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Welcome The theme running through this edition of NewsletterPlus is building for the future. Some people may be forgiven for asking the question, what future? While the recession bites it is becoming increasingly difficult to find anything that would qualify as good news. The high street is struggling as customers tighten their belts. A recent survey suggested that as many as 40% of consumers have been directly affected by the recession. The knock on effect is massive. Will consumer confidence return to the high street? Only time will tell. It has been noticed that customers are changing their buying habits, low price and value stores are experiencing an upturn in business as people look for ways to make economies. Charity shops are becoming busier as consumers look for bargains, especially in clothing. The financial services market is showing some signs of recovery, according to a report from the CBI. Shop closures are becoming a worry. We have recently lost a number of old established businesses from both the retail and manufacturing industry in the second quarter of the year. The mood in the Chamber is upbeat at present in relation to the work and services we offer. The Chamber has been awarded a new contract to deliver business networking under the LEGI banner for another year. Economies have been made in line with the down turn in funding, but we are totally confident that the new programe will be every bit as good as what has gone before. We are currently looking at introducing a range of low cost, high value training programs aimed at the business community. The pilot event was a huge success and we are very optimistic about the future of this initiative. Needless to say Chamber members will receive a large discount on any courses that they book. NewsletterPlus has recently been the subject of a review and some very exciting ideas have come from that process. The one that will strike a cord with our advertisers is a more focused approach to distribution. It is early days, but we predict that NewsletterPlus will be available from a number of new distribution sources within the business community.

John Tame Editor, General Secretary BDCoC

In this issue:

Vicarage Field Shopping Centre 2 McDonald’s Training 4 Appraisal & Performance Review 6 Time & Money 8 UK Economy 9 The Skills Pledge 10 Noticeable Items of Interest 12 When the Going gets Tough 13 Barking & Dagenham Enterprise 14 Success at the Business Awards 16 Borough Youth has its Day in Court 20 Insight into Management 21 Haslers 27 In the Hot Seat 30 Lost for Words 33 Business Rates 34 Disaster Recovery 36 Newsletter Plus Online 39 Survive a Recession 40 Events 47 Welcome to the Chamber 48


EDITOR: John Tame ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: DESIGNED BY: Hayley Simons PUBLISHED BY: Authorised Publications 119/121 Brent Street London NW4 2DX Tel: 0208 457 9100 Fax: 0208 457 3090 Disclaimer: Every reasonable precaution has been taken to ensure the information contained in this publication is accurate at the time of going to press, but the publisher cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions, howsoever caused. Neither the inclusion of an article or an advertisement in this publication implies any warranty or recommendation of the goods or services mentioned in the article or advertisement.



Vicarage Field shopping centre, the borough’s destination retail scheme, located in Barking town centre, is set for major improvement through a planning application currently being considered by the Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

Further improvements to the centre include the provision of a more attractive shopping environment internally, with new glass atria providing more natural light.

The proposal will significantly improve the offer at the shopping centre, adding 2,527m2 of retail floor space. Vicarage Field General Manager, Simon Green, said, “This is crucial to the retail development of Barking town centre, both the shopping centre and the town as a whole suffers from a paucity of appropriate sized retail units. With major multiple retailers looking for larger and larger footprints, we simply do not have the space to bring these important brand names to the town at the present time” Further improvements to the centre include the provision of a more attractive shopping environment internally, with new glass atria providing more natural light. Included with the retail development is an innovative proposition to enhance St Awdry’s Walk. Currently pedestrians descend an unappealing flight of steps opposite Barking Station and pass under a bridge to access the footpath and cycle path that connects Station Parade with St Awdry’s Road. It is not currently accessible by those with mobility difficulties and certainly looks very unattractive. The submitted application raises the walkway to the level of the shopping centre, protects users from the elements and provides for disabled access. Users will enjoy well lit and safe use, twenty four hours a day. In addition to the improvements to the shopping centre; Lagmar the Vicarage Field owners are planning to build a new community on the site with the addition of 254 new homes, being a mix of private and affordable accommodation. All dwellings will provide high quality living space with sustainable design, which have been designed to the Lifetime Homes standard. A new landmark building of 22 stories above the shopping centre and along side the railway lines will create a dramatic marker for the railway station and the Barking town centre skyline. Away from the landmark building, nearly one third of the affordable housing will consist of three or four bedroom family homes. All homes on the site will benefit from private and communal landscaped areas integrated within the housing development. With a strong green agenda, homes will be built to Level 3 of the code for sustainable homes. There will be a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions through the installation of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels and connection to the district heating system will further reduce emissions by 22%. A new covered multi-level car park on the eastern side of the building will maintain the number of parking spaces currently available at the site and allow drivers to enter the centre at all retail levels, without going outside. Access to the car parks will be rationalised, the removal of vehicle access from Station Parade. This will complement the works currently being undertaken by Transport for London, in the town centre, removing a great deal of congestion from the roads immediately adjacent to the Station. Overall, the centre’s owners believe that their planned improvements to the shopping centre is a key part of the wider regeneration strategy across Barking & Dagenham and the enhancement of Barking as a local centre, through the addition of larger shop units, will be of great long term benefit to the community.




discusses the award-winning training programme on offer at his restaurants... Training at McDonald’s

It is company policy to provide career opportunities that allow all employees to develop to their full potential.

McDonald’s continued success is built on the highest standards of quality, service and cleanliness delivered to customers in each of its restaurants. Well trained crew and managers are the first step to achieving these standards. It is company policy to provide career opportunities that allow all employees to develop to their full potential. This policy includes a comprehensive development programme for crew and operations management, and career progression that enables a ‘first job’ employee to progress to a senior management position through merit-based promotions.

Crew Development Programme Training begins as a crew member with a structured training programme that provides training in all areas of the business. Crew Trainers work shoulder-to-shoulder with trainees while they learn the skills necessary to run each of the workstations in the restaurant, from the front counter to the grill area. The majority of the training is floor based, or on-the-job training, because people learn more and are more likely to retain information if they are able to practise while they learn.

Management Opportunities Restaurants promote Crew Members to hourly paid management positions where they have the responsibility for shift running within the restaurant. The training begins within the restaurants with a Shift Management Development Programme and development days which cover areas such as Customer Care, First Aid, Taste of Quality and Food & Restaurant Safety. On successful completion of a management entrance exam, employees will attend a training course held by the Training Department before returning to the restaurant in a management position.

Externally recognised qualifications As part of being a progressive employer, McDonald’s provides access to a learning facility which can lead to nationally recognised qualifications. These are achieved via an online learning platform, My Learning, which has been specially designed for McDonald’s. The Individual Learning Plan generated for each learner is unique to the learner’s own curriculum needs which are assessed via an initial skills check. E-tutors are assigned to learners at the beginning of the programme and are on hand throughout to assist, help and advise. The programme is optional and flexible enough to allow learners to study whenever and wherever they feel comfortable and at their own pace. Exams are held in accredited exam centre restaurants with trained invigilators. In 2008 McDonald’s was given official awarding body status by the exam regulator, meaning it can develop and award its own nationally recognised qualifications. This means that the in-house training managers receive at McDonald’s will be accredited and count towards other academic qualifications such as vocational diplomas or even degrees.

Conclusion McDonald’s believes that the success of the restaurants and the company is achieved through their people. The company aims to recruit the best people, to retain them by offering ongoing training relevant to their position and to promote them when they are ready. The recruitment policies, procedures and practices reflect the company’s determination to fulfil its aim.



WM Door Services


WM Door Services offers the highest quality of service in the market today. Since 2008 we have provided superior service to our customers and have assisted them in achieving their goals. Our 14 years of experience and commitment to excellence have earned us the reputation as one of the best installation companies in the South East. We make it our responsibility to know you and your business. We work closely with you to ensure that the solutions we provide are tailored to meet your unique needs and challenges. We are committed to your success.






Introducing a staff appraisal and performance review into your organisation should only be attempted if you have the commitment to follow it through. At one end of the scale the benefits to the individual and organisation are immense. At the other end of the scale, if badly implemented it can wreck the team ethos, set up an ‘us and them’ culture and make any form of training implemented subsequently viewed with scepticism by the work force.

At the other end of the scale if badly implemented it can wreck the team ethos.

In his book, ‘Managing Performance Reviews’, Nigel Hunt makes the point that ‘employers recognise that effective performance review increases the job satisfaction of employees and increases organisational success’. It does take a leap of faith on behalf of the workforce to buy into this mindset and view a performance review in a positive light. Very often people feel that it is an exercise based on telling them what they are doing wrong. Some people are uncomfortable with the interview process or believe that it is a way for the organisation to increase their work load by discovering skills that have gone unnoticed or opportunities to train them for extra unpaid duties. Hunt lists a number of reasons why reviews are characteristically inefficient. In brief, a poor job spec, unclear objectives. One or more parties not aware of the format and aims of the interview. It is useful to understand and have an appreciation of the two sides of the coin. On the one side you have the viewpoint from the employer’s perspective, concerning training gaps, what tasks/work is being carried out and to what standard. Appraisals can also highlight suitable candidates for advancement within the organisation and help the employer to meet his or her commitment to the needs of employees. The other side of the coin is the employee’s viewpoint and expectations which should, if the process is managed correctly, be viewed as an opportunity for career development, an opportunity to demonstrate that the employee understands the scope, content and performance required in relation to the job he or she is doing. It is also an excellent opportunity for the employee to demonstrate their potential and discuss how that potential can be developed. If you look at the objectives of both parties there is a lot of common ground and if managed well the process will be of benefit to both parties. So how do you manage the process? There are many models which can be copied. I would recommend reading ‘Managing Performance Reviews’ by Nigel Hunt or sourcing information from ACAS. Some performance/appraisal models are more appropriate to large organisations, which tend to be more structured and multi layered. For the smaller organisations a slimmed down version may be more appropriate and relevant. The formal structured process is beyond the scope of this article, but we can look at a method of delivering a workable solution to a smaller organisation or business.




The starting point is for each employee to have a job specification outlining the duties and standard of delivery required for the job that they do. The nature of the organisation may require a less formal appraisal review approach taking the shape of a conversation about how the employee views the job they are doing. It would be an opportunity to talk about future plans and how the employee sees their progression through the company. It would be an appropriate opportunity to decide and record an action plan which can be revisited at a later date. Do not make this a yearly event. Appraisal is a continuous process and can be viewed as a method of establishing where we are at any given point. It is good practice to give an employee some notice of any appraisal meeting I would suggest the process focuses on the employee rather than the employer. With so many shared objectives you will get the information you require. I worked for an employer who would take people out for a meal and have a low key discussion about job and company issues. People’s perceptions about this process were very positive. Don’t think that any of them had been aware of going through a performance review, yet all the objectives of a formal review had been met. The most important things to remember about delivering a performance review, if you want to get people to buy into it are: Ensure that everybody understands what the objectives are and how the process will work. Think in terms of benefits to the employee because the organisation is linked to the success of the employee. Always deliver any action that is promised. Be very aware and make the employee aware of any performance which is above the agreed standard. The method for doing this is not complicated. Usually a well done, great job works wonders for employee morale. Don’t make it a yearly event. Remember, performance assessment is continuous 24/7. John Tame 2009




*Most organisations and businesses recognise that in today’s climate of financial uncertainty, making the most of every opportunity is paramount.

If you need convincing that learning to touch type would be a good thing for you and your organisation/ business, take a look at the mathematics.

A vital key element to moving forward in challenging times is making sure that your staff are well trained and motivated to take on new challenges. Staff training has undergone a transformation in recent years. The availability of on line training and discreet training areas within the workplace have brought skilling into contact with the workforce in the workplace. Management training is one area that has been* targeted by companies who want to increase the effectiveness of both mid and senior management teams. Popular topics include, team building, project management, appraisals, problem solving, finance, presentation skills and a host more. I was once asked by a client to put together a package of management skills training, covering the main elements. The package included a mixture of delivery applications from the written word to interactive cd roms and a web based application. The training products covered a large table and initially the client thought that all this material could not possibly be required to produce a competent manager. After discussion he agreed that there was nothing there that could be ignored, apart from one piece of software. It is this piece of software that is the subject of this article. The humble typing tutor. A typing lesson is an application that most people go straight past in search of something more academically challenging and more meaningful. This is a mistake, because for many the ability to type quickly and accurately is a key skill. The problem with most forms of training is that it takes some time to be seen to be benefiting the company. Not so with the humble typing tutor. Look at it this way. More and more people are using a keyboard for both home and work applications. In days gone by a group of people were trained to do nothing else, but type your letters. In today’s organisations we pretty much fulfil this function ourselves. Some with three fingers, perhaps five and very few can touch type. If you need convincing that learning to touch type would be a good thing for you and your company/organisation, look at the mathematics. Type the text between the passages marked *. Give yourself one minute and see how much you have typed and how accurate you were. There are around ninety words. Ninety words in one minute is good. Whatever your score think how much time you would save in a day, how much more work you could do if you increased your typing performance by 30%, or better still 50%. Typing tutors are available as an off the shelf software package. Some applications in a basic form are available as a free download from the web. The package illustrated is available from the Rapid Typing Zone at The company also offers a CDRom application as well which you can purchase. Another site offers a basic programme, or simply visit your software provider who will have a selection of programmes to choose from.




The fifth successive quarter of decline is much bigger than the 0.3% fall in output forecast by economists and deals a blow to recovery hopes. The economy has slumped 5.6% since the second quarter of 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said - the biggest fall since its records began in 1955. The economy has now shrunk by 5.7% since the first quarter of last year, the ONS said - more than double the depth of the early 1990s recession and approaching the level of the slump seen in the early 1980s. Although the figures bettered the 2.4% contraction seen in the first three months of 2009 - the worst since 1958 - experts were hoping for a much bigger improvement in the economy. A 0.7% decline in output from business services and finance was the biggest driver behind the 0.8% fall in output in the second quarter of the year, the statistics showed. The services industry - accounting for almost three-quarters of overall economic output - showed a 0.6% decline. Construction industry output fell 2.2% over the quarter and is now 14.7% below the same period last year, which is the biggest fall since records began in 1948. Production industry output - such as construction, mining and manufacturing - fell 0.7% between April and June, the ONS added. Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, called the figures “a really nasty and disappointing shock”. He said: “The sharp second-quarter drop suggests that hopes of recovery over the coming months are based on even rockier ground.”

Press Association




According to the Barking and Dagenham Business Survey published last month, skills issues are of great concern to all businesses, but awareness of and involvement in current support initiatives is relatively low. It reported, for example, that 44 per cent of the workforce is not qualified to Level 2.

In the current climate it is even more important than ever that businesses invest in their staff.

Of the 49 per cent of businesses aware of Train to Gain, the main Government funding scheme for training, only seven per cent were actively involved. Moreover, 90 per cent of businesses do not offer apprenticeships. The Skills Pledge is a voluntary public commitment made by an organisation to invest in the skills of their workforce. It’s a promise that through training, the employer will work to boost the productivity and efficiency of their organisation and realise the potential of their employees - by developing their basic skills and helping them to work towards relevant, valuable qualifications to at least Level 2 (the equivalent of 5 good GCSE’s). In the current climate it is even more important than ever that businesses invest in their staff. Recent flexibilities introduced last year offering, for example, reimbursement costs and bite sized learning modules make this aim more achievable. For further information on the Skills Pledge and Train to Gain please contact Mark Adams, Skills Pledge Champion at or telephone 0208 724 8170.

We’ll offer you *“FREE” training towards gaining qualifications. This includes accredited training in the following:• NVQs in Children’s Care Learning and Development Levels 1- 4 • NVQs in supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Levels 2-3 • Certificate in supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Levels 2-3 • Certificate in Early Years Foundation Stage Practice • A & V Units • Customer Services Levels 2-3 • NVQ Health and Social Care Levels 2-3 • Business & Administration Levels 1-3 • IT Level 2 • Adult Literacy & Adult Numeracy We can also help you with:• Training in writing CV’s • Job search • Gaining computer and internet skills and we offer • Warm and Friendly Learning environment • One to one mentoring and support • Placement on some courses • Individual needs, flexibility and support tailor made for all candidates • Provide individuals with a profitable learning experience * Available on selected Training Courses Training School: Unit 1, 1st Floor, Bakers Court, Coppen Road, Dagenham, RM8 1HJ To apply please Contact Tosin or Aaisha for an interview Tel: 020 8517 3200



NOTICEABLE ITEMS OF INTEREST This is definitely the first time we have featured, what amounts to a review of a collection of internal newsletters, bundled in an anniversary collection celebrating 25 years in business for a local company.

Given the nature of the business they are in, a trained workforce would be a definite advantage.

The thing that struck a chord with us was the company’s commitment to training and all things HR. The theme running through the collection is the company’s desire to improve the performance of the workforce at just about every level. Given the nature of the business they are in, a trained workforce would be a definite advantage when competing for contracts. When you look at the type of contracts Charter have secured over the years you would think of some vast organisation with its own corporate headquarters poking its head above the clouds in Docklands or some such similar place. Not so, yes they have a nice office building in Barking, but this company has very much a family run business feel to it. When you look at the makeup of the staff currently employed at senior level and the police advisers they have access to, you can’t help but be impressed. When you have a former inspector in the Metropolitan Police on the strength and a former Deputy Chief Constable of Essex who you can turn to for advice, that’s a distinct advantage. The other thing that we picked up on browsing through the collection was that Gerry Lambert, CEO of Charter Security appears to be extremely well connected with people in the security business as well as a collection of A list celebs. Growing business contacts is a dying art. A lot of new businesses are too busy looking for work to take the time to cultivate associations which for one reason or another may not pay immediate dividends. If you only talk to people with a view to getting something there and then and lose interest once it becomes apparent that at that moment you are not going to succeed, then you will always be stuck in that way of working. Top marks to Charter for putting the collection together and hopefully something similar will be available to celebrate the fifty year mark.



In today’s financial climate the race to win and keep customers is well and truly underway. In the past the retail industry has seen a number of challenges which has left retailers fighting for customers. The one thread that runs through all of the strategies that were successful in increasing a customer base and increasing turnover is our old friend, Customer Care. Having a vibrant, visible and user friendly customer care policy which is implemented at all times is the single most important thing that a business can do to grow its business. Unlike many strategies it is simple to understand, at the customer interface it costs next to nothing to implement. For a company to embrace great customer care practices it is likely that it will have to change the way that it operates in some fields. Distribution, opening hours, terms of business, attitudes to returns and the biggest customer moan, upgrading its servicing and repair facilities. Having done all that it still comes down to the customer interface and the strategy which costs nothing. That strategy is a big smile. We are so used to meeting sales people who at best try, but fail to take an interest in us or at worst make it very obvious that they would much prefer it if we left them in peace, that our expectations are not that high. I fully understand that on occasions the public can present a challenge to sales staff. Sales staff are not always given the credit they deserve by the employer. Many feel undervalued and it shows in their attitude and performance. This situation can be turned around if the employer looks on its sales staff as a key element in the chain and treats them as professionals. A good example of something that costs nothing, but is a great example of good customer care is something I experience most mornings at my local coffee shop. Because I use the shop on a regular basis my order of coffee is put on as soon as I go into the shop. I don’t have to ask, it’s something that happens automatically. They even leave the lid off so that I can add sugar. It is a small thing, but it makes the process of buying coffee that much more personal. A concept that I suspect originated across the pond, as do a lot of customer care strategies is ownership of a customer complaint. The idea is that you don’t pass the buck and take the view that it is up to somebody else to ‘sort it out’. In practical terms you may not have authority to fix the problem, but you can make sure that the complaint is put into the system and dealt with correctly and the customer informed of the outcome. As a branch manager I was seen by customers as the person who took charge of all complaints. On occasions the cry from frustrated customers, “I want to speak to the manager now” would ring around the store. It’s part and parcel of retail management, if you can’t handle it, don’t do the job. Let’s turn this situation around to give great customer care and enforce the bond with the sales person and the customer. As a salesperson, don’t respond to a complaint with the attitude that it’s somebody else’s problem. Offer to talk to the manager on behalf of the customer. Most managers can be persuaded to listen to a complaint, voiced by a colleague on behalf of a customer with a view to finding a solution. After all, sales people should be good at putting forward a concise, appropriate set of reasons for pursuing a particular course of action. The heat is taken out of the situation so the facts can be considered. When hopefully the sales person returns to the customer with a solution which is acceptable to the aggrieved party a transformation takes place in the customer/sales person relationship. The sales person has in effect ‘sorted’ the problem. That salesperson will have gone up in the customer’s estimation. It almost appears that a personal favor has been done. Because the customer has not had to take the matter up with the manager, which is a formal complaint process, the whole thing is seen not as a confrontation. Successful customer care strategies can be about very small changes in the way your company interacts with its staff and customers. When the going gets tough a smile can make the difference.


A good example of something that costs nothing, but is a great example of good customer care.

BARKING AND DAGENHAM ENTERPRISE CELEBRATES LOCAL BUSINESS SUCCESS Barking and Dagenham Enterprise (BDE) celebrated the achievements of local businesses at its second annual Business Awards ceremony.

These Awards really show that the entrepreneurial spirit in Barking and Dagenham continues to flourish.

Hosted by former premiership and world cup referee, Graham Poll, the ceremony at Castle Green highlighted the success of businesses in 11 categories, including Innovation, Training and Development, and Community Involvement. The winners on the night included Boleyn Service Station, who won the Marketing Excellence Award, Bike Dock Solutions, who took home the Best New Business and Innovation accolades and Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club, who picked up two awards, including Business of the Year. Barking Café was named Retailer of the Year. The Awards received over 100 entries this year and were hailed a major success by the organisers. Chris Oliver, Chair of Barking and Dagenham Enterprise, said: “These Awards really show that the entrepreneurial spirit in Barking and Dagenham continues to flourish. “We are delighted that the Awards attracted such an excellent range of high quality entries from so many sectors. We have worthy winners and have seen many other excellent projects, which were serious contenders. The response has been fantastic and shows that business in Barking and Dagenham is thriving – even through the economic downturn. “Barking and Dagenham Enterprise is proud to support this event and our local businesses in celebrating their success.” All winners received a trophy and plaques and the overall Business of the Year winner, Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club, received a cheque for £3,000. Barking and Dagenham Enterprise, winners and participants were joined on the night by sponsoring organisations, which included the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD), London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC), Barking and Dagenham Small Business Centre, Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce and Barking Power. Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive of London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, said: “Not only does the Borough of Barking and Dagenham have some fantastic long standing companies with real history in the local area, but these awards have shown that we also have some brilliant innovative and new companies coming through that are now essential parts of their communities”. Steve Thompson, from Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club, winners of Business of the Year award, said: “These awards are for the club, the staff that work behind the scenes. We would like to thank Barking and Dagenham Enterprise, the business community and the Council for their support.” The full list of awards winners and sponsors is on the following page.





Once again it was a good night at the Barking & Dagenham Business Awards for members of the Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber would like to congratulate all the winners of this year’s awards.

This year the Chamber along with contributions from Barking College, FreshWharf Estates and Barclays Bank sponsored the ‘Business Person of the Year Award’. The well deserved winner of this prestigious title was Steve Thompson of Dagenham & Redbridge FC, a Chamber of Commerce member of many years standing. Daggers also won the Business of the Year Award. If this success continues they will need a bigger trophy cabinet. Jeremy West of West and Coe, a member since the year dot, received a Special Achievement Award, in recognition of his charitable works and service to the community. Another Chamber member, Bike Dock Solutions walked away with the Best New Business Award. The Chamber would like to congratulate all the winners of this year’s awards and a special thank you to the 100 plus businesses who took part.

RELIANCE EXPORT LTD Freight Forwarders

Hammond House, Freshwater Rd, Dagenham, RM8 1RX Tel: 020 8590 3970 Fax: 020 8590 2668 Email: 16



Best New Business

Bike Dock Solutions

Business of the Year Business Person of the Year Community Involvement including Social Enterprise Growth Business Innovation Marketing Excellence Retailer of the Year Sole Trader/Micro-Business, including e-business Special Achievement Training and Development


Barking and Dagenham Small Business Centre Dagenham and Redbridge London Borough of Barking F.C. and Dagenham Steve Thompson (Dagenham Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge F.C.) Chamber of Commerce Dagenham and Redbridge Barking and Dagenham Football Club Enterprise Amber Food Plus Limited Germinate Business Solutions (Amber Bakery) Bike Dock Solutions SPX Rail Systems Boleyn Service Station London Thames Gateway Development Corporation Barking Cafe Millennium Cash and Carry Top Careers University of East London and Knowledge East Jeremy West of West and Coe London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and BDE R Dunham UK Ltd Barking Power

The Business Awards are just one of the ways that Barking and Dagenham Enterprise seeks to promote and support local businesses. For more information please go to

Select IT is proficient in providing computer support services to both the small business and home user alike. We support all operating systems from Windows 98 through to Windows XP Home/Pro and Vista. We offer a full range of services, including repairs, upgrades, network support, network installations, both wired & wireless and BSOD. We cover all parts of Essex and east London, including Barking, Dagenham, Romford, Grays, Basildon, Southend and surrounding areas.

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Keeping up to date with the fast changing pace of current affairs and legislation can be a problem. Fortunately, help is at hand in the shape of the many ‘information to your desktop’ companies currently active on the internet. We thought it would be useful to look at some of the organisations that send us essential and interesting business news. We have featured some of the updates we have received recently from as a flavour of what you can expect to receive. If you want to delve deeper into the story you can use the article to point towards the source material. In future editions we will look at some of the other companies offering similar services.

Flexible Working Increases In Recession Businesses are changing how they organise their workforce due to the recession, according to new data released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The CBI study reveals that 45% of employers have increased flexible working among staff, 43% have cut the amount of paid overtime that is available and a third are using less agency staff. “The UK’s flexible labour market has proved a huge asset during these testing times and flexible working changes have enabled employers and staff to create leeway on working hours,” said John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director-General.

Cognise Business Management Ltd. Cognise motto is: “In Search of Excellence”. It could not be otherwise for Cognise is led by a Harvard Business School Alumnus and a Chartered Certified Accountant, with dedicated Staff. We consult on Taxation, Payroll, Developing Business Dreams and Associated fall-outs. Tel: +44 (0) 7946 703 210// (0) 7931 696 177 Fax: +44 (0)208 594 0806 Email:


Keeping up to date with the fast changing pace of current affairs and legislation can be a problem.


Once again young students from Barking & Dagenham demonstrated that education in the borough is breaking new ground and offering opportunities for young people.

Students acted as lawyers for the defense and prosecution.

Cherie Booth QC, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the borough and sat in judgment at two mock trials. The trials were conducted at Barking Town Hall by local sixth-formers. In all, 20 students from All Saints, Jo Richardson, Robert Clack, Barking Abbey, Warren and Eastbrook schools took part. Students acted as lawyers for the defense and prosecution. Others as clerks, recorders, witnesses and the accused. The trial was the culmination of a week-long master class training delivered by Gary Jarrett, an enterprise advisor based at Robert Clack and Megan Charles, a barrister working for Target Solutions. Earlier in the week I had spoken to Tom Maybe, a Programme Manager for Barking & Dagenham Enterprise, who funded the programme. Tom was typically upbeat about the project and was looking forward to seeing it all come to fruition in the court room. Garry Jarrett explained the objective of the course was to teach students aspects of the law and give them experience by staging mock trials with fictitious cases. It is very encouraging to see that organisations like BDE who funded the project and a high profile professional like Cherie Booth who was prepared to support the project with her time and commitment. She even made a mention of the project when she read out a brief message from a student on the BBC1 show ‘The One Show’ later that evening. Leaving the last word to Cherie Booth who as the wife of a former Prime Minister and judge during the mock trials seems like a wise move. Ms Booth concluded that she was convinced of the value of the project and thought it was important that people saw what the process was all about. She also was full of praise for the overall performance of the students and described them as a great bunch of kids. Quotes attributed to ‘the News’ 11th July edition.




After five days of gruelling work it all came down to this. The fifteen teams of sixth formers taking part in the ‘Insight Into Management’ programme were about to learn if all their hard work would earn them a place in the top three. The results were announced in reverse order. In third place, Chamber of Commerce. As one of the mentors to the team from ‘All Saints’ I was pleased for the guys, because they had put in a lot of work and effort and it was on my card a close race between the second and third spots. As Pablo, Martin, Ben and Kettles collected their certificates and trousered a useful contribution to their finances it seemed a just reward, not just for the team, but for the Chamber as well. For those of you who have not heard about or taken part in the ‘Insight Into Business’ programme, the idea is that a team of sixth form students are placed with a host company. The company gives them a management challenge, which the team has to solve, make recommendations, show the process used and then make a presentation on the work they have done to an audience made up of the other teams competing in the challenge, mentors, teachers and the all important judges. So no pressure then. As in other years the quality of the work achieved was extremely high. You have to keep reminding yourself that these people are short in years and do not have masses of experience to draw on. To reach the level of excellence that was demonstrated by the fifteen teams competing this year in such a short space of time is remarkable. The students taking part are the people that the business community will be relying on in the future to grow their businesses. At the Chamber, we actively support the notion that the business community has a responsibility to support the future workforce in any way that it can. We have over a number of years constantly been surprised and impressed at the work ethic and skill demonstrated by the students who are receiving their education in this borough. According to some reports that appear from time to time in the tabloid press, this assessment is not shared and certainly not given any positive exposure. Perhaps next year we should invite a couple of editors along so that they can share in the experience first hand. A special mention is due to those team members who despite suffering extreme nerves and stage fright still stood up and supported the team by presenting their segments. It takes a lot of courage and commitment to do that. The Chamber will be acting as a host company next year if asked. If your organisation would like to take part in the next ‘Insight Into Business’ programme give Cathy Karson a call on 0208 227 5068.


After five days of grueling work it all came down to this.

USING SELF STORAGE TO MINIMISE FINANCIAL RISKS FOR BUSINESSES In this increasingly pessimistic climate, with fears of an impending recession due to the credit crunch, any opportunity for businesses to minimise financial risks is a welcome opportunity. Being tied down to a medium or long term lease is a big commitment for a business, one which is not only unwelcome in times of economic uncertainty, but is also inhibitive to businesses that wish to grow (those rising above the doom and gloom!). A solution which is helping many of today’s organisations is the rapidly growing self storage industry. All kinds of businesses can benefit from using self storage, from sole traders and those who are outgrowing current premises, to multi-location stock based businesses. Access Self Storage Barking is delighted to offer all Chamber of Commerce members their first month’s storage for 1p or an ongoing 10% discount on presentation of this newsletter.* If your business needs storage with no fuss, no deposit and no lengthy notice period – just the space you need for as short or long a time as you need it – call Access Self Storage Barking on 0845 279 8004 or visit *Offer valid until 28/11/09. T&Cs apply, see in store for details.

Ian Scott






HASLERS GET YOUR VAT BACK UK businesses that incur VAT in other EC member States, but which are not required or entitled to be registered there can claim back the VAT they pay under a scheme called the 8th Directive Refund Scheme. This scheme has been with us since the EC borders were removed in the early 1990s, but has really been something of a lottery for those trying to make claims. The main problem has been that claims must be sent to the Member State where the VAT (or whatever it’s known as there) was incurred and in the language of that State. With 27 members, more waiting in the wings and, frankly, a rather disparate attitude towards paying anything out, lottery best sums up some businesses chances of ever receiving that long awaited cheque. All that is set to change when a new system comes into use on 1 January 2010 and claims from UK businesses are all processed online via a Government portal. Claims will be in English and routed through a UK clearing system to the relevant Member State for processing. At last, there will be accountability on the part of the Member States as claims delayed without reason will be liable to interest and an appeal system introduced. As with all things HMRC, you can bet that there will be ‘teething problems’ and the key to getting your money back will rest on claims being submitted with all the required information, in the proper format and using HMRC recognised language. Even then, there are bound to be problems, but it is a step in the right direction and one welcomed by businesses frustrated by never having received the VAT refunds which they are properly due. But before you go away with too warm a feeling about VAT, do bear in mind that this is just one of a package of measures aimed at businesses involved in cross border trade and some of the other measures, like the new requirement to submit quarterly or even monthly declarations of services, supplied to customers in other Member States (ESLs) have very sharp teeth indeed. Contact: Debra Dougal VAT Partner

Haslers Tel: 020 8418 3425


But before you go away with too warm a feeling about VAT, do bear in mind......

60% Of Companies ‘Freeze Staff Pay’ 60% of businesses in the UK plan to freeze pay or negotiate pay cuts with staff, according to a new employment survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and recruitment group Harvey Nash. The survey of more than 700 companies also revealed that more than half the businesses surveyed expect recruitment levels to take more than a year to return to 2007 levels and 40% revealed they have put a freeze on graduate recruitment. However, the survey also showed that many job losses had been avoided by staff working with their employees over reduced rates of pay and patterns of work. “This has been a particularly bruising recession, but one of its most positive and striking aspects has been the commitment of many businesses and their staff to work together to try and trim costs and save jobs,” said John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director-General.


398 RIPPLE ROAD, BARKING, ESSEX, IG11 9RS TEL: 020 8591 4800 FAX: 020 8591 0377 Email: T & S Automatic Springs Ltd have been trading for over 50 years in the metal fabrications industry and are established as a reputable and reliable company who work for many local councils. Our Company has 5 divisions:METALWORK SECTION. We specialise in making all forms of metalworks, including Railings, Staircases, Balustrades, Barrier Gates, Gates, Doors (security and fire resistant), Burglar Grilles, Grilles, Parking Posts, Weldmesh Fencing, etc., in fact, any metal fabrication. WINDOW SECTION. We specialise in Steel, UPVC and Aluminium. We supply and fit new windows. We also repair and renovate on site. FLOOR SPRING SECTION. We supply and fit new Floor Springs, Overhead Door Closers, Panic Bolts and Locks. We are able to carry out on site repairs to the above, and also undertake maintenance contracts. AUTOMATIC DOOR SECTION. We supply and fit automatic doors and carry out repairs to any existing door sets. ROLLER SHUTTER SECTION. We manufacture and install our own Galvanised Roller Shutters. We also undertake on site repairs and maintenance contracts. We are able to offer 24 hour breakdown servicing by means of our answer phone after office hours.

We are only too pleased to produce Estimates, Tenders and Maintenance Contracts for any of the above works. We are willing to discuss our customers’ ideas and will liaise with our clients, providing a complete service from quotation to full site installation. 28

Employers and Childcare When working parents do not know about available childcare facilities, it can affect absenteeism, lateness and retention of staff. Many parents find that juggling their work and home lives puts them under a lot of stress. Large sums of money are wasted on recruitment and training, because some employees with valuable skills cannot remain in the workforce when they have children, because of lack of quality childcare.

The Family Information Service Barking and Dagenham Family Information Service offers impartial information and advice to help working parents make informed choices about services for children up to the age of 19.

Barking and Dagenham Family Information Service can help you As an employer you want the best from your staff in terms of commitment and enthusiasm. If staff are worried about their childcare arrangements their performance may be affected. The Family Information Service can offer a range of services to assist you and your workforce, including:

• a telephone helpline and brokerage service to help parents find childcare and other services for children up to 19 years.

• • • •

help for parents to assess if they are eligible for any financial help towards the cost of childcare childcare information packs for your new and existing employees advice sessions for your employees (at your premises or at a local children’s centre) information for you to display on your staff notice boards

Give us a call and help your business by helping your employees.

Contact us now Find out more or arrange an appointment to discuss how we may be able to help your business. Contact Barking and Dagenham Family Information Service on:

Phone 020 8227 5395




We identified the need for a better Chamber magazine some years ago. What we were publishing at the time was better than nothing, but not by much.

NewsletterPlus is the quarterly magazine of the Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce. It is a free publication which currently has a distribution of around 2000 copies per issue. Because we get a lot of interest in the magazine we thought it would be a good opportunity to see what it has got to say for itself. As a magazine can’t speak for itself we asked its Editor JT to speak on its behalf.


How did ‘Plus’ come into being?


We identified the need for a better Chamber magazine some years ago when Jo was General Secretary. At the time we were putting out a photocopied black & white folded A3 newsletter. It was better than nothing, but not by much. Then out of the blue, we got a phone call from a publisher who made us an unbelievable offer. I was seconded as Editor and that was eleven issues ago.


Has the editorial policy changed much since that first issue?


In a word no. We pretty much got it right from the first edition. I find business style magazines quite boring to read. Can’t see the need for the reader to be a business grad to understand the point of the article. Articles tend to be focused on a subject written in simple direct English and hopefully give good advice that can be put into practice pretty much straight away. We were very clear that we would have nothing to do with adverts that were written in an editorial style. If you want to advertise call our publishers, they will be happy to sell you some space.


Who decides what goes into the magazine?


The editor and as circumstances dictate. Can be a bit of a juggling act on occasions as we are happy to feature articles from the Chamber membership and we have to cover local events as well as Pan-London events. We also support a number of organisations who work within the community. As ‘Plus’ is a Chamber magazine we have to include membership information and then you have sections which are geared to updating business on new legislation and the like. The juggling act comes in when you consider that the Chamber membership represents a small proportion of the overall readership so there are lots of people to keep happy.


Which edition was your favourite and why?


To be honest any edition that makes it out the door I have a good feeling about, but I guess the edition with the fire brigade on the cover stands out for lots of reasons. In this instance we got some great photos which just had to be front cover material. We decided on a theme which was insurance and security. Days before this edition came back from the printers the London Tube bombings happened. The edition went out the following week. That is one scoop I wish had never happened.



Take us through the process of putting an edition together.


I normally start by deciding on a theme for the edition. We have a core group of writers who are willing to give us access to original material. We also look at articles which are sent in to us for publication. Often we have to suggest rewrites or additional material to improve the content of the article. We also have to work with people who don’t believe us when we say no advertorials accepted and give advice on how to put them into an acceptable format for publication. Around thirty to forty percent of articles are written in house. For some unknown reason this is something I am able to do, although as time goes on it does get harder. Once all the articles are in and photos and graphics are sourced. We take a lot of original photographic material these days. While this process is going on I would have been in touch with our publishers and dealt with any advertising issues that had arisen. After the inevitable threats and pleading which is required to get copy in by the deadline I take the whole lot down to the publishers. We basically run through the material making sure that no obvious mistakes have been made and decide on a running order for the articles. We also flag up articles or fillers which can be left out if space becomes tight. Better to have too much than not enough material. When the proofs come back we tighten the layout or suggest tweaks to the format and proofread for typos. The next stage is when two thousand copies land on our doorstep which have to be distributed.


Where do you go from here with NewsletterPlus?


Good question. Anybody who saw that great film ‘The Commitments’ can make the answer up themselves. We have a web based version of ‘Plus’ on our Chamber site which has a lot of possibilities yet to be exploited and I am currently in the throes of putting together a distribution arrangement with some high profile members of the business community which should take ‘Plus’ up a gear. We are also talking to a number of companies who are interested in taking up a vacant sponsorship slot.

While in full flow I would like to ask our readers why they don’t think very seriously about submitting an article to be considered for publication in NewsletterPlus. Think about it, three to four hundred words from you with a strap line in a business magazine with a distribution of 2000 copies to potentially your customers for an outlay of zilch, nothing, nada except a bit of writing time. Got to be the deal of the century. Get writing, send it in marked NP Article.


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DON’T LET YOUR BUSINESS GET LOST FOR WORDS How many times have you clicked onto a promising-looking website only to click off it moments later having got fed up trying to make head or tale of the content or ploughing through reams of jargonese? The importance of content, the words that actually sell your product or service to the customer and persuade them that you have the answers to their particular needs or problems, have too long been overlooked by both website designers and businesses. Statistically, the average time spent on a website homepage is just eight seconds. That is eight seconds to persuade that person to read on and find out more rather than go elsewhere, often to your nearest search engine rival. Optix Solutions have grown to understand the importance of providing clear, attention-grabbing and relevant content, written in a way people can understand, absorb quickly and in such a way that encourages them to read further. That is why we now offer a content writing service using professionals with experience in both web and print media. Your web designer can produce the most creative, eye-catching and up to the minute website, but if potential clients leave because of poorly written or confusing copy, their efforts and your money are wasted. The advantages of professionally crafted content go beyond simply making your site stand out from the crowd.

Other benefits include: Improved sales - Copy that quickly and succinctly identifies what you sell, who to and why it is appropriate to the visitor has consistently been shown to produce a much higher conversion of traffic into genuine sales leads.

Higher search engine rankings - Content is one of the key elements in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A skilled writer can weave key words and phrases into the copy without making it clumsy or dull.

Time/revenue savings - Delayed content is one of the main reasons for sites sitting redundant when they should be creating business. Writing creative copy is not as easy as some think and those within the business who are charged with producing it often struggle. They may have key positions within the organisation and their time is better spent generating income or concentrating on their normal roles. Perspective - It is hard to write


about your own business. You can be too close to it. Our professional copywriters will meet with you and take a dispassionate, ‘man on the street’ viewpoint, identifying what works and what doesn’t.

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Statistically, the average time spent on a website homepage is just eight seconds.



The Council has welcomed the government’s decision to defer part of the planned increase in business rates.

The recession taskforce was set up to examine ways of helping the local community through the credit crunch.

Bills have already been sent out informing businesses that rates will be going up by five per cent. Following a change in policy announced by Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, businesses will now be able to defer three per cent of the increase and spread it over the following two years. Once the government has finalised the new regulations we will write to businesses asking if they want to defer payments. Those who do will be sent a new bill. Business rates are set by national government, but collected by local councils. The level of increase is decided by what the inflation rate was last September. In September 2008 inflation stood at five per cent, but this has since dropped to zero per cent and is expected to fall into negative figures this year. The recession taskforce was set up to examine ways of helping the local community through the credit crunch. One of its initiatives is the Buy BandD campaign, which encourages residents and businesses to buy products from Barking and Dagenham firms wherever possible.

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Small and large tables of all sizes and shapes for corporate events, weddings, exhibitions, festivals, fetes, boot sales, etc... Folding metal legs allow easy transportation and storage. Velour banqueting chairs in 3 colours. Elegant & slimline with tablecloths available for co-ordinating. Large quantities available for corporate events. Our full range of pristine laundered tablecloths and matching napkins come in numerous colours and sizes. Classic damask cotton in long and square cloth, and the ever popular plain weave polyester cloths in round, long, square and oval shapes. Complement your linen with charming shirred table skirts or delicate lace overlays (limited stock) to complete an eye catching scene. Over 40 colours and 18 sizes guarantees the right cloth for your event. No event too small (may be subject to client arranging own transportation). You name it, we’ve got it. And if we don’t ..... Well, just try us - we have even been known to manufacture tables to special order! Most major Credit or Debit cards accepted.

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Ever lost a mobile phone and as a consequence lost all those numbers of friends and business contacts? Maybe you had the foresight to back them up to your PC so you can easily restore your numbers. Perhaps you have the numbers elsewhere, but what about the hours spent entering them onto your new phone? Disasters do occur whether through fire, theft or other causes. I know of one local business which nearly had a full-scale disaster on their hands through an arsonist attacking a company in an adjoining building. Another local business was broken into and one of their servers was stolen over the Christmas period. Remember, the disaster probably will not be of your own making.

Ever lost a mobile phone and as a consequence lost all those numbers of friends and business contacts?

You can’t wait till you have the disaster to then think about what to do. What would you do if a catastrophe occurred during your busiest trading period of the year? Surveys show that an organisation without an IT Disaster Recovery plan goes out of business within 18 months of a calamity hitting them. So ask yourself the question, “If disaster hit you today, are you prepared for the worst?” A few years ago, IT Disaster Recovery plans were only drawn up by large corporate operations. However, with the greater use of IT in all companies and organisations, this means that even for quite small companies there is the need for some form of IT Disaster Recovery. You need to create an IT Disaster Recovery plan which takes time rather than money. Some of the simple things to think about in terms of building up your IT Disaster Recovery plan: • You should have a physical copy of your IT Disaster Recovery plan available offsite. If it is stored on your laptop, PC or server and these are no longer accessible, how do you know what is in the plan? • Depending on the size of your organisation, then it is advisable to create a disaster recovery team in anticipation of any eventuality. • Does your business or organisation hold crucial data within your IT system which is fundamental to the running of your business or organisation? • Is this information backed up on a regular basis? • Where do you store the information? • When was the last time you tried to restore the data? • If information is protected by a password, do you have a complete list of the passwords and are they held securely? Until recently tape backup was really the only option to use, but it had many shortcomings. Tapes degrade or snap, so they need to be replaced on a regular basis. Often a tape can be read on one tape drive, but not on another. So, it is no good having a tape backup, only to find out you can’t read your precious data. With today’s technology you no longer need to invest in costly tape drives and tapes. You can now backup to disks and/or to a secure datacentre. Equipment aimed at smaller organisations, such as Sky Teledata’s BizCon5051, is now available which doubles up as your onsite disk-to-disk backup unit; it also acts as a standby server in the event of a major server problem; and transmits your backup data, via an encrypted link to a secure offsite datacentre, for disaster recovery purposes, every day. If you have drawn up a Disaster Recovery plan previously, how relevant is it to the current needs of your organisation? Your disaster recovery plan needs to be reviewed regularly to mirror the organisation as it evolves and changes. Finally, one great way to see how good your disaster recovery plan really is, is to test your procedures in a mock disaster situation. Does the plan work? What things have you forgotten to include in your plan? What is absolutely vital in today’s business environment, is to ensure that your data is being backed up; that the data is held off site; and that regular restores are carried out to prove the system works. If you follow these simple steps then should you get hit by a disaster, you have a very good chance that your business will survive. is happy to give further advice and assistance on Disaster Recovery and can be contacted on 02070966367 or



Are you paying too much for your Business Rates? If you are a small business you could be entitled to receive a reduction of up to 50%. Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) is a reduction available to business ratepayers who occupy only one property in England and Wales with a Rateable Value of less than £21,500. You can find out the Rateable Value of your premises by checking your Business Rates bill (this will also show if you are already receiving Small Business Rates Relief) or, alternatively, on the Valuation Office website: (go to ‘Check your Rateable Value’). To find out if you qualify for a reduction and would like a Small Business Rates Relief application form or you are unsure if you are already receiving this reduction, please contact the Business Rates team. Telephone:

020 8227 2934 - between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday

By email:


020 8227 2089

Website: go to ‘Business Rates’ then “Small Business Rates Relief” to print off the application form directly, complete and return to the address below.


Business Rates, PO Box 2807, Romford, Essex, RM7 1FJ

In person:

90 Stour Road, Dagenham, Essex, RM10 7JD

The Business Rates team will contact you to confirm whether you qualify, once your completed form has been received.


NEWSLETTER PLUS ON-LINE Since making our popular business magazine NewsletterPlus available on our website some three months ago, we have had a great reaction from readers and advertisers alike. In the past we have been asked to supply extra copies of NewsletterPlus to organisations so that their staff can benefit from the business articles and keep up to date with local and Pan-London developments. The problem with sending multiple copies of NewsletterPlus through the post is twofold, firstly the cost of postage these days is prohibitive and secondly in some cases the magazine does not get distributed internally. Now simply by logging onto the Chamber website everybody has access to NewsletterPlus at their workstation or home computer. As NewsletterPlus is available on the public section of our website our advertisers reap the benefit of a larger exposure to their advert or article. We still encourage our members and readers to submit articles for publication. There are strict guidelines which are applied to articles which are offered for publications as you would expect. For details of how to get your article printed in NewsletterPlus contact our Editor, John Tame on 020 8591 6966 or email: To view the current edition of NewsletterPlus access the Chamber website at and check the link NewsletterPlus On-Line.

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Tel: 0208 592 3273 (4 Lines) Fax: 0208 595 9650 Email: 39

Now simply by logging onto the Chamber website everybody has access.

TOP TIPS TO SURVIVE A RECESSION AND ENSURE YOUR BUSINESS STAYS AHEAD OF THE GAME In these uncertain times it is vital that businesses react to what is going on around them and adapt to the challenges a recession brings. The businesses still standing will be those who use the recession as an opportunity; to review their operations and manage their business more efficiently, cutting costs whilst maintaining quality and growing profitability.

Don’t think cutting costs means lowering standards on product and service.

Below are some top tips to enable a business to carry out that review, looking at procedures and implementing changes that will have a positive impact on the bottom line. These tips are not only for use in a recession, but should form part of an ongoing review to ensure businesses consistently drive down costs and increase efficiency and profitability. These values will always be at the heart of a good business.

Service and product • Don’t think cutting costs means lowering standards on product and service. Don’t compromise your quality, but look at ways of reducing other costs such as supplies, delivery or packaging. • Never forget that your customer is the reason you are there, always put them first, listen to their needs and do everything you can to meet them. In a recession people think more carefully before parting with their money; ensure that your service is at a standard that means you will hold on to your customers. Think of other ways to build loyalty from your customers as well as ways to find new customers.

Managing costs, staffing and trading hours • Continually review all business costs. Negotiate with suppliers and shop around to get the best deal. • Spend wisely on staffing, making sure you have the right people at the right time for maximum productivity. If you have several staff, create flexible contracts as much as possible so you can increase their hours when you are busy and reduce them when you are not. • Ensure your trading hours are appropriate for the local area and your customers’ needs. Review these each year.

Networking • Get together with other local businesses. Don’t view them as competition, instead see them as allies. • Look at ways to work together, to order supplies, deal with waste, cut costs and share resources. • Think ‘bigger picture’ and look beyond your individual business to the High Street, Shopping Centre or Market as a whole. • Consider who else can support you within the local area, find out how you can all work together; protecting individual businesses to cultivate the success of the greater community.

If you found this of interest, why don’t you take a peek at our website to find out when we are running master classes in your town centre? 40


Trade Union Congress: Jobs Outlook ‘As Bleak As 1980s’ 60% of businesses in the UK plan to freeze pay or negotiate pay cuts with staff, according to a new employment survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and recruitment group Harvey Nash. The survey of more than 700 companies also revealed that more than half the businesses surveyed expect recruitment levels to take more than a year to return to 2007 levels and 40% revealed they have put a freeze on graduate recruitment. However, the survey also showed that many job losses had been avoided by staff working with their employees over reduced rates of pay and patterns of work. “This has been a particularly bruising recession, but one of its most positive and striking aspects has been the commitment of many businesses and their staff to work together to try and trim costs and save jobs,” said John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director-General.


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Paving/Landscaping/ Groundworks/Concreting Specialists in paving, landscaping, groundworks and concreting. Paving Our works include forecourts, pathways, patios, driveways, roads and car parks. These can be either paved or macadam surfaced, paving material includes York Stone, Indian Sand Stone, Natural Slate and others if required.

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Groundworks Excavations, earth removal, foundations, underground drainage.

Concreting Swimming pools, ponds, water tight basements and reinforced concrete structures. All our work is carried out to the highest standard and comes with a 10 year product guarantee and a 6 year labour guarantee. We also supply a no obligation, fully detailed, written estimate, site survey and design service. 44

Funding the right direction to economic recovery for local businesses Businesses in London are benefiting from over £1m worth of London Development Agency (LDA) funding, to help them develop innovative products, identify new markets and implement improved businesses processes. The LDA launched the new funding in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to help local businesses grow, despite the challenging economic climate. Enterprises in Barking & Dagenham and pan-London can choose from four different projects - ‘Innovation 4 Growth (I4G)’, ‘Innovation Associates (IAP)’, ‘Eureka’ or ‘Lightbulb Express,’ depending on which scheme best fits their needs. Innovation 4 Growth is focused on providing innovative ideas for SMEs, driven by the expert input from an academic at the University of East London (UEL). The project is particularly keen to support BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) and female-owned businesses. One female-owned business based in Barking, Top Careers Ltd, has recently completed an Innovation 4 Growth project. Managing Director, Eiman Munro, highlighted the strategic benefit of participating in the funded scheme:“Innovation 4 Growth enabled us to use an academic to support and streamline the processes involved in Top Careers itself. The project has provided us with huge benefits in respect of improving efficiency in the business. The extra support provided has helped me to streamline my website so that it can be accessed by my sponsors, and has allowed me to increase my time on other important areas such as marketing and the general business plan. Working with an academic brings a different perspective to the business. An academic at UEL helps businesses, because they add value – as an entrepreneur I have the creative side, but it’s useful to have someone who can think more structured and in a different way relevant to what I want to do with the business.” The Innovation Associates (IAP) scheme facilitates the placement of a student or new graduate to work within a company for six weeks. The student is supervised by an academic, with a view to helping the business implement a new system, product or process. Businesses have emphasised how the student provided them with the extra resource they needed to tackle a project they had in mind, but not enough time or expertise to complete. The LDA has also devised an environmentally-focused project ‘Eureka’, created to help businesses implement sustainable processes, develop innovative clean technologies and access new markets. Darryl Newport, Director of the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), says that each company will be given a customised solution which will improve their carbon footprint and competitive edge:“In order to become more attractive to public sector procurement and their agencies, businesses have to become more environmentally sustainable themselves. The Central Government Office has set itself very tough sustainability targets and in order to achieve these targets the Government expects industry partners to follow.” Lightbulb Express is specifically for inventors and entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that they are keen to develop. Support comes via a bespoke set of tools (e.g. distance and e-resources) to provide a roadmap for inventors and inventors’ clubs and advisors to follow as they take their innovative ideas through to development. If you would like to find out more about any of these funded projects, please contact Knowledge Dock, the University of East London’s (UEL) enterprise development service, on 020 8223 3301 or email


Sage Pay (formerly Protx) announces deal with American Express

Optix Solutions would like to bring to your attention a recent deal between Sage Pay (formerly Protx) and American Express for customers wishing to accept American Express cards. The agreement means that if you apply to accept American Express through Sage Pay, not only will American Express waive the standard £150 joining fee, but you will ONLY pay a merchant service fee of 1.5% on the first £5,000 of American Express transactions you process. Recent research conducted by CyberSource found that merchants who support payment types beyond credit cards, such as gift certificates, typically see significant increases in online sales. It also concluded that merchants who offer more payment methods have lower shopping cart abandonment rates and on average up to 20% higher order conversion. No additional development work is required by Optix in order for you to start accepting American Express Cards unless you wish to add the American Express credit card logo to your website and/or make reference to its availability. Further details of this special offer can be found on the Sage Pay website by logging on to: or by calling the Sage Pay team on: 0845 111 4455.



Sage For Beginners – An Introduction

1 Day Training Course in Association with Gurg Limited CEME, Marsh Way, Rainham RM13 8EU 8.45 for 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Cost to attend: £50.00 +VAT £57.50 (members); £75.00 +VAT £86.25 (non-members) NB You do not need to have previously worked with Sage, but you will need knowledge and practical experience of using a PC and be comfortable with basic operations.

30TH SEPTEMBER 7.45 for 8am-9.30am

Special LEGI Programme - Directors’ Breakfast Briefing Series

By invitation only In collaboration with Barking & Dagenham Enterprise and The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham


Excel 2007 - Advanced Features 8.45 for 9.00am – 5.00pm

1 Day Training Course in Association with Gurg Limited CEME, Marsh Way, Rainham RM13 8EU Cost to attend: £50.00 + VAT £57.50 (members); £75.00 +VAT £86.25 (non-members) NB You will need to be able to work with Excel’s spreedsheets, basic formulae and features.

Please see our website

www.bdchamber. for

coming events and updates.


Chamber President’s Ball with The Alvin Jones Band Further details to follow

NB There will be a ticket price for this event. Co-Sponsored by Vicarage Field Shopping Centre Available sponsorship opportunities.


In Association with BDE

Networking Breakfast Briefing in Collaboration with Barking and Dagenham Small Business Centre and NatWest

For details of venues and for inclusion in invitation only events contact Mary Clements on 020 8591 6966

The Making Money Series, 2 of 3 ‘Making Money from Networking’ The Spotted Dog, Longbridge Road, Barking IG11 7.45 for 8.00am-9.30am

Sponsored by NatWest

Networking Event – don’t forget to bring lots of business cards with you!

In Association with BDE: Dinner with John Cruddas, MP House of Commons, London SW1 Further details to follow NB There will be a ticket price for this event. Available sponsorship opportunity

Networking Event – don’t forget to bring lots of business cards with you!


Special LEGI Programme - Directors’ Breakfast Briefing Series

Charles Bean, Deputy Governor of The Bank of England By invitation only In collaboration with Barking & Dagenham Enterprise and The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham ~ At the time of going to press we have a broad range of events that are in the final planning stages. For all the latest updates and news of these events please either contact Mary Clements by e-mail on: or visit the Chamber website



Too many new members for this space. If you have joined the Chamber recently and are not shown here, don’t worry, we will catch up in the next edition.

BITC National Education Team Education Sefika Mertkan-Ozunlu 0207 566 8735

Less Taxing Small Business Adviser Angela Reid 07510 692 849

Select IT Services IT Specialists Les Chapman 0845 873 2670

DT Trucks Limited Isuza Truck Dealership Derek Tansley 0208 595 4400

Dairy Crest Dairy Products Paul Daniel 020 8273 5700 Chamber Sponsor

UK Blarneystone Ltd Pub/Venue David McDonnell 07828 028648

Training 2 Inspire Training Esther Emanuel 020 8262 0471

Capita Solutions Limited Recruitment Agency Sylvester Okafor 07950 415083

LLS Limited Construction Kevin Lovett 020 8984 8839

Lloyds TSB Bank Heather Oram 07725 068814

Sonali Travels Ltd Travel Agent Abdul Jolil 0207 650 7790

Bike Dock Solutions Design & Install Bicycle Racks Craig Jones 020 7993 8515

Eteep & F1 Hotels Hotel Noel Vastine 020 8507 8500 Germinate Business Ltd Business Consultancy Rosemary Frempong-Taylor 020 8595 6015 Ramsey Moore Estate Agent Michael Moore 020 8536 6600

Staff Line Employment Agency Limited Recruitment David Bishop 020 8594 3464 Reflected Images Limited Promotional Products George Woodward 07970 282449 Meti Building Services Ltd Building Surveyor M Gjokiqi 020 8507 3242 48

Elain Davidian Health + Safety-Risk Assessment E Davidian 07894 166671 McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd Restaurant Lloyd Johnson 020 8594 8615 Chamber Sponsor WM Door Services Doors/ Shutters Jonathan Monk 020 8517 5355 Going Forward Enterprises Volunteering Abroad Fretta Toussaint 07908 217623 Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals Global Healthcare Mark Bass 020 8919 3290 Chamber Sponsor Stop Ironing Ltd Laundry/Ironing Mary Gleeson 020 8507 9841 All Jobs Plumbing 24/7 Plumbing Jonathan Diggines 07878 819050

P u b l i s h e d b y A U T H O R I S E D P U B L I C AT I O N S 1 1 9 - 1 2 1 B r e n t S t r e e t , L o n d o n N W 4 2 D X t:020 8457 9100 f:020 8457 3090/8457 3060 (BDCN3/4 ) • (HS)