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INSPIRE.28 The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce September - October 2018

Work under way to solve skills shortage - page 4

n Inspirational Leader Vincent Tourette, Managing Director, Groupe Renault UK and Ireland - p 8

n Focus on Welwyn Hatfield One of Hertfordshire’s most successful economic areas - p 10

n Last Word Airbus - positioning the UK space industry for future global market opportunities - p 50

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On behalf of the Chief Executive Why we all have to tackle the skills shortage Welcome to the latest edition of Inspire magazine. Talk to any business leader in Hertfordshire and the wider UK and it will not be long before the subject of the ‘skills shortage’ crops up. Amid all the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and concerns about productivity, it is the difficulty that companies face in finding new talent that is becoming more and more prominent. As we explain in our feature on the subject on page 5, the problem was highlighted when the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) recently published the results of its economic survey for the second quarter of the year.

In the manufacturing sector, the percentage of firms looking to recruit jumped from 67% to 77%, while the number of those struggling to recruit also rose, to 71%. In the services sector, the percentage of firms looking to recruit rose from 50% to 60%, but the number of those struggling to recruit rose to 63% (from 60%) They are worrying statistics. An ageing workforce brings with it a myriad of problems, not least of which is the loss of expertise when senior people retire. So what’s the solution? Well, the jobs are there and our feature looks at some of the steps under way to strengthen the connection between educational institutions and businesses as well as open up employment opportunities for people who may struggle to find work. The challenge is ensuring that young people emerging from full-time education know not just the theory of their subject but also how to adapt to the world of work. Things like communication skills, working as part of a team and good timekeeping are just as important as knowledge of a subject.

It is also vital that young people are aware of the opportunities available. The jobs are there, employment opportunities are at a high level, but still too many young people are struggling to find the jobs for them. Is that because they do not know where to look? Possibly and we all need to play our part and here at the Chamber we have a number of initiatives under way to put talented young people in touch with companies that are seeking to employ them. Government has its part to play as well. As Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), says: “The availability of skilled staff remains the biggest issue that firms face. Unless the Government gets a handle on the disarray in the training and apprenticeship system and sets out a clear immigration policy that enables firms to cover vacancies, the economic potential of many areas across the UK will continue to be held back.” There is plenty more to appreciate in the magazine, including on page 7 information on the next Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards, a look at the buoyant economy of Welwyn and Hatfield on page 10 and our inspirational leader interview with Vincent Tourette, Managing Director, Groupe Renault UK and Ireland, on page 8. As usual, our events pages starting on page 26 have some excellent events designed to appeal to our members, including our October Chamber Lunch with an address by Bim Afolami MP on October 18 at Rothhamsted Conference Centre, Harpenden. I hope you enjoy the magazine. By Neville Reyner CBE DL Hon DLitt Chairman, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Hon. Past President of the BCC

Welcome Contents Recruitment- Skills Gap 4-6 Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 7 Inspirational Leader 8-9 Focus on Welwyn Hatfield 10-13 Hertfordshire Global 14-15 Patron Focus 16-17 Economy 20-21 Past Events 24-25 Chamber Events 26-29 Tourism 30-31 New Members 32 Member Benefits 33 Members News 34 24 Hours with... 35 Health & Wellbeing 36-39 Members News 40-41 Finance for Business 44-45 Festive 46-47 Skills Development-Education 48-49 Last Word 50 •••• Editorial and General Enquiries Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce MacLaurin Building, 4 Bishops Square, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9NE Tel: 01707 502180 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Yolanda Rugg Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Web: Published Sept 2018 © Benham Publishing and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1614 •••• Disclaimer Inspire is published for Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Inspire are not necessarily those of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. ©2018 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.



Recruitment - Skills Gap



Recruitment - Skills Gap

Work under way to solve skills shortage – and Hertfordshire students play their part The difficulties faced by UK companies when it comes to recruiting staff is becoming a major concern and one that many business people believe needs addressing urgently by the Government. The problem was highlighted when the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) recently published the results of its economic survey for the second quarter of the year. Based on the responses of more than 6,000 businesses, including in Hertfordshire, the survey highlighted the concerns felt by many business leaders frustrated at the shortage of skilled staff. In the manufacturing sector, the percentage of firms looking to recruit jumped from 67% to 77%, while the number of those struggling to recruit also rose, to 71% In the services sector, the percentage of firms looking to recruit rose from 50% to 60%, but the number of those struggling to recruit rose to 63% (from 60%) This followed BCC figures at the end of last year which showed that the largest percentage of service sector firms facing recruitment difficulties were in Wales (88%), the East of England (82%) and the South West (80%). Those which saw the fewest service firms reporting difficulties were Scotland (45%), London (57%) and the North East (62%).

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The availability of skilled staff remains the biggest issue that firms face. Unless the government gets a handle on the disarray in the training and apprenticeship system and sets out a clear immigration policy that enables firms to cover vacancies, the economic potential of many areas across the UK will continue to be held back.” There has been some progress, though. For instance, University of Hertfordshire graduates recently recorded employment rates of 96.5%, the best employment rate of graduates in the east of England region and outscoring several Russell Group Universities, including both Oxford and Cambridge. National Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey data showed that 96.5% of University of Hertfordshire students are in work or further study six months after graduating, above the national average for the UK (94.6%). Conducted by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, the data ranks the University of Hertfordshire 23rd out of 124 universities in the UK.

Five of the University’s Schools achieved employment rates of above 95% - Life and Medical Sciences, Humanities, Hertfordshire Business School, Education and the School of Health and Social Work, which scored a remarkable 99.6%. Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “I am delighted to see that the employment rate of our graduates continues to rise. We believe in forging strong professional partnerships and we also offer key workplace engagement to our graduates. “All our courses are underpinned by industry insight and 80% are accredited by professional bodies. Coupled with our expert teaching, this approach is helping to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed in the real world.” And among many initiatives involving North Hertfordshire College, a new partnership was launched recently to secure jobs and training linked to the Stevenage town centre regeneration plans and the town’s council housing stock. North Hertfordshire College principal Kit Davies met Stevenage Borough Council’s

leader Sharon Taylor at the college’s Engineering and Construction Campus, to sign the Stevenage Works partnership agreement. Kit said: “At North Hertfordshire College and Hart Learning & Development, everything we do is about helping individuals get where they want to be in life and helping businesses to improve and grow.” The focus of Stevenage Works will be on construction and business administration skills. Working together the partners will provide training and job opportunities, including apprenticeships for young people and unemployed adults. Jobcentre Plus will identify local candidates and North Hertfordshire College will deliver training in basic construction skills, as well as CV and interview training. Kit said: “We’re experts at delivering apprenticeships and other training locally and nationally. We’re rooted in the communities of Stevenage and North Hertfordshire and I’m confident that Stevenage Works will help local people get back into jobs or further training.”



Recruitment - Skills Gap

“Supported businesses can provide employment opportunities for those disabled people who want to work but may otherwise find it difficult to secure a suitable role.”

Government seeks to help companies take advantage of apprenticeships Another welcome boost for businesses, including those in Hertfordshire, came when Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Anne Milton lifted some restrictions on the transfer of apprenticeship service funds, a move welcomed by the BCC. Jane Gratton, the Head of Business Environment and Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The BCC has long been calling for an end to the restrictions that limit businesses from accessing the Apprenticeship Levy. Softening the rules around fund transfers is a step in the right direction. “Levy-paying employers across the country will welcome the announcement that the limit on levy transfers is to be lifted, helping more companies in their supply chain to access high quality apprenticeships and close the skills gap that threatens future productivity and competitiveness.



“That said, we’d like the government to go further and allow Levy-paying firms to transfer a higher percentage of their unused Levy within the supply chain – increasing it from 10% to 50% - so that more people benefit. “It’s vital that businesses have more flexible access to the Apprenticeship Levy, so that they can train more people in their workforce and create exciting new job opportunities for young people starting their careers.

Funding supplied to help disabled people secure jobs Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey has announced increased funding to support businesses that provide extra employment support for disabled people with the greatest barriers to work. When the Work Choice employment programme ends in March 2019, ongoing support will be offered to individuals working in ‘supported businesses’ through specially

designed new elements of the government’s Access to Work scheme. For two years from April 2019, supported businesses will receive increased funding of £5,000 a year from Access to Work for each individual in a Work Choice Protected Place. Esther McVey said: “Supported businesses can provide employment opportunities for those disabled people who want to work but may otherwise find it difficult to secure a suitable role. “That’s why we’re increasing the funding for each person working in a supported business, ensuring that disabled people who want to work have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that work can bring. Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Sarah Newton, said: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people have the necessary support to thrive in the workplace and Protected Places plays a big part in helping thousands to reach their full potential.”

The increased payment will not only be available for existing employees but also for businesses to employ more disabled people, enabling a total of more than 2,000 disabled people across England, Scotland and Wales to access support. Disabled employees working for supported businesses can currently benefit from a mix of support, including: • adapted working practices • additional HR support • job coaches • aides and adaptations • extra supervision through the existing Work Choice Protected Places scheme The Government will work with the Supported Business Alliance (SBA) and The British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) to develop a new long-term element of Access to Work to continue support for those already working for a supported business, and help more disabled people to join them.

Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards Update

Inspiring Hertfordshire

Awards 2019 After another successful award campaign in 2018, the Chamber looks forward to our eighth year of the ‘Oscars’ of Hertfordshire. The awards will be returning once more to the stunning St Albans Cathedral on Thursday the 13th June 2019 to celebrate business excellence. Herts Chamber can’t wait to begin the journey with both our sponsors and entrants alike. Its never to early to think about sponsoring or entering an award. Details of sponsorship and all our categories available for entry can be found below and at: inspiring-hertfordshire-awards-2019

Sponsoring a category at the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards • Sponsor logo will appear on all coverage of the award category including our website and social media • Logo and editorial will appear in issues of our bi-monthly Inspire magazine, pre and post event exposure • An invitation to participate in the judging panel • Receive two complimentary places at the Awards Dinner • Feature of your company within the Awards Dinner Programme • Sponsor logo to appear on visual presentations at the Awards Dinner • A member of your organisation will be invited to present the Award on the night and have their photo taken with the winner • Attend our Awards Launch evening* with the opportunity to promote your business with banners, collateral, goodie bags *Launch evening will take place Jan 2019, (venue tbc)

If you require further information on sponsorship, please contact the team on 01707 502180 or email to get a sponsorship pack.

We would like to thank CS Recycling (The Green Award), Ashbourne Insurance (Family Business of the Year), SA Law (Business of the Year Medium to Large) and Porsche Hatfield (Business of the Year West Herts) for sponsoring our 2019 awards.

See all our amazing categories Sponsorship available on a first come, first served basis. • Achievement in International Business • Business of the Year Small to Medium • Business of the Year Medium to Large • Business of the Year North Herts • Business of the Year East Herts • Business of the Year South Herts • Business of the Year West Herts • Best use of Technology • Entrepreneur of the Year • Excellence in Customer Service • Outstanding Contribution to Business • Community Champion • Education in Employment • Excellence in People Development • Investment in Young People • Made in Herts • Most Promising new Business • The Tourism and Hospitality Award • The Green Award • Family Business of the Year • Inspiring Business of the Year



Inspirational Leader

Celebrating 120 years of change Vincent Tourette, Managing Director, Groupe Renault UK and Ireland Vincent Tourette has worked for the Renault-Nissan Alliance for 24 years. He was appointed Managing Director of Groupe Renault UK in April 2017 and is responsible for UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta markets for Renault, Dacia and Alpine. Previously, he was Nissan’s Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, with global responsibility for their LCV range (pick-ups, vans and light trucks). Before that he held a variety of commercial roles with Groupe Renault including CEO for the five countries in the Nordic region, Marketing Director for the Netherlands and Marketing Planning Manager at Renault UK. You have worked with the company in different capacities for the last 24 years. What are the biggest changes you have seen in the industry? Renault celebrates its 120th anniversary this year so has witnessed enormous change over the years. The mainstream car market is now the most competitive sector, with the premium brands expanding through smaller models and emerging brands moving up the scale, which, in itself, provides a real opportunity for Dacia. The biggest changes have been in recent years due to the incredibly fast pace of change itself. The arrival of electric vehicles was the start. Renault has been



the European leader in electric vehicles since 2011, and now sophisticated mobility services along with connected and increasingly-autonomous vehicles are shaking everything up once again.

What are your priorities for Groupe Renault in the UK? Groupe Renault – which comprises of the Renault, Dacia and Alpine brands – has a clear mid-term global business plan, ‘Drive the Future’, which takes us through to 2022. In the UK, our plans link directly to this and our priority will be to differentiate us through excellent customer service, along with a focus on brand image in an increasingly competitive market.

The group has sold five million Dacias worldwide to date, so with Dacia celebrating five years in the UK this year, there is strong growth potential for this brand, particularly with the introduction of the All-New Duster SUV which has had a fantastic reception since launching this summer. The new Alpine A110 sports car has just arrived in the UK to some incredible reviews and awards and is already sold out well into next year which bodes well for the future of this evocative marque.

What are Groupe Renault’s ambitions/targets for zero emissions and electric vehicles? Renault is the number one electric car and electric van manufacturer in Europe and has been a pioneer in the EV market, introducing a line-up of fully electric, zero emissions in use, vehicles as early as 2011. More than 100,000 all-electric ZOE superminis have been manufactured to date and it currently has the best-in-class range of any mainstream electric vehicle at 186 real-world miles. Our commitment is to sustainable and affordable mobility for all, and within the period of our mid-term plan we will expand our fully electric and electrified lineup, with a continued emphasis on enhanced connectivity and autonomous vehicles.

What are some of the challenges facing the automotive industry in the UK? Balancing rapid technological change whilst interacting with customers who are increasingly more connected, in a 24/7 environment. Customers visit showrooms less, yet are better informed than ever, which is why the strongest online presence is crucial. However, people still buy from people, so traditional customer service has to be at the highest level, as well. We’re innovating with Apps that take the first step between connecting the customer’s mobile device and their car, making the customer’s life easier and giving the customer more control. The customer can send the location of their next meeting in their diary to their car or click to request a service booking or contact us for help.

What affect do you anticipate that Brexit will have on your business, post-March 2019? Since the referendum, forex has been a challenge to a great number of businesses. I think it’s too early to say what the exact outcome of Brexit will be but we have plans in place to adapt our business to any opportunities or challenges that present themselves.

Inspirational Leader

“Renault has been the European leader in electric vehicles since 2011, and now sophisticated mobility services along with connected and increasingly-autonomous vehicles are shaking everything up once again.�



Focus on Welwyn Hatfield



Focus on Welwyn Hatfield Exciting times are ahead as part of the 2030+ vision for the town, with many projects still to come, including bringing forward a number of potential sites for future development, and the imminent refurbishment of the public realm in White Lion Square.”

In Welwyn Hatfield, business matters… Welwyn Hatfield is one of Hertfordshire’s most successful economic areas, with its excellent transport links, easy access to international airports, lively shopping areas and beautiful parks and green spaces. It is no surprise that some of the UK’s largest companies have chosen to locate here – including Tesco, Affinity Water and Ocado – and more than in any other Hertfordshire district. A key strength of the borough is that the economy has benefited from increasing numbers of new businesses starting up or relocating here, with a 5% increase between 2016 and 2017.

Shopping in Hatfield

In Welwyn Hatfield Business really does matter which is why ‘Our Economy’ is one of five key priorities of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s (WHBC) Business Plan 2018 – 2021. The council’s economic development strategy sets out

their commitment to business wp-content/themes/welhat/WH_ EconomyDevelopmentStrategy201 6_InHouse_Mid-Res.pdf. WHBC has developed a business support website www.inwelwynhatfieldbusiness Information can be found on grants and apprenticeships, and there is also a list of organisations that offer support and advice to ensure businesses thrive. Local businesses can also sign up to a free online business directory to increase their internet presence. You can contact the council’s economic development officer by emailing Cont page 12



“For shoppers, Hatfield town centre has a mix of independent shops, national chains, and a selection of restaurants and cafes.“ Hatfield With a population of around 40,000, Hatfield is a town with huge potential, a fantastic community, a rich and diverse history, and it plays host to big businesses and academia. For shoppers, Hatfield town centre has a mix of independent shops, national chains, and a selection of restaurants and cafes. The general market is held twice a week; on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with a range of stalls offering a variety of products from flowers to key cutting to fruit and veg. The farmers’ market is held on the first Saturday of every month (except January), with each stall holder only selling what they grow or make themselves.



Hatfield has a busy, lively events calendar with town centre events held regularly throughout the year, including: the Christmas lights switch-on, HealthFest, and World Culture Day.

12,000 jobs. Elsewhere on the park there are more than 2,000 homes, 18 retail units, Europe’s largest Health and Racquets club, a police station and a university campus.

Hatfield community groups, organisations and businesses can hire space for free in the town centre at the Community Hub. The room available for hire is suitable for up to 25 people, and facilities, including Wi-Fi, screens, and electricity are all free to use. To book email

The Hatfield Renewal Partnership is a dynamic partnership of key authorities, landowners and educational institutions who have come together to deliver positive change in the town in- line with a shared vision.

Hatfield Business Park is a thriving mixed used development set within a carefully landscaped environment. The park sits on 400 acres of the former Hatfield Aerodrome, and master planned by Goodman, now hosts 3.5 million square foot of business space creating

A lot of exciting developments have already taken place in Hatfield, with £15m having already been invested, including the introduction of a number of new national retailers, the refurbishment of councilowned town centre properties, the refurbishment of 19 flats in White Lion Square, and the appointment of a developer

for the regeneration of the High View shopping centre. Exciting times are ahead as part of the 2030+ vision for the town, with many projects still to come, including bringing forward a number of potential sites for future development, and the imminent refurbishment of the public realm in White Lion Square. These two key projects are supported by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with £6m of funding, and will see a number of areas around the town centre redeveloped with a mixture of housing, shops, and places to eat and drink, breathing new life into the town and its economy. For more information on Hatfield 2030+, visit

Event in Welwyn Garden City

Focus on Welwyn Hatfield

The Royal Veterinary College - Hawkshead Campus

Welwyn Garden City Characterised by wide, leafy streets and large green spaces, Welwyn Garden City, the world’s second garden city, has a population of around 50,000 and is home to a number of large businesses, including Tesco’s head office. The town centre is home to a mix of national chains, including John Lewis, independent shops, cafes (both national and independent), restaurants and pubs. The Welwyn Garden City Business Improvement District (BID) was set up in 2016 by local businesses with the sole purpose of improving and promoting the town centre. Working with local businesses they collaborate on events and initiatives to enliven the town and make it an enjoyable place to work, live and spend leisure time. Successful events include Midweek Munch, the Cinema on the Green, and the World Food Festival, all of which help to generate footfall and increase dwell time in shops. For more information visit:

and meeting room facilities. There is on-site parking and swipe card security, which allows tenants access to the centre 24-7. The centre is an excellent base for existing and new businesses, which also accommodate the growth and expansion of the business within the centre. Visit for more information.

World class education in Welwyn Hatfield The University of Hertfordshire, based in Hatfield, is a vibrant, inclusive, campus-based institution with a vision to be internationally renowned as the UK's leading businessfacing university. As one of the region’s largest employers, the university has more than 2,900 staff and a turnover of over £256 million. It makes an annual contribution of more than £1bn to the local economy, in addition to supporting more than 11,000 jobs in the region, and has secured more than £11m income through collaborative knowledge partnerships.

It is one of the top 150 universities in the world under 50 years old, according to the new Times Higher Education 150 under 50 rankings 2018. For more information visit:

Oaklands College Oaklands College is a large further education college in Hertfordshire with campuses in Welwyn Garden City and St Albans, providing approximately 1,500 courses to 10,000 students. Oaklands provides a variety of services to local businesses through venue hire, and by delivering development courses to those already in employment.

Royal Veterinary College The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London. With campuses in Potters Bar and Camden, the RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary

Weltech The Weltech Business Centre, located in Welwyn Garden City, provides a range of business units ranging from single occupancy to multiple staff, as well as virtual office services

nursing and biological sciences, being ranked in the top 10 universities nationally for biosciences degrees. In 2017, the RVC received a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating a university can receive. As a research-led institution, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the RVC maintained its position as the top HEFCE funded veterinary focused research institution. The College also provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals; the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in central London, the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (Europe's largest small animal referral centre), the Equine Referral Hospital, and the Farm Animal Clinical Centre located at the Hertfordshire campus. The RVC also works with a number of local veterinary practices in Hertfordshire providing their Out of Hours and Emergency Services. The RVC has been based in Hertfordshire since the 1950s and employs many local residents across a range of roles at the College. A programme of Outreach and Widening Participation activities numerous interactions with local schools, young people and special interest groups.

INSPIRE deHavilland Campus


Herts Global

Exporting confidence remains strong despite uncertainty The British Chambers of Commerce’s most recent Quarterly International Trade Outlook survey, based on the responses of more than 2,600 exporters, shows that export sales and turnover confidence were buoyant in Q2 2018. A total of 39% of exporting manufacturers saw an increase in export orders over the three months, and 30% of exporting service firms also reported an increase. The majority of exporters are confident that turnover will increase over the next twelve months, with 62% of exporting manufacturers and 60% of exporting service firms expecting to see an increase. The Quarterly International Trade Outlook survey also shows that the escalating labour shortage in the UK is also having a serious impact on exporters.

In Q2 2018, 77% of exporting manufacturers and 67% of services firms attempted to recruit. However, of those, 69% and 60% respectively said they faced difficulties finding the right staff. For manufacturers, skilled manual and technical positions were the most difficult to recruit for (67%). Chambers Director General Adam Marshall said: “Our Quarterly International Trade Outlook finds many exporters are performing well but economic and political factors are having an impact on their operations.

“Tensions with key trading partners and increased uncertainty around the world can have a real bearing on the confidence and profitability of businesses here in the UK. T “Exchange rates, in particular, emerged as a key concern for exporters, especially in the manufacturing sector. While the fall in sterling has helped many exporters to boost sales and orders abroad, it has also meant an increase in the cost of some imported components. “Despite the current climate and concerns of exporters, our research shows that goods shipments to non-EU markets

across the globe remain fairly stable. “The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index decreased slightly on the quarter, but still stands higher than the same quarter in the previous year, proving the pervasive adaptability and responsiveness of business. ”That said, the UK government should help to reassure and support firms wherever possible, starting with the delivery of an economy-first Brexit deal and by improving conditions in the domestic business environment to help remove unnecessary obstacles to growth.”

BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index (TCI)* is a measure of the UK’s exporting health. By analysing trends in the volume of trade documentation issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce, the TCI provides insight into the UK’s trade with countries outside of the European Union, particularly high growth markets such as Asia and Africa.

BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index (Q1 2007=100) 140 120 100

Trade Confidence Index



Down 1.3% on Q1 2018


Up 1.3% on Q2 2017

40 20 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

The Trade Confidence Index currently stands at 125.26. This represents a quarterly decrease of 1.3% on Q1 2018 and a yearly increase of 1.3% from Q2 2017.



*The index is calculated using the volume of trade documents issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK. Many types of exports require supporting commercial documentation. Chambers of Commerce issue documentation required for exports outside the EU and as a result have amassed significant data on UK goods exports. The TCI uses data collected from this process to show both an index of documentation and regional comparisons of exporting activity. @britishchambers @dhlexpressuk

Herts Global Trade documentation growth by regions and nations The Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, decreased by 1.3% on Q1 2018 but increased by 1.3% on Q2 2018. The index now stands at 125.26. Most UK regions and nations saw a slight quarterly decline in the volume of trade documents issued The largest quarter-on-quarter increases were in the East Midlands (6.3%), the East of England (2.7%) and Scotland (2.2%).


-2.4% -8.8%










INSPIRE @britishchambers @dhlexpressuk


Patron Focus According to Partner Silvia Vitiello, who is based at the St Albans office and is in her ninth year with the Practice, it’s all about being part of the wider business and community network. Silvia said: “A big attraction of the Chamber for us is that it is part of the community and that is important to us because it means that we can interact with other companies and organisations in the area. It is also important to us that it is an accredited Chamber. “One of my specialities is advising family businesses, of which there are a lot in the area, and attending Chamber events means that we can better understand their concerns and that they know we are here. ”

Why it makes sense to be part of the network For the team at business advisory and audit firm Kingston Smith LLP, becoming a Patron of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce was a decision that brought with it many benefits. 16


Kingston Smith LLP is one of the top 20 audit and business advisory firms in the UK. The firm has more than 500 staff, including 63 partners spread over six offices, providing a comprehensive range of skills and specialist services to fully support their clients’ development. Another of Silvia’s specialities is working with not-for-profit organisations and the firm’s award-winning Charities Sector Group consists of 14 specialist partners and 18 managers supported by more than 50 senior staff. Charities and not for profit organisations represent 25% of its client base. Commercial or not for profit, the firm’s clients share a lot of the same concerns and, not surprisingly, much of their

nervousness at the moment arises from the uncertainties created by Brexit. Silvia said: “Being part of the Chamber means that we are kept well informed about what is happening. Information about economic conditions and issues such as Brexit are filtered down to us and, just as importantly, being part of a Chamber gives you a voice. “We know that we and our clients can have our say and what we think will be filtered up to the national level. “At the moment we are seeing our clients display a certain ‘bullishness’ about business, despite the uncertainty that surrounds Brexit. “They are understandably tentative about what happens when Brexit comes in because it will be a big change but our clients have taken the view that they still need to do business, and they are pressing on through. “The Chamber of Commerce acts as a good conduit for businesses to convey their views to national decisionmakers and what our clients are saying is that they need more clarity about what happens when Brexit occurs. “However, for all the uncertainty, our clients are making sure that they are ready for Brexit, that they are flexible and are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. We are confident about the future.”

“Being part of the Chamber means that we are well informed about what is happening. Information about economic conditions and issues such as Brexit are filtered down to us and, just as importantly, being part of a Chamber gives you a voice.”

Patron Focus

Finding a connection with Hertfordshire businesses When it comes to producing the workers of tomorrow, it pays to be connected and that is the driving motivation behind the decision by the University of Hertfordshire to be a Chamber Patron. According to Julie Newlan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and International Development, the link up with the Chamber helps the university connect with local businesses, which helps produce graduates who are ready to enter the world of work. Julie said: “Our decision to become a Patron was partly about connectivity because we know that if we attend Chamber events we will meet plenty of local businesses. “One of the reasons that is important to us is our strong focus on giving students experience of the workplace, either through internships or placements, and that needs strong connections with local businesses, something that our relationship with the Chamber provides.” The value of the approach was illustrated recently when figures showed that the university’s graduates recorded employment rates of 96.5%, the best rate of graduates in the east of England region and outscoring several Russell Group Universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

Julie said: “What was particularly pleasing was that eighty per cent of those students went in to graduatelevel jobs, which is higher than Cambridge, and I think a key reason is the way we teach. “Employers do not just need graduates with academic knowledge but also with knowledge of things that companies value, like arriving at work on time, showing good communication skills, being proactive, attention to timekeeping and good time management. “Offering internships and placements gives them that experience as well as teaching them how to confront and solve real problems.” Another key part of the University’s approach is to inspire students, as evidenced by Hertfordshire Business School’s recent end of year summer reception which welcomed Johnathan (Jon) Symonds, a Hertfordshire alumnus and Chairman of HSBC plc, who gave a keynote talk on the economic

Professor Damian Ward and Jon Symonds importance of the financial services to the UK. The reception included industry guests from Hertfordshire-based companies such as Tesco, MBDA and Computacenter as well as the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. Jon graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in the 1970s with a first class degree in Business Finance and Julie said: “It is important to give our students something to aim for and we are always delighted when someone like Jon can give up some of his time.

“He is the Olympic champion in terms of our alumni but, just as importantly, former students who have gone on to work for SMEs also come back to inspire our students about what can be achieved.” Professor Damian Ward, Dean of Hertfordshire Business School, said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Jon back to Hertfordshire Business School. Jon gave great insight into the current financial climate and offered some excellent advice for our students who aspire, one day, to be business leaders.”

The University of Hertfordshire’s Executive MBA programme has received re-accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA). AMBA has accredited only the top 2% of business schools across 70 countries, with the Hertfordshire Executive MBA sitting amongst them. The Hertfordshire Executive MBA is a part-time course designed to fit around students’ professional and personal lives; it runs over two and half years and is taught on weekends.



Meanwhile down at the ICO… 15%



“Increase in Data Protection complaints”

“Increase in SelfReported breaches”

“Increase in Freedom of Information complaints”

“Huge increase in in telephone, live chat and written queries from the public and organisations resulting in….”

“…new telephone services for small organisations and for self reported breaches”

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

“Monetary penalties given for breaches of electronic marketing laws relating to nuisance calls and spam text messages across 26 cases” Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

“for 11 fines for serious security failures under the Data Protection Act 1998”


Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

“More calls than the previous quarter”

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

“Of hard-fought-for donations was spent on fines for unlawfully processing personal data”

30,000 £80k Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

“More cases closed than any previous year!”

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

£3.28m £1.29m

“Fine was issued to a data broking organisation” Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

“19 criminal prosecutions resulting in 18 convictions” Sources: ICO Annual Report 2017-2018

Copyright © Sphere Data Protection Limited. All rights reserved. Registered in England and Wales under Company Number 11034070

GDPR compliance: an uncomfortable truth Did you notice how quiet it went on 26th May? The GDPR enforcement date came and went on the 25th May 2018 and for the most part, most businesses can be forgiven for thinking that absolutely nothing changed! Businesses did not hear the ominous knock of the ICO’s Enforcement Officers at their doors - companies who had yet to start thinking seriously about the implications of GDPR (and the Data Protection Act 2018) seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief and went back to doing what they had been doing before (except of course for the manic flurry of marketing re-consent emails). The collective response from many organisations was relief, especially SMEs who understandably have been more vocal about lack of resources to implement GDPR compliance. From others the response has been more muted, and we have also witnessed outright scoffing from some businesses feeling vindicated in ignoring the whole thing. But this is a sleeping giant for many; those of us who work in the data privacy field worry about so many organisations willing to continue ignoring data protection law. For many, reluctance stems from the realisation that they have two



decades of catching up to do to get to even a baseline of data compliance. Business owners see this as an enormous effort of precious time and resources, on the chance that the eye of the ICO might swing their way – this appetite for risk is largely uninformed, and potentially harmful to businesses, especially in a struggling economy as we face the uncertainties of Brexit. The fact remains that data protection has had very little coverage from the authorities and few examples of holding lawbreakers to account, making the law ineffectual and toothless in the past. That is partly why data protection law has been upgraded. Enforcement will follow, eventually or swiftly, and the work required to comply with legislation will be a slow and never-ending journey for many organisations; industry isn’t static, and it cannot avoid the changing landscape of economy, technology and culture. Compliance with any piece of legislation is always an ongoing maintenance matter: consider how employment and health and safety legislation has been around for even longer in the UK, and yet we still see companies breaking these laws on a daily basis, largely through ignorance.

The ICO have been busy investigating data breaches, conducting audits, and issuing decisions, enforcement notices and fines. Non-compliance occurs across companies of every size, and there have even been some notable instances of individuals being prosecuted. Make no mistake, the ICO is showing its teeth and demonstrating their bite where it hurts. Consider how even a low level fine of a few thousand pounds, combined with an enforcement order to make business changes, and negative press could devastate a small business. The ICO regularly announce who they’re investigating and why. Take a look at their ‘Action we’ve taken’ page; the list grows weekly, and there’s a broad range of companies and breaches. Thoughtful reading for the complacent. Big names in the news (BT, Dixons Carphone, Emma’s Diary, Superdrug, the RSPCA and NHS Surrey to name a few) are the tip of a very large iceberg. Only c.13,000 (<1%) of the UK’s 5.7million registered companies are ‘large’, meaning statistically the remaining 99% are SMEs who will continue to feature as a majority in investigations, complaints and punitive action. Whilst relatively few businesses have yet had dealings with the ICO, many are unwittingly falling foul of data breaches, bringing them into the increasingly sharp focus of their customers. How many can say with certainty they know their legitimate grounds for marketing well enough to avoid spamming customers, that their IT security is fully compliant, they

can prove due diligence on all 3rd party personal data sharing, and know if they need to register as a data processor with the ICO? If any of these questions make you uncomfortable it’s time to address them, before an uncomfortable feeling becomes a breach-of-law reality. Most data breaches occur in ignorance, or through poor business behaviours and lax security measures. It’s important that organisations know how to apply the principles of data protection and privacy into their everyday operations – this means staff awareness and training is key, sponsored and driven from the top. Because, as any CEO knows, weathering a fine is one thing, but a blow to reputation can be fatal; the resulting loss of trust from customers and partners is far harder to recover from. Sphere Data Protection are a Hertfordshire consultancy who specialise in helping SMEs understand how data protection and privacy law applies in practical terms. They provide a range of services to suit all budgets – visit to find out more.

01727 375 078

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The Fielder Centre is the University of Hertfordshire’s bespoke day conference centre. A large, unique and flexible building renowned for its customer service and quality food, the Fielder Centre is proud to boast: • A large conferencing space capable of seating 220 people • Six individual breakout rooms suitable for groups of 5 – 80 people • A dedicated computer suite • Full A/V specifications in all rooms • A large dining space with seating for up to 170 people • An open Mezzanine area • Free car parking for up to 200 cars • Free Wi-Fi

Alongside our two modern campuses the Fielder Centre is available all year round and can successfully deliver a variety of conferences and events in a constantly changing business world. Please get in touch with a member of our team today to discuss your event needs. +44 (0)1707 285032




Little sign wage growth is set to take-off says BCC Commenting on the labour market figures for August 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The continued rise in employment and the drop in the unemployment rate is further confirmation that the UK’s jobs market remains in good shape, despite subdued economic conditions. “With earnings growth continuing to slow, the pace at which pay is exceeding price growth remains negligible, and is therefore unlikely to provide much respite to the financially squeezed consumer. Achieving sustained increases in wage growth remains a key challenge, with sluggish productivity, underemployment and the myriad of high upfront business costs weighing down on pay settlements. As such, there remains precious little sign that wage growth is set to take-off undermining a key assumption behind the Monetary Policy Committee’s recent decision to raise rates.



“More must be done to support firms looking to recruit and retain staff, including easing the upfront costs on business and addressing the chronic skills shortage, including through the delivery of real reform to the Apprenticeship Levy, so if works better for everyone.” Commenting on the labour productivity statistics, Suren added:“Although there was a welcome rise in productivity in the second quarter, it only offset the Q1 decline, and the longer-term trend remains weak at best. The UK’s productivity continues to be hampered by the failure to fix the fundamentals of the domestic business environment, from the growing skills shortage to the chronic underinvestment in infrastructure. There must be a greater focus on boosting growth and productivity, including doing more to incentivise business investment, and greater investment in our physical and digital infrastructure.”


UK remains on lacklustre growth trajectory despite Q2 improvement says BCC Commenting on the first estimate of GDP for Q2 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, “While there was a welcome uptick in GDP growth in the second quarter, the figures have been flattered somewhat by a very weak first quarter, and so does little to alter the UK’s lacklustre growth trajectory. Indeed, despite the Q2 improvement, UK growth in the first six months of 2018 was well below the historic average. “The higher growth in the second quarter was largely due to stronger service sector output, which helped offset a contraction in industrial output and a widening trade deficit. While there was pick-up in construction output, the improvement was from a low base, and the sector continues to add little to overall UK growth.

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in the quarter is disappointing, and reflects both a decline in goods exports and a rise in imported goods. The deterioration in the UK’s net trade position is further confirmation that we are still some way from achieving a rebalancing of our economy. “Despite growth in the second quarter, there is little in the latest data to suggest a sustained upturn in the UK’s economic growth prospects, or evidence to corroborate the MPC’s decision to raise interest rates. Against this backdrop, there must be a greater focus on lifting the UK out of its current low growth trajectory, including incentivising business investment and addressing the escalating burden of upfront costs facing UK firms.”

“The higher growth in the second quarter was largely due to stronger service sector output, which helped offset a contraction in industrial output and a widening trade deficit.” INSPIRE



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Past Events

Current Trade and Post-Brexit in the Republic of Ireland Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Barclays hosted this event. Presented by Barclays, The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Smith, our delegates discovered the current trade opportunities with the Republic of Ireland and the UK as well as what the trading landscape may look like post-Brexit.

How to navigate today's complex business networks and office politics Sarah Jones (Sarah-J-Coaching) presented this breakfast seminar at Hunton Park Hotel, helping delegates to improve their networking skills, navigate office politics and learn how to rise above difficult

July Chamber Lunch For our July Chamber Lunch, we were delighted to welcome The Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP at Shendish Manor who delivered an address covering a range of topics including the current political climate, the economy and growth both locally and nationally. 24


and challenging situations.

Past Events

Prosecco and Porsche Hosted at the spectacular Porsche Centre Hatfield, this networking event welcomed guests with a glass of fizz and wine tasting experience with Wine2trade UK.

Herts Chamber Summer Social Taking place at the home of Watford FC, Vicarage Road, in the Sir Elton John Suite, guests enjoyed excellent networking opportunities, a delicious lunch and heard from ex Watford FC player Richard Johnson, who spoke about the club its history and vision. We would also like to thank Peter Smits, Managing Director, Ashbourne Insurance for hosting our Q and A session at this event.

August Chamber Lunch At our August Chamber Lunch, Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce provided provide an overview of the economy and the current status with regard to Brexit and its impact on business. The August Chamber lunch took place in the stunning DeVere Theobalds Park. INSPIRE



Forthcoming Business Events September Chamber Lunch Date:



12:00 – 14:00


Beales Hotel, Hatfield


Members £30.00 Non-members £39.00

We are pleased to welcome this month's speakers, Stacey King, BT Regional Director, London and the South East and Javid Bhatti, BT Local Business Managing Director, who will provide an overview of the latest developments within British Telecom which will affect SMEs and the local economy. This will include an update on the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) contract.

Improve your Business Performance and the Impact of Making Tax Digital Date: Time: Venue: Price:

27/09/18 08:00 – 10:00 Aubrey Park Hotel, Redbourn Members £10.00 Non-members £15.00

Attend this event to ensure you: • Understand the latest technology and the impact of Making Tax Digital (MTD) • Acquire ways to improve your financial performance including tax efficiencies • Appreciate how business coaching can improve your commercial performance • Receive financial advice on extracting profits tax efficiently and pension/investment advice 26


All Price quotes include VAT at 20% unless otherwise stated

Join us for breakfast at the Aubrey Park Hotel in Redbourn and participate in this business seminar with Zee Razaq from Certax Accounting, plus additional speakers.

ChamberEvents For more information on any event: 01707 502180, or

Is your Privacy Notice a Liability? Date: 10/10/18 Time: 08:00 – 10:30 Venue: Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hatfield Price: Member £10.00 Non-member £15.00 Your privacy notice is not just the public face of your Data Protection activities. It is a legally binding undertaking to your data subjects. It must therefore comply fully with the law to avoid challenges that could cause reputational damage, and the smaller your business the more serious the consequences.

This workshop delivered by Michael Barwise, Business Information Risk Management Consulting. This workshop will discuss the most important common failings we have

found in current privacy notices, provide some universally applicable guidance on avoiding them and offer a standard structure for achieving compliant presentation.

Maximising your Professional Impact Date: Time: Venue: Price:

16/10/18 08:30 – 10-:30 Mercure London Watford Hotel, Watford Members £10.00 Non-members £15.00

This event is delivered by Glow Training and is designed to harness the ‘secret’ theatre skills actors use to have charisma and presence on stage and applies them in the real world to help professional people be more confident, impactful and successful in the situations they face day to day, helping you to unlock your "Glow". Glow’s mission is to provide world class communication and impact skills to those companies and individuals that need them and to charities and third sector organisations whose important messages deserve them. The sessions are fun, experiential and engaging and the skills are easy to learn and easy to apply back at work and have been embraced successfully by hundreds of clients throughout the UK and across Europe over the last 11 years. INSPIRE All Price quotes include VAT at 20% unless otherwise stated



Forthcoming Business Events October Chamber Lunch with Address by Bim Afolami MP Date: 18/10/18 Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Rothamsted Conference Centre, Harpenden Price: Member: £30.00 Non-member £39.00

For our October Chamber Lunch we are delighted to announce that Bim Afolami MP for Hitchin and Harpenden will be joining us and delivering an address on what the necessary political changes are, at both local and national levels, to improve the situation for businesses in Hertfordshire. Bim Afolami was elected Member of Parliament for

October Members Masterclass: Websites that Generate Business Date: 23/10/18 Time: 10:00 – 13:00 Venue: Ambition Broxbourne Business Centre, Hoddesdon Price: Member £10.00 Non-member £120.00 This three-hour interactive Members Masterclass, delivered by our Patrons, Focus7 International and held in partnership with Ambition Broxbourne, will enable you to understand what makes an effective website for your business. 28


All Price quotes include VAT at 20% unless otherwise stated

Hitchin and Harpenden in June 2017. Prior to this Bim spent ten years in the City, advising some of the biggest companies in the world, both British and international – first as a corporate lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, then as a Senior Executive at HSBC.

The Masterclass will include the following information: • Creating the structure and site map • Planning for SEO • Designing customer journeys • Interaction and the Customer Experience • Look and feel – dos and don’ts

• • • • • •

Building a responsive site Content, keywords and metatags Data, images and transactions E-commerce Transactions and Integrations Driving traffic - PPC and Lead Generation • Bells and whistles – standing out from the crowd

ChamberEvents For more information on any event: 01707 502180, or

November Women in Leadership Date:



12:00 – 14:00

Venue: Hunton Park Hotel, Kings Langley Price:

Members £30.00 Non-members £39.00

Novembers Women in Leadership event will be held at Hunton Park Hotel and we are delighted to announce that our speaker will be Julie New – Relationship & Life Gardener; Author and Speaker.

Julie New is an award-winning business woman. In November 2009 she was made National Winner of Enterprising Women Award for Enterprise Challenge

with businesses Changes Forever and MNC Developments and in 2010 she was awarded the National Barclays Trading Places Award for MNC Developments Ltd.

November Chamber Lunch with Address by Scott Crudgington, Chief Executive, Stevenage Borough Council Date: Time: Venue: Price:

15/11/18 12:00 – 14:00 Holiday Inn, Stevenage Members £30.00 Non-members £39.00

We are delighted to welcome our guest speaker for this event, Scott Crudgington, Chief Executive, Stevenage Borough Council, who will provide an update on the Stevenage town centre regeneration project, plus details of other local initiatives.

As a CIPFA qualified accountant Scott Crudgington joined Stevenage Borough Council in 2001, becoming the Chief Finance Officer in 2005, and being appointed as Chief Executive in 2015. He has worked in all tiers of Local Government including a London Borough and Districts. Since becoming Chief Executive two key priorities have occupied his day – the Regeneration of Stevenage town centre and the delivery of new social housing. On top of this he has recently established a multimillion-pound investment

programme into the town’s neighbourhoods. Scott recently coled the successful government bid for Hertfordshire on the One Public Estate programme which aims to integrate public services that will improve the customer offer and release efficiencies. INSPIRE

All Price quotes include VAT at 20% unless otherwise stated



Hunton Park Hotel to host Secret Garden Party to launch New Garden Marquee The Mercure London North Watford Hunton Park Hotel is hosting a Secret Garden Party on Thursday 13th September, to celebrate the launch of their new Garden Marquee, one of the largest event spaces within 20 miles of Central London. Guests can drop in anytime between 3pm and 9pm and immerse in the secret garden theme. Wander amongst the woodland creatures, play garden games and enjoy tasty canapes, sweet treats, spectacular desserts, garden themed cocktails and soft drinks, and entertainment from a magician, acoustic duo and DJ, with a goody bag for everyone to take home. The event will showcase the hotel’s stunning setting within 22 acres of Hertfordshire countryside and will take place in and around the new Garden Marquee which can accommodate 500 guests for a seated banquet and up to 700 guests theatre style. The grand marquee, complete with spacious entrance hall, has a unique curved structure, one of only five of its kind in Europe.



It is beautifully decorated with a suspended hardwood floor, elegant pleated ivory lining on the walls, an ivory LED star cloth ceiling canopy and 14 twinkling chandeliers. Stewart Graham, General Manager said, “We are excited to be opening our stunning new Garden Marquee, which is a permanent structure, and invite everyone of corporate and social spheres to come and join us in celebrating. This fantastic event space will be ideal for dry hire weddings, conferences, product launches, exhibitions, team building and so much more, all year round.” For those wishing to attend from London, there will be a complimentary transfer service available from and to Watford Junction train station for the duration of the event and plenty of complimentary onsite parking.

From London Euston, the journey to Hunton Park will be approximately 30 minutes.

For further information on Hunton Park Hotel please visit

If you would like to attend then please pre-register for free at ton-parks-secret-garden-partyregistration-49185187219

For further Countrywide Hotels media information and images please contact Jo Di-Carlo,

Mercure London North Watford Hunton Park Hotel is part of the Accor Hotels Mercure brand portfolio and is managed by Countrywide Hotels. The hotel is in Kings Langley, near Watford, 15 minutes by train from Central London and just off the M1 and M25. It has 61 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar, indoor swimming pool, 18-hole pitch and putt course, croquet lawn and 22 events spaces including the beautiful Orangery, Terrace Marquee and new Garden Marquee.

Marketing & PR +44 (0) 7810 652 030


Mercure London Watford Hotel Unveils Newly Refurbished Halliwell Event Suite The 4* Mercure London Watford Hotel has unveiled the newly refurbished Halliwell Suite, a glamorous and locally inspired new look events space, ideal for celebrating special occasions such as birthdays, weddings and our Glistening White Christmas parties for 2018.

The suite, which holds up to 200 guests for an event, features its own private entrance, a fullyserviced bar, a large dance floor and air conditioning. The Mercure London Watford Hotel is situated near to Watford city centre and is an ideal base to explore St Albans, Hertfordshire or the nearby Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Getting to the hotel could not be easier with great transport links to motorways such as the M1, M25 & M40 and airports all within 20 miles. There is also access into London with Watford Junction Station within 2 miles. The hotel boasts 218 contemporary bedrooms, a stylish Bar & Brasserie offering a stylish modern cuisine and a Feel Good Health Club featuring a heated indoor swimming pool and spa facilities.

Whilst in your room, relax by watching TV whilst using the complimentary tea and coffee facilities or browse online with our complimentary Wi-Fi. For more luxury why not upgrade to our privilege rooms where you can relax in our robe and slippers whilst reading the latest news. As the perfect Watford venue for meetings and conferences, we offer so much more than just conveniently located hotel meeting rooms, including complimentary high speed Wi-Fi and AV equipment. We have 12 meeting rooms for groups of all sizes, parking for 350 cars and a range of menus for your conference lunch. With Day Delegate rates starting from ÂŁ35.00 per person we can include everything you need to host the perfect meeting.

To find out more please contact our conference and events team on 0208 702 0012 or email

Do you need to book a new venue in Hertfordshire? Make sure you follow us on Twitter: @HertsCVenues Other conference venues in Hertfordshire interested in the Hertfordshire Chamber Venues website please contact Nick Fox at or visit the website



New Members

Welcome to new members 1st Line Defence

Corona Energy

North Mymms Park

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company

Energy Supplier 07806 553 885 Edward Hyde House, ED17 1JW

Exclusive Conference, wedding and events Venue NorthMymmsNews 01707 629777 Off Tollgate Road, AL9 7TR

Access Financial Services Financial Services 0800 999 3939 111 Marlowes, Suite 616, Devonshire Business Centre, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1BB

Blanco UK Limited Sale & Distribution of high quality Kitchen equipment 01923 635200 1 Victor Way, Colney Street, St. Albans, AL2 2FL

Ceema Technology Limited Dedicated in-house Mechanical & Electrical Design and Assembly Capabilities CeemaTech 07584 916972 4 The Omega Centre, Stratton Business Park, Biggleswade, SG18 8QB

Change & Co Expert in behavioural change & change management for organisations, teams & individuals ChangeandCo 07788 916973 The Chase, 38 London Road, Berkhamsted



Hertfordshire Community Foundation Grant making Charity in Hertfordshire to support community & local people in need 01707 251351 2-4 Forum Place, Fiddlebridge Lane, Hatfield, AL10 0RN

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Silver JK Limited Haulage Services 07494 186846 93 Franklin Court, Brook Road, Borehamwood

Support UK Ltd Communications SupportUKBCS 0845 058 0330 Devonshire Business Centre, Works Road, SG6 1GJ

Herts LEP work with private and public sector partners to accelerate hertfordshire's economic growth HertsLEP 01707 358744 The Innovation Centre, BioPark, Broadwater Road, AL7 3AX

Local Authority - supporting Business in Watford 01923 226400 Town Hall, Hempstead Road, WD17 3EX

LAH Property Marketing Ltd

Willmott Dixon Construction

Placing property staff into vacant buildings 01442 257273 The Maylands Building, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7TG

Main contractor in construction for public & private sectors nationally WillmottDixon 01462 442200 Willmott Dixon House, 80 Wilbury Way, SG4 0TP

Watford Borough Council

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Chamber News Members Benefit Trans Awareness Black Tie Event The inaugural Black Tie Dinner for Synestra’s Community Interest Company is to be held on 27th September. Hosted by Amanda De Courcy founder of Synestra’s CIC – Herts County Council, the NHS, and various charities who support the transgender community, this unique dinner aims to raise much needed funds to support members of the transgender community. There will also be the opportunity to showcase the amazing work of Gender Intelligence, Stonewall, and Mermaids. These are three prominent charities that are there for both adults and children. Their tireless efforts are helping to reduce the staggeringly upsetting numbers you see when reading about suicide within this community. Currently, that suicide rate stands at 41%, with over 60% of trans people having attempted suicide at some point. Though awareness of trans issues is growing across the county, few of us can truly appreciate the gravity of the everyday difficulties trans people face in our society. Amanda’s daughter Synestra died in 2015 aged just 23. Transition Denied, a new book released in May manages to be at once unique - telling the story of Synestra, a trans girl who lived an exciting, individual life and sadly paid the ultimate price – and yet sadly familiar, as it tells how Syn encountered the same ugly obstacles familiar to every trans person in the UK. Copies of Transition Denied will be on sale on the evening, signed by both the author, Jane Fae, and Amanda. Hertfordshire is a trailblazer in terms of enhancing services for the trans community, and we want to spread the word; help and support is out there, but it’s not always easy to find. And of course, like everything, it costs money. But what price do you put on saving a life? On 27th September please come and meet some of the wonderful people who do exactly that. black-tie-trans-awareness-eventtickets-46062402887



Accountant celebrates 50 years with local firm Accountant, Keith Middleton, reached a significant milestone in his career on 19 August as he celebrated 50 years’ service with George Hay Chartered Accountants. Keith joined George Hay in August 1968 and was a partner in the firm from 1997-2017. In 2017 he stepped down to take on a consultancy role within the practice. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Letchworth office in 1982, where he is still based now, and where he has built many longstanding client relationships over the years. He is well-respected locally and has earned a great reputation, providing tailored advice to a wide variety of businesses, especially family owned companies and new start-ups. Keith also specialises in advising businesses in the leisure industry, including hotels and the licenced trade.

“I am delighted to be celebrating my 50th anniversary at George Hay. The past five decades have been extremely enjoyable, and I feel incredibly proud to have played such an active role in the firm’s expansion” said Keith. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with many individuals over the years who have become friends as well as clients, which is testament to the personal service we provide at George Hay.” “Advising businesses and supporting them with their growth and development has been very rewarding. In several cases, I’ve worked alongside more than one generation in a family run business and I consider myself to have been very fortunate to be in that position of trust.”

Nick Willis, Senior Partner at George Hay said, “In his 50 years with the firm, Keith has been instrumental in the development of the practice and our Letchworth office would not be what it is today without him.” “We would like to thank Keith for all his hard work over the years and congratulate him on such a fantastic achievement.” George Hay – which has offices in Biggleswade, Letchworth and Huntingdon – provides accountancy and taxation services to a wide range of businesses and individuals. Find out more about George Hay by visiting their website:

Twelve point HR review for FREE All I ask for is your time can you assist? Aimed specifically at SME’s I am in the final stages of developing an HR Review that looks at twelve key HR functions and reviews an organisations approach to and good practice principles in each of these areas. The completed review will determine if HR is delivering the value the business requires and if not, identify and recommend improvements that can be made. Before I market the review commercially, I want to complete final "on site" tests. To that end I am looking for two or three medium sized organisations either with or without an HR function, headcount between 50 and 300 employees in the

Hertfordshire area, who are prepared to work with me, "face to face" in completing the final development phase of this project. For "you” there is the opportunity to have undertaken free of charge, a comprehensive review of your HR practices and procedures. Following the review meeting you will receive written recommendations on each of the twelve areas that I will present to you or your senior team as you wish. For "me" I get to fine tune the review "on the job" before I launch it commercially. In terms of value, once I start to market this I am looking at a cost of between £2,000 and £3,000

per review so a free review represents exceptionally good value. If you think you may be able to assist me, or want to know more about the review before deciding, please contact me on or 07841 211771.

24 Hours with ...

A life on the road that drives company’s growth Being the co-owner of a fast growing business often requires long working days and that is certainly the case with Mustaq Chandia. Mustaq is one of two directors of Network Integrity Services (NIS) Ltd, an expanding IT solutions specialist supporting small to medium size businesses, where his job means that he is on the road a lot of the time. Although some of the company’s growth comes organically, there is a strong focus on acquisitions, something that takes up a lot of the time that Mustaq spends travelling on business. He said: “I do work long hours but not necessarily because I need to. We employ an effective management team who are empowered to deliver to their business plan and look after the day to day running of the company but I do enjoy working with some fantastic talent within our business who are smarter than me!” “My days can be pretty varied and I meet some fascinating owners with varied approaches to growing businesses. I can be away about a hundred nights in a year, either visiting clients, our regional managers, or putting together acquisitions which can be a long-term process.” “As well as acquisition, we are focused on the delivery of innovative solutions to move our customers forward.”

“We know that the work is out there and that a lot of businesses are buoyant, even though they are cautious about what happens next year when Brexit comes in, but a much larger concern for us is the shortage of skills.”

“You can grow a business in our sector without acquisitions, which we do already. However, the growth is moderate because SME-type businesses tend to stay with the same suppliers over the longer term for many reasons.” “That means that we cannot really achieve the accelerated growth that our strategy demands so we are constantly seeking opportunities, either identifying companies for acquisition ourselves or being approached

by businesses that wish to enter into a merger or be taken over, therefore supporting owners to deliver their dreams.” “Sometimes, I can be at a seminar or similar event and I can be approached by a company seeking to be taken over or who wish to enter into a merger. It generally comes down to understanding each other’s wants and needs.” “If I am not working at home, I am travelling and I am often working from six or seven in the morning. I regard sleep as a waste of time and can still be working well into the evening, but it is something I enjoy.” However, growth comes with challenges, not least in the field of recruitment and the skills shortage that is concerning business people in so many sectors. Mustaq said: “We are a rapidly growing business but one of the challenges for us is a lack of resources.” “We know that the work is out there and that a lot of businesses are buoyant, even though they are cautious about what happens next year when Brexit comes in, but a much larger concern for us is the shortage of skills.” “We advertise all the time, using specialists agency services, but finding the people with the depth of skills that help our customers move forward is an on-going battle, and a UK wide challenge within our industry.” “One of our big focuses at the moment is to look after our staff and provide good packages including for example, health plans and improved pensions in order to attract skilled people, whilst rewarding commitment and achievement.”



Don’t take a chance with your healthcare 1983, the year Spire Harpenden Hospital opened it’s doors. It’s been 35 years and we remain the experts in private healthcare. With appointments available within 48 hours, specialist consultants, fixed prices and a team of experts to look after you, it’s no wonder that we have had thousands of satisfied patients. Spire Harpenden Hospital covers a wide range of services including orthopaedic surgery, physiotherapy, urology, men and women’s health and diagnostic imaging including X-Ray, MRI, and CT. You can choose to use your medical insurance or self-pay for your treatment.

01582 787 005 ‘Spire Harpenden 35 years’

Health & Wellbeing

Survey shows we are still ‘in the dark’ over common conditions One of the advantages of increasing health Results of a new survey carried out for The Urology Foundation (TUF), has revealed that 70% of people in the UK do not know from which age a man should be tested for prostate cancer and that only one in five men aged 18-24 have checked their testicles for lumps in the last year! Now, as part of Urology Awareness Month, which runs throughout September, TUF is hoping to increasing knowledge and awareness about various conditions while also focusing on prevention, treatment and management. The Foundation estimates that, when you include common urinary tract infections, as many as 50% of people will be affected by a urology condition at some time in their lives. Yet the stigma surrounding things such as incontinence, erectile dysfunction or changes to the testicles, are still preventing sufferers from seeking early treatment. A Foundation spokesman said: “Seven people in the UK every hour are diagnosed with a urological cancer.

“Prostate cancer is the most well-known urological cancer yet research shows that two thirds of Britons do not know what a prostate does and that 70% do not know from what age a man should be tested. On top of this, only a third of people questioned even knew that prostates are covered by urology.” Mr Asher Alam, a Consultant Urologist at Spire Harpenden Hospital added: “Cancers such as prostate, bladder, kidney, testicular and penile can all be killers – but equally they can all be successfully treated if diagnosed early enough. “However, common conditions such as incontinence or urinary tract infections can also have a negative impact on quality of life and even mental health

runs throughout September so it is important not to suffer in silence. Don’t be embarrassed to seek medical help – visit your GP and get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.” Signs to look out for include lumps and bumps, painful and uncomfortable swellings, aches in the groin or lower back, blood in pee or even changes to your sexual ‘performance’ figures from TUF survey show that almost half of Brits have been prevented from having sex because of urological problems. “Keeping a lookout for these tell-tale signs as well as regular self-examination looking for lumps or similar changes to testicles and penis can be life-savers,” said Mr Alam.

“The more people become aware of the symptoms the more confident they will be to seek help if they spot any of them. Early action really does make a difference when it comes to successful treatments.” For more information about The Urology Foundation or to see the survey results in full visit Mr Asher Alam is a Consultant Urologist at Spire Harpenden Hospital specialising in problems of the prostate, renal stones and urinary infections. To book an appointment with any of our urologists, please enquire on our website



Health & Wellbeing

Coping with an older workforce One of the advantages of increasing health in the community is the fact that many people work until they are at, or beyond, retirement age. A new survey shows that employers value the differing skillsets and knowledge that a multi-generational workforce can bring, but many worry that with this comes the increased potential for conflict in the workplace, a new survey has found. The YouGov survey of middle market businesses commissioned by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM found that seven in ten (72%) of firms in the Midlands and East Anglia said that an age diverse workforce helped

the company to have a more comprehensive skillset and knowledge base. Almost eight in ten (77%) felt that a multi-generational workforce brought contrasting views to their organisation. However, four in ten companies (38%) said that a multi-generational workforce also increased the risk of conflict in the workplace. The survey also found that managers tend to find managing their own

generations easier than managing others. The results are likely to be replicated in other parts of the UK and Emily Robinson, a senior consultant from RSM HR, said: “Having five generations under one roof doesn’t have to create friction or management headaches. “As our survey found, many organisations value the diversity of opinions, experience and knowledge that a multi-generational workforce can bring. But taking advantage of

those benefits will depend on the ability of organisations to create a culture where everyone feels heard, valued and understood.” RSM has published a new report called New Forces at Work which advises employers to consider new approaches to people management and incentivisation.

Practical steps include: Work out your age profile Carry out a workforce audit to get a clear picture of the age profile of employees to ensure that those at the top can understand why the company’s approach to people management may need to change.

Our Hertfordshire private medical Clinic

Create an inclusive culture Those at the top of the organisation need to lead by example to create an inclusive and dynamic culture. Go beyond stereotypes Don’t rely on stereotypes about baby boomers and millennials to inform your strategy. The only way you'll find out what your workforce wants is to ask them. Organisations need to run regular employee engagement surveys to understand what people think about your organisation and what will motivate them to do a good job. Find similarities, celebrate differences Stagnant wage growth and rising living costs have toppled the long-held belief that each generation should have a better life than the one that came before.

Don’t wait for a diagnosis or to see a Consultant. Appointments across a wide range of health conditions and same day scans Pay monthly with 0% credit or use medical insurance We can help you access the care you need – whether you choose private or to continue with NHS care We’re open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends 5 minutes from Junction 8 M1 10 minutes from Junction 21 M25 Free parking



Your care starts here 01442 331 900 Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7YU

As a result, cross generational tensions have begun to rise. Consider ways to strengthen inter-generational relationships, for example, by setting up reverse mentoring to allow younger generations to share their ideas and perspectives with older employees. Watch out for age discrimination With an ageing workforce, the potential for age discrimination claims can increase. To protect your organisation, you must make sure your policies, procedures and practices don't help one generation while alienating others.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR NUMBERS? Would you like us to visit your office? We measure your weight, body fat percentage, muscle mass, water mass and BMI to estimate an overall health age for you. We also arrange a fitness professional to advise on how to achieve your personal fitness goals and stay as healthy and active as possible.

Visit corporatemembership to book your free health assessment or find out more information.



Members News

New look for Trinity Wealth Management The last few months have been exciting for Chamber Member Trinity Wealth Management Ltd. The Financial Planning company, based in St Albans, launched the new look of their brand on the 24th May this year at an evening with clients and business partners. The evening, held at Old Albanian Rugby Club, was a reflection of Trinity’s focus on building long lasting relationships with their clients with over 100 joining Directors Jon Cobb and Graham Cleveland and their team to celebrate this milestone. The new Mayor of St Albans Cllr Rosemary Farmer was in

attendance, having been sworn into office just the evening before. Having had the same logo and brand look for over 17 years since the inception of the company, a change was overdue. Working with Igloo Creative Ltd, Trinity wanted a new logo that would reflect their existing business of providing Financial Planning Advice and Investment Management for high net worth clients, but also to look to the future where providing portfolio choices with an ethical and sustainable impact are a growing

option being offered to clients. Trinity are delighted with the new logo and website, both of which received an overwhelmingly positive response from clients. A week after the launch, the team were celebrating again when they were nominated as finalist in three categories of the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards; Community Champion, Business of the Year South Herts and Business of the Year West Herts, an award they were delighted to win. The judges said of Trinity,

“This is an established business with a clear direction on where they want to grow the business. Judges commented on the amazing integrity and ethos demonstrated, with core values that the company adheres to”. Director Jon Cobb said “We have always put our core values at the center of the business and refused to compromise even when business has been tough so have this recognized in this way means a great deal to Graham and myself”

Hertfordshire Executive MBA secures AMBA reaccreditation The University of Hertfordshire’s Executive MBA programme has received re-accreditation from the Association of MBA’s (AMBA).

New appointment for WMT Victoria Nicoll has joined WMT Chartered Accountants as Corporate Tax Director. Victoria will work with companies and owner-managers to achieve the best tax outcomes available for their business and their personal wealth. Bringing a wealth of experience gained from working with a Big 4 practice and notable regional firm, Price Bailey, Victoria tackles corporate tax challenges from three angles, and will work with businesses to set an overall tax strategy and plan for changes such as succession and exit; making sure transactions - such as business sales or acquisitions - are as taxefficient as possible; and maximises the benefits available to companies, such as research and development credits. Victoria joins the firm at an exciting time as it has recently opened a London office and moved its St Albans headquarters to new offices at Verulam Point, next to the City train station.



Hertfordshire Business School’s flagship programme’s commitment to quality has been internationally recognised with this reaccreditation. AMBA, the body responsible for accrediting MBA programmes, celebrated its 50th birthday last year. This prestigious organisation has accredited only the top 2% of business schools across 70 countries, with the Hertfordshire Executive MBA sitting amongst them. As well as the inherent benefits of studying on a world class programme, recognised for its quality and impact, students also have the chance to network with MBA students, graduates and businesses across the globe through AMBA membership. Professor Damian Ward, Dean of Hertfordshire Business School, said: “It’s over 30 years since the University of Hertfordshire launched its Hertfordshire Executive MBA and it is fantastic news that we have secured the AMBA reaccreditation for our programme.

Our MBA students and alumni come from a wide range of industries and have gone on to lead successful careers in their respected fields and with the AMBA accreditation, our future students will continue to reap the benefits of their prestigious qualification.” The Hertfordshire Executive MBA is a part time course designed to fit around students’ busy professional and personal lives; it runs over two and half years and is taught on weekends. Isaac Moyo, NHS Operations Manager and previous Hertfordshire Executive MBA student, said: “The Hertfordshire Executive MBA has the prestigious AMBA accreditation and is one of only seven MBAs endorsed by the NHS Leadership Academy. Therefore, I'm assured that I'm getting the highest standard of globally-recognised learning. The weekend lectures allow flexibility in my work-life-study balance, and they are delivered by a variety of outstanding tutors and visiting speakers who have broad industry experience.”

For more information about the Hertfordshire Executive MBA, to enroll onto the course, or to attend the next MBA Information Evening email the MBA coordinator Jordan Parker on

Members News

Rapunzel, Rapunzel – Shaved off her Hair!

Micro SMEs

Claire Austin was born and bred in Stevenage and for the past 20 years has run the family funeral business which was established in Stevenage more than 300 years ago.

– the forgotten tribe, especially with GDPR and Cyber Essentials

As a family company, they are very community focussed and are keen to support local charities and causes. Claire has personally taken part in a number of fundraising events including charity work in India and Vietnam and in 2014 ran the London Marathon in aid of our local hospice. This year, Claire decided to shave her head to raise funds for the Stevenage Community Trust. The Trust was established in 1990 and provides funding and support to charitable organisations and individuals in Stevenage and the surrounding villages.

One to four staff with usually a low budget…yes, packages and rules and budgets are not your friend.

The ’big shave’ took place on Saturday at the Austin’s Fairytale themed, Family Fun Day. This is an event held every year at Claire’s home for Austin’s staff and their families. Claire was dressed

as Rapunzel and during the afternoon had her head shaved in front of 150 guests. The deed was carried out by hairdresser, Jo Gates, who went to Barclay School with Claire. Pictures courtesy of Karyn Haddon/The Comet

To date Claire has raised over £7,500 but donations can still be made at Alternatively, cheques can be made payable to The Stevenage Community Trust and sent to me at Austin’s.

Longmores Charitable Foundation awards CHIPS with a grant for £3,167 The Longmores Charitable Foundation has awarded CHIPS (Children’s Integrated Playschemes) with a grant of £3,167 to help fund their summer playschemes. Longmores Solicitors set up their charitable foundation in 2016 to help worthy local causes; particularly smaller and less well-known causes that are often in greater need of financial support than many of the established national charities. Trustees selected CHIPS to receive a grant because they share a goal to help young people in the local area – without donations, CHIPS would not be able to provide playschemes to local children. The CHIPS playschemes offer play and social opportunities for children with additional needs aged three to 19 living in East Hertfordshire and the borough of Broxbourne. Longmores presented a cheque to CHIPS during a playscheme at Hertford St Andrew primary school on Calton Avenue. Helen Smith, CHIPS Co-ordinator, who oversees the playschemes said “We think it is important to offer a variety of activities for children of all ages. We like the

Children and staff at the playscheme, Rachael Spalton, Trustee of the Longmores Charitable Foundation and Helen Smith, CHIPS Co-ordinator.

younger children to enjoy playing and have a mixture of activities set up each day so they can pick what they want to do”. Rachael Spalton, a Trustee of the Longmores Charitable Foundation, who presented the cheque, said,

“It is a pleasure to see the grant being used, to meet the children and see them all having fun together. The Foundation is delighted to be able to provide support for the wide range of activities offered by CHIPS this summer.”

A large number of people think that new laws and regulations can be sorted just like that, but often there is a reasonably large budget needed and trained resources as well. We have a customer in the travel world that has 400 micro SMEs that buy packages from him. He is undergoing IASME Governance (Cyber Essentials and GDPR) but he wants his customers (Micro SMEs) to have a much higher level of cyber awareness and security to protect HIS business and them, as his customers. If you are a MICRO SME then I suspect you have now or will get pressure to “up your game” or lose contracts. I know some large “buyers” have said as much to their supply chain and that in the New Year if they haven’t obtained Cyber Essentials then it’s goodbye. Government contracts and many, if not most, bids now require Cyber Essentials by default. Another benefit of having Cyber Essentials (and hopefully IASME Governance and maybe Cyber Essentials PLUS) is that you will have increased your security with a number of simple steps combined together. Really – just simple steps that you will not have considered. I presented to 150 care workers who are based at home. I mentioned about 8 or 10 simple security measures that they could all do at home with no cost. The feedback from the audience showed that these had not been considered. I was thrilled to have increased their Cyber Security significantly with those simple steps. So what is the solution? A specially designed package enabling you to obtain Cyber Essentials, professional help and guidance ,an official certificate and listed on the public facing National Cyber Security Centre’s database for all your clients and suppliers to see. CRIBB have developed a comprehensive and low cost package for you to achieve Cyber Essentials, increase security and become educated on GDPR. IASME, and other bodies, believe this is absolutely the correct thing to do. So……………………you can do something after all. REF: By W R Osborne. CRIBB Cyber Security



Celebrate Christmas at Rothamsted Manor Contact us now for details and availability of our MAGICAL ROTHAMSTED CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE 01582 938500

Rothamsted Manor, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2BG


We can offer you 3 different day delegate rates to suit your needs, along with a team of highly experienced hosts, a fantastic campus setting located with excellent transport links. GET IN TOUCH NOW TO DISCUSS YOUR EVENT NEEDS Tel: 01582 938500 Email:

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Why it’s good to talk in the campaign to feed the world As the planet faces up to the numerous problems brought about by climate change, much of the onus for finding solutions falls on the shoulders of scientists.

However, in order for them to solve problems including warming temperatures and the resulting food shortages, they are going to have to work together like never before. That is the message from Nicole Sadd, the recentlyappointed Executive Director at the Harpenden-based Rothamsted Centre of Research and Enterprise (RoCRE). Driving the research being done is the need to feed a growing world population in a more sustainable manner. Projects being supported by RoCRE include those to deliver new technologies that raise the productivity of crops and livestock, ways to tackle weed, disease and insect resistance to agrochemicals and techniques to improve soil health and reduce agriculture’s carbon and nutrient footprint. Nicole, who moved from Oaklands College, believes that her key role is creating the conditions in which exchanging views and building co-operations is encouraged.

On offer is office and laboratory space, and shared work environments for new and existing businesses as well as a purpose-built Conference Centre, providing the perfect environment to host a range of events, and the recently-launched The Manor, a Grade 1 listed building for the community to hire for special occasions and corporate events. However, for Nicole, the importance of such innovations goes beyond bricks and mortar. She said: “We offer office and laboratory space but the really important thing we do is bridge the gap between scientists and businesses. “There is also huge crossover between the sciences and we want to find ways of bringing scientists from different

disciplines, backgrounds and organisations, together. “It does not need to be a conference, it could be something much more informal like a coffee morning or a chat. “The main aim of what we do is bringing about knowledge transfer. If you always work with the same people, it is less likely that you will spark innovation. Bringing people from different sciences together can provide that spark. “We work hard to bring scientists from different backgrounds together, from those working for SMEs to those with research groups. We are bringing together people involved in everything from crop breeding to mathematical modelling, from fertiliser design to pest management.”

“The main aim of what we do is bringing about knowledge transfer. If you always work with the same people, it is less likely that you will spark innovation. Bringing people from different sciences together can provide that spark.”

Nicole is also keen to take advantage of the links with the Green Triangle, which aims to raise the profile of the area as a world-renowned centre of excellence in green technology. The Green Triangle is a partnership organisation based around three world-leading research institutes focused on and committed to supporting the growth and acceleration of green industries. Through the collaboration of BRE, Rothamsted Research, The University of Hertfordshire and with the support of St Albans City and District Council and Oaklands College, The Green Triangle aims to establish Hertfordshire as a globally renowned centre of excellence in green technology. Nicole said: “I think people are behind this. They look at the long hot spell we had this summer and they remember when we ran out of courgettes last year and they think ‘this could be our world from now on.’” You can find out more at




Behind every successful growing business is a strong strategy For businesses facing ever fiercer competition, the difference between stand-out and mediocrity is simple: those that excel have a strategic plan for growth. This helps them direct their time and resources to the vital things that matter. It’s how they stay one step ahead of the game and, more importantly, the competition.

As a top 20 accounting and business advisory firm, we at Kingston Smith combine expert knowledge, technological knowhow and commercial nous. But what counts most is our experience – we take what we learn from one client and bring it to another. Way forward Business owners and managers like you – ambitious, talented and hardworking – come to us because we listen, question and get to

know your business. Then we give you the right advice for your specific business, whether start-up or established. It’s this approach that sets us apart from the crowd. We help you focus on what you’re trying to achieve in terms of growth, profitability and efficiency. Next we guide you through creating your business plan, making sure it’s realistic, specific, trackable and functional. Game plan Know who your customers are and what they want. Identify your prospective customers and why they are currently buying from your competitors. Ensure your business

proposition is genuinely attractive and that you are marketing it effectively and profitably. Evaluate your market environment and how are you performing against your objectives. Analyse trends and changes in consumer behaviour in your marketplace. Investigate the state of competition in your industry and what your competitors are up to. Be clear about what makes you stand out. Excellent results Take stock of your resources and processes. You need the right people and financing to support your processes.

And you need the right processes to implement your plan successfully. We steer you along a systematic and disciplined course to align, communicate and execute your business strategy. This ensures all your people are pulling in the same direction, tactically as well as operationally. Could your business benefit from strategic growth advice? Get in touch for a no-obligation chat. Nick Winters is a partner at Kingston Smith’s St Alban’s office. 01727 896005

Take your business journey with us

As a leading rm of chartered accountants and business advisers we offer commercially savvy solutions to entrepreneurial and owner-managed businesses based on your needs and aspirations, supporting you through all stages of your business lifecycle.

Kingston Smith LLP, 4 Victoria Square, St Albans, AL1 3TF T: 01727 896 000 E:



Contact us today to nd out how we can help you achieve your business ambitions.


Barclays partners with fintech firm to tackle SME cash flow problems Barclays is partnering with leading fintech business MarketInvoice in a deal that is set to transform the way small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in areas including Hertfordshire manage cash flow and accelerate growth. The bank has committed to a significant minority stake in the firm, Europe’s largest online invoice financing platform, to give Barclays’ SME clients access to finance. Founded in 2011, MarketInvoice has funded invoices worth more than £2.7 billion, increasing cash flow for thousands of UK businesses. Barclays is the first high street bank to enter into a strategic partnership with the company, giving their customer base access to its proprietary single invoice finance product as well as broader digital invoice finance facilities. The terms of an invoice normally dictate a long payment period that can be up to 120 days, leaving businesses with a cash flow gap in the interim. With invoice financing, SMEs who sell goods or services to other businesses can upload or sync their invoices to MarketInvoice’s platform and sell them to investors, unlocking fast access to funding. The proposition will be introduced to Barclays’ SME clients over the coming months in areas

including Hertfordshire, the East Midlands, West Midlands and North West London with a full roll-out set to commence nationwide in 2019. Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice CEO, said: “It’s exciting to be combining the knowledge and footprint of a 325-year old British banking institution with MarketInvoice’s tech-led online finance solutions. “Bringing this together in a strategic partnership can only mean good news for UK businesses, with the segment we’re targeting responsible for upwards of 60% of UK employment. “Barclays has a long history of innovation, having been the first bank to introduce the credit card and the ATM. It makes total sense to partner and introduce our online business finance solutions for their large customer base. “It’s easy to forget that the companies you see on the FTSE 100 all started as small businesses with founders following a passion. In focusing on the needs of these entrepreneurs through this

collaboration, Barclays and MarketInvoice will truly transform the experience of UK companies in sourcing finance.” Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Bank, said: "Invoice finance is a product that has come of age in the digital era. It’s efficient, effective and controllable for small businesses. “A number of our clients told us that they feel pressured into offering longer payment terms in order to stay competitive. This ties up their cash flow, preventing them from seizing growth opportunities. “Invoice financing gives small businesses the power to obtain funding in a fast and innovative way and capitalise on those moments. Our corporate bank already offers invoice financing to large businesses, so it’s great news that we’re able to extend the proposition to work for our SME clients as well.” Barclays also recently launched £100,000 unsecured lending for SMEs, doubling its maximum for unsecured business loans.

Getting a grip on cash flow is the key to SME success New research from American Express reveals that poor cash flow is preventing many of the UK’s small businesses from reaching their potential. Forty six per cent of senior decision makers admitted that the challenges are distracting them from growth related activities like product development and marketing. One in five (18%) say keeping on top of financial commitments is taking their focus off chasing down new business opportunities. The research shows that not having a proper system in place to manage money flowing in and out of their business is leading small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to rely on short-term financial fixes. A quarter (26%) of SMEs are using a bank overdraft to help them manage their cash flow, while 12% are looking to

business loans in order to meet financial commitments, which may not always be the most financially suitable tools at their disposal. Challenges with fulfilling financial obligations can have an impact on supply chain relationships as well. A third (30%) of SMEs who have missed a payment deadline have had a supplier withhold goods or services and 28% have had their relationship tested with a supplier they depend on. Missing payments can also cause costs to add up for SMEs, with 35% having to pay a fee for doing so. Despite money matters causing unnecessary worry

for small business leaders, with these concerns keeping a quarter (25%) awake at night and a similar (24%) number experiencing symptoms of stress, only half (54%) use an accountant or financial advisor to help them take back control of cash flow. Carlos Carriedo, Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Services at American Express, said: “Breaking the cycle of late payments should remain a priority for SMEs to avoid problems being passed down the supply chain. They should definitely explore the full range of financial support and tools at their disposal to crack the cash flow conundrum.”





inc VAT

L U TO N H O O PA RT Y N I GH T S ADD A TOUCH OF LUXURY TO YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY Start the night with a glass of Champagne followed by a three-course dinner chosen from our special party night menu including coffee and mince pies. Guests can then dance the night away or just relax and enjoy the party until the early hours.



Friday 30th November | Saturday 1st | Friday 7th | Saturday 8th | Thursday 13th | Friday 14th | Saturday 15th Friday 21st | Saturday 22nd December

Book a night’s stay when joining us for our Christmas Parties and we will extend a preferential accommodation rate of just £175 per room per night. Breakfast included.

01582 69 88 89 | |


Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa, The Mansion House, Nr. Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 3TQ





Hertfordshire businesses Plenty of company owners recognise the value of a staff party and now is the time to select the venue for your event before it gets booked up because Hertfordshire's pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels are very popular. But why have a party anyway? Surely, in turbulent times it’s an unnecessary expense? Well, no, exactly the opposite, in fact. A good Christmas Party can do wonders for staff morale and getting the festivities right is not difficult in an area like Hertfordshire which is blessed with excellent venues that can stage the best parties possible plus taxi companies like Herts Executive that can take you home or hotels and guest houses should you decide to spend the night. Selecting the best venue is crucial but how do you get it right? Well, much of it is down to first impressions - do you like the décor, does it look like it can generate a good atmosphere, are the staff friendly? Also ask yourself is the ambience right for all your people? Some staff members might not appreciate busy bars and pubs, whilst others might not want a restaurant. If you want to try something a little different this year, themed parties can work really well and Hertfordshire has plenty of companies skilled in making the magic happen. If you do decide to experiment, bringing in a specialist company to help you plan and work with the venue to get the décor right makes a lot of sense. Everything from Thirties America to space-age celebrations is possible but to pull it off successfully you may need expert help.

Also, remember that people like to be appreciated. Maybe your staff and suppliers have gone over and beyond what was expected of them to help the business. Maybe they have played a key role in helping you survive and thrive this year. A good boss knows that it makes sense to acknowledge their contribution at the Christmas party. Maybe a tribute in a short speech would go down well or a thank you note on place settings would be a good idea. But be warned. Yes times, have been tough for some, yes, budgets have been tight, but a cheap party still looks cheap and reflects poorly on the business so if you are a boss who is determined to hold an event, loosen the purse-strings a little your staff will appreciate the gesture. If you are planning a Christmas event take a look at some of Hertfordshire's venues, who can add that festive sparkle.

need to invest in

Christmas Millions of small businesses are missing out on interest on their business savings, Amid all the uncertainty in the world, one thing is certain. It will soon be Christmas and many businesses across Hertfordshire are already planning their festive celebrations.

2 018 Luton Hoo Hotel a most opulent affair With glistening chandeliers and sumptuous food in stunning surroundings, festive dining at Luton Hoo Hotel is the most opulent affair. The elegant Wernher restaurant, ornate lounges and stunning private dining rooms in the 18th century Mansion House creates a magical backdrop to all festive celebrations; whilst Adam’s Brasserie in the Country Club provides a more informal ambience in which to celebrate. The five-star hotel’s executive head chef has organised a fanciful festive feast, available throughout December. Whether you’re celebrating the season with family, friends or colleagues, the team at Luton Hoo will make your visit a time to remember. To book, please contact our reservations team on or 01582 698888.


It's time to get your 2018 Christmas Party all wrapped up! Knebworth is a spectacular historic house, home of the Lytton family since 1490. Set in 250 acres of attractive parkland just 28 miles north of London, this Gothic fantasy was transformed from its red brick Tudor origins by Edward Bulwer Lytton in 1843.


Set in the impressive estate of Knebworth House, these parties will take place in a fully themed starclothed marquee. This truly is the perfect venue for your Christmas party this year.


Sample the delights of the exotic east with our Christmas curry party nights at the Cobbold Barn.

A COBBOLD CHRISTMAS Enjoy an exclusive traditional Christmas party in our beautiful Cobbold Barn.

Knebworth Barns, Knebworth, Hertfordshire, SG1 2AX Tel: 01438 813825 Email:



Skills & Development

Invest in your Staff with North Hertfordshire College Learning and development is essential to the achievements of a business.

Keeping up with industry trends and • Save on employee turnover costs. A lot of time and money goes into today's advancements in technology replacing members of staff, from are challenges companies continue advertising to interviewing, hiring to face. While there are some and training. Investing in people valuable benefits to these will increase your retention. advancements, it also creates skills gaps amongst employees. • Boost morale. Employees who have training and development A great way to combat the skills gap opportunities are happier in their while retaining your current staff is roles and have a brighter outlook to upskill or expand their skillset. on their future with the company. Help them see the path to career Benefits of Upskilling Employees advancement in front of them, • See a return investment as you and get them excited about reskill your employees. Get a what could be next. well-rounded employee, and increase your team’s effectiveness. • Increases customer satisfaction. Happy employees = happy • Improve staff retention. Upskilling customers. When workers are ensures your employees' skillset happier with their company and won’t become obsolete, and believe in what they are working shows your staff you care about toward, they do a better job. their careers and their futures. Clients are willing to pay to work Learning and development is often with a more knowledgeable viewed as a beneficial attribute company and become a stronger brand advocate for you. for job applicants.

Here at North Hertfordshire College, we offer a range of business support courses that award qualifications accredited by industry or professional bodies that are recognised and valued by employers. Find a course to help your staff unlock their potential and gain new skills, to further the business. Choose from one of the following professional subjects: • Accounting and Bookkeeping Our accounting and bookkeeping courses cover a range of mandatory skills for various levels. Providing students with specialist knowledge and disciplines to progress to a further qualification in accountancy or a related field. Awarded by the Accounting Association Technicians (AAT) recognised by all UK chartered and certified accountancy bodies. • CIPD - Our human resources courses focus on all areas of HR as well as an understanding

of HR in a business context. Helps students develop practical, essential HR skills and above all gives the confidence to be more assertive at work and add value to their function. Awarded by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. • CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) - Our CCNA modules prepare students with the knowledge of foundational technologies, but ensures they stay relevant with skill sets needed for the adoption of next generation technologies. Awarded by worldwide IT and networking leader, CISCO. For more information and to explore our full range of professional courses visit: Or call us on 01462 424242 and reference ”Herts Chamber NHC”

Truly Independent

Day and boarding for girls and boys aged 3 to 18 in Letchworth Garden City Forward-thinking, creative and supportive environment where children are treated as individuals Green and spacious campus with top class facilities for sport, music, art and design Extensive school bus network including from Harpenden, Welwyn and St Albans

OPEN MORNING Saturday 22 September 2018 To find out more call 01462 650 947 or email  StChris_School  stchris_school 48



Continuity and Change Promised in an Exciting Future for PHC as it approaches its bicentenary… Following excellent A Level and GCSE results in the summer, staff, pupils and parents at Princess Helena College near Hitchin have begun the new academic year with confidence and excitement about the school’s future.

Lynda Corry In June, the School announced that it is joining national schools’ charity United Learning, which includes schools such as Guildford High School, Surbiton High School, Ashford School and Dunottar School in its group. As part of United Learning, pupils at PHC will be able to access national and international opportunities that no standalone school could ever provide. As part of this exciting new era, PHC will welcome boys as well as girls. From September 2019 it will gradually become co-educational

by accepting boys in Year 7 and Sixth Form. Boarding will be an option available to boys from September 2020. To mark all these changes, and the beginning of its third century, the School has changed its name from Princess Helena College to PHC Hitchin. At Easter, the School will welcome its new Head Teacher, Mrs Sarah Davis, who joins from Bedford Modern School. Interim Head, Mrs Lynda Corry, who is overseeing the School’s success

until Easter, is enjoying working across the School community on its plans for the future. “Everyone has come back to School this term excited about the year ahead. Joining United Learning has given us a secure future at a time when many other schools are struggling, and we are seizing the opportunities that this brings us in how we plan for the years ahead. “Talking to our girls and their parents, they are right behind us in recognising the benefits of us welcoming boys; with many looking

to send their sons and brothers here. What is equally important is that we retain the ethos and spirit of PHC that everyone involved in the School has always cherished. We are an extremely friendly, positive and approachable School that knows every pupil individually, brings out the best in them and shares in their success. “With everything planned for the next 18 months, it’s a great time to be at PHC as we approach our bicentenary with confidence and pride”.

Independent day & boarding school for GIRLS & BOYS aged 11 – 18 years. • Entry for boys in Years 7 & 12 from Sept 2019 • Broad curriculum with wide range of opportunities for all • Emphasis on developing the whole child • Academic excellence • Full, weekly and exi boarding options • Outstanding pastoral care • Extensive school bus routes

Open Days 2018 Saturday 22 Sept - 1.00 - 3.30pm Wednesday 17 Oct - 9.00 - 11am Reserve your family’s place at: or call our Registrar on 01462 443888. Princess Helena College, Nr Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG4 7RT



Last Word

Positioning the UK space industry for future global market opportunities Andrew Stroomer Stevenage Site Director Airbus Q What do you do? Who do you work for? The Airbus site at Stevenage employs about 1,400 people, working to deliver state-of the-art telecommunications satellites and inspirational space science and exploration missions such as European Space Agency’s Exomars Rover, Solar Orbiter and Aeolus satellites. I represent the site as Site Director and am responsible for civil space business development in the UK. I sit on the HertsLocal Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board as a business representative.

Q Why did you join the Chamber? What you do get from it? How has it helped your business network? Airbus is a major international business with more than 140,000 employees worldwide, and 15,000 staff in UK across more than 25 sites. We value local engagement to support skills development, understand local supply chain potential and to promote local environment improvements for the benefit of our staff and visitors.




In Stevenage were are very proud to be working with Herts LEP and North Herts College to inspire schoolchildren through the Airbus Foundation Discovery Space STEM centre, built around the Mars Rover test facility.

Q What advice would you give someone starting out? For all businesses, large and small, the critical point is customer focus. Key building blocks are understanding customers needs (even if they don’t know themselves!!), demonstrating how you can add value, and taking time to build a reliable trusting relationship. The Mars Rover

Q What do you think is the biggest challenge affecting running and growing a business? It’s a worn cliché but business performance is built on people. Recently we have put a lot of effort into early careers development, recognising a challenging age demographic and a need to respond to a very dynamic market. We are currently recruiting about 50 graduates per year alongside a successful apprentice development programme managed through Oaklands College.

Q What support do you want from government? As an integrated European business we are working closely with government to achieve a pragmatic and cooperative Brexit outcome. We are also strongly engaged with UK government, industry and academic stakeholders to promote a framework for a UK national space programme, aimed at best positioning the UK space industry for future global market opportunities.

Q How confident are you your organisation/business will grow in 2018? Space is already part of everyone’s daily lives – be it through satellite TV, satellite navigation or using earth images taken from space. That trend is set to continue and grow as there is more and more demand for connectivity and environmental data. At Airbus we expect to continue to provide a major contribution to satellite systems and technologies supporting that growing market.



BOOK OUR MEETINGS MADE AT MARRIOTT DAY DELEGATE PACKAGE BEFORE 31ST AUGUST 2018 AND 1 IN EVERY 10 OF YOUR DELEGATES WILL ATTEND FOR FREE. Enjoy our all-inclusive package in our luxury hotel surrounded by 200 acres of picturesque landscape with newly refurbished state-of-the-art conference rooms. Quote MM10 on your next enquiry. CALL 01920 487722 OR EMAIL HANBURYMANOR.EVENTS@MARRIOTTHOTELS.CO.UK Terms & Conditions apply.


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Inspire September 2018  

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Busines...

Inspire September 2018  

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Busines...