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There’s no place like home: Combat Stress with your happy place

Everybody gets stressed — in the UK alone, £7bn is lost a year to work days taken off because people feel overwhelmed. But there’s a way to handle stress that only takes you 14 seconds.

There are hundreds if not thousands of books about handling stress. And many of them actually induce stress whilst you read them! How much resilience you need to stress depends mainly on how much stress you have in your life, and how draining your day to day. Whilst there are lots of approaches to managing stress, they tend to require training (like breathing techniques or mindfulness meditation) or dedicated, set-aside time (like yoga or running), and don’t always help you in the moment. But according to a new study out of Rutgers University, all you need is a handful of happy memories.

In their first experiment, researchers Mauricio Delgado and Megan Speer asked 134 participants to plunge their hands into icy water. Then, one group spent 14 seconds recalling an emotionally neutral experience — like packing for a trip — while the other recalled a positive experience — like visiting Disneyland.

The positive reminiscence group not only felt better after their freezing ice bath, but they also had just 15 percent of the spike in cortisol, a hormone the body releases when perceiving stress, that the control group had.

A follow-up brain imaging experiment helped reveal why this is. The researchers found that recalling happy memories was associated with greater activity in the prefrontal regions of the brain. These are areas that are also active when people control their attention and reappraise their emotional states, a process that research indicates can help people handle stress without developing depression. While this is just one study, it’s further proof that your memories don’t just form a mental scrapbook; they’re tools you can use to become more resilient.

The use of positive memories is an excellent skill to develop to help you prepare for stressful situations. Similar to professional athletes who visualise winning the race or scoring a goal, recalling positive emotions before potentially stressful events actually changes your biochemistry and means that you head in to that phone call or meeting already wired for success.

Research papers supporting the article can be found at https://nexus8.co.uk/stress-happy-place

Matthew Hatson coaches teams and individuals to handle stress more effectively, develop resilience to handle uncertainty with grace, and make wiser decisions.

www.nexus8.co.uk

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How important is ISO Certification?

ISOs (or International Standards) are woven into our lives as a trusted symbol of quality. You come into contact with ISO standards on a daily basis without even realising it. Hundreds of signs and symbols cross language barriers to communicate important messages, from your credit card number to the stop signs in the road.

By becoming ISO certified, your business gains a similar level of international recognition as meeting the standards that are important to your industry. It shows commitment to those standards. It might be commitment to a high standard of quality management through ISO 9001 or reducing your organisation’s environmental impact through ISO 14001 or commitment to keeping clients’ and staff data secure through ISO 27001. It’s a commitment that can be recognised by potential customers, existing customers and your staff.

The process of gaining ISO certification is in itself a way to improve your business and IMSM can help you every step of the way. Our fixed fee approach allows you to calculate the cost/benefit of ISO certification to your business. Our experienced assessors have a flexible approach that will help you to produce a set of procedures that are tailored to your business objectives.

Our approach to ISO certification is based on a set of key principles:

  • We operate a fixed fee structure. ISO implementation is priced at a fixed rate from day one. No hidden charges, no unexpected invoices
  • The flexible nature of our ISO implementation is designed to fit around your business requirement and schedule
  • IMSM guarantees that the highly qualified and trained Assessor assigned to work with your business will be the same throughout the process in order to sustain continuity
  • Implementation of the ISO framework is based on your organisation’s existing systems. We simply look to improve the systems currently operating
  • We provide full implementation and aim to ensure that your journey to ISO certification is trouble free

ISOs cover more than generic management systems; ISO certification can help a wide variety of businesses demonstrate their commitment to compliance and standards.

Founded in 1994 IMSM has grown to become an international market leader in supporting organisations to gain ISO certification. We have helped over 10,000 businesses achieve international standards, across a wide range of business sectors. We have offices in 20 countries, and can draw on a wealth of experience to help your business.

Please contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or andrewtomkinson@imsm.com


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All aboard the new Violet buses!

A fleet of brand new, ultra-modern double-decker buses will soon be seen in and around Northampton with the launch of the new Violet route this week.

Uno Buses, along with the University of Northampton, have invested £1.5 million in eight state-of-the-art environmentally friendly buses. Each bus will offer the very best in on board comfort and features, including free super-fast Wi-Fi and USB charging points.

The Violet buses will operate on the 19 route and will run up to every 12 minutes serving both University campuses, Kingsthorpe, the town centre, the train station and Sixfields.

Jim Thorpe, managing director of Uno Buses, said: “We’ve spent a lot of time designing the very best interiors for our customers. They’re light and airy and should really enhance
the overall journey experience.

“We’re so proud to serve the University and the town of Northampton, all the interiors commemorate the town’s roots in shoemaking too. We’ve got lots of plans for our bus services,
and we’re all really excited about Violet; the new buses will go into service on the 19 October.”

Nick Petford, vice chancellor of the University of Northampton, commented: “As part of the University of Northampton’s commitment to providing more sustainable travel options, we are
delighted to invest in the new fleet of Uno buses, which provides our students with the best on-board features and ensures a better travel experience around the town.

“Not only is the venture keeping entirely with the social enterprise mission of the University, but all the profits are re-invested back into the University, which hugely benefits the
students.”

SOCIETAL Travel CIC has a key role in the Uno Violet Route, managing the Transport Hubs including the Sixfields location. SOCIETAL delivers a unique transport commissioning model-operating across a range of partners to pool resources and meet demand collectively rather than in isolation in order that sustainable solutions become affordable.

SOCIETAL is a social enterprise, created by its founding partners- the University of Northampton and Northamptonshire County Council - to tackle transportation challenges by analysing travel data and applying transformative innovative solutions. SOCIETAL will deliver social benefits- tackling transport poverty, enhancing well-being with clean air / reduced congestion and healthy transport options, and improving access- generating employment opportunities.

For more information about Uno please visit unobus.info

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Chamber launches platform for next generation of business leaders

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce has launched an exciting new platform to nurture the next generation of business leaders.

Next Generation Chamber of Commerce will help aspiring young business people to grow and develop their expertise through a series of exclusive monthly events that alternate between networking events and personal development sessions.

Chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “We are determined to help our young business people to develop the skills they need to drive forward Milton Keynes’ economy in the future.

“To achieve this we have launched Next Generation Chamber which will help businesses support and nurture staff who are committed to advancing their careers.

“Next Generation Chamber welcomes people from all sectors seeking to share experiences, to learn from business leaders and to work with their peers to develop new skills, knowledge and best practice.

“It reflects the core belief that we learn and develop most effectively in the company of friends and peers with obvious benefits for employers in the creation of more confident, knowledgeable and better networked staff.”

Next Generation Chamber’s networking events and personal development sessions will be held in the evenings.

The personal development sessions will deliver inspirational and interactive sessions aimed at developing essential business and leadership skills.

Next Generation Chamber has been created by Milton Keynes Chamber and its sister Chamber in Northamptonshire.

For more information visit https://chambermk.co.uk/who-we-are/next-generation-chamber

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Traders wanted for popular Christmas market

Northampton Market is calling out for local traders and crafts people to join them for their popular Frost Fair on Sunday, 3 December.

The festive market will open between 11am and 4pm and will provide a perfect opportunity for local trades people to showcase unique or seasonal goods in the centre of town during
the run up to Christmas.

To give the event that extra Christmassy feel, stalls will be accompanied by the annual lantern parade at 1pm, choir carol singing and street performances.

Cllr Anna King, the Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Our Frost Fair has always been a well-liked event within Northampton’s Christmas calendar. The
unique offering and free festive entertainment is a great way to draw people into the town for shopping and food.

“Last year we attracted over 70 stalls to the market and we look forward to welcoming more local craftspeople and traders to this year’s fair.”

Local traders and craft peoples who would like to have a stall at this year’s Frost Fair can book a stall online at www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200242/market-square/2330/apply-to-become-a-trader-at-the-frost-fair

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Chamber launches platform for next generation of business leaders

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce has launched an exciting new platform during its centenary year to nurture the next generation of business leaders.

Next Generation Chamber of Commerce will help aspiring young business people to grow and develop their expertise through a series of exclusive monthly events that alternate between networking events and personal development sessions.

Chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “Our Chamber began life with 125 members and it has been our privilege during our centenary year to reflect on all the successes that have led it to become a powerful force that champions the views and concerns of a third of Northamptonshire’s workforce.

“We are determined to build on that heritage by helping our county’s young business people to develop the skills they need to drive forward Northamptonshire’s economy in the future.

“To achieve this we have launched Next Generation Chamber which will help businesses support and nurture staff who are committed to advancing their careers.

“Next Generation Chamber welcomes people from all sectors seeking to share experiences, to learn from business leaders and to work with their peers to develop new skills, knowledge and best practice.

“It reflects the core belief that we learn and develop most effectively in the company of friends and peers with obvious benefits for employers in the creation of more confident, knowledgeable and better networked staff.”

Next Generation Chamber’s networking events and personal development sessions will be held in the evenings.

The personal development sessions will deliver inspirational and interactive sessions aimed at developing essential business and leadership skills. Next Generation Chamber has been created by Northamptonshire Chamber and its sister Chamber in Milton Keynes.

For more information contact 01604 490490 or email info@NextGenerationChamber.co.uk

Visit: www.NextGenerationChamber.co.uk

Follow: @NextGenChamber

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Outplacement programmes for Executive Directors

This month’s Outplacement Feature focuses on our range of outplacement programmes specifically for Directors who are leaving an organisation.

We understand the importance to them in making informed choices regarding their next career move and the more complex nature of the job search process.

Many have not needed to apply for roles externally for many years and much has changed.

Our high-powered programmes provide the guidance and support of a professional career coach who can help them review their options and implement an effective job search strategy using the latest job search techniques, including updating their CV and LinkedIn profile.

The Director programmes cover:

  • Managing career transition
  • Career analysis
  • Generating and exploring career options
  • Decision making
  • Strategic career planning
  • Job Search campaign
  • CV development
  • Job applications
  • Managing head-hunters
  • Building online presence
  • Networking
  • Interview preparation
  • Moving into self employment or consultancy (if required)
  • Transition to a new role

Director Programme overview:

  • 18 - 40 hours of face to face career coaching
  • Unlimited telephone support for 12 months
  • Access to our online career portal icareercoach™
  • Cost: £5,000 - £10,000 + VAT

If you’re looking for shorter outplacement programmes, prices start at £250 + VAT.

For more information on our director programmes, group workshops or our shorter, low cost programmes please visit our website or call 01908 930200 for more information.

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Mazars put human rights at the heart of corporate governance debate

As businesses become increasingly accountable for their wider impact on society, Mazars and Shift today launch comprehensive Assurance Guidance on human rights; for the first time giving businesses a clear direction on how to assess their human rights credentials in line with international standards.

Developed over several years by international accountancy and advisory firm, Mazars, and leading business and human rights non-profit Shift, the Assurance Guidance supports the 2015 UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, the world’s only reporting framework for companies that is wholly aligned with the authoritative UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The guidance will help internal auditors to assure companies’ human rights performance, and support external assurance providers as they oversee the assurance of companies’ human rights reporting.

Corporate governance has become a clear focus of governments to address unethical behaviours in business. A business that understands and reports knowledgeably on its human rights performance is likely to be ahead in its responsibilities around corporate governance.

In the two years since the launch of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, it has been embraced by leading companies, governments, investors and civil society organisations as a critical tool to help companies improve their human rights risk management, and show greater transparency and accountability. It has been formally recommended by several western governments in guidance to companies.

Leading businesses including Unilever, Citi, Ericsson, H & M and Microsoft have publically stated that it has guided them in their internal risk management and reporting.

Stephen Eames, Milton Keynes Office managing partner (pictured here), said: “Mazars is a truly international firm. This local, national and global knowledge has helped forge the Assurance Guidance with Shift. We look forward to working with the Mazars Human Rights team to ensure businesses have the right checks in place.

“There are significant risks to corporate business reputation, continuity and opportunity if companies ignore their record in human rights. The only real defence for business is to have appropriate, effective procedures in place.”

Professor John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles, comments: “Today, any company that wishes to demonstrate either its own sustainability or its contribution to sustainable development, must show how it is driving respect for human rights across its operations and value chains. Independent assurance has a vital role to play in enhancing the credibility of what the company’s Board is told - and tells others - about its risks and performance.”

Richard Karmel, head of human rights services at Mazars, said: “The EU now requires company boards of all EU public companies with over 500 employees to know how their organisations are identifying and addressing risks to human rights. Their investors, their customers and their employees have a right to know about the progress they are making: it is no longer enough to say ‘I wasn’t aware’.

“Such demands make internal audit and external audit assurance functions more important than ever. Importantly, the Global and Chartered Institutes of Internal Auditors have given full backing to this Guidance. As professional advisers, we can no longer skirt around the issue of human rights, but must instead integrate it effectively within our professional skill-sets: this Guidance will help make that possible.”

Caroline Rees, president of Shift, explains: “This Assurance Guidance helps expert practitioners ensure that their work plays a valuable role in advancing the protection of workers, communities and other groups affected by business activities – thereby protecting and creating value for the business in the medium to long term.”

She adds: “Companies cannot gamble. There are significant risks to corporate business reputation, continuity and opportunity if companies ignore their record in human rights – whether in their own operations or across their entire supply chain. The only real defence for business is to have appropriate, effective procedures in place.”

For more information, please visit www.UNGPreporting.org

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Willen Hospice launches Winter Scenes of Milton Keynes Christmas cards

Willen Hospice have released a new range of Christmas cards that recognise and celebrate familiar locations in Milton Keynes and surrounding villages.

The tailored designs are adapted from original paintings exclusively for Willen Hospice and depict snowy, festive scenes reminiscent of a traditional English Christmas.

The landmark scenes include Buckingham Old Gaol, Fenny Lock, the Newport Pagnell Bridge, Olney War Memorial, Towcester Race Course, Leighton Buzzard steam train and Milton Keynes’ Christ the Cornerstone church with its iconic dome.

Hywel Jones, head of retail at Willen Hospice, said: “Our designs are clearly distinguishable as well known, picturesque landmarks we’ve all come to know and appreciate. The cards are particularly popular with customers who send to family and friends abroad or further afield in the UK, as they evoke a sense of pride in our local area and help raise vital funds for Willen Hospice.”

The range is available in all Willen Hospice shops in packs of 10 with envelopes. For a list of shops please visit: www.willen-hospice.org.uk/findashop

The cards are also available on Ebay, where 100% of the proceeds will go to Willen Hospice.

Willen Hospice is a registered charity that provides specialist care for people whose illness no longer responds to curative treatment (also known as specialist palliative care). It provides care for people from the age of 18 years upwards, working in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. Willen Hospice provides services to three Primary Care Trusts - Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire & Northamptonshire. The Hospice is based at a quiet lakeside area close to the City Centre.

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Celebrating the story of the local Co-op

The Kettering Co-operatives exhibition will be held at the Manor House Museum over the Autumn and Winter to celebrate the history of the local Co-op story.

The exhibition will open on Saturday, 21st October 2017 and will run until Saturday, 20th January 2018.

From opticians to operatics, ‘Kettering Co-operatives’ will explore how the ‘Shoe Grocers’ of Kettering came together to shape the working and family life of the town.

The exhibition will open in an exciting new space, refurbished with funding from Museum Development East Midlands.

On Saturday, 25th November 2017, a special event day to celebrate the Co-op will also be held at the Manor House Museum, where visitors are welcome to share stories, photos and memories of the Co-op over a cup of tea and biscuits. This is a *FREE* event with activities for all ages.

Guy Holloway, head of corporate & cultural services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “This is another fascinating example in a long line of interesting exhibitions at the Manor House Museum. Kettering Co-operatives will give visitors the chance to learn, reminisce and celebrate our remarkable history.”

For further information, contact the Manor House Museum on:

Tel: 01536 534219

Email: museumandgallery@kettering.gov.uk

Visit: www.kettering.gov.uk/museums.

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10% off any service

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Latest newsletter

Welcome to our latest newsletter .. a little update as what has been going on and coming up at Car Doctor.

This month we celebrate our 3rd anniversary in our unit here in Salford Milton Keynes. And 13 years in business of The Car Doctor.

We continue to grow through our customers support, referrals and recommendations of which we are really grateful. Although the business has grown from Terry himself in a van repairing out on the road to a busy fully equipped car body repair centre offering a full service and a full team of staff at the Car Doctor we are always conscious to
keep to our business mantra of providing ‘high quality repairs, at a great price and in fastest turnarounds’.

Our new website is in design it will be more customer friendly - mobile friendly- with videos of processes - more repair services - and a cashback and price match offer our next newsletter

Finally though as we now approach end of autumn and the weather is turning wetter and cooler, have you any vehicle damage that needs taking care of? does your vehicle deserve some tlc ? before the damp, salt and grit allow rust or more damage to occur.

Contact us for your free quotation on 01908 969495, email us some pictures to terry@cardoctoronline.co.uk

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Learn how to design & create your own Cutting Garden

There are few things more lovely than having vases full of fresh cut flowers. They make our homes look bright and cheery, and scent the air with their delicate perfume.

Come and join us for the morning on Friday 3 November and we will show you how to design and create your own cutting garden, which can be as large as an allotment or if space is limited, a selection of pots and containers.

We will then explore the wonderful array of flowers that you can grow in your cutting garden, with top tips on growing and maintenance to ensure a bumper harvest throughout the year.

So, if like us you love cut flowers, then come and spend the morning with us and you could be picking buckets of flowers from your garden from March through to November!

This workshop will run from 9.30am to 12pm and costs £45 per person.

For further information email helen@btcworkshops.co.uk or visit http://www.btcworkshops.co.uk/cutting-garden-3-november-17.html

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Avon Cosmetics Reminds Northamptonshire Associates to COPP-A-FEEL! for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Celebrating 25 years of its Breast Cancer Crusade, Avon Cosmetics has launched a free 2018 desk calendar that encourages their Associates to check their boobs - or pecs - once a month.

Women are advised to check their breasts at least once a month for signs and symptoms of breast cancer but a recent survey revealed that one in three UK Avon Associates are not regularly checking their boobs or pecs.* In response to this, the cosmetics company has created a ‘boob check’ calendar.

The colourful calendar features 12 senior leaders, each holding props with a fun reminder to check your breasts every month. Signs and symptoms to look for when checking your breasts are included as well as a monthly reminder boob stamp to save the date.

The calendar is in collaboration with Avon’s new charity partner, CoppaFeel!, but this isn’t the first time that Avon have supported the charity. In 2009, Avon donated a £1,000 grant to CoppaFeel! – the charity’s first donation that helped local founder, Kris establish CoppaFeel! Today, Avon support CoppaFeel!’s team of Boobettes; a group of women who have been affected by breast cancer or have a strong connection to the disease, that trail the country spreading boob love and awareness.

Avon General Manager, Andrea Slater, says: “In 25 years Avon has raised £19.5 million for breast cancer charities and to mark this celebration I’m very proud to share the 2018 ‘boob check’ calendar with our Associates. As the company for women we want to encourage everyone, regardless of their age, to simply check their breasts once a month. The way we speak about breast cancer needs to be relatable to women and men everywhere, which is why our partnership with CoppaFeel! is essential. Together, if we spread the message loud and clear, we can save lives.”

CEO at CoppaFeel!, Natalie Kelly, says: “When we first heard about the boob calendar we couldn’t help but smile and applaud the team at Avon for having fun and hence spreading the message further. It’s really getting behind what CoppaFeel! stands for, that monthly reminder to check check check your boobs!”

Associates at Avon’s Head Office in Northampton and Distribution Centre in Corby have raised over £3,000 for CoppaFeel! Activities throughout October include a Zumbathon, boob brunch, the Royal Parks half marathon, pink themed cake trolley, boob Olympics and a raffle.

For more information visit the Avon website: www.avon.uk.com/Causes/

Pictured: Avon’s General Manager Andrea Slater featured in January 2018 section of the calendar.

*183 Associates took the survey poll 18th-29th September 2017

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Battle with adversity leads to book gifting scheme

The strength a simple gift provided during a difficult time has inspired one former University of Northampton graduate to set up a scheme encouraging others to be similarly generous.

Lydia Collins, now an Associate Lecturer in Acting and Drama, was given Matt Haig’s book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ by a concerned friend.

“About a year ago I was struggling with my mental health, particularly around my relationship with food. I’d never been so low as to need to find reasons to stay alive, but it was such a beautiful thing to read this book and the strength it gave to me.

“I started to think about other people seeing this book and it helping them too, and that is where I got the idea of people sharing books with great personal significance.”

She added that like many people, she was more likely to read a book if someone had given it to her.

After struggling to find funding to set up an anonymous book drop scheme, Lydia posted on social media for recommendations – with Black History month approaching – of well-loved books by black and ethnic minority (BAME) authors.

“I got such a great response from everyone, it was overwhelming.”

One of those who saw it was senior law lecturer, and university and college union branch secretary, Nick Cartwright, who suggested the pair meet.

“You could say a book ‘literally’ changed Lydia’s life, and in turn, she was inspired to help change the lives of others,” said Nick.

“After meeting, we decided that we would suggest to staff that they gift a book to a student. We thought it would be great if staff chose their favourite book by a BAME author and gift a copy to a student.”

Staff are being asked to write in the book as to why it’s their favourite, and to invite the recipients to pass it on when they’ve read it.

“It’s a great opportunity to give underappreciated authors a spotlight too,” added Lydia.

Readers can chart the book’s progress and comment on it on social media using #UoNGiftABook.

Lydia said they would ultimately like to run the scheme about three times a year, for “all the initiatives that deserve more of a spotlight from a personal standpoint” such as LGBTQ+ or mental health.

“Anyone who has battled with dark times will have a book, a poem – a song even – that helped them through.

“If they share it, it might just help someone else through too.”

Photo: Lydia Collins with the book that inspired her, ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ (photo credit: Leah Hodgkin)

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Free fireworks display to return to Northampton Racecourse

The Borough Council’s popular, free fireworks display is returning to the Racecourse on Saturday, 4 November.

The fireworks event will open in the afternoon, with visitors able to enjoy fairground rides and food stalls from 2pm. Heart FM will be onsite from 5pm, to get the entertainment started.

This year, for the first time, people attending the event will experience a fantastic LED glow and fire show at 5.45pm, with live music from Pure Genius. The spectacular fireworks display will follow from 7pm and the event will close at 8pm.

With thousands of spectators expected to attend the display, the Council is reminding people that parking is not available on site. A limited number of parking spaces will be available at the University of Northampton’s Avenue Campus. Spaces will be provided in car park 2 only, between 4pm and 9pm. In addition, multi-storey car parks close-by, such as St Michaels, St Johns and the Mayorhold, provide a free weekend parking offer to anyone who wants to park in the town centre and walk to the Racecourse.

The Council advises that there will be some disruption to roads surrounding the park, including Kettering Road, East Park Parade, Kingsley Park Road and St Georges Avenue, from 2pm as people make their way to and from the Racecourse.

In addition, there will be footpath closures from St Georges Avenue and Trinity Avenue across the park to the Kettering Road, whilst the fireworks display is set up.

Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, Cllr Anna King said: “Our free firework display is always really popular and this year we are excited to add the new LED glow and fire show to the event.

“We look forward to welcoming the hundreds of families who come to enjoy the event, as well as the offerings from the restaurants and cafes in and around the town centre. We do ask though, that people plan their travel and where possible, to park in the town centre and walk to the event from there.”

More information about the event and the car parks closest to the Racecourse is available at northampton.gov.uk/fireworksparkinginformation

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The Big Christmas Give Appeal

​This Christmas we want to leave a lasting legacy for our patients and their families, therefore we are launching our Big Christmas Give appeal!

Instead of presents this year we are asking for donations. As our charity is all about funding the special extras – enabling the hospital to go over and above standard NHS provision – we’ve worked with wards and departments in creating a wish list that the Big Christmas Give will support. This year the appeal will be supporting young patients on the children’s wards, our cancer services and patients with dementia.

There are many ways in which companies can support the appeal;

Take part in our Christmas Jumper day on Thursday 7th December.

Sign up to our corporate Christmas card - Rather than everyone buying their own Christmas cards to send to each other, employees can simply write a message in our card and donate what they would have spent on Christmas cards to the Big Give Appeal.

Put on your own fundraising activity.

If you would like to support the Big Christmas Give Appeal or would like any more information on the appeal please feel free to contact Michaela Clark - Corporate Fundraising Officer on 01908 997316 / michaela.clark@mkuh.nhs.uk

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Midlands Asset Finance win at the 2017 Leasing World Awards!

We are delighted to announce that we have won Top Hard Assets Broker at the 2017 Leasing World Awards!

We picked up the accolade after being nominated and then selected as the winners by a group of judges.

The award, sponsored by Metro Bank, is aimed at the ‘hard’ asset market which includes yellow plant, haulage, bus and coach vehicles.

Director, Sue Chapman, said: “We are delighted to win the Top Hard Assets Broker award. It’s a fabulous achievement for the whole team here at Midlands Asset Finance.”

We don’t just arrange funding for ‘hard’ assets, either.

We can fund IT equipment, office furniture and warehouse racking, and also offer a wide range of products:

Don’t have enough time to speak to someone?

You can get a Decision in Principle in 60 seconds from the comfort of your own office using our online tool, Asset Finance Compared.

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October half term events at Abington Park Museum

Abington Park Museum will play host to a range of workshops and events for children and families this October half term.

Starting with a one-man performance of Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost, in an adaptation written especially for families, on Saturday, 21 October. Haunted Halloween activities will also be taking place on Saturday 28 and there are less spooky sessions on offer too with autumn leaf crown and bulb planting workshops on Thursday, 26 and Friday, 27 October.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “Abington Park Museum has centuries of history so it’s a great venue for ghost stories and the park itself always looks beautiful in autumn as the leaves start to turn.

“There’s a good range of activities to suit different ages and tastes, so I hope plenty of families come along to get involved. Don’t forget that you can find the ghost of Lady Wantage hiding at the museum too as part of the Ghosts of Northampton Past trail. You just need to download the free Aurasma app and follow the trail to get started.”

Events require booking in advance and places are limited on some of the workshops. Visit www.northampton.gov.uk/museums for more information on all events at Abington Park Museum or call 01604 838110 to book tickets.

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Award win for major exporter

A multinational adhesive manufacturer has been crowned the region’s best exporter.

Northamptonshire Chamber member Beardow Adams (Adhesives) Ltd has won the Export Business of the Year award at the East Midlands heat of the Chamber Business Awards 2017.

The firm, which is a world leading innovative adhesive company based in Milton Keynes, will go on to represent the East Midlands at the national finals which will be staged by the British Chambers of Commerce in London next month.

The firm’s CEO Adrian Day said: “The business has been naround for 40 years and has grown internationally more than domestically as a result of our global partner network and our own organic growth.

“We have a network of experienced and knowledgeable sales managers that keep our partners aware of our latest developments and offer them guidance.

“Over 40 years the links between our technical abilities, commercial team and global partners has grown stronger and stronger.

“In addition to this in countries where we felt there was a big demand for our innovative and high-quality product we have set up state-of-the-art factories and have continuously invested in markets where we believe our products will be the most successful. As a result, we now have factories production facilities in a variety of countries, including Germany, Spain, America and Sweden.

“We’ve made big investments to keep us ahead of the game. For example, in the United States of America we have invested in cutting-edge technology ahead of realising the
sales, so we are running at 10% of our capacity there. Our willingness to take risks is part of the reason why we have been so successful overseas.

“Winning this award is of great significance to us. Over the years we have won Queen’s Awards and Chamber Awards but in recent years the focus was less on our domestic market. Following Brexit we have a reinvigorated focus on the UK market and are keen to raise our profile.

“Having won the regional award is an important step forward to show what Beardow Adams is all about and what we want to achieve.”

Now in their 14th year, the British Chambers of Commerce awards are a highlight of the business calendar, recognising the key role that local businesses play in driving the UK
economy.

Francis Martin, president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Our judges are always impressed by the high standard of submissions and the calibre of entries this year was no different.

“The finalists in the Chamber Business Awards represent the best of this country’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and hard work.”

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Celebrate drawing this month at MK Gallery

Bring your drawings to life this October as MK Gallery celebrates The Big Draw Festival with a month-long programme of creative activities for families.

The Big Draw Festival is the world’s biggest drawing festival. Through weekly sessions at the Gallery, families are invited to explore and respond to this year’s theme - Living Lines: An Animated Big Draw Festival – in fun and inventive ways. Activities include:

  • Start the Art, every Tuesday and Wednesday, 11am-12pm

Start the Art provides messy and creative activities for under 5s to move around and explore. This month, use movement and line to make drawings.

  • Saturday Studio, every Saturday, 1-3pm

Artist-led sessions for children aged 5+ and their families. From capturing stop motion techniques to praxinoscopes and flip books, join MK Gallery to get your marks moving.

  • Half Term Activity: Playtime, Friday 27 October, 12-3pm

Experiment with drawing as MK Gallery’s Project Space is transformed into a laboratory for play and exploration with curious objects and materials. This session is aimed at children aged 5+ and their families.

Speaking about this month’s celebration of drawing, Tara Page, MK Gallery learning manager said, “Each year we look forward to finding out what the Big Draw holds in store for us. This year is no exception and we’re excited about the innovative and intriguing activities our Associate Artists have planned for children and families at MK Gallery.

“My favourite quote about drawing is by artist Paul Klee - ‘Drawing is taking a line for a walk’. I love how the simple act of creating a line could take you anywhere!”

Jane Glynn, MK Gallery Associate Artist states: “I love drawing because everybody can do it. It’s the perfect fusion of physical action, personal thought and concentration. Every drawing is a new beginning. I like the way people develop their own unique drawing language. For me drawing is a way of thinking and capturing ideas that can’t be put in to words.”

“The act of drawing helps me simplify and personalise the dynamic three dimensional landscape around me,” says MK Gallery Associate Artist, Rekha Sameer.

Each session costs £1 per person on the door. To find out more and book tickets visit www.mkgallery.org

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Howes Percival expands commercial property team in response to growing demand

Howes Percival has appointed specialist commercial property lawyer, Manpreet Kaur Panesar. Manpreet has joined Howes Percival’s Milton Keynes office from Shakespeare Martineau.

Manpreet, who specialises in commercial property matters, has spent the last two years working on a wide range of property investment and development projects. She brings a wealth of experience in advising on commercial transactions also, having recently represented a range of clients from regional developers to private landlords and tenants.

Lisa Mantle, partner and head of commercial property in Milton Keynes commented: “We are delighted to welcome Manpreet to Howes Percival. She is very highly regarded and well-connected in the sector and brings valuable experience to the team in Milton Keynes, contributing top level expertise to our landlord and tenant, property investment and development practices. Her appointment puts us in a very strong position to benefit from the increase in activity we have seen in recent months”.

Howes Percival’s commercial property, construction and development team advises landowners and developers. Providing a comprehensive legal advice offering across the full spectrum of requirement, from site acquisition and strategic planning to development finance, tax advice, construction disputes and plot sales.

Howes Percival recently received top tier rankings for Commercial Property in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 – the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms.

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Jess’s T-shirt is one of Silverstone’s best sellers

Graphics whizz Jess Black has put her career prospects in pole position after designing one of the summer’s best-selling T-shirts from the home of British Motorsport.

The University of Northampton Graphic Communication student took part in an annual challenge set by Silverstone Circuit’s merchandise team, which gives those on the degree course
the opportunity to design T-shirts and caps.

Each year around 200 student designs are submitted, with the best selected, produced and sold by Silverstone.

Jess’s T-shirt design to commemorate the 2017 British Grand Prix caught the eye of the Northamptonshire track’s merchandise team – and also F1 fans, who snapped up more than 2,500 over the summer, making it one of the best-selling items in the circuit shop.

“I was so proud when I found out my design had been picked for production,” said Jess (pictured here with her T-shirt design), who comes from Farnborough in Surrey and is now beginning her third year of studies.

“I was on my own when I got a message from my tutor giving me the good news, and I admit I did a little happy victory dance.”

Jess’s reward was a pair of tickets for July’s British Grand Prix, and while she was there with her mum Sue, they popped into the shop to check out her design.

“It was surreal because there was a customer at the till who was buying my T-shirt. My mum couldn’t help herself and went over and told him I’d designed it – she was so proud.”

Hoping to follow in Jess’s footsteps are the current crop of second year Graphic Communication students, who were briefed by Silverstone’s merchandising team earlier this month, before going to the track for a research visit.

Their designs will be whittled down by Silverstone in the new year, with the best generic designs and those with the 2018 British Grand Prix theme, selected for sale.

You can buy Jess’s T-shirt via the online shop.

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Confidence-boosting trip brings students out of comfort zone

A three day trip to an adventure centre has given Northampton College students the chance to get out of their comfort zone and boost their confidence with a host of team-building activities.

The trip, arranged as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS), saw dozens of students head to Liddington in Wiltshire where they took part in activities such as raft-building, trapeze and a giant swing.

NCS team leader Parmilla Begum said: “This is the eighth project I’ve been involved with and every time I love it, it’s amazing. The change in young people is incredible. They are all very nervous at the start but by the end they are all excited and ready to go and help out in the community.”

Students are encouraged to develop the tools and belief to unlock their potential and make a positive impact in their communities.

NCS is a government-funded initiative aimed at boosting peoples’ confidence and get them to try things they have never done before such as staying away from home. As well as boosting skills, the trip helps bring students out of their comfort zone and is recognised by universities and employers as work experience that is applicable to everyday jobs.

Northampton College childcare student Andrea said: “I went on the trip to meet new people and learn new activities such as team-building. I was very excited to be part of it as it was my first trip away.”

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

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CML Gives Delegates an Insight into the Challenges of a Changing Retail Landscape at this Year’s Internet Retailing Conference

On 5th October, Core Management Logistics (CML) was invited to represent the voice of third-party logistics (3PL) at this year’s Internet Retailing conference. Speaking from the perspective of an end to end logistics provider, business development manager, Jane Smith, discussed the challenges faced by retailers and the critical importance of customer experience.

The subject for the discussion, ‘Keeping track with innovative retailers by providing bespoke services: What do modern retailers demand and how is this fulfilled?’, not only touched on the changing retail landscape, but formed a wider conversation around technology and consumer demands on retailers. It went on to explore how the retail landscape can be personalised to ensure that retailers are able to provide customers with a bespoke experience that helps to promote loyalty, and how retailers can ensure that they uphold promises to their customers using nimble and agile 3PL solutions. It also detailed how a positive delivery experience helps to boost confidence during peak sales times such as Black Friday, and how 3PL’s keep at the forefront of technology solutions.

Industry professionals speaking alongside Jane included Peter Ward, chief executive of UK Warehousing Association, Karen Gibson, senior manager - ‘toyou’ Client Relationships at Asda, and Walter Blackwood, Omnichannel logistics expert at W&MB Consulting Limited. Having worked within the retail logistics industry for over 26 years, Jane used her experience to give delegates an insight into what she believes 3PL service providers need to do to support retailers in the fast-changing, consumer-driven market. She explained: “Over the last few years, CML has seen substantial growth in fulfilment needs and changes in consumer requirements including omni-channel, customer experience and personalisation, so we were delighted to represent the third party logistics category at this year’s Internet Retailing conference and give delegates an insight into the trends shaping the future of retail logistics.

“The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years and continues to do so at pace. Fulfilment areas such as value added services (VAS) and returns processing play an important role in the supply chain and we predict that this is going to continue. This year’s event not only gave us an excellent forum to discuss the different trends shaping the retail industry, but it also gave us the opportunity to discuss the challenges amongst industry peers.”

The Internet Retailing conference provided decision makers in the retail industry with a platform to facilitate the decisions that define the future of the digital landscape.

For more information about CML, visit http://www.cmlplc.com/

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Honouring lives lost in the Northampton Zeppelin raid

On Thursday, 19 October, Northampton will mark the 100th anniversary of the Zeppelin raid of St James.

In 1917, 22 bombs were dropped on Northampton from a German Zeppelin Airship killing a woman and her twin daughters. Eliza, Lily and Gladys Gammons, who are buried at
Dallington Cemetery, are believed to be Northampton’s only victims of air raids which killed more than 500 people throughout Britain during WWI.

The Mayor of Northampton, Northampton Borough Council, St James CE Primary School, where the twins attended school, Sywell Aviation Centre, where the incendiary device is
now on display, and the Western Front Association have joined together to commemorate the occasion with a public memorial.

Members of the public are invited to join proceedings lead by Wayne Casey, Eliza’s great-great-grandson, St James Resident’s Association, and the children of St James Primary School who will recite from newspaper clippings of the time and perform war-time songs. The event will begin at 12.15pm in St James Square.

Councillor Gareth Eales, Mayor of Northampton, said: “Although not as well-known as the blitz, German air raids had a devastating effect on communities throughout the UK
during the first World War.

“St James lost three innocent lives that night, a mother and her young daughters, and it’s important that we make sure the memory of that event stays with us 100 years later.

“In order to make this the biggest event it can be, I hope as many people as possible can join us on 19 October to commemorate this sad event.”

For more information visit the Mayor of Northampton Facebook page.

Watch the video: www.facebook.com/MayorOfNorthampton/videos/1591291500963852/

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Students can get on the fast track to railway apprenticeship

Students from Northampton College have been given the opportunity to earn a ‘fast-track’ progression to a leading apprenticeship programme as part of National Rail Week.

The National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), based in Kings Heath, will offer one student from the college’s engineering course the chance to earn a place on the Siemens Rail Systems Rail Engineering apprenticeship scheme, giving them the chance to work for one of the world’s leading engineering companies.

The winning student will be selected next year upon completion of their studies. They will win a work experience placement at Siemens and will be fast-tracked onto the selection process for the apprenticeship programme.

Dan Walker, head of apprenticeship delivery at NTAR, visited the students as part of National Rail Week to explain more about the scheme and explained the opportunities available to apprentices.

He said: “The railway industry has an aging workforce with a lot of older people who will shortly be retiring. We have to attract new blood to not only replace these people, but bring fresh ideas and perspectives into the railway. Apprenticeships are a vital way of doing that.

“With the level of government investment in new technologies and approaches to running the railway, it’s an exciting time to be working in the industry.

“We enjoy an exceptional relationship with Northampton College and are proud of the programme we have developed together - giving learners a path to technical, occupational, and professional competence in the railway. We are looking forward to seeing who will be crowned our Student of the Year for 2018.”

Apprentices studying at NTAR will have access to cutting-edge training facilities and be able to gain valuable knowledge of the different aspects of rail engineering – from the maintenance of rolling stock to the installation of telecommunications systems. The learners will benefit from a close relationship between the college, the academy, and their employer.

Neil Tobin, an engineering lecturer at Northampton College, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity for our students. We are extremely fortunate to have NTAR on our doorstep which is leading the way in preparing the next generation of railway engineers.”

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

Photo shows Neil Tobin and Dan Walker with engineering students.

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Beyond Theory to appear at Independent Hotel Show

Experts from Beyond Theory will be at the Independent Hotel Show this week.

Beyond Theory senior consultant Paul Beesley will be offering top tips and advice to boutique hotels during the two day event at Olympia London.

Paul said: “We are delighted to be returning to the Independent Hotel Show following our hugely successful appearance at last year’s event.

“We’re expecting to see more than 6,000 visitors over the two days so it should be a great show.

“We will be providing advice on a range of topics, including employee engagement, customer service and hospitality.”

Visit: http://beyondtheory.co.uk/

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Marval Improves Functionality for iOS

Marval, a leading provider of Service Management solutions and services, announced new features that improve the MSM system’s functionality on iOS environments.

Integrated in Marval’s mobile application for iOS devices, new features allow MSM users to raise requests faster and easier, reducing waiting time and therefore advancing the customer service experience. The updated application is designed to help improve productivity and responsiveness of the Service Desk, enabling Service Desk professionals to stay connected and ensuring that SLAs are satisfied. It offers a modern, highly functional user interface which:

  • Facilitates data entry and search
  • Accelerates the authorisation process
  • Allows users to view, assign, update and resolve service requests when on the move

“Today’s work setting is less dependent on the traditional environment and more on the go. By improving MSM’s functionality for iOS with key features that enable Service Management professionals to be more flexible and responsive, even on the move, we offer a system that advances the service experience for the customer. Most importantly, it helps organisations embed the right culture; one that empowers the user to provide better and faster customer service, anywhere, anytime,” commented Greg Pritchett, managing director at Marval.

The new iOS application is available on Apple Store and is free to install. Find out more: MSM Mobile

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New Resilience Discussion Paper from Squared Apples

Building on the third paper of the series, and with the imminent arrival of Storm Ophelia to the UK shores, Squared Apples has released a discussion paper which seeks to identify lessons from the recent hurricanes in the US.

Using research documents, reports from US weather organisation and FEMA, Squared Apples has identified lessons that all organisations could learn from these recent events.

To download the document, free of charge, please visit our website and review the Discussion Papers section: https://www.squaredapplesuk.co.uk/

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Sky football reporter gives journalism students tips and tales from the industry

Budding sports journalists at the University of Northampton were given an insight into the industry this week by an international television sports reporter.

Faye Carruthers (pictured) is a regular fixture on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, Channel 5 and Premier League Productions – the company which provides all Premier League coverage outside the UK.

After her talk with journalism undergraduates, Faye was interviewed and explained what makes a good reporter, the state of the journalism industry – and answered her some tricky questions, including who is the most difficult football manager to interview.

Watch the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WT5fQGrzTg&feature=youtu.be

Faye had some words of comfort for students, who might feel nervous when they embark on work experience or start out in the industry after graduation.

“It may not look like it, but I am actually a very shy person,” said Faye, who supports Luton Town.

“It might look like I am doing a great job on television, but below the surface I can find it quite daunting. I still get clammy hands before I go on air, and I have a terrible habit of wobbling my knee through nerves. So the advice I can give you is to work at pretending to be confident, and people will think you’re confident, and things will get easier for you with more experience.”

Faye also spoke about the rise in former footballers now getting reporter jobs.“I think you need a mix of ex-players and trained journalists working side-by-side, it works well and producers know this and will always want people from my profession to cast that critical eye,” said Faye.

“All the ex-pros I work with are wonderful people who are always looking to learn. They ask us questions about the skills you need to be a journalist and see reporting as a skill that you learn over time.”

Faye also had positive things to say about the sports journalism jobs market. “When I graduated 15-odd years ago we were told that journalism jobs were drying up. But that hasn’t been the case, because a rise of different media platforms means there are actually more opportunities.

“You only have to look at how sports coverage has taken off on social media to see how many opportunities there are – and with Google and Amazon looking to break into the market, there will be many more to come.”

Marc Webber, who is the leader of the Multimedia Sports Journalism degree and a football reporting colleague of Faye’s, was delighted to see her come to speak to the students.

He said: “Learning from people that still do the job is a key component of all our courses at this University.

“In just the first two weeks our students have had an exclusive Q & A session with a Football League chairman and attended a press conference at Northampton Saints.

“One student is already writing for the Saints and Harlequins matchday programmes and another one has spent the summer working in the Aston Villa press office.”

The University of Northampton is running a dedicated Multimedia Sports Journalism degree right now. Check the course page for details.

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Rockingham provides sprint finish for competitors

The motorsport action returns to Rockingham this weekend (October 21/22) as the Northamptonshire circuit hosts back-to-back sprint events.

New to Rockingham for 2017, the Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) will be visiting the venue for the first time on Saturday (October 21), for its season finale, the Autumn Sprint.

Always one of the most popular events in the VSCC calendar due to its welcoming and relaxed “end of season” atmosphere in the paddock, the Autumn Sprint will be held on technical 1.7-mile infield layout of the National Circuit.

After kicking off the season at Rockingham in March, the BARC Midlands SBD Speed Championship returns to the circuit on Sunday (October 22) to bring down the curtain on another successful campaign, which has seen competitors visit some of the best UK venues as part of the 24-round series.

Once again more than 100 entrants will take part in the closed event on the 1.6-mile International Sprint Circuit, which combines the infamous Turn 1 banking of the Oval with the fast sweeping bends of the challenging infield section.

Spectators are welcome to attend both sprints however viewing will be restricted to the top of the Pit Garages and the three small viewing platforms next to the Timing Tower. Entry is free!

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Legal 500 recognises Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors for its expertise

The results have been announced and the Milton Keynes law firm, Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, has once again been recognised by Legal 500 for its experience and expertise in Commercial Litigation, Commercial Property, Construction and Property Litigation.

The experienced Commercial Litigation team is once again ranked high and reflects the wealth of experience the team has which is on par with the larger firms in and around Milton Keynes, proving that size does not matter. Legal 500 notes the ‘teams areas of specialism include professional negligence matters, property litigation, and insolvency, construction and IT-related disputes….. Kenneth Stangoe heads the department and has significant experience in the retail, property development and leisure sectors. Other key practitioners include Trevor Coward, who deals with computer and intellectual property-related disputes, Guy Brooks, who leads the debt recovery practice, and Mairead McErlean, who is noted for her expertise in dealing with local authority matters.’

Kenneth and Mairead expertise in Property Litigation is also recognised and in particular their ‘solid expertise across the full range of landlord and tenant work, advising on rent service and charge recovery, rent recovery and forfeiture actions’.

Head of Dispute Resolution, Kenneth Stangoe, was delighted with the ranking given to the team, saying Having 4 members of the litigation team ranked in the Legal 500 is a solid endorsement of the expertise, commitment and client care that underpins all of our work. Once again this is also reflected by the feedback and loyalty we receive from our clients’.

Managing Partner, Richard Millard and Head of Property Darren Millis have also established their position in Milton Keynes as the lawyers to go to for Construction advice. Legal 500 recommends Richard Millard and Darren Millis for Construction and notes that their ‘ areas of specialism include development site acquisition, planning queries, construction contracts and collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees. The team acts for a sizeable client base of developers, housebuilders and sub-contractors in the Milton Keynes area, and is increasingly advising on complex construction and development projects. The practice is also strong in all areas of dispute resolution, representing its clients in adjudication, mediation and arbitration. Richard Millard is the leading practitioner and specialises in commercial disputes, and Darren Millis is recommended for his property expertise.”

Richard Millard and Darren Millis are also recommended for Commercial Property and the Legal 500 reports “The team has strong real estate finance expertise and sits on the panels of several major international banks, advising on property financing provided to a broad range of borrowers. Department head Darren Millis acts for national and local property developers on financing deals, and also has substantial experience handling land acquisition work, conditional contracts and landlord and tenant matters. Richard Willis is the other key practitioner, and represents a range of charities, investors, developers and lenders on the full gamut of non-contentious property issues.”

Managing Partner, Richard Millard, was delighted with the results and commented ‘the firm is pleased with the recognition and we are proud of our dedicated team of charismatic, experienced and innovative lawyers who provide pragmatic and clear advice whilst being tenacious to achieve our clients’ objective. Whilst the Legal 500 recognises our Commercial Litigation and Property teams the whole firm has excellent expertise and is dedicated to providing a quality service to all its clients’

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Northamptonshire Business Networking 2017!

Are you a local business owner or senior member of staff in a local business?

Does time management mystify you?

Do you need help from an award-winning business coach on how to best practice planning your working business day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then why not pop along to our Northampton business centre (Managed Serviced Offices, Lakeside House, The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7HD) on the 31st October 2017 between 10am and 2pm where you will be able to talk to like-minded people and hear from stars of the business world.

You will then be given the chance to talk to those people and engage with people who believe business connections are key.

Guests include Simon Williams from the award-winning business training company Arrivista, along with Beyond Theory’s Paul Beesley, Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice, and Star Digitals Marketing Executive Emma Stewart.

Tickets are limited so please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can also email james.crick@msoworkspace.com for more information.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

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New Workplace Resilience Training From Squared Apples

Working with local industry representatives, HR professionals and Local Authorities, Squared Apples has recently developed a comprehensive training course in the art of “Building Resilience in the Workplace”.

It is aimed at all levels of an organisation to help build an understanding across a company on the importance of resilience at all levels.

For more information please feel free to contact us at our website: https://www.squaredapplesuk.co.uk/

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Magic Mirror Hire

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JOIN US FOR NORTHAMPTONSHIRE NETWORKING!

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BUSINESS NETWORKING NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Are you a local business owner or senior member of staff in a local business?

Does time management mystify you?

Do you need help from an award-winning business coach on how to best practice planning your working business day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then why not pop along to our Northampton business centre (Managed Serviced Offices, Lakeside House, The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7HD) on the 31st October 2017 between 10am and 2pm where you will be able to talk to like-minded people and hear from stars of the business world.

You will then be given the chance to talk to those people and engage with people who believe business connections are key.

Guests include Simon Williams from the award-winning business training company Arrivista, along with Beyond Theory’s Paul Beesley, Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice, and Star Digitals Marketing Executive Emma Stewart.

Tickets are limited so please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can also email james.crick@msoworkspace.com for more information.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

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Winter Security - Stay Safe & Secure

Good security is not about having one type of system to protect your colleagues and premises, it is about having different layers of protection that will prevent/detect crime.

Not all of the following will apply to all business, but take time to review your current security requirements.

Have a Security Policy in place that suits your business and risk, take into account your people, your customers and your premises.

  • Review crime rates in your area, speak with other local businesses to see if they have had a problem or set up a local business watch scheme where you can keep everyone informed on what is happening either by telephone or email alerts.
  • Review the training you give your people, especially those who open/close your premises in the dark.
  • Review any security systems like CCTV & Intruder Alarms to make sure they work and have been maintained correctly. Have a think about getting them remotely monitored, make sure existing systems keyholder details are updated and review CCTV images at night to see the clarity of the recorded picture.

Remember, well-trained staff following the correct process and procedures ensure your business and profit is protected.


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RSM shortlisted for Central and East Dealmaker awards 2017

An independent panel of expert judges has shortlisted RSM four times in three categories at the Central and East Dealmakers awards 2017.

Following a successful year the RSM team has been shortlisted for Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year and Stephen Orriss, Corporate Finance Partner, has once again been shortlisted for Dealmaker of the Year.

Two deals have been shortlisted for the Deal of the Year (under £10m) category:

  • the secondary MBO of Northampton amp manufacturer, Blackstar Amplification; and
  • the acquisition of TimePlan Education Group by Empowering Learning Ltd.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Central and East Dealmakers, an evening that recognises the outstanding talent from the regions top professional firms. The winners are announced on the evening of the 9 November at the DoubleTree in Milton Keynes.

Adam King, Office Managing Partner for the Milton Keynes office said: “I am delighted that the team have been shortlisted for these prestigious awards. It is a great reflection of the hard work and dedication of all the people in our local corporate finance team. They have also had a great start to this year which is particularly pleasing against the national backdrop of a downturn in deal volumes and the uncertain economic conditions.”

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YUMYUM Creative Solutions supports children’s charity

Children’s charities are popular, but in a sea of many organisations, it can be difficult for them to make their voice heard.

In Northamptonshire, there’s one charity who approach from an often-overlooked angle, focused on healing the hurt, but determined to prevent worst case outcomes in childhood trauma. The women behind the organisation are resolute in making sure that the money raised in the county stays here, for those that need to benefit from it.

KidsAid are the only charity who proactively go out in search of young people who need their help, or are likely to in the future, because they know how important the experiences they have are in shaping the adults they will become.

With expressive therapies, they help these young people learn to process and communicate their traumatic experiences, and have received overwhelming feedback from parents and schools on the difference made to the children’s behaviour and wellbeing.

As the charity turns 10 this year, YUMYUM Creative Solutions have pledged to donate by way of their design expertise and will work on providing a new website and strategic help to enhance the charity’s influence.

“It is important to articulate the seriousness of the impact that trauma manifestation can make in the lives of our future adults and their relationships. We aim to develop designs that help KidsAid communicate their aims, achievements and needs clearly, and that raise the profile of their work” – Ricky Conaghan, Director

“The support being provided by YumYum Creative is something we would not have the money or energy to do – our time and effort is best spent with the children and their families, so we are very grateful for all the support that YumYum and other local businesses provide” – Suki Bassi, KidsAid

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Shaping Human Behaviour With Design - the science behind how good design impacts your communications

Design is often talked about tangibly as something that solves a problem. Rather more elusively, what it essentially does is initiate a change in behaviour. If you have a problem, what you really have is something that needs to be changed. Design is a response to the problem, and the change it initiates can be for better or worse.

THE INFLUENCE OF BEAUTY

Aesthetics change the way we perceive, decide and react. When we experience a sense of beauty, we assign the source to be something positive. For this reason, the usability of something is often judged more favourably if it looks good. This is our emotional processing system at work – the affect system.

COMPLEMENTING THE USER SETTING

Context determines how well we can tolerate poor design. Usability matters more in stressful user contexts. Have you ever found yourself stressed out, rushing and pushing on a door, instead of realising that it says ‘pull’? In these situations, the font type is likely to be unclear or badly positioned on the door, meaning it does not work well for the task in the context of somebody rushing, anxious to get through. This is not an uncommon scenario and should have been considered in its design.

If as a user we are calm, and the design looks good (creating positive affect), we are more likely to overlook its minor user design flaws, judging it to be good. Under negative affect and with a design that is not user-friendly, we will judge it to be intolerable, even if it looks good. This is our analytical processing system at work – the cognitive system.

Both of these information processing systems function similarly within different boundaries, helping us to interpret what we encounter in our environment and judge whether it means something positive, negative or neutral for us. Each system is influenced by the other, meaning a negative emotional interpretation leads us to judge something as bad, and judging something as bad leads to a negative emotional interpretation. In reverse, positive emotional interpretation leads us to judge something as good, and judging something as good leads to positive emotional interpretation.


“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works too.” Steve jobs, NY Times, 2003

GOOD LOOKS AND EASE OF USE = GOOD DESIGN: THE ART OF FINDING THE BALANCE

The relationship between aesthetics and usability is intricate enough to justify calling the process of finding the balance an art. Professionals in this industry know that user testing and evaluating behaviour patterns, using existing principles and design knowledge, and having artistic ability are as crucial as each other in achieving that balance and maximising the appeal of the end product. The key to good design practice is not to prioritise research experiments, testing, or trends, but to be informed by it all, customising the process per the goals and the users, to achieve bespoke results for every project. That’s why looking to other campaigns or design portfolios for inspiration often doesn’t work.
Consider where you want to be and where you’re at, and what it is you need design to be able to allow. Following the process below will help to do this:

IDENTIFYING THE FACTORS THAT DRIVE THE DESIRED BEHAVIOUR

  1. Understanding the barriers to why people aren’t engaging with the target behaviour
  2. Spotting the opportunities to break the barriers
  3. Coming up with design interventions to trigger the behaviours or create new habits
  4. Being consistent to cause lasting behaviour change

‘I would never try to reform man; that’s too difficult. Instead I would try to modify the environment in such a way as to get man moving in preferred directions. When we design for behaviour change, we may be more successful than if we rely on persuasion’. Designer R. Buckminster Fuller.

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Motown legend Martha Reeves to perform in Northampton

Motown legends Martha Reeves and The Vandellas are heading to Northampton next month, and the star of the show says they cannot wait to take to the stage at The Deco Theatre.

Martha Reeves is regarded as Motown’s ‘ultimate soul diva’, and with The Vandellas, they had hit songs still as popular today as they were back in the 1960s and 70s, including ‘Dancing in the Street’, ‘Third Finger, Left Hand’, ‘Heatwave’, and ‘Jimmy Mack’.

They will be singing those, their other big hit records, and much more, at The Deco on Thursday, November 16.

“I am very excited about coming to Northampton, a town I have been to several times in the past, and where I still have some great friends that I love to catch up with,” she told us.

“I celebrate 55 years as a professional singer this year, and I love it now as much as I did when I first started out – I am blessed by God with talent I prayed for, so why waste it?”

Martha says that her show does take fans on a journey down Memory Lane - “vintage music ages like fine wine: the older, the better,” she says - but she has never stopped making music, and after recording with four major record labels, now self-produces and records her own music.

“I continue performing, writing, producing and enjoying every moment of my life in music, and I hope I reflect that when I entertain the people of Northampton on November the 16th.”

What Martha particularly enjoys is the variety of her audience, with as many young people coming to see her shows as though who remember her first bursting on the scene five decades ago.

“We now have three generations of music lovers coming to our shows, which is wonderful, and when the parents, and grandparents, get up and start singing and dancing with us, they are amazed,” she says.

“Most of the younger people I talk to tell me they’ve heard

our music played repeatedly at parties they go to, and other music events – the
Motown sound continues to be the sound of young America and the world.

“How proud am I that people of all ages continue to enjoy my
music? I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “Being one of the pioneers of the Motown
sound means so much to me; we aimed our lyrics of love, joy and happiness at
the hearts and souls of people who could identify with the thoughts and stories
we sing about.”

And what music does a Motown legend herself listen to these days? “I love all music,” she tells us. “I attend as many concerts as I can to savour the artistry of talented fellow music makers, who study, practice and work hard to perfect their craft.

Martha’s concert at The Deco is part of a UK Tour in November that takes her from Salisbury to Wrexham, from Preston to Gloucester, and finishing in London. At 76 she is as excited about touring as she ever was. But you cannot help but ask if she has ever contemplated calling it a day? You get a short, sharp shrift that suggests it is not on her agenda!

“Singers are birds, and I am a songbird!” she proclaims. “We lift our voices as long as we are able, and besides, music keeps me young – every time we sing our hit songs it’s always a new experience, a different space and time.”

Martha Reeves and The Vandellas play The Deco on Thursday, November 16. Support on the night comes from the talented Hannah White, with a DJ set from Mattyboy (Inspiration FM / Soulvit / Motownphilly) and Paddy Grady (Shades / Inspiration / Motownphilly).

For tickets: www.thedeco.co.uk, or call the Box Office: 01604 491005

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Buckinghamshire businesses weather Brexit uncertainty with strong year of growth

Buckinghamshire businesses have delivered another strong year of growth, increasing turnover, profitability and employment albeit at a slower pace than previous years as Brexit uncertainty continues, according to a new report published today.

Now in its fourth year, the Buckinghamshire Limited study, conducted by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, analyses the performance of the 100 largest, privately owned companies in the county to provide a recognised barometer of the overall health of Buckinghamshire’s economy.

The 2017 report findings, unveiled to more than 100 local businesses at a breakfast event hosted by Grant Thornton, revealed that combined turnover of the top 100 companies increased by a healthy 10.9% from £6.5bn to £7.2bn. Profits (measured by EBITDA – Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) also grew by 8.5% from £631 million to £684 million. This growth was largely driven by companies with a turnover of over £50m (33 of the 100 firms included within the report).

Employment levels for the 100 companies also increased by 5.3% to 40,726 and, even more positively, average wages rose by 7.9% to £29,307.

Mike Hughes, from Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office who presented the findings, said: “The strength of the county’s economy continues to impress with businesses weathering continued uncertainty over our future relationship with the EU and the falling value of the pound. Whilst Buckinghamshire has a number of economic centres, Milton Keynes, which this
year celebrates its 50th birthday, continues to play a significant part in the growth of the county as a whole.

“But there is a note of caution as both turnover and profit growth are lower than the previous two years and growth has been patchy across the top 100 companies. However, the report shows that only five businesses were lossmaking which, for the time being, suggests more of a slowdown in overall growth rather than a reversal of fortunes.”

The survey also showed that the county’s large businesses (turnover greater than £50m) achieved a significantly higher rate of turnover growth (13.5%) compared to SMEs (3.8%) which continues the trend seen in last year’s report. However, whilst profit growth for large businesses amounted to 11.3%, for SMEs it fell for the first time by 1.6%. This suggests SMEs have had a more difficult year, possibly as a result of the falling value of the pound.

As with previous years, the Buckinghamshire Limited report also analyses the performance of the top 100 companies by sector.

All nine sectors grew turnover highlighting a strong performance across the board. The standout players were Food, Drink and Leisure (32.8%), Business Support Services (19.5%) and Freight and Logistics (19.3%).

A further seven sectors reported an increase in EBITDA. However, Healthcare and Education saw profits fall by 5.9% as businesses face challenges over recent legislative changes and growing pressures on cost. Similarly, the Technology sector saw EBITDA decrease by 3.1%.

Mike added: “It is positive to see a growth across the majority of sectors with several notable performances. However, the report findings show it is the larger firms who have delivered the bulk of this growth which is in stark contrast to recent years when SMEs have been the real drivers. This suggests our county’s smaller businesses have had a challenging year, possibly due to caution around Brexit, currency changes and the subsequent economic slowdown.

“To ensure Buckinghamshire businesses, and the county as a whole, continue to grow they need a good supply of quality talent. Therefore, particularly against a backdrop of full employment, we need to ensure that the county has the infrastructure, housing and culture in place to attract the very best to the region. To achieve this, over the coming months we will continue to speak with local organisations across all industries to help shape the Milton Keynes of the future.”

The Buckinghamshire Limited 2017 findings were presented during a breakfast briefing at the Double Tree by Hilton, Stadium Way West with guest speaker Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-chancellor of Cranfield University and Chair of the MK Futures 2050 commission.

For a full copy of the Buckinghamshire Limited report, please contact lucy.c.evans@uk.gt.com.

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Hundreds of children enter council’s drawing competition

Winners of a Children’s Drawing Competition, set up by Kettering Borough Council, visited the Newlands Centre to view their artwork on display and claim their prize money.

The purpose of the competition was to encourage young children to save money, and was split into two categories:

The 7 years and under category were instructed to colour in a money box, while the 8 to 11 years category had to design a moneybox with a Kettering related theme and provide three money saving tips.

The artwork was showcased in the Pop-Up Shop that celebrated World Mental Health Day, where numerous local organisations such as Kettering Mind, Credit Union, Citizens Advice and more were offering their professional advice.

The competition was judged by Mayor of Kettering, Councillor Scott Edwards, Councillor Mark Rowley, Councillor Lesley Thurland and Kettering Borough Council’s Managing Director, Graham Soulsby, who were present at the event to meet the winners.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the 8 to 11 years category were 8-year-old Lukas, 9-year-old Libbie and 11-year-old Joseph!

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the 7 years and under category were 6-year-old Alex, 7-year-old Maisie and 4-year-old Daniel!

Prizes included £100 for 1st place, £50 for 2nd place and £25 for 3rd place, all of which will be deposited into a Clockwise Credit Union child’s saving account for a minimum of one year.

Julie Trahern, Head of Customer Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “All of the children across the Borough that participated in this competition created wonderful designs and put forward very impressive money saving tips. It is so important to encourage young children to understand the benefits of saving money, so this event was hugely beneficial and I am very pleased for all the winners.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Communications and Youth, said: “This competition was a fantastic opportunity for the hundreds of children that took part to be creative and to encourage them to save money. Many congratulations to all of the winners and well done to all who participated!”

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Business Headshots

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Howes Percival receives top tier rankings for 12 different practice areas

Howes Percival has been awarded top tier rankings in 12 different specialisms in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 – the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms.

Howes Percival has achieved top tier rankings for:

  • Dispute Resolution – Commercial Litigation
  • Dispute Resolution – Debt Recovery
  • Finance - Insolvency and Corporate Recovery
  • Human Resources - Employment
  • Human Resources – Health and Safety
  • Private Client – Agriculture and Estates
  • Private Client - Tax, Trusts and Probate
  • Real Estate - Commercial Property
  • Real Estate - Environment
  • Real Estate - Planning
  • Real Estate - Property litigation
  • Technology, Media & Telecoms - Intellectual Property

In addition, 18 different Howes Percival practice areas are recommended in the guide including Corporate and Commercial, Banking and Finance, Education, Construction, Family, Charities and Contentious trusts and probate.

Over the last three years Howes Percival has pursued a targeted growth strategy, strengthening its geographical network in the key markets of Cambridge and Milton Keynes, and expanded its range of services.

The ability to work collaboratively across these offices has been demonstrated through increased instructions from existing and new clients, ranging from owner-managed business to SMEs and government contracts to international clients.

Commenting on the firm’s rankings Howes Percival’s chairman, Tessa Haskey said: “It’s a fantastic set of rankings and recommendations – and something that the whole the firm can be rightly proud of. Our core strengths have again been recognised and the recommendations across 18 different practice areas show the wide range of services we now offer, as well as the depth of knowledge and expertise available.

The Legal 500 is widely regarded as the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms, it recommends firms and lawyers based on independent research, interviews and client feedback.

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Performance Management

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First Aid at Work (3 days)

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Mazars Milton Keynes team completes 1,000 mile charity challenge

Staff from the Milton Keynes office of leading international accountancy and advisory firm Mazars have helped to raise a total of £93,301 by participating in the firm’s first national cycle challenge; “Sense 1000, powered by Mazars”.

Proceeds will be donated to Sense, a national charity supporting people with sensory disabilities or impairments.

Taking place across 12 consecutive days, the challenge covered 1,000 miles and started in Glasgow on Monday 11th September. The route passed through 15 Mazars offices to finish at Mazars’ London office by Tower Bridge on Friday 22nd September. The relay covered the length and breadth of the country.

Through cycling, volunteering and fundraising, over 200 Mazars staff were involved with the challenge. Partners and staff from the Milton Keynes office cycled one or more of the legs of the ride, including legs from Birmingham to Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes to Gloucester.

Funds raised through the event will be donated towards the charity’s work in local communities including TouchBase Pears, a pioneering new community centre in Birmingham that will provide specialist provision for disabled people in the region.

To thank participants for their efforts, Mazars and Sense also hosted several receptions along the route, ranging from barbeques to tours of Sense Touchbase centres.

Stephen Eames, Milton Keynes office managing partner (pictured), said: “It was an absolute honour to take part in the Sense 1000 challenge.

“The event has raised vital funds for Sense TouchBase Centres across the UK - pioneering, fully accessible, multi-purpose venues that cater for the whole community. The centres offer a range of day service opportunities for people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, as well as public facilities, and in Milton Keynes we’re delighted to support this initiative.”

Ian Wrightson, UK Executive, head of people and culture at Mazars, said: “A lot of hard work and determination has gone into completing this challenge. At Mazars we are committed to making a positive difference to society and Sense 1000 is a fantastic example. It has brought teams from across the UK together to work towards a common goal. All those riding and supporting the event deserve thanks for their effort and for taking on a personal challenge in the name of a worthy cause. My body is still aching from cycling one of the legs!”

Gillian Morbey, Sense CEO, said: “We’re thrilled that Mazars has chosen to support our cause in such an incredible way. Sense prides itself on enabling people to achieve their
aspirations, and the Mazars event gives participants the chance to test themselves and achieve their goals. We’re incredibly grateful to the efforts of all the cyclists, which will help us to deliver vital services that make a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities and their families.”

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Adam Marshall: Great global trading nations need great foundations

At his keynote speech at the BCC International Trade Summit, taking place today (Thursday) at The Vox in Birmingham, British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests - welcome to the British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Summit 2017.

It is fitting that we come together today in the Midlands - bringing global traders and the people who support them together in a part of the UK that is renowned for the products it builds and sells all across the world. A part of the UK that has linked its proud manufacturing tradition with the latest in technology and with advanced services, encouraging investment from these shores and far beyond. From Birmingham Airport just across the road, and from East Midlands Airport too, the Midlands reach out to global markets - strongly supported by proud and outward-looking Chambers of Commerce that help hundreds of Midlands firms find new customers and suppliers around the world each and every year.

In my role, I get to celebrate and promote the very best of British business, including Midlands firms of all sizes, and fly the flag for the UK both here at home around the world. In the last month, I have done so accompanying the Prime Minister in Japan, representing the UK at the World Chambers Congress in Australia, and hosting delegations from Finland and other countries. I am heartened, at each and every one of these interactions, by the positive messages I hear about doing business with Britain. We are seen as forthright, we are efficient, we deliver high-quality products and services, and perhaps most critically in an ever-more uncertain world, we have earned our trading partners’ trust. The overseas British
Chambers and Business Groups that form part of our network repeatedly tell us that their host countries want to do more business with UK firms and build thriving two-way trade links.

Yet I have come here today to say that - in spite of our many great trading companies, in spite of our great reputation as a business partner - it is time for us to wake up.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to wake up to the fact that businesses across the United Kingdom must do more if we are to reclaim our mantle as a great global trading nation.

A great global trading nation. Our politicians have used and abused that phrase liberally since the EU Referendum last year.

Yet they too need to wake up - and put in place the conditions, and the environment, that will actually help make it happen. As the saying goes, “wishing doesn’t make it so”. Great global trading nations need great foundations. Those that succeed have leaders that demonstrate that they are backing their businesses to the hilt.

At this time of uncertainty and change, business as usual - either in our companies, or in the great offices of state - is not an option. Whether in business or in government, we need to think radically, and quickly, about how we proactively secure our place in the world.

Either we take a clear-eyed look at the world around us, or others will set us an abrupt wake-up call - timed for their agenda, rather than ours.

If you’ll oblige me, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to briefly mention three areas where we need to get on the front foot.

A BUSINESS-FRIENDLY BREXIT

It will be no surprise to anyone here that the first of these is Brexit.

Although only a minority of Chamber firms tell us they are planning actively for Brexit - with a clear majority saying they will react when they have more clarity from the negotiations - our biggest firms and investors, plus many smaller trading firms that face swift changes of their business models, need clarity and certainty fast.

We are reaching a tipping point where existing investment decisions will be put on hold, where new investments may be made elsewhere around the globe, and where expensive contingency plans are activated that impact our wider business communities and our export potential.

That is why Chambers have been calling for UK-EU trade talks to get underway as soon as possible, and a clear transition period of three years agreed, that allows business to get on with certainty and without immediate additional costs. We have worked with Chamber colleagues in Germany and elsewhere to make the point to national governments across Europe,
given the importance of this issue to businesses on both sides.

When Michel Barnier reports to the European Council in less than a fortnight, I am not optimistic that we will see the 27 decide to move on to trade and transition talks. Even if the two sides were closer on the substance of negotiations, I believe that politics would still lead to a further delay. Both the disorganisation of our own government, and the utter inflexibility of the EU side, are to blame here.

Yet a shift to practical, pragmatic negotiations on a transition period and our future trade arrangements is exactly what would help both UK and EU27 businesses plan and trade with greater confidence.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I want to urge both the UK Government and the EU27 to strain every sinew to move ahead - and put trade and transition at the heart of negotiations by the end of 2017. European businesses need clarity. British businesses need clarity. Third country businesses need clarity - with American, Japanese, Australian, Indian and Canadian firms with significant UK operations in particular pressing for this.

Further delays to trade and transition talks will create a lose-lose scenario for everyone with a stake in the game. It would be unforgivable for politicians on either side of the Channel to
privilege brinksmanship and disruption over thriving trade.

Over the coming months, we also need to see progress on the many practical questions for business that I set out to you at our Summit meeting last year - and for traders in particular, clarity around customs, standards, VAT and the status of EU nationals – whose contribution to our businesses and our communities should be celebrated and protected.

With each passing day, and each delay to negotiations, the siren voices of those who claim that Britain should leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal grow louder. Superficially, their argument is attractive. A short, sharp change would be followed by immediate clarity for businesses on their terms of trade, and freedom for the UK to do deals with third countries.

Yet dig beneath the surface and this argument crumbles away. Confusion would reign at ports and airports, as customs systems simply are not ready to deal with a ‘no deal’ outcome. The legal status of cross-border contracts could be challenged. Securing existing free trade deals and market access, negotiated while the UK was part of the EU, becomes manifestly more difficult.

Chamber member firms are clear that they want a deal with the EU as a top priority, and only 2% back the ‘no deal’ option.

It’s time for the proponents of the hardest of Brexits to wake up and listen to the practical concerns of trading businesses. A business-friendly approach to Brexit is in the national interest.

BACKING BRITISH BUSINESS

My second priority area is creating a great environment for business growth at home. Even if we got the best possible Brexit deal, it wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s written on if we don’t have the right conditions for businesses to grow and thrive in the UK.

In recent years, an entrepreneur could be forgiven for thinking that the British political establishment had turned lock stock and barrel against business. While politicians exhort businesses to trade more overseas, new input costs are piled on firms year after year without a second thought, our trading infrastructure continues to creak at the seams, and party leaders compete with each other to demonstrate who can wag their finger most furiously at corporate Britain. Some even encourage the demonisation of capitalism and enterprise, which have brought us so much prosperity and success.

Now, I am the very first person to say that every business has a strong responsibility to act in the interests of its employees, its customers, and the communities in which it operates.

Yet we must not tolerate the demonisation of business because it improves political poll ratings. Nor should we tolerate policy decisions that make it harder for our trading businesses to grow at such an important time.

It would be a dereliction of duty if the Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up on November 22nd and delivers a Budget that gives a ‘sugar hit’ to the electorate while forsaking the ‘protein boost’ that can enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the very businesses that generate the tax revenue and the trade that make our country tick.

This Budget cannot simply be an extension of the status quo. It must take decisive and radical steps to boost businesses and encourage investment. Waiting too long, and trying to react to the Brexit transition rather than get ahead of it, would be a costly mistake.

One great place to start would be significant, bold new incentives for investment. A major pre-Brexit investment allowance, plus an expansion to include more training and premises-related expenses, should be announced immediately. That would provide a powerful signal to both British and overseas investors: we believe in you, we want you here, and we want to be the best place to do business in Europe.

Firms everywhere tell us that the government mantra on lower Corporation Tax has worn thin. They think UK rates are competitive, and they don’t mind paying a share of their profits back into the Exchequer. What they cannot abide is the constant increase in costs imposed by governments of every colour, which blunt their appetite for investment and risk.

So, in addition to big incentives for investment, we also need to see a categorical pledge from ministers to create no new additional costs for UK business through the Brexit transition.
This monumental change will already generate adjustment costs. If ministers pile on more, they will sap competitiveness and confidence at precisely the time they are needed most.

SUPPORTING TRADE

My third and final area is the way we support trade in the UK. It’s no secret that our trade performance has been lacklustre for many years, and that we must do better.

We’ve seen in recent months that lower sterling has not sparked the revolution in British trade that many vocal commentators and politicians had predicted.

Although a cheaper pound has helped some firms, it’s been hugely tricky for others managing complex supply chains, rising input costs and competitive price pressures.

Some firms who want to expand are even reporting that their plans have been derailed by the spiralling cost of imported machinery needed to boost their productivity.

It is our considered view that lower sterling, overall, has likely done more harm than good in the short to medium term.

Stronger trade requires more than just a competitive currency. A strong domestic business environment and Brexit clarity are crucial, as I have already argued. But so, too, is comprehensive and consistent support for our trading firms - of all sizes - and those who need help to explore global opportunities.

The short-termism and constant churn that have characterised the Department for International Trade and its predecessors over the past decade must come to an end. A simple, disciplined, long-term approach to supporting exports and investment that is understood and valued by business is sorely needed. Leadership must come from the very top, with trade missions at the heart of every Cabinet minister’s job description, rather than tacked on as a hastily-arranged afterthought. And in every region and nation of the UK, a truly global Britain would be investing in flexible, face to face trade support - rather than continuing to cut back on available resources year after year. This approach has not helped the UK’s trade bottom line - and it’s time for a real change.

A great global trading nation needs to encourage, incentivise, support and promote its trading companies. That means a trade mission programme planned years, not days, in advance. It means on-the-ground support both at home and in markets overseas.

Yes, of course, it also means seeking liberalisation and new trade deals that help firms access markets around the world. But the UK government must not neglect practical support for business in global markets because it is so wrapped up in the high politics of international trade agreements - whose benefits are often years into the future.

CONCLUSION

Brexit, the business environment, and support for trade - in each of these areas, we need to see results over the coming months.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am hugely optimistic for the future of British business, and for the UK as a whole.

Yet optimism is not the same thing as complacency.

Sadly, complacency reigns today in some quarters.

To the small number of business tycoons and politicians who breezily and noisily dismiss the complexities of Brexit, I say get real - and get serious. Getting it right means taking the time needed, and being willing to negotiate pragmatically to keep trade flowing.

To those who believe that the way to transform our trade performance is to pour money into Union Flag-draped websites, or to pursue a politically symbolic but potentially problematic free trade deal with the USA, I say think again.

And to those in business whose hectic schedules mean they haven’t yet found time to consider how the next five years might affect their prospects or their markets, I encourage you to do so, with an emphasis on the opportunities inherent in change - not just the risks.

Complacency, ladies and gentlemen, is the single greatest enemy of our future success.

The “I’m all right Jack” approach, both in business and politics, needs to become a thing of the past. The wake-up calls of Brexit, stagnant growth in cross-border trade, greater automation and the rise of the twin forces of populism and protectionism, require us to work twice as hard to secure and grow our place at the heart of global trade.

Yet - we are inventive, we are nimble, and we are commercial.

Our fantastic businesses and business communities have every chance to make a success of the big changes that lie ahead.

So, let’s be optimistic, but let’s also be clear-headed.

And let’s keep up the pressure on our leaders - and demand that they demonstrate a deeper understanding of what businesses of all sizes need. Because at the end of the day, it is British business that will deliver a healthier trade balance, an improved current account position, and the prosperity we all want to enjoy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a dynamic and exciting Summit day ahead. I hope you find it stimulating, practical and focused relentlessly on the opportunities for growth. Meantime - thank you for your attention.”

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Adam Marshall: Great global trading nations need great foundations

At his keynote speech at the BCC International Trade Summit, taking place today (Thursday) at The Vox in Birmingham, British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall said:

Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests - welcome to the British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Summit 2017.

It is fitting that we come together today in the Midlands - bringing global traders and the people who support them together in a part of the UK that is renowned for the products it builds and sells all across the world. A part of the UK that has linked its proud manufacturing tradition with the latest in technology and with advanced services, encouraging investment from these shores and far beyond. From Birmingham Airport just across the road, and from East Midlands Airport too, the Midlands reach out to global markets - strongly supported by proud and outward-looking Chambers of Commerce that help hundreds of Midlands firms find new customers and suppliers around the world each and every year.

In my role, I get to celebrate and promote the very best of British business, including Midlands firms of all sizes, and fly the flag for the UK both here at home around the world. In the last month, I have done so accompanying the Prime Minister in Japan, representing the UK at the World Chambers Congress in Australia, and hosting delegations from Finland and other countries. I am heartened, at each and every one of these interactions, by the positive messages I hear about doing business with Britain. We are seen as forthright, we are efficient, we deliver high-quality products and services, and perhaps most critically in an ever-more uncertain world, we have earned our trading partners’ trust. The overseas British
Chambers and Business Groups that form part of our network repeatedly tell us that their host countries want to do more business with UK firms and build thriving two-way trade links.

Yet I have come here today to say that - in spite of our many great trading companies, in spite of our great reputation as a business partner - it is time for us to wake up.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to wake up to the fact that businesses across the United Kingdom must do more if we are to reclaim our mantle as a great global trading nation.

A great global trading nation. Our politicians have used and abused that phrase liberally since the EU Referendum last year.

Yet they too need to wake up - and put in place the conditions, and the environment, that will actually help make it happen. As the saying goes, “wishing doesn’t make it so”. Great global trading nations need great foundations. Those that succeed have leaders that demonstrate that they are backing their businesses to the hilt.

At this time of uncertainty and change, business as usual - either in our companies, or in the great offices of state - is not an option. Whether in business or in government, we need to think radically, and quickly, about how we proactively secure our place in the world.

Either we take a clear-eyed look at the world around us, or others will set us an abrupt wake-up call - timed for their agenda, rather than ours.

If you’ll oblige me, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to briefly mention three areas where we need to get on the front foot.

A BUSINESS-FRIENDLY BREXIT

It will be no surprise to anyone here that the first of these is Brexit.

Although only a minority of Chamber firms tell us they are planning actively for Brexit - with a clear majority saying they will react when they have more clarity from the negotiations - our biggest firms and investors, plus many smaller trading firms that face swift changes of their business models, need clarity and certainty fast.

We are reaching a tipping point where existing investment decisions will be put on hold, where new investments may be made elsewhere around the globe, and where expensive contingency plans are activated that impact our wider business communities and our export potential.

That is why Chambers have been calling for UK-EU trade talks to get underway as soon as possible, and a clear transition period of three years agreed, that allows business to get on with certainty and without immediate additional costs. We have worked with Chamber colleagues in Germany and elsewhere to make the point to national governments across Europe,
given the importance of this issue to businesses on both sides.

When Michel Barnier reports to the European Council in less than a fortnight, I am not optimistic that we will see the 27 decide to move on to trade and transition talks. Even if the two sides were closer on the substance of negotiations, I believe that politics would still lead to a further delay. Both the disorganisation of our own government, and the utter inflexibility of the EU side, are to blame here.

Yet a shift to practical, pragmatic negotiations on a transition period and our future trade arrangements is exactly what would help both UK and EU27 businesses plan and trade with greater confidence.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I want to urge both the UK Government and the EU27 to strain every sinew to move ahead - and put trade and transition at the heart of negotiations by the end of 2017. European businesses need clarity. British businesses need clarity. Third country businesses need clarity - with American, Japanese, Australian, Indian and Canadian firms with significant UK operations in particular pressing for this.

Further delays to trade and transition talks will create a lose-lose scenario for everyone with a stake in the game. It would be unforgivable for politicians on either side of the Channel to
privilege brinksmanship and disruption over thriving trade.

Over the coming months, we also need to see progress on the many practical questions for business that I set out to you at our Summit meeting last year - and for traders in particular, clarity around customs, standards, VAT and the status of EU nationals – whose contribution to our businesses and our communities should be celebrated and protected.

With each passing day, and each delay to negotiations, the siren voices of those who claim that Britain should leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal grow louder. Superficially, their argument is attractive. A short, sharp change would be followed by immediate clarity for businesses on their terms of trade, and freedom for the UK to do deals with third countries.

Yet dig beneath the surface and this argument crumbles away. Confusion would reign at ports and airports, as customs systems simply are not ready to deal with a ‘no deal’ outcome. The legal status of cross-border contracts could be challenged. Securing existing free trade deals and market access, negotiated while the UK was part of the EU, becomes manifestly more difficult.

Chamber member firms are clear that they want a deal with the EU as a top priority, and only 2% back the ‘no deal’ option.

It’s time for the proponents of the hardest of Brexits to wake up and listen to the practical concerns of trading businesses. A business-friendly approach to Brexit is in the national interest.

BACKING BRITISH BUSINESS

My second priority area is creating a great environment for business growth at home. Even if we got the best possible Brexit deal, it wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s written on if we don’t have the right conditions for businesses to grow and thrive in the UK.

In recent years, an entrepreneur could be forgiven for thinking that the British political establishment had turned lock stock and barrel against business. While politicians exhort businesses to trade more overseas, new input costs are piled on firms year after year without a second thought, our trading infrastructure continues to creak at the seams, and party leaders compete with each other to demonstrate who can wag their finger most furiously at corporate Britain. Some even encourage the demonisation of capitalism and enterprise, which have brought us so much prosperity and success.

Now, I am the very first person to say that every business has a strong responsibility to act in the interests of its employees, its customers, and the communities in which it operates.

Yet we must not tolerate the demonisation of business because it improves political poll ratings. Nor should we tolerate policy decisions that make it harder for our trading businesses to grow at such an important time.

It would be a dereliction of duty if the Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up on November 22nd and delivers a Budget that gives a ‘sugar hit’ to the electorate while forsaking the ‘protein boost’ that can enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the very businesses that generate the tax revenue and the trade that make our country tick.

This Budget cannot simply be an extension of the status quo. It must take decisive and radical steps to boost businesses and encourage investment. Waiting too long, and trying to react to the Brexit transition rather than get ahead of it, would be a costly mistake.

One great place to start would be significant, bold new incentives for investment. A major pre-Brexit investment allowance, plus an expansion to include more training and premises-related expenses, should be announced immediately. That would provide a powerful signal to both British and overseas investors: we believe in you, we want you here, and we want to be the best place to do business in Europe.

Firms everywhere tell us that the government mantra on lower Corporation Tax has worn thin. They think UK rates are competitive, and they don’t mind paying a share of their profits back into the Exchequer. What they cannot abide is the constant increase in costs imposed by governments of every colour, which blunt their appetite for investment and risk.

So, in addition to big incentives for investment, we also need to see a categorical pledge from ministers to create no new additional costs for UK business through the Brexit transition.
This monumental change will already generate adjustment costs. If ministers pile on more, they will sap competitiveness and confidence at precisely the time they are needed most.

SUPPORTING TRADE

My third and final area is the way we support trade in the UK. It’s no secret that our trade performance has been lacklustre for many years, and that we must do better.

We’ve seen in recent months that lower sterling has not sparked the revolution in British trade that many vocal commentators and politicians had predicted.

Although a cheaper pound has helped some firms, it’s been hugely tricky for others managing complex supply chains, rising input costs and competitive price pressures.

Some firms who want to expand are even reporting that their plans have been derailed by the spiralling cost of imported machinery needed to boost their productivity.

It is our considered view that lower sterling, overall, has likely done more harm than good in the short to medium term.

Stronger trade requires more than just a competitive currency. A strong domestic business environment and Brexit clarity are crucial, as I have already argued. But so, too, is comprehensive and consistent support for our trading firms - of all sizes - and those who need help to explore global opportunities.

The short-termism and constant churn that have characterised the Department for International Trade and its predecessors over the past decade must come to an end. A simple, disciplined, long-term approach to supporting exports and investment that is understood and valued by business is sorely needed. Leadership must come from the very top, with trade missions at the heart of every Cabinet minister’s job description, rather than tacked on as a hastily-arranged afterthought. And in every region and nation of the UK, a truly global Britain would be investing in flexible, face to face trade support - rather than continuing to cut back on available resources year after year. This approach has not helped the UK’s trade bottom line - and it’s time for a real change.

A great global trading nation needs to encourage, incentivise, support and promote its trading companies. That means a trade mission programme planned years, not days, in advance. It means on-the-ground support both at home and in markets overseas.

Yes, of course, it also means seeking liberalisation and new trade deals that help firms access markets around the world. But the UK government must not neglect practical support for business in global markets because it is so wrapped up in the high politics of international trade agreements - whose benefits are often years into the future.

CONCLUSION

Brexit, the business environment, and support for trade - in each of these areas, we need to see results over the coming months.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am hugely optimistic for the future of British business, and for the UK as a whole.

Yet optimism is not the same thing as complacency.

Sadly, complacency reigns today in some quarters.

To the small number of business tycoons and politicians who breezily and noisily dismiss the complexities of Brexit, I say get real - and get serious. Getting it right means taking the time needed, and being willing to negotiate pragmatically to keep trade flowing.

To those who believe that the way to transform our trade performance is to pour money into Union Flag-draped websites, or to pursue a politically symbolic but potentially problematic free trade deal with the USA, I say think again.

And to those in business whose hectic schedules mean they haven’t yet found time to consider how the next five years might affect their prospects or their markets, I encourage you to do so, with an emphasis on the opportunities inherent in change - not just the risks.

Complacency, ladies and gentlemen, is the single greatest enemy of our future success.

The “I’m all right Jack” approach, both in business and politics, needs to become a thing of the past. The wake-up calls of Brexit, stagnant growth in cross-border trade, greater automation and the rise of the twin forces of populism and protectionism, require us to work twice as hard to secure and grow our place at the heart of global trade.

Yet - we are inventive, we are nimble, and we are commercial.

Our fantastic businesses and business communities have every chance to make a success of the big changes that lie ahead.

So, let’s be optimistic, but let’s also be clear-headed.

And let’s keep up the pressure on our leaders - and demand that they demonstrate a deeper understanding of what businesses of all sizes need. Because at the end of the day, it is British business that will deliver a healthier trade balance, an improved current account position, and the prosperity we all want to enjoy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a dynamic and exciting Summit day ahead. I hope you find it stimulating, practical and focused relentlessly on the opportunities for growth. Meantime - thank you for your attention.”

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ISO Assessor Course

The 2017 ISO Assessor Course is the latest addition and natural next step for career development, aimed at those with an interest in working with ISO management systems.

There are benefits to be attained for both your company and employees from our education program. The 2017 ISO Assessor Course assists in improving the effectiveness of your current workforce. CPD points are attached to each course and viewed as an attractive benefit to individuals.

2017 ISO Assessor Course

The training course has two units and is designed to teach and demonstrate techniques on how to plan, lead and report audits within organisations. Effective and efficient auditing can drive reductions in re-work, scrap, concessions and support ‘right first time’ initiatives; the proactive benefits of internal auditing can be invaluable in maintaining reputation and customer service by identifying potential issues before they become a problem or customer complaint; it can highlight processes that are currently compliant but may be ‘drifting’ towards non-conformance.

What you will learn?

How to perform 1st, 2nd and 3rd party audits of any organisations Quality Management System.
Identify the purpose & benefits of a Quality Management System.

You will learn the skills and techniques to plan, run, report and follow up an audit in accordance with ISO 19011:2011 guidelines for auditing management systems. (Provides guidance on auditing management systems, including the principles of auditing, managing an audit programme and conducting management system audits, as well as guidance on the evaluation of competence of individuals involved in the audit process).

Who is it for?

The 2017 ISO Assessor Course delivers easily accessible knowledge to delegates for a range of auditing situations, helping you to identify and apply the appropriate skills in the right context. Suitable for all employees wishing to learn about the ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management System, and progress their careers.

What does it involve?

Unit One
Pre-course work prior to attending – the pre-course questionnaire is managed at your pace.

Self-study comprehensive broad entry-level ISO management systems knowledge questionnaire. Stand-alone certificated qualification providing evidence of an overview knowledge of ISO 9001: 2015 Quality management system.

Ideal for induction purposes, easily integrated into induction programmes to ensure a benchmark level of understanding amongst all employees.

The pass mark for the questionnaire is 70%.

Unit Two – two modules

  1. Classroom – our classroom module covers every aspect of the ISO Assessor Course helping to build on your knowledge and practical assessing skills.
  2. Practical assessor experience in the field – shadowing and working with a qualified assessor during the conducting of a company audit visit.

Final exam and certification.

Successful completion of the course is recognised by the award of a certificate.
The pass mark for the exam is 70%

Benefits of 2017 ISO Assessor Course

  • Studies have shown well trained personnel can have a positive impact on the success of any business in terms of both efficiency and profitability
  • Training helps to make people more confident in their role, which directly improves morale
  • A full understanding of the requirements for ISO 9001:2015 audit application
  • Knowledge and skills to carry out audits of complete management systems and assess conformity to a standard
  • Knowing how to apply risk-based thinking, leadership and process management within an organisation

For more information contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or andrewtomkinson@imsm.com

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Award winning shipping software

InXpress have won a prestigious national award for their new online shipping platform – Webship 3.0.

They were delighted to be named, against stiff competition, as the winners of the British Franchise Association HSBC Brand Innovation Award.

This is testament to the many new features of Webship 3.0 which they hope their customers will enjoy using.

The new software is making shipping from and to anywhere in the world easier, quicker and more cost effective.

If you have any queries about using the new platform, or need any shipping advice at any time, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

InXpress MK, tel: 01933 426 995 or email donna.sinfield@inxpress.com to book an appointment with a Freight Consultant.

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Grant Thornton UK LLP launches new office in Milton Keynes

The Milton Keynes office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton UK LLP has relocated to larger, modern premises in the heart of Milton Keynes as part of the firm’s long term commitment to supporting business growth in the region.

Formerly operating from Silbury Boulevard, the almost 200 strong Grant Thornton team has moved into a contemporary 1,850 sqm space in Victoria House on Avebury Boulevard to accommodate future expansion.

The new office which offers improved facilities for both clients and employees, including on-site parking, has easy access to the M1 and is within walking distance of Milton Keynes Central train station.

More than 130 guests, including leading local figures from business, education and the public sector, joined the Milton Keynes team and Grant Thornton CEO Sacha Romanovitch on Tuesday 10 October to officially open the innovative new office which leaves behind the traditional concept of working.

Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “As the first national accountancy firm to open its doors in Milton Keynes over 40 years ago, this new office represents an exciting step for Grant Thornton as we reaffirm our commitment to the region and invest in its long term future.

“This move is also about investing in our future leaders. Milton Keynes is already renowned for being a great place to live and work and by creating this innovative, forward-thinking work space we hope to continue to attract the very best talent to the region.

“As one of the fastest growing areas in the UK, Milton Keynes has an exciting future ahead and we will continue our work with dynamic, high growth businesses across the region to help build a more progressive and productive local economy at all levels.”

An additional local flavour was added to the event in the form of refreshments provided by catering students at Milton Keynes College, beer from local brewery Concrete Cow and cupcakes made by Milton Keynes start-up company Simply Good.

The Milton Keynes City Orchestra was also on hand to entertain guests throughout the evening.

Fiona added: “The idea behind asking local companies to provide food and drink for the event was to emphasise how important it is for us to maintain our position as an integral part of the Milton Keynes community. We are committed to Milton Keynes for the long term and look forward to adding value to the town for many more years to come.”

Grant Thornton’s CEO Sacha Romanovitch who attended the event, said: “The new Milton Keynes office is part of our long term commitment to creating an environment where people and businesses can flourish. We believe that by working together we can stimulate ideas and actions that will help realise the region’s untapped potential, generating a more prosperous, vibrant economy to benefit everyone.”

Grant Thornton’s new Milton Keynes premises offers an innovative approach to working with a range of spaces and pods for events, meetings and discussions, encouraging interaction and collaboration. This is available to organisations to drop in or to use free of charge who share our vision for connection and collaboration.

Photo caption: L-R Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, Sacha Romanovitch, Grant Thornton’s CEO and Steve White, Grant Thornton.

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Being creative and competitive under increasing business pressure - Free lunchtime talk

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Change is here to stay

Things never seem to stop still here at DACT, as during these last 12 months we have achieved so much.

In February this year, we moved downstairs in The Abbey to our fine new Office and MiDAS Training Room which has given us a much better lay-out and is far more accessible for visitors.

In July, came the fantastic news that DACT and its brilliant volunteers had been awarded the ‘Queens Award for Voluntary Service’ which is the equivalent of an MBE for Volunteer Groups. The Award Ceremony was conducted in September by Mr David E Laing MA RIBA, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and was a hugely memorable occasion enjoyed by a large audience who had gathered including many of our volunteers.

The new building extension to our Mobility Shop is due to commence towards the end of 2017 into early 2018 enabling us to provide a wider variety of mobility equipment, advice and hire equipment.

DACT has also been nominated for the ‘Community Group of the Year’ category as part of The Pride of Northamptonshire Awards which is taking place later in October 2017. Watch this space! At the same awards, our longest serving volunteer car driver Ron, has been nominated for the ‘Volunteer of the Year Award’.

We have also been privileged to have two of our team members receive invites to HM The Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, as a recognition of the work of DACT and all that has been achieved.

In terms of the DACT office team we welcome on board Sarah who will be spending time with our longest serving Transport Booking Officer Rosemary (Roe), learning the ropes and tapping into her vast knowledge and experience, before Roe retires in March 2018.

Sarah says: “As a new member of the team I find myself in completely different territory compared to my previous roles. I started my career as a travel consultant for a well-known high street travel operator and spent a happy 10 years, booking, dreaming about and travelling to some wonderful destinations. After the birth of my first and only child I wanted to change the direction my career was heading in and started a role supporting vulnerable people with tenancy difficulties. I have spent the last 12 years supporting a diverse group of people with a range of different needs and most recently, I have had the challenge of coordinating the Sure Start programme delivering a service for vulnerable families with young children.

“I am now looking forward to the new challenge of working as part of the DACT team. I have been inspired by the stories that I have heard so far and feel really pleased to be part of a service that is making such a difference to the local community.”

Hopefully DACT will never be standing still and the next 12 months will see many more exciting developments!

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Howes Percival shortlisted in five categories: Insider’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017

Howes Percival has been shortlisted in five categories in Insider Media’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017.

The firm has been shortlisted as ‘Corporate Law Firm of the Year’ and have been shortlisted for four deal nominations. Howes Percival was part of the advisory team on the following transactions:

- Acquisition of Keencut by Constant Equity (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Investment of Blue Skies by 8 Miles LLP (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Sale of Woodway Packing to Bunzl plc (Deal of the Year - above £10m)

- Sale of Integrated Business Systems to Southern Communications (Deal of the Year - under £10m)

Commenting on the shortlistings, Howes Percival’s Northampton corporate partner, Gerald Couldrake: “This is a fantastic result for the team. Everyone has worked so hard in the last couple of years. We said we wanted to be the ‘go to’ firm for corporate work in the region and these nominations go a long way to supporting our ambition.

“We’re an ambitious firm, hungry to grow and help our clients achieve their aims. We have the team and the infrastructure to rival any regional law firm and we’ve shown this year that we are capable of handling some of the biggest deals around.”

The Insider Central & East Dealmakers Awards recognise the wealth of talent that the region’s professional services sector possess and celebrate its achievements. Shortlists are drawn-up by an expert, independent judging panel. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner which will take place in Milton Keynes on Thursday 9 November 2017.

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“First Impressions Count”

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JK Rowling’s ‘genius’ illustrator lifts the lid on being given the keys to Harry Potter’s wizarding world

The man who was handpicked by JK Rowling to illustrate a new series of Harry Potter books visited the University of Northampton this week – and revealed what it was like to work with the world’s most famous living fiction writer.

Northamptonshire’s Jim Kay (pictured), whom Rowling described as “modesty itself, completely unaware that he’s a genius”, appeared at Avenue Campus to promote the latest fully illustrated edition of the Potter saga: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The University’s press office caught up with Jim after his talk and book signing, to ask him about being Rowling’s chosen illustrator, the pressure that brings and his advice for budding illustrators.

Watch the video interview here.

Recollecting the moment he received the call that he’d been chosen for the job, Jim said: “I was terrified, because it was such a big thing and I didn’t sleep properly for six months because the responsibility would suddenly hit me – you don’t want to make a mess of the world’s most popular children’s book and that feeling never really left me.

“In fact, every time there’s a book release I’m still terrified, still nervous, but that keeps me going, you’ve got to keep on your toes.”

Jim also spoke about his relationship with Rowling, who has sold in excess of 500 million books – a figure which puts her alongside the likes of Agatha Christie, Shakespeare and
Enid Blyton in the top 10 of the most successful fiction writers.

“The one person you want to please, as an illustrator, is the author,” said Jim. “So far I’ve had some amazing letters from Jo, really lovely letters, and she writes beautifully, as
you’d imagine.

“So far she likes it, and I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

Jim went on to offer advice for students on the University of Northampton’s Illustration course.

“There are far better draughtsmen than me, but it’s all about perseverance and sticking power,” said Jim.

“If someone says I can’t do something it motivates me. Early on in my career there were loads of failures and they made me really push hard.

“So don’t be put off by criticism, just build on it and learn from it. It smarts at the time, but retrospectively that’s often the kick up the backside you need.”

You can find out more about Jim Kay by visiting his website and the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions on the Bloomsbury website.

Details about the University’s Illustration degree course can be found here.

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Northampton Property Litigation Seminar: Topical Case Update

We are pleased to announce that we are hosting a breakfast seminar, which will be presented by members of the Howes Percival Property Litigation team.

The seminar focuses on some of the recent cases which have developed in the property litigation sector and will be particularly useful for managing agents and building surveyors.

Date: Thursday 2 November 2017

Time: 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Venue: Howes Percival Northampton Office, Nene House, 4 Rushmills, Northampton NN4 7YB

The event is free of charge and a light breakfast and refreshments will be served.

Please email events@howespercival.com to reserve your place.

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PROJEXIS opens new Milton Keynes office 1st November 2017

We are delighted to announce the opening of our Milton Keynes Office from 1st November 2017.

Based in the heart of Central Milton Keynes on Midsummer Boulevard, this will enable the team to serve our clients in and around the area, as well as offer the highest possible levels of support.

Our standard office opening hours will be Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, with out of hours service available to clients as part of any systems services.

If you are in the area and want to pop in for a coffee and a chat, why not give us a message and we’ll get the kettle on!

Midsummer Court
314 Midsummer Boulevard
Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
MK9 2UB

Both Allan and Mike will be in the office on 1st November, with a selection of cakes and biscuits to welcome any visitors.

www.projexis.co.uk
(0845) 862 1630

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CPR & AED level 2 award

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CHRISTMAS AT SIXFIELDS

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Manage your energy, not your time

“I’d like to go on a time management course, please”

You’ve probably been on one end or the other of a time management conversation. It’s a lovely topic for the year end appraisal. Either you ask for one because, well, it sounds like a safe course to ask for, or you are sent on one because your boss thinks you could be more efficient and doesn’t want to deal with the underlying reasons that made them think that.

I’m fortunate enough to have never been on a time management course. And yes, I’ve sent people on them. But it took me a long time to realise that Time Management might seem like the right solution when you can’t get everything you need done. But you won’t get everything done if you’re exhausted. If you’ve put aside the morning to get an important report done, but you can’t get your head in the game because you slept poorly and can’t focus, your time management skills haven’t helped much.

I spent a lot of time as an engineer working odd shifts, sleeping in hotels and travelling at ungodly times of the day and night. Even when I started to climb the “management ladder”, all of that didn’t seem to bother my productivity much until I got married and had kids, and suddenly my batteries were running on empty by “hump day”. Too many decisions, too many energy draining activities at work and at home, and often by the time I got home to see my family and I could barely string two words together.

And I wasn’t alone, many of us are tired and overwhelmed by the constant demands of life. We all know that we need to get more sleep, eat better and get more exercise, and yet most of us are too busy and too stressed to do anything differently. After a while low energy becomes the norm, and before you know it you’re counting down the days to Friday, hoping that you can survive the week.

Stressful living causes the release of the stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol and catecholamines. Elevated cortisol levels are known to affect memory forming and storing in the hippocampus, whilst catecholamines deactivate the prefrontal cortex, which is the higher cognitive center for concentration, planning and decision-making. Effectively, being stressed makes it harder and harder to make wise decisions, leaving us more stressed and with less time to deal with the fallout from poor decisions.
When I first started to notice my energy levels, I diagnosed it as a lack of motivation. I needed to go on some motivation weekends, to find my purpose and all that business. And to be fair I learnt a lot of interesting stuff about motivation and life goals, but being super motivated only works if you have the energy to follow through on all those SMART targets. If you are tired on a physical level, you don’t have the energy for intellectual or emotional challenges. It’s easy then to self-medicate with caffeine and other stimulants, but these wear your adrenals down and reduce your ability to recover. It wasn’t until much later that I started to consider the energy part of that equation, and becoming aware of what recharges my energy, and what (and who) drains it.

The typical personal development book answer

Physical recovery is a science that nobody talks about. Only professional athletes really understand how important it is. Sports scientists know that to recover properly, the hormonal recovery has to be active. Think of your body as a car that moves you through life . It’s the only car you have, or will ever have. You can’t sell it and get another one. Where you get in life, how quickly you get there, and how much fun you have getting there depends on how well you look after your car. If you’re not scheduling regular oil changes and maintenance, you’ll find yourself in disrepair. For all but light stress, sitting on the sofa watching TV is unlikely to rejuvenate you, particularly if the shows you watch are stressful experiences in themselves, such as dramas and soaps that build a lot of tension through sadness. If you have a stressful and busy lifestyle, it’s likely that your recovery needs to be similarly active.

If you feel tired, it only means one thing. You have to give yourself chance to recover. Now when professional athletes “recover” between periods of intense exercise, they don’t sit on the sofa and watch TV, because this kind of rest won’t give your body what it needs. Typical active recovery activities are:
Activities of this kind provide you with the sort of maintenance that deals with the physical and mental stress caused by busy lives.
The active recovery activities listed above is not exhaustive; there’s a good body of research to support their inclusion in the list. But please don’t feel the need to do all of them! Trying to fit all of that in to your life will be stressful enough to probably cancel out the benefits!

  • Swimming – Gentle exercise which also stimulates the Mammalian Dive Reflex, which is shown to have a calming effort on the autonomous nervous system
  • Walking – Particularly in green spaces or by large bodies of water
  • Walking sports – Such as golf and walking football which have the added social element
  • Mobility – Such as Yoga \ Pilates; there’s a huge body of research to support their impact on stress hormones
  • Deep tissue work – Massage \ Sauna \ Cold exposure all have a positive impact on the balancing your autonomous nervous system
  • Balanced breathing techniques – Meditation \ Pranayama \ HeartMath are all proven to reduce stress hormones

Building your own energy practice

A key part of developing and sustaining your energy is to understand what drains you and what invigorates you. So consider the following questions:
Answering these questions will give you a good grounding for improving your energy levels, which will give you the energy you need to get the job done right first time. Much more effective than time management when your batteries are flat, I’m sure you’ll agree.

  1. What situations \ triggers cause you to feel stressed, and what actions or reactions do you take that cause your “inner battery” to drain?
  2. What activities or interactions recharge your batteries?
  3. What could you do differently to avoid or lessen the impact of situations in 1.)?
  4. How would your life be different if you were able to do more of 2?

Research papers supporting the article can be found at https://nexus8.co.uk/time-management-energy

Matthew Hatson coaches teams and individuals to handle stress more effectively, develop resilience to handle uncertainty with grace, and make wiser decisions.

www.nexus8.co.uk

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Northamptonshire Chamber welcomes new board members

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is delighted to welcome four new members to its Board.

Amarjit Atwal of Premier Electrics, Steve Clark of Hospital Aids, Mike McAuley of Tom Hewer Catering and Anjana Rajani of Power2Progress Ltd, were elected to their new non-executive roles at the Chamber’s 100th annual general meeting on October 10.

Welcoming the new board members, Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce president Kevin Shapland, said: “We are delighted to have Amarjit, Steve, Mike and Anjana, join the Board at what is an exciting time for the Chamber. Our national award winning Chamber has just finished celebrating its centenary year and is working on a number of exciting new projects, including the launches of our Northamptonshire Chamber Awards and Next Generation Chamber for young business leaders.

“Our new board members bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help drive forward the continued success of the Chamber as a key organisation in the Northamptonshire business community. We thank them for agreeing to give up their valuable time to share their experience and expertise to support the Chamber and the service we provide to our members. We look forward to working with them.”

Kevin Shapland, of CJS (UK Management) Limited, will continue in his role as president, and Kevin Rogers, of Wilson Browne Solicitors, and Richard Osborne, of eFiling, will both take on the role of vice president.

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The Head of Economics at BCC comments on UK trade statistics

Commenting on the trade statistics for September 2017, released today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in August is disappointing, and signifies a much weaker trading position than the average for the year, with exports falling and imports rising sharply in the month. Taken together with the recent widening of the current account deficit, the figures paint a rather gloomy picture of the UK’s external position.

“The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling’s value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK’s overall trade position. Businesses continue to report that the post-EU referendum weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with firms continuing to face higher input costs due to the weakening currency, particularly those locked into global supply chains. For those companies that rely on overseas suppliers for their production equipment, a weak pound also makes investment in growth less viable.

“Businesses want to see comprehensive trade talks begin in the EU negotiations before the end of the year, and need answers to the practical questions about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019. At the same time, it is vital that more is done help firms take advantage of new trading opportunities, including greater practical assistance for exporters and tackling some of the longstanding issues at home including the chronic skill shortages and the cost of doing business in the UK.”

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Head of Economics at BCC comments on UK trade statistics

Commenting on the trade statistics for September 2017, released yesterday by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in August is disappointing, and signifies a much weaker trading position than the average for the year, with exports falling and imports rising sharply in the month. Taken together with the recent widening of the current account deficit, the figures paint a rather gloomy picture of the UK’s external position.

“The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling’s value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK’s overall trade position. Businesses continue to report that the post-EU referendum weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with firms continuing to face higher input costs due to the weakening currency, particularly those locked into global supply chains. For those companies that rely on overseas suppliers for their production equipment, a weak pound also makes investment in growth less viable.

“Businesses want to see comprehensive trade talks begin in the EU negotiations before the end of the year, and need answers to the practical questions about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019. At the same time, it is vital that more is done help firms take advantage of new trading opportunities, including greater practical assistance for exporters and tackling some of the longstanding issues at home including the chronic skill shortages and the cost of doing business in the UK.”

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BCC comments on UK trade statistics

Commenting on the trade statistics for September 2017, released yesterday by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in August is disappointing, and signifies a much weaker trading position than the average for the year, with exports falling and imports rising sharply in the month. Taken together with the recent widening of the current account deficit, the figures paint a rather gloomy picture of the UK’s external position.

“The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling’s value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK’s overall trade position. Businesses continue to report that the post-EU referendum weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with firms continuing to face higher input costs due to the weakening currency, particularly those locked into global supply chains. For those companies that rely on overseas suppliers for their production equipment, a weak pound also makes investment in growth less viable.

“Businesses want to see comprehensive trade talks begin in the EU negotiations before the end of the year, and need answers to the practical questions about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019. At the same time, it is vital that more is done help firms take advantage of new trading opportunities, including greater practical assistance for exporters and tackling some of the longstanding issues at home including the chronic skill shortages and the cost of doing business in the UK.”

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Kettering’s Martyn Lund helps produce a National Journalists’ guide to Fair Reporting of Social Housing

Kettering Borough Council’s dedicated tenant committee member of the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH), Martyn Lund (pictured), has helped produce the Fair Press for Tenants guide that helps journalists report social housing fairly.

Martyn formed part of the editorial team and over 400 social housing tenants took the time to contribute to this guide.

It reveals a series of facts and explores the history of social housing, with real life stories from tenants, who explain how they feel they are currently represented in the media.

Martyn Lund, representative of the ARCH Tenants Group and Producer of the Fair Press for Tenants Guide, said: “Tenants often get a bad name, and slowly it’s getting worse.

“It is important to talk to tenants to reduce the negative stereotypes that surround social housing. This guide helps to make people understand the real statistics.”

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Raising awareness of hate crime across Northampton

Local organisations are coming together this October to raise awareness of hate crime and how to report it in Northampton.

The Borough Council is working closely with eight local organisations to deliver a range of local events to educate residents about the different types of hate crime and the best ways to report it.

The awareness raising events all take place around National Hate Crime Awareness Week and kick off with the official launch on Saturday, 14 October at the town’s Diwali celebrations.

Residents, schools and businesses are invited to join the partnership organisations at town centre based events, including the community forum’s tea party at the Guildhall on Wednesday, 18 October.

At the tea party, attendees will find out how to report a hate crime, get an update on the Crane project, learn more about a recent visit to Srebrenica and get tips for keeping safe.

People can also show their support during the awareness week by posting messages on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeStandTogether. In addition, they can help to spread information about reporting hate crime during the awareness week, by sharing messages from @NorthamptonBC

Cllr Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “It’s fantastic to be working in partnership with so many local organisations to build on the previous success of raising awareness of hate crime in the town, for which we received the ‘Local Council Service Upstander Award 2016’.

“We look forward to welcoming people of all ages to a range of events, across the town as we help to raise awareness and understanding of discrimination and hate crime and the
best ways to tackle them.”

If you would like to attend the community forum’s tea party, please book your place by emailing forums@northampton.gov.uk

Incidences of hate crime can be reported by calling Northamptonshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

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Northamptonshire Awards 2018

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Alice’s work experience puts her at the heart of Manchester bombing coverage

A student from the University of Northampton has spoken of her experience filming the funeral of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Final year Multimedia Journalism undergraduate, Alice Grundy (pictured), spent two weeks on a work experience placement with leading media agency, the Press Association (PA).

One of the most affecting parts of her placement was covering the funeral of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, who was one of 23 people killed in the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in May.

“It was incredibly strange to be reporting on a funeral, especially in such an emotional case,” said Alice.

“The mood was very sombre and as Saffie’s family walked towards the cathedral and her coffin was carried in I felt extremely sad, but also like I was witnessing something important and beautiful.

“There was this great outpouring of love for Saffie and a huge sense of togetherness. The funeral was about a little girl who was full of life and vibrancy and the way her family spoke about her was deeply moving and I was holding back tears.

“But it also felt to me like a show of spirit and defiance to the terrorists who tried to break this family and our country. At times, especially when the family were arriving, I did feel like an intruder.

“This was their private moment that I was filming and broadcasting to the world and it didn’t sit 100 per cent right with me. But I do think it’s important to tell Saffie’s story. In his speech, her dad said he wanted to make her the most famous girl in the world. And maybe, with the help of myself and the other media there, she could be.

“It was an incredible, emotive, and in some ways inspirational experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Alice made a video which sees her talk about her work experience – watch it here.

Her stint at PA also saw her film at Premier League football clubs, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and United, cover court stories and film a police press conference.

Alice added: “I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for the University of Northampton. My lecturers had the contacts I needed to get the work experience, and they gave me the skills I need to complete it successfully.”

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Do not lose your ISO 9001 certification!

ISO 9001 was revised in 2015. If your organisation is currently certified to ISO 9001:2008 now is the perfect time to transition.

All organisations currently certified to ISO 9001:2008 will need to transition to the new requirements by September 2018. This means that after the end of September 2018 a certificate to ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid.

So why change now if it can wait until 2018? Time is the most important factor. Most organisations transition successfully but if you wait until near the deadline, then there will be less time to correct problems – increasing the chances of not being certified on time. So transition early to reduce the risks and costs to your business.

By transitioning now it will demonstrate your proactive approach towards a leading and innovative new management system. Helping to continually improve and strengthen your overall customer experience and enhance your reputation.

What is new in ISO 9001:2015?

Leadership

More emphasis placed on Leadership will naturally drive top management to get involved in an organisation’s quality management system. This helps to align and motivate company employees towards the stated goals and strategic objectives.

Greater involvement in the management system by leadership teams helps to promote and motivate team buy-in to successfully achieve goals and business objectives, bringing quality and continuous improvement into the heart of your business.

Managing Risk

ISO 9001:2015 introduces “risk – based approach” focusing organisational resources on areas which are most likely to cause concern. A risk based compliance program will assist in identifying, managing, monitoring and reducing the compliance risks key to companies, making board and regulatory reporting easier to conduct and maintain with less work.

Read about Clause 6

The introduction of risk and opportunity management reinforces the use of the management system as a tool helping to control and identify business opportunities that can contribute to bottom line improvements.

Performance Measurement

Self-governance and organisational behaviour have a direct influence on performance and the capacity to create value for customers and employees. Effective performance measurement and self-governance can result in higher levels of innovation, employee loyalty and customer satisfaction, as well as superior financial performance.

Read about Clauses 7 and 9

If you organisation is still on ISO 9001:2008 please contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or andrewtomkinson@imsm.com

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Helping you to work only in your Zone of Genius

Gay Hendricks coined this term, the Zone of Genius, which means being in flow with work that only you can do.

For us at Office Wings, that’s working with individuals just like you to get things done – we won’t outsource our own clients, but we can outsource pretty much everything else.

When you focus on working in your zone of genius and outsource the rest, you leverage your energy to create more income AND ease in your business.

BUT! So many entrepreneurs waste time and energy by trying to do EVERYTHING, even if you’re not really good at it OR (and this is key too) you might enjoy it, but it doesn’t make you any money.

So:

  • Don’t do your own books if it makes you cry.
  • Don’t update your website yourself if it takes you forever and you have a breakdown over it every time.
  • Nobody is paying you to clean your own toilet vs working on your next project or income stream.
  • Don’t sit doing admin if you hate it.

Let those things go to other people, who are actually GOOD at them, and focus on earning money in ways that are unique to you.

Running a business that specialises in doing jobs that you outsource, we don’t just stand here rooting for our own cause to keep us in paid work, but we also champion others who provide these types of services. We really understand the value outsourcing can bring to people and to businesses so if you would like to find out more and just have a general discussion about the benefits of outsourcing or how to outsource please do let me know.

Office Wings, helping you to stay in your Zone of Genius: http://www.officewings.co.uk/

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Only Fools and 3 Courses! Alternative Christmas Party Night at the Deco Theatre

Join us for the Christmas Dnner event of the year, which combines fine food and comedy action, served up Only Fools And Horses style.

Marlene and Boycie are hosting a Christmas Dinner, but will things go to plan with Del, as one of the Three Wise Men, Rodney, Archangel Gabriel, and Trigger as an Elf! Uncle Albert is roaming around with mistletoe in his cap?

An evening of chaos and mayhem with an extra large portion of comedy is the order of the night.

Expect a Big Fun Night Out in a friendly party atmosphere with some of the finest comedy actors in the land, professionally produced to the highest standards with your enjoyment at the top of the menu.

Contact us at the Deco Theatre on 01604 49005

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Get your jobs done with a discount

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CONFESSIONS OF A SHOP-A-PHOBE

Shopping. The word that fills us with joy as we picture perusing the rails of our favourite stores.

Shopping. The word that fills us with dread as we remember everything we need but have no time to go and get.

Starting with your mum’s birthday present. Rushing to the local corner shop to pick up some chocolates probably won’t do. This means wracking your brains for an original idea (surely, she has everything by now!) before finally giving up and settling with a giant Yankee candle.

Ahh and there is that weekend away that you promised your other half. This entails hours of trawling the internet for hotels, train/plane tickets and nearby restaurants that have a reassuring food hygiene rating… where to even begin! Maybe you could postpone the break until next month?

Not forgetting that there isn’t long to go until your friend’s wedding. Maybe it isn’t such a clever idea to re-wear that dress from last years’ wedding season - the photos on Facebook ensure that people don’t forget. So, that means a new dress… and shoes… and a matching jacket!

Oh, and the fridge is now totally empty except for a jar of that weird pickle and a slightly shrivelled carrot. This is the part where you are wishing you could wave a magic wand to simply complete all those tasks.

That is, until you realise that you have that magic wand… or at least your magic fairy concierge!

Birthday present sorted and wrapped - all you had to do was write the card. The weekend away has been booked. Travel tickets are in an envelope on your noticeboard so now you can look forward to relaxing. A formal dress hangs in your wardrobe with shoes and matching bag placed underneath, ready for you to wear whilst sipping champagne at the wedding. Most importantly, the food (and wine) order has arrived, meaning you can bin that forgotten carrot without ever having to push a wonky-wheeled trolley.

Now you can focus on the brighter side to shopping. Go and treat yourself to casually browsing the rails whilst Office Wings Concierge Service sort the rest!

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Christmas candle making workshop

If you enjoy the beauty and fragrance of candles in your home, then they come into their own at this time of year. Join us on this one-day festive workshop and we will show you how you can make your own bespoke range.

Using a Christmassy array of fragrances, colours and containers you can match them to your décor or create candles to suit friends and family if you are giving them away as beautiful gifts. A great skill to learn, which could save you some pennies this Christmas.

All of our candles are eco-friendly, primarily using soy wax plus a range of other vegetable waxes in preference to paraffin wax, which although still widely used (mainly because it is cheap to produce) is very unhealthy and unnatural.

Held on Wednesday 15th November 9.30am-3pm, at £95 per person, this ‘hands-on’ workshop you ensure you:

• Learn how to use a variety of pure eco waxes to make your candles
• Be shown all the materials and equipment that you need to get started with candle making
• Understand the different wicks to use for the different candles you make
• Add fragrance to your candles using essential and fragrance oils
• Learn how to colour your candles using pure mineral micas and natural colourants
• Look at the wide array of different containers that you can use for the festive season and beyond
• Learn packaging and decoration techniques to give your candles a beautifully Christmassy ‘finishing touch’!

Whether your style is traditional, vintage or contemporary, you will leave the workshop with your own selection of handmade candles to proudly display or give away as gifts, and the knowledge and confidence to continue to create many more candles in your own home.

For further information email: helen@btcworkshops.co.uk or visit: http://www.btcworkshops.co.uk/christmas-candle-making-15-november-2017.html

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Insider’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017: Howes Percival shortlisted in five categories

Howes Percival has been shortlisted in five categories in Insider Media’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017.

The firm has been shortlisted as ‘Corporate Law Firm of the Year’ and have been shortlisted for four deal nominations. Howes Percival was part of the advisory team on the following transactions:

- Acquisition of Keencut by Constant Equity (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Investment of Blue Skies by 8 Miles LLP (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Sale of Woodway Packing to Bunzl plc (Deal of the Year - above £10m)

- Sale of Integrated Business Systems to Southern Communications (Deal of the Year - under £10m)

Commenting on the shortlistings, Howes Percival’s Milton Keynes corporate partner, Edward Lee: “This is a fantastic result for the team. Everyone has worked so hard in the last couple of years. We said we wanted to be the ‘go to’ firm for corporate work in the region and these nominations go a long way to supporting our ambition.

“We’re an ambitious firm, hungry to grow and help our clients achieve their aims. We have the team and the infrastructure to rival any regional law firm and we’ve shown this year that we are capable of handling some of the biggest deals around.”

The Insider Central & East Dealmakers Awards recognise the wealth of talent that the region’s professional services sector possess and celebrate its achievements. Shortlists are drawn-up by an expert, independent judging panel. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner which will take place in Milton Keynes on Thursday 9 November 2017.

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How can your organisation promote member safety?

Start thinking ICEtags for members…

If you’re a member of a running, athletics or sports club, or perhaps even manage one, you may have already heard of ICEtags. But, bearing in mind the difference they can make, we thought it worth sharing a little more information on them today.

ICEtags are small plastic cards that are easily attached to a shoelace or zipper, and can hold quite a lot of critical information. The sort of details we’re referring to can include:
Many clubs are now starting to understand the importance of In Case of Emergency (ICE) information, and some are even making it mandatory. But if you haven’t considered that yet, here’s some food for thought.

  • Individual’s name
  • Emergency contact details
  • Medical information
  • Personalised with your club logo, details or branding

Benefits of ICEtags for both clubs AND their members

  1. ICEtags hold key ICE information and medical details – This seems obvious, but we feel it’s important enough to emphasise a bit further. Safety isn’t just a nice-to-have, particularly when people are out on their own. By issuing your club members with ICEtags, you are enabling them to enhance their safety during all activities – whether club organised or not.
  2. ICEtags make a great club identifier – Club issued ICEtags are an ideal way to raise awareness of your club. Not only can they be branded with your logo and/or club name, but they also show yours is a club that knows what it’s doing and cares. Carrying ICE information is important for any athlete – professional or amateur. Any club that issues ICEtags is walking the talk.
  3. ICEtags are a recognised barcode solution – Tracking times is becoming an expected feature of organised running events, and there’s no reason why your running club can’t do the same. ICEtags can conveniently hold a barcode to enable your running members to track their progress over the weeks.
  4. ICEtags are visible but discreet – Emergency response personnel and first responders are trained to look for ICE details. ICEtags are an ideal way of presenting this to them. They may just be small plastic cards, but they can hold quite a bit of information, and it’s information that might save a life.
  5. ICEtags are easy to attach – They can be connected to a trainer lace, or a zipper, and don’t need to be removed each time a runner heads off for a run. Whatever method someone chooses, you’re making it easy for your club members to remember to wear one every time they go out.
  6. ICEtags are waterproof and easy to keep clean – ICEtags are made of plastic so they’re easy to wipe clean whilst the printed information stays legible. Whatever the weather, your members can head out with ICE information on board.
  7. ICEtags are durable – The plastic ICEtags are made from is durable and hard wearing. They can cope with the pummelling a washing machine will put them through. And they don’t snap easily or wilt in bad weather. Put simply, an ICEtag is a tough piece of kit.
  8. ICEtags stay secure to a running shoe and don’t ‘flap’ around – Because of their compact size, ICEtags don’t interfere with the action in any way. They don’t flap around, and are so light they won’t affect performance at all.

Like the sound of that?

If the above resonates with you, start smiling because ICEtags are easy to order. Some clubs are worried about taking on an extra admin headache, but in fact they need do no more than send over an Excel spreadsheet with the relevant information. And of course bulk orders will enjoy a beneficial discount.

Alternatively, if you want your members to be able to order their own tags from our website, then we can set up a bespoke page just for your club!

If you’re interested in promoting your club, whilst providing your members with a valuable health and safety device, visit the Bulk ICEtags web page for further details or email us at sales@icetags.co.uk.

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The Red Thread Partnership achieve ILM Accreditation

The success of the Red Thread Fellowship™ continues.

The Red Thread Fellowship is proud to announce that it has just been endorsed by the ILM as one of their approved leadership development programmes. This external validation and recognition from such a premier awarding body gives the organisation’s Fellows a well deserved certification upon completion.

Created in 2016, the Fellowship builds more inclusive, sustainable and caring communities. It brings together leaders from all walks of life, engages them in a world class leadership development programme, at no cost to them, and uses its Sustainable Leadership methodology to challenge them to develop the sustainability of charities in the local area. Following great success in Milton Keynes, this programme is seeing its launch in the Oxford area in late Autumn.

The Fellowship is delighted to be working with MK College as the approved centre, working to the ILM’s benchmark of quality in order to provide the Accreditation.

If you would like to find out more about the programme please visit http://www.the-redthread.co.uk/RTP-fellowship.html

The Red Thread Fellowship™ is run by The Red Thread Partnership Limited, a leadership and organisation development consultancy specialising in Leadership Development, Team Development, Culture Change and Engagement.

Contact:

The Red Thread Partnership Ltd

w: www.the-redthread.co.uk

e: helen@the-redthread.co.uk

t: 01234 240678

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Next Generation MK

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Businesses mark Chamber’s 100th anniversary

Firms from across the county took part in a special celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of Northamptonshire’s largest business support agency.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1917 in response to the concerns of boot and shoe manufacturers over exports during the First World War.

Today, (Tuesday, OCT 10) more than 100 county businesses celebrated its landmark anniversary at its AGM at the Guildhall in Northampton where the organisation’s first AGM was held exactly 100 years ago to the day.

Northamptonshire Chamber head of operations Tracey Branson said: “A century ago the Chamber began life with 125 members. Today it is the county’s largest business support agency and its members represent over one third of Northamptonshire’s workforce.

“Along with our sister Chamber in Milton Keynes we are one of the fastest growing Chambers in the country and are now the UK’s 8th biggest Chamber.

“In recent years we have won many prestigious national awards, including Chamber of the Year and Excellence in Membership Services at the national Chamber Awards for three years in a row.

“We have achieved this high level of success because the Chamber offers so many benefits to businesses and we have a strong and vibrant membership.

“We were thrilled to celebrate the Chamber’s centenary with so many businesses today and it was very special to do so at the Guildhall where the Chamber held its first AGM exactly 100 years ago.”

The AGM was the culmination of 100 days of activities run by the Chamber to mark its centenary year which included careers fairs, international trade events, training courses, networking events, media appearances and charity events. The organisation was also presented with a letter of congratulations from The Queen.

During the AGM the Chamber launched the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards and Next Generation Chamber of Commerce which will support aspiring young business leaders.

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Next Generation

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Property Litigation Seminar: Topical Case Update

We are pleased to announce that we are hosting a breakfast seminar, which will be presented by members of the Howes Percival Property Litigation team.

The seminar focuses on some of the recent cases which have developed in the property litigation sector and will be particularly useful for managing agents and building surveyors.

Date: Tuesday 7 November 2017
Time: 8:00 am to 10:00am
Venue: Holiday Inn Express Milton Keynes
Address: Tongwell St, Milton Keynes MK15 0YA

The events are free of charge and a light breakfast and refreshments will be served.

Please email events@howespercival.com to reserve your place.

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Executive apprenticeships: industry launches Master’s degree for business leaders

Employers can now use the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for executive skills development following the launch of a new Master’s degree apprenticeship in leadership and management.

The Senior Leadership Degree Apprenticeship was unveiled today at a launch event attended by 200 representatives from employers, government and executive education providers.

In August, the Institute for Apprenticeships approved the first ever executive management apprenticeship, which comprises a Master’s degree and the opportunity to gain Chartered Manager professional accreditation and fellowship of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Aimed senior executives and C-suite level business leaders, the apprenticeship includes a Master’s degree, such as an MBA, making these courses eligible for Apprenticeship Levy funding. Among the first to take MBA-linked Master’s degree apprenticeships are managers at Aviva, who are studying through Grant Thornton UK and the Cranfield School of Management.*

The apprenticeship has been designed by employers to develop the skill sets of senior leaders with responsibility for directing the operations of companies or third-sector organisations, government departments or local authorities, and formulating national and local government policy.

CMI is the only chartered professional body for managers and leaders, counting more than 157,000 in its membership.

Petra Wilton, CMI’s director of strategy, told attendees at the launch: “This exciting new Master’s level apprenticeship means that employers will now be able to lead by example and ensure that top teams have the professional leadership skills needed to drive growth. It will also help to challenge snobbery around vocational routes and can help demonstrate how these new apprenticeships really can provide pathways through to the top.”

The announcement is welcome news at a time of renewed focus on upskilling the UK, as Brexit continues to fuel concerns about future access to top-level international talent.

The critical nature of these roles means that not having the right management and leadership skills can lead to the ultimate failure of the business. BEIS data reveals that incompetence or bad management of company directors causes 56% of corporate failures**. A 2016 report from Investors in People revealed that poor leadership and management costs the UK economy £84bn a year in lower productivity.

Antony Jenkins, chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to approve this standard. Apprenticeships are playing an increasingly significant role all across the UK economy, including at the very highest levels of leadership, so it is important that we are putting the right structures in place to ensure that they are of a high calibre and fit for the demands of the role. This approval means that we are better able to ensure first-class leadership among the next generation of senior managers.

“More and more businesses of all sizes are realising the benefits that high-quality apprenticeships can offer. The Institute is putting employers in control of developing the standards they need, giving learners a basis for lasting employment and overcoming national skills gaps.”

This new apprenticeship has been developed by a group of more than 30 employers*** led by Serco and Civil Service Learning, and supported by CMI. It adds to the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which was launched in November 2015, and the team leader and operational manager apprenticeships launched in June 2016, providing a progression route for employers to invest in managers at all levels.

Anne Thomas, Head of Serco Education, said: “It’s vital for Serco that we develop and retain our skilled and professional senior managers who enable their teams and the business to deliver essential services for our customers. We are delighted to have led on the development of the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship with Civil Service Learning, and other employers. I am sure this apprenticeship will not only contribute to the successful development of Serco employees but also the wider UK economy.”

For more information on the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship, visit: www.managers.org.uk/slmda or @CMI_managers

*List of confirmed providers:

Ashridge Executive Education at Hult, Aston Business School, Cranfield School of Management, De Montfort University, Edge Hill University, Henley Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Teesside University, University of Bolton, University of Cumbria, University of Gloucestershire, University of Portsmouth, University of Sunderland

**Leadership and Management in the UK – The key to sustainable growth – a summary of the evidence for the value of investing in leadership and management development,
BEIS, 2012

***List of employers involved with developing this standard:

Serco (employer chair), Civil Service (employer chair); Acivico (Birmingham City Council); Anglo Educational; Barclays; Balfour Beatty; Barchester Healthcare; Boots UK Ltd; British Army; BBC; CMI; Codegent; Co-op; DFS; EY Foundation; Interserve; KPMG; Manchester Airport; Manchester City Council; Morgan Sindell; NHS (Dept of Health); Opus Building Services; Pearson; Pendragon plc; Royal Navy Apprenticeship Centre (Babcock); Sainsburys; Santander UK plc; Speedy Services; TFL; Tui; umi Digital; Unipart; United Utilities plc; Virgin Media; Wincanton; and XPO Logistics.

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Andrew Jenkinson at Robinson & Hall has been crowned Farm Adviser of the Year 2017

Congratulations go to Andrew Jenkinson, partner & rural surveyor at Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals, who was crowned Farm Adviser of the Year 2017 at the Farmers Weekly Awards last week.

Working as part of Robinson & Hall’s Rural Property & Business team based in Bedford and Buckingham offices for the last 12 years, Andrew advises on landlord and tenant law, farm and estate management, rent reviews, valuation and various farm support schemes. He also arranges finance for rural businesses as Agent for the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC.

Describing himself as a ‘generalist land agent’, Andrew has a great deal of expertise and goes above and beyond to ensure he delivers value for money and exceeds his clients’ needs.

Andrew comments: “These days farmers need to diversify to add value to their business so I am constantly looking for new opportunities for my clients, as well as building relationships with potential new clients.”

The judges were impressed by Andrew’s:

  • meticulous attention to detail, especially for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications
  • ability to achieve his clients’ objectives
  • natural instinct to always be on the lookout for new opportunities
  • role in growing the business

The Farmers Weekly Awards are the Oscars of the agricultural world. They showcase the best in the industry. Andrew Capel, senior partner at Robinson & Hall, comments: “We are incredibly proud of Andrew for achieving such a fantastic accolade which is very well deserved. He is extremely hard working and his track record has seen him work with many of his clients for years.”

If you would like to find out how Robinson & Hall’s Rural Property & Business department can help you or your business please call 01234 352201.

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ISO 22000 will expand your market opportunities within the Food Industry

ISO 22000 is the global standard setting the requirements for an effective Food Safety Management System (FSMS). ISO 22000 works throughout the food and beverage chain, to ensure that both are safe at the time of human consumption.

ISO 22000 will bring your business the following benefits:

  • ISO 22000 will give you a comprehensive, systematic and proactive approach to identifying food safety hazards and implementing effective control measures
  • The standard will make it easier for you to apply the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles
  • Comply with current food safety standards across different continents
  • ISO 22000 will help to document all techniques, methods and procedures in a thoroughly systematic way
  • Increase traceability, efficiency and resourcefulness in the food chain
  • This standard will enable you to participate in large scale food chains around the world
  • Ensure that your supply chain is secure to meet growing food requirements

IMSM strive to make ISO certification as simple as possible for our clients.

Provide reassurance to all concerned:

Consumers are increasingly concerned and aware of where their food comes from. They take an active interest in ensuring they are buying on an informed decision. Tailored and efficient management of your processes will prevent food safety failures and associated costs, whilst increasing legal compliance.

Public, private sector and governments internationally are increasingly regarding ISO 22000 as a guarantee of food safety, quality and security.

ISO 22000 connects you to a growing network of international suppliers in both developed and developing economies. ISO 22000 applies if you are in the food production industry, processing, distribution or storage.

Committed to quality:

Achieving an ISO standard demonstrates that your company is serious about delivering quality systems through tested processes. Internally ISO standards provide focus and discipline and externally you will achieve credibility, authority and recognition.

To find out more about how ISO 22000 can help you to compete on many more markets around the world, contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or andrewtomkinson@imsm.com.

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Cranfield University involved in delivery of state-of-the-art digital control tower

Senior executives from Cranfield University and Saab have met to confirm the delivery of a new state-of-the-art digital control tower for Cranfield Airport.

The cutting-edge technology replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed of panoramic views across the airfield using HD
cameras and sensors.

Digital control towers provide smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions and improve a controller’s situational awareness, enabling quick and
informed decisions. The new system will allow controllers to zoom in on aircraft, improving visibility, and provide them with a 360-degree view of the airfield.

Currently, there are no operational digital control towers at UK airports. In 2015, the airports in Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall in Sweden became the first in the world to be controlled via a digital control tower in Sundsvall.

As well as serving Cranfield Airport, the digital control tower will further enhance the University’s research capabilities, which include the Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) and the newly announced Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC).

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, said: “The digital control tower will be a significant boost for Cranfield Airport and the research capabilities of the University. Combined with our existing and new facilities, the digital control tower will cement Cranfield’s place as the home of the leading aerospace research facilities in Europe.”

Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, who attended the event, said: “We are looking forward to the collaboration with Cranfield University and the strong links they have with the industry in the area of innovative research and development.”

Image: Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University and Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions at the signing and at Cranfield Airport’s existing control tower

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Guide to Vision, Mission, Values and Objectives

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Metaphors, messages and meanings in film

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Christmas Lunch / Dinner

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FREE NETWORKING EVENT - NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Are you a local business owner or senior member of staff in a local business?

Does time management mystify you?

Do you need help from an award-winning business coach on how to best practice planning your working business day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then why not pop along to our Northampton business centre (Managed Serviced Offices, Lakeside House, The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7HD) on the 31st October 2017 between 10am and 2pm where you will be able to talk to like-minded people and hear from stars of the business world.

You will then be given the chance to talk to those people and engage with people who believe business connections are key.

Guests include Simon Williams from the award-winning business training company Arrivista, along with Beyond Theory’s Paul Beesley, Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice, and Star Digitals Marketing Executive Emma Stewart.

Tickets are limited so please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can also email james.crick@msoworkspace.com for more information.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

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Winter Comes Early - Golf Packages from £15.00per person

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Time management online learning £30 + VAT pp

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Email Marketing with MailChimp

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Local solicitor warns changes to powers of attorney may leave older and vulnerable at risk

Local solicitor Helen Taylor TEP from Franklins Solicitors LLP based in offices in Milton Keynes and Northampton has joined fellow members of Solicitors for the Elderly in warning against proposals to turn the LPA registration process fully digital.

An LPA is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about their finances and property on their behalf. Under the current process, a ‘wet signature’ – the physical signing of the document – is required by individuals who wish to register an LPA. But in a paper released on Thursday, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called for a fully digital system, whereby documents could be registered completely online.

Helen said: “We are extremely concerned by the FCA’s push for fully digital powers of attorney. Although we welcome initiatives that make LPAs more accessible, the security of older and vulnerable people is paramount. Under the current system, the FCA’s vision of a secure, end-to-end digital LPA registration process is simply not possible.

“Removing the requirement of a wet signature has the potential to put thousands of people at risk of fraud and financial abuse. An LPA requires the understanding and consent of the donor, but without the witnessing of a physical signature, what is to stop a family member or friend registering a document on someone else’s behalf, perhaps even without their knowledge?

“LPAs are extremely powerful and complex documents, and the prospect of being able to take control of someone else’s bank account and even their property with the few clicks of a button is frankly reckless.”

Solicitors for the Elderly is an independent, national organisation of over 1,500 lawyers, such as solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives, who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people and their families. Last year, the organisation released a report raising concerns around the current online system for LPAs, which it claims already leaves older and vulnerable people open to abuse.

LPAs are processed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), a public body under the Ministry of Justice. The OPG has previously considered changing the LPA application process as part of a gradual move to take all its processes online.

To find out more about SFE, and to speak to a lawyer near you, go to: http://www.sfe.legal

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