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JENNY KILKBURN All systems go!

FTSE 100 +19.87 6591.55

Interview - Page 3

DANIEL KRIGERS Transfer talk Column - Page 4

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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees

University’s engineering centre is measuring up By HENRYK ZIENTEK Business Reporter

number of years now and has also welcomed several Chinese tives and engineers,” said Dr Bannan. “The Memorandum of Understanding will take our partnership to a new level as we seek to push HUDDERSFIELD University chiefs the boundaries of machine tool have engineered a major link-up to technology. advance the cause of the engineer“Additionally, I am delighted to ing industry. welcome Prof Christopher HolmThe university’s Centre for Precies as a visiting researcher at the sion Technologies has signed a university. Memorandum of Understanding “His vast experience will bring with Manchester-based Precision that specialist industrial knowlTechnologies Group (PTG) in a edge to our work that will be crucommitment to the advancement cial in what we hope to accomof machnine tool techhnologies. plish.” As part of the agreement, the uniThe Centre for Precision Techversity’s Prof Alan Myers will nologies is a centre of excellence become its first Chair of Machine for collaborative metrology Tool Technology while Prof Christoresearch, solving real-world manpher Holmes, general manager of ufacturing problems through cutPTG division Holroyd Advanced ting edge metrology research in Developments, will become the first precision engineering. Visiting Researcher. At the forefront of creating new In addition, Visiting Researcher measurement techniques, the status will be granted to an individcentre applies novel techniques ual nominated by PTG and to real world problems. approved by the university. Prof ■■ Tony Bannan (left), Alan Myrs and Christopher Holmes mark the signing of the Memorandum of Highly innovative research and Holmes, general manager of PTG Understanding strong links with industry led to division Holroyd Advanced Develthe Engineering and Physical Sciopments, As a further benefit of the agreement, “By modelling these factors in ing the very latest manufacturing tech- ences Council (EPSRC) designating the CPT as a National Centre of Excellence PTG will be given access to the universi- advance, we can assist our designers. nologies, but also for innovation. ty’s on-campus, high-performance com“We also hope to have a software “Consequently, we look forward to the in Advanced Metrology in 2011. Its research underpins both manufacputing resources. model of a machine, which will permit benefits that working with the university Prof Holmes said: “Prof Myers has virtual parts to be machined and control of Huddersfield can bring to our global turing and engineering industries and is key to driving quality and cost benefits taken part in meetings with our design- software to be developed, without the customer base.” ers and advised us on thermal behav- need for a real machine to be available.” Prof Myers recently visited the for industry by embedding metrology iour. Neil Jones, business development machine tool division of PTG’s Chinese into manufacturing processes. The centre focuses on key areas sin“The work we plan to do is ambitious. director at PTG, said: “We are delighted parent company, Chongqing Machine We are discussing software modelling of to have embarked on this exciting part- Tool Group Company Ltd, with PTG cluding machine tool metrology, mathmachine tools to predict static deflec- nership with the University of Hudders- chief executive officer Dr Tony Bannan. ematics for metrology, optical instrutions, dynamic responses and thermal field. “The Centre for Precision Technolo- mentation, surface metrology and behaviour, all of which have an effect on “At Precision Technologies Group, we gies at Huddersfield has established a applications and ultra-pecision manuaccuracy. have a reputation for not only embrac- growing relationship with PTG over a facturing.

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Call for caution A FALL in new personal insolvency cases for the first time in six months has been welcomed by Chris Wood, partner at Cleckheaton-based Clough Corporate Solutions. But Mr Wood, who is also Yorkshire vice-chairman of insolvency trade body R3, said: “We are concerned that the official statistics are the tip of the iceberg.” And he added: “2013 was the eighth year running with over 100,000 new personal insolvency cases.”

11, February, 2014

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Safety status Northgate plc has been given a top health and safety status. The vehicle firm, which has a branch in Huddersfield, as awarded the prestigious OHSAS 18001 status, a British standard for occupational health and safety management systems, for its continued commitment to health and safety.





Barclays hit by slump in operating profits Barclays has revealed a profits haul of £5.2bn for 2013 after the banking giant took the unusual step of announcing its headline figures a day early. The stock market disclosure came after a report in the Financial Times that the bank was set to announce a one-third fall in operating profits to £5.17bn alongside a trebling in bottom-line profits to £2.86bn. Barclays, which is due to present its results at 7am tomorrow, confirmed that the figures were set to be £5.2bn and £2.9bn respectively. The FT forecast a slight drop in income to £27.9bn, adding that the sharp rise in statutory profit reflected lower charges on the value of its own debt. The underlying profit figure of £5.2bn is slightly below the consensus forecast in the City for about £5.4bn. The drop in profits follows a year in which Barclays added £2bn to its bill for customer mis-selling scandals and was forced to ask shareholders for £5.8bn in a rights issue after revealing a £12.8bn hole in its finances. Chief executive Antony Jenkins will give an update today on his Project Transform programme to overhaul

■■ A drop in operating profits is the latest bad news to hit Barclays

the bank’s culture and practices. The review was launched in the wake of the bank’s £290mLibor-rigging fine and Mr Jenkins’s appointment as successor to former boss Bob Diamond. It has been reported that Barclays is planning to axe several hundred

jobs at a senior level in its investment banking business as well as ordering staff to cut out all non-essential overseas travel to slash costs. The group will also be pressed on branch closures despite its denial of recent reports that up to a quarter of its 1,600 sites in the UK could close.

Sellafield clean-up costs soar Costs on decommissioning and reprocessing at the Sellafield nuclear site are soaring to “astonishing” levels, with latest estimates putting the figure at £70bn and rising, according to a committee of MPs. A damning report from the Public Accounts Committee said progress at the site in Cumbria had been “poor”, with targets missed, costs “escalating” and timescales slipping. The MPs made several recommendations, calling on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to terminate the contract of private consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) if its performance did not improve. The report said the consortium had been brought in six years ago to help Sellafield improve its performance and had its contract extended last October despite “spiralling costs and poor performance”. Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said costs were rising to astonishing levels, such as the doubling to £729 million of one project on storage silos over 18 months to last September, while another project had been put back six years to 2023. She said: “Cleaning up the nuclear waste on this hazardous site is estimated to cost more than £70 billion in cash terms. What’s worse is that the cost is likely to continue to rise.” She added: “Time-scales have slipped and reprocessing targets have been missed. “

Confimation of the results is likely to fuel anger over City bonuses after it was reported that Barclays plans to lift its total bonus pot to between £2.3bn and £2.4bn from £2.17bn in 2012. Mr Jenkins sought to head off some of the criticism when he waived a bonus for 2013 worth up to £2.75m after the bank faced “very significant costs” over a series of scandals and carried out a cash-call on shareholders. The latest trouble comes as former CBI boss Sir Richard Lambert called for an independent organisation to be set up to oversee the banking industry. Banks will have to report publicly each year on how they are performing against new rules on behaviour and competence under Sir Richard’s proposals. The body will also assess and validate training programmes for bankers. It is intended to act as an independent champion for better banking standards. But Sir Richard admitted that the new organisation, funded by the industry, might struggle to win credibility initially and would have to show from the start that it is not a lobby group for the banks.

Network Rail set five-year target

‘Make fire safety a top priority’

NETWORK Rail will look to improve train punctuality after agreeing to plans by rail regulators covering the next five years. In committing to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) plans, NR will also aim to bring down the costs of running the railways by 20% for the five-year period starting in April, 2014. NR will have to meet a target

NFU Mutual, the UK’s leading rural insurer is urging business owners to make fire safety a priority after it revealed that it paid out over £43m in claims for commercial fires in 2012. Topping the list of claims with identified causes were fires caused by arson, electrical faults, electrical equipment and fires in commercial

of running 90% of trains on time on London, south east England, regional and Scottish services and improving reliability on long-distance trains. The company is also signing up to improved standards of infrastructure management, network resilience, and safety for passengers and railway workers. Over the next five years NR

will spend more than £38bn on maintaining, renewing and improving the rail network. ORR chief executive Richard Price said: “NR has committed to the challenge of delivering exciting plans for Britain’s railways between 2014 and 2019. “Service standards will get better, as stations up and down the country are modernised and lines are electrified.”

vehicles. Georgina Farndon, commercial development manager at NFU Mutual, said: “Research suggests that 80% of businesses that suffer a major incident such as a fire fail within 18 months. “Firms need to have a business continuity plan and know how to deal with what happens after a fire.

“Many are simply not equipped to survive after a major catastrophe. “It’s not just physical assets, such as premises and equipment, which are at risk from fire: the loss of data can be equally devastating for a business.” Firefighters tackled 102,000 fires in England between April and September, 2013.


American Express Chevron Du Pont Exxon Mobil Gannett Hess Corp Microsoft Motors Liquidation Wal-Mart Stores Wrigleys

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TOURIST RATES Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia 1.74 dollars Bangladesh 119.90 taka Brazil 3.49 reals Canada 1.72 dollars China 8.88 yuan Czech Republic 30.37 korunas Denmark 8.53 krone Euro 1.15 euro Hong Kong 12.07 dollars Hungary 332.42 forints India 89.95 rupees Japan 159.43 yen Mexico 19.40 pesos New Zealand 1.85 dollars Norway 9.65 krone Pakistan 162.72 rupees Philippines 63.13 pesos South Africa 16.97 rand South Korea 1530.00 won Sri Lanka 202.27 rupees Sweden 10.15 krona Switzerland 1.40 francs Taiwan 43.41 dollars Turkey 3.42 new lira USA 1.57 dollars (Rates for indication purposes only)





Synergy so crucial to Jenny’s business objective IT’S always a good idea to have a goal in life. And Shepley-based Jenny Kilburn is clear about her ambitions for her business, the intriguingly-named Synergos Consultancy. Her husband Steven came up with the name. “When I launched the business I didn’t want a traditional company name,” she explains. “I wanted something completely different. Synergos is Greek – and means ‘working together’ – which is what I do by working with businesses and other organisations to help them make improvements to how they operate.” Jenny set up Synergos Consultancy only in May last year, but adds: “I want it to become a national business and a recognised brand. I would like to see the business have a head office in Huddersfield and several branch offices around the country to ensure we are close to the businesses and organisations we aim to help.” Among its areas of activity, the consultancy provides customer service training, auditing of systems and processes, research and data analysis and business improvement seminars. Clients range from local authorities and construction companies to a dancing school and an osteopathy practice. What they have in common is a need for guidance and advice on how to improve their internal systems and

external relations to make them more efficient. Says Jenny: “Typically, a business owner has a goal in mind, but lacks the strategic training to implement the measures needed to realise that goal. There might be issued around communication within the company or systems and processes that need to be streamlined to stop the business wasting time and money. “Problems can result from management not being able to get their vision for the business across to their team. They might have it clear in their heads, but the vision gets blurred the further down the line it goes – particularly with tiers of responsibility. “The business owners and senior managers who come to me want the business to be more successful and more efficient. I am asked to come in and analyse how things operate and provide recommendations for action. “It might be a case of talking to staff and walking around the premises to get a feel for what’s going on. It might be that the business that’s just plodding along and wants help clarifying its direction. It might want more customers, but doesn’t know how to get them.” Jenny says its more important than ever for firms to have a clear vision of where they want to be. “Economically, we are beginning to turn the

corner,” she says. “It’s time to be looking at where the business is heading and how it is growing.” Previously, Jenny had 20 years working in social care. Her first role was at Kirklees Council’s family services, where she worked with vulnerable young people. She has also liaised with the police, social workers and drug treatment specialists. She gained a degree in youth and community work at Huddersfield University and more recently completed an MBA. She explains: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was at school. It wasn’t until I started working in social care that I felt ‘this is my goal’.” She moved through the ranks and eventually worked as a non-executive director of a number of charities. Jenny sees similarities between social care and her current trole. “Although I don’t work in the public and voluntary sectors any more, it’s still about making improvements.

“There’s great satisfaction in working with someone and seeing them benefit from your advice and efforts. I want to try to make a difference,” she says. Jenny has also launched a service and seminar series specifically to help women get ahead in the workplace – at a time when more and more women are starting up their own businesses or climbing the career ladder. She says: “There are lots of support networks, but what I am providing is a focused structure that sets weekly objectives for the businesswoman to meet and help drive the business forward. “It’s very easy to get sidetracked when there’s nobody peering over your shoulder to make sure something gets done.” Being in the boss’s chair can be a lonely place, Jenny acknowledges. “Even business owners who have a small team can feel lonely because they they may not have a right-hand person to help them grow the business. It’s all heaped on their

shoulders. They are the kind of people I can help.” Jenny says she has been giving 100% to her new venture, but finds relaxation in tap dancing and walks with her family. “I went to dancing school as a child and now I attend adult tap dancing classes,” she says. “It’s a good way to keep fit and have fun.” She’s also keen to add more letters to her name – and harbours hopes of undertaking a PhD when time allows. “I like learning,” she says. “I have to keep up with my knowledge in order to help my clients. I’ve always got my head in a book – but its rarely general. It’s all business strategies and advice.” And she adds: “You have to have an idea of the road you are heading on. Having a vision in business stops you being disheartened when things get tough. If everything’s a bit woolly in your mind you’re more likely to give up. If you keep in mind where you are heading, you are more likely to get there.”

Jenny Kilburn Role: Director Family: Married to Steven with twins Collette and Lisa, 27, and Abigail 10 Holidays: We go to Scotland and also try to get abroad to somewhere in the sun First job: Washing hair in a salon on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays Best thing about the job? Meeting people and being able to help people Worst thing about the job? The ‘back office’ admin. Business tip: It always surprises me how many businesses don’t plan. You have to have an idea of the road ahead

Synergos Work: Business consultancy Site: Shepley Phone: 01484 817444 Holidays: We go to Scotland and also try to get abroad to somewhere in the sun Email: info@synergosconsultancy. Web:


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Bank joins forces with small firms Lloyds Banking Group has joined forces with the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) for the national roll- out of a new enterprise mentoring qualification designed to support volunteer mentors across the UK. The new Enterprise Mentor Champion qualification will be made available to all enterprise mentors involved in the national mentoring initiative – a programme set up by the five major high street banks, the British Bankers Association and the Business Finance Taskforce. The scheme is designed to train banking professionals to share their skills and experience with entrepreneurs. The qualification, which was successfully piloted with Lloyds Banking Group mentors across London and the Midlands last year and in 2012, will be made available nationally from the summer when all volunteer mentors will be invited to qualify as an Enterprise Mentor Champion. With modules specifically created by Lloyds Banking Group and SFEDI, the training programme aims to enable mentors to give high quality help and support to entrepreneurs by focusing on the different strategies and approaches to handling a mentoring relationship.

Key obstacles to growth in 2014 Despite a positive outlook for the year ahead, business rates and the cost of utilities remain key obstacles to small business growth plans for 2014, according to the latest research from national business organisation, The Forum of Private Business. The results of its latest research on business plans for the year ahead revealed that an overwhelming 85% of members surveyed are positive about the year ahead and are intending to develop their businesses in the next 12 months. Some 30% expect to increase the number of their workforce and 15% expect to increase the hours of the workforce. Development of their customer base was cited as the most popular growth strategy with 60% looking to target new customers, 42% focusing on improving customer service and 41% on new product development.

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Obligations for firms in business transfers The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) provides protection to employees and impose obligations on employers where one of two types of transfer arises: There is a transfer of a business or part of a business, where there is an economic entity that retains its identity. There is a service provision change – where a client engaged a contractor to do work on its behalf, engaged a different contractor to do that work in place of the first contractor, or brings the work “inhouse”. In such circumstances, TUPE requires employers to take various steps in relation to the transfer with the primary aim of consulting with any affected employees on the transfer and any changes (or measures) which are proposed in connection with the transfer. With effect from January 31, 2014 (unless otherwise stated), the following changes will be made to TUPE which will hopefully bring more certainty to the


Daniel J Krigers assessment of whether a transfer has taken place, improve the consultation process and simplify post-transfer variations in certain circumstances: For a service provision change to have taken place, the activities carried out pre- and post-transfer must now be “fundamentally the same”. If not, TUPE will not apply, although clearly the latest wording is open to significant debate on a case-by-case basis; With effect from May 1, 2014, the deadline for notification of certain information has increased from 14 to 28 days before the date of the transfer. Currently, the employer transferring services out is required to

provide certain “liability information” in respect of each employee (mainly relating to their terms and conditions of employment) to the new employer. This is particularly useful with regard to service provision changes where a business is tendering for a piece of work, as they can accurately assess the cost of taking on and continuing to employ any individuals posttransfer. There should be some increased flexibility to vary transferring employees’ terms once a transfer has taken place. Currently, a variation of contract is void except where either the change is unconnected to the transfer or is for an “economic, technical or organisa-

Daniel J Krigers is an employment law solicitor at Chadwick Lawrence Solicitors

tional” reason entailing changes in the workforce. Firstly, employers will be able to rely on a change of location when arguing an ETO reason, potentially making it easier to vary the place of work post-transfer. Secondly, any collectively agreed terms could be amended after 12 months provided the new terms are, on the whole, no less favourable to the employee. Where an incoming employer is making large-scale redundancies, it is now permitted to enter into collective consultation with employees before the transfer, with the consent of the current employer. With effect from July 31, 2014, businesses with fewer than 10 employees will be able to consult with transferring employees directly over a business transfer, assuming there is no union presence or representative group already in place. Larger employers will still be required to go through the process of electing representatives prior to consultation commencing, however.

Welcome fall in personal insolvencies

The fall in new personal insolvency cases for the first time in six months is welcome, says a partner at a Cleckheaton firm of insolvency practitioners. Chris Wood, Yorkshire vicechairman of insolvency trade body R3 and partner at Clough Corporate Solutions in Cleckheaton, said: “However, we are concerned that the official statistics are the tip of the iceberg. The government monitors only new bankruptcies, Debt Relief Orders (DROs), and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), but does not record new Debt Management Plans (DMP). “The significant barriers to entry to IVAs, DROs and bankruptcy can often mean insolvent individuals have no choice but to enter a DMP, take out a payday loan, or don’t address their debts at all. Some DMPs see people stuck in debt for years at a time, with their repayments barely making a dent in what they owe. “Until the government begins to monitor new DMPs, the true scale of personal insolvency in England and Wales will be hidden. Changes to bankruptcy, DROs, and IVAs are also needed to ensure they remain accessible to those that need them. “Although there were fewer new personal insolvency cases in 2013 than 2012, it is difficult to

■■ Chris Wood, Yorkshire vice-chairman of insolvency trade body R3

read too much into this. The insolvency profession simply hasn’t seen anything like the fallout from the last recession; the statistics have been all over the place and have not reflected the levels of personal debt our members are witnessing first-hand. “It will be interesting to see how these figures change in the first quarter of 2014. Many people will have done their best to avoid insolvency in the run-up to Christmas, so there will be fallout from that in January and February.” Said Mr Wood: “2013 was the eighth year running with over

100,000 new personal insolvency cases. Although numbers of new cases have fallen since 2009, personal insolvency levels are still astronomically high compared to recent decades. “The medium and long-term outlook is mixed. Consumer debt has started to climb again, while the expected rise in interest rates will very likely have a knock-on effect on insolvency numbers. “Although down this quarter, the emergence of IVAs as the most common insolvency route is symptomatic of people struggling with the rising cost of living. Bankruptcies are often triggered by ‘Big

Bang’ financial events like job losses, but IVAs are more likely to be the result of a slow build-up of debt.” “The corporate insolvency figures are in-keeping with the general downward trend in new cases since the recession. Insolvencies are now a third down from their peak at the end of 2008. Given the recent pick-up in the economic recovery though, it is not clear how long this trend will last. “The early stages of an economic recovery are often a lot harder for some businesses to negotiate than recessions themselves. Historically, corporate insolvencies increase as the economy exits recession. With corporate insolvencies still low, it may be the case that economic recovery hasn’t taken hold as firmly as it might otherwise appear. “Stuttering growth, low interest rates, and creditor forbearance have helped keep corporate insolvencies lower than they normally would have been since the recession. Some businesses will have taken advantage of the extended gap between recession and growth to put their finances back in order, but this won’t be the case for everyone. “The economic recovery and any future rise in interest rates is likely to put upward pressure on insolvencies.”

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Healthy contract for uni graduate Nathan By Henryk Zientek Business Reporter

A BIOLOGY graduate who started up his own company while studying at Huddersfield University, has been awarded a share of a £39m contract, supplying hand sanitiser products to NHS hospitals. Nathan Winch, 23, launched WinchPharma Group in 2010 while studying molecular biology at the university. He used his savings and friends’ investments as capital, which enabled the company to develop the Athenian range of clinical hygiene products, as well as other brands. Since 2010, the firm has gone on to sign contracts with distributors and gyms, care homes and private hospitals in the UK, India and the Arabian Peninsula. Most recently, Nathan’s entrepreneurial skills ensured that WinchPharma was able to fight off strong competition from several large pharmaceutical firms, to supply NHS hospitals with liquid, gel and foam hand sanitiser products. Nathan said the contract, thought to be worth in excess of £1.5m for the growing company, is proof that smaller firms could be successful when pitching for large contracts. “ We’ve only recently started bidding for NHS contracts”, he said. “According to the feedback we’ve been given, our success in this instance was down to product quality, efficacy, price - and hard work.” Only a handful of hand sanitiser products have

■■ Huddersfield University graduate Nathan Winch, who has landed a share of a £39m NHS contract

been selected as NHS “preferred” - with WinchPharma’s “Athenian” brand ranking very highly. “The NHS has a purchasing policy of buying the very best products at the best possible price”, explains Nathan. “Bearing this in mind, we created a brand that

works better, is cheaper and lasts longer than most other similar products already on the market. “We’re delighted that our product development strategy worked and are now looking forward to extending our product range and identifying further global distribution channels”.

Law firms look to the future after key merger

Export strategies offer vital range of markets

Huddersfield based Ramsdens Solicitors LLP are pleased to announce they have merged with Halifax based Clarksons Solicitor to expand its presence in Calderdale. Clarksons has for 150 years provided high quality legal services to the people of Calderdale and Jonathan Dixon, consultant at the newlymerged Ramsdens Rice Jones Clarksons, said: “We are delighted to merge with Ramsdens. “This merger is about looking forward and creating an exciting future.” Paul Joyce, managing partner at Ramsdens, said: “We believe that

Britain’s manufacturers are adopting a wide range of strategies to take advantage of escalating demand in emerging markets, on the back of new analysis showing the potential rewards on offer according to a report. The report and analysis of data, which includes a number of high performing exporter case studies exploring how best to enter new markets and increase exports is published by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and Barclays. It said that many companies are moving from ad-hoc exploitation to

together Ramsdens and Clarksons will have great strength and depth in Calderdale and will be able to offer our clients a stronger and better service. “This merger is a great opportunity for the firm and ultimately for our clients.” In Calderdale, the newly merged firm is called Ramsdens Rice Jones Clarksons. Ramsdens merged with Rice Jones in 2009. Pictured following the link-up are (from left) Mark Hepworth, David Hofton, Jonathan Dixon and Chris Reynolds.

implementing sophisticated strategies to boost exports. While the developed economies remain the top destinations for UK manufactured exports, companies are adapting these efforts to take advantage of growth opportunities spanning every continent. The report shows that some manufacturers looking for future growth are becoming more strategic in their pursuit of new customers by proactively targeting markets rather than reacting to potential opportunities. Others are building greater resilience by expanding their range of markets.

Fitting award recognises excellent customer service Birstall-based fitted wardrobe firm Sliderobes has been recognised for customer service by being awarded Feefo’s “Gold Trusted Merchant” status for achieving a service rating of over 95% in 2013. Sliderobes, which takes pride in its reputation for delivering outstanding customer service, started using global feedback engine Feefo last year to gather customer reviews and gain valuable insights into further improving

their service. Feefo, a Google licensed content partner, introduced the new certifications to recognise the hard-work of merchants who consistently deliver excellent customer service in the eyes of their genuine customers. Businesses that annually meet the criteria are certified as either a “Trusted Merchant” or as a “Gold Trusted Merchant”. Sliderobes anow displays itsaward

in its showroom in Gelderd Road. Group head of marketing, Niamh Taylor, said: “We are delighted to be recognised by Feefo for our customer service efforts as we’ve always believed in putting the customer at the heart of our company and treating them properly. “We’re very proud to do things the right way and will continue to delight our customers for many more years to come.”

Feefo customer service director Ed Lennox said: “Feefo’s Trusted Merchant initiative will allow people to see and read the experiences of other shoppers and to understand better how the business in question deals with their customers.” Sliderobes, which also provides bedroom furniture, was established in 1983 and is a nationwide retailer with 22 stores throughout the UK and Ireland.

Company makes a real splash Hot Tub World has become the latest business to join Huddersfield Town as a corporate partner. The company, said to be the largest distributor of HotSpring, Elite, SpaForm and RotoSpa Hot Tubs and Spas in the North of England, is based at Deighton Mills on Leeds Road - just a few minutes down the road from Town’s PPG Canalside training complex. Hot Tub World was established by joint owners John Whiteley and Neil Armstrong in 2000. The firm will now showcase its brand around the John Smith’s Stadium on Huddersfield Town match days, on top of a permanent banner around the pitches at PPG Canalside. Town advertising manager Mark Jacobs said: “We’re very pleased to announce this new partnership with Hot Tub World. As much as the club is always looking for opportunities with national and international brands, we are very keen to work with leading Huddersfield businesses and Hot Tub World fits that bill perfectly. They are the biggest company of their type in the north and are based right on our doorstep. “As well as the commercial benefits of the deal, such as the promotion of their brand at our facilities, we are also looking at ways that we can work together to aid the playing squad in their recovery.”

Team has the right answers MEMBERS of a green-fingered team at Landscape Creations are celebrating after being awarded the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Landscape Award. Ben Stirling and colleagues Matthew Nelson, Cory Ellis and David Gilroy at the Linthwaitebased landscaping company, received the award following months of hard work putting into practice the knowledge gained from the HTA workbook and company-led training sessions. The award has been designed to give domestic landscapers the underpinning knowledge which supports the skills they use on a daily basis. Modules include customer service, health and safety, vehicles and machinery, hard landscaping, planting and ponds and water gardening. Ben, who owns Landscape Creations said: “ he was extremely proud of his team, adding that the award reflected “their excellent skills and work ethic”.





Modern green twist to historic building Brighouse energy saving experts and Eco roof specialists, Ploughcroft, has completed one of Calderdale’s first Green Deal projects. The firm has finished an internal solid wall insulation project in Northowram, Halifax. The £10,000 project saw Ploughcroft install internal wall insulation, to significantly improve the thermal efficiency of a two bedroom apartment at Sinderhill Court in Northowram, Halifax. Formerly known as Northowram Old Hall, the Grade II listed stone property which dates back to 1297, was converted into apartments several years ago. Due to its solid stone wall construction, the apartment suffered from significant heat loss. To improve the apartment’s energy efficiency, the owners applied for the Green Deal, an innovative financing mechanism that lets people pay for energy-efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bills. Following a Green Deal Assessment, Ploughcroft spent just two weeks installing Knauf Thermoshell Internal Insulation system to all external facing walls. Quick and easy to fit, the stud wall system filled in with mineral wool fibre, delivers a high level of thermal performance. The home-owners will soon see a saving of approximately £499 a year on their energy bills plus a reduction in carbon emissions. Furthermore, the system enables comfortable room temperatures to be achieved quickly and retained. Ploughcroft managing director Chris Hopkins, who advises the Government on its Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, is a member of the Government’s Green Construction Board and is a qualified Green Deal Advisor and Assessor. He said: “We are delighted to announce the completion of our first Green Deal project. It marks a significant stage in our plans to grow the business in a new direction. “Britain’s housing stock includes some of the least efficient buildings in the world, resulting in home owners often facing high energy bills. “Thanks to its heritage, Calderdale has a large number of solid stone built properties, which would benefit hugely in terms of energy saving and

■■ Chris Hopkins, of Ploughcroft, has completed a major energy contract in Calderdale

improved thermal efficiency. “We plan to build on our solid reputation within the region as green energy experts and providers. In fact, we have just secured a large Green Deal project on a farm in Hebden Bridge, which will be self-funding in four years.” Mr Hopkins started Ploughcroft Building Services Ltd in 1997 as a roofing firm. Since then he turned it into one of the UK’s biggest names in renewable energy – with a string of awards to its name and high profile backing from the Dragons. As green issues became more pressing, Ploughcroft introduced solar panel installation training to its roofing college and in 2007 designed the UK’s only NVQ in solar roofing. In 2008, when the recession hit, Ploughcroft was

turning over £1.9m, but made losses of £200,000 as it felt the impact of the downturn on the construction industry. Mr Hopkins told the Examiner previously that he went without a wage for six months in 2009 to keep the business ticking over and in 2010 his firm made profits of £750,000. By 2011 Ploughcroft had established itself as a reputable training centre and options to grow the business varied, from setting it up as a Plc to facing the Dragon’s Den. Chris took to the floor in front of the BBC2 TV show panel in August, 2011, to seek investment from the Dragons. It catapulted Ploughcroft on to the national stage and secured the backing of Dragons Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden.

Firms urged to plan energy audits Britain’s biggest companies are being urged to plan ahead following confirmation that they will be required to carry out a comprehensive energy audit of their organisation by the end of next year. The Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme makes it mandatory for organisations with over 250 employees or €50m turnover to introduce regular energy audits, the first of which must be completed by Decem-

ber, 2015. The move could potentially benefit the UK economy by up to £3bn according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change but Gareth Henderson, of Elland-based energy management consultancy Orchard Energy, said the impact on business growth could be far more significant. “Concern has been growing for some time that high energy prices could threaten inward investment in

the UK and for those businesses already based here the need to allocate increasing amounts of budget to meet the rising cost of gas and electricity is bound to stifle growth. “Energy auditing is therefore a sensible way forward for all businesses, whether their size requires them to do it or not.” Mr Henderson said it was important for organisations to understand how energy is used across the business so

that they could begin to identify where savings could be made and operational changes introduced. “In our experience, the savings can be significant even with the introduction of fairly low budget initiatives,” said Mr Henderson. “Studies have shown that up to 30% energy reduction can be achieved by creating a culture of efficiency and environmental awareness through staff engagement, for example.”

Brighter year in property market The outlook is positive for logistics and industrial property owners and occupiers in the West Yorkshire market in 2014, it is claimed. The positive picture is painted in the latest research from global property consultancy Knight Frank. Knight Frank is anticipating a much

more active year in 2014, with an encouraging start already as far as occupier demand is concerned. Tom Lamb, industrial property specialist at the West Yorkshire office of Knight Frank, said: “The continued limitations created by scarce supply, coupled with the short-term lack of

speculative development, will encourage many occupiers to seriously consider the possibility of design and build units in the near future. “We anticipate the investment market will continue to improve, with solid demand from funds and property companies, with particular interest in

multi-let industrial estates. “Demand continues to grow for well-let larger units, particularly from overseas investors,” said Mr Lamb. The survey also disclosed that takeup of large units over 50,000 sq ft totalled 635,000 sq ft in the second half of 2013.

Economy is showing good signs DTZ Research has published its 2014 Annual Outlook report highlighting that economic growth has picked up and the UK macro outlook has improved. The report revealed the outlook for the regions is much brighter than in recent years with economic growth in the regions forecast to increase by 2.8% in 2014, and 3% over the medium term while employment is forecast to increase by 400,000 over the next two years. Job gains will be underpinned by business services, TMT and retail, offsetting the ongoing contraction of the public sector. Occupier sentiment and demand for commercial property is generally strengthening with take-up growing across the regions. However, availability, particularly for Grade A office and industrial space, is falling. The report estimates there is only 1.6 years of Grade A office space left based on current rates. The shortage of grade A office space and the regional development pipeline at an all time low, means investors are now encouraged to acquire assets for development.

Thomas on top of the world

Construction and development specialist Southdale is celebrating after one of its team was commended for exam success by a global body. Thomas Royle, a management accountant, has achieved the joint fifth highest mark from 4,184 worldwide candidates in the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) examination. In a letter from CIMA’s director of examinations, Graham Eaton, Thomas was told: “To be among the top ten in the world is regarded by CIMA as a considerable achievement.” Thomas, who lives in Huddersfield, joined Southdale in August 2013. He said: “I am over the moon with this result. “We all take professional examinations mainly to develop and to show professional capability and proficiency, but to get a letter telling me I scored joint fifth in the world, from more than 4,000 candidates is fantastic.”




Karen’s best for business AVOCET Hardware has appointed Karen Paskin (pictured) as its new business development manager for the Midlands. The Brighouse-based company is bidding to re-establish its position as the leading player in the home window and door security market and sees business development roles as a key part of its future success. Dr Tinkle Jain, a director of Avocet Hardware, said: “Our aim is not just to return Avocet to the market leading position it once held, but to eclipse this and become the company to turn to for all home window and door security needs. “To do this we need the very best people pushing the business and its products forwards and Karen’s knowledge and experience in retail and field sales, and as a key accounts manager is the ideal mix for this kind of role.” Ms Paskin’s career started in the early 1990s, selling windows into the retail market for Staybrite Windows. She went on to work across a range of different markets in field sales

Northgate assure health and safety By HENRYK ZIENTEK Business Reporter

roles before becoming a key account manager for Grouphomesafe. Commenting on her appointment, she said: “This role combines the best elements of sales and account management and as such presents me with a challenge that I’m delighted to be given and am passionate about making a success of.” The company has recently been boosted by a £2.1m investment in the business – along with plans to create more jobs. The owners said the latest investment aimed to ensure stock levels across its three divisions – doors and windows, high security locks and builder hardware. Avocet employs 58 people, but plans to increase that to 72 by April, 2014.

Jason Szpak

Northern role for Jason A Holmfirth business has a warm feeling about its new manager. Hanson Structherm, based in Meltham, has appointed Jason Szpak as technical sales manager for the North West and North Wales. He will help the company promote its external wall insulation and structural external wall insulation systems to customers in the region. Jason, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this new role. “There are a significant number of non-traditional and prefabricated concrete houses, as well as high rise blocks, in the region that suffer from structural defects and poor thermal efficiency. “Our systems offer a cost effective solution, while also improving the external appearance of the properties, and I am

movers and shakers

Northgate plc, the market leader in flexible vehicle hire, has been given a top health and safety status. The vehicle firm, which has branches in Huddersfield, as well as Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield, was awarded the prestigious OHSAS 18001 status, a British standard for occupational health and safety management systems, for its continued commitment to health and safety. As an internationally recognised standard, the OHSAS 18001 assists organisations in managing and controlling health and safety risks, thus improving overall safety performances. The new certification demonstrates to employees, customers and stakeholders that Northgate holds CSR as key to the success of its operation, as well as enabling Northgate to effectively balance between reducing workplace hazards and boosting employee morale. Colin Gilstin, Group Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Northgate, “Achieving the OHSAS 18001 accreditation is testament to Northgate’s ongoing commitment to improving health and safety performance across the business and making our workplaces safer for all of our employees. “The accreditation gives us a solid platform on which to continue to raise the bar in health and safety standards, not just for employees but for our customers too.” Colin continued: “We are delighted to have achieved the OHSAS 18001 status, this accreditation was first introduced in 1999 and requires organisations to assess risks and implement an effective occupational health and safety management system to promote a safe and healthy working environment. “This accreditation also supplements the ISO 14001 accreditation we achieved two

■■ Pictured at the premises of Northgate Vehicle Hire on Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield are (from left) Mark Emond, Tamara Nikitin, Becky DeBemels, Nicola Plumbly, Andrea Cowburn and Paul Rodney

years ago for our environmental management system and controls to protect the environment. “Both accreditations are testament to the hard work of our operations team.” Jennifer Appleton, operations director for ISO Quality Services Ltd., said: “Northgate plc has already shown great commitment to its ISO 14001 Environmental Standard and it is a pleasure to see this large organisation embracing the opportunity to effectively protect the health and safety of its workforce by the recent implementation of the BS OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety Standard.” She continued: “The BS OHSAS 18001 Sys-

tem offers peace of mind to the company’s employees, illustrating the manner in which they actively promote health and safety in the workplace - demonstrating Northgate offers a safe and caring environment to work within. “The company’s clients can also take assurance that by operating to this standard, this awareness is promoted throughout its supply chain.” Northgate Vehicle Hire has shaped and defined the van hire market for over 30 years. It operates more than 52,000 vehicles on rental through 67 locations, which include 56 workshops and 356 mechanics operate within the direct service network.

New start for Ridley & Hall team looking forward to working with our existing customers – and developing relationships with new ones.” Brian Monaghan, national sales manager, said: “Jason brings a wealth of experience to the company and will be able to provide our customers with the advice and support they need to deliver high quality refurbishment projects that reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.” EWI systems provide an efficient and cost effective way of improving the thermal performance of a building.

HUDDERSFIELD law firm Ridley & Hall has started 2014 on a high note with a string of appointments and promotions. Ruky Mahboob has been appointed practice manager and human resource lead. She joins the town centre-based team from Anchor housing association. She has an HR and management background with more than 10 years’ experience in developing and managing people to achieve business and career goals. Ms Mahboob will work alongside Elaine Davis, formerly practice manager, who has now become the firm’s finance manager. John Royle, formerly of Eaton Smith, joins the expanding commercial department. Mr Royle is a senior solicitor with a wealth of experience after many years as managing partner

■■ New starters at law firm Ridley & Hall

and head of commercial property. He works closely with Sarah Young and Nigel Priestley on the Huddersfield Law Society Uganda Twinning Project. Internal promotions include

Sarah Brown, who has been promoted to paralegal in the child care and adoption department. Ms Brown has been with the firm for more than three years and is experienced in Residence and

Special Guardianship Orders and attending meetings with the local authorities on behalf of parents. Helen Jarvis has become a paralegal in the community care department. She has been with the firm for two years and specialises in the field of kinship care. Managing partner Adam Fletcher said: “We achieved a lot in 2013 and I am very excited by the appointments and promotions that we are announcing so early in 2014. “Our recent successes are as the result of the great people we have working at Ridley & Hall and the appointments of Ruky and John only add to this. “Both have a proven record of success and enthusiasm in their respective fields.” Ridley & Hall is a multi-award winning law firm with offices in Market Street.

Kirklees Business News 11/02/14  

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