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INSPIRE.43 The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

March - April 2021

Inside p32

ENTREPRENEUR FOUNDATION Foundation unlocks Hertfordshire’s entrepreneurial spirit.


INSPIRATIONAL LEADER Communication is key to good management.


HERTFORDSHIRE GLOBAL Navigating the EU Transition with Hertfordshire Chamber.

Achieving positive Wellbeing in challenging times




For your growing business, think Hertfordshire IQ. With high quality office space and opportunities to collaborate with Rothamsted Research available now. Find out more and get in touch at herts-iq.co.uk


Young people are the innovators of the future companies to fill skills gaps within their business with an injection of young talent.

Briege Leahy Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce As we move into the spring, there are signs of hope on the horizon. The vaccine roll-out has injected much-needed confidence into the nation, and although we’ll be living with restrictions for some time yet, there is genuine optimism that a corner has been turned in the fight against COVID-19. Some of that feel-good mood has spread to the business community. Although recent figures showed that UK economic output shrank by a record 9.9% last year, companies are planning for a better 2021 with lockdown restrictions set to be eased gradually in the coming weeks. The hope is that consumers will start spending the money they’ve saved in lockdown, providing a boost to retailers, pubs, restaurants and tourism businesses.

Businesses, too, can help each other. Our article on Pharmaron in this edition explores how the company is providing work for local firms and supporting our Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire campaign, which is designed to create new connections and support for local firms whilst encouraging them to buy local. The campaign also promotes job opportunities and apprenticeships in the area. The job prospects of young people have been hit hard by the pandemic, with many being made redundant, so getting them back into the workplace is a priority. That’s why here at the Chamber we’re helping businesses access funding from the government’s £2bn Kickstart scheme so they can create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds. Launched last year, the initiative is also a great way for

We’re also working with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and local businesses on the Next Generation initiative to raise awareness of the fantastic range of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers on offer. The campaign includes a series of virtual events to inspire 15 to 18-year-olds to find out about the exciting careers on their doorstep with some of the UK’s most innovative employers. Take-up has been excellent – there were more than 650 participants at the recent Generation Stevenage event and a similar event for Watford is planned for this month.

lifeblood of our economy – the innovators, wealth-creators and entrepreneurs who will drive it forward for years to come. Denying them the chance to fulfil their potential will be damaging for us all. Exciting news – following the latest announcements from the government, we are pleased to be able to confirm that we will be holding our Inspiring Herts Awards on 9th September 2021 at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios, and look forward to seeing you all there.

Briege Leahy Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

It’s vital that we continue to provide career opportunities for young people. They are the future



Wellbeing 4-8 Patron Focus 12 Wellbeing 14-15 Spotlight Focus 16-20 Chamber Events 24-28 Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 29 Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire 30-31 Entrepreneur Foundation 32-33 Comment 35 Inspirational Leader 37 Tourism & Hospitality 38-39 Membership Benefits 41

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Editorial and General Enquiries Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce MacLaurin Building, 4 Bishops Square, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9NE Tel: 01707 502180 Email: enquiries@hertschamber.com Web: www.hertschamber.com

Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com

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Last Word




55 Published March 2021 © Benham Publishing and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com

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. ©2021 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.

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: mark@benhampublishing.com

Media No. 1848




Achieving positive wellbeing in challenging times As the coronavirus surged through the country, it left a devastating trail of destruction in its wake. Lives were lost, human connections were broken and businesses that took years to build were destroyed virtually overnight. All of this – and the fact that our battle with COVID-19 is far from over – has had a devastating impact on our financial, physical and mental wellbeing, both in our personal lives and the workplace.

by the rise in home-working during the pandemic; the survey said the new normal was placing strain on their relationship, with employees becoming not just physically remote but increasingly emotionally remote.

More than four in ten (43%) employees described their wellbeing as less than good, according to a recent survey from insurance giant Aviva, with just 26% feeling that their employer was genuinely concerned about their wellbeing.

The worry is that this will have an adverse impact on workplace productivity, which ultimately will be bad for business and the economy.

This disconnect between employer and employee has also been exacerbated



With physical, emotional and financial wellbeing at an all-time low for many, what can be done to get the nation’s health back on track? Hertfordshire organisations have their say…

‘More than four in ten (43%) employees described their wellbeing as less than good, according to a recent survey from insurance giant Aviva, with just 26% feeling that their employer was genuinely concerned about their wellbeing.’


Natasha Crowe Co-Founder ConnectedTogether Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing, Westfield Health The company provides wellbeing services, mental health support and private health insurance to more than 8,000 companies across the UK and Europe. https://www.westfieldhealth.com “Despite businesses being more connected and technologically advanced than ever before, there is a feeling of growing isolation – many employees feel disengaged from their colleagues and their employers, particularly as the third lockdown bites. “Our research has shown the scale of the pandemic and the impact of lockdowns on the UK’s mental health over the past year. Just under half (49%) of workers told us their mental health has got worse, including 16% who say it’s got a lot worse. “Spotting the signs of an employee struggling with their mental health is the crucial first step; this could be as simple as a change in behaviour or in an individual’s overall appearance or how they communicate – have they suddenly become more negative or less involved in team conversations?

“Of course, picking up on these cues is considerably more difficult when working remotely. To help managers and colleagues identify when someone is struggling and signpost people to the right support, many companies are now training team members as mental health first aiders, giving them the confidence to help people when they need it. “Whether you invest in formal training or not, communication and culture are crucial to creating a business where mental health is acknowledged, prioritised and protected. Making sure that wellbeing is on the agenda for all line manager catch-ups helps develop open relationships and build trust. Another great tool is to develop a programme of outreach calls to those experiencing a change in circumstances (returning from furlough or sick leave due to COVID-19, for example). Through this, developing issues can be identified early when intervention can be at its most effective. “With mental health issues costing UK businesses £70 billion a year before COVID, this is a problem that has only grown during 2020 and will continue to impact companies. Businesses need people at their productive best to help us recover from the pandemic at a national level, and that can only happen if wellbeing remains on the boardroom agenda and gets the time, investment and attention it deserves.”

Providing wellbeing programmes and workshops which cover all aspects of mental & emotional wellbeing; each workshop within the programme can be tailored so that it is completely bespoke to suit you and your employee’s needs. The focus lies heavily on employees and creating a better work life balance, understanding their own stresses, triggers and anxieties. Our mission is to help individuals and teams reconnect and regroup in a safe and confidential space. Creating proactive teams with the resilience to cope with whatever comes their way. The future of any business is the investment in its people! www.connected-together.com “We’re reaching a wellbeing tipping point; COVID-19 has brought many people to the brink. What we don’t want is a mental health pandemic to follow the coronavirus pandemic. “In the current climate, work has been a huge solace for many people. For some, it has been the only thing that has kept them going. However, people can’t perform to the best of their ability if they’re struggling with their mental health so it’s incumbent on companies to look after their staff. “Employers could help their staff establish clear boundaries between their work and home life. This is difficult if they’re working from home, but perhaps employers could encourage them not to check their e-mails after a certain time in the evening. “Employees, too, could help themselves by taking regular exercise and getting into a daily routine that gives their lives some structure. If they find they’re feeling anxious on a regular basis, they could try meditation. Breath work and mindfulness techniques can be really beneficial. “We are currently in unchartered territory and many people don’t know how to adapt. Focusing on small daily tasks yet also looking to longer term goals. Helping to create a growth mindset which helps us to adapt to uncertainty and stress.”




Paul Finch, Founder and CEO, APeopleBusiness The company helps organisations to improve productivity and business performance by creating a fantastic workplace culture. https://apeoplebusiness.com/ “Most companies claim their staff are their biggest asset, however few understand the adverse effect that stress can have on workplace productivity. Stress is the elephant in the room; many employers don’t feel comfortable about addressing it or don’t know how to tackle it. “I started this company four years ago because I wanted to explore in more detail how the sources of stress and other issues within the workforce affect corporate performance. The indicators are numerous; there are ten primary sources of workplace stress. Employees might get anxious if they don’t fully understand their job; others display symptoms of stress if they feel they’re being unfairly treated or bullied. We’re all different and



we need to understand how stress impacts individuals in different ways. For managers, this is a difficult task; they are not clinicians so if they’re confronted by a mental health problem, they may not know how to deal with it. Also, research shows that around 75% of staff don’t trust their immediate line manager. “Building trust is essential. With more staff working remotely due to the pandemic, it has never been more vital for managers to keep in contact with their staff, find out how they’re doing and be able to spot signs of stress, even from afar. “I’ve seen people suffer in the workplace. Our business identifies the sources of issues within the workforce that affect corporate performance, presented as a heat map through a digital dashboard, with forecasts of productivity loss. This gets to the root causes of stress, which will eventually lead to poor mental health if left unchallenged. It also helps managers to understand the issues affecting employees’ mental wellbeing so they can do something about it.”

‘Building trust is essential. With more staff working remotely due to the pandemic, it has never been more vital for managers to keep in contact with their staff, find out how they’re doing and be able to spot signs of stress, even from afar.’


Gordon Craft, Director of Chasebridge Wealth Management Ltd. “People talk a lot about mental wellbeing in the pandemic and rightly so, but financial wellbeing is also important. Many people have lost their livelihoods and many companies have had to cease trading. Of those that have survived, some are operating on vastly reduced levels of income. “Poor mental health can result directly from poor financial health – a point we’ve made in our financial wellbeing workshops. A third of Brits have less than £600 in savings. (source: Finder. (2020a), Feb 2021), which doesn’t offer a great deal of stability in a pandemic. The key for individuals and businesses is to keep control of costs in the good times and bad. Quite often people spend lavishly in the good times, perhaps on items that they don’t really need, and forget to put aside cash for a rainy day. Companies should review their decision-making processes so they’re consistent at all times, rather than varying these decisions based on the health of the economy at the time. “There are practical things that businesses can do to look after their cash. Firstly, they could bolster their cash reserves in the good times. They should also review their debt situation and pay off high-interest loans as quickly as possible. In a downturn it may be worth taking on extra debt to expand the business when interest rates are relatively low. “Everyone’s situation is different, but the fundamental principle of cash is king still holds.”

Adrian Shah-Cundy, Corporate Responsibility Director, VolkerWessels UK The company is a multidisciplinary contractor that delivers innovative engineering solutions across the civil engineering and construction sectors including rail, highways, airport, marine, energy, water and environmental infrastructure. https://www.volkerwessels.co.uk “As a responsible employer, we recognise that we have a legal and moral duty of care for the health, safety and welfare of our employees and those who may be affected by our activities. The wellbeing of our people is so important, which is why we have occupational health specialists directly employed within our team and we also work with third party organisations to deliver wellbeing services to staff and contractors. Through our Health Assured Programme, we offer advice on anything from work matters to legal advice and bereavement.

“Essentially, we work hard to prevent work-related injuries and the ill-health of our employees and anyone associated with our activities, whilst also improving their wellbeing. We have a network of trained mental health champions who keep an eye on the welfare of staff and signpost them to people and organisations that can help if they’re experiencing any issues. These could range from problems at home to issues with workload or just a general feeling of malaise in the current lockdown. “Ensuring good health and wellbeing is particularly important at the moment with COVID-19 dominating the agenda. We take a holistic approach to tackling mental health issues and over the past year we’ve made an even greater effort to ensure people talk about whatever may be affecting them. We’ve also provided more opportunities for people to engage in organised activities such as yoga and pilates, plus reminding them to contact their GP if they’re experiencing any physical health issues during the pandemic.”




“We use remote technologies so we can monitor people in their homes, either after they’ve been in hospital or to prevent them from having to come into hospital in the first place. This reduces pressure on the NHS and gives people the convenience of being treated in their own homes. “We also place great importance on mental wellbeing. Many people are suffering in the current lockdown, unable to socialise and do the things they would do normally, which has had an adverse impact on their wellbeing. The wellbeing of NHS staff has also been affected by the increased pressure on services and the high numbers of very unwell people that have required treatment and care. These factors have increased anxiety and stress levels among the workforce.

Elliot HowardJones, CEO of Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT).

‘We use remote technologies so we can monitor people in their homes, either after they’ve been in hospital or to prevent them from having to come into hospital in the first place. This reduces pressure on the NHS and gives people the convenience of being treated in their own homes.’ 8


The trust is the principal provider of community-based healthcare services to the 1.2 million population of Hertfordshire, delivering these services to people in their homes, local clinics, schools and community hospitals. https://www.hct.nhs.uk/ “In these difficult times, we’ve helped people to improve their wellbeing in a number of ways. On the physical wellbeing side, we run a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Stevenage and we’re planning to open a further seven centres across the county, which will add 60% to our staff numbers over the coming months. This is in addition to our non-COVID work, which includes childhood immunisations and helping people to manage pre-existing conditions such as asthma, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

““We’ve tried to help by providing access to regular COVID-19 testing and making wellbeing calls to our people off sick, isolating and shielding. Recognising the psychological impacts of the pandemic, we have provided access to a wide variety of mindfulness, resilience and other support apps, as well as a range of options for emotional support and counselling, such as wobble rooms, calm spaces, helplines and our new ‘Here For You’ wellbeing hub with our local partners. We have refurbished staff rest areas so they can enjoy their breaks and supplied them with food, snacks and hand/face cream – some of these donated by the local community. We have also supported our leaders with resources to help them look after their teams and celebrated great practice through our ‘Stars of the Week’. “We’ve formed partnerships with businesses, including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Roche Pharmaceuticals, and these businesses have helped us deliver our COVID vaccination response programmes. Their assistance has been gratefully received and we’re seeking to build links with other companies that may be able to provide support. If you think you can help in any way, please contact my colleague Natalie Howard at natalie.howard4@nhs.net.”


the best of their ability even while restrictions are in effect.


Can I wait until things get back to normal?

An executor is under a duty to act promptly and with reasonable care. Restrictions brought about by the pandemic make it more challenging for executors to carry out their duties in a timely fashion. However, it is vital that you endeavour to do so. As an executor, you are legally obliged to meet deadlines, such as for payment of taxes. HM Revenue & Customs has shown no appetite to take the pandemic into account when the deadlines loom. Many institutions are experiencing delays as a result of the pandemic, including HMRC and the Courts, so you should ensure you have adequate time to meet any deadlines.


Administering an Estate in the time of Coronavirus Alastair Liddiard, newly promoted to partner, explains how executors need to adjust the way estates are administered due to the challenges caused by coronavirus.


Why is it important for executors to continue “business as usual”?

In recent years there has been an increase in the claims brought against executors by beneficiaries. Coupled with increased financial hardship as a result of coronavirus, it is vital that executors understand their duties and obligations to avoid claims. Executors must carry out their obligations to



The deceased owned a house. What should I do?

One of the main duties of an executor is to protect the estate and maximise its worth for the beneficiaries. There are several things you can do to comply with this duty, even


while restrictions are in place. You should ensure that any property forming part of the estate is secure, including removing valuables from any unoccupied buildings and notifying insurers that the property is empty. You may need to visit the property on behalf of the estate on a regular basis, so it is always essential to have someone to do this if circumstances make it impossible for you to visit.


What about the beneficiaries?

In this confusing and stressful era, beneficiaries may be feeling anxious about the estate. The fear of financial difficulty and concerns about the economy could mean beneficiaries are worried about the value of any property or investments of the estate. By staying in regular contact with beneficiaries you will alleviate these fears and keep them informed about the performance of the estate assets.


If the estate contains investments, you could seek professional advice from a financial advisor to ensure that you are minimising any potential losses when liquidating a portfolio,

or if they are selling at a gain, to ensure the tax on the sale is minimised.


What is the best way to keep track of the assets?

It is essential that you keep accounts and records up to date. This may be more challenging as a result of COVID-19, however, this does not protect you from criticism from beneficiaries if you fail to do so. You must also be responsive when beneficiaries request accounts or information.


Even a simple spreadsheet to chart balances at date of death will be a good aid when you come to finalise matters.


How should I deal with difficult requests or behaviour from beneficiaries?

Sadly, even when you carry out your duties to the best of your ability, you may face criticism from beneficiaries. The best way to deal with any difficulty is direct action. Take steps as soon as possible to mitigate the situation or contact an experienced lawyer for advice.


Please note the contents of this article are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.


01992 300333 enquiries@longmores.law 24 Castle Street Hertford SG14 1HP




Hertfordshire supports apprenticeships and life-long learning We know businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. Investing in skills now can help grow your business and ensure it is future-ready. There has never been a better time to hire an apprentice in Hertfordshire. That is why we have launched Hertfordshire Supports Apprenticeships to help: • Deliver a resident workforce fit for the future; • Raise the skills and productivity levels of those already in work; • Showcase the resilience of apprentices and employers during COVID-19.

DID YOU KNOW? • Training can be tailored to meet your business needs, enabling you to expand and upskill your workforce; • There are now apprenticeships available in Hertfordshire for just about every job role and at every level. Whatever your size and sector, we’ve probably got an apprenticeship that will be right for your business; • You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely; • You can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee.




Throughout the campaign we will be signposting to Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal (HOP), the one-stop shop for talent. Powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, students, employers and residents wishing to upskill, are now able to HOP into all the resources they need to make informed career decisions and build a future talent pipeline.

HOP is the premier gateway in Hertfordshire to find out about: • career path options • employment opportunities • apprenticeships and work experience • skills development and professional qualification programmes

HOW DO I ADVERTISE MY APPRENTICESHIPS ON HOP? Your training organisation will do this for you through the ‘find an apprenticeship’ service: visit www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk As long as the apprenticeship has a Hertfordshire based postcode, HOP will access the apprenticeship directly from the ‘find an apprenticeship’ service.

DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT! Here’s what employers and apprentices have to say: Cheeky Munkey, IT consultancy, St Albans “If you can put the time in to give the apprentice the development, guidance and support they need, they can become a valuable commodity to the business.” Rick Wilmott, Sales and Marketing Manager “Everyone in the business trusts me now. That’s the most valuable thing to me, even though I am an apprentice. I would say to others thinking of an apprenticeship to go for it! It’s definitely worth it. You get paid as you learn. What more do you want really!” Apprentice: Harry Islam, 19 Visit HOP for more inspiring employer and apprentice case studies and testimonials: www.hopinto.co.uk/hertfordshire-supports-apprenticeships

VISIT THE HERTFORDSHIRE SUPPORTS APPRENTICESHIPS CAMPAIGN HUB TO VIEW: • A short animation setting out the return on investment that apprenticeships offer and the companies that have already signed up to #HertfordshireSupportsApprenticeships • Real stories from Hertfordshire employers about how apprenticeships have benefited their business; and the benefits to apprentices themselves • Step-by-step guidance on how to get started, including support for funding and how to hire an apprentice, upskill or re-train your future workforce


Have you used apprenticeships to fill skills gaps in your organisation, or to upskill and revitalise your workforce so that it is ready for the future? If so, we want to hear from you! Together over the next 12 months we will inspire

Hertfordshire with engaging stories of how apprenticeships have kick-started incredible careers; helped boost apprentices’ confidence, skills and knowledge; and created return on investment for businesses.

Get in touch: If you have an inspiring apprenticeship story to share or would like further information about Hertfordshire Supports Apprenticeships, email: hopinto@hertfordshirelep.co.uk

Visit www.hopinto.co.uk and start preparing for success! Twitter: @HOPinto_herts LinkedIn: @Hertfordshire-Opportunities-Portal



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5 Chris Ward

minutes with…

What is your role within your civilian employment?

In my civilian employment I am an investment actuary at Barnett Waddingham. I advise charities and pension funds on the investment of their assets.

How long have you been in the RAF Police Reserve? I have been in the RAF Police Reserves for 16 years.

Why did you join? I joined after university with the intention of using the Reserves as a stepping stone into full-time military service. I chose to sign up to the 3 (Tactical) Police Squadron as military police work has many opportunities to specialise and travel the world – having experiences that I wouldn’t be able to get from most hobbies. My circumstances have changed significantly since joining the Reserves. I changed career, qualifying as an actuary and taking promotion to a senior position with my civilian firm. I now also have two young children. The Reserves has proven flexible throughout my 16 years, fitting



around my lifestyle and always delivering on those amazing experiences. In March 2020, just before lockdown, I was on an extreme cold weather survival course in Norway with 50 other reservists, being trained by Norway’s elite reserve forces.

When were you were called upon to deploy and how are you supporting the fight against COVID-19? The intelligent mobilisation process began late in March 2020, with my civilian firm being supportive, releasing me with just two weeks’ notice. I had a three-month period working at the Police Flight at RAF Wittering, in charge of law enforcement and investigations. Policing and security is critical for RAF Wittering so that they can continue with their operationally essential functions – this has included changing security processes to align with government guidance such as social distancing, and training personnel for a range of tasks to support COVID resilience. In June I took command of a Mobile Testing Unit, managing ten other Reservists and one regular soldier, travelling around East Anglia to COVID testing hotspots and training up teams of civilian contractors.

This image was taken before the pandemic’

What does it mean to you to be able to do this and have the full support of your workforce/workplace and family? Having the support of my family and workplace has been essential in allowing me to focus on my roles at RAF Wittering and on the mobile testing unit. My partner has been amazing, looking after our two young boys whilst teaching at a local secondary school. My civilian work colleagues and the pension trustees I advise have also been highly supportive and accommodating, helping me with a rapid handover prior to my mobilisation. I am fortunate that Barnett Waddingham’s investment team has the scale and resource to support my workload whilst I am mobilised.

What’s your message to the people you work with? We must all take time to look after each other. Ask if people are ok and listen. If you would like to find out more about our Reserve Forces contact Kristina Carrington Email: ea-empsp@rfca.mod.uk

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We use use only only Powerful and and Proven Technologies Technologies We We usePowerful only PowerfulProven and Proven Technologies Our software, written in C# runs in a Windows environment using using .Net .Net and and DevExpress frameworks frameworks in in conjunction conjunction with with an an MS-SQL MS-SQL backend. backend. Our software, writtenwritten in C# runs a Windows environment Our software, in C#inruns in a Windows environment using .Net DevExpress and DevExpress frameworks in conjunction with an MS-SQL backend. These are are the the powerful powerful and and proven proven technologies technologies used used by by some some of of the the world’s world’s largest largest companies companies ensuring ensuring that that your your business business is is supplied supplied with with These These are the powerful and proven technologies used by some of the world’s largest companies ensuring that your business is supplied with Proven Proven reliablereliable software suitable for your your needs. Proven reliable software suitable for software suitable forneeds. your needs.

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Wellbeing Conference

The Hertfordshire Chamber


Rothamsted Conference Centre, Harpenden Due to the ongoing situation with COVID -19 we are postponing this conference. This event will therefore now be taking place at Rothamsted Enterprises, Harpenden on Thursday 14th October 2021. However, Herts Chamber remain very excited to be holding our very first Wellbeing Conference and Exhibition. We are delighted to have Hertfordshire County Council as our Headline Sponsor for this Conference, and Director of Public Health, Professor Jim McManus, will be giving the keynote presentation!

14 14


The Conference and Exhibition will provide you with exciting new ideas and the information necessary to create positive change in physical and mental wellbeing. The aim of this event is to explore health, wellbeing and performance in the workplace and to provide you with exciting new ideas and the information necessary to create positive change in physical and mental wellbeing.

The programme includes: Keynote presentations Breakout sessions A Panel discussion An Exhibition including companies focussed on the supply of wellbeing-related products and services Significant opportunities to network



It’s not just a buzzword or a fad - people-centric businesses genuinely understand the benefits of promoting employee wellbeing.

Taking care of one’s self was once thought of as an individual’s personal choice. Now, more than ever it is an employer’s responsibility to create and inspire a culture centered on self-care and prospective employees are weighing up your offering when comparing job offers! Our Patrons, recruitment specialists Tate share their five-stage initiative to encourage businesses to promote and drive their corporate wellbeing strategy. So what are the benefits to us being so invested in the physical and mental health of our people?

NUTRITION has a direct impact on cognitive performance. A poor diet makes your digestive system less effective, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and damaging productivity. Prioritising proper nutrition throughout the day harnesses the power of a healthy diet

HYDRATION by placing hydration at the

EXERCISE time is cited most often as the

forefront of your wellness strategy can significantly impact employee health, focus, and performance. Simple and cost-effective ideas such as providing drinking water bottles or bowls of fresh fruit around your staff are always winners here

reason people do not exercise. Allow employees to overcome this barrier by incorporating activity periods into the working day. Creating a feel-good culture of wellbeing can help reduce absenteeism and boost performance

SLEEP productive days rarely follow restless

MINDFULNESS is a way to train the mind to pay attention to the present moment. It is a proven strategy for decreasing corporate stress and improving communication. It has been shown to increase strategic thinking, job satisfaction, and concentration

nights. A good night’s sleep makes us feel invigorated and ready for the day ahead. Educate employees on how to boost their quality of sleep to improve focus, mood, creativity, and empathy

For further information on ways you could incorporate Wellbeing into the heart of your people strategy contact your nearest Tate consultant.

www.tate.co.uk/contact-us/our-branches INSPIRE



Hertsmere gets

backing from businesses Hertsmere is one of Hertfordshire’s crown jewels. Located a stone’s throw away from London,it provides easy access to the capital for work and leisure due to fast rail links, yet also has a rural feel with vast expanses of green space. It’s also a good place in which to do business, according to the companies that are located there.

“We are absolutely focused on our growth as a company and our Hertfordshire location is at the heart of that strategy. In our longrange strategic plan, we aim to invest around £200m in the next five years ...”



Michael Mensa of Bio Products Laboratory in Elstree, says: “Hertfordshire is a great location for us. It’s close to London with all the advantages that entails in terms of resources and financing, while retaining its own competitiveness in terms of having access to a well-trained and competitive workforce and logistical access. The community is part of our lifelong heritage that we always cherish, but is also a great foundation for our future growth as a company. “We are absolutely focused on our growth as a company and our Hertfordshire location is at the heart of that strategy. In our long-range strategic plan, we aim to invest around £200m globally in the next five years in areas such as a new aseptic filling line and other capacity improvements, a modernisation of our plant infrastructure, and a re-doubling of our new product development efforts, led by our R&D and medical teams based here in Elstree. This will require a significant capital investment to be made, but also great people that will enable us

to realise these projects and continue to grow our business to new heights.” The company adapted to the pandemic very quickly, implementing measures that prioritise both the safety of its employees and the continued flow of critical medicines to patients. Michael says: “Everyone in BPL takes their role very seriously as a key worker within the critical healthcare infrastructure. We’re thankful for their dedication to this mission over the last nine months ever since the pandemic broke out almost a year ago”. “Remaining competitive as a business is a key priority for us as we face the postCOVID, post-Brexit environment. This requires an unrelenting focus on the value we bring as a business in our key US and UK markets, opening new markets such as China, Brazil and Mexico and innovating for the future. Investing in new digital tools and capabilities, increasing our data analytics and modernising our systems are also priorities as we enter a new stage in BPL’s growth and development as the only UK-based producer of plasma-derived therapies serving patients around the world.”


“In the past, construction has been slow to address diversity and inclusion, but today this is no longer the case. At BAM we are working to create a diverse workplace, where everyone feels supported to achieve their full potential.” BAM Construction has also adapted in the pandemic, with the majority of its officebased teams working from home. COVID-19 has furthered the adoption of digital technologies within BAM and the construction sector in general, with widespread use of cloud-based tools allowing firms to collaborate easily with others and ensure projects are delivered. With sustainability and net zero high on its agenda, BAM is working with clients such as Sky Studios Elstree to deliver buildings which provide a lasting social, economic and environmental legacy for local communities. The company is also looking at its own operations and is committed to being net positive by 2050. BAM recently signed the World Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to ensure that its direct operations and all of the buildings that it develops or directly controls will be net zero by 2030. BAM is also raising awareness of the construction sector in schools through visits, work experience and summer schools, helping children to understand the opportunities that a career in construction offers. The company employs apprentices on many of its schemes across the UK, allowing people to earn whilst gaining valuable experience and qualifications. In 2020, 58 apprentices worked on BAM projects in the south east. BAM has also joined WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) in a bid to attract more women into the construction industry. The company carried out a study with Timewise to adopt a more flexible approach to working. BAM’s employee-led groups such as ME@BAM and Proud@ BAM are also helping the firm to widen its

appeal, enabling it to reach individuals from the BAME and LGBTQ+ communities and those with disabilities. Adam Harding, regional director at BAM, says: “In the past, construction has been slow to address diversity and inclusion, but today this is no longer the case. At BAM we are working to create a diverse workplace, where everyone feels supported to achieve their full potential. We hope this will encourage people to change their perceptions about a career in construction and attract new talent to the industry.” Sopher & Co Chartered Accountants is also keen to highlight career opportunities in its profession. The firm provides chartered accountancy services to individuals and businesses from the world of TV and film that are based near Elstree Studios – a sector that remains a key component of its diverse client base to this day. Sue Doran, associate director at Sopher & Co, says: “The Hertsmere area’s support of economic development driven by creative industries aligns with our business model and vision. This has been underpinned by the local council’s determination to invest in Elstree Studios, which secured their survival – ensuring we can continue supporting local businesses and the wider community. “Two other key benefits of operating in Hertsmere stand out for us: location and workforce. The area’s location is strategically important to us, providing our clients – and staff – with the flexibility to access our Borehamwood and London offices. Meanwhile, the well-educated and skilled workforce supplies us with a talented pool of employees; we employ 140 staff, around three quarters of whom live in Hertsmere. “The local area’s dynamism extends beyond its ongoing support for Elstree Studios; the development of the new Sky Sports studios opposite our offices – which we remain committed to despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – will provide us with further opportunities to expand our client offering within the TV industry. “Our three-year strategic plan sets out our ambitious growth strategy: increasing revenues by 7.5% year-on-year and growing our turnover by £3 million. This growth will not only benefit us; we are determined to use it as a positive force for the wider community. We aim to facilitate this by creating opportunities for local businesses and the local workforce that enable them to achieve their goals as well.”

Despite being forced to switch to homeworking at scale overnight following the announcement of lockdown restrictions, Sopher & Co’s investment in technology has enabled it to continue servicing its clients seamlessly. Sue says: “The COVID crisis has reinforced our commitment to our staff and their wellbeing. Of course, we all miss Friday lunches in the pub, but our determination to keep the organisation connected – professionally and socially – during this difficult period has brought us closer together than ever. “Providing staff with the flexibility to manage their working days has made a noticeable difference to their productivity and well-being. This forward-thinking approach enables them to overcome the many challenges posed by lockdown life – such as home-schooling, self-isolation and mental health. “Our mission is to be the trusted commercial adviser of choice for entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals and to increase our revenue, profitability and reputation through new and existing quality services. This challenge demands a holistic approach to accounting and tax that combines traditional services (corporate and personal) with our new private office: finance management and planning, HR services, PA services, wills, lasting power of attorneys (LPAs) and insurance. “By bringing a multitude of services together in a one-stop-shop, we aim to enhance our reputation for doing things differently – so when clients talk of accounting, tax and business services, we will be at the forefront of their mind.”

“Our mission is to be the trusted commercial adviser of choice for entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals and to increase our revenue, profitability and reputation through new and existing quality services.”




Hertsmere Works,

better than ever ‘It has been a difficult start to 2021 for everyone in Hertsmere and across the county.’

We’ve been busy reaching out to companies of all sectors and sizes to find out how the pandemic has affected them, financially and in other ways.

We want to reduce local inequalities and deprivation by giving local people the skills they need for future employment.

were asked to complete a short online

to feel positive about the future, especially

Financial & Project Accounting Software While this year hasn’t been the best 'Built for Construction by Construction' start for anyone, there are lots of reasons Local business owners and managers in Hertsmere. EasyBuild is an end to end bespoke construction Built to address the survey. Dozens responded; thesoftware vast majoritysolution. were small businesses (90 per cent had We have a long and illustrious reputation operational, financial and commercial management of all types of construction proects. It under 20 employees) and a large proportion for film and television production in the Financial & Project Accounting Software provides real-time data and information to enable key business decisions and mitigate risks. borough, and that heritage is set to (30 per cent) were in the leisure or

Financial&&Project Project Accounting Accounting Software Financial Software 'Built for Construction by Construction' 'Built for Construction' continue and flourish. hospitality trade. 'Built forConstruction Construction byby Construction'

EasyBuild software with1 construction software solution. Built to address the EasyBuild is an will endprovide to endyou bespoke The ability tofinancial see in real-time the financial position proects our CVR module operational, and commercial management ofyour all as types of through construction proects. It respondents described their of business Portfolio Holder for Community Elstree Studios, will bring opportunities struggling and two-thirds (63 per cent) operational, financial and commercial management of all types of construction proects. It operational, financial and management of all decisions types ofour construction proects. It provides real-time information enable keybusiness business and mitigate risks. ProvideDevelopment you withdata financial snapshotsto across your through Dashboard and Economic atandcommercial formitigate investment and create a huge number describeto loss of turnover as their biggest provides real-time data and information enable key business decisions and risks. provides real-time data and information to enable key business decisions and mitigate risks. Integrate siteCouncil and the back office through our mobile Requisition,ofGood Received Notes and Hertsmere Borough jobs, and apprenticeship and training concern. EasyBuild software will provide you with1 openings for young people and the Timesheet application EasyBuild software will provide you with1 I the want to thank everybody who took the unemployed. Thesoftware ability to will see in real-time financial position of your proects through our CVR module EasyBuild provide you Secure, anytime, anywhere working through EasyBuild Cloud The abilityof to the see in real-time thewith1 financial position of your proects The ongoing impact time to complete our survey. We know howthrough our CVR module Provide you with financial snapshots across your business through our Dashboard Over the first our five years ofmodule operation, it Theintegrated ability to see in real-time the financial position ofand your proects through CVRmore Provide you with financial snapshots your business through our Dashboard An platform managing Financials, Procurement, Commercial and much difficult theacross current situation is thanks Covid-19 pandemic has brought is expected that SkyNotes Studiosand Elstree will Integrate site and the back office through our mobile Requisition, Good Received to yourthrough feedback, we’re now working to through Integrate site and the back office our mobile Requisition, Good Received Notes and Provide you with financial snapshots across your business our Dashboard All within a user friendly solution, built for Construction. uncertainty and hardship for generate up to an additional £3 billion of Timesheet application identify measures that can help minimise Timesheet application investment. The development, Integrate site and the back office through our mobile Requisition,production Good Received Notes and individuals, businesses and the impact. Secure, anytime, working through EasyBuild Cloud Secure, anytime,anywhere anywhere working through EasyBuild Cloud which will comprise 13 sound stages, will Timesheet application communities. Added to that, An integrated platform managing managing Procurement, and much more become home to Sky Originals, as well as AnWE integrated platform Financials, Procurement, Commercial and much more We willFinancials, be publishing our economicCommercial WHO HELP Secure, anytime, anywhere working through EasyBuild Cloud there have been the challenges major productions from Universal Pictures, All within a userfriendly friendlysolution, solution,development built strategy, entitled Hertsmere All within a user builtfor forConstruction. Construction. Focus Features and Working Title. posedAn by integrated our new relationship platform managing Works,Financials, later this year.Procurement, In it, we will identifyCommercial and much more ways in which Hertsmere Borough Council with Sky Studios Elstree will lead to the creation AllEurope. within a userWE friendly solution, built for Construction. WHO HELP The development of Sky Studios Elstree Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of Councillor Meenal Sachdev and the council-owned EasyBuild is anis end to toend construction software solution. Built toof the address the EasyBuild an end endbespoke bespoke construction software solution. Builtthetoexpansion address


In Hertsmere, we’ve tried to meet those challenges head on.


(HBC), as the local authority, can support businesses following the pandemic.

Among the measures under consideration We’ve appointed a new Principal Economic are ensuring home-working and flexible Development Officer, Lesley Crisp, CONTRACTORS HOUSEBUILDERS office space are incorporated into our and Head of Planning and Economic new Local Plan; working with schools and Development, Ross Whear. colleges to set up apprenticeships and CONTRACTORS HOUSEBUILDERS employability days;HOUSEBUILDERS fostering partnership Lesley has more than 20 yearsCONTRACTORS of working through sector-based forums experience working with businesses, and maximising opportunities for jobs and including at Dacorum Borough Council. growth through Hertsmere’s existing links Ross has worked on a hostCONTRACTORS of large-scale HOUSEBUILDERS with the film and TV industry, sports clubs, residential and commercial developments in London, including Crossrail. voluntary sector and other sectors.



of over 2,000 jobs in the local area, including 900 during the construction





Elstree Gate, Way, Borehamwood. Elstree Gate,44Elstree Elstree Way, Borehamwood. WD. WD. 1JD. 1JD. +44 333 1+31+3 3+/0 - www.easybuilduk.com +44 333 3+/0- -enquiries@easybuilduk.com enquiries@easybuilduk.com - www.easybuilduk.com


Artist’s impression of Sky Studios Elstree

phase and 1,500 once the studio is operational. In line with Sky and HBC’s commitment to become carbon neutral, when the studios open in 2022, they will be the most sustainable film and TV production site in the world. Meanwhile, at the council-owned Elstree Studios, work is set to begin on two new soundstages and ancillary workshops on the site of the former Big Brother house. The £12 million project, part-funded by the government’s Getting Building Fund, will create at least 800 jobs on site, plus apprenticeship opportunities for local school leavers and the unemployed.

Sky Studios Elstree - L-R Nigel Wilson (CEO Legal General) Helen Parker (NBCUniversal) Caroline Cooper (CFO Sky Studios) and Cllr Morris Bright (Leader of HBC)

As part of the deal, £100,000 per year from the rental income received by the council will be invested locally into creative industries, including local media and creative enterprise and initiatives, equivalent to 30 per cent of the project’s profits over its life. And we’re not stopping there. Our new Local Plan will guide development and influence how the borough changes through the after-math of the pandemic and over the next 15 years.

Artist’s impression of the new soundstages at Elstree Studios

More than 100 sites have previously been submitted for housing and employment uses. This month, we conducted a further appeal for employment sites in Hertsmere as part of our ongoing efforts to map out options for the borough’s future economic development. We want our local economy to grow and develop in a way that is sustainable, achievable and desirable for everyone.

Supporting businesses during the pandemic

Elstree Studios

‘This is our chance to really shape the future and show that Hertsmere works … in so many ways.’ INSPIRE


Impression of the new stages at the Elstree Studio



OWNER? Make the most of a location filled with opportunity

With its proximity to London, direct access to the M1, M25 and A1 and excellent connections to Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted Airports, it is easily accessible by road and rail, making it an attractive commercial proposition for investors. It’s the right environment to grow your business, whatever your sector or size. Our worldrenowned film and television sector includes Elstree Studios, BBC Elstree and from 2022, Sky Studios Elstree.

Hertsmere Borough Council’s new Economic Development team is looking to work with potential investors and businesses in Hertsmere to help them through the pandemic and maximise the opportunities beyond. We provide a one-stop shop to high-quality support for all businesses whether starting out or, at a turning point. We can link you to :

• Training, including links to education and training providers • Help to recruit, take on apprentices and upskill current workforce • Access to funding and help starting your own business • Help to develop your supply chain • Access to a wider business community and peer mentoring • Links to suitable commercial premises • Planning support and advice • Help with regulatory issues and compliance

Through our wide and comprehensive network of partners, we can get your business to where you want it to be.

The borough of Hertsmere is an excellent strategic location for business. For further information on how we can help you, please contact

economic.development@hertsmere.gov.uk or visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/businesssupport

Here are our TOP 3 TIPS and considerations for technology and crafting your company’s return to work plan.


Returning to the workplace We have very nearly faced 365 days in some sort of lockdown in the UK; we’ve endured 12 months of restrictions and don’t even get us started on the home-schooling! But has it all been so bad? A recent report by analysts McKinsey shared that the pandemic has forced companies to move quicker, in some reported cases up to 40 times faster than previously forecasted when it comes to implementing remote working solutions. Technology has been our undoubted saviour. Whether it’s connecting teams through solutions such as Microsoft Teams or enabling loved ones to stay in touch via Zoom, conference camera sales went through the roof, and collaboration applications like Monday and Trello ensured team productivity didn’t decline.

they work. Just as organisations needed to adapt to remote working environments back in March rapidly, the challenge now facing them is bringing their staff back into the office safely. How can employers ensure that staff can enjoy the flexibility and benefits of hybrid working but ensure productivity doesn’t suffer? After months of standing redundant, office and meeting spaces now need to be flexible and adaptable, transitioning seamlessly from 1-2-1 catchups to larger executive meetings that require social distancing spacing. So, once again, technology steps into the spotlight.

And now, as we enter the (hopefully) final stage of lockdown in the UK, what have we learnt? It seems highly doubtful that we will return to ‘normality’; instead, we will inevitably embrace the benefits that COVID-19 has delivered, such as better work/life balance.

Technology now needs to enhance the working practices that we have adopted over the last 12 months. We have accelerated video collaboration globally, and organisations must ensure that we can continue this trajectory, connecting people regardless of physical location.

The common consensus is that we are entering a new phase for the global workforce, with more people choosing to adopt a hybrid approach when they are allowed back to the office’, looking for more freedom around where and when

Companies need to ensure that they have a post COVID, return to work plan that doesn’t just focus on employees’ safety, and encompasses technology acceleration when we are no longer confined to the four walls of our homes.

Continue digital adoption

Remote workers have proved that productivity levels can be maintained, regardless of location, with the right technology deployed. Continue the digital adoption trajectory to ensure that people have a positive video conferencing and collaboration experience wherever they choose to work in the future.


Re-think your real estate footprint

Before the pandemic, typical meeting spaces may have featured an executive board room with some breakout spaces for smaller, ad-hoc meetings. Understand your teams’ requirements when it comes to meetings moving forward and work to create flexible spaces equipped with video to unify remote and in-room meeting delegates and consider how technology and furniture can work to create fluid areas that are intuitive and easy to use.


Invest in training and processes

Conduct an audit to understand how your business teams have used their technology through lockdown, what has worked and importantly, what hasn’t. Research and invest in training to ensure that staff are getting the best out of any technology or platform investment. For example, if you have used Microsoft Teams as a video collaboration solution to connect remote teams during COVID, do your staff have a fully loaded understanding of the platform and the advantages that it can deliver?

Although returning to the office is an unknown entity, the team at Lewcon have been helping many companies scope their requirements and needs to reshape their existing technology. We are also advising organisations to select and invest in new solutions to help return their staff to an office environment quickly, seamlessly, and successfully. We work with organisations to identify their specific requirements and work with world-class vendors in the unified communications space to ensure we are fully versed to recommend the right solution for your business, today, tomorrow and beyond.

Contact us today for your personal consultation on info@lewconav.com or 01462 457886. www.lewconav.com

01462 457886

Lewcon Audio Visual


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Assimilating Learning and Change to Grow Penny Sophocleous FInstLM Learning and Development Expert

The Smallford Farm Shop

OPEN as usual

You can buy the delicious home-grown produce alongside a wide range of local and independent products, creating a unique offering in Hertfordshire, and providing everything from store cupboard staples and daily essentials to little luxuries and gifts.

Known for their delicious home-grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergines, the Smallford Farm Shop is a hidden gem just outside St Albans. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9am-4pm Sundays 10am-4pm, you are able to shop in a spacious, relaxed environment.

Brands to look out for: their own Cannatella & Colletti pasta sauce which uses their own-grown tomatoes; Twist Teas from Harpenden; candles from Potters Crouch and Handmade in Harpenden, oils from Mrs Middleton’s; gin from Campfire and Copper in the Clouds, The 3 Brewers and Mad Squirrel, to name just a few. The café is open for takeaway drinks until restrictions are lifted and then there will be seating available inside and out – perfect for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

Check them out www.smallfordfarmshop.com @SmallfordFshop

‘ You can buy the delicious home-grown produce alongside a wide range of local and independent products, creating a unique offering in Hertfordshire.’

During the first lockdown, like many others I was shocked to discover that most of the business we had booked, was cancelled. Little of what had been planned could be converted to online. Like many other entrepreneurs I had to change my mindset quickly and take a proactive approach to changing my business so it could function in the new online space. Remembering this important maxim, ‘If there is a restriction on how much I can get, there is no limitation on what I can give’, I decided to give my expertise to everyone who wanted to receive. I spent time understanding the challenges that many entrepreneurs were experiencing and what they needed to pivot and reset their business. I matched their needs and created elements in a Mentoring programme that would expedite the growth of its participants and their business. Over 12 weeks, I facilitated the group to re-define their customer avatar and their current needs, profiled each participant using the Talent Dynamics assessment and stepped them through processes that enabled them to: • Gain insights on their innate talents and natural genius and showed them how to play to their strengths and win business using the path of least resistance • Get clear on their business mission and be able to communicate it with ease and on video • Set new 3-month objectives, with specific goals and milestones, whilst holding them accountable to take actions that moved them forward • Design a promotion pathway to deliver their offers to their targeted clients • Acquire new clients and win new business, that made their business more profitable. In three months, participants found a renewed sense of purpose and direction and a successful way of doing business. In a fast-moving world, assimilating learning and change on an ongoing basis leads to success. We would be delighted to hear from you. Call us on 01707 322500 or email penny@corpalc.com





Upcoming Webinars The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce have organised a series of Webinar Events in these challenging times in order to continue supporting our members and non-members, and to provide vital information that businesses may need. With our members and benefit partners we have designed the programme to cover a variety of topics:

Finding Certainty for your Business in Uncertain Times Date: 02/03/21 Time: 10:00 – 10:45 Price: FREE

What’s happening to the pound? Since December it has surged, propelled higher by the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme being conducted apace, whilst the EU extends its lockdowns. Nevertheless, we now have press reports of UK trade to the EU dropping 68% in January.

What is the real situation? How will this affect the pound, and how do we manage the risk inherent when we trade overseas? Join Trevor Charsley and William Hainsworth from AFEX and the Herts Chamber on March 2nd to learn more about of the current economic climate, Brexit fits and starts,

and business strategies for navigating through uncertainty. At this webinar you will: • Obtain clarity on the current economic climate • Learn about ways to protect your bottom line from FX volatility • Understand upcoming risk events to look out for

Selling on Amazon: Migrating from Bricks to Clicks Date: 03/03/21 Time: 10:00 – 11:00 Price: Members £12.50 +VAT Non-Members £17.50 +VAT

Join us on 3rd March for this new webinar all about how to maximise your business when Selling on Amazon, with Chris MacNeil, Managing Director, SellerHelp.net. There is an illusion that to sell on Amazon, one can be ready after a few clicks and some light configuration. However, if selling on Amazon is considered core revenue for your business, then your approach should be planned in an end-to-end fashion as a comprehensive business line. During this webinar, Chris will walk us through some of the key success factors to selling on Amazon and what your business should have ready in advance of considering a migration to Amazon.



He will share some successes and pitfalls that he and his clients have experienced with the Amazon marketplace and answer some of your most pressing questions when considering a migration to Amazon. This webinar is ideal for businesses with a mature, repeatable product they want to sell on Amazon and potentially other marketplaces.


For more information on any event:

01707 502180

bookings@hertschamber.com or www.hertschamber.com

The Benefits of Partnering with Defence There are many ways in which supporting Defence can help your organisation become stronger and more successful. Have you ever considered hiring a Reservist and utilising their extensive transferable skills?

Date: 04/03/21 Time: 15:00 – 16:00 Price: FREE

The Ministry of Defence’s Regional Employer Engagement Director, Kristina Carrington, will discuss how Reserve service delivers worldclass training and development opportunities, benefitting both employer and employee. Military trained personnel are fit, focused and positive, with a can-do attitude. Many have operated in locations and situations that require sound judgement, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, loyalty, integrity and courage. Kristina will introduce the Armed Forces Covenant; a promise from the nation ensuring

that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. Signing this pledge is the first meaningful step employers can take in partnering with Defence. As the relationship progresses, the Ministry of Defence rewards and acknowledges the outstanding support employers offer to the Defence Community. We are honoured to have HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE CStJ, a Vice President of East Anglia Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) and President of the Herts County Forum, joining us.

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 Date: 05/03/21

Sponsored by

Time: 11:30 – 12:30 Price: FREE International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021, taking place on 8th March, is designed to identify, celebrate and increase the visibility of women’s achievements. This year the theme is: “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. It is almost a year since Herts Chamber held our first, highly successful, Women in Leadership Conference at Sopwell House, attended by more than 150 women from across Hertfordshire, representing many different businesses, diverse career paths and at various stages of their journeys. Take an hour out of your busy schedules, grab a coffee and join us on Friday 5th March, in the lead up to IWD 2021, to celebrate the achievements of three Hertfordshire-based inspirational women - all of whom have had very different journeys to success: • Carol Massay, Head of Construction, Access UK • Cheryl Luzet, CEO, Wagada Digital Marketing • Shana Doherty, Founder, Generosity Bank

Speaker details: Carol Massay

Carol has over 30 years’ experience working within construction, and the last 18 years within construction technology. In her earlier years, she worked for a top 10 house builder, she then continued on her journey working with an established Irish based civil engineering and building contractor, where she remained for over 14 years increasing her knowledge of construction and operational processes. For the last five years Carol has headed up the four-times award-winning construction software company EasyBuild (now part of the Access Group.) During this time, she has increased the company’s business growth and market presence, with a great team of staff delivering great customer service and technology to the construction sector.

Cheryl Luzet Cheryl Luzet is CEO of award winning digital marketing agency Wagada, having previously held management roles in the travel industry, publishing and the NHS. She set the agency up in 2011 and now employs 14 digital experts who support clients all across the world. Wagada works with companies looking to grow, that have invested in their website and online presence, but are not getting the leads that they need. Cheryl is passionate about her clients’ success and has enjoyed watching their businesses grow, alongside Wagada. In 2021 Cheryl was recognised as one of the UK’s 100 most inspirational female entrepreneurs by Small Business Britain’s f:Entrepreneur ‘#ialso100’ campaign.

Shana Doherty Shana has held senior digital marketing positions at global advertising agencies, entertainment and AdTech companies over the last 15 years. In January 2021 Shana was named by Small Business Britain’s f:Entreprenuer as one of the UK’s top 100 most inspirational female entrepreneurs.




Upcoming Webinars Virtual Networking Opportunity The next Webinar Event of the series that Herts Chamber have organised, is a networking event in order to continue supporting our members and non-members in these challenging times. Join us for an hour on Wednesday 10th March at 11am and enjoy the powers of networking, providing the chance to meet with a variety of different business people in an informal atmosphere, to listen and share experiences whilst working remotely. We will also hear a short presentation from one of the Chamber Benefit partners. Steve Charles, Head of Business Partnerships, Quest, will provide information regarding their services and products.

Date: 10/03/21 Time: 11:00 – 12:15 Price: Members FREE Non-Members £15.00 +VAT

This will be followed by a full hour of networking, providing each participant with the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.

N.B. Any non-member attending this meeting who subsequently signs up for Chamber membership within one week (i.e. by 17/03/2021) will receive a full refund of the cost of attending this webinar.

EU Transition: Supply Chain and Imports Date: 11/03/21 Time: 15:00 – 16:00 Price: FREE

Herts Chamber, in partnership with Hertfordshire Growth Hub, planned a series of four webinars, providing an overview of many critical aspects of the EU Transition agreement. These events are designed to assist Hertfordshire-based businesses through this period of change and provide the opportunity to question the experts on these topics.



Speakers include: • Nauzar Manekshaw, Managing Director, Branduin Business Support Following the presentations there will be a panel session to allow participants to ask questions. In addition to the speakers, this will include: • Janet De-Havilland, Managing Director, Pendragon Consultancy Ltd

The final webinar in this series will look at inventory/supply chain planning, including simplified import procedures that will be in effect until 30 June 2021.

• Ana Duta, Team Leader, Customer Services and Export, Bowman Ingredients

Please register your interest on the Herts Growth Hub website

• Joe Tyler, Senior Trading Standards Officer, Hertfordshire County Council

• Anton Rudgalvis, EU Transition Adviser, Hertfordshire Growth Hub


For more information on any event:

01707 502180

bookings@hertschamber.com or www.hertschamber.com

Hertfordshire PA Club Date: 12/03/21 Time: 12:00 – 13:00 Price: Members FREE

Non-Members £10.00 +VAT

The Hertfordshire PA Club is a free benefit designed specifically for Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants, to enable you to share your ideas and thoughts with other likeminded colleagues. We are delighted to have Joanna Shurety, Director and Health Coach at Shurety Coaching, speaking at this event. Quite often in life we have to juggle multiple priorities, and at the moment this is more pressured for many. In this session, we will focus on how you can really identify the areas of self-care to focus on – after all, if you are rested, energised and focused you are more likely to be able to cope with the ever-changing demands. We will take part in a fun challenge to nail down what is relevant and most pressing for you, so that you can fit some small but

effective activities and habits into your day – regardless of how much time or effort you can give to it! Joanna spent the first 15 years of her career in HR, across a number of sectors and size organisations, progressing to leadership roles. This varied career gave her first-hand experience of the importance of both mental and physical resilience and the impact on performance, creativity, attrition and absence. Finding her own passion and path to good health led Joanna to re-train and become a qualified accredited (UKHCA) Health Coach and Nutritional Therapist in March 2017. The presentation from Joanna will be followed by a short networking session to allow PAs and EAs to meet in small groups and exchange news & ideas.

Virtual Networking Opportunity Join us on Wednesday 14th April at 11am and enjoy the powers of networking, providing the chance to meet with a variety of different business people in an informal atmosphere, to listen and share experiences whilst working remotely. We will also hear a short presentation from one of the Chamber Benefit partners. Simon Wilson, Senior Business Development Manager, AXA Health, will provide information regarding their healthcare plans. This will be followed by a full hour of networking, providing each participant with the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.

Date: 14/04/21 Time: 11:00 – 12:15 Price: Members FREE Non-Members £15.00 +VAT

N.B. Any non-member attending this meeting who subsequently signs up for Chamber membership within one week (i.e. by 23/04/2021) will receive a full refund of the cost of attending this webinar.




Upcoming Webinars Move, Nourish and Restore:

About Chris Penn

Helping sustain you and your business Date: 22/04/2021 Time: 11:00 – 12:00 Price: FREE There is an ever-growing requirement for us all to become more sustainable, both at home and at work. In recognition of this, the Council has teamed up with Birch Communities and the Herts Chamber of Commerce to encourage Broxbourne businesses to think of the environment when making plans for the future.

Birch is the new escape from urban living, set in 55 acres of nature, based on our doorstep in Cheshunt. Chris Penn, co-founder of Birch will share his vision for making visitors feel energised and inspired. He will explain the purpose behind the brand, founded on the simple and honest premise of caring, and laying the foundations for a new beginning in hospitality. Chris will be joined by Jeff Stack, Chief Executive of Broxbourne Borough Council who will talk about the sustainable travel plans for Broxbourne, including a new network of cycle paths. Further guest speakers to be announced.

Chris is an experienced hotelier, who has spent 22 years building independent experiences in the hotel industry. For many years, Chris’ personal lifestyle was a stark contrast to the products and experiences that were being delivered in the hotel industry, despite the world around him becoming more aware of mental and physical wellbeing and life balance. So, after finding that humanity, people and culture could create success when working with the amazing founders of Ace Hotels, Chris decided that it was time to revolutionise hotel experiences in his own way. And alongside co-founder Chris King, created Birch.

MHFA England Mental Health Aware Masterclass

Date: 07/05/2021

Please note bookings for this Masterclass close on 23rd April.

Time: 09:00 – 13:00 Price: Members £75.00 +VAT Non Members £95.00 +VAT

The Mental Health First Aid England half day online course is an introductory four hour session to raise awareness of mental health. It is designed to give you: • An understanding of what mental health is and how to challenge stigma • A basic knowledge of some common mental health issues • An introduction to looking after your own mental health and maintaining wellbeing • Confidence to support someone in distress or who may be experiencing a mental health issue

What to expect

Learning takes place through a mix of presentations, group discussions and workshop activities. Everyone who completes the course gets: • A manual to refer to whenever you need it • A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your own mental health • A certificate of attendance to say you are Mental Health Aware

Course Outline

What is mental health? • Mental Health Continuum • Factors which affect mental health • Stigma • Stress and stress management • Spotting signs of distress Mental health conditions: • Depression • Anxiety disorders • Psychosis • Eating disorders • Suicide • Self-harm Recovery • Take 10 Together - starting a supportive conversation • Supporting mental health in the workplace • Useful statistics • Helpful resources The course is delivered by Mind Fitness Training who are Mental Health First Aid England instructor members.

Instructor details: Andy Barker is a coach, trainer and author with a background in senior corporate management. Andy co-created Mind Fitness Learning, a unique company that specialises in Mental Health, Wellbeing and Personal Effectiveness training.



Be a part of the 2021 celebrations by taking up one of these excellent sponsorship opportunities! Showcase your business to over 400 people in attendance from a variety of Hertfordshire based businesses



9th September 2021

Bar Sponsorship £3,000 +VAT Included in the bar sponsorship package is: Your logo printed on the staff members aprons/tshirts Your logo will appear in a large banner next to the bar Provide a small amount of collateral to place on the bar Inclusion in the programme placed on the tables

Table Sponsorship £1,500 +VAT Included in the table setting sponsorship package is: Your logo on the name place cards Hang a tag on the candelabra Feature in the menu A small gift or item of collateral to place amongst the table pieces Inclusion in the programme placed on the tables

AV Sponsorship £2,000 +VAT You will gain excellent recognition through sponsoring the audio visual aspect of the evening. Included in the AV sponsorship package is: Your logo will appear intermittently on the screens throughout the event Inclusion in the programme placed on the tables


Street Market Kitchen and Copleys Food

Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire Pharmaron UK

Hoddesdon site regeneration provides boost for local firms. Pharmaron’s Hoddesdon site has seen plenty of activity since the company bought it from Merck Sharpe & Dohme in 2017. The acquisition provided the ideal opportunity for Pharmaron to develop its integrated drug discovery and CMC (Chemistry Manufacturing and Control) collaborations – in short, taking a drug molecule and working out the most effective ways of conducting research and development on it so it can eventually be brought onto the commercial market. With many of these projects undertaken with other partners, Pharmaron has made efforts to forge links in the local business community and build an infrastructure on site that would attract people to come and work there. The original corporate catering contract was operated by the former site owner and subsequently determined that it was no longer meeting needs, so set about building connections with local companies in a bid to launch a new and different restaurant service on the site. Rob Stone, Pharmaron’s Engineering and Facilities Director (UK), explains: “Following leads from the Herts Chamber, we got in touch with Dave Cordell, who owns the highly successful Smokeshed Bar & Grill in Hoddesdon. He said he’d be very interested in running our restaurant service but would need time to set up. Through another contact provided, we organised for Fiona Copley of Copleys Food & Events to run an interim takeaway cafe service. “We also used this period to give the restaurant a makeover, refurbishing the seating areas and looking at the layout to see how we could make it more efficient and also enhance our Covid-19 compliance.”



The new restaurant service is expected to be operational in March. It will be run by Dave Cordell and Claudio Fattore, a former Executive Head Chef from contract catering specialist Bartlett Mitchell, under a new venture called Street Market Kitchen Ltd. The service will benefit Pharmaron’s 200 plus Hoddesdon-based staff, as well as contractors and visitors to the site. The site is currently undergoing major expansion, which will create over 100 jobs, in addition to the plans to create business incubation labs. Rob says: “The expansion of the site means that we need to make improvements to the surrounding infrastructure – and the new restaurant service is part of that plan It brings an added benefit to working here. It’s also good for Dave as he will be able to promote Smokeshed’s brand and services to people at the site. “We’re working on some exciting projects, creating more highly qualified roles and being in Hoddesdon means we’re well connected to London, Oxford and Cambridge.

“The expansion of the site means that we need to make improvements to the surrounding infrastructure – and the new restaurant service is part of that plan.”

“We may be a company with a global reach but we’re very much part of the community here in Hoddesdon – as our work with Smokeshed and Copleys Food & Events testifies. It’s good to generate business locally and that’s why we support the Chamber’s Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire campaign.” Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce launched the campaign earlier this year to create new connections and support for local firms as they battle through the coronavirus crisis. It will encourage people and businesses to “buy local” and promote job opportunities and apprenticeships in the area. Supply chain and “meet the buyer” events will also be part of the initiative, which will showcase the very best of Hertfordshire’s professional services and facilitate new connections between local firms via a new web-based platform.

For more information, e-mail editorial@hertschamber.com #LetsKeeptheHeartinHerts

Fiona Copley and colleague Sara from Copleys Food, at work in the site café


The Russell Building at Rothamsted Enterprises, in Harpenden, has been newly refurbished to provide muchneeded business office and hotdesking space for highgrowth agri-tech SMEs across agriculture, innovation and technology. The historic red-brick building, which had lain empty since 2014, has been transformed with the support of the Lawes Agricultural Trust and Rothamsted Enterprises, and the help of a £1.7m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Herts Innovation Quarter (Herts IQ), focused on boosting agri-tech growth in the county. The increase in workspace capacity will enable a greater number of companies to take advantage of the tax breaks, free business support and collaboration opportunities offered by Herts IQ with innovation partners Lawes Agricultural Trust and Rothamsted Enterprises. The investment has breathed new life into the building, bringing forward modern, multi-use spaces, including 22 offices of various sizes, from 200ft2 to over 1,200ft2, a hot-desk hub for flexible working, and an open plan innovation space where entrepreneurs can meet and collaborate before prototyping their ideas and testing on-site. JPA Workspaces, based a few miles down the road in nearby St Albans, has assisted with the design and furnishing of the impressive expansive hot-desking hub and reception areas. Additionally, they have worked closely with

this project which has delivered measurable local impact and value for all parties,” says Graham Pulsford, the Managing Director of JPA, “and we look forward to building our working relationship with the team at Rothamsted Enterprises, it has been a pleasure”.

Sustainability Focused Partnership between JPA Workspaces and Rothamsted Enterprises on the Newly Refurbished Russell Building Rothamsted Enterprises to furnish a show office so that prospective tenants can get a real flavour for the spaces, with contemporary, heightadjustable desks, wireless charging and plenty of desktop power, to help attract and inspire prospective tenants. Sustainability is central to the project and is reflected right through to the furnishings. Timber-based products supplied by JPA are from sustainable sources, recyclable at end of life, and accompanied by lengthy warranties. JPA’s furniture installation was zero waste and carbon neutral, contributing to Hertfordshire’s drive for sustainable growth. With a heavy emphasis on design for wellbeing across the entire refurbishment, the scheme

provides a working illustration of versatile, future-proofed office and collaboration spaces designed to enhance the user experience, mental health and engagement. Furniture packages are also available to rent, lease or purchase outright from JPA, tailored to budget, design and individual tenant requirements. JPA maintain and support all furniture items installed inclusively within their service package so that all areas can be kept operational 24/7 or as required, ensuring the best longterm return on investment and value over the total cost of life. “We are delighted to have been able to showcase the benefits of working with local partners for

“We’re delighted that this iconic building is now back in use as a hub for agri-tech businesses and it has been great to work with local business, JPA, who have delivered a carbon-neutral, zero-waste furniture installation for us,” said Nicole Sadd, CEO, Rothamsted Enterprises. “We very much look forward to welcoming lots of innovative businesses to the Rothamsted ecosystem.” Cherie Norris, Herts IQ Enterprise Zone Manager at Hertfordshire LEP said: “As the original birthplace of agricultural science in the UK, we’re pleased that the Russell Building will once again be home to the next generation of agri-tech and foodtech innovators. Our investment will support more businesses to join Herts IQ and take advantage of the world-class expertise available at Rothamsted Research, and we’re delighted to support their future success in Hertfordshire.” Businesses in agri-tech, agrifood, climate change, farming, agricultural science and research looking for new office premises in Hertfordshire should contact Claire Wolstencroft email info@rothamstedenterprises.com Businesses looking to partner with a sustainable furniture/ workspace supplier should contact JPA Workspaces email hello@jpa-workspaces.com

Heart Hertfordshire launches the Tech Appeal With Croft Communications Radio station, Heart Hertfordshire, and cutting-edge business communications service provider, Croft Communications, have today launched their Tech Appeal. The initiative aims to combat digital poverty and enable better access to an online education for children across Hertfordshire through the donation of surplus tech equipment. According to research by the University of Cambridge, only 51% of households earning between £6,000 and £10,000 have household internet access, compared to 99% of households with an income over £40,001. With current school closures, children up and down the country have struggled to gain access to sufficient virtual education.

The Tech Appeal has been launched in response to this, with Heart and Croft Communications encouraging local businesses across the county to donate working laptops, desktops and tablets that are surplus to requirements to the cause. These will then be passed on to families who need extra support for home learning.

school-aged children having to homeschool. We’re proud to be working alongside Heart on this great initiative to ensure children across the county can continue with their education.”

Croft Communications has also offered to supply free mobile broadband to up to 100 families for the remainder of the school year, to ensure an access to education.

Station Director of Heart, Debbie Chadwick, said: “Heart Hertfordshire has always supported its local community. These last 12 months have been difficult for everyone and for those already struggling, the latest restrictions have compounded that struggle. Education is a key part of a child’s development, so to help build towards their future is a true privilege. I am thankful to Croft Communications for their compassion and generosity in supporting the Tech Appeal.”

Mark Bramley, CEO of Croft Communications, said; “Croft Communications is proud to have its roots in Hertfordshire. We’ve been headquartered in Hertford since our inception 15 years ago, so we jumped at the chance to give something back to the community. It’s been an extremely challenging start to the year, especially for families with

The Tech Appeal launches on air and online this week and businesses can go online to Heart.co.uk/Hertfordshire to donate.

The Tech Appeal runs for four weeks.




Foundation unlocks

Hertfordshire’s entrepreneurial spirit Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has been representing businesses in the county since 1924. The organisation sits at the heart of the community, working with businesses of all sizes and representing all sectors. One of the ways in which the Chamber supports the business community is through its Entrepreneur Foundation – an initiative designed to help talented entrepreneurs start and scale up their business ventures. The Chamber works with these people, offering them training, support and mentoring to ensure their companies have the best chance of thriving and growing. The foundation was established by the Chamber in partnership with several “Founders” – business owners and influential decision-makers with philanthropic desires to give back to the local economy by passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience. One of the Founders was Claire Austin, who runs award-winning Austin’s Family Funeral Directors. Having expanded in recent years, the company now operates ten funeral arrangement offices throughout North and East Hertfordshire and owns Harwood Park Crematorium in Stevenage.

Claire says: “We got involved with the foundation because I’ve always been interested in people with great ideas. I’ve always admired people who have the bottle to go it alone. “We were already a Patron of the Chamber so I was delighted when they approached us to get involved. It’s a fantastic initiative for innovative people who want to start their own venture or take an existing venture in another direction.” It takes all sorts of attributes to become a successful entrepreneur and, according to Claire, resilience is near the top of the list - especially in the uncertain climate we’re all living through at the moment. “You have to accept that you’re going to take a few knocks,” she says. “The road will take a few unexpected twists and turns. The key is not to let it worry you.

“ You also need passion in what you’re doing and an ability to listen to other people who’ve been there and done it. It’s good to surround yourself with people who can offer great support - and the foundation offers this.” 32


“You also need passion in what you’re doing and an ability to listen to other people who’ve been there and done it. It’s good to surround yourself with people who can offer great support – and the foundation offers this. As it has evolved, the foundation has drawn in people from a variety of backgrounds and is now a brilliant support network for entrepreneurs. At the moment we’re having to do a lot of networking via Zoom but there will come a time when face-toface meetings are in vogue again.”


“As well as being good for the entrepreneurs, our involvement with the foundation is a real benefit to our firm. It raises awareness of our brand and gives us an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs who may become stars of the future.” Rina Sond

Also involved with the foundation is Rina Sond of Hertford-based Longmores Solicitors, which was established in 1819 and offers a wide range of business and personal legal services. The commercial work covers areas such as business disputes, employment law, commercial property, rural land, mergers, acquisitions, commercial contracts and intellectual property. Longmores is also a Patron of the Chamber and sees multiple benefits from getting involved with the foundation as a supporter. Rina says: “We’re proud to support early-stage and established businesses. If they flourish, it can really help the local economy.

“Most early-stage businesses don’t have the budgets to pay for legal advice so it’s good that we’re on board to offer some guidance for free. We’ve received enquiries from businesses on issues such as intellectual property, commercial contracts and shareholder agreements for those who’re going into businesses with someone else. “As well as being good for the entrepreneurs, our involvement with the foundation is a real benefit to our firm. It raises awareness of our brand and gives us an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs who may become stars of the future.” Longmores has been able to support local entrepreneurs via online webinars and events during the pandemic.

For more information visit https://www.hertschamber.com/entrepreneur-foundation http://www.austins.co.uk/ https://www.longmores.law/

Rina says: “We presented a webinar on the legal requirements of starting a business and had some great feedback on it. We also ran a session on the employment essentials for businesses looking to take on staff. “The Entrepreneur Foundation is an excellent initiative by the Chamber and we are happy to support it.”

“We’re proud to support early-stage and established businesses. If they flourish, it can really help the local economy.”




Hertfordshire Reports Successful Year for Business Latest statistics show that the number of companies in Hertfordshire grew during 2020 – despite the considerable challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

John Korchak

This total number increased to 117,796, up from 113,106 at the end of 2019, which equates to 4.1% growth. Whilst the total number of businesses grew, there was a fall in terms of new company formations – 14,464 compared to 15,231 in 2019, a decrease of 5%. The statistics are taken from the Inform Direct Review of Company Formations using data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics. Hertsmere formed the highest number of new businesses (2,059), followed by St Albans (1,720) and Dacorum (1,678). John Korchak, Operations Director at Inform Direct said: “These figures demonstrate strong growth for the number of registered businesses in Hertfordshire, despite the unprecedented uncertainties brought by COVID-19. “The slight fall in new company formations underlines how challenging 2020 was for business, resulting in a less conducive environment for entrepreneurs.” However, many counties fared better, resulting in the UK as a whole seeing a record-breaking 780,766 new businesses, compared to 690,763 in 2019. The overall number of UK companies also continued to grow to 4,837,426, an 8.2% increase on the total of 4,471,008 at the end of 2019. The number of company dissolutions across the UK – 418,427 during 2020 – was the lowest since 2015. It remains open to debate whether this positive trend will last, especially when Government support for businesses is withdrawn. New enterprises set up during the pandemic might also be short-lived, as people return to full-time employment or struggle to take the business to the next level.

“These figures demonstrate strong growth for the number of registered businesses in Hertfordshire, despite the unprecedented uncertainties brought by COVID-19.”

To see a more detailed picture of company formations in Hertfordshire – including a full local breakdown, visit: https://www.informdirect.co.uk/company-formations-2020/hertfordshire/ To see the report in full visit: https://www.informdirect.co.uk/company-formations-2020/ INFORM DIRECT is a company secretarial and formation specialist. Its award-winning company secretarial and formations software currently supports more than 175,000 UK companies.




Ensuring the lights never go out on our local public services and businesses There are some facilities that cannot reduce their operations while a global pandemic takes hold. For such organisations, their work becomes more vital than ever, where focus is on the unrelenting performance of their round their clock critical services. While all hands are to the pump, for these organisations it is more important than ever that attention is also given to ensuring their facility’s power availability and that there is a reliable source of supply to support their necessary 24/7 procedures. Over the past year, Prism Power has continued to operate its factory in Watford to fulfil several critical power projects and cover maintenance work for such facilities that are essential to fighting against the knockon impacts of Covid-19. Covering sectors including healthcare, the police service, laboratories and IT, these organisations

Watford MP Dean Russell on his visit to Prism Power Group with Managing Director, Keith Hall

have kept the UK out of danger over the last year, by upscaling local public services, conducting scientific research, and providing the necessary IT infrastructure to allow millions of businesses to adapt to their staff working from the safety of their homes. Prism Power Group prides itself on supporting the amazing work its clients do by providing them with the necessary power infrastructure to support their important work. While 2020 marked its 15th anniversary as a global supplier of Switchgear and Critical Power Solutions, the company remains deeply rooted in the local area where it was founded and fervently committed to supporting local businesses


and services, particularly during this time of crisis. Not only to fulfil client requirements, but to also continue supporting the local younger generation, who are endeavouring to forge themselves careers at a time of extreme uncertainty, by welcoming their next cohort of aspiring electrical and mechanical engineering apprentices. While we are currently living in challenging times, Prism Power Group is keen to drive a positive and proactive approach through to 2021 and to continue to support the infrastructure of the local economy by bringing world class power solutions and services to our valued local public services and businesses.

Switchgear from standard panel boards up to 6300A distribution systems Critical systems for uninterruptable power including containerised modular solutions Intelligent solutions for real-time remote monitoring and energy management Aftercare and maintenance, including site surveys and emergency response We cover all industries from schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, retail, to blue-clip multinationals. Whatever the size, budget, or complexity of your needs, you can be assured of a best-fit professional installation that will deliver ultimate quality, performance and longevity with the option of on-going service support from our experienced local engineers.

Contact us to discuss any power requirement on: 01923 296 700 | sales@prismpower.co.uk | www.prismpower.co.uk




Communication is

key to good management Taylor Deakyne Head of Boston Enterprise Solutions Group

It’s an old adage that still rings true today. A company is only as good as the staff who work there, so it makes sense to invest in them to ensure they’re as happy and productive as possible.

‘The COVID-19 crisis has made management and leadership so much more challenging, with many offices out of bounds, workers doing their day jobs from the comfort of their own home and some wondering if they’ll be needed once the furlough scheme ends.’

This business philosophy gets the backing of Taylor Deakyne, who heads up the enterprise solutions division of cutting-edge technology provider Boston. Leading a team of five staff who serve small firms and global companies alike, Taylor believes that if you don’t get the people side of the company right, the business will struggle. He says: “It’s the employees who drive the identity of the company and give it a sense of belonging. Managers who value staff and give them a sense of belonging are the ones who tend to be respected. If you’re a manager, you need that respect if you want your staff to really go the extra mile for you.” The COVID-19 crisis has made management and leadership so much more challenging, with many offices out of bounds, workers doing their day jobs from the comfort of their own home and some wondering if they’ll be needed once the furlough scheme ends. “Some people have been struggling personally and professional in the current situation,” says Taylor. “They’ve had to converse via Zoom instead of having an informal chat with their colleagues in the office. It’s important to keep in touch regularly – more so when people are working remotely. I have one-to-ones three times a week with my team and I build social time into the calendar; we have a happy half hour on Zoom every week so people can chat about anything but work.

“We also have a ten-minute check-in in the morning. I use this time to get my team focused on the day ahead; I like to give them a little nugget for the day, an inspirational quote or something positive that I’ve heard in the news.” Taylor is an entrepreneurial sales and business leader with more than 12 years’ experience in the field, with a particular specialism in creating and executing sales strategies for technology companies. This experience made him the ideal candidate for the Boston job, which he took up in March last year. The St Albans-based enterprise solutions division delivers enterprise software, hardware and managed services and Taylor’s team helps customers discover the wonders of new cuttingedge technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning. Taylor says: “We provide software solutions for life sciences, universities and research organisations so they can learn more about these technologies and the way they can be applied in the real world. These technologies are becoming a major factor in our lives, influencing the way we work, shop, buy, sell and communicate. “We also focus on data management, helping organisations to create value from the information they have at their disposal. Analysing huge amounts of data can improve the efficiency of large organisations and create opportunities to take a concept to market.”

Taylor Deakyne is a guest speaker at the ICT/AI Sector Summit on 18th March 2021. For further information regarding this event please visit www.my.hertschamber.com/events INSPIRE



Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate splendour offers perfect getaway for business customers

Rear Lawn - Down Hall

For those seeking a luxury venue to host that all-important business conference, or just to unwind from the stresses and strains of everyday life, look no further than Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate.

Hotel Reception

Liddell Suite - Bedroom

Oxford - Meeting Room

Bridgeman Suite – Function Room

“The venue offers the perfect getaway for guests, who can take a relaxing stroll around the manicured gardens or a refreshing walk through the forest.”

Situated in a sprawling 110-acre estate near the quaint market town of Bishop’s Stortford, Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate oozes quality and its 98 bedrooms are all individually designed to reflect the grandeur, elegance and character of this historic property. Although it is well connected to local transport routes, the venue offers the perfect getaway for guests, who can take a relaxing stroll around the manicured gardens or a refreshing walk through the forest. They can even test their skills on a giant chess set or indulge in a game of old-fashioned English croquet. For those who require a more formal setting to host business events and meetings, Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate has fourteen private dining and meeting spaces, ranging from intimate boardroom space to larger function space for up to 200 guests. There are four private rooms within the Mansion House, each with high ceilings, plenty of natural light and kitted out with the latest audio-visual equipment. A further ten private rooms sit within the west wing of the hotel, including the Bridgeman/Selwin Suite,



Rear Hotel - Reflection

a ballroom that can cater for 180 people in a banqueting setup or 200 in a theatre-style set-up, and the Oxford Belcamp which can accommodate up to 110 guests. Teambuilding events can be created and tailored to specific requirements. In addition, Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate can host a variety of large-scale events. In recent years these have included an outdoor concert with 2,500 attendees, a fireworks display, a “pop-up” traditional English pub scene within the grounds, and a car show with more than 200 luxury vehicles displayed on the lawns. Ken Flockhart, general manager of Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate, says: “At the moment we are closed due to COVID-19 but when we are allowed to open we have a lot to offer. We’ve kept active in the current lockdown and have already put together a menu of post-lockdown offers for guests and visitors, many of whom are from the local business community. “Things might be tough at the moment but we’ll get back to some normality eventually. When that happens, we’ll continue to provide a luxury hotel experience but in a COVID-secure way.”



Teambuilding with a purpose Hatfield House is the ideal setting for business meetings, indoor & outdoor events, conferencing, private celebrations & weddings. The venue has worked hard to implement a Safe Space Guide which has given clients confidence to book meetings, events & weddings in a COVID secure environment while maintaining a unique & memorable experience. Bonnie Taylor, regional development manager for RA Venues at Hatfield House, says: “We believe that this is a fantastic added-value offer for our corporate clients. It enables them to explore our rich heritage and culture and then incorporate elements of this into their own business.

Historical Hatfield has a lot to offer businesses, with its Riding School Conference Centre widely recognised as a quality modern space for meetings and corporate events. There’s also the Old Palace, which can be used for larger events such as big exhibitions, corporate dining and large conferences that tap into the venue’s rich history. Hatfield is always on the look-out for innovative ways to attract new customers and is about to launch a new corporate product, Teambuilding with a Purpose. The initiative is designed to be a thoughtprovoking engagement and leadership development activity that uses the unique historical environment within Hatfield to inspire facilitated discussion on the topics of leadership, innovation, culture and communication.

“The concept behind the idea is that they split into small teams and use the structured activity to explore the grounds of Hatfield, taking note of attractions such as the magnificent Renaissance water sculpture designed by renowned British sculptor, Angela Conner. The sculpture is a visual representation of innovation with its sleek modern design against the backdrop of the historic Hatfield House. This is therefore an inspiring environment to answer some thought provoking questions and encourage discussions around innovation within their own company. For example, why is innovation so important to success and what key behaviours drive an innovative culture?

“Also in our grounds is the oak tree where Queen Elizabeth I, one of the world’s great leaders, sat when she discovered she was to gain accession to the throne in 1558. This is where the group sit to reflect on the notion of leadership within their company and engage in set discussions such as what sort of attributes make a great leader. “Teambuilding with a Purpose can help to give companies a unique & safe way to re-engage with their staff within a outdoor, stimulating experience and at the same time provoke discussion around key themes essential to business success. Its a great way to generate new ideas, identify business challenges and celebrate best practice.” Team Building with a Purpose is available to all corporate clients and included within our Day Delegate packages. While the activity typically takes 1.5 hours to complete and has set content, we can design a bespoke version on request. Hatfield House is located just a short distance from central London but offers all of the advantages and qualities of a stunning country venue. For more information visit www.hatfieldhousehospitality.co.uk

“Teambuilding with a Purpose can help to give companies a unique & safe way to re-engage with their staff within a outdoor, stimulating experience and at the same time provoke discussion around key themes essential to business success. Its a great way to generate new ideas, identify business challenges and celebrate best practice.” INSPIRE




www.smallfordfarmshop.com • Hatfield Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL4 0HE Follow us @SmallfordFShop • info@smallfordfarmshop.com OPEN: TUE-SAT 9am-4pm and SUN 10am-4pm


Branduin deliver Herts Chamber’s

PEER NETWORKS PROGRAMME Branduin Business Support joined Herts Chamber as a Benefit Partner and Platinum Member in late 2019 with a view to providing services similar to those delivered over the previous ten years across London & SE England via workshops, webinars, business sprints and 1:1 sessions. One of the reasons Branduin joined Herts Chamber was the Chamber’s outstanding reputation for supporting their members through breakfast/lunch talks, seminars and conferences with a wide variety of partners and Herts based businesses: events going into early 2020 were very successful and the opportunity to provide support through quality assured Branduin advisers was high on the agenda of both Branduin and the Chamber. Then came Covid-19…if ever there was a reason to be a member of Herts Chamber this was it! Who was to know that only a few months later the pandemic would take a grip over business activity and change the business support landscape so dramatically?

The commitment by the Chamber team to arrange events – now over the internet rather than face-to-face – was second to none and Branduin were delighted to participate in providing content for webinars and confidential 1:1 business clinics that were an integral part of the effort being made by the Chamber CEO Briege Leahy and her fantastic team. In the autumn of 2020 came news that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy were sponsoring a major national business support programme known as Peer Networks. The Growth Hub and LEP awarded the contract to Herts Chamber, who subsequently appointed Branduin as the Delivery Partner to facilitate the

programme from October 2020 to March 2021. Within a few weeks we quickly onboarded 100+ businesses with dedicated assistance from Herts Chamber, and our experienced and trained Branduin Facilitators hit the ground running in late-Oct. In all, ten cohorts of businesses joined the programme for a series of Action Learning group meetings plus 3.5 hours of individual 1:1 advice sessions. The feedback received to date is very positive and participating businesses have clearly benefited from the support and advice provided by Branduin advisors who facilitated and delivered the programme. Nigel Grant, Branduin’s Hertfordshire Regional Co-Ordinator said ‘Whilst the circumstances were unusual, we were able to show how we had quickly pivoted our forms of delivery to online so that the knowledge and experience of our facilitators came through for the benefit of all concerned. It has been a pleasure working with Herts Chamber on this and other programmes during 2020/21.’

In addition to the above, Branduin also have two key products in GOALMapper™ – a Business Recovery and Regeneration Programme, and Fit To Bid™ – which helps SMEs to Win More Contracts by developing their supply-chain capability, enhancing bidding skills, and connecting with Tier-1 & Tier-2 Suppliers, Local Authorities, infrastructure projects and transit hubs.

Further details can be found at www.branduin.co.uk INSPIRE



Dedicated support helps charity get in shape for the future As the central point of access for business support in the county, Hertfordshire Growth hub, powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, worked closely with ASCEND to help them overcome barriers to growth and plan for success. THE CHALLENGE

“This has been a great experience and I’m so glad I approached Hertfordshire Growth Hub. Kieran has been a huge support and is always ready to give great advice.” Christine Wyard, CEO, ASCEND

ASCEND is a Watford-based charity that provides disadvantaged communities with support, skills training and careers guidance. In June 2019, the CEO approached Hertfordshire Growth Hub for help with marketing that could help diversify the charity’s funding sources and plan for the future.


Having extensive experience of the unique challenges faced by the third sector, the Growth Hub worked closely with ASCEND to explore all aspects of their business – thanks to fully-funded support via their Get Growing 2 programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Working closely with a Growth Account Manager, they identified a need for ASCEND to create a formal business plan, improve their

website and social media, and put in place a more sustainable structure so the CEO could plan for the future needs of the organisation with confidence. The Growth Hub also provided specialist workshops, facilitated staff training, carried out in-depth research for funding opportunities, and put them in touch with other specialist third-sector support providers.

THE RESULTS ASCEND took the advice on board, improving their digital presence, securing new funding and contracts, and creating a clear, simple business plan. As a result, the organisation has been able to support more local people throughout the challenges of the Covid pandemic and is now in robust shape for the future.

Grow your business with hertsgrowthhub.com


The Battle for Balance

First Book published by Herts Business Mentor and Coach - Take ownership of your life – how to align your wellbeing, work and world The Battle for Balance, published by Rethink Press, deals with key issues such as stress, motivation and resilience and, more than anything, encourages individuals to consider how they are living in today’s world.

Hertfordshire-based business mentor and coach, Simon Shepard, has produced a book to help individuals take ownership of the way they interact with multiple aspects of life – at work, at home and in the community.



Simon Shepard is a Chartered Physiotherapist by profession whose work aims to provide energy and engagement to people; focus and purpose to teams; and resilience and engagement for organisations. He started his career at Lord’s cricket ground in 1991 and has over 25 years’ experience as Head of Health & Performance for Middlesex County Cricket Club and Marylebone Cricket Club. Over the past decade, he has complemented

his work in sport by working with a businesses that span multiple sectors and locations. Simon Shepard, author of The Battle for Balance, said: “This isn’t another self-help book that offers a template for how best to live your life. Instead, it uses a combination of objective data, anecdotes and commentary to encourage individuals to think about themselves and take ownership of their actions. It seems that too many people allow the white noise of today’s world to dominate their life and they forget about forging a relationship with themselves. I started writing this book a month before the onset of COVID-19, but the way the past year has unfolded,

it is perhaps even more pertinent now. With the pandemic taking away so much normality for so many, I hope The Battle for Balance will encourage people to get creative and take greater control of how they are living their lives.” The Battle for Balance is out in March 2021, available from Amazon and other online book retailers.

Understanding VAT for importing goods to the UK post Brexit Since 1 January 2021, we have been dealing with many client enquiries involving the new VAT arrangements, both for UK businesses importing goods from the EU, and EU businesses selling goods to UK customers. n Robert


Partner at Wilder Coe Chartered Accountants

---------------------------------------Import VAT

From 1 January, goods imported from the EU into Great Britain are subject to import VAT and customs declarations. As far as VAT is concerned, there is no longer any difference for goods imported from an EU or non-EU country. UK businesses will not be disadvantaged by competition from VAT-free imports.

Accounting for import VAT Good news! For UK VAT-registered businesses, the Government have introduced a postponed accounting system. For all imports, (both from the EU and non-EU), VAT does not need to be paid on arrival of the goods. Instead, the VAT is accounted for on the next VAT return, at the same time as the input VAT is claimed. Postponed accounting will improve the cash flow position of businesses that import goods from non-EU countries. Previously, businesses would have to pay import VAT on arrival and potentially wait to claim input VAT on a VAT return, up to three months later. If the business is either not registered for VAT or chooses to deregister any goods imported from the EU will now be subject to import VAT at the time of arrival and will not be able to be reclaimed. This will result in an additional cost for the business which it may or may not be able to pass on to its customers.

Low value goods - business to consumer From 1 January goods imported from outside the UK in consignments not exceeding £135 in value (equivalent to 150 Euros) will be subject to supply VAT rather than import VAT as described above. These new arrangements also involve the abolition of the Low Value Consignment Relief which relieved import VAT on consignments of goods valued at £15 or less.

UK VAT-registered businesses who provide their VAT number, either to the direct seller or the OMP, will take over the responsibility to account for VAT through a reverse charge procedure on their VAT return. The direct seller or OMP would then no longer be liable to account for the VAT. For non-VAT registered businesses or those unable to supply a VAT number to the seller when the goods are purchased, the seller must then treat the sale as a sale to a consumer as described above.

Therefore for most consignments not exceeding £135 in value, instead of VAT being collected at importation or delivery to the customer, VAT will be accounted for at the point of sale.

Who should register for VAT in the UK?

Non-UK businesses that sell low-value goods directly to UK customers, where the goods are outside the UK at the point of sale, will now need to register for VAT in the UK. The non-UK business will be responsible for charging and accounting for the VAT to HM Revenue & Customs.

The distance selling threshold for sales from EU member states no longer applies.

Where businesses sell goods not directly to customers, but through an online marketplace (OMP), the OMP involved in facilitating the sale will be responsible for collecting and accounting for the VAT.

Low value goods - business to business Business to business sales (not exceeding the £135 consignment value) are also subject to these new rules.

You must register for VAT if you sell goods directly to UK consumers and the goods are outside the UK at the point of sale.

For businesses established outside the UK, there is no VAT threshold. You must register for VAT on any value of sales if you are liable for VAT under these new measures.

What to do next? There are many cross-border VAT changes now that the Brexit transition period has ended. With these new measures, we advise that you speak to a VAT expert to ensure your business remains compliant with the changes.

Get in touch with Robert Bradman and the team at Wilder Coe for advice on VAT. You can call us on 01438 758 100 or email us to arrange a no-obligation consultation at info@wildercoe.co.uk



The carbon Make your home office greener benefit hidden in our clothing ENVIRONMENT TOP TIPS


While many are now quite used to working from home, there are still things you can do to make your office environment greener. needed to make new items. If you are buying new electronics, go for one with the best energy rating. https://www.wasteaware.org.uk/reuse

6 Clean your windows! Seriously… this will maximise the natural daylight There are lots ways you can reaching your of office reduce your waste. space, with organisation’s knock on benefits to your Ourmental top and tips are: physical health compared toevents, artificialconsider lights. 10-15 minutes in 1. For a magnetic sunshine releases / pin badge or lanyardendorphins, rather than the happy hormones, so as think what branded goods, these area whole day by the window willifdo! Natural light helps easier to replace a name/ logo reduce eye strain, fatigue, stress and can changes. improve your sleep. For other tips check 2. Buy work related apparel from ethical / HSE guide to safe home working. sustainable brands. If you’re not near The to a premium window, you can paid often alsoto means use mirrors reflectbetter light quality, where you socan, theyor last longer and you need tocoloured work in rooms with light buy less.And Ethical has walls. youConsumer won’t need thea light on so listmuch! of howBut suppliers measure up. out the make sure you turn lights when you leave your work room.

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For a business wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, textiles may seem an odd place to focus. We generally hear about the three big areas that affect climate change –With energy, and food. hometransport working set to continue, However, the textiles industry beyond lockdown for some, here are is responsible for WasteAware, 10% of global some top tips from the carbon emissions. This meansfor the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership, clothes that home we buy contributes making your working space to more sustainable: climate change more than air and sea travel combined. 1 Put a box or crate next to your office

Frombin. growing and harvesting the raw A quick cheap material, to remind how they’re way to you tomade, to crossing the world to your get from factory to store, to the recycle paper, junk cardboard, impact ofmail, washing them and how they’re drinksof, cans etcitem whileof clothing produced disposed each work. carbon impact across the has ayou lifecycle Find exactlylife what you can recycle whole of aout product’s (the ‘cradle to grave’ at home www.wasteaware.org.uk/ impact). This at: is measured using kilograms RecycleRight. of CO2 eq (or carbon dioxide equivalent), a standard unitreally for measuring carbon footprints. 2 Do you need to print? Home

Why is this relevant to your business? 4 Break time. Many We might familiar officesbeare fuelledwith by greener products and services – but looking inwards to the hot drinks, so make sure your resources usedteabags is another angle to consider. are plastic free.environmentally-friendly Only Changing to more boil as much water as you money and business practices will save needed; not filling the provide a stronger selling proposition when kettle to the top each pitching goods timeyour reduces boiland services to your targettime, audience. energy and water use. Leftovers make

a delicious quick lunch and remember to put

Why any become more sustainable? food waste in your kitchenResearch caddy. shows that once consumers want to be www.wasteaware.org.uk/foodwaste associated with environmental or ethical 5 Go green, literally, byconducted adding plants. products. A recent survey by The oxygen adds fresh to AYTM found thatthey 71%release of millennials areair more your workspace and can reduce airborne likelytoxins to support an environmentally-friendly by 87%, according to NASA. business. Likewise, 86%helps of customers Looking at greenery our brainssay relax they prefer to shop businesses that recycle, and having the at peace that plants offer 74% aids prefer companiesand thatboosts limit the use of concentration moods. Succulents and other easy-care plants pollutants and unnecessary chemicals andwith leafprefer shapes provide ‘fractals’ 67% repeating of shoppers companies that that allow our brain energy. some downtime when we support renewable

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to a green 3.7 ForSwitch businesses, reducing the clothing footprint energy could be asprovider. simple as washing and reusing This helps uniforms after drive someone has left. Did you know demand forthe energy that extending average lifespan of from by renewable clothes just 3 months of active use look at them. Want help caring for them? resources, would lead to a 5-10% reduction in Check out the BBCs guide to Houseplant making an impact carbon, waste and water footprints! Therecare. is also evidence that many consumers While we’re talking nature, a walk on our carbon want guidance on how their individual 4. Consider hosting clothes swap for staff (or and desk break is invaluable – especially printing may not compare to slick office footprint. 2020asaw actions canare help make difference. Whatmachines has been is abeshocking amount if you busy – as athe recalibration sofound now may the time to stop. clients). It is a fun way to extend the life of clothing renewable energy Businesses aremore well-placed towhen help we raise makes us productive return. Invoices, memos etc don’t be byovertake swappingfossil with others. of emissions and waste fromneed bothtothe fuels The average person only consumer awareness understanding Looking for a homeand exercise regime? printed,and just save themstage. as PDFs to avoid wears twofirst thirds of what’s in their production disposal Fast fashion for the time, been doing the 10-minute-workouts accidental changes. you need stationery and, We’ve more importantly, change the way they wardrobe. WasteAware can offer you is making clothing moreIf disposable, with so get on trend. Money supermarket devised byexample, the NHS since the know first lock in your homeand office, look for recycled rails andahangers forchoosing free to geta you consume. For did you that have guide to green energy cheaper prices less durable garments, they’ve keptresidents us slim. throw content or refillable capability. Send used started. Fashion Revolution Week is everydown year,and Hertfordshire supplier. Whether you switch or not, meant to last out the season rather than printer cartridges back using the suppliers 20-26 April 2020. Join in to make it the over 7000 tonnes of textiles into their rubbish make sure that you’ve signed up to years. This accelerates carbon emissions, return envelope or post them to a body largest swap in history. details contact paperless billing for For all suppliers. bins, when they could have been reused, causes global warming and sees like increased printercartridgerecycling.co.uk. WasteAware@hertfordshire.gov.uk If you have the resources, consider repaired or recycled. more textileout waste in landfills. Check www.wasteaware.org.uk/ adding solar panels to your home to 5. Use a guppy bag when washing Reusables generate your own electricity and Here at WasteAware, keeping textiles The fashion industry is now taking steps to catch microfibers shed during check out the Government’s guide to Organising workstation? Keep out the bin is a campaign we are actively to3 move towardsyour a more ethical and the process and stop them Improving energy efficiency. yourself and other home workers safe by championing. It is a three-pronged environmentally friendly supply chain entering the watercourse. checking the HSE guide to safe home approach which you can easily adopt in and production methods, but it won’t 8 Pull the plug. A computer on standby working. Need new kit? Check your garage Recycle: your business and at home: still uses half the energy of when it’s on, change overnight. Wecables, need old to play or loft for ethernet USB our hubs, 6. When are readyoff tobut partstill with a garment, and you items turned plugged in part monitors, in changing the use and consumption connectors etc. If you need • Preventing the purchase of new clothes see if you can donate a energy bill. can contribute 20% itoftoyour of clothing too. WRAP (the Waste extra storage or furniture, look forand second (reduce) Switch off AND charity rather thanunplug send itall to your devices Resources Action Programme) estimates hand. While charity shops remain closed, when not those in use.that Warming yourself up landfi ll. For can’t be there options preloved,around such as that in theare UKstill alone, wefor consume • Keeping clothing in active use for longer rather than space you is used again bythe you, look around into Freecycle, 1.7mFacebook tonnes ofmarketplace, textiles annually, andOlio of and (reuse) cheaper so pop on your bunny rabbit http://www.uniformreuse.co.uk/ eBay. than Not only does ittonnes reduce are waste, it will this more 600,000 sent to onesie, or an extra jumper, socks or less and saves the virgin materials, • Recycling unwearable textiles (recycle) landficost ll oryou incinerated. #RememberYourReusables: Remember, smallyou effort against the fast slippersany before tweak the thermostat. reducing the carbon footprint and resources #RememberYourReusables: fashion trends makes a positive impact on the https://www.rapidformations.co.uk/blog/how-can-your-business-reduce-its-carbon-footprint/ wasteaware.org.uk/reusables #RememberYourReusables: environment! For more see wasteaware.org.uk/reusables https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/news/news-archive/2018/the-carbon-footprint-of-getting-dressed www.wasteaware.org.uk/textiles https://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/02/23/fast-fashion-and-your-carbon-footprin/ wasteaware.org.uk/reusables WasteAwarePartnership #RememberYourReusables:

Keep in touch


WasteAwarePartnership Sign up to our monthly e-bulletin https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/updateme/ #RememberYourReusables: wasteaware.org.uk/reusables HertsWasteAware #HertsWasteAware: #RememberYourReusables: HertsWasteAware WasteAwarePartnership wasteaware.org.uk/reusables WasteAwarePartnership @HertsWasteAware www.wasteaware.org.uk HertsWasteAware wasteaware.org.uk/reusables HertsWasteAware HertsWasteAware WasteAwarePartnership HertsWasteAware HertsWasteAware WasteAwarePartnership INSPIRE HertsWasteAware

HertsWasteAware HertsWasteAware



Will you support your local family carers? We’ve all experienced living in isolation. Imagine this feeling of loneliness and social exclusion every day. This is how many family carers feel. Please consider supporting your local carers by: Due to the pandemic, an estimated 1 in 4 people are now providing unpaid care which increases our caring community in Hertfordshire from 115,000 to 300,000. Caring for a loved one is something many of us take on without a second thought. Yet, many battle depression, exhaustion, and financial worries on their own and often reach breaking point. We provide emotional and practical support for carers to help improve their health and wellbeing. Last year, we redoubled our efforts to reach out to our carers to be there for them during this difficult time. This is why we need support from our local business community.

• • • •

Making us your Charity of the Year Inviting us to present to your company to raise awareness Donating your products or services Volunteering for one of our many roles

“You were a beacon of light in a very dark tunnel. Thank you, Carers in Hertfordshire, for listening to me and for your support.” Penny who cares for her mum. Together we can help more carers, like Penny. Please get in touch with the fundraising team today, we look forward to building a partnership with you.

Liz Alderson and Karen Denny

01992 58 69 69


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Business agility

needed in tough times Ian Taylor, regional director, Hertfordshire and north west London business banking at Barclays. During 2020, businesses have had to adapt to the dynamic and challenging economic environment. Throughout the first lockdown, there was a real focus on survival as companies looked towards crisis management strategies. However, as we have moved through the pandemic we have also observed some positives, and even new opportunities, which have tested both the dexterity and agility of business management teams. These have included finding new markets, pivoting business models to continue to trade within lockdown restrictions, identifying new customers or expanding previously non-core distribution channels. Many businesses have achieved this successfully, but as we continue into 2021, there may be fresh considerations ahead. Some businesses will need to adapt to different rules and regulations following the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period, whilst others will be looking at rebuilding diminished stock levels. For many, they will be looking at the careful management of cashflow and the future building of business resilience following the pandemic.

Looking ahead at the wider economy, there will be large numbers of the population who will have both pent-up desire and the financial ability to spend within the domestic market on home improvements, vehicles or staycations – all of which will be good news for the British economy, as the “multiplier effect” comes back into play. When it comes to Hertfordshire, a key element of the domestic market is that consumers may be more inclined to buy locally and, indeed, shop locally in store when we are able to. Finally, with increasing hopes of a vaccine roll out, this is likely to result in renewed confidence within the wider market and a potential improvement in the UK’s economic recovery over the months ahead. You can stay up to date with all matters from the global economy to Brexit by listening to our Word on the Street podcasts, with regular contributions from our Will Hobbs, chief investment officer for Barclays Wealth Management & Investments. Additionally, Barclays hosts many free educational webinars for businesses and further details can be found on our business banking website: http://barclaysbusinesswebinars.eventbrite.com

“Some businesses will need to adapt to different rules and regulations following the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period, whilst others will be looking at rebuilding diminished stock levels.”




Longmores Promote Alastair Liddiard to Partner This January, Alastair Liddiard has been promoted to Partner within the Private Client team. Alastair joined Longmores in 2012 specialising in wills, trusts, tax planning, probate and powers of attorney. Over the last eight years Alastair’s main focus has been on the preparation of wills, the creation and administration of trusts (including taking over the administration of exiting trusts with the firm) and the administration of estates. Alastair’s dedication to assisting his clients in finding solutions to the often complex problems which they face whether in lifetime planning or in winding up the affairs of a loved one has shown through as his experience and knowledge of complex matters has increased during his time with Longmores. He has always striven to find the best solution to the problem rather than the stock answer, which has helped him to understand clients’ needs and, in most cases, present several different options to them in order that they can ensure that the best outcome is achieved. Other members of the firm are happy to refer clients

to Alastair for advice, as well as using his knowledge to assist them on their matters where a discrete piece of advice is required from him in the context of a larger transaction.

Alastair Liddiard Partner specialising in Wills, Trusts and Tax Planning, Probate and Powers of Attorney

In a recent matter, Alastair was able to save a considerable sum of Inheritance Tax following the death of a client who was in the process of winding up another estate. Alastair was advising the beneficiary when they died before the estate administration process had ended. His advice ensured that the assets which would have gone to the now-deceased beneficiary passed to their own beneficiaries in as easy and efficient a manner as possible.

Richard Horwood, Partner and Head of the Private Client team says “I am thrilled that Alastair has joined the partnership, having been with the firm for eight years. His appointment is testament to his hard work and dedication, along with his technical knowledge and expertise”.

Commenting on his new role, Alastair says “I am both extremely pleased and proud that my colleagues are confident in my abilities and have recognised my desire to become a firm part of Longmores’ future in making me partner. In the coming years I would look to justify their faith in me and to become an integral part of the business.”

Alastair is also a Recommended Lawyer in the Legal 500 2021 directory, a member of the Law Society’s Private Client Section and a full member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). His promotion increases the number of Partners at Longmores to eleven for the first time in the firm’s 200 year history.

European Software Testing Awards Win IntelliQA is honoured to have been selected as the European Software Test Award winner for the second consecutive year. The win is for the Most Innovative Project category, in partnership with US retail giant, Albertsons. It follows last year’s success in partnership with Worldpay. The European Software Testing Awards celebrate companies and individuals who have accomplished significant achievements in the software testing and quality assurance market. The distinguished panel of judges was looking for: • A project that has significantly advanced the methods and practices of software testing • An attempt to push boundaries within the industry • Evidence of working closely with stakeholders to deliver the project on time and within budget • Verification of project goals, importance, achievements and successful results • Evidence and evaluation of overcoming project challenges/obstacles • Proof of a commitment to high quality and standards

Our entry this year was for the Fuel Payment Test Automation Project. Fuel Payment Test execution is typically performed manually, which is repetitive, time-consuming, and creates a bottleneck to system delivery. The automation of the activity provides significant business benefit; the faster release cycles increase efficiency and enable the business benefit of IT investment to be realised faster. We successfully automated the full process for Pay at Pump and Pay at Kiosk transactions.

It included simulating human interaction at the pump with machine-based robotic automation to operate the pump and payments, and advanced test automation techniques to control the overall flow and read and validate physical displays. IntelliQA is based in Shire Park, Welwyn Garden City. We are proud to be Platinum Members of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. The chamber provides valuable business insights and connections, and it is a pleasure to be part of this thriving community.

‘We successfully automated the full process for Pay at Pump and Pay at Kiosk transactions. It included simulating human interaction at the pump with machine-based robotic automation.’ INSPIRE



Welcome to new members Adtrak Media Ltd

Full service design & marketing agency Email: hello@adtrak.co.uk Web: www.atrak.co.uk Tel: 01159 598900 Address: Level 3 Chapel Quarter Maid Marian Way Nottingham Nottinghamshire NG1 6HQ uu u

APeopleBusiness Limited

APB identifies the sources of issues within the workforce affecting corporate performance, presented as a heat map through a digital dashboard, with forecasts of productivity loss. Twitter: apeoplebusiness Email: Paul.finch@apeoplebusiness.com Web: www.apeoplebusiness.com Tel: 020 3195 3930 Address: 116 Sunnybank Road Potters Bar Hertfordshire EN6 2NQ uu u

Bizspace Ltd - Letchworth

Providing flexible office, studio and industrial workspaces Twitter: BizspaceUK Email: John.kinnaird@bizspace.co.uk Web: www.bizspace.co.uk/spaces/letchworth Tel: 01462 484000 Address: Pixmore Business Centre Pixmore Avenue Letchworth Hertfordshire SG6 1JG uu u



Citizens Advice East Herts Charity giving advice and information to people in East Herts Twitter: EastHertsCAB Email: hydel@citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk Web: www.citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk Tel: 01920 459944 Address: 74 South Street Bishop’s Stortford Hertfordshire CM23 3AZ uuu

Europa Components & Equipment Plc Electrical component assembly and supply Twitter: EuropaComponent Email: sales@europacomponents.com Web: www.europacomponents.com Tel: 01582 692440 Address: Europa House Airport Way Luton Bedfordshire LU2 9NH uuu

Hanwell Solutions Ltd. Electronics Manufacturer Twitter: hanwellsolution Email: logistics@ellab.com Web: www.hanwell.com Tel: 01462 688070 Address: Pendle House Unit 8 and 9 Jubilee Trade Centre Jubilee Road Letchworth Hertfordshire SG6 1SP uuu


Helena Izamis Ltd

Phoenix Managed Services Ltd

Provide results driven coaching to adults who seek clarity, confidence and increased self-esteem Web: www.helenaizamis.com

Consolidating ALL your managed business supplies and facilities services Twitter: phoenixmsl Email: sales@phoenixmsl.co.uk Web: www.phoenixmsl.co.uk Tel: 01296 660810 Address: Unit 9 Williams Court Pitstone Buckinghamshire LU7 9GJ

uu u

HertsHR Ltd HR Consultancy supporting SMEs Email: scarpenter29@hotmail.com Web: www.hertshr.co.uk Tel: 07711 320714 Address: 25 Inkerman Road St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 3BG uu u

IPT Care Ltd Social Care Recruitment and Training Email: patience.njovana@iptcare.co.uk Web: www.iptcare.co.uk Tel: 07747 408226 Address: 33 Rumballs Road Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire HP3 8JA uu u

iTax Advisors Limited ​ onsultancy - Provision of R&D tax services C and other innovation incentives Email: aarti@itaxadvisors.co.uk Web: www.itaxadvisors.co.uk Tel: 07305 098305 Address: Devonshire House 582 Honeypot Lane Stanmore Greater London HA7 1JS uu u

LAMEX Food Group Ltd Import/Export of foods e.g. Poultry Web: www.lamexfoods.eu uu u


Pink Spaghetti Virtual Assistant / Personal Assistant services Web: www.pink-spaghetti.co.uk uuu

Pitkin & Ruddock Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Twitter: Pitkin_Ruddock Email: mathew.smith@pitkin-ruddock.co.uk Web: www.pitkin-ruddock.co.uk Tel: 01279 771361 Address: Unit 4b, Hadham Industrial Estate Church End, Little Hadham Bishop’s Stortford Hertfordshire SG11 2DY uuu

Stanley Handling Stanley is an innovation business. We enable organisations and individuals to benefit from an improved health & safety, mobility, and employee wellbeing experience, utilising next generation products and technologies Twitter: StanleyHandling Email: marketing@stanleyhandling.co.uk Web: www.stanleyhandling.co.uk Tel: 0800 2982980 Address: Unit 1, Soothouse Spring St Albans Hertfordshire AL3 6PF uuu




Essex & Herts Air Ambulance steps up protection against COVID-19 Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) is taking additional steps to protect patients and crew members from COVID-19 by decontaminating crews and equipment with specially-prepared water containing salt and electricity which instantly kills 99.99% of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

A dry `fog’ created from electrolysed saline water is released inside a tent into which anything that needs treating is placed. The environmentallyfriendly system is non-toxic, noncorrosive and leaves no harmful residues. Electrolysed water is not new technology. It is used in the food industry and for water treatment. EHAAT’s crews are using the fogging system at the end of every shift, and after every mission. It is in use at the charity’s airbases at North Weald and Earls Colne.

Stuart Elms, Clinical Director at EHAAT, said: “I’m delighted that we can add this extra layer of decontamination to our already strong measures of infection prevention and control. We will continue to look for ways to increase the safety of our patients and crews.” The charity is working hard to keep patients, staff, volunteers and supporters safe and has been working with the East of England NHS Ambulance Trust to ensure EHAAT’s frontline patient-facing staff are all vaccinated against the virus.

Since 4th January EHAAT has been assisting with the transfer of some COVID-19 patients between hospitals, whilst continuing to respond to the charity’s normal workload of medical emergencies, cardiac arrests, road traffic collisions, serious injuries etc When required, the team based at the charity’s North Weald Airbase travel by helicopter or Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) to the relevant hospital, and accompany the patient in a designated land ambulance to the receiving hospital. The EHAAT team is able to provide the advanced level of care that allows a safe transfer of this group of patients.

Do office workspaces work anymore? COVID-19 has changed everything. The way we interact with people, the way we think about things and of course the way we work. For many people, the last time they saw the inside of their office was back in March 2020 when restrictions were first announced and orders to work from home were issued. As time has moved on, it has become abundantly clear that coronavirus is here to stay for a while yet, which indicates the reopening of offices may be off the agenda for the foreseeable future. Although commuters might celebrate this news, what about businesses which own the freehold land or property which their companies used to operate from? “Everything seems to be very bleak at the moment, but opportunities can be made from almost any situation,” says Dean Williamson, director of LW Developments.

Sale and leaseback

“For any businesses wanting to free up some cash, while also retaining their location, there’s a very simple solution. Sale and leaseback is a great way to raise capital from the property but remain in the premises, as you can then rent it back from the developer.” This approach can be beneficial for both the buyer and seller and is usually an alternative to standard bank financing. The seller receives a lump sum of cash quickly, and the buyer acquires an income producing property with long term development potential.



Selling up completely means the business can relocate and take on serviced, flexible office space if and when needed, avoiding the need to tie in for a long lease. Alternatively, part of the property or land could be redeveloped and if the business still requires a site then it could occupy a smaller part of the original property. Only recently, permitted development rights have changed, making it easier to convert, extend or demolish some commercial properties for residential use. This is because the Government has recognised that there is and will continue to be a rise in surplus commercial stock. This means that many empty office spaces can now be used more efficiently, such as for residential use in a bid to plug housing shortfall. “With many businesses now operating a remote working model, it’s likely offices are going to sit vacant for a long time, so why

burden yourself with having to maintain the property? Selling up to raise finance could be a great move,” says Dean. “They do not have to be straightforward sales either. Option agreements or joint ventures could be another route too, these will largely depend on a business’s timing requirements and tax implications. “I think COVID has changed our working practices and workplace commitments forever. When restrictions ease, we might start to see a partial return to the workplace, or differing schedules to avoid too many people mixing. I think changes are afoot, so maybe now is the time to start thinking pragmatically about whether you really need to keep hold of your office space.”

Freehold land or property owners who would like to discuss their options should get in touch with LW Developments. email dean@lwdevelopments.com


Keith Timewell announces the release of second book: ‘Power of Letting Go’ This second installation in the series focuses on Emotional Intelligence and is designed to help people evolve; by getting out of their heads and developing better communication, whilst changing their psychology and perspective of life. Becoming a student of self-change involves changing your psychology, but it is vital to slow down to move forward with passion and energy. It is for this reason Keith has written ‘Power of Letting Go’. This book is designed to aid readers on how to refocus, to design their future by embracing the changing world, and to keep changing their way of thinking, which is necessary for progress. ‘Power of Letting Go’ is an interactive reading experience which includes worksheets after each chapter. It gives you ways to replace bad habits and develop new ones, learn positive ways to start doing instead of making excuses to hold on to problems. Over the 10 chapters of this book, readers will create a bespoke guide to help them navigate their journey to a new, improved version of themselves and positively change their psychology. Each chapter shares Keith’s experiences while providing strength and hope, by applying a unique formula designed to monitor growth.

“In today’s society, we are so busy that we forget to stop and concentrate on what’s important in our lives, like family and friends. This book is trying to get you to stop and think about investing more focus on selfawareness, and how to change your life for the better,” Keith says. “It’s a book that offers help rather than mandating change.” When asked what he wants readers to take away from his writing of the book, Timewell replies, “This book is only a tool, but when you combine it with your own commitment to update and improve your state of mind, letting go of old practices which may have stopped working, this will make your world a better place to live in. Hear other people’s experiences, listen with an open mind and this will result in you being able to take back control of your own life by detaching from other people’s opinions and having belief in yourself. It will empower you to be a better person by achieving your dreams and letting go of all those emotions that have held you back” he concludes.

Mercer & Hole promotes Private Client team Director Charmain Alway Accountants Mercer & Hole has announced the promotion of Charmain Alway to Director, continuing to build upon its strong Private Client practice. Charmain, who joined Mercer & Hole in 2008, specialises in all aspects of estate planning, probate, inheritance tax and trusts. A Chartered Tax Adviser, Charmain has a strong track record advising on high value probate and estate work. Commenting on her promotion, Charmain said: “It is enormously satisfying in bringing the often-complicated tax matters and details of an individual’s estate together and helping family members navigate what can often be a lengthy process in a clear, practical and sensitive way. I am thrilled by the firm’s recognition of these

achievements and my promotion to director and I feel extremely fortunate to be part of such a great team at Mercer & Hole.” Mercer & Hole Deputy Managing Partner, Gill Tallon said: “I would like to extend the firm’s congratulations to Charmain on her well-deserved promotion to Director. The demand for specialist support from our clients continues to grow and our Private Client team in London, St Albans, Milton Keynes and Rickmansworth are well placed to guide to help individuals and their families.”

Executive Wellness: Navigating complexity with adaptability, competence and confidence

In the last INSPIRE article, we focussed on developing a wellness culture, in this article our attention shifts to executive wellness. By executives, we are referring to anyone who makes strategic business decisions. The last 18 months has certainly brought challenges to this group. High levels of uncertainty, complex and ambiguous trade-offs and an ever changing business and social situation matches a classic description of the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment that creates leadership challenges. Living and working under these conditions does not promote health or wellness/wellbeing. It is therefore important for executives to develop not only resilience but a critical awareness of their current reality and show leadership. Not only in creating a compelling vision for others but also in developing their own skills. We call the combination of these attributes ‘Personal Leadership”. Personal leadership is a dynamic process of continual learning and one of the first steps is to develop a mindful practice. This is the skill of paying attention on purpose. We can help busy executives develop these skills. However, you can make progress from the resources on the web. What is important is you find an approach that works for you. Here are two different approaches for a mindful practice. • Nature and Spirituality – check out www.creuynni.com or on spotify for meditations. • Breathing and coherence – check out www.syntropystates.com for breath pacers to relax. The practice of being in the moment and grounded is the foundation of personal leadership.

Further Reading

• Empowerment in Health and Wellness (2021). Parsons, AA, Jackson, S and Arnold, J (eds). Panoma Press. St Albans At Reciprocal Minds we support people develop the skills and confidence to master change. Personal, Executive and Corporate Wellness.

If you wish to get in touch please email connect@reciprocalminds.com call 01797 909 032 or visit www.reciprocalminds.com




BCC Coronavirus Survey: cash remains top concern for lockdown-stricken firms across UK Results from the latest BCC survey on the impact of Coronavirus on businesses show they have been pushed to the brink by the effect of multiple lockdowns. Among the sobering findings from the survey of more than 1,100 businesses are: • Three in every five firms (61%) have seen their revenue from UK customers fall in the last three months • Almost a third (31%) of business-to-consumer (B2C) firms say they will run out of cash in the next three months • A quarter of survey respondents (25%) say they will make staff redundant if financial support stops in March and April. The leading business group has called on the UK government to set out a clear roadmap for reopening, advancing vaccination and workplace testing plans, and extending key financial support measures for businesses throughout 2021.

Business conditions worsen

Compared to October 2020, 61% of firms reported decreased revenue from UK customers. Only 19% of firms reported increased revenue and 20% reported no change. B2C service firms are significantly more likely to report decreased revenue (74%) from UK customers, as are firms with less than 10 employees (65%). When asked approximately how long firms could continue until they ran out of cash, almost one-quarter (23%) said less than three months. This figure rises to almost one-third (31%) of B2C service firms. Just over one quarter (28%) of firms overall and only one-fifth (20%) of B2C firms have cash for more than 12 months. The results paint a bleak picture of a business landscape which has been severely squeezed by repeated lockdowns and massive changes in trading conditions. The survey results also suggest that without the huge amount of government support given to companies to date, that business failures and job losses could have been much worse. Crucially, more support is needed until firms can fully reopen, with just over a quarter (28%) of businesses indicating they have enough cash to last more than a year. On average, B2C firms are currently operating at only 42 per cent of full capacity, while all firms were averaging 57% capacity against a pre-pandemic level of 75 to 80 per cent. Almost half (48%) of companies reported they still have staff on furlough.

Rating the support from government

When asked to rate the effectiveness of the various government schemes to support their business throughout the crisis, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), allowing firms to furlough staff, had by far the highest effectiveness rating. More than two-thirds



(68%) using this scheme say that it has been very effective, with a further 28% rating it as somewhat effective. Only 4% said it was not effective. Other schemes with high effectiveness ratings included Government loan schemes (such as CBILS and BBLS) where 46% rated them ‘very effective’ and 44% rated them ‘somewhat effective’, and the local authority business grant scheme, where 45% rated it ‘very effective’ and 40% rated it ‘somewhat effective’. Business rates relief (49%), VAT deferrals (34%), VAT cuts for certain sectors of the economy (26%) were also rated as very effective.

What firms may do if support expires in March and April When asked what their business might do if the government support schemes end according to published timetable in March and April, 25% of firms overall said they would ‘make staff redundant’, 25% would ‘reduce staff hours’ and 19% would ‘cancel or reduce investment or recruitment plans’. Only 21% of B2C firms said the expiry of support ‘would have no impact on their business’, compared with 39% of B2B firms and 37% of manufacturers. Responding to the survey results, BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said: “The last year has taken a heavy toll on businesses across the UK. With cash flow still the top concern, it is vital that the UK government keeps financial support going until firms can reopen and rebuild. Pulling the plug now would be a huge mistake, and would be akin to writing off the billions already spent helping firms to survive. “Firms are desperate to start trading again so they can boost revenue and start thinking about the future. To do so they need to see a clear, evidence-based plan for reopening, and they need time to get back on their feet without unnecessary additional taxes, and the security of knowing that Government will once again support them should we see additional restrictions imposed at any point.

“In the meantime, support must remain in place for firms that need it until a full reopening of the economy is possible. With cashflow being a major challenge for many businesses, we can expect to see further redundancies or business failures should Government support end prematurely. “Alongside a clear roadmap for reopening, business confidence will also come from a commitment to further accelerate the vaccination programme and a wider workplace testing strategy that’s accessible to businesses of all sizes.”

Business views on financial support

Philip Miller, company director of the Stockvale Group, which operates the Adventure Island fun park, Sealife Adventure and several restaurants in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said: “Overall, I am very impressed with the Chancellor who went above and beyond on support measures for small businesses - with measures such as the job retention scheme, expanding business rates relief, grant support and VAT reductions and deferral all being great aids for helping my businesses to deal with the challenges of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. This encouragement was an absolutely vital lifeline that helped us deal with the falls in revenue and strain of going through three lockdowns. “One of the main problems we faced as a business was having to spend vast amounts of money making our businesses Covid-proof, just to be told that we had to remain shut. This was a terrible hit and, in general, the stop and start nature of the restrictions has been one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with the pandemic so far.” “Going forward it is necessary for the Chancellor and the Government to provide businesses with more clarity and certainty, not just on coming out of the lockdown and when we can trade again, but also in terms of what support measures will be extended and expanded. If the chancellor was to announce any help measures going forward it would encourage businesses like mine to keep borrowing and or just keep going. I’m sure it would encourage banks to be more supportive as well. Knowing what is coming next is vital.” Greg Majchrzak, managing director of Tufcot Engineering Ltd, in Sheffield, said: “We feel as a company that the Government support so far has been excellent towards not only manufacturing but most companies across the whole UK. “Without the furlough scheme we would certainly have been planning redundancy reviews on a larger scale but due to the support we managed to keep redundancies to the bare minimum. ”Tufcot only required the furlough scheme and apprentice support, and we coupled this with a working from home schedule for all office staff. All of our employees were on board with the above approach and I’m sure they all appreciated that they got 80% of their wage instead of what would have inevitably been a redundancy review and job losses.”


Legal VWV APPROACH Property Expands with New Hire Experts VWV approach, the free law firm referral and support network operated by national law firm VWV, welcomed James Shepherd as Regional Relationship Manager with the aim to expand the network’s reach.

Most recently James was the Relationship Manager for the Midlands and the South West. His experience with managing and growing relationships with inhouse lawyers, sole practitioners, SMEs, and other firms and law societies makes him the perfect candidate for expanding VWV approach’s network, particularly around the firm’s offices in Birmingham and Watford.

VWV approach was launched in 2014 and has grown into a strong network of more than 150 firms, centred around VWV’s offices in London, Watford, Birmingham and Bristol and with some members further afield. As members of VWV approach, law firms can introduce their clients to VWV, with the reassurance of a non-poaching agreement and access to wider support and benefits, such as legal training. The network is actively looking for new law firms to benefit from the VWV approach arrangement and James’s recruitment reinforces VWV’s commitment to its relationships with law firm referrers. Evidence of the member firms’ trust in VWV has been seen since the first lockdown in 2020, with referral income up 30% in the period since then, demonstrating that the firms in VWV approach rely on them to help their clients when they can’t do so themselves. In small to mid-sized firms where the impact of coronavirus has been felt acutely, VWV approach has provided support in the form of regular updates and sharing of ideas on managing change caused by the pandemic. James’s early career experience stems from his work with the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Justice, before joining the Law Society of England and Wales ten years ago.

Outside of work (and lockdown permitting), James can often be found running, playing football, or fundraising to keep his local school on a stable financial footing as a member of its PTA committee. Joanne Campbell, VWV approach Business Development Manager, welcomed James to the team:“We are very fortunate to have been joined by James. His talent for growing relationships with practitioners across the country is a perfect fit for the future growth of our network, ensuring clients get the best possible access to legal services. I look forward to working closely with him in the future to grow the network even further.” James commented on his appointment: “I am delighted to be joining the VWV family. I’ve just started the role but have already had the pleasure of meeting many new colleagues and judging by my early interactions the talent at the firm is obvious. “The VWV approach network has gone from strength to strength in the seven years since its inception and I am looking forward to assisting that expansion; targeting new prospects in Birmingham and Watford to really grow the network further.” The VWV approach team has been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the legal sector by the Bristol Law Society, who named them ‘Team of the Year’ in the 2018 awards.

in association with Penman Sedgwick LLP

Lava Taha Solicitor, Penman Sedgwick LLP

Big changes on the way for millions of struggling leaseholders as Government announces changes to lease extension rights When a lease approaches 81 years remaining on the term, buyers and their lenders would expect a lease to be extended in order to avoid expensive lease extensions costs at a later stage. Under current law, leaseholders pay a premium to their landlord if they wish to extend their lease. They also have to cover the landlord’s legal and valuation fees which can be significant. It is not unheard of for unscrupulous landlords to make a great deal of money out of this process. The Government has reviewed the current law and on 7th January 2021, Robert Jenrick MP confirmed leaseholders in future will be able to extend their leases to 990 years with the ground rent set to zero. A term of 990 years is effectively as good as owning the freehold interest. The elderly will also be protected by reducing ground rents to zero for all new retirement properties.

Furthermore, calculating the premium payable to the landlord will be made simple by way of an online calculator rather than instructing a surveyor or allowing the landlord to implement a premium they have calculated. This simplification of the process will save leaseholders significant costs. There is no set date for when the changes will come into effect, but the Government is keen to legislate as soon as possible. These changes will offer security, relief and be of great benefit to many leaseholders. The Government is also expected to announce further changes to leasehold legislation which it is hoped will alleviate the plight of flat owners across the country. For the time being, leaseholders contemplating extending their leases may wish to hold tight until the legislation is implemented.

Problem Solved

e: ltaha@penmansedgwick.com t: 01923 225212 www.penmansedgwick.com

5 George Street, Watford, Herts WD18 0SQ INSPIRE INSPIRE 53 53


The Burnout Epidemic Chronic stress conditions were a major problem before the pandemic.

Now we’re at the edge of a precipice. ● In our always-on world, burnout has long been a threat. ● Combating burnout may feel like an overwhelming task, but it can be easier than you might think.

● Ready or not, we can’t ignore the urgency we are in the midst of a burnout epidemic. When the ‘To Do’ list is never done… What happens to us? We suffer Burnout when there is not enough recovery time in our lives to deal with the variety of stressors we experience. It is linked to a number of physical and mental conditions, such as anxiety from ruminating on negative thoughts, continuous low mood, to heart disease and diabetes. It is characterised as a chronic, debilitating form of strain consisting of emotional exhaustion with an increasing sense of loss to perform at a level in a way in which one once could. A year on and the pandemic is a universal chronic stressor. Chronic stress wears us out, a simmering pot, draining our personal resources and in turn, our ability to adapt. As such Burnout builds over time where layers of stress and lack of recovery time acts as a multiplier to exhaustion.

Mental Health: The Impact of Home Working In a recent study, the wide-ranging mental health implications of home working have affected people’s personal relationships, sleep quality and physical health – and the results bring to life the state of the nation’s wellbeing.



● Nearly 1 in 3 have experienced worse sleep, a key indicator of poor physical and mental health ● 36% have suffered from depression, anxiety, or suffered with exhaustion. ● Almost 1 in 6 UK employees have seen their relationship with their partner or spouse suffer ● 45% of company owners say that they haven’t been able to look after their physical health since working from home, and 27% say that their ability to concentrate on tasks has suffered. As we have seen there is a clear link between the two. Most people learn about Burnout when they are in it … when suddenly life has been interrupted to a point of crisis such as breakdown. It is currently estimated that in the UK, 6.9m people have recently been or are currently in Burnout. But more worryingly, a further 13.2m are just one step away from Burnout. Where are you, your team, your organisation?

The Three Stages to breaking Burnout : Rest - Reset - Restore As business leaders, there are some things we can all do now to combat burnout in our organisations. Primarily our organisational cultures set the mood for handling it research has shown that communicating clear guidance regarding purpose, workload and openness to issues can quickly alleviate many of the drivers of Burnout. Organisations often still prescribe self-care as the cure for Burnout – more yoga, wellness tech, meditation apps and subsidised gym memberships. But those are tools for improving wellbeing. When it comes to preventing Burnout specifically, they’re not as effective. Individually, we need to start small, or the task will seem too overwhelming. The three stages to breaking burnout - Rest – Reset – Restore – has its foundation in the healing power of nature, delivering staged assistance to reverse or halt the effects of Burnout. Just three minutes in nature has been proven by research teams at the University of Exeter to actively help us all. Importantly, the research also shows virtual experiences of nature are just as beneficial as being outdoors - four fifths of the UK population lives in an urban environment and one in eight homes do not have a garden – with home working here to stay.

Jon Cunningham and Pauline Kidd MindSpa


Navigating the EU Transition

with Hertfordshire Chamber By John Woodruffe

Business Support International Trade Team Now into the third month of 2021, the end of the EU Transition period is still, understandably, seeing many companies (and us) grappling with the new rules and fallout from them. This has, and as predicted, resulted in a sharp rise in issues and enquiries. Like everyone else, Frances and I, have been trying to help where we know the answers and looking to signpost others to specialists for the many and varied subjects that are cropping up. VAT seems to be the most popular area of confusion and lack of understanding. I would not say it has all been plain sailing for us over the

past few weeks, but it has been a steep learning curve and certainly different from the norm. What has become abundantly clear, is that companies have found the transition complex and despite the best efforts of many, it has not been easy or as smooth as we would have liked. Hopefully things will get better as the new systems settle down and we all come to terms with the new way of working. The Herts Chamber Export team remains committed to help wherever we can. In addition, we have also been busy with various webinars, many of which have focussed on various aspects of the trade deal. These include, in partnership with the Hertfordshire Growth Hub, a series of post EU transition topics including the aforementioned VAT; Workforce, Immigration and Legal aspects.

Upcoming Webinars: Finding Certainty for your Business in Uncertain times

EU Transition: Supply Chain and Imports



Further, in April, we are planning another in our series of engaging with overseas Chambers, this time Dubai, to explore opportunities and hear first-hand the current in-country situation. As a follow up to our successful ‘Trading with India’ webinar in January, available to view on the Chamber website, Siddharth Mukne, Associate Director of UK India Business Council, has kindly offered to host a one day business clinic. At the time of writing this shall be held on either the 10th or 11th March. Please contact bookings@hertschamber.com to arrange a call. This is a unique opportunity to discuss with Siddharth any queries you may have concerning trading with India and how he can be of assistance.

If you missed any of the previous webinars and they are of interest, they can be found on the Herts Chamber website under Past Events Presentations. I do thoroughly recommend them to you. Finally, as overseas business travel still seems to be some way off restarting, please do try Connects. For Silver, Gold and Platinum members the price is included in membership. This is a unique way to match up with likeminded overseas businesses who may be interested in your products and you can be assured the operating environment is a safe and trusted one.

Please see the Herts Chamber website for more details. Any questions please do not hesitate to ask us. All very best for the coming weeks and please do contact us for all your export needs.

A Practical Guide to Export Documentation and Procedure

Date: 16/04/21 Time: 10:00 – 16:00 Price: Members £250.00 +VAT Non-Members £350.00 +VAT This one-day, on-line course is designed to provide businesses with the essential knowledge to get their exports moving. Specific focus on Export procedures gives delegates the opportunity to increase the awareness and skills of the requirements involved with overseas trade. The course addresses the costs, documentation and procedures associated with exporting goods worldwide and includes up to the minute procedures and documentation associated with the UK exiting the EU. Topics Covered: • The New Incoterms 2020 Rules and the appropriate Rule to apply to your sales contract • Identifying the role of - EORI - NES • The role of Movement Certificates - ATR - EUR1 - Costs involved • Certificates of Origin - British Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Origin - Arab British Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Origin - Certification and Legislation of Arab British Certificate of Origin - Costs involved • Applying for documents via E-Cert • Insurance Sea/Air • Examination of - Clause A,B,C insurance for Sea Freight - Clause Air for Air Freight • Examination of Transport Documentation - Sea - Liner Bill of Lading, Surrendered Bill of Lading, Sea Waybill, clause and stale Bills of Lading - Air – Master Air Waybill, House Air Waybill • Containerisation - Identifying. FCL, Full Container Load - LCL. Less than a Container Load - Verified Gross Mass VGM • Getting the best deal - Understanding the structure of Sea Freight rates - Understanding IATA and consolidated rates for Air Freight • Examination of Commercial Documentation - Invoice - Packing List - Others as requested by delegates • Pre Shipment Inspection by - Cotecna - SGS - \BV Includes a certificate of attendance, all written materials, PLUS a follow-up helpline to the lecturer. See the Training section on the Herts Chamber website for booking details.




Groupe Renault transforms Hertfordshire HQ predicting significant cost savings for the future Woodhouse Workspace partnered with French multinational car manufacturer, Groupe Renault, to complete a recent office refurbishment in readiness for employee return, post Covid lockdown. Following initial introductions from the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Woodhouse Workspace were appointed by Groupe Renault to refurbish its existing office in Rickmansworth. Lucy Jones, HR Director for Renault Groupe, commented “Woodhouse were very personable, easy to speak to and culturally we were a good fit. Most importantly they understood our employees viewpoints and took a temperature check around the business before diving in.” Woodhouse’ Smarter Workspace methodology allowed for an in-depth strategic analysis surrounding the usage of the existing space which identified many issues around collaboration, flexibility, socialization and corporate branding. During the course of the project the pandemic highlighted adjustments to working patterns therefore reinforcing their need for an agile space that embraced new ways of working. This strategic piece allowed the Woodhouse design team to create a space which now promotes agile working through breakout and collaboration zones, and reflects the history of the brand.

Through the refurbishment of the first and second floors, implementation of bespoke fixtures, use of bold colours and strong branding, Woodhouse have transformed the existing 24,500 sq ft space into a ‘destination’. An inviting space for employees to use as they wish tailored to agile work patterns; a space which promotes wellbeing and productivity. Darren Cooper, Project Director for Woodhouse commented “It’s been a very enjoyable project to take the Renault team through this transformational change; from the initial inception of an idea all the way through to delivering the final result. We’re looking forward to the feedback as to how they get on, as they reoccupy and then helping them to fine tune it to really work for them.” Most importantly the refurbishment provides Renault with the opportunity to make significant real estate cost savings through the consolidation of its space which now allows them to sub-let the ground floor. Lucy comments “We’ve shared photos of the refurbished space with our staff and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

All in all, a great project and a fantastic example of a great collaboration. The challenge now is when we can all get back and enjoy it! I would highly recommend any business who is thinking about refurbishing its building to engage with Woodhouse to share options and considerations around office design and people engagement.” Woodhouse’ Workspace Strategy methodology provides measurable insights which can influence the design of workspace to optimise its functionality, performance and engagement. They passionately believe in this approach and have delivered Smarter Workspaces for many clients. Their reputation for innovative design and excellence in construction for over forty years means that Woodhouse’ attention to detail and the quality of everything delivered for clients is of paramount importance.

For further information visit www.woodhouseworkspace.com and follow @WoodhouseWorkspace on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Post-Covid office optimisation for BT OnePhone Ltd Over the last 10 months organisations have faced major challenges with the most critical involving their real estate and how they can optimise it to embrace new ways of working.

Pre-Covid, BT OnePhone Ltd operated in a busy work environment with pod style desks that involved staff working in close proximity. Since the government guidelines were introduced, the organisation has embraced agile working which provided them with



the opportunity to review the role of its office and how it could work as a collaborative hub for its employees. As part of our Safer Workspace Return programme, we provided BT OnePhone Ltd with a more agile environment which features breakout, collaboration, and training

zones. Practical solutions involved perspex hygiene screens to protect employees working closely together as well as lockers for personal storage space. BT OnePhone Ltd now has an office which has been optimised for future ways of working.


Health Care Personnel Recruitment Permanent, Locum and International To our clients we offer: 3 Screened and referenced

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- We handle all the local recruitment from their host country with our network of contacts, help them prepare for IELTS, NMC, Visa Applications until they have arrived in the UK. Note: Clients can take advantage of the Government Health and Care Worker visa scheme and recruit for nurses from aboard – Clients will have access to our recruitment pool.

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EasyBuild acquisition is just the solution for construction managers Carol Massay EasyBuild’s CEO

The Access Group acquired EasyBuild, a Borehamwood-based organisation offering ERP software designed to meet the specific needs of the construction sector.

Building on the acquisition of ConQuest in 2018, the addition of EasyBuild provides Access with the most comprehensive set of software solutions in this industry.

complex project management needs of this sector, EasyBuild was an obvious choice. We are really excited to be welcoming Carol and the whole EasyBuild team into the Access Group.”

EasyBuild provides ERP software to meet the specific needs of this complex sector, including Main Contractors, Civils, Demolition and Concrete Frame, Interior Fit Out, Roofing and Cladding, Joinery, Rail, Highways and Utilities – providing the critical tools needed to manage financial accounting and projects in a timely and efficient manner.

Carol Massay, CEO of EasyBuild commented: “Joining Access gives EasyBuild a new level of expertise in the provision of integrated software solutions, an acceleration of our product development and gives our customers the opportunity to explore a wider range of business solutions from one provider. It has been my personal ambition to help transform the sector and deliver the message to embrace technology to promote a more efficient way of working. My journey continues now as part of The Access Group, and I’m really excited to be joining Brendan and the team as part of the Access ERP business.”

EasyBuild’s CEO, Carol Massay, brings with her over 30 years’ experience working within the construction industry. Carol has helped drive the message to embrace technology to promote a more efficient way of working within the sector. EasyBuild has grown significantly in the last five years since Carol joined as CEO, winning awards for their software every year over the last four years. Brendan Flattery, Managing Director of Access ERP commented: “The Access ERP business already has a strong footprint in the construction sector serving over 1,000 Access customers. Since the acquisition of ConQuest in 2018, we’ve been looking for other complementary solutions to expand our offering, primarily in the UK, but with an eye towards Europe. With their range of ERP solutions, specifically designed for the



“The first of our company-wide construction events are ‘Access All Areas’. This will be held on 16th March and open to both Access and EasyBuild’s existing and prospect customer base. We will have both prerecorded webinar company and product updates, along with a ‘Thought Leadership’ live panel Q&A covering industry-related topics, from Brexit, Supply Chain, The Government Playbook, Infrastructure and many other specific questions.’ This will be hosted by the very prominent, Professor Ian Reeves CBE with a panel of industry professionals from Main Contractors, Architects, Construction Software, CBES and additional experts in their field.” To register visit: https://accessallareas.theaccessgroup.com/ construction/#FeaturedSessions

About The Access Group The Access Group is a leading provider of business management software to mid-sized UK organisations. It helps more than 35,000 customers across commercial and not-for-profit sectors become more productive and efficient. Its innovative Access Workspace cloud solutions transform the way business software is used, giving every employee the freedom to do more. Founded in 1991, The Access Group employs more than 3000 staff.

For more information about The Access Group, visit  www.theaccessgroup.com


Apprenticeships Looking to recruit apprentices in 2021? It’s time to start.

Receive a grant of £2,000 for every new apprentice aged 16-24 hired by 31 March 2021. There is no limit to the number of new apprentices the government will fund.

Discover, build, create

Hiring an apprentice is a proven way to grow a talented workforce. 9 in 10 apprentices stay in the place of work after completing their apprenticeship.

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available for businesses in Hertfordshire The Skills Support for the Workforce programme (SSW) helps support small & medium businesses in Hertfordshire to upskill their employees with training courses & qualifications to help their business grow. Over 1,800 employees from 430 businesses have so far benefitted from the SSW programme in Hertfordshire. One of those learners was Lorraine who had been a painter and decorator for 12 years and needed to achieve the NVQ Level 2 to gain a blue skilled worker card so she could work on building sites and larger jobs. Lorraine explains: “Being a woman in construction can be tough. I just wanted to be taken seriously and be recognised for the competent skilled worker that I am.” As a self-employed worker, qualifications can be financially unviable, but as SSW is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Lorraine was able to access the training at no cost to herself or the business.

Lorraine enrolled onto the NVQ Level 2 in Painting & Decorating through SR Partnership Limited, one of the SSW programme’s trusted network of training providers. The qualification process was carried out through onsite assessment where Lorraine was working at the time. Since gaining the qualification, Lorraine now feels that other workers onsite respect and recognise her for the work that she does: “The process was well explained, clear and concise. Having such a knowledgeable Assessor really helped. I would definitely recommend it to others, especially any other women in the trade or considering a change into the trade.” The qualification has also given Lorraine the confidence to progress in her career and move onto more unique, specialist projects including interior design.

“The process was well explained, clear and concise. Having such a knowledgeable Assessor really helped. I would definitely recommend it to others, especially any other women in the trade or considering a change into the trade.”

If you want to enhance your business performance, improve profitability or simply invest in your employees’ personal development, please contact Matt Clark, Partnership Coordinator: matt.clark@serco.com, or visit our website:

www.serco-ese.com/skills-support-for-the-workforce INSPIRE



The Last Word Richard Davidson Director Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd Q

What do you do?

I’m a director for our London & East region at Willmott Dixon Construction. My job role is varied, to say the least! Primarily, I undertake business development activities and build long-lasting customer relationships. It’s so important to retain customers, not just get new ones through the door, and that’s why we undertake regular customer satisfaction surveys to make sure we’re doing the right things for our customers. I also oversee marketing and communications activities and get involved in bid-writing, so there’s a lot to do!


Who do you work for?

Headquartered in Letchworth Garden City, Willmott Dixon is one of the UK’s largest contractors with a turnover of more than £1 billion. As an independent construction and fit-out specialist, our purpose is to deliver brilliant buildings, transform lives, strengthen communities and enhance the environment so our world is fit for future generations. Around 85% of our projects are undertaken in the public sector. We work with education institutions and have driven forward major health and leisure schemes. We’re currently working on leisure developments in Bishop’s Stortford and Harpenden and we’re also well-known for our work on affordable housing schemes.


Why did you join the Chamber and what do you get from it?

We became a member of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce about three years ago because we wanted to build more links




with public sector organisations and SMEs in our supply chain. The Chamber has some great connections with businesses and local authorities so we thought we could tap into that. It’s also an opportunity to give something back to the local community. Chamber events are a good platform to discuss wider issues that affect us all, such as climate change and the state of the economy. Willmott Dixon has been carbon neutral for eight years and we aim to achieve net zero status by 2030.


What advice would you give someone wanting to grow a business?

Build a great network of contacts, be positive and be remembered for the right reasons.


What’s the biggest challenge in running and growing a business?

Learning when to let go. As a company grows in size, you have to realise that you can’t do everything; you have to delegate tasks to others who can do the job better than you can. Another challenge is getting the most out of your employees; investing in staff training is essential, not just to grow the business but to develop careers and make individuals feel valued.


What support do you want from government?

We could do with more clarity around timescales for coming out of lockdown and a firm, long-term commitment to supporting large infrastructure projects.

The industry wants to see ministers commit to five years or more of funding. This would give companies more confidence to invest in projects.


How confident are you that your business will grow in the future?

We’re already adapting our business model to become more sustainable. The green agenda is at the forefront of our strategy and we’re already developing solutions that are reducing our carbon footprint. We’re also utilising the latest technology, such as robotics, and seeing how it can be integrated into our business processes. I think we’ll see more automation in construction as this decade progresses.


How important is investing in your staff?

It’s vital. As a company we’ve always been good at investing in our people; they are, after all, our greatest asset. Apprenticeship Week was a great opportunity to remind the world that we have some fantastic apprentices at Willmott Dixon. We run traditional apprenticeships in a range of construction disciplines but also others in subjects such as human resources, 4D modelling and data processing. Across Hertfordshire, we have also provided more than 25 virtual work experience placements to 15 and 16-year-olds during this recent half-term. Even though we’re living in strange times, it’s important to provide opportunities for young people and make them aware of the range of exciting careers on offer in our industry.

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Inspire Hertfordshire March 2021  

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Includes the Latest Local and National Business news & Issues, with our local Regular Features o...

Inspire Hertfordshire March 2021  

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Includes the Latest Local and National Business news & Issues, with our local Regular Features o...

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