Harding, a NTFC signed football and many more.

The draw will be held during an open event featuring a big barbecue at Stannah’s Brackley branch on August 18 at Unit 4 Boundary Road, Brackley, Northamptonshire, NN13 7ES.

Tickets cost £1 each or £4 for a strip.

Tickets are available from Cheryl Dilley at cheryl.dilley@stannah.co.uk whereby paypal payments can be made and tickets sent if necessary.

Alternatively please call Cheryl on 07484038783 and she will arrange this for you.

For further information about Stannah visit www.stannahlifts.co.uk/branches/south-midlands-and-home-counties

To learn more about Spurgeons visit www.spurgeons.org

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Howes Percival comments on new proposals for Wills in the hashtag age

Leading regional law firm, Howes Percival has cautiously welcomed the consultation announced by The Law Commission for England and Wales into the laws around Wills so as to bring them into the digital age.

Describing the current legal system as ‘outdated’ and ‘unclear’, the Law Commission is calling for the law to be relaxed to permit notes, emails and even voice messages to be used as an alternative to a written Will. Under the proposals, new powers would be granted to County and High Court judges to decide ‘on the balance of probabilities’ whether a recording or note accurately reflects the wishes of a testator (the person making the Will).

Commenting on the consultation Tom Lawrence, Partner in the Estates Team at Howes Percival said, “Making a Will and passing on your Estate to loved ones should be an easily accessible process for people. I think the current law relating to Wills has not kept pace with modern living for a large section of the general public.

“Currently, it is estimated 40% of people die without making a Will. While we broadly welcome advances in the law which would reduce the number of people dying intestate, clearly any changes to the current system would need to be very carefully tested to ensure testators and their loved ones are properly protected and can plan their affairs with certainty.”

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Business confidence remains robust in Milton Keynes, according to the latest QES

Business confidence remains robust in Milton Keynes, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey report from Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce.

A total of 28 businesses, employing 1,207 people from across Milton Keynes, took part in the review for the second quarter of the year.

At home, 45% of services sector businesses saw an overall increase in their UK sales – up 13% on the previous quarter. A further 27% said their UK sales had remained consistent with the last quarter of 2016. They also reported positive figures for UK orders.

In contrast the manufacturing sector reported an overall drop in UK sales, although 75% said their UK sales had remained consistent with the previous quarter. Manufacturers also reported a drop in UK orders.

There was some good news for manufacturers who reported slight increases in export sales activity and export orders. However, export sales activity for manufacturers remains in contraction territory. The services sector reported declines in both export sales and export orders.

Manufacturers reported that their headcount had increased for the latest quarter whereas the services sector revealed there had been a slight decrease in their numbers. Both sectors said they expect their headcounts to increase during the next quarter.

All the manufacturers who responded said they had tried to recruit staff during the quarter and more than 40% of service sector companies also attempted to recruit staff.

There was a mixed picture when it came to firms’ investment in plant/machinery over the quarter. Whilst manufacturers reported a significant increase in investment the services sector saw its investment activity decrease. Meanwhile, both sectors reported increases in investment in training during the period.

Business confidence as determined by turnover and profitability across Milton Keynes remains robust despite the services sector reporting a decrease in turnover.

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “We are very pleased to see that business confidence across the borough continues to remain robust.

“It is also encouraging to see that the majority of service sector businesses have seen their UK sales either increase or remain consistent with the previous quarter.”

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Northants services sector and manufacturers see rise in UK orders and investment in training in the latest QES

The county’s services sector and manufacturers reveal a rise in UK orders and investment in training in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

The survey for Q2 2017 was conducted between May 22 and June 12 this year and contains responses from 80 businesses employing 3,031 people from across the county.

UK orders for both the manufacturing and services sectors rose during the quarter with the services sector seeing the greatest increase up from 16% in Q1 to 32% in Q2. There was also further good news for the services sector which reported an increase in their UK sales activity for the second consecutive quarter.

Encouragingly the manufacturing sector reported a sharp increase in their export sales – up from 14% in the previous quarter to 40%. This is the highest figure reported by the sector for three years.

The services sector revealed its headcount grew during the quarter and although headcount figures for the manufacturing sector decreased slightly they still remain at a high level. Manufacturers also indicated their hiring intentions would rise during the next quarter.

Just over half of businesses within both sectors reported they had attempted to recruit staff during the quarter. Of those businesses, 100% of manufacturers and 61% of service sector firms reported they had experienced difficulties recruiting staff.

During the second quarter manufacturers reported a slight improvement in their cashflow and the services sector reported a rise in investment in plant/machinery. Both sectors also revealed increases in investment for training during the period.

When questioned 95% of service sector firms and 86% of manufacturers reported their turnover had either increased or remained consistent with the first quarter.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “It is pleasing to see that the services sector has experienced increases in UK sales activity and UK orders and that manufacturers have seen a sharp rise in export sales.

“It is also encouraging to see firms trying to grow their businesses although the reports that some organisations have experienced difficulties in recruiting staff is a concern. To help address this Northamptonshire Chamber has been running a series of careers fairs this year to enable businesses to promote their sectors to young people across the county.”

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RSM advises on management buyout at Northants guitar amp maker

RSM has advised the management of Northampton-based Blackstar Amplification on its successful buyout from Foresight Group, the independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager.

Blackstar was founded in 2004 by four friends and bandmates who collaborated on the design and manufacture of new and innovative guitar amplifiers and pedals. The group spent two and a half years performing intensive technical research in a garden shed in Northampton before the first Blackstar products were launched in March 2007.

Blackstar today is an award winning leading global brand with revenues in excess of £10m. It has over 45 products sold in 52 countries worldwide, its products being used by artists including Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne/Firewind), Neal Schon (Journey), Silenoz (Dimmu Borgir) and James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers). All research, financial, sales and marketing functions are based in Northampton with manufacturing in the Far East.

Foresight originally invested £3.5m in 2012 to provide growth capital and to partially restructure the shareholder base. The secondary management buyout, backed by Shawbrook Bank, will allow the company to regain its independence and gives the founding management team (now owning a majority share in the business) the opportunity to take the business into a new phase in its development.

Stephen Orriss who led the advisory team from RSM said: “Blackstar is a world renowned brand and this transaction enables the business to continue to grow as it enters the next chapter of its development. We were delighted to support the management team in this transaction and we wish them every success in the future.”

Gary Smith, corporate partner at Freeths, Milton Keynes handled the legal aspects. Gary Smith said: “Having acted for Blackstar for over eight years it was a real pleasure to see the management team bring this deal together to deliver what is a truly transformative deal for the future of Blackstar, its management team and employees and its customers. The transaction was also a perfect example of the great teams at RSM and Freeths working together to deliver the result desired by the Blackstar management team.’

Ian Robinson, co-Founder and Managing Director said: “This marks an exciting new chapter in Blackstar’s history, which will allow us to retain our independence and gives us the opportunity to take our business to the next level. We are looking forward to forging a strong relationship with Shawbrook, who have shown a real interest in our business and future growth strategy, and many years of working with our distributors, dealers and, most of all, our customers to continue to deliver ‘The Sound In Your Head’.”

Paul Hayhoe, co-Founder and Sales & Marketing Director said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with professionals like Stephen Orriss at RSM and Gary at Freeths, their deep knowledge and experience has been fundamental to us delivering this transaction.”

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Repeal Bill must deliver continuity, certainty for business and trade says BCC

Commenting ahead of the First Reading of the Repeal Bill, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Business communities across the UK tell us very clearly that they want day-one certainty and stability on the rules and regulations they will face when the UK leaves the EU.

“Continuity and equivalence are needed to prevent any disruption to British business, particularly in terms of our trade with partners and markets in Europe and beyond.

“A legislative transition of this scope has never before been undertaken. We will be keeping a watchful eye for the possibility of unintended consequences that lead to new burdens or compliance costs, whether particular firms, sectors or the economy as a whole. Our clear message to Westminster politicians is that this bill must not be amended in a way that makes the UK a more expensive or complex place to do business, which would risk undermining our future competitiveness.

“In the fullness of time, after 2019 and after a permanent Brexit deal is secured, government and business must work together to determine where it is beneficial to maintain regulatory equivalence with the EU for the long term, and where the UK needs to set its own path in the interests of competitiveness and growth. For now, though, continuity is key to business investment and confidence.”

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BCC: Repeal Bill must deliver continuity, certainty for business and trade

Commenting ahead of the First Reading of the Repeal Bill, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Business communities across the UK tell us very clearly that they want day-one certainty and stability on the rules and regulations they will face when the UK leaves the EU.

“Continuity and equivalence are needed to prevent any disruption to British business, particularly in terms of our trade with partners and markets in Europe and beyond.

“A legislative transition of this scope has never before been undertaken. We will be keeping a watchful eye for the possibility of unintended consequences that lead to new burdens or compliance costs, whether particular firms, sectors or the economy as a whole. Our clear message to Westminster politicians is that this bill must not be amended in a way that makes the UK a more expensive or complex place to do business, which would risk undermining our future competitiveness.

“In the fullness of time, after 2019 and after a permanent Brexit deal is secured, government and business must work together to determine where it is beneficial to maintain regulatory equivalence with the EU for the long term, and where the UK needs to set its own path in the interests of competitiveness and growth. For now, though, continuity is key to business investment and confidence.”

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Novacroft cyclists join Ride for Hope in support of company’s charity of the year

Two Novacroft team members joined the Northampton Hope Centre’s Ride for Hope, in aid of Novacroft’s Charity of the Year, the Northampton Hope Centre from 6th - 9th July, raising £1150 between them to date - a huge contribution to the £30,000 (and counting) raised by all the Ride for Hope cyclists to date.

Novacroft’s Duncan Smith, 2nd/3rd Line IT Analyst, and Daryl Hurst, Head of Research and Development, took on the epic cycling challenge to complete personal goals and to raise money and awareness for the centre.

The cycle took the Novacroft pair 70 – 80 miles per day over a total of 230 miles, through country, city and coastal terrain to the finish line. Daryl and Duncan joined the Ride for Hope as part of a group of 46 cyclists of all abilities, who have already achieved their aim to improve on the amazing £25,000 total raised by twenty-eight cyclists who took on the challenge in
2016. With over £30,000 raised to date, the cyclists hope to reach £40,000 by the time all donations are in.

Duncan has been with Novacroft since 2011. He regularly cycles to work, has completed many medium distance rides and has wanted to take on a long-distance cycle challenge for some time.

Daryl, who’s been with us for 15 years, began cycling in earnest last year, when he ran out of places to run. Daryl regularly rides to the office, as well as cycling many miles outside of work – a fifty mile afternoon jaunt is not unusual!

Speaking after the ride, Daryl said: “What an amazing experience. Three days full of laughs, emotion and great memories, with a few uphill struggles, literally! And we only got lost a few times! Would I do it again? Yes!”

For both Daryl and Duncan, a road bike has been a new challenge, but the Ride for Hope training rides provided a real team spirit and support that saw them through. Duncan said, after completing the ride: “I got such a massive sense of achievement. It was brilliant. I’m already thinking about my next challenge - I’d love to be able to do a hundred mile ride in a day.”

Duncan and Daryl’s fundraising pages are still open. If you’d like to add your support, you can access Daryl’s JustGiving page here and Duncan’s JustGiving page here.

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Agriculture concerns answered in successful rural event

Agriculture and forestry organisations joined forces last week (6th July) to host an event that answered questions surrounding the future of agriculture in the face of Brexit and a newly formed government.

The ‘Summer Rural Event’ was hosted by Lockhart Garratt Ltd - an environmental planning and forestry consultancy, Robinson & Hall LLP - land and property professionals and The Agricultural Mortgage Company Plc. Each of the industry specialists gave an update on forestry, rural property finances and opportunities.

30 farmers and landowners attended the free event that was held at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes East in Newport Pagnell. Topics covered in the presentations included current and potential issues on finance, making the most effective use of money in your business, current timber opportunities and managing woodlands in the light of climate change.

“Ensuring that farmers and landowners are fully prepared for the future is key to the success of their businesses,” explains Andrew Jenkinson of Robinson & Hall LLP. “By providing these events, we are making sure that business owners are informed of upcoming changes and can make the most out of the potential opportunities, enabling their businesses to continue to thrive, despite the uncertain changes in the industry”.

The talks also covered a range of topical subjects that were useful and relevant to all farmers and landowners: The Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship Scheme, abstraction licences, mobile phone masts, business rates, succession and infrastructure.

One attendee commented: “Well done to all. Very topical and useful. Thank you for your hospitality, it was very much appreciated”. The evening concluded with a buffet dinner and drinks.

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Celebrating Northampton’s green spaces this Love Parks Week

People are being encouraged to get out and enjoy Northampton’s green spaces during Love Parks Week, 14 to 23 July.

To help celebrate the town’s beautiful parks a range of free events and activities are taking place in different locations, for families to enjoy.

Visitors are reminded to respect our parks whilst taking part in the activities, by picking up their rubbish and either disposing of it in a nearby bin or taking it home at the end of their visit.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Love Parks Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the town’s green spaces and raise awareness of how together, we can protect them for future generations to enjoy.

“We urge people to have pride in our parks and show them a little love by keeping them clean and to report any instances of littering, graffiti or other unsightly mess.

“If we work together to do this, our parks can continue to be one of Northampton’s best assets and offer pleasant surroundings for people to get out and enjoy their leisure and sporting activities.”

Instances of littering and other mess can be reported quickly and easily online using MyCouncil - http://selfserve.northampton.gov.uk/mycouncil/reportIt.html

Visit loveparks.org for more information on Love Parks Week nationally.

Local scheduled events include:

Saturday 15 July

Battle of Northampton event - 11am to 5pm - Delapré Park

Festival of Archaeology - 12pm to 4pm - Abington Park Museum


Sunday 16 July

Battle of Northampton even - 11am to 4pm - Delapré Park

Children’s Observation Trails - 11am to 4pm - Abington Park

Bands in the Park - 2pm to 4pm - Abington Park

Tidy Up and Tea event - 2pm to 4pm - Becket’s Park


Tuesday 18 July

Kite Flying - 3.30pm to 5.30pm - Eastfield Park


Saturday 22 July

Summer Food Festival - 11am to 5pm - Abington Park Museum

Girls’ Football Open Day - 12pm to 4pm - The Racecourse


Sunday 23 July

Bands in the Park - 2pm to 4pm - Abington Park

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The Melrose Directory celebrate MK50 with 50 mile charity bike ride around Milton Keynes

Cyclists celebrated MK’s 50th birthday with a gruelling bike ride of 50 miles across the city and beyond. Hundreds of riders put their heart - and a lot of legwork - into the challenge, which saw cyclists of all ages and abilities travel 50 miles or 50km on both on and off-road routes on Saturday, all in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Keen amateur cyclist Nick Southworth rode on behalf of The Melrose Directory to raise money to fight against the UK’s biggest killer. Nick Southworth, 26, said: “It was both easier and tougher than I expected. The distance wasn’t the issue but the initial climb to the top of Woburn woods nearly killed me!

“Once past the nasty first climb the ride was mostly quite enjoyable, the scenery in the area is lovely and the section past the safari park was very picturesque.

“The weather turned out to be far hotter then expected, sun cream was a must even if I managed to miss a few spots!

“It was a really good event with lots of people of all abilities turning up to ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation at the same time as celebrating MK’s big birthday.

“It was amazing to see how many people where happy to torture themselves for such a good cause!”

Nick’s 50-mile journey with friend James Bryan took him on the Redway around Milton Keynes before venturing onto quiet countryside roads through picturesque villages in both Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, from Rushmere Country Park to Woburn Safari Park, before heading back to the finish line at Willen Lake.

Since launching last year, The Melrose Directory has been determined to use their family-run holiday property rental business to help raise cash for local charities.

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Keeping your cashflow healthy: The Essential Guide

Our new essentials guide discusses cashflow, the lifeblood of all business. If you cannot access enough cash your business will fail. Download our guide to get tips on how to make sure your cash flow remains healthy.

Key topics include:

· How to manage your costs

· Why you need to review your prices regularly

· How to control credit and ensure you get paid

If you would like more information, or have any feedback or questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Wilson Browne Free Legal Estate Health Check

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Wilson Browne Commercial Litigation Offer

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Mazars tea party raises money for children’s charity

The Milton Keynes office of Mazars, the international accountancy and advisory firm, has raised over £1,000 for Northampton charity, Children are Butterflies. The sum was generated as part of this year’s latest Charity Ladies’ Afternoon Tea event.

Nominated by Jessica Sharpe who works in the Mazars Milton Keynes’ Outsourcing Department, the charity provides assistance to bereaved families who have lost a child.

Support includes practical and financial support when arranging a funeral and an established network of parents and families suffering similar losses.

The event took place at The Woburn Hotel and saw 50 professional ladies from across Milton Keynes, come together for an afternoon of networking, baked treats and raffle prizes.

Ann Hollowell, Founder and Trustee of Children are Butterflies, said: “We owe a massive thank you to the Mazars Milton Keynes team for making the event such a success.

“Due to the nature of our work, it’s not always easy to have local public fundraising events, so the fact that Mazars chose to hold this event to support the work we do was terrific.

“We not only help those families who are currently facing a family tragedy, but as a non-profit organisation, if there are surplus funds at the end of each year, we donate those to organisations that directly help to save children’s lives of any age or that are yet to be born and that’s why events such as these are so important to us.”

Stephen Eames, Milton Keynes Office Managing Partner at Mazars, said: “The work that Children are Butterflies do is fantastic. They offer support to so many families that have suffered such unimaginable tragedy and heartache and we’re so pleased that through the money we raised, we can help assist even more families across the country.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that attended the afternoon.”

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University’s close relationship with sports agency pays off for James

A sport-mad student is the latest to benefit from the University of Northampton’s close relationship with a leading PR and digital sports agency group.

Final Third Sports Media, and its younger sister organisation the other half, are based at the University’s Avenue Campus, and boast a number of high-profile clients, including the English Football League and Professional Referee Organization in the USA.

The companies have enjoyed a close working relationship with the University, having taken on a number of students to carry out work placements and paid project work.

The latest undergraduate to benefit is second-year Multimedia Journalism student, James Anstee, who is completing a work experience placement over the summer with the other half, allowing him to be involved in a series of different PR-driven projects.

“The placement’s been a great opportunity for me,” said the 20-year-old from Northampton. “I’ve been working on a project for an international football academy which we’ve led a recent rebrand for.

“It was interesting looking into the various ways it could achieve its objectives with a new identity, by researching how other organisations in the sports industry have branded themselves.

“One day I would love to set up my own PR agency, so the experience I am picking up here with the other half is invaluable. I am getting to work within an agency that is still in its infancy and receiving an overview of how it’s being built up, and how the organisation works.

“Plus, the actual project work is really interesting, as the sports industry is something I am passionate about.”

James’s experiences on the Multimedia Journalism course have stood him in good stead for a career in sports PR.

He explained: “We have a news day each week on our course, and it’s all geared towards digital. We get to learn what makes a great story, and to take that journalistic know-how into the PR world should give me a competitive edge when I embark on my career.”

James isn’t the only University representative working at the sister agencies – the new Students’ Union president, Rafael Garcia-Krailing, was a marketing intern at Final Third.

Sports Marketing graduate, Ben Warren, spent more than two years with Final Third, initially as an intern, then staying on beyond his studies for a summer placement. The experience he picked up there, along with the skills developed on his degree course, helped him to land his dream job as Somerset County Cricket Club’s digital marketing executive in 2015.

Chris Rivett, managing director of both Final Third and the other half, said: “We’ve enjoyed an increasingly fruitful relationship with the University over the seven years we’ve been in its Portfolio Centre.

“In the last five years we’ve had several marketing and journalism students working closely with us on a regular basis and it has always been an enjoyable experience. It is satisfying seeing them progress their careers after University and put into practice some of the learnings from the lecture room and skills we’ve worked with them to develop in a working environment.”

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Financial penalties to be imposed on rogue landlords in Northampton

Northampton Borough Council is planning to introduce tough new measures to tackle criminal, rogue and irresponsible landlords.

Following the introduction of new powers for local authorities in April, as an alternative to prosecution the borough council can now impose civil penalties of up to £30,000 per offence on landlords and letting agents who flout the law.

Until this year, prosecution was the only option available to the Council when dealing with serious housing offences committed by landlords. However, the Government has now given councils more powers to deal with rogue landlords and improve housing standards in the private rented sector.

Northampton Borough Council is one of the first councils to adopt the changes and has developed a clear policy on how its new approach to enforcement will work.

Civil penalties can now be used to deal with a wide range of serious housing offences where the accommodation is unlicensed, substandard, overcrowded, badly managed or unsafe. Penalties will be paid directly to the borough council and will be ring-fenced to help fund further housing enforcement activity.

Tenants of landlords who have civil penalties imposed on them are able to apply for a rent repayment order to reclaim up to 12 months’ rent and, where the rent has been met with the assistance of housing benefit, the borough council can seek to recover all or part of the housing benefit that was paid during that period.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “Northampton has some excellent landlords and letting agents, but there are people who knowingly rent out accommodation that is unlicensed, substandard or unsafe and this is wholly unacceptable.

“Of course, the maximum civil penalties will be reserved for the worst offences and the size of each penalty will be determined on a case by case basis. The important thing for us to consider, however, is whether the penalty is sufficient to remove any financial advantage that the offender may have gained by committing the offence – landlords and letting agents must never profit from putting their tenants at risk.

“What makes civil penalties a better option than prosecution is the fact that the borough council is able to use the income it receives from these penalties – and, indeed, the income it receives from rent repayment orders – to invest in our housing services, take action against more landlords, and improve the standard of private rented housing in Northampton.”

Civil penalty enforcement will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 19 July and if approved will be introduced in Northampton from 1 August.

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What to look for when choosing a letting agent

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Close Brothers comments on Taylor review of modern employment practices

Commenting on the Taylor review of modern employment practices, Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at Close Brothers, said:

“We are seeing more and more changes to the UK Labour market in the last few years with longer working careers, the emergence of the gig economy, as well as the increasing prevalence of self-employed, flexible, part-time and remote working to name a few.

“But these all provide a challenge to employers who want to provide the right support to their workers, but who may find it difficult given the different working statuses and financial circumstances. Some workers, for example self-employed workers, may need additional support and guidance to navigate what financial choices are available to them in the workplace and how to plan and make good decisions as they plan their financial futures.

“Companies have a responsibility to make sure that their workers have the right level of financial education, whatever their station or circumstances. While the Taylor review has some interesting suggestions such as those around portable benefits, tech, and default auto-enrolment, there still seems to be some way to go when it comes to helping these newly labelled ‘dependent contractors’ to plan for their financial future and save for retirement.”

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Central Foods celebrates its 21st birthday by being named in top 100

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has been named as one of the top 100 performing businesses in Northamptonshire for the first time.

The firm, which this year is celebrating its 21st anniversary, has been awarded a place in the Grant Thornton Northamptonshire Ltd Top 100 Companies for 2017 report.

“Central Foods has previously been named in the top 200 companies in Northamptonshire on a number of occasions, but this is the first year that we have been included in the top 100 – reflecting our continued growth and development as a business,” said managing director Gordon Lauder, who runs Central Foods with wife Alison.

“Now in its fifth year, the Grant Thornton report has become a key event in the county’s business calendar and the team at Central Foods is delighted that we have now, for the first time, progressed into the top 100.

“Our company was founded in Northamptonshire 21 years ago and began its life, as many do, in a very small-scale way from our home. We are very pleased and proud to have steadily grown the business to become the significant contributor to the local economy that it is today.

“Our committed, hard-working staff ensure they go over and above what is required to service customers’ requirements and this has undoubtedly been a factor in our growth and success, and I’d like to thank them for their support.”

Central Foods, based at Collingtree near Northampton, is one of the UK’s leading frozen food distributors, supplying more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers. It also supplies to foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry, including pubs, hotels, restaurants, staff canteens, schools, hospitals, coffee shops, football grounds and universities.

Offering a one-stop shop to the foodservice sector, Central Foods sources products from around the world and the UK, supplying more than 400 different lines, ranging from meat, bakery items and canapés through to buffet products, desserts and puddings.

Grant Thornton director Mike Hughes said: “We are pleased to announce that Central Foods Limited is featured in the Northamptonshire Ltd Top 100 Companies for 2017.

“According to the Northamptonshire Ltd Report, businesses in the county are performing strongly in terms of growth compared to the rest of the UK and this is set to continue. The report, conducted by Grant Thornton, analyses the financial performance of the county’s leading privately owned companies in the county.”

Mike, along with Grant Thornton associate director David Stone, recently presented an award to Central Foods to mark the company’s achievement.

Northamptonshire Ltd is compiled using the most recent publicly available accounts (as at April 2017) of the county’s 100 largest privately owned companies based on turnover and with their principal trading address in Northamptonshire. It encompasses companies with revenues of around £12 million to more than £600 million.

The report identifies the three top sectors in the county by turnover as food, drink and leisure, automotive and motor retail, and industrial and manufacturing.

For more details about Central Foods, visit www.centralfoods.co.uk

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Onefoursix flies the nest to larger premises

A thriving Northampton marketing agency has expanded by moving to larger offices in the town.

Onefoursix, which provides digital marketing and web and graphic design services, has moved from the Portfolio Innovation Centre in St Georges Avenue to Christchurch Road.

The company’s new home is approximately 2,500 sq ft and situated in ‘The Loft’ at the Mobbs Miller House complex – a space that will be shared with other locally grown creative companies Gnu Films, a film and animation company, and LionSorbet, a design consultancy for the jewellery and fashion industry.

“This move will allow us to expand as a team and put down firm roots as a company,” said Dave Williams, managing director of Onefoursix. “It also signifies the start of a new chapter for us.

“We have known for some time that the Portfolio Innovation Centre will be closing as the University moves to the new Waterside Campus, and we have struggled to find suitable premises to move to. This has taken up a considerable chunk of our time of late with a few set-backs along the way, but we are more than happy with how things have worked out in the long run.

“We look forward to welcoming our clients to the new office and showing them around. This move to bigger and better premises, but still remaining part of a creative hub, will only benefit them as we continue in our commitment to helping businesses get themselves noticed.

“We’ll also be hosting a moving-in drop-in party soon, so watch this space!”

For more information about Onefoursix, call 01604 779035 or visit www.onefoursix.co.uk.

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Northampton to sign Charter to support people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease

Northampton Borough Council has voted to sign the Motor Neurone Disease Charter to help ensure that people living with the disease, as well as the people who care for them, can access the support they need.

The charter was created by the Motor Neurone Disease Association to raise awareness of the terminal condition that kills almost a third of people within 12 months of diagnosis. The charity places emphasis on the right to be treated as an individual, the right to maximise quality of life and the right to be respected and well-supported and has approached councils across the UK for their backing.

Scott Maloney at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said: “I’m delighted that Northampton Borough Council has adopted the MND Charter. The MND Association was established in Northamptonshire in 1979 by a group of volunteers who wanted to support people affected by this devastating disease, and volunteers still play a crucial role in our work today. It’s great to see our hometown adopt the Charter and commit to playing its part in raising awareness and delivering services for people living with MND and their carers locally.”

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “We want everyone who calls Northampton home to have access to quality services that allow them to make the most of life. Motor Neurone Disease progresses incredibly quickly so it’s important that the right support is available to people when they are diagnosed.

“While the borough council doesn’t commission care and support services, we can help in other ways by raising awareness of the disease and educating our staff. Our first step will be to host an awareness event later in the year which we’ll promote the details of closer to the time.”

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Taylor Review - BCC comments

Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years. We are pleased that he has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change.

“Civic-minded business leaders across the UK have expressed concerns about the consequences of insecure employment in their local communities in recent years, and recognise there is a two-way bargain that needs to be struck that gives flexibility and security to both employers and employees. Civic businesses will also agree with Taylor on the importance of good-quality work, and opportunities for growth, development and workplace health.

“While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

“The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

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BCC’s Dr Adam Marshall comments on the Taylor Review

Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years. We are pleased that he has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change.

“Civic-minded business leaders across the UK have expressed concerns about the consequences of insecure employment in their local communities in recent years, and recognise there is a two-way bargain that needs to be struck that gives flexibility and security to both employers and employees. Civic businesses will also agree with Taylor on the importance of good-quality work, and opportunities for growth, development and workplace health.

“While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

“The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

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Dr Adam Marshall of the BCC comments on the Taylor Review

Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years. We are pleased that he has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change.

“Civic-minded business leaders across the UK have expressed concerns about the consequences of insecure employment in their local communities in recent years, and recognise there is a two-way bargain that needs to be struck that gives flexibility and security to both employers and employees. Civic businesses will also agree with Taylor on the importance of good-quality work, and opportunities for growth, development and workplace health.

“While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

“The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

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OASIS Group Acquires Federal Archive Ltd

OASIS Group, the fastest growing records and information management (RIM) company across Europe, have confirmed the completion of an additional vital acquisition. In a deal finalised on June 30th, the company acquired Federal Archive, Ltd., located in Cork, Ireland.

This transaction reinforces OASIS Group’s leadership in the Irish market. Offering a suite of information management services, including GDPR dedicated tools and Business Continuity solutions, they continue to confirm their dedication to their clients.

“This region was always a key area of interest for OASIS and Cork has provided us with a prime location”, states Brian Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of OASIS Group.

“Increasing our footprint domestically and expanding our reach locally, provides us with an opportunity to build on our offerings and existing relationships. With a commitment to transform and elevate the RIM industry, this is a promise we take seriously”.

With the integration of Federal Archives, Ltd. now underway, the newly attained clients will quickly benefit from the exceptional infrastructure and client care services OASIS provides.

This transaction marks the 28th successful acquisition for OASIS Group.

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‘No deal’ not an option for business communities - BCC

One month on from the General Election, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) yesterday (Monday) published a post-election survey of over 2,400 companies, which shows that while businesses have a range of views on their preferred objectives for the UK in Brexit negotiations, there is almost no support to conclude UK-EU talks without a trade deal.

Asked to consider which option came closest to their view about what the UK’s Brexit negotiation objectives should be, the survey - carried out just after the election - showed:

  • 2% said leave the Single Market and Customs Union, and rely on WTO rules for trade (leave without a trade deal with the EU)
  • 34% said remain in the Single Market and Customs Union
  • 13% said remain in Customs Union only (no hard borders or tariffs, but limited scope to negotiate trade agreements with third countries)
  • 11% said remain in the Single Market only (accept EU regulations and rules in return for full access to market)
  • 28% said a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and a customs agreement (the government’s pre-election objectives, set at the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech)

Respondents were also asked about a transition period, and which of the following options they believe is best for their business:

  • 46% said ‘a transition period of three years
  • 22% said ‘a transition period of longer than three years’
  • 17% said ‘no transition period’

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Our results make it clear that there are a range of business views on what the UK should be seeking in a final deal with the EU, but there is near-universal consensus that a deep and comprehensive agreement is needed. ‘No deal’ isn’t seen as a viable option. Businesses want a pragmatic settlement on the practical, real-world issues that affect their operations, not arbitrary political red lines.

“By more than three to one, businesses want a transition period on the way to a final agreement with the EU. This is critical to prevent firms facing the prospect of repeated, costly adjustments to new trading conditions. If companies have to change their business model once in 2019 and again several years thereafter, the competitiveness and investment potential of our firms will be undermined.

“Getting transition arrangements on the negotiations agenda as quickly as possible would give businesses - many of whom are considering big investment decisions now - the confidence to press ahead.”

Attached here is a PDF of the Post-Election Snap Poll.

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BCC: ‘No deal’ not an option for business communities

One month on from the General Election, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) yesterday (Monday) published a post-election survey of over 2,400 companies, which shows that while businesses have a range of views on their preferred objectives for the UK in Brexit negotiations, there is almost no support to conclude UK-EU talks without a trade deal.

Asked to consider which option came closest to their view about what the UK’s Brexit negotiation objectives should be, the survey - carried out just after the election - showed:

  • 2% said leave the Single Market and Customs Union, and rely on WTO rules for trade (leave without a trade deal with the EU)
  • 34% said remain in the Single Market and Customs Union
  • 13% said remain in Customs Union only (no hard borders or tariffs, but limited scope to negotiate trade agreements with third countries)
  • 11% said remain in the Single Market only (accept EU regulations and rules in return for full access to market)
  • 28% said a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and a customs agreement (the government’s pre-election objectives, set at the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech)

Respondents were also asked about a transition period, and which of the following options they believe is best for their business:

  • 46% said ‘a transition period of three years’
  • 22% said ‘a transition period of longer than three years’
  • 17% said ‘no transition period’

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Our results make it clear that there are a range of business views on what the UK should be seeking in a final deal with the EU, but there is near-universal consensus that a deep and comprehensive agreement is needed. ‘No deal’ isn’t seen as a viable option. Businesses want a pragmatic settlement on the practical, real-world issues that affect their operations, not arbitrary political red lines.

“By more than three to one, businesses want a transition period on the way to a final agreement with the EU. This is critical to prevent firms facing the prospect of repeated, costly adjustments to new trading conditions. If companies have to change their business model once in 2019 and again several years thereafter, the competitiveness and investment potential of our firms will be undermined.

“Getting transition arrangements on the negotiations agenda as quickly as possible would give businesses - many of whom are considering big investment decisions now - the confidence to press ahead.”

Attached here is a PDF of the Post-Election Snap Poll.

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Why do I need a Bid Strategy?

A good strategic plan can save a lot of wasted time and energy, by enabling you to focus your resources on suitable opportunities which fit with your business and its objectives and capabilities.

Sales and Marketing Teams have strategies, plans and budgets – the same should apply to the Bid & Tendering part of your business, even if you don’t have a department in-house.

Be clear on what sort of opportunities you want to go for, set clear criteria for the selection of those opportunities to avoid chasing after Contracts which you will never win.

It may be that your business has the time to go after the long shot opportunities but think what it will do to Team Morale when you repeatedly lose out to others.

Setting up a library of key tender documents with accreditations, certificates, previous submissions, previous high scoring answers and case studies can deliver significant savings
in time.

Once you have decided on an opportunity take the time to do your research, do you know the Client, is there an existing relationship, if not – go on their website, look them up on social media and work out what makes them tick. What are their priorities? Sit down in
a Group – even if it is just two of you. This will help get ideas flowing for what you can offer, what sets you apart and which key messages do you really want to get across in the Bid Response.

With this approach, by the time you come to sit down to start writing you will already have so much content and value to get across rather than staring at a blank screen working out to fill 1000 words!

Putting a clear Bid Strategy in place when tendering can improve direction, clarity and focus therefore have a significant impact on your Win Rate.

If you’d like support on putting together an effective Bid Strategy, get in touch today to sign up to our Quarterly Bid Strategy Audit. This will be beneficial for Clients who are and aren’t on our Search Service.

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Supported Internships Transform the Lives of SEND Students

Milton Keynes College is working with students with disabilities, including autism, ADHD, cerebal palsy, global delay and moderate learning difficulties, to help them obtain and remain in employment.

The Supported Internships programme, which was set up by the Department of Education and first trialled at Milton Keynes College in 2015/16, is expected to obtain a 100% success rate this year, with many of the college’s 2016/17 learners gaining permanent employment, or voluntary jobs and skills progression that could lead to their future careers.

Big brands, including Tesco, Bosch, Holiday Inn and Currys PC World are among those supporting Milton Keynes College to create life-changing opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Pippa Bruckland, Personal Tutor and Lead Job Coach for Supported Internships at the College, explains: “So far this year we have placed four of our students in permanent employment and are expecting the remaining contracts to be signed any day now. We have been overwhelmed by the success of the programme and have had fantastic feedback from learners and employers alike.”

One student, called Michael (pictured), has just been offered permanent employment with Holiday Inn Milton Keynes. The well-known hotel brand is delighted and has requested more Supported Interns for September.

Darren Hayward, General Manager of Holiday Inn Milton Keynes says: “We are delighted to be associated with MK College and the Supported Internships programme. Finding team members who have a passion for what they do can be a challenge and the Supported Internships, through the guidance of Pippa Bruckland, has introduced us to young adults who have the passion and drive but simply need a leg up at the start.

“We are very excited as a hotel, a management company and an industry about the potential the Supported Internships brings to us for employing team members with a natural passion and enthusiasm for hospitality. The dedication and commitment from professional Personal Tutors like Pippa offers the students the assistance needed to get it right at the start of the employment process and cross the hurdles that may otherwise prevent success. Well done to all involved in this initiative. We are delighted.”

Supported Internships essentially offer a stepping stone, with a safety net, to a young person’s future, while at the same time educating and familiarising employers with the benefits of employing people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

“The College is working closely with employers to support future generations of SEND students into work, and close the gap between disabled and non-disabled people in permanent employment. With positive results for the programme so far, I hope that more employers will embrace the Supported Internships scheme, so that more SEND children and their parents/carers can rely on a system that will provide increased opportunities to a fulfilling future career,” concludes Pippa.

For further information about Supported Internships at Milton Keynes College visit http://www.mkcollege.ac.uk/subjects-we-offer/inclusive-learning, email Inclusive.learning@mkcollege.ac.uk or call 01908 684141.

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New Member of the Team – Bid and Project Coordinator

Due to our continued growth and success, Bid and Tender Support are delighted to announce we have a new member of the Team. Clara-Jane has joined our Team as Bid & Project Coordinator to manage our internal workflow, client liaison, document management and research. Clara’s background in process driven roles and customer services, will ensure she proves to be a very useful and valuable member of our Team.

Clara-Jane brings a multitude of skills to the business including a high level of attention to detail and organisational skills; both are essential to our work. As a highly efficient worker, Clara-Jane will allow us to continue to offer the very best customer service and standards of work as we grow.

Welcome to the Team!

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Article 50: uncertainty the order of the day for UK SMEs

Only 1 in 4 SME owners in the UK feel that they have a clear understanding of what Article 50 is and what it means for their business, according to results obtained from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that questions over 900 UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

“Among smaller companies (those with a turnover less than £500k) the lack of understanding is even more acute,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing. “In that category of respondents the figure falls to only 19%, which is indicative of how little people really know about Article 50 and its potential impact.”

Business impact

Over half (52%) of businesses were ‘unsure’ whether the triggering of Article 50 would have any measurable effect on their business; 21% felt it would while the remaining 27% said ‘no’.

“In the absence of any certainty, business owners are left with no choice but to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach,” said Neil. “In common with a year ago when the Brexit outcome was announced, companies are getting on with their day-to-day activities and hoping for the best outcome.”

Break-up of the UK

A large minority of business owners – 40% are of the opinion that the triggering of Article 50 will lead to the break-up of the UK, with Scotland (53%) and the Republic of Ireland (61%) being the most convinced.

“While these results are speculation only, it speaks to the uncertainty about the future of the UK in its current form,” said Neil. “This brings with it concerns about impact to their business, which in turn can lead to caution when making investment and growth decisions, with many deferring until there is more certainty in the market. For now, though, it is something we are all going to have to live with.”

Clarity over Europe?

Businesses were split down the middle when asked ‘do you think triggering Article 50 will bring more or less clarity to our relationship with the EU?’, with 49% answering ‘more’ and 51% saying ‘yes’.

“For many UK businesses, Europe is a key market, and will continue to be so regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations,” continued Neil. “Triggering Article 50 on its own does not seem to have brought the clarity many were hoping for.”

For more news from Close Brothers Asset Finance please click here.

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Commitment to apprenticeships is a signal of intent from rail engineering giants

Global engineering giant Siemens has revealed it is ‘vital’ to keep feeding its talent pipeline with the best problem solvers from Northampton College as bosses look to plug the skills gap hitting the industry.

The commitment to apprenticeship schemes comes on the back of two Northampton College students winning the chance to spend time on work experience at Siemens base at the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Kings Heath, Northampton.

Level 3 Mechanical Engineering students Lewis Henry, aged 19, and 17-year-old William Dunkley will have the opportunity to impress managers at the pioneering facility and get fast-tracked to the apprenticeship assessment centre – where they can secure a permanent role working on the latest technology being rolled out across the railways.

Dan Walker from Siemens said: “We have seen a lot of older employees leave the industry through retirement and take their experience with them. It’s difficult to find young people to replace them and that has created a huge skills gap.

“By teaming up with Northampton College and identifying their star students at a young age we can begin to feed that talent pipeline with the type of people we need, good problem solvers with a commitment and determination to work hard. It’s vital we find those people to keep pushing forward.”

Having completed his two-year course at Northampton College, Lewis is now set to progress to the University of Nottingham where he will study civil engineering. William is returning to Booth Lane for the second year of his course and will undergo a work placement with Siemens.

He said: “It’s a fascinating industry and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to see the latest technology which is being used right here in Northampton to revolutionise the railways.”

Among the projects William will have the chance to work on is the European Rail Transport Management System – a new form of signalling being rolled out across the UK’s rail network.

He will also make use of state-of-the-art virtual reality headsets to gain a greater understanding of the component parts which go into the engineering of train carriages.

Tutor Neil Tobin said: “Having this facility on our doorstep here in Northampton can only be a good thing for our students and we look forward to building a long-lasting relationship with Siemens.”

Pictured (L-R): Dan Walker from Siemens, William Dunkley, Lewis Henry and Neil Tobin of Northampton College.

For more information on engineering courses available at Northampton College, visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk.

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Denfield Park Primary School bag a Ruby Changemaker Award

Pupils from Denfield Park Primary School in Rushden have proved they are real Changemakers by raising funds to improve their playground equipment and creating a ‘buddy stop’ to make sure that their classmates always have someone to play with.

The 25 children, ranging from age five to 11, visited the University of N​orthampton on Monday 3 July, along with their teacher Alice Freeman, and were presented with the Ruby Changemaker Award by the Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Petford.

The Changemaker Student Awards form part of the University’s commitment as an Askoka U Changemaker Campus to work with, celebrate and actively engage local schoolchildren in social change.

After identifying the issue of there not being enough play equipment to go around, the Changemaker team came up with ideas to raise money for new toys, such as present-making, raffles, discos and even starting up a yo-yo club.

With over £1,700 in funds, they have so far bought a giant Connect4, giant Jenga, a basketball net and toys for indoor play too.

The ‘buddy stop’ was also established, after it was noted that not all children were joining in at playtime. The idea is that the Changemaker team gather at a particular point during playtime so there is always someone available to talk to or play with.

Janice Watkins, Project Lead for the Changemaker Hub at the University of Northampton, said: “I’m very proud of the way these young Changemakers have identified a situation that they wanted to change for the better. Their fundraising skills have been amazing, as well as the empathy they have shown to their fellow pupils with the creation of a ‘buddy stop’.

“This award demonstrates all the hard work that the pupils have put in to make playtimes at their school more fun, as well as the experience they gained in working together as a team.”

The Changemaker Student Awards aim to recognise, celebrate and build children’s skills as Changemakers through innovative self-designed projects in their schools and the wider community.

The programme consists of three progressive levels; Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, which lead to a Changemaker Student Award.

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Team BRIT supports young driver, Billy Monger

Stanair are absolutely delighted to support Team BRIT who got Billy Monger back on track this week at Brands Hatch.

Billy, a teenage racing driver, suffered extreme injuries in a recent Formula 4 race at Donnington Park, which resulted in him having both legs amputated from the knees. Determined to get back behind the wheel, Billy did just that a short ten weeks after the crash, on a specially arranged track day at Brands Hatch with Team BRIT.

A truly inspiring young man, you can find out more about his story in this short video here.

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How to join Next Generation Chamber

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FREE Introduction to Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace Workshop

1 in 4 working age adults suffer with mental health issues ever year. Last year alone cost the economy £105.2 billion and 80% of managers want to help staff but don’t know how.

This workshop delivered in conjunction with Blue Lobster Therapy will show you how to spot the early signs of mental health and stress issues in your employees and equip your business with tools to deal with mental ill health in the workplace.

Who should attend:

Owners, Line Mangers and HR Managers who are looking for strategies for managing and coping with mental health in the workplace.

What you will learn:

  • Understanding different types of illnesses
  • Knowing how to assess and signpost staff
  • Spot the signs early of mental health & stress issues.
  • Provide yourself, HR Managers & Line Managers with the tools to deal with mental ill health
  • Early intervention to prevent problems from impacting the business.
  • Reducing Absenteeism & Sickness costs.
  • Reducing the stigma around mental health
  • Promote a positive & productive working environment

Venue:Cranfield University Technology Park

Address: University Way Cranfield Bedfordshire MK43 0BT

Date & Time: Tuesday, 18th July 2017; 09:30 – 11:30

Contact Email: enquiries@velocitygrowthub.com

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We’d really like to hear your views on social media and what it means for you and your business

Take part in our Social Media Impact Survey, aimed at understanding how business owners/senior management of UK owned businesses and professional advisors use social media.

We’d really like to hear your views on social media and what it means for you and your business.

This survey has 10 main questions over 2 pages and takes 2 minutes or less to complete.

This is an anonymous survey and NO NAMES, EMAIL OR COMPANY NAMES will be published, they remain STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Click here to take part in our survey here - http://www.howespercival.com/resources-and-events/news/social-media-impact-survey

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What is the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into legal force in May 2018 and must become a focus of your operation if it isn’t already.

In broad terms, a lot of what this regulation does is bring together, clarify and extend already existing data privacy laws and directives. Currently, there are many different regulations and bodies throughout EU member states. Bringing all of them together relieves the need for individual country legislation, as well as creating a common standard. UK data laws are not superseded by GDPR, so where a local directive or regulation has a higher level of control it is still valid and cannot be ignored.

There are some new additions to previous laws, the biggest of which is the inclusion and real demand for accountability from data processors. The heart of GDPR is to protect each one of us and the data held about us by any individual, any company and any government. Who can argue with the sensibility of that? It is not purely about restriction, but more about balancing the interests of business with the freedoms of individuals.

The Information Commissioner’s Office(ICO) has ongoing analysis and explanation and the full document can be found at https://gdpr-info.eu/.

What does it say?

In layman’s words, GDPR says: if you hold or process any data that allows personal identification of an individual you must have just cause (lawful right, consent, legitimate interest), be accountable, be transparent in the use of it, protect the data properly and only use it for it’s given purpose.

Think widely about the data you hold in your business, as the regulation covers all of it. This includes customer data, contracts, personnel files, indeed any data that is personal information. Whilst we are used to a certain understanding of what personal data is; name, email address etc., there is an additional specification that reflects changes in technology and data gathering to include biometric, genetic and online data that can be used to identify an individual.

What does GDPR mean?

For our purposes, this will focus on what it means to Email Marketers.

Just Cause


Consent is the best and all encompassing proof of a legitimate use of personal data, particularly where marketing is concerned. Proof is important and consent must be properly documented to provide that proof.

Gaining consent should already be top of your priority for interactions with your customers, the Data Protection Act (DPA) already specifies the necessary parameters for obtaining consent.
The more defined consent that GDPR requires is:

  • A freely given, ‘clear affirmative act’*. Pre-ticked boxes on forms, options to opt-out only, non-response or inactivity are not acceptable.
  • Fully informed. You must clearly and simply explain to the person giving consent that they are agreeing for you to use their data and what you will be using it for.
  • Easily withdrawn. Where consent is given, there are a lot of individuals rights that need to be observed. Withdrawal of consent cannot be detrimental to the subject.

Should you read the regulation, don’t get hung up on the sentence “The processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.”** This is not a global permission to use personal data for direct marketing. The existing e-Privacy Directive requires an opt-in for collecting data. As long as that is adhered to correctly then you have a legitimate reason to process that data. The benefit is that any data already properly opted in is acceptable to process under GDPR. Remember that opt-in must be proven, so make sure there is documented evidence of how/when it was given. For surety that your data storage and processing meets GDPR standards, I would recommend having an audit of your data use and digital marketing practice. Emailcenter offer services to help with getting your data and practices ready. Contact us for more information.

As a business you may have legitimate interest for other reasons – legal obligation, public interest, contractual need and official authority are discussed. Whilst processing and communication could be email related, in a transactional manner for example, these are outside of the marketing arena.

Accountability

This is a principle running through every aspect of the regulation. Accountability promotes good practice, a responsible attitude and an interest in the rights of individuals.

Record and document data processes. Not only does this satisfy the demands of the GDPR, but it also forms a useful route to understanding exactly how you are using data, how well it is protected and how good your practice around data gathering really is. I expect (hope!) for most it will be a case of formalising or correlating what you already do.

Transparency

Consent, discussed above, has a greater transparency under GDPR than before. The term ‘informed consent’*** requires that the subject must at least be told who the controller (data owner) is, and the purpose for processing their data. If the data will be used for more than one purpose, then all intentions must be made plain, consent given for each purpose and processing restricted to those purposes.

Privacy notices must be easy for everyone to understand. When collecting data, they must explain who you are, why you are collecting data and the rights of an individual to control that data. A multi-part notice where each section is separate and in plain english – or other appropriate language – is the best way to structure something this complex.

Records must be kept of privacy notices, consent information and all processing activities in order to prove you are adhering to the legislation.

Data Protection

Protecting your data, be it customer, staff, contract or any other business information should always be a priority in any business. There are long existing standards, like ISO/IEC 27001 or PCI-DSS, that focus on system and process wide protection. These go a long way in demonstrating appropriate security and control of data.

GDPR also calls for a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to be employed in certain circumstances:
The DPO can be a part-time worker or additional role to an existing employee, but importantly must have independence in reporting to board level without interference, and have expert knowledge of data protection law and practice. Again, if this scope is out of in-house reach then services to supply such an officer are available.

  • Where the organisation is a public body or authority;
  • Where Data processing requires regular monitoring of data subjects on a large scale; or
  • Where the core activities or the processing involves large amounts of special (sensitive) data or data relating to criminal convictions or offences

Should something go wrong in your protection of personal data then you have an obligation to report any breach as soon as you become aware of it to a Supervisory Authority, where feasible no later than 72 hours of becoming aware. You must also report the breach to the individual concerned, where it is ‘likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of the natural person, in order to allow him or her to take the necessary precautions’****

How does Emailcenter help?

Maxemail

Maxemail is engineered with security as a fundamental design principle. We have ISO 27001 accreditation that underlines the security practice we put around our operation, from network and infrastructure, through platform design and support, to our staff. Over the coming weeks we will expand on how you can use the Maxemail platform to assist and promote the tight control you should have to meet the GDPR requirements.

Maxservices


We are putting together programmes and insight to help you get the best out of your preparations for May 2018. Our Maxservices team will be on hand to advise and to help implement recommended practice in your email marketing.

*GDPR recital (37)
**GDPR recital (47)
***GDPR recital (42)
****GDPR recital (86)

View the full GDPR text

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Why you need to check your existing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) today

Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals, urge you to check any current EPCs as soon as possible.

New regulations coming into force will soon make it unlawful to renew or grant a new lease for properties with an energy rating below an E from 1st April 2018.

The clock is now ticking towards the deadline next year and you do not want to get caught out. The legislation will also apply to all existing leases from April 2023 so it is essential you properly plan to ensure you can continue to let your property.

To put things in to perspective, recent information published by the Government highlights that 10% of all registered EPCs for non-domestic properties in Bedfordshire are either F or G rated. Assuming no changes are made to legislation and that the property does not fit the exemption definitions then landlords for these properties will not be able to renew or grant a new lease after 1st April 2018. This could leave buildings unlettable until improvement works take place leading to vacant buildings and loss of rental income. It will also have an effect on tenants, who may have to find alternative premises.

It is important to be cautious when reviewing historic EPCs as some have been found to contain inaccurate information which have contributed to properties having a poor energy rating. In the past, EPCs were seen by many as a ‘tick box’ exercise just to advertise the property on the open market and enable a lease to be signed. Many were obtained as economically as possible with little attention to detail and based upon wrong assumptions. This has left many properties vulnerable and dropped them unnecessarily into the danger zone.

Another consideration is how many landlords know if existing tenants have made any changes since the last EPC? Changes to service installations, including air conditioning or electric heaters, can dramatically reduce the rating. We strongly urge landlords to review their current documents and if necessary commission new EPCs to ensure they accurately reflect the present day property.

While the new regulations do not come into force until April 2018, action now can help prepare for the changes and help mitigate the impact of the changes. Please contact Robinson & Hall for an initial free appraisal of your existing EPC.

Robinson & Hall can help identify any buildings at risk, assess your property, implement a strategy to ensure your buildings comply with the regulations and advise upon the most
cost effective options.

For further information about how Robinson & Hall can help you improve your EPC, please call Robert Franklin, Head of Architecture & Building Surveying at Robinson & Hall on 01234 362917 or email rjf@robinsonandhall.co.uk

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PROMOTION HELPS TAKE CML’S ACCOUNT TEAM TO THE NEXT LEVEL

End to end logistics expert, CML, is pleased to announce the promotion of Michael Smith from Customer Account Manager to the role of M&S Customer Relationship Manager.

Having worked at the company for 11 years, Michael has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure the service he provides Marks and Spencer is to the highest standard.

In his new position, Michael will work alongside the account management and customer service teams at CML, along with the clothing and home logistics team at the leading high street retailer. Michael will ensure that high-quality service levels continue to be achieved and its network strategy is supported by CML in the best way possible. As well as this, Michael will work with the team at Marks and Spencer to conduct operational and performance reviews to ensure that CML is able to effectively support its credible logistics network.

Commenting on his promotion, Michael said: “I am delighted to have been promoted to M&S Customer Relationship Manager and to have the opportunity to be involved with Marks and Spencer at a senior level. The experience I’ve gained working at CML over the years will enable me to provide them with exceptional levels of customer service, demonstrate my ability to work with them closely to develop new opportunities, focus on further continuous improvement alongside the clothing and home logistics team, and ‘put the customer at the heart of everything we do.’”

Commenting on Michael’s promotion, CML’s Managing Director, Mark Webb said “Michael has been a valued member of CML for a number of years now and was an obvious choice for this newly developed role. His promotion emphasizes our commitment to providing outstanding levels of service, not only to Marks and Spencer, but to all of our clients.”

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Stay hydrated this Summer

With summer warming up, it’s easy to enjoy a cold pint or glass of wine in the pub garden, but do you make sure you drink enough water?

Water is an essential nutrient to life, and adequate hydration is the key to short and long term wellbeing, needed for almost every bodily function.1

The amount of water we should drink varies from person to person, but as a general principle, both the Food Standards Agency and British Dietetic Association recommend that the average adult should drink between 1.8 and 2 litres of water per day. 2

We all know we need to drink more water, but why is it so important to keep hydrated?

Water is used as a nutrient for every cell in the body. It provides the body with vitamins and minerals, lubricating the joints and eyes, aiding digestion, flushing out waste and toxins, and keeping the skin healthy. Our bodies lose approximately 2.5 litres of water each day just by breathing, sweating and going to the toilet. 3

Consequently, if we don’t pay proper attention to topping up our water and fluid intake, it’s easy to become dehydrated.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include drowsiness, headaches, dry skin, eyes and lips, lack of concentration and irritability4.

Dehydration can have a huge impact on the body’s performance. Even the mildest dehydration adversely affects both mental and physical performance.5 For example, a 2% loss of water results in the reductions in performance:

• Concentration 20%

• Motor speed 15%

• Arithmetic ability 10%

• Short term memory 13%

• Efficiency 18%

Drinking water isn’t just about keeping hydrated; there are a number of health and lifestyle benefits to be derived, including: managing weight, improving energy, enhancing appearance and managing the effects of alcohol.6

So to keep hydrated, whether it’s at work, or at home, follow these simple tips7

• Carry a water bottle around with and keep refilling it

• Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day

• Replace coffee, tea and fizzy drinks with water at every opportunity

• Drink water with strong coffee

• Drink a glass of water with every meal

• If you are in a hot, humid environment or physically active it is vital that you stay hydrated

• Have hydrated meetings – drink water rather than coffee

• If you’re thirsty drink water

This blog was written by IHC, an independent healthcare intermediary based in the UK.

With 25 years’ experience in the medical insurance and employee benefit market, IHC offers employee benefit advice to SMEs and corporate clients. Working with leading insurance companies, IHC works with you to find and create the best employee benefits offerings, unique to your business and employees.

Contact Tracy Hazelgrave, regional representative for Beds, Bucks and Herts for more information and a free review of your existing benefits and wellbeing programmes. Email: thazelgrave@ihc.co.uk, Phone: 07760 222 307

References

1. Wellbeing People, http://www.wellbeingpeople.com/about/hydration.html

2. British Dietetic Association, https://www.bda.uk.com/improvinghealth/awareness_raising/hydration

3. NHS Choices, 2015 http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/Pages/Introduction.aspx

4. NHS https://beta.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration?WT.mc_id=organic_split

5. The Journal of Nutrition, 2015 http://jn.nutrition.org/

6. Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water#1

7. BUPA, https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/h/hydration

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Motorsport Medics European Road Trip for Charity

A team of medics is swapping their ambulance for a rally car this summer to help raise money for charity.

The colleagues from Meditech Global based at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, have formed the Medrock Allstars and will be competing in the annual Two Ball Banger Rally, which sees teams competing against each other over four-days.

Following the original route, the event starts in France on Friday, August 18 and takes in nine different countries in just four days! Passing through Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Monte Carlo before finishing in Nice.

Operations Director Gary Watts will be joined by Rockingham’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Mark Tyler (both pictured here), and paramedic Adrian Hanson on the 1200-mile European road trip to raise money for Northamptonshire-based Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Gary, from Rushden in Northamptonshire, said: This is a great opportunity for us three middle aged guys to have some fun driving around Europe in an old banger. It’s not quite Top Gear, more like we’ve lost a gear! But hopefully the Megane will see us across the finish line in Nice.

“We decided to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association as it is a charity close to our hearts. Sadly one of our friends’ partner has this condition and at present there is no cure. By taking part in this event, we are hoping to raise at least £1000 for MND, which provides support, care and research.”

Although the Two Ball Banger Rally is not a race, it is a serious competition, with competitors completing outrageous daily challenges which will test their mental state of mind, teamwork, driving and navigational skills!

However along the way, the route will pass through the Black Forest of Germany, the famous Stelvio Mountain Pass, Italy’s breath-taking Lake Como and the Mediterranean principality of the rich and famous, Monaco.

To take part in the event, each team had to purchase a car for less than £567 and the Medrock Allstars will be travelling in style! Their chosen wheels is a grey 56-plate Renault Megane. The trip is completely self-funded with competitors raising much needed funds for their own chosen charity.

The motorsport medics have so far secured sponsorship from Rockingham Motor Speedway, Whilton Mill, NGR Spark Plugs, British Touring Car teams – BMR and Triple8 – and drift racer Michelle Westby. However the team has room on their car for more names!

Anyone interested in adding their name to the Medrock Allstars car can contact Gary on 01536 206010. Or to make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-tyler8.

You can follow the team’s progress via Facebook - Medrock Allstars - Two Ball Rally 2017 & twitter - @MedrockAllstars.

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New University of Northampton course focuses on international special events management

Professionals who want to gain a competitive edge in the special events industry can sign up for a brand new course at the University of Northampton.

The MSc in International Special Events Management will equip students with the skills and knowledge to create events with the wow factor consumers demand. The course has been designed to reflect the diversity of events that fall into this category, such as celebrations, ceremonies and spectacles such as weddings, award ceremonies, fundraising events, galas, product launches, conferences, art shows and music festivals.

The course is not only aimed at recent graduates, but also those already working in the events industry who are looking for accelerated career progression , and can be studied on a full or part-time basis, which offers those in work the flexibility to learn alongside their job.

MSc Programme Leader, Angela Anthonisz said: “Special events live or die by the skills of the organiser – not just in terms of planning, but also in terms of creativity and design.

“Our programme focuses on many of the key planning skills required for managing special events, but places particular emphasis on innovation, excellence, creativity and design. We are looking for applicants that are passionate about the events industry and want to enhance their professional skill set.”

For more details about the course, visit the website: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/study/courses/international-special-events-management/

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Video Animation

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To celebrate MK’s 50th Birthday we are reducing our recruitment fees for all employers with an MK postcode by up to 50%

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Northampton to compete in East Midlands in Bloom

Northampton is taking part in the East Midlands in Bloom regional competition for the sixteenth time this year and judgement day is set for next week.

Horticultural judges will visit on Tuesday, 11 July to take in the efforts of schools, community groups and individuals from around the town.

In 2016, Northampton secured a Sliver Gilt award along with a special commendation from the judging panel for making the whole town bloom. This year, Northampton Borough Council are going for gold with an Edgar Mobbs commemorative display on St Giles Street and the addition a new statue of Lady Wantage in Abington Park.

Abington Vale Primary School is one of the community entrants who will meet the judges to showcase their green-fingered displays on the day. Fiona Hull, Deputy Head Teacher at Abington Vale Primary School, said: “The school looks beautiful and we’re really looking forward to showing it off. All of the children have been involved in the planting in some way and we’ve had parents,grandparents, governors and staff helping too.

“We’ve incorporated our Bloom projects into the curriculum by making it part of our science lessons on growth. So each class has worked on their own mini-project, which means that not only is the whole school covered in flowers but we’ve also got a vegetable patch, a sensory garden, and areas of planting that encourage wildlife.”

Local growers Cramden Nursery have come on board as official sponsors of Northampton in Bloom 2017 and will also be meeting the judges. Their home-grown pelargoniums are
currently filling the shoe planter in the Courtyard at the Guildhall.

Emily Mitchell from Cramden Nursery, said: “It’s our first time getting involved and we’re very proud to grow and provide plants for Northampton in Bloom. We’re a family business and all of our plants are grown here in Northampton so I’m really pleased we’re able to give something back to the community.

“I’m excited to meet the judges, it’s not the first time that our plants have been judged though so I’m feeling quietly confident and am really happy to let the plants do the talking.”

Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for the environment at Northampton Borough Council, said: “We’re incredibly proud of how much improvement we’ve shown since we first started taking part in Bloom and last year was our best yet, but I think we’ve got what it takes to push for gold.

“Whether we get there this year is entirely down to the judges now but I’m confident that we’ve shown we’re looking for new ways to encourage people to enjoy our town and green spaces.

“What’s really important is the community effort that goes into this and I’d like to thank everyone who has got stuck in again this year.”

The results of the East Midlands in Bloom competition will be announced in the autumn.

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Apply for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: The UK’s most prestigious business awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as the most prestigious business awards in the UK. The awards were first established in 1966 and since then 6,876 companies have been awarded a Queen’s Award.

Winning an Award offers multiple benefits including global recognition for your company, boosting staff morale and increasing growth.

In 2016 there were 83 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners across London and the South East.

Background information on the Awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise and encourage the outstanding achievements of UK businesses in the fields of:

  • International Trade;
  • Sustainable Development; and,
  • Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

The UK is full of exciting and innovative businesses and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are a great way of celebrating their success.

Whether a small business with a great innovative product or service, or a larger company running an impressive social mobility programme, these awards are a prestigious way to recognise your contribution to enterprise.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are open to applications from almost all businesses of all sizes throughout the UK in every sector.

Benefits of winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise

  • The use of a recognised emblem that will get your business noticed, above and beyond the competition.
  • Global recognition that your company is outstanding in its field.
  • Increase in sales and growth
  • Boost staff morale
  • Invitation to attend a Buckingham Palace reception

How to apply

  • Almost all UK businesses (including non profit) can apply and the application process is free.
  • All applications must be made online and you may apply for more than one category.
  • The application process for the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise closes at midday on Friday 1st September 2017.
  • All entry forms, eligibility criteria and information on how to apply is available at https://goo.gl/gWTXG9

For more information, please contact:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Office

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

4th Floor – Spur 2

1 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0ET

Email: queensawards@beis.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7215 6880

Website: https://www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise

Twitter: @TheQueensAwards

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Apply for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise - The UK’s most prestigious business awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as the most prestigious business awards in the UK. The awards were first established in 1966 and since then 6,876 companies have been awarded a Queen’s Award.

Winning an Award offers multiple benefits including global recognition for your company, boosting staff morale and increasing growth.

In 2016 there were 83 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners across London and the South East.

Background information on the Awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise and encourage the outstanding achievements of UK businesses in the fields of:

  • International Trade;
  • Sustainable Development; and,
  • Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

The UK is full of exciting and innovative businesses and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are a great way of celebrating their success.

Whether a small business with a great innovative product or service, or a larger company running an impressive social mobility programme, these awards are a prestigious way to recognise your contribution to enterprise.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are open to applications from almost all businesses of all sizes throughout the UK in every sector.

Benefits of winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise

  • The use of a recognised emblem that will get your business noticed, above and beyond the competition.
  • Global recognition that your company is outstanding in its field.
  • Increase in sales and growth
  • Boost staff morale
  • Invitation to attend a Buckingham Palace reception

How to apply

  • Almost all UK businesses (including non profit) can apply and the application process is free.
  • All applications must be made online and you may apply for more than one category.
  • The application process for the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise closes at midday on Friday 1st September 2017.
  • All entry forms, eligibility criteria and information on how to apply is available at https://goo.gl/gWTXG9

For more information, please contact:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Office

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

4th Floor – Spur 2

1 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0ET

Email: queensawards@beis.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7215 6880

Website: https://www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise

Twitter: @TheQueensAwards

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IN A SPIN

Were you aware that fidgeting is more than just an annoying habit; it’s a way of channeling energy into the workplace?

Fidgeting is a common daily activity in the office, school, or workplace which cannot be prevented – the more people try to stop you, the more fidgety you become.

By occupying the part of the brain that’s bored, fidgeting enables the other parts to focus and consume the information that the person is receiving.

Spin away your stress, fear or boredom with this fidget spinner.

We have now extended our range of promotional products for fidgets to include a smart spinner and the fidget cube; as well as our range of printed stress balls. All three of these products have been purposely chosen to help improve concentration.

It’s so simple! Just place the spinner on a flat surface and hold your finger on the middle part to turn this spinner. This also be used held between your fingers in moments you need to focus to improve your productivity.

It’s hard to explain the product’s sudden popularity. Some educators claim the fidget spinner is a useful tool for children who have ADHD, giving them something to do with their hands to help them concentrate.

Because it is classed as a toy it must have CE label signaling that it has been approved for use by children. However many of the items coming in to the UK do not have this mark on, choose carefully whenh buying one if these are foe use with children.

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Spirit Hyundai announces pices and specifications for the New Generation i30 Tourer

Spirit Hyundai has announced the new generation i30 Tourer will cost from £17,495, when it goes on sale this weekend.

All models come with an exceptional level of standard equipment, including a suite of safety tech, such as: Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Park Assist.

Alloy wheels, Bluetooth and DAB are all included on base “S” models, while the “SE” trim gains front fog lamps, a five inch LCD touchscreen and park assist.

“SE Nav” models cost from £20,305 and are likely to appeal to Business customers as they feature a Sat Nav system with an eight-inch TFT screen.

Top of the range “Premium” and Premium SE versions are spec’d with leather heated seats, larger alloy wheels front parking sensors and the blind spot protection warning system.

As an estate, luggage space is a key credential and the i30 Tourer can accommodate 602 litres with the rears seats in place and 1650 litres with the rear seats lowered.

The engine line up consists of a 1.0 or 1.4-litre Turbo petrol and a punchy 1.6-litre diesel. The latter is available in two outputs: 110ps or 136ps. The 110ps is the most efficient with CO2 emissions of 99gms/km. Emissions for petrol models range from 115gms/km to 129gms.

All New Generation i30 models come with Hyundai’s industry leading 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty, 5 Year Roadside Assistance package, 5 Year annual Health Check and 12 Year Anti Corrosion Warranty.

The countries leading contract hire companies clearly like this new addition to the Hyundai family. With Personal & Business contract hire rates starting at £186.00 +VAT per month.

This New Generation i30 Tourer looks set to be another example of Hyundai setting their sites on the more established markets of the North European Brands.

Both Spirit Hyundai sites in Corby (01536-268223) and Spirit Northampton (01604-417850)will have i30 Tourer available to view from this weekend. Well worth a visit!!

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Former nurses asked to walk the wards again with the University of Northampton

Experienced nurses are being encouraged to walk the wards again and sign up for a retraining course with the University of Northampton.

Return to Professional Practice (RtP) lets qualified nurses who have had a break from practice enhance and hone their existing knowledge and skills so that they can confidently return.

Although there has been a national decrease in nurses registered to work in the UK, the University of Northampton and local NHS healthcare providers are collaborating on a first of its kind recruitment drive to address this and attract nurses and doctors to relocate to live and work in Northamptonshire.

Called the ‘Best of Both Worlds’, Northampton General Hospital, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Kettering General Hospital and St Andrew’s Healthcare are working with us to position the county as a top destination for nurses who want to pursue and develop successful careers.

Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society at the University of Northampton said: “Nursing offers a fantastic career opportunity and across Northamptonshire there are many opportunities for nurses to work in diverse areas, either within hospitals or the wider community.

“Our Return to Practice course is funded by Health Education England so study costs should not deter Northamptonshire nurses from contacting us to help them return to what I feel is the most rewarding job of all.”

Sharon Gray took time out from her nursing career after an operation, but hasn’t looked back since starting her RtP course at University of Northampton. She said: “I would definitely recommend the Return to Professional Practice course as all the skills you learn during your training come flooding back and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“My advice to former nurses who want to get back into the profession is that the opportunity is there so go for it! You have absolutely nothing to lose and everyone is so supportive.”

Ruth Wheatley originally qualified in 1982 but overcame her doubts about going back into practice: Ruth said: “At the back of my mind, I always knew I was a nurse and wanted to return to practice. With support from the University of Northampton, I completed my application.

“I immediately bonded with the other RtP nurses as we were all in the same boat. It felt right when I stepped back onto the ward; I wondered why I hadn’t it before.”

Find out more about the Best of Both Worlds campaign.

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Take part in our Social Media Impact Survey

Take part in our Social Media Impact Survey, aimed at understanding how business owners/senior management of UK owned businesses and professional advisors use social media.

We’d really like to hear your views on social media and what it means for you and your business.

This survey has 10 main questions over 2 pages and takes 2 minutes or less to complete.

This is an anonymous survey and NO NAMES, EMAIL OR COMPANY NAMES will be published, they remain STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Click here to take part in our survey here - https://lnkd.in/gdr9tS9

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Free Contract Hire Review

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Free Accident/Claims Management

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Statues inspired by local history commissioned for Northampton

Five new statues of historical figures with a strong connection to Northampton have been commissioned for display in the town.

Following the popularity of the statue of poet John Clare, which was installed at the Guildhall last year, Northampton Borough Council has commissioned five additional statues from the same artist. Sculptor Richard Austin crafted the cold cast bronze statues in the likeness of prominent characters from Northampton’s past who each lived very different lives.

The installation will celebrate the achievements of five former Northampton residents who made names for themselves both locally and internationally:

  • Nobel Prize winner, Francis Crick was educated at the Northampton Town and County Grammar School and went on to co-discover the DNA molecule
  • Walter Tull joined Northampton Town Football Club in 1911 before becoming the first black officer to lead white British soldiers in battle during WWI
  • Malcolm Arnold made his name as one of the most sought-after composers in Britain, writing the score for the film “The Bridge over the River Kwai” among others
  • Local hero, Edgar Mobbs raised his own company of sportsmen for the Northamptonshire Regiment after initially being turned down as too old to join the army. He was killed in action in July 1917
  • Noted philanthropist, Lady Wantage was instrumental in setting up the National Aid Society - the forerunner of the British Red Cross Society. In the 1890s Lady Wantage gave the land for Abington Park to Northampton

Lady Wantage will spend the summer at Abington Park Museum while the rest of the life-size figures will join John Clare to line the Courtyard of the Guildhall.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “We received such a positive response to John Clare that we wanted to extend the project to include other talented and inspirational former Northampton residents.

“With this installation we’re celebrating a composer, a scientist, a great philanthropist, sportsmen and soldiers, as well as a renowned poet; so it really showcases the great range of talent and potential that we are able to nurture right here in Northampton.

“The Guildhall is at the heart of the town and is itself steeped in history, so it seems a fitting home for these figures who have each added to our rich heritage in
their own way.”

Artist Richard Austin said: “It’s always so uplifting to work on a sculpture that represents the best of humanity. To work on six such figures for public display is therefore particularly exciting. I hope that this legacy from Northampton Borough Council will be as inspiring to those who see these statues, as it has been to create them.”

The statues will be installed on Tuesday, 4 July, during this time the Courtyard at the Guildhall will be closed to the public however the One Stop Shop shall remain open as usual.

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Softbank to Acquire Robotics Division from Alphabet: our take

Late last week it was announced, without much ceremony, that Softbank Group would be acquiring Boston Dynamics and Schaft, collectively the robotics division of Google-parent, Alphabet. The terms of the deal are undisclosed. Recently Interact Analysis has written about both Alphabet’s industrial strategy and Softbank’s wide range of investments in technologies of the future.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Mass market adoption of automotive sensors to drive lower-cost UAV ‘sense and avoid’

The rapid increase in use of sensors in automotive for safety applications and autonomous driving is providing the catalyst for much needed advances in the use of ‘sense and avoid’ for UAVs.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Softbank’s Investment in OSIsoft

Last week it was announced that Softbank Group had made an investment in OSISoft by acquiring the minority interest held by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (Kleiner Perkins), TCV and Tola Capital.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Google arrives just in IoT(ime)

Last month we wrote about Alphabet’s (and its subsidiaries) lack of presence in the industrial IoT space, this despite being suitably qualified and it being a potent strategic fit for the company. It should come as no great surprise then that, this month, Google announced a new “fully-managed Google Cloud Platform (GCP) service called Google Cloud IoT Core.”

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Drone operators should demand better quality products

Commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators are all too familiar with the challenges of UAV flight – poor weather, demanding clients, and the current regulatory environment to name but a few. However, according to discussions at the recent Drone Tech Europe event in Bristol one major challenge is the reliability of the hardware that they use.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Drone manufacturers turn to commercial market to revive fortunes

The consensus at last week’s AUVSI Xponential show in Dallas was that the footfall and size of the show was probably lower than the year before in New Orleans. This might have been surprising to those not familiar with the industry who have seen the increasing media attention and news surrounding drones. However, for those of us tracking the market closely and who have observed the challenges in the industry and the financial woes of some of the biggest suppliers, this did not come as a surprise at all. What also was very evident at the show was the increasing focus of UAV companies on the commercial sector.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Clouds everywhere at Hannover, but IT’s ok

Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0, Manufacturing Digitalization, or whatever phrase you might hear is a big trend. Unsurprisingly, this was a major theme at this year’s Hannover Messe. Walking the show, you did not have to travel far to encounter some manifestation of this on a vendor booth.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Is Alphabet late to the industrial IoT party?

If you were at Hannover Messe 2017, you won’t have missed the very visible presence of IT companies – Microsoft, SAP, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, IBM and Huawei to name but a few. But Alphabet – or any of its subsidiaries – were not there. Is it surprising or is Alphabet taking a longer-term strategy with industrial automation and just planning to be fashionably late to the party?

Click here to learn more about this insight.

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ABB to acquire B&R Automation – Our view

ABB to acquire B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH) for an undisclosed sum to close ABB’s historic gap in machine and factory automation.

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Autonomous mobile robots deliver with a strong presence at Automate

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are set to be the fastest growing type of industrial service robot. Manufacturing companies and end-users requesting more flexible and automated material handling solutions, and an increasing volume of suppliers offering ever-broader AMR product lines to the industrial (and related) segments continue to signpost the rapid uptake of these products.

Click here to read the rest of this insight.

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UAVs offer solar industry benefits, but at a cost

The use of UAVs (or drones) in the solar industry has been limited to date, though has the potential for change. Two of the biggest opportunities for deploying UAVs in this sector are for surveying of sites and for monitoring of existing sites.

Click here to read more about this insight.

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Drone artificial intelligence is key enabler as investment dollars flow

Commercial drones – those used for precision agriculture, mining, site inspection and other applications – are big business. They are a key tool for improving efficiency and safety whilst reducing overheads. But problems exist: how can drones be piloted safely and is there a way to magnify their impact yet further? Several companies, backed by fresh investment, are driving exciting artificial intelligence drone developments.

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Simply Printed Clothing

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