Surrey Business Magazine - issue 44

Page 1




INFLUENCERS FORUM The Horrors of Cyber Crime

Interview Brewin Dolphin Avoid Furlough Fallout

SUSSEX INNOVATION Diversity in Action


MOTORING Bentley Continental


COLIN POWELL Death of a f lawed titan





01483 735540



N O V E M B E R 2021





86 Interview with Paul Mason MD of Nordell Plastics

36 COLIN POWELL The flawed Titan


42 Brewin Dolphin Local presence, national strength



92 A weekend in Shakespeare’s county



94 Bentley Continental convertible



54 REGULARS 14 What’s on in surrey 17 Policing surrey BUSINESS 24 Avoid furlough fallout 50 The ultimate corporate calling card this Christmas 79 Bringing global expertise to local relationships FINANCE 28 Share schemes A knock out blow in the talent bout? 53 Year-end tax planning Why is the pre year-end meeting so important? EVENTS 33 Tigers on the hunt in Brighton 19 Winter Pimm’s Networking is back! EDUCATION 34 Treading the line between success and failure in the classroom LEGAL 46 Fixed costs in litigation 82 Covid closures 74 The consumer power shift – CMA reforms on the horizon INFLUENCERS FORUM 54 Cyber Crime TECHNOLOGY 72 Tips to strengthen your cyber risk management ENVIRONMENT 32 The essential challenge of achieving Net Zero aircraft emissions INNOVATION 80 Diversity in Action at Sussex Innovation ECONOMY 84 NatWest’s market analysis

All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. Platinum Business Magazine is owned and published by Platinum Media Group Limited.


LET’S CELEBRATE THE SURREY BUSINESS AWARDS There is no doubt it has been a difficult 18 months and as we keep being reminded, it isn’t over yet, with infection rates still rising and businesses struggling to find the staff they need to meet the needs of their customers, as well as facing rising inflation. However, we look forward to celebrating the amazing achievements of the Surrey business community this month at the Surrey Business Awards Celebration Evening at Denbies Wine Estate. It promises to be a fantastic evening and we will be sharing all the results via social media.


There is still a great deal of support available for businesses and we are very happy to signpost anyone to the various offerings. You can get practical, no-nonsense support from local business leaders and growth experts by joining one of the Growth Hub’s dedicated FREE support programmes. There are many different groups, so it is worth enquiring. Surrey Chambers

❛❛ Surrey is a massive contributor

to UK plc, second only to London in its contribution to the Treasury via taxes. This success needs to be recognised and nurtured to ensure it’s continuation ❜❜


is running a Start-up academy, and our members also have access to a helpline for any business-related questions. For those struggling with recruitment, it is worth looking at different sources of skills. Apprenticeship incentive grants have been extended and Kickstart is entering its final few months, so anyone keen to offer a six-month placement for a young person on Universal Credit should contact us on kickstart@


Surrey Chambers has written on behalf of the Business Community in Guildford and across the rest of Surrey in support of the bid for city status for Guildford. We have supported this idea on a number of occasions before, bearing in mind we have a Cathedral and a world-class university in Guildford, as well as many creative and innovative businesses. Surrey is a massive contributor to UK plc, second only to London in its contribution to the Treasury via taxes. This success needs to be recognised and nurtured to ensure it’s continuation. We are a county that embraces innovation, it is a fantastic location to run a business, but we are also a great place to visit. We have suffered, like all areas, through the pandemic, but the opportunity to have a city within Surrey would help get the economy back to where it was and develop it even further.


Surrey Chambers works with many exporters and, according to a recent survey, they are reporting a number of issues. They cite the supply chain crisis, as well as Brexit related problems, as the main causes of difficulties with export sales. Some said that they had ceased exporting to the EU altogether due to issues such as red tape and delays at borders. Respondents also pointed to the surging cost of shipping as a serious issue, with one firm noting a single container from China rose in cost from £2,100 in the previous year

to £15,000, as well as the shortage of lorry drivers as impacting export sales.We are urging the government to reintroduce SME Brit Support Grants and use its export strategy, and the Spending Review, to provide stronger export finance. As always, the Surrey Chambers Team is here to offer advice to importers and exporters. Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540,, @surreychambers

Louise Punter CEO Surrey Chamber of Commerce

AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE... Platinum Media Group enjoys the largest circulation of any business magazines in the UK, reaching over 720,000 readers across the South East and this includes 468,000 online readers. If you can’t wait for the next issue then jump onto our social media platforms and join the conversation.

@platbusmag Platinum Media Group




DON’T JUST JOIN – JOIN IN! Why being a member of Surrey Chambers of Commerce is good for business, locally, nationally, and globally

Surrey Chambers of Commerce is a local hub to access a broad offer of business support, we are: ■ an independent SME ■ a non-profit organisation ■ a private limited company ■ owned by its members. ■ committed to supporting Surrey businesses. At Surrey Chambers of Commerce, we have solutions to help your business to: ■ CONNECT through events, introductions, and wide-reaching social networks, spanning the globe. ■ SUPPORT essential services such as HR, H&S, legal and tax cover included in your membership fee plus exclusive low-cost benefits and access to funding. ■ PROMOTE To help grow your market, your profile, and your bottom line. ■ REPRESENT We feed YOUR views to government, hold them to account and push for change. We are uniquely placed to help businesses of every size and sector, from micro-one-person businesses to our county’s largest employers, we are all


in it together, locally, nationally, and globally. Chambers is the only business support network that helps British businesses build relationships on every level. So, no other membership organisation can compete! Did you know there is a wider international community too? British Chambers of Commerce represent our members in over 40 countries around the globe. We call this our Global Business Network (GBN).



Every Chamber of Commerce and its members are represented centrally by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). We are all apolitical and independent of government. However, the BCC provides a respected voice to the business communities they represent. Based in Westminster, this ensures our priorities and concerns are heard in the corridors of power. Policymakers and parliamentarians regularly seek out our opinions. It is thanks to this lobbying activity that we have been helping to shape the UK’s business agenda for more than 160 years.

Surrey Chambers of Commerce offers International Trade advice and services. Including customs declaration certification and documentation. So, if you import or export goods and services; or if you would like to start then contact us on 01483 735540.

❛❛ Our focus is local,

our influence national and our reach global ❜❜

Email: sarah.butcher@ Visit: Call: 01483 735540

Importing? Exporting? We can help take the stress out of customs declarations for your goods ChamberCustoms is the customs training, advisory and brokerage service delivered through Surrey Chambers of Commerce and across the UK Chamber network. Our customs declaration service is for UK importers and exporters, of all sizes, in every region of the United Kingdom. With direct links to the HMRC Customs handling system and all inventory linked ports, we can guarantee that your goods, no matter where they enter or leave the UK, will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly.

We offer:

A high level of compliance and assurance for customers Confidence on tariff and data entry to remove fiscal risk; backed by the technical expertise of the market leader in this sector A wealth of international trade experience and expertise from across the trusted Chamber of Commerce network Contact the ChamberCustoms team at Surrey Chambers of Commerce now l 01483 735549 Helping traders to keep on trading


Surrey Chambers Annual Christmas Lunch Proudly sponsored by Surrey Research Park, with a charity raffle in support of Your Sanctuary


CHAMBERS NE WS HRH PRINCESS ANNE PRESENTS VISION ENGINEERING WITH QUEEN’S AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE London, October 13th 2021: Vision Engineering Limited (Woking, UK) welcomed HRH, The Princess Royal to its Global HQ and Manufacturing facility in Send, Surrey, to present them with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its Lynx EVO ergonomic stereo microscope, used for quality control in many manufacturing sites around the world.

HRH also used Vision Engineering’s recently patented and disruptive technology stereo digital viewer, DRV-Z1, the first stereo viewer worldwide not to need glasses or a headset.

HRH toured the facility meeting the 120 Send based staff, seeing a demonstration of the Lynx EVO stereo microscope and receiving a brief about the patented design.

For more information


ramsac are recruiting for IT roles at all levels, ranging from IT support through to project managers, cybersecurity experts to technical consultants, joining a team that has already grown by 15% since May 2020. To launch its latest recruitment drive, ramsac hosted a careers event at its Godalming office on Wednesday

Mr Curtis invited The Princess Royal to plant a tree next to its wildlife pond, in support of The Queen’s Green Canopy Project, which honours Her Majesty’s 70 years of service to the Nation. Mr Curtis commented ‘We are delighted to receive this, our third Queen’s Award from HRH, The Princess Royal for the technology and global commercial success Lynx EVO ergonomic stereo microscope. This award is recognition of the hard work and dedication of our UK and overseas based staff and of our continuing commitment to innovative instrument design and manufacture here in Surrey.’

On arrival at the modern manufacturing site, The Princess Royal was met by Mr Michael Hayman, a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, who presented Mark Curtis, Managing Director of Vision Engineering.

Leading Surrey-based IT and cybersecurity consultancy, ramsac, has created 23 new roles across its range of services as part of its ongoing expansion.

The Princess Royal then heard about Vision Engineering’s 63 year history in Send and successful 90% exporting record, toured the extensive machine shop and high tech product assembly area, before presenting the Queen’s Award to Mr Curtis.

October 6th, where interested candidates for six new roles attended to find out more about ramsac and their ethos, discuss IT careers and meet the team. The relaxed evening aimed to bring together professionals with all levels of experience from the South East, who are keen to progress their careers in the industry and receive advice on their next steps. The event is part of a larger growth period for the business, following the uplift in demand for its IT and cybersecurity services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently reporting a record

year with an 18% increase in turnover, ramsac are also introducing a range of new offerings including enhanced cybersecurity monitoring, a SharePoint Transformation consult-ancy team, and a meeting room technology team, assisting bus-inesses to adapt for efficient and effective hybrid working. ramsac has also recently signed the ‘Tech She Can’ Charter, as a commitment to increasing the number of women working in the technology industry in the UK, in addition to the ‘Respect in Security’ pledge to prevent any form of harassment in the industry and community.



It could be… bright colours! If you dare, a flash of nudity! (Used successfully in advertising; not sure if this would work for your business presentation. OK, go on, prove me wrong).

Audience engagement. Trips off the tongue, doesn’t it? You know how to engage your audiences. Done it for years. Box ticked. Job done.

It could be… DRAMATIC CHANGE IN YOUR TONE OF VOICE! “Wow! What happened? What did I miss? I’d better pay attention!”

Or is it? In B2B communications, virtual is here to stay. Why should they pay attention to you for more than a fleeting moment? How do you handle eyes sliding away, answering emails? How can you be remembered above your competitors?

It could be… a visual change. I find appearing on screen in blond wig and sunglasses tends not to be what the audience were expecting.

How do you go beyond mere engagement to compelling, haunting, even obsessing your audience to stay with you? Let’s look first at Engage. When you engage, REALLY ENGAGE, you create instant reactions where the brain says “I really need to pay attention to this!” It’s Primal. Instinctive. Part of your ‘fight or flight’ response.

A change from your audiences’ expectations creates moments of shock, of engagement. So far, so good. Yet here is where many presenters stop. Stumble. Fumble around. Regurgitate well-worn channels of information, not realising that giving information is way down the list of engagement activities. How do you progress from “I’d better pay attention!” (Engaging) to “I really want to stay with this!” (Compelling, Haunting, Obsessing)?

MENTORING EXPERIENCE WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER At the start of the year, Surrey Translation Bureau’s Head of Project Management, Jessica Truelsen, was invited to take part in a mentorship scheme with language graduates from the University of Westminster. Jessica is passionate about inclusivity across the languages industry for those at varying stages of their career, so she jumped at the chance to show potential newcomers what the industry can offer. From their first meeting it was clear that Kalina Mendy, the mentee, was thoroughly engaged in the programme. Jessica covered some general topics such as CVs and cover letters, best practices for job applications, and tips for interviews. They also discussed what industry-specific roles would suit Kalina’s interests and identified some

relevant CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses she could attend. Jessica adds, “Overall, I found the mentoring experience to be very rewarding; the flexibility of the programme meant that planning was effortless and having a student who was enthusiastic and wanted to learn

Tune in next episode (HINT: we’re exploring compelling already) for next steps, or take a short cut by visiting ht tps://speakper to explore the Speak Performance workshop. You’re already a step beyond mere engagement.

as much as possible made all the difference!” Kalina also shares her experience, “Throughout these meetings, Jessica created a space where I could openly discuss and ask questions about project management, Jessica’s own professional development and working within the language industry.” Sonal Sohal, Senior Mentor Officer at the University of Westminster further adds, “The mentoring scheme aims to connect students and recent graduates with professionals for a long-term mentoring relationship. Mentees benefit from the expertise and insight of their mentors, giving them the confidence to take their next steps toward a successful future career.” If you are interested in a mentoring experience with the university, please get in touch at

Become a Board Director for a Disabled People’s Organisation in Surrey Surrey Coalition of Disabled People and Surrey Independent Living Council are both looking for new Board Directors. Board Directors provide strategic leadership to the organisation, and challenge to the executive team, to achieve the best result for Disabled people in Surrey. Board Directors are expected to contribute their expertise at board meetings and can also choose to become active members of a sub-committee. Both organisations are specifically looking for those with skills and experience in communications, fundraising, legal, marketing, strategic leadership, or volunteer management. Lived experience as a disabled person, or as a carer for a disabled person, is very much an advantage.

Surrey Coalition and SILC are both active parts of the Integrated Care System in Surrey and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE). Both organisations offer a set of services and support for Disabled adults and are both user-led organisations. Surrey Coalition has a vision of a world where difference is valued, and diversity is celebrated. A world where everyone has the same rights, freedoms, choices and opportunities. Surrey Independent Living Council’s (SILC) aim is to enable every disabled adult, child older person or carer in Surrey to live independently with the same freedom and opportunities as everyone else.

To apply, or for an informal discussion, please contact: Phone: 01483 456 558

Phone: 01483 662 680

SMS text: 07563 997 932

SMS text: 07908 551 075

NEWS The pandemic redefined what is ‘normal’ for the workplace. What started as temporary remote working during lockdown has shifted now to flexible working as normal practice. Mario Matinelli, from IT and General, explains the impact to small businesses

Is your business ready for the ‘new normal’ work environment? Mario, how can small businesses succeed in this new environment? Fortunately, technology easily facilitates hybrid working. First, define what you want to accomplish. How many locations? Do phone networks need to be extended? What files need to be accessed? We can create secure access in almost any environment to meet both staff and customer needs. For telecommunications, can businesses use a network of mobile phones? To prevent lost productivity or degraded service, most businesses would benefit from a VPN telecom network using cloud services. It sounds technical but it’s very easy. Calls stay within the business phone system and can be answered from anywhere. How can businesses allow remote access to data/files? Secure networking allows safe access to systems. A VPN system encrypts data and hides IP addresses. You can retrieve company information through a public network but on a hidden connection.

Do small businesses need to worry about cyber-attacks/data breaches? All businesses have certain information that needs to be protected, even individuals need some level of protection. So, yes, small businesses need to ensure that they have robust security, especially as the network is expanded outside of the office. Rigorous security is easily accessible for even small businesses.

All businesses have certain information that ❛❛ needs to be protected, even individuals need some

level of protection. So, yes, small businesses need to ensure that they have robust security, especially as the network is expanded outside of the office ❜❜

Is hybrid working cost-prohibitive for small businesses? No. IT solutions have advanced and are accessible and cost-effective for small businesses. Employees’ requirements for flexibility and choice will continue. It is imperative for small businesses to be prepared for the future – in a secure, safe, and productive way. We can help with that.


ARTS AND CULTURE GLOW 2021 AT WISLEY It’s time to Glow! See the garden sparkle this festive season and follow dazzling displays lighting a magical trail. Join us at RHS Garden Wisley as the garden comes alive at night with fantastical illuminations, from November 19th – January 4th 2022.


Wander the enchanting trail around the garden to see some of Wisley’s iconic sights in a new and dazzling light. Venture through Seven Acres, the Rock Garden and Wisteria Walk, as well as other garden areas, and marvel at our magnificent trees and shrubs bathed in a spectrum of light.


Compiled by Hannah Joslyn

YVONNE ARNAUD THEATRE REOPENS THE MILL STUDIO Dickens’ famous performance of his best-loved ghost story; famous floral designer Mig Kimpton unfolds the tale of The Golden Goose in evening of flowers, feathers and wintery thrills (Nov 11th); and popular band Duo perform two evenings of Christmas music and popular tracks in their signature style (Dec 10th & 11th).

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is thrilled to announce the return of performances to the Mill Studio for the first time since March 2020. The autumn reopening programme features a diverse mix of established and emerging artists and is full to the brim with exciting new work from across the UK. Other season highlights: darkly comic Flinch (Nov 6th); hilarious spoof horror musical Scream Phone (Nov 10th); and The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe (Nov 4th & 5th), investigating the truth behind the Hollywood legend.


There are festive treats galore in the lead up to Christmas. Mr Charles Dickens presents A Christmas Carol (Dec 20th-24th) recreates Charles

To find out more or to keep up to date with the latest news, visit or sign up to the theatre’s mailing list and social media channels.



This year, the garden will glow even brighter with more lights, fire candles and fountain displays, as well as the return of a spectacular horticultural display inside the Glasshouse.


Celebrate the festive season in style with a seasonal supper in our Terrace Restaurant or enjoy warming meals in the Food Hall. For food on the go, you’ll find hot drinks and tasty treats to keep you aglow along the trail.


Our Garden Centre will be packed full of beautiful decorations and gift ideas for all the family. Don’t miss the festive chalets by the garden entrance with a selection of seasonal goods to brow. You can book your place here: whats-on/glow-at-wisley

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL, DON’T MISS THE FAIREST PANTOMIME OF THEM ALL! With fashion advice from everyone’s favourite TV personality, Gok Wan and comedy in abundance from Harriet Thorpe (The Brittas Empire/Absolutely Fabulous) and comic Aaron James this year’s panto will be a glittering festive treat for all ages.

especially for the New Victoria Theatre by the world’s biggest panto producer, Crossroads Pantomimes.

With a live band, spectacular special effects, beautiful costumes and stunning scenery Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be created

Snow White, Live at New Victoria Theatre, Woking: Saturday December 4th 2021 - Sunday January 2nd 2022. Book here.

SARAH BROWN APPOINTED NEW DIRECTOR OF THE LIGHTBOX GALLERY AND MUSEUM The Lightbox has announced that Sarah Brown will be the new Director of The Lightbox gallery and museum. Sarah, currently Principal Keeper at Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds Museums and Galleries, will take up the role on the December 1st 2021. She succeeds Marilyn Scott following her decision to step down to pursue full time cultural consultancy. Sarah Brown has led Leeds Art Gallery as Principal Keeper overseeing all aspects of the artistic programme and was responsible for the capital refurbishment following the reopening of Leeds Art Gallery in 2017. As one of the founding members of Yorkshire Sculpture International she has contributed to establishing this

major festival celebrating the history, presentation and commissioning of sculpture which launched in 2019. She is an experienced fundraiser within both the public and private sector and has a strong track record of raising funds with trusts, foundations and Commercial Corporate Partnerships.


Sarah studied a BA History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS, (University of London) and completed an MA Museology at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts, (University of East Anglia). She said “I am delighted to be appointed as Director of The Lightbox gallery and museum and look forward to working with the team to build on the incredible achievements to date. The Lightbox is a unique museum placing art and wellbeing at the core and the combination of sustainable architecture, the outstanding collection, and impressive programme of exhibitions and engagement together create an important space for audiences. At this pivotal moment in time the relationship between art and wellbeing has never felt more important”.


Focus on Better Cyber Resilience & Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Our award-winning strategic solutions give you insight into tackling your most important technological challenges.

Cover all critical security controls, enhance your operational performance, forecast 3 years of tech ROI and more.

Success starts with clarity.

Search ITHQ strategic solutions to get started 020 3997 7979 Spectrum House | Crawley | Gatwick


SURREY POLICE POLICING SURREY By Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend It has been a very difficult few weeks for policing as we have all reflected on the truly horrific murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of serving police officer Wayne Couzens. The core role of being a police officer is to keep everyone safe which is why it is so hard to comprehend the shocking details of what happened to Sarah. It is agonising to think about what she had to endure, and my heart goes out to her family and friends. Whilst the sense of shame and anger felt within policing has been palpable, it is also clear that the police service has work to do to rebuild trust with our communities, and I completely understand the strength of public feeling. I have spoken to senior leaders within Surrey Police and they are determined to ensure that the national issues this case has raised around vetting, standards and misogynistic or predatory behaviour are treated with the utmost seriousness here in Surrey.

Women and girls have a right to both be safe and feel safe on our streets and in our public spaces and parks. Sadly, 50% of women who responded to a recent national survey said they didn’t. That has to change. I was really pleased that Surrey Police’s approach to tackling violence against women and girls was rightly praised in a recent inspection report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). This is an area that my office and Surrey Police are actively investing in with partners right across the county, including funding two brand-new

services that are focused on changing perpetrators’ behaviour and stalking. In addition, last month my office secured £175,000 in crucial funding for a project in Woking to improve safety for women and girls using the stretch of the Basingstoke Canal that runs through the town. Since July 2019 there have been a number of indecent exposures and suspicious incidents in that area. The ‘Safer Streets’ funding secured from the Home Office will go towards installing extra CCTV cameras and signage along the canal footpath, the removal of foliage and graffiti to improve visibility and the purchase of four E bikes for community and police patrols along the canal. I am absolutely determined to make sure my office continues to work with Surrey Police and our partners going forward to find ways to make our communities even safer for everyone.

What this case has done is ensure that the wider ❛❛ debate around safety for women and girls has been top of the policing and political agenda, and is an issue I feel very passionately about ❜❜

Since I took office in May, I have been out with lots of our policing teams across the county and I have seen how tirelessly they work to keep everybody safe. But, it would be naive to think we are immune from such behaviour, and must work hard to ensure it is eradicated so trust and confidence in our policing service can be rebuilt. What this case has done is ensure that the wider debate around safety for women and girls has been top of the policing and political agenda, and is an issue I feel very passionately about.


MERRIST WOOD Events and Meetings Part of

Surrey’s Venue of Choice... A perfect venue for any event, with indoor and outdoor locations on a beautiful estate. Meetings & Conferences Weddings & Private Functions Sporting Events & Festivals Corporate Days Bespoke Events 10% OFF ROOM BOOKINGS FOR SURREY CHAMBERS MEMBERS

MERRIST WOOD ANIMAL ENCOUNTER ACTIVITIES FOR ANIMAL LOVERS OF ALL AGES... Come and meet a wide range of animal species in a new way to ensure a safe and secure environment. See meerkats, hornbills, armadillo, tortoises, monitor lizard, tree frogs, alpacas and more at one of the activity sessions:


Junior Animal Keeper

Animal Education Tours

Animal Encounter Tours

Meerkat Experiences

Birthday Parties

Corporate Days

To book please visit: For more information call on: 07854 27 48 66 Merrist Wood College Holly Lane Worplesdon Surrey GU3 3PE


WINTER PIMM’S NETWORKING IS BACK! We are excited to announce that Winter Pimm’s Networking is back on Friday December 3rd – and we’d love to see you there!

I was blown away by how big the event is – I’d never seen so many smiling faces! Everybody was having a fantastic time and there was some brilliant networking going on as well. What more could you ask for?! ❜❜



Hosted by projectfive, a well-known local IT Support company, this is a festive networking event with a difference! It takes place on the heathland at Barossa in Camberley and is a great opportunity for local businesses to join together to help Surrey Wildlife Trust clear some of the pine trees to allow the natural heathland-habitat to flourish. There’ll be time for some informal networking in the fresh air, the chance to enjoy a delicious al fresco lunch, share some mince pies and Winter Pimm’s and take a Christmas tree home with you for free!


This will be the 10th anniversary event and after the last 18 months, we think it will be a wonderful opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, see some faces you haven’t seen in a while, help the local wildlife and get in the festive mood! This established event has been a huge success for the past nine years; it’s a great networking and team-building day out. But don’t just take our word for it:

Louise Punter, CEO, Surrey Chambers


10:30 Arrival with tea and coffee. Informal networking with other businesses. 11:20 WELCOME Maintaining the heathland and Safety Briefing. 11:30 Pick and Cut your own Christmas tree (with the Surrey Wildlife Trust rangers)

13:15 Help clear as many trees from the heathland as we can manage – working in teams. 14:30 Winter Pimm’s and Mince Pies. 15:00 Depart (before it gets dark!)


To book your place visit or call the team on 01276 455466.

12:45 LUNCH BREAK (courtesy of Login Business Lounge)




Surrey Chambers of Commerce welcomes its latest member companies When you join Surrey Chambers of Commerce, your company details automatically get listed on this page alongside fellow new members. What a fantastic way to let the Surrey Business community know you are out there and ready to get those all-important connections.





T: 07894 869866 Contact: Jade Bates

T: 07483 330301 Contact: Charmayne Morgan

T: 07590 480670 Contact: Simon Gillings





T: 01483 773172 Contact: Carol Miller

T: 07432 095877 Contact: Jade Forshaw

T: 01483 562176 Contact: Dale Agar

T: 0148 802700 Contact: Terry Tidbury

All new Chamber members are entitled to a one-off 50% discount for a company profile within this magazine. Contact for more details

If you are looking to join Surrey Chambers, then please do get in touch: or call 01483 735540. We look forward to hearing from you!




Haines Watts

Taylor Wimpey

Heathrow Airport

Contact: Daniel Morgan

Contact: Antonis Pazourou

Tel: 0208 5495137

Tel:01494 558323

Charles Russell Speechlys


Royal Holloway University

Contact: Rebecca White

Contact: Steve Coburn

Contact: Dr Elton Xhetani

Tel: 01483 252525

Tel: 01276 455455

Tel: 1784 443667


Royal Automobile Club

Greatest Hits Radio

Contact: Chris Hurren

Contact: Emily Goodyer

Tel:01483 307000

Tel: 01372 276311

Contact: Emily Spanton-Hay Tel: 01483 300964

The Platinum Club has been the region’s leading peer-to-peer business networking event for CEOs, Managing Directors and Partners of many of the leading companies across the South East for over 12 years. The next event is November 23rd 2021 at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Limited memberships are available and to apply, please contact

The Platinum

for Leaders and I




❛❛ The Platinum Club is unique in the manner in which it is run and the high level of guests that attend. There is no other networking event quite like it and l ensure if l only attend one such event, it is the Platinum Club ❜❜

❛❛ The Platinum Club is a fantastic networking event. There is always such a great turnout of diverse businesses and it is hosted in such a way that all you need to do is relax and wait to be introduced to everyone in the room. The most important networking event of the month ❜❜

❛❛ I make sure l never miss an event and thoroughly enjoy the evening ❜❜




Business Club

Innovators in Business



❛❛ The networking highlight of the month and never to be missed ❜❜

❛❛ The Platinum Club is all l could ask from a networking event, superbly run and full of high level decision makers ❜❜





Our top tips to balance the books and retain staff following the finish of furlough

AVOID FURLOUGH FALLOUT On September 30th 2021 the government backed Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (known as furlough) came to a close, leaving employers with important decisions to make over the future of their business and that of their employees. The ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, which was announced at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, allowed businesses who had to close or reduce operating hours to put their employees on leave with the government paying up to 80% of their wages.

The scheme ensured that jobs were saved, and businesses could keep their overheads low during a period of reduced income. The closure of this scheme now has many businesses concerned as they navigate their way through recovery, trying to retain their existing employees whilst remaining profitable. As an experienced business support organisation, the Let’s Do Business Group has put together a list of suggestions for how to stay in the green whilst securing the employment of your staff.

The closure of this scheme ❛❛ now has many businesses concerned, as they navigate their way through recovery ❜❜




To aid your business recovery and help with working capital, it is worth considering a Recovery Loan.


The pandemic has affected more than just business, the last 18 months have also caused many to reassess things in their personal lives and want to make changes accordingly. Speak to your staff on what their ideal working pattern might be going forward. You might find that rather than making forced cuts and redundancies you can negotiate reductions in hours, or even job share agreements that will suit all parties. Asking your employees what works for them, not only shows you care about their future, but also builds trust that your employees can talk to you.


With many office-based businesses now opting for a hybrid model of office and home working it begs the question, do I really need all of my current space? If you have been thinking about downsizing or even sharing your space with another business, you are not alone. According to research conducted by the Chartered Governance Institute UK and Ireland, 36% of businesses are considering downsizing following the pandemic.


Is it time to switch? If it has been a while since you looked at your energy costs, now may be a great time to take a look at the current offers and see if a better deal can be negotiated for your tariff. Full Power Utilities can help support you to find the right deal for you. Is there a saving to be made on travel expenses? With virtual interactions becoming the norm, many businesses are considering if face to face meetings are always the necessary option. Video calls using Zoom/Teams not only save on the fuel costs, (and help the environment) but there is also a time saving for your staff being able to conduct their day from one place rather than sat in traffic jams. With Carbon Zero and sustainability being high on the agenda, you could look at ways to improve your processes to be more environmentally friendly. The ‘LoCASE Energy Efficiency grant’ delivered by Green Growth Platform, is a non-repayable grant of up to £10,000 for businesses who are looking to completed projects such as LED lighting, insulation, heating or machinery upgrades, or renewable energy systems.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is an initiative managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. This scheme has been created in order to help businesses recover and grow following the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan, of up to £10m per business, borrowed over three months to six years can be used for anything including cash flow, investment and growth. Let’s Do Business Group is an accredited delivery partner of the Recovery Loan Scheme for the South East, providing loans of up to £150,000 under the scheme. Applications for this initiative close on December 31st 2021.

Alongside its finance offering, Let’s Do Business Group also offer a free business support service for those based in East Sussex and Essex who are looking for advice and help growing their business. To see how they can help you contact or visit





THE 2021 FINALISTS BUSINESS PIVOT AWARD sponsored by World of Books

sponsored by Ridgeview Wine Estate



Blakes Meats Holiday Inn Gatwick Oliver’s Brighton PVL UK Sussex Eggspress

Carousel Pelican Parcels Search Seven Sopro We Are Tilt

Cloud, Voice & Data Educate U West Sussex Enable and Thrive Graphite Digital Holmes Hill Shepherds Huts

START-UP OF THE YEAR sponsored by BIPC Brighton and Hove



sponsored by Handelsbanken

Holmes Hill Shepherds Huts Percept Imagery Prsnt Rockwater Start Communications

Blakes Meats Cleankill Clearline Recruitment Tester & Jones Funeral Services Thomson Properties

Anything is Possible Buff Motion Graphite Digital Rose Media Group Tiger Marketing



sponsored by Loch Associates Group

sponsored by Kreston Reeves

Green Mop Haybury Roadways Rocketmill Sopro

Design Specific Advice Cloud Cloud Voice and Data Pier Pressure Search Seven



sponsored by Harrods Corporate Service

sponsored by Mattioli Woods PLC

sponsored by University of Sussex Business School


sponsored by Verlingue UK Anything is Possible Bailey & French Bird & Blend Tea Co. KSD Support Services Nordell


sponsored by Sussex Innovation Centre

67 Degrees 8foldGovernance OMGTea The Estate Agent Content Club Ziggy’s of Forest Row

always possible Anything is Possible Britton and Time Solicitors DMH Stallard LLP Let’s Do Business (South East) Group




Abi Selby, Carlene Jackson, Cloud9 Insight Dean Orgill, Mayo Wynne Baxter Krisi Smith, Bird & Blend Tea Co. Rob Harlow, Sopro

BeautyPro Engage Health Group Paxton Access PVL UK The English Soap Company

This Award recognises a finalist, from all the categories, that stands out as an inspiration to other businesses. Winner announced at the ceremony.

sponsored by FRP Advisory



sponsored by Brewin Dolphin

RaceNation Roadways Snap Finger Click Wellbeing with Cari

sponsored by Lloyds Bank



By Sam Jones, Corporate Tax Senior Manager, Kreston Reeves

SHARE SCHEMES A knock out blow in the talent bout? Recruiting and retaining talent is a key issue for many businesses. The job market is buoyant, salary packages are increasingly competitive, and an SME may feel it’s not able to compete. You may have already reviewed your benefits package or bonus scheme, but have you considered a share option scheme for your key management team and those employees who you cannot be without? This is particularly the case with the increase in NICs because of the social care levy announced recently (both for the Employer and Employee). Younger generations aren’t always seeking a ‘big ticket’ salary but are instead looking at share ownership and incentives within the company they are working for. This is particularly true for start-ups and tech companies.

❛❛ Share options are

only available with a limited company; they cannot be implemented in a partnership or an LLP ❜❜


SO, WHAT IS A SHARE OPTION SCHEME? Share options are a way of rewarding key employees by providing them with the opportunity to purchase shares in the company, typically at a discounted price. Being a shareholder in the company, your key employees can benefit from any increase in the value of the company as it grows. Share options are only available with a limited company; they cannot be implemented in a partnership or an LLP. There are HMRC tax advantaged schemes, and an Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) scheme is the most common scheme utilised by SMEs. Under EMI, a qualifying company can grant employees share options up to the value of £250,000 in a three year period. The employee will not suffer Income Tax or National Insurance if they buy the shares for at least the market value when they were granted the option. Any growth in share value from the date of grant of the option to sale of the shares should be subject to tax at (currently) a 10% rate (up to £1m of gain) and 20% beyond that.

FINANCE At the grant of the options, the employee is not a shareholder but the employee holds a right to buy shares from the company at some date in the future. The event can be timed based, but more typically when certain performance criteria are set. The performance criteria can be linked to company performance or growth, remaining in employment for a set number of years or even just being employed when the company is sold. As advisors, we work with you to model a share scheme to meet your business needs. If you decide to set up an employee share scheme, there could be a number of benefits for your business. However, there are also some potential risks that you should be aware of before making any decisions. Benefits to employers of setting up an employee share scheme may include:

n S taff retention and ability to recruit new talent, also increasing staff loyalty and reducing employee turnover n Compensating for lower salaries by an alternative form of remuneration n Increased motivation and productivity by employees – they have an opportunity to own part of the company n Raising working capital n Aligning shareholder and employees’ interests.

Some potential risks of having such an employee share scheme include: n Share price volatility – the effect on morale and retention if the company value falls. n Administration costs – short-term costs of setting up a share scheme, plus ongoing costs of managing the scheme. n Dilution of share ownership – as more shares are issued each share you own becomes a smaller percentage of the company. n Financial expectations – employees may have unrealistic expectations of the financial rewards. n Ability to realising their investment – if the employee leaves employment can they realise their investment? n Business needs changing – so an employee who is key now, may not be in, say, five years. This can cause schemes to need revision. Kreston Reeves has a specialist share scheme team who can work with you to design and implement a share scheme that meets your strategic goals, ensuring that the scheme is as tax efficient as possible for both the company and the employee.

If you would like to discuss shaping the future of your business, get in touch with us on 0330 124 1399 or visit Sam Jones, Corporate Tax Senior Manager at Kreston Reeves. E:








sponsored by Verlingue UK 1TcA Carver Coaching LabCycle Roome.Uni

sponsored by Charles Russell Speechlys

sponsored by Sandown Mercedes-Benz

Bruce’s Doggy Day Care Right at Home GF Surrey Translation Bureau Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Live Travel and Tours Silent Pool Distillers Surrey Outdoor Learning & Development Trafalgar Marquees



sponsored by projectfive

sponsored by Hilton Woking

Cloud Business howell jones solicitors KPC Creative Communication Switchfoot Wealth

Crumbs Drinks Julia Lampard Salon Sea Change Wine woodhaven space




Black Label Creations Bruce’s Doggy Day Care Fluid Options ramsac



sponsored by Surrey Research Park

sponsored by sponsored by WWW.SURREYBUSINESSAWARDS.COM Surrey Business Magazine

Black Label Creations Broadplace Gold-i Roome.Uni

Surrey Business School

Bays Consulting KPC Creative Communication SB Physiotherapy Switchfoot Wealth

Aristar Financial Consulting Brooklands Museum Trust ramsac Richmond Hill Hotel



sponsored by Surrey Chambers of Commerce

sponsored by Surrey County Council

Invotra No Grey Area Oakleaf YUnique Marketing

Creative Nature Europa Technologies Gold-i No Grey Area





sponsored by Greatest Hits Radio Surrey and Hampshire Fard & Co Solicitors MAD Ideas Oakleaf Enterprise Unique Fruit

SME BUSINESS OF THE YEAR sponsored by Partridge Muir & Warren Air Social Dreaming Fish Productions Mandira’s Kitchen Silent Pool Distillers





sponsored by Mazars

sponsored by BNI Surrey

Cloud Business Foxhills Club & Resort ramsac Triad

Bruce Casalis, Bruce’s Doggy Day Care Clive Price, Barons Pubs Company Frances Rutter, Nescot Julianne Ponan, Creative Nature

COMPANY OF THE YEAR sponsored by NatWest This Award recognises a business that stands out as an inspiration to other businesses. The winner is hand-picked by the sponsor and selected from the finalists in the other categories.



Broadplace | Bruce’s Doggy Day Care | Cloud Business | ramsac | Silent Pool Distillers



The essential challenge of achieving Net Zero aircraft emissions like everyday household rubbish, they are ready to go – provided there is sufficient Government backing.

How does Gatwick and the UK aviation sector plan to support UK climate change targets? Sustainability is one of the most important issues facing society, not just aviation. As consumers are doing across other sectors, an increasing number of passengers will look closely to see what the aviation industry is doing so it is vital the sector can demonstrate clear action in this area. Gatwick has made good progress and achieved a 50% reduction of direct emissions from the airport by 2018. It is now aiming to achieve an 80% reduction by 2030 and ‘net zero’ before 2040, similar to other major UK airports. Achieving net zero carbon emissions from aircraft will be a more difficult challenge, however. There is no single silver bullet. A broad range of measures must be deployed and phased in over time as part of a long-term strategy that the entire UK industry has embraced.


It reflects how important the UK sector takes this issue that together it was the first national aviation industry anywhere in the world to give a 2050 commitment to reach net zero for aircraft carbon emissions. Sustainable Aviation (SA) is a UK industry coalition including airlines, airports – including Gatwick – and aerospace manufacturers. Its Net Zero roadmap targets at least an overall 15% reduction in net emissions (relative to 2019 levels) by 2030, and a 40% net reduction by 2040.


The pace of decarbonisation will also ramp up as game-changing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), permanent carbon removals, and new low and zero-carbon technologies – such as electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft – are scaled up and become mainstream.


In the medium term, new electric, hybrid, and hydrogen engine technologies have great potential to deliver zero emissions – as we have seen with the recent evolution of road vehicles.


Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are a more immediate and long-term solution however and can be used in existing engines and require no modifications to aircraft or refuelling infrastructure. Developed from sustainable feedstocks like waste oils, fats, and even solid waste

Gatwick has made ❛❛ good progress and

achieved a 50% reduction of direct emissions from the airport by 2018 and ‘net zero’ before 2040 ❜❜

In October, Gatwick welcomed a milestone moment as the first easyJet flight powered by SAF took off. The flight to Glasgow, on October 19th, marked the first time any airline at Gatwick has used SAF on a departing flight, while the 30% Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ blend was also the first usage by any easyJet service from the UK.


Redesigning our airspace and using new navigation technology will also generate significant carbon savings from aircraft emissions by making flying more efficient – leading to less airborne holding, fewer miles flown per aircraft and less fuel burn. A major project to modernise is already underway and could be complete by the mid-2030s.


Aviation however is a global industry and requires global solutions to avoid simply moving emissions from one country to another. Global agreement will be key as effective market-based carbon pricing, offsets and removal mechanisms must also be developed which – alongside new carbon removal and storage technologies - can reduce the remaining residual emissions to net zero. Achieving Net Zero by 2050 is within the aviation industry’s reach, but it will require significant suppor t from Government, major investment in new technology and cooperation and urgency at an international level.


Tigers on the hunt in Brighton The Sussex Business Show, part of Network Xpress, is not a standardised B2B Trade-show events company. Its founder, Sonny Cutting, shakes up the events industry with revolutionary ideas to breathe fresh air into the sector and support bringing new talent up the ranks. Uniquely positioned to help start-ups, SMEs and even individual Directors across Sussex, Sonny has introduced ventures such as the Tiger’s Pen, to help start-ups scale up in business. Originally designed with start-ups in mind, The Tiger’s Pen offers more than just investment, with the Tigers also offering guidance, advice and wisdom from decades of experience. So far, the venture has helped several businesses flourish and grow far beyond their humble roots. The opportunity is for energetic entrepreneurs wanting to take the reins of their business and strive to achieve. The jungle is alive with fresh prospects and with new investor Tigers requesting to join, keep your ears open for their roars.

On January 11th, the Tiger’s Pen will be launching a special edition at The University of Brighton, where Business Management BSc (Hons) and International Business Management BSc (Hons) students will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges associated with The Tiger’s Pen, and the Sussex Business Show, and also from the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce. The Tigers, the majority of whom are entrepreneurs themselves, will listen carefully to the students’ business pitches and will give individual, practical and realistic feedback about the students’ start-up ideas.

sink their teeth into these new student projects. Although no real funding is allocated at the event, this initiative simulates a situation in which students could find themselves during their future career. For example, where they would need to present an idea or solution to the senior management team of an organisation, to customers or to potential investors. A few prizes are on offer to students who will pitch live at the event: Best presentation: Who performed best as a group (with an on-the-day prize). Best idea: Who had the best idea (this group will be showcased at the Sussex Business Show on May 5th with the chance to win up to £5,000 investment, mentoring and access to the wildcard prize).

Students will work together in teams; to construct their own business start-up ideas. They will creatively develop their ideas using sound business reasoning including production costs, market research, market strategy, pricing, legal implications and so on. They then present their proposals to the panel of commercially experienced ‘Tigers’ who’ll

Originally designed with start-ups ❛❛ in mind, The Tiger’s Pen offers more

than just investment with the Tigers also offering guidance, advice and wisdom from decades of experience ❜❜

Keep updated on our University Edition of The Tiger’s Pen by following us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook / tag us and share @SussexBizShow or visit the website:



By Nick Fanthorpe, Head of English, Hurst College

Treading the line between success and failure in the classroom Failure might not be the best word. As an English teacher I want students to be willing to be wrong. In fact, I probably don’t want them to think in terms of being right or wrong. An excellent English student isn’t one who gets all the answers ‘right’; an excellent English student is one who can creatively and convincingly support their interpretations in discussion and in writing. Giving students the confidence to do this is one of the primary responsibilities of a teacher. This is where finding an equilibrium between success and ‘failure’ becomes so important.

Students should fail occasionally and succeed often. One of the great challenges of building a productive and inspiring classroom environment is finding the right balance between success and failure. If students get everything right all the time, then they will feel great about themselves but almost certainly are not being stretched enough or learning the resilience that comes with occasional failures. If students can’t get anything right, then the classroom becomes an incredibly alienating place.


In Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know (2012), he quotes research which “suggests that the optimal success rate for fostering student achievement appears

If students get everything right ❛❛ all the time, then they will feel great

about themselves but almost certainly are not being stretched enough or learning the resilience that comes with occasional failures ❜❜

to be about 80%”. What this means in practice is guiding students in initial instruction, repeated low stakes quizzing of key content, and reinforcing core skills (such as close analysis, convincing exploration of context, fluency of expression, etc). This is also where an acceptable level of ‘failure’ can be productive. Correcting or challenging a student who ‘fails’ to demonstrate a core skill (by not offering supporting evidence, for example) sets high expectations of the whole group. If this is all done well by the teacher, then students are far more likely to tackle difficult tasks robustly. Rosenshine refers to this as “mastery learning”. Students should not be asked to move on to a new topic or skill until they can confidently display “mastery” of the previous unit. What might this mean in an English lesson? Let’s say, for example, that a class is approaching a new scene in the Shakespeare play they are studying. Students may begin by reading the scene through as a class. The teacher may then clarify any questions about language and offer a short introduction to a particular character’s development in that scene. The teacher can explore and reinforce the students’ under-

standing of that character’s role in earlier scenes through low stakes quizzing or questioning. Students could be encouraged to find a single quotation to support a statement about the character’s actions or motivations in the scene of focus. Two or three of those quotations could be analysed together as a class (each student preparing their own analysis, on a mini whiteboard perhaps, to encourage active participation) to model the core skill. Once all of that is achieved, and students have enjoyed multiple ‘successes’ throughout the lesson, they are much better equipped

to answer a higher-order analytical question or to write a paragraph exploring that character’s dramatic or thematic purpose. As Rosenshine summarises, it is “easier to solve new problems when one has a rich, well-connected body of knowledge”. Students are more likely to be willing to be wrong, or to attempt more difficult problems, if they are confident they have the tools to attempt the task and have succeeded at each foundational stage of the learning. A ‘failure’ shouldn’t be a problem unless it is followed by successive ones. Students will learn from the odd mistake. If the right balance can be struck in the classroom, then we develop young people who are resilient, who respond positively to feedback, are self-reflective, and who understand the benefit of being prepared.

For more information:





THE FLAWED TITAN Maarten Hoffmann looks at the life of Colin Powell – former US Secretary of State, diplomat, statesman and four-star general – who passed away in October at the age of 84



It was a trailblazing American ❛❛ dream journey that won him international acclaim and trust ❜❜ A child of working-class Jamaican immigrants in the Bronx, Colin Powell rose from neighbourhood store clerk to warehouse floor-mopper to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. It was a trailblazing American dream journey that won him international acclaim and trust. It was that credibility he put on the line in 2003 when, appearing before the United Nations as US Secretary of State, he made the case for war against Iraq. When it turned out that the intelligence he cited was faulty and the Iraq War became a bloody, chaotic nightmare, Powell’s stellar reputation was damaged. Still, it wasn’t destroyed. After leaving government, he became an elder statesman on the global stage and the founder of an organisation aimed at helping young disadvantaged Americans. Republicans wanted him to run for president but after becoming disillusioned with his party, he ended up endorsing the last three Democratic presidential candidates, who welcomed his support. For many Iraqis and others, Powell will forever be associated with that 2003 speech and the bloodshed that followed. But with Powell’s death from


Covid complications at age 8 4, Republicans and Democrats re membered him as a historic figure, a g ro u n d b re a k i n g s o l d i e r- t u r n e d statesman, the first black secretary of state and first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell rejected comparisons between himself and previous icons like George Marshall, the World War II general who became America’s top diplomat. But he embraced a local-kid-does-good narrative that reflected his humble roots. He was fond of recalling his youth in the Bronx, working first as a clerk in a neighbourhood store and then as a sweeper in the massive Pepsi-Cola plant directly across the East River from the United Nations headquarters,

Top left: Colin married Alma Johnson on August 25th 1962 Top right: With their children, Michael, Linda and Annemarie

BIG STORY a job he frequently referred to in meetings at the United Nations. A geology student at City College of New York, Powell made clear that he found his calling in the Reserve Officer Training Corps or ROTC, which would initiate his 35-year career in the Army.

blame Osama bin Laden for the September 11th terrorist attacks and the first of Bush’s top national security aides to visit Pakistan, just a month later, to make clear to the Pakistanis that they must join the U.S.-led coalition or be labelled an enemy.

Powell served two tours in Vietnam and rose through the ranks with various stints in Cold War-era Europe before President Ronald Reagan tapped him as his national security adviser. President George H.W. Bush then appointed him chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he oversaw the ousting of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq from Kuwait in 1991. It was then that the “Powell Doctrine” emerged; it was a strategy for the use of American military power that relied on the deployment of overwhelming force and a clear and defined exit strategy from conflict.

Amid significant security concerns in the aftermath of 9/11, Powell flew to Islamabad, his plane blacked-out as it went into a corkscrew landing to avoid potential rocket strikes, to tell then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that his support in the operation to avenge the attacks was non-negotiable. It worked, at least in the short-term. Powell was personally skeptical of the 2003 Iraq invasion and cautioned against the war privately. But he dutifully presented the administration’s case for invasion not only in diplomatic meetings with his counterparts but also in the now-infamous speech before the U.N. Security Council in February 2003.

Powell held the Joint Chiefs of Staff position into the Clinton administration, where he recalled arguments with Cabinet members over military intervention in the Balkans, which Powell believed was unwise. “I thought I would have an aneurysm,”

Powell wrote in a memoir about a White House incident in which then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright asked what good the armed forces are if they were never used. Powell ended up succeeding Albright as secretary of state in 2001. And while his military career had taken him from the minefields of Vietnam to West Germany’s strategic Fulda Gap, it was his role as secretary of state in wartime that almost did him in. Powell was the first of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet members to publicly

He was fond of recalling his ❛❛ youth in the Bronx, working first

as a clerk in a neighbourhood store and then as a sweeper in the massive Pepsi-Cola plant ❜❜

Confronted with widespread doubts about the accuracy of the American and British assessment of Saddam’s capabilities and intentions, many compared the stakes of Powell’s speech to be similar to those of former United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson’s electrifying 1962 presentation to the council about the Soviet Union’s placement of missiles in Cuba. In Powell’s speech — which he would later call a “blot” on his record — he brandished a vial that he said could have contained anthrax that intelligence agencies insisted Saddam was producing in mass quantities.



“Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little bit — about this amount,” he told the council, waving the vial. “This is just about the amount of a teaspoon. Less than a teaspoonful of dry anthrax in an envelope shut down the United States Senate in the fall of 2001.” Some, including several critics of the Bush administration, believed Powell had hit the mark, but unlike Stevenson 41 years earlier, whatever convincing he accomplished was quickly erased. No anthrax or, in fact, any weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after the end of the war, which led to a protracted U.S. military occupation of the country that many believe resulted in a broader destabilisation of the Middle East, including the rise of the Islamic State, that persists to this day. While he will always be associated with the Iraq War, Powell was not an unaccomplished diplomat. He oversaw the resolution of the Bush administration’s first foreign policy crisis, China’s force down of a Navy spy plane and the detention of its crew, and self-deprecatingly referred to successes in resolving a spat with Moscow over a Russian ban on U.S. chicken imports and an armed dispute between Morocco and Spain over a small Mediterranean island. Powell was also critical in engineering an end to a standoff between Israel, and then-Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat who had been blockaded in his Ramallah headquarters by Israeli troops during the second “intifada” or Palestinian uprising. And he was the first senior U.S. official to visit Afghanistan after the Taliban were ousted, flying into Kabul on a military plane in January 2002, to meet with then-President Hamid Karzai. Nonetheless, Powell’s biggest legacy at the State Department may be bureaucratic rather than diplomatic. A natural


tinkerer who loved to collect and repair old Volvos and was a fan of the then-new Chrysler PT Cruiser, Powell pushed to bring the department’s antiquated computer and communications systems into the age of email and interoperability. He fought budget battles to increase diplomatic spending and hiring and also led a successful drive to prevent the newly established Department of Homeland Security from entirely taking over the process of issuing visas, something that had been recommended in the wake of 9/11.

When it turned ❛❛ out that the intelligence he cited was faulty and the Iraq War became a bloody, chaotic nightmare, Powell’s stellar reputation was damaged ❜❜


Unlike his predecessors and several successors as secretary of state, Powell was not enamoured of foreign travel and spent less time overseas than almost any of America’s top diplomats since the dawn of the jet age, an aversion perhaps exacerbated by his unsuccessful behind-the-scenes attempts in Washington to blunt his Bush administration colleagues’ push for war with Iraq. Personable and often approachable, Powell sought to assure his new employees that he would not be a burden on them in some of his first remarks to the diplomatic corps. “I will be around to see you in due course,” he told his first town hall meeting. “I am an easy visitor. We are going to try to make it very easy for me to visit. Just to save a lot of cable traffic, I have no food preferences, no drink preferences. A cheeseburger will be fine. I like Holiday Inns, I have no illusions.”

While he will always ❛❛ be associated with the Iraq War, Powell was not an unaccomplished diplomat ❜❜



LOCAL PRESENCE, NATIONAL STRENGTH Brewin Dolphin is a wealth management company with over £55 billion worth of investments under their management. The company’s reputation is stellar and l was keen to learn more so l sat down with Directors, Lee Clark, Paul Cannons and Mike Ast at their new offices at Gatwick Airport to learn more about the company. By Maarten Hoffmann Lee Clark

Paul Cannons

Mike Ast

So, who is Brewin Dolphin? Brewin Dolphin is a wealth management business that started in 1762 with three core elements to the business – private clients, clients of intermediaries and we have an award winning charity team. The perception of the company is that of a high-end brand but, in fact, we work with clients from £2,000 and beyond so we work with all manner of clients on their wealth planning journey. Whether that is the early stage of client acquisition of wealth or experienced clients, we have a home for them. We are independently owned and a FTSE 250 company, and a UK business, therefore we truly are a local business with national strength. As a firm that manages over £50 billion of client assets we are a safe harbour for a wide variety of client funds. I am surprised at the £2,000 entry level as l think the perception of wealth management is that l need a million or two to work with you. Different clients have different entry points and the client with £2,000 today might have £2 million next year and we want to be their trusted partner on that journey. We call it the Spectrum of Yes. One of the great things about the busi ness are the families we work with through the generations. A meeting only this morning was with three children of a long-term client who has sadly passed away and that prompted their children to come to us to discuss their inheritance planning and we hope in the years to come that their children will take the same journey with Brewin Dolphin. This is a testament of the strength and knowledge of this company that generations of clients return to us and we all thrive on the huge satisfaction derived from such great word of mouth recommendations.



You have been with the business for 28 years Paul, you must have seen significant generational change? Indeed, l saw a client last week whose grandfather first started working with the firm in the early 70’s, l have been working with him for the past 20 years and now l am working with his children which is hugely satisfying but we are just custodians of the brand, charged with passing it on in a better condition than when we started and with that sentiment, the brand is secure for generations to come. One of the major parts of our role is not just to buy X or sell Z, it is to act as financial educators to ensure that our clients make the right decisions, and fully understand the advice we are giving them. I have one particular client who has been with me for over 25 years and at the start, he had little financial knowledge and relied solely on my advice. Since then we have worked together and at each turn, l fully explain not just what l am recommending but why and he now has knowledge probably equivalent to mine and that is so satisfying. You do have a huge responsibility in your roles. You are holding the entire wealth of many of your clients and their families – does that weight on you at times? It weighs on us all the time and so it should. At all times the client comes first. The only consideration is ‘is this right for the client’ and with that ethos, we can’t go wrong.

Inheritance tax (IHT) is hated by many people as a tax on a tax. I presume much of what you deal with is eventually inheritance, are there ways to minimise the IHT of such wealth? Absolutely and our job is tax mitigation in those circumstances – not avoidance but mitigation. IHT is a tiny part of government tax revenue, data provided by the OBR shows revenue currently at 0.6% or 0.2% of national income but it does indeed get a very bad rap. As a South East business in this office, dealing principally with Sussex, Surrey and Kent, this is a real problem. Go further north where property prices are not so high, it is not such a major issue but in all instances, it is quite a good problem to have. There is still the seven-year rule of asset disposal before death, with certain caveats, and in that instance, it is our job to ensure the clients mitigate the tax payable and pass as much down to the next generation as possible. We also get some very specific demands, such as school or university fees. A grandparent might want to assist their grandchildren through private school or university and they want advice on the most effective manner to do this. Meeting client’s financial objectives or achieving a client’s financial goal is part of the job and we are proud to say we have an excellent track record.

As a business that manages over £55 billion of client assets we are a safe harbour for a wide variety of clients’ funds ❜❜



INTERVIEW Where is the sweet spot at the moment? I hear ESG (Environmental, Society, Governance) investments have really picked up with the desire to ethically invest. Is that a large part of the business? Absolutely. The market has really developed lately as people feel that their investments must prove to be good for humanity and good for the environment and that investment has great power. It’s a space we are keen to be in and is certainly being driven by our clients. The problem is that claims over sustainability differ among wealth managers, and this grey area increases the risk of greenwashing. In Brewin Dolphin, we want to work with real, proven ESG managers that our clients can have total faith in. We want to invest in companies that will still be there in 30/50 years’ time, companies that are really making a difference but crucially for our clients, companies that can offer good, secure returns with great peace of mind.

There is a pervasive myth that clients have to sacrifice performance for ethics and that is just not true ❜❜



I have the impression that clients might have to sacrifice a few percentage points for the luxury of ethically investing – is that right? No, not necessarily. ESG investments are, in many instances, offering equivalent or better returns than traditional companies these days. However, some ESG constraints can mean that certain products are slightly more expensive or may even underperform in the shorter term. It used to be that we had what was called Negative Screens, therefore no investments in alcohol, arms, oil etc but what has changed over the past years is that clients no longer want to just avoid the bad but they want to actively seek out the good. So we now have Positive Screens that seek out ethical companies with a great track record. What these companies need is investment to move forward, and much of that comes in the form of ESG investment. There is a pervasive myth that clients have to sacrifice performance for ethics and that is just not true. We have a wide array of ESG vehicles that are outperforming traditional investments and this will only increase as the years go by. Some clients don’t want full ESG integra tion with the feeling that they will dip their toe into the waters and see how things go, a more hybrid model but more and more clients have studied the market and are fully in to the ESG market and making some very good returns.


So, what keeps your clients awake at night? With the worrying last 18 months we have endured, there are lots of concerns but l guess the main focus is on ‘when is the next financial crash going to happen?’. Obviously we don’t have a crystal ball but sound preparation for that type of eventuality is diversification. Diversify the portfolio, know the market, know your client and minimise any issues with such things. After all, that’s our job.

As the younger generation come through and naturally have more of a concern about the environment and ESG investing, l assume this section of your client base is steadily increasing? Yes and not just them. Often we have children talking to their parents about their portfolio, convincing them to shift a portion of it into ESG funds so this is a massive positive for ethical investing. What are the main sources of client wealth? It tends to be inheritance, business success, accrued savings or winning it. Brewin Dolphin has a long-term relationship with the Lottery operator, Camelot, in advising their winners. Business success is also highly rewarding when we start with a client with a lower investment value and we work with him/her as the company grows. I have a client who we started work with many years ago on an investment portfolio of £40,000 and she and her partner are about to sell their company for £2.6 million. Never ignore the acorns of today if you want the oak trees of tomorrow.

We also believe strongly in financial literacy and indeed, we run financial literacy workshops for clients to ensure they have a strong understanding on what we are recommending. We advise on things such a university fees as we found that a large number of clients greatly underestimate the true costs, so we are financial advisors, financial managers and financial educators and that is extremely rewarding for all of us at Brewin Dolphin. And it often goes further than that. I recently had a long-term client, who had become a friend, who was diagnosed with liver cancer and on his death bed, he asked to see three people - his wife, his brother and me. All he said to me, referring to his wife, was ‘look after her’. He knew that’s all he had to say and l have looked after her ever since as l see it as a rock solid commitment to that client and his wife, who is now the client. Anctodley a significant proportion of children replace their parents wealth advisor upon their death. Our strongest advocates for our brand are our existing clients and we never forget that.

So now we have Positive Screens that seek out ethical companies with a great track record ❜❜


Many clients worry about protecting their wealth for the future generation and not making mistakes that could jeopardise their heirs’ future. That is the very reason many clients come to Brewin Dolphin as we have a stellar reputation for sensible investments, for sound advice and a strong reputation for protecting our clients. Like the swan analogy, we are peaceful and calm on the surface but peddling furiously under the water to protect our clients. What keeps the financial advisor awake at night? Our client’s security. We aim to get it right, protect and increase their wealth and do so successfully that they recommend us to their friends and relatives – generation after generation. Thankfully, we all sleep very well most of the time. Source inheritance-tax/ - referenced 14/10/2021

Lee Clark E: Paul Cannons E: T: 01293 661 323



FIXED COSTS IN LITIGATION The litigation landscape is changing and Simon Elcock, Head of Dispute Resolution at DMH Stallard, explains the changes. There are changes on the horizon relating to the way litigation claims are run with a fixed cost regime to be introduced for claims worth less than £100,000. RATIONALE FOR CHANGE Litigation can be expensive and unpredictable and this puts off many claimants from taking formal legal action. The government’s intention is to make the law more accessible and


encourage early settlement where appropriate, so reducing costs and injecting more certainty into the process. Early settlement, whilst attractive in principle, is not always the “right” or “fair” outcome and there is an argument that a fixed recoverable cost regime may penalise both claimants and defendants, by dissuading the former from bringing claims and encouraging the latter to settle irrespective of the merits of the claim.

THE CURRENT SITUATION When a dispute goes to court, the “losing party” can usually expect to be ordered to pay the majority of the “winning party’s” legal costs in addition to its own. These potential costs can act as a disincentive to bringing claims and particularly in lower value, “Fast Track Claims” (currently claims with values between £10,000 and £25,000) - where each party’s costs to trial can easily exceed the sum in dispute, and where the “losing party” may well face a significant costs liability compared to the value of the claim. Costs can become the dominant and determining factor in this kind of litigation.


FAST TRACK FOR CASES UNDER £100,000 T h e g ove r n m e nt has re c e ntl y announced its intention to introduce fixed recoverable costs (FRC) for cases valued at under £100,000. This will determine the level of costs that a successful party can recover from its opponent, thereby giving a measure of costs certainty from the outset. Lord Wolfson of Tredegar QC, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, explained the rationale behind these changes: “Without being able to predict what the costs may be, it is difficult for either side to take an informed decision on the appropriate way forward. If cases are to be litigated, then we want them to be resolved as early as possible, with costs as proportionate and as fair to both sides as possible.“

The government’s intention is to make the law more accessible and encourage early settlement ❜❜


NEW REGIME CAN INCLUDE AN UPLIFT ON COSTS OF UP TO 50% The proposed new regime will include uplifts of 35% on the FRC where a party has rejected a Part 36 settlement offer (a prescribed type of offer under the relevant rules on civil procedure), which they fail to “beat” at trial, and a 50% uplift where a court deems that a party has acted unreasonably (the courts will determine what is “unreasonable” conduct). The FRC regime will not be “one size fits all”. Cases will be allocated to one of four bands depending on complexity. Whilst parties will be entitled to challenge the allocation, it appears that an unsuccessful challenge could itself amount to “unreasonable conduct” risking a 50% uplift on the FRC.

PARTIES TO BE INCENTIVISED TO MAKE REALISTIC AND EARLY SETTLEMENT OFFERS The level of FRC will also increase as a matter progresses towards trial and some adjustments will apply for London weighting and for cases involving more than one defendant. The government’s intention appears to be to encourage early settlement, to make lower value litigation more predictable and to free up the courts. CERTAINTY ON RECOVERABLE COSTS Whilst it is clear that the new FRC regime will provide some certainty for litigants, it will only extend to recoverable costs – i.e. the costs that a successful party is entitled to recover from its “opponent”. The regime does not limit the costs that a party will incur with its legal advisors in pursuing or defending litigation, although early settlement will naturally serve to limit costs. Neither does the regime differentiate between the parties or take account of the fact that the claimant will usually incur higher costs due to the enhanced weight of its obligations throughout the proceedings.

CONCLUSION We do not know when the FRC regime will be implemented nor if it will be applied retrospectively. At this stage, it is not clear that these changes will have the apparently desired effect of increasing access to justice for those with less deep pockets. If you are considering pursuing a claim which may fall within the FRC regime in due course, you may well want to consider committing to that without awaiting their implementation. When the new regime comes into force, you will undoubtedly be best served by working with an experienced litigation team that is flexible in its approach and able to make the most appropriate commercial recommendations. At DMH Stallard, we assess every claim on its merits and always provide objective legal and commercial advice.

Simon Elcock is a Partner and Head of Litigation at DMH Stallard. He can be contacted on 01293 558548 or by email at




We have the ability to reach 25 MILLION UK CONSUMERS. Via our network of iconic brands, we can provide you with potential customers from very Local areas, wider Regions & across the whole of the UK. We can target your messages to be delivered to where your customers are. We connect with our listeners through multiple platforms, On Air, On Mobile & Online We also have Extensive Advertising Solutions Branded Content Sponsorship Digital Marketing Products Targeted airtime Instream Creative Services & Production We can create an effective campaign that will achieve tangible results. Giving a return on investment of up to 8 Times on average* And we can provide the local touch. Market knowledge & area insights to inform you of opportunities to stay ahead of your competitors. UK wide scale with local market excellence.

That’s BAUER POWER Absorb our talents into your business. Get in touch today MEDIA AUDIO *Source: TGI


The ultimate corporate calling card this Christmas By Harrods Corporate Service At Harrods Corporate Service, creating gifts that make the greatest impact is at the heart of what we do, whether you’re expressing gratitude, celebrating success or marking a special calendar moment. And one option in particular, for all its simplicity, always hits the spot... the Harrods Gift Card. Instantly recognisable with its famous gilt signature and distinctive green background, the message is clear from the moment the seal is opened. You’re sending a sincere wish that your recipients spoil themselves in truly elegant style, whether they visit the store in person or shop online from anywhere in the world. A visit to the store is an experience in itself. It’s where global brands unveil exclusive launches and artisans reveal originality and craftsmanship. But


there’s so much more to do than shop. You can dine in one of the 19 restaurants: comforting, casual dining is served at Pizzeria & Pasqua and Kerridge’s Fish & Chips; Chai Wu is a must for Asia cuisine; and for pure escapism, sip sparkling cocktails in the Baccarat Bar. Maybe you’d prefer to relax while you have a hair or beauty treatment or visit an expert holistic practitioner in the Wellbeing Clinic. The Harrods Gift Card opens up endless possibilities. When it comes to the shopping, perhaps you’ll head to the fabulous floors of fashion – walking the collections in Designer Fashion is like taking an A-Z

sashay down the international runways. As for accessories, Harrods showcases the most exquisite bags you’ll ever carry, from brands such as Bottega Veneta, Chloe, Gucci and Pucci, while an array of fine watches and jewellery houses display a level of meticulous excellence beyond compare.

BUSINESS interior design, up your game at the Toy Shop or walk on air in Shoe Heaven. Quite simply, the Harrods Gift Card offers a wealth of experiences, never to be forgotten. However, if those you are treating can’t travel, the Gift Card unlocks the magic of Harrods online. Whoever possesses the card has everything at their fingertips - the definitive edits from fashion to beauty and food to wine, selected by top professionals in their specialist fields. All that has to be done is to muse and choose at leisure. It also offers the ultimate in flexibility as the card value can be selected to suit

any budget. And it’s a particularly smart option if you’re travelling away on business – lightweight but delivering a heavyweight thrill, think of it like the very best corporate calling card. And don’t forget, when you purchase a Gift Card for someone else to enjoy, you also receive Harrods Rewards points yourself. So some of that spoiling will come your way too. A wonderful win-win in every way. Redeemable in-store and online, and loaded with any value from £50 - £5,000, the Harrods Gift Card is the perfect way to say a special thank you to colleagues or reward employees on a job well done this year.

❛❛ It also offers the ultimate in

flexibility as the card value can be selected to suit any budget ❜❜

Maybe the Beauty Halls that have fast become the world’s ultimate beauty destination will beckon. Prestigious names and cult cosmetics are all here, with expert creatives on hand. And if you descend the golden staircase, you can immerse yourself in exciting beauty industry events and services - just book with the Beauty Concierge. If it’s food and wine that tempts you, discernment meets indulgence in the Food Halls. The Fresh Market Hall’s produce tastes as terrific as it looks, and the Chocolate Hall takes confectionery to a sweet peak of perfection. And don’t forget the perennial favourite – the seasonal selection of Harrods Hampers, which is always a hit for the holidays. There’s so much to do at Harrods, whether you want to trial innovative tech, immerse yourself in the latest

The Harrods Gift Card may be purchased this Christmas through Harrods Corporate Service and delivered to colleagues and employees internationally. To arrange delivery, please call Harrods Corporate Service on +44 (0)20 7225 5994 or email


Join our Shaping your future report launch webinar Find out what matters most to business leaders. This webinar will launch and explore the findings of our nationwide research of over 650 business leaders with the aim of helping you plan for the future.

Topics covered include: • A summary of the findings – business issues, priorities and constraints on future growth • An economic forecast • Supply chain challenges • People, purpose and future of work • Business growth, finance and funding • Financial digital revolution • Guidance and opportunities for businesses

Register your place here, or contact Elise Mason: Email: Visit: #Shapingyourfuture


By Daniel Morgan, Managing Partner, Haines Watts Esher


Why is the pre year-end meeting so important?

allowing them more flexibility and the ability to work remotely. Some clients have even begun planning to spend a few months abroad each year which has dramatically reduced the risk of burnout.

For many business owners year-end is the point that they meet with their accountant to review the business profits and receive their tax bill. However, a review of your tax position before your year-end is a prime time to look to introduce efficiencies and understand if your tax strategy is allowing you to meet both your personal and business goals. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A PRE YEAR-END MEETING? I tend to meet with my clients around two months before their year-end, the key is to have this meeting at a time where you can accurately predict the business’s profi ts for the year but also allow time for changes to be implemented. There are always some basics that we need to ensure are sor ted such as pension contributions. These need to be paid before the year-end for a corporate tax deduction. It’s also benefi cial to discuss a longterm plan with a roadmap for both the company as well as your personal position. In order to do this we discuss what goals they have and a timeframe of when they’d like to achieve them. We can then make sure their tax strategy for the year ahead is supporting these goals.

Of course all these changes in how and where you work can have a knock on effect on your tax position which is why it is so important to discuss your plans with your advisor. CHANGING PRIORITIES Following the challenges of the past year the goals of many of my clients have changed and therefore their tax strategy needs to change as well. The subject of exit and lifestyle have come up regularly. In some cases the pandemic has sped up these plans and so we are looking at implementing a low risk tax strategy that is really solid in order to appeal to potential buyers. On the flip side I also have clients that were planning exit by a certain age but can now see themselves working longer. They were going full throttle with long hours in the office away from their families. The pandemic has changed the way they work

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE As well as looking at the effi ciencies that can be made in the current tax year I also aim to look ahead with my clients. Succession planning and passing down wealth has become a big priority so getting everything in order in terms of wills, inheritance tax and life insurance has become a big part of the longer term planning. National insurance and tax on dividends is set to increase from 2022 so it could be worthwhile looking at how you extract wealth from the business. This may mean taking dividends during this tax year if it won’t have a knock on effect on the business, and longer term looking at whether your current method is still the most tax efficient.

If you’d like to review your tax position, get in touch. T: 020 8549 5137 E:


INFLUENCERS FORUM The volume of cyber security incidents are on the rise across the board, and misconceptions continue to persist. Cyber security is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from attacks. Cyber security is designed to combat threats from across a range of systems of applications, whether those threats come from within or outside an organisation. In 2020 alone the average cost of a data breach was £3.86 million globally, and $8.6 million in the United States. These costs include discovering and repairing the breach, the cost of downtime, and the long term reputation of the business and its brand. Cyber attacks target personal identifying information (PII), names, addresses, National identification numbers, credit card information and then sell these in underground digital marketplaces. Compromised PII often leads to a loss of trust, regulatory firings, and legal action. Today we have a group of experts around the table who advise on what we can do to protect ourselves. I’d like to introduce Martin Briggs, MD of Hands On IT Services, Scott Nurston, CEO of ITHQ, Kieran Johnston, CTO of Red River, Chris White, head of cyber innovation from Cyber Resilience Centre for the South East, and Mike Perks from TVision Technology.

MAARTEN HOFFMANN The Platinum Publisher

Maarten Hoffmann is the facilitator for the Platinum Influencer Forums



MARTIN BRIGGS Managing Director, Hands On IT Services

Martin started Hands On IT in 1995 which specialises in providing straight forward jargon-free outsourced IT support to small and medium-sized businesses. During those 26 years, the IT industry has changed dramatically with proactive managed support, cloud-based computing, and Cyber security now being pivotal to everything that he and his team of engineers delivers to their customers.



Kieren Johnstone is the CTO and co-founder of Red River, a 13-year-old technology consulting business focussed on building industry-leading and innovative products, systems and apps for high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. He heads up the Technical Steering team, which oversees tech strategy, appraisal of emerging technologies and R&D activities for the business.



Contractor, TVision Technology

Scott launched ITHQ in 2019 to support businesses with their cyber resilience, hybrid cloud infrastructure and data analytics journeys. In response to customer needs during lockdown, ITHQ developed new strategy-led solutions, which helped them beat growth targets and win their first awards. With 25 years of cyber experience, Scott has been running tech businesses in the UK for 21 years. As well as acting as an investor and non-executive director in several companies, he formerly owned Cisco partner s2s before it was sold to NG Bailey in 2008.

Mike Perks is attending this event on behalf of TVision. He has worked closely with our clients for many years, providing IT Consultancy, IT Implementation, Project Management and Business systems support to organisations who use the Microsoft stack. Mike has extensive knowledge of all things Azure, O365, licensing and business systems, including cyber security.


Head of Cyber & Innovation, Cyber Resilience Centre for the South East Chris joined the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit as a Police Cyber Security Advisor and Prevent Sgt. Though he is now at the Cyber Resilience Centre for the South East, where he is Head of Cyber & Innovation, delivering as a speaker, presenter, technologist, and police officer working with the private sector and academia to protect business from cybercrime.

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director, Platinum Media Group

Lesley is a marketing professional, having spent many years with Capital Radio in London and the Observer Newspaper, and was instrumental in the launch of the Observer Magazine. The Platinum Media Group is the largest circulation business publishing group in the UK, reaching up to 720,000 readers each month across three titles. 07767 613707



I turn to you first Chris, you deal with a lot of companies but mainly the police. Is this wave of attacks set to continue and are the villains going to get better? CW: Cybercrime accounts for just under 49% of all recorded crime, which is an astonishing amount, and it will likely get worse. I often compare cyber security to day to day life, today I came into this building and there was a locked door, so I couldn’t get any further, someone then came out to greet me, they vetted me, and then l was allowed in, they don’t let strangers in the building. If we adopt those processes with cyber security then we will stay safe. However, small businesses are very willing to open up to the technology that they are being presented with, and that’s without the proper risk assessments and security measures in place. One certificate that they should get access to is Cyber Essentials, it has a base of security controls within, and with those at your disposal you will be able to protect yourself from most of what is thrown at you. A lot of cyber crime is basic, so you don’t always need the biggest and best security, but enough to protect you from these common yet smaller threats. So long as Windows Defender is updating every day it will likely be ok. SN: I see this in the same way, stakes are high for business owners, the prize is huge for criminals. With this in mind, there is a huge disconnect between the costs of protecting yourself as a business, which are relatively low, compared to the costs of a major breach that may occur. In my experience businesses aren’t doing enough to counter the crime, many aren’t putting basic controls in place as, Chris has mentioned. Further up the scale people are in the same situation, which is even more concerning as they are held to the CIS (Center for Internet Security) which has 18 controls in place. When we are auditing businesses at that level we are finding that many of those controls are not in place, and with that being the case, we are inevitably going to see an uptick in crime. I wouldn’t be surprised if 49% will rise much higher, it’s a much easier crime than other traditional crime, especially with the rise of cryptocurrencies which provide a near untraceable outlet for the profits of cyber crime. Because of this, so much of the crime, even when we are dealing with millions of pounds worth of money in single transactions, isn’t being followed up on by the police, because they are so complex.


Is that not part of the problem? Discovering cybercrime is so difficult, let alone tracing it back to the source. SN: Exactly. I was speaking to someone in the police the other day and they were saying that there is a two-year backlog of confiscated resources that still needs to be examined, but they don’t have the equipment to do so. It is up to the businesses to defend themselves as it stands. Kieren, what is Red River’s involvement in this area? KJ: We have seen both suppliers and customers who have been victims of automated attacks where they find out that their financial director’s email has been hacked, contacting their clients with modified bank details to scam them – it’s simple but very effective. Red River has seen the effects of cyber crime very clearly and we develop software that is bespoke for businesses. We want to make sure that this software is secure. Often that guarantee of security comes at an extra cost and we have to advise our clients of that and to be prepared for it, but it’s a very low cost compared to being hacked.


Cybercrime accounts for just under 49% of all recorded crime, and it will likely get worse ❜❜


Is the cost the issue then? KJ: We have always recommended penetration testing, just because its good practice and provides data for updates, and whilst that used to be harder to convince businesses of, the constant headline news has made it much easier. Cost isn’t a huge barrier, though we would always suggest an extra budget for these things; it’s important to be focussed when looking for bespoke software. Mike, do you find it difficult to convince your customers to protect themselves? MP: Yes, we have quite a range of customers that have 10 user systems without any form of protection, or very limited protection. Then we have the other end of the scale, 200 user systems that have a large IT investment; between the two, it is the larger organisations that struggle the most with security. They often have all the technical expertise to prevent attacks, but what often is lacking is the users who aren’t fully clued up. Unless you are educating your users it all goes out the window. The two malware attacks that we have seen recently were due to users, not poor security practices of the company as a whole. Unless businesses spend the money on educating users, I don’t see an end to this rise in crime.



It seems extremely simple, but Martin, do you have the same problem with getting your clients to teach their staff? MB: Absolutely. We deal with smaller businesses and many of them don’t have the budget to put time aside to train their staff or pick up on the updates we give them on cyber security, they don’t have the time or money to take a step outside the running of the business to learn and understand these issues. Unfortunately, it’s often only after an attack that people wish to speak with us about why something happened, again not understanding that protection is a more involved process. On our part, this is frustrating and poses a problem of how we are able to get people to truly engage with the information we provide before it is too late.



You can’t force people to pay attention to this, even when its about an incident that may destroy their whole company. How do we educate people about this? CW: It is difficult. We do countless presentations to companies to highlight the current trends and problems facing the cyber and business worlds. One example I use is if a company has 140 offices around the world, and their office in Australia gets compromised, if their London office doesn’t respond within four minutes it will be offline. Putting that into perspective for smaller businesses, in the South East alone ransomware is on the increase in the last quarter, that’s when your data is held hostage and is ransomed back to you, you ultimately make the choice as to whether you want to pay the ransomer lose the data. We recommend you report the attack, as it’s estimated that only 30% of businesses actually report cybercrime in the first place. The reason for that is that some people don’t realise it is against the law to ransom your information, others don’t want to tell the police because then their share prices might dip. If you do pay the ransom for your data, there is only a 50/50 chance that you will receive your information back, and you have now highlighted yourself as someone who is willing to pay in that situation: they are likely to return. If they do return, they are likely to do what is called exposure, meaning that they have a copy of your data and will demand another ransom for them not to publish it. It will never end.

Unfortunately, it’s often only after an attack do people wish to speak with us about why something happened; protection is a more involved process ❜❜


What do we do about this - is this down to tech giants to fix this, is this down to after market software to fix it, or is this down to forcing business to fix this themselves? SN: There are several answers to that. Some of the things we have already touched on are really important. As we have said, much of this crime is automated, nobody is targeting you, you are simply picked up in an automated spree if you have a weakness. It’s only when they are in your system that you become actively targeted, they investigate you, find out what you are able to pay and what would be too much, and then they ransom everything back. That’s really important to understand. It’s not up to tech companies at all, if we were to say that then it would be the equivalent of saying that it is the government’s job to stop you from getting conned in the streets, it’s never going to happen. The main thing is awareness training as Mike said. It is software, it is training, it is budget; it is all of these things combined, there is no silver bullet. What Chris was saying about Windows Defender stopping most crimes is really interesting, at the moment we have just over 5000 global businesses that are registered as cyber security businesses, every one of these businesses claims that they are able to stop breaches: who do you trust? In the stand-up tests that MITRE do, Windows Defender doesn’t do that well, it will still stop most attempts as Chris says, but it’s not fool-proof. This again comes back to user understanding of what is safe and what is not safe.



Is that not the problem though, are we not sold security that is not secure? We lose the ability to trust anybody. Would it be sensible to have a group of people who passively hacked companies systems to show weaknesses in their business? KJ: I think that there are many who do this, but not out of the goodness of their hearts. They will look to eventually be employed or contracted, so it definitely doesn’t benefit everybody, especially smaller businesses. There are security researchers who find bugs in what is known as a bug bounty programme. Most large tech and software firms will be using this, this looks for vulnerabilities, reporting them to the vendor, judging the impact of these vulnerabilities, but these are still working to make money from finding these issues. That’s slightly known as white hat hacking, black hats are the bad guys. It works to an extent, but in a smaller business, you will need to commission this service. SN: There is also a problem with what you have said Maarten in that you can’t go around breaking into peoples things and then leaving a business card, that’s illegal. It would be a very poor choice of the government’s if they were suddenly to make that legal, any criminal could just say that they were simply testing if it was secure.


Are we not far from that already though? With a backlog of two years the police can’t keep up with this. SN: Businesses have to protect themselves, they need to take their head out of the sand, no matter your level of business. We often deal with quite large businesses, from 100 - 2000 desks, and the first question we ask is who is in charge of your security management system; we are yet to have anybody be pointed out as being responsible for that area. This is not the case for anything else, finance, physical security, all of these areas have people who are in leading roles, but cyber security is bizarrely seen a different way. You need proper accountability, make someone own that area within your company.


You need proper accountability, make someone own cyber security within your company ❜❜


Martin, do you think that white hat hacking will be an answer? MB: It was mentioned earlier, but Cyber Essentials is an MOT for your security, your system goes through that much like a car, it checks an array of basic points and then when your system drives out the other side you know that it is roadworthy. That, however, doesn’t mean that it will remain roadworthy for the next 12 months, but it does mean that you know that it is fit for purpose at that moment in time. Doing that puts the responsibility back onto the company, and that is where it has to go. MP: I have a view that Cyber Essentials might not be the way to go. I have customers who have gone through it, and I’m confident that if it is done via a third party who has collected the data from the company and then answered the questions, then it’s a good start. Often people are producing this MOT internally, and at that point we see people fabricating the truth about their systems just to get the tick at the end. SN: The concept is right as you say, and if you do it properly it does make sense. ISO 27001 is the stamp that everybody goes for, many of the large companies stamps are of that standard, but none of their processes are. We ask them to evidence the quality of their processes and to show a log of the process from months ago, they simply don’t have it, they can’t evidence it at all. That means that they have lied to quality auditors and don’t have the level of security that they are stamped for. This gold standard of ISO 27001 hasn’t been shown to us in any of the companies that have been awarded it. There is no penalty to this if they are found out, and many don’t remove the stamp on their site that states they are ISO 27001 standard either.



I suppose the idea about a car MOT is that it’s legally mandated, otherwise I doubt that 10% would go and get one done. SN: That’s right, but an MOT also has to be done under a third party, you can’t produce your own MOT, as that would defeat the point.

Is there a way to legally mandate these checks though? For some companies or institutions, the risk is enormous, especially if we look at the topic of pension funds etc. which affects a lot of people. CW: In relation to cyber security, we can self mandate it all. That means that if you are in a supply chain you can say that you are only able to compete for the contract if you are able to prove that you reach a certain standard. When you look at the mandatory controls within business, for example, first aid, most of us have done mandatory first aid training so that if someone in here has a heart attack we can do CPR etc. Another example is fire drills, we have done these from a young age, we know how that works, it’s mandatory. When I go into a business and ask them when the last time their business was burnt down the reply is always in the context of years, but when I ask about cyber security attacks to the IT people, the context is in minutes. Today’s threat is cyber, but nobody does cyber drills in the same way we do fire drills. We need to limit the damage, it’s not a case of if, but when.



Todays threat is cyber, but nobody does cyber drills in the same way we do fire drills. We need to limit the damage, it’s not a case of if, but when ❜❜


SN: We have done drills with companies that we work with, and thrown many of the threats that we expect to see into those drills. Not only have the results been promising, but the companies have actually quite enjoyed doing them. It doesn’t take long, just a couple of times to cement it in your mind. Also, legal mandate is coming. Every government organisation has to mandate companies that supply goods to them to this standard, ranging from 1 to 5 depending on the level of security that is required. If you want the government as a customer they are going to start mandating your security levels. MP: I agree with what is being said here. What I should say is that I think it should be removed from the user’s responsibility to accept a patch: why do we need to be consulted before our safety is increased, that should just happen. CW: I see what you say, but there are systems that need to be consulted before we are updated, specifically with things like laser cutting machines, there’s a risk of loss of life in that area which we don’t want to see. That said, there is certainly a huge amount of areas that can have their systems forcibly rebooted with no real loss.

Is there a potential that AI could be the answer to solve this problem in the long run? Why can’t we have an AI walking through the system, looking for vulnerabilities? MB: Whilst it might seem like a solution at first glance, the problem will then become what happens when the security AI gets hacked? It would be a great tool for the hackers. There have to be very good checks and measures in place for me to turn and say that the AI system will be the way forward. Hackers will move and attack that AI, giving them even more control and reach.



Is there anything that cannot be hacked? CW: There was a US casino that claimed it was the safest casino in the world. Not the smartest boast as it’s just a challenge to hackers. Within days someone had hacked the temperature regulator in the fish tank at reception that was connected to the internet, gaining access to the casino’s information. It just shows how vulnerable we are from almost all angles. To protect from these areas, you need an external hard drive as a backup that is not connected to the internet after your backup is completed, only there is it safe.

Are we not being cheated by tech companies? If I were to buy a car with faulty brakes and crash it would be the car companies liability, but if I buy a computer it’s my responsibility? If I then buy a security product, it is still my responsibility it it fails and l get hacked. There is no comeback. Why do we accept this when on everything else we simply hold the manufacturer to account?

SN: When we do an audit, we do asset management, we check that everything is up to date and backed up. However, most of the time we find that many businesses don’t have their asset registers up to date or they don’t have effective maintenance on all of their registers. We start at the bare minimum before we get into anything else and yet we still find problems there. The basic cyber hygiene is not being taken care of, and if that isn’t being taken care of then there is no chance that your system is safe, especially as this is the cheapest stage. We have one client that was spending £7 million a year on AWS (Amazon Web Service) believing that they were protecting their security, yet it specifically stated in the terms and conditions that AWS wasn’t responsible: people need to be more careful.

KJ: I think that often tech companies are actually doing quite a lot. The invention of the computer and internet was a sudden and meteoric increase in our technological abilities, and one that is available to a huge part of the world. With that comes an equal amount of new adverse problems which arise at the same speed but very slightly behind the initial spike. We need to catch up and be responsible with this newfound ability and power so that we are less susceptible to the negatives of the tech boom.

That’s good to hear following the announcement that the UK security services, MI5 and MI6, are using AWS to store all our secrets? I presume remote working is confusing the issue even further?

SN: I think you are right to a point, but I think that the initial question is still at large. Microsoft makes a huge amount of money, the past year has been their highest recorded profit margin ever, yet at the same time they have also had the highest number of recorded security bugs: they have the ability to invest to stop this. If Ford is not allowed to put out a car that kills people, but Microsoft is allowed to put out an operating system that gets deployed in hospitals and results in the deaths of people after a security breach, what is the difference? Why are they not held accountable? Deaths from security breaches have happened in the past, this isn’t hypothetical.

CW: With remote working comes remote desktop protocol, which enables you to log into the office and see everything you would be able to there but from home. 15% of the successful attacks we see are because of incorrectly configured computers that allow anybody to log in. Whilst it is understandable for many smaller businesses to have these problems, it’s shocking how many larger businesses have them as well when the resources are out there for them and the risks are as immense as they are. You have to either outsource your cyber security or have an expert in house, there is not one business today that is not reliant on technology and defence from cyber attacks.



A US casino claimed it was the safest casino in the world, within days someone hacked the fish tanks temperature regulator, gaining access to the casino’s information ❜❜


MB: I suppose the difference is that Microsoft is innovating very effectively at the front of the market, and in their extensive lines of code there will be inevitable weaknesses but to find them they have to release them to a market. We also push for a new system to come out a lot, there is a large demand for the latest product. MP: Though I think a big part of the drive is because we aren’t looking at security as the focal point of something new that is coming out, there is still that lack of sensitivity when it comes to our tech security, as if it isn’t an issue. Do we just need a mentality change in the industry that pushes manufacturers to do something different, much like we need a shift in user mentality? CW: Though there are a lot of things out there that come with the product to begin with, most obvious is two-factor authentication; the problem is that we are in an opt-in opt-out culture, where many people are currently opting out of those security breaks because it’s easier and faster to begin your workday.



The internet of things, is that not going to make this entire issue explode? MB: Something that we have seen with one of our clients is them using a programme to hack their own system, sending a spoof email to a number of their employees, and the users who click on the email and open the link will be given more training and awareness. I think that is quite a good way to test, but also to educate. This is what we were speaking about earlier with penetration testing. SN: This is a very serious problem, especially with devices like Alexa. I have a friend that recently installed smart locks in his home, but he also has an Alexa device in the house, meaning that if you were to go up to the post box and shout at it to open the door, you could get in no problem. This kind of security risk obviously also applies to hacking as well: now your whole house can literally be walked into. CW: Similar to what we were saying earlier, there is a human issue here, people aren’t following what is suggested to them. The information commission office suggests that when a new employee enters your business they should adhere to awareness training within a month, and they should do a refresher every year. Sadly, most businesses don’t do this. We need to change our culture around this, especially in terms of going to IT and asking if something is safe or potentially dangerous. SN: Something that we do is send out a 10-minute a week exercise to do which is a little refresher to your understanding of cyber security, if you don’t do that refresher then it will notify your management. However, rather than disciplinary action, we advise creating a competition out of it, a leaderboard type system, where the top person who has done the most of these refreshers receives a benefit of some kind. There needs to be some kind of recognition for people trying to be cyber safe within the workplace. MP: Something that we have seen in one of our clients is them using a program to hack their own system, sending a spoof email to a number of their employees, and the users who click on the email and open the link will be given more training and awareness. I think that is quite a good way to test, but also to educate. This is what we were speaking about earlier with penetration testing.



I have a friend that recently installed smart locks in his home, but he also has an Alexa device in the house, meaning that if you were to go up to the post box and shout at it to open the door, you could get in no problem ❜❜


That must be the answer then, continual penetration testing which can be carried out in house and regularly throughout the year. What does that cost though? MP: Well that will depend on the number of systems, but for a company that has 50 computers internally, if those were externally facing computers, it would cost you several thousand pounds per month. I have customers that have pen testing at £150 a month, and that’s through a third party, twice a week. SN: Ultimately that is a very difficult question to answer, it’s like asking how long is a piece of string, it entirely depends on the situation of your business. Depending on how exposed your business is naturally, and what is happening inside your business, it might be very expensive or relatively cheap, as Mike mentioned. At a base level, we generally say that to cover the costs of your security you should be looking at £20-£40 per person per month if there is no security already in place. KJ: I’d like to impress that that really isn’t a large amount of money, it’s simply that it is currently un-budgeted, but so is a security breach and a ransom. CW: The Home Office recognises that SMEs are the backbone of the UK’s finance, and these people have a big impact on our supply chain. Whilst the larger companies can afford and handle cyber security, smaller companies might not be able to, and because of that, there have been cyber resilience centres that are giving small businesses the chance to get access to security. There is support out there.

Who do I know who to trust outside of the usual methods of referrals and reviews? MB: We have to have certified individuals who have done the training to get accreditation from vendors. There are also areas like ISO, though as we said earlier there may be some problems with that, so ask a few more questions about that. Though at the end of it all, word of mouth is still the best thing to go to. KJ: Another thing you can do is to look at the write ups of companies who have just gone through a major security alert. If the company that is handling their cyber security is immensely transparent then they would be a good bet to learn from. Also, make sure that the person who was responsible for this didn’t get fired, if they did then that’s more likely to be a poor culture around security and one you don’t want to be working with.


INFLUENCERS FORUM The conversation has been enlightening, but unfortunately we have reached the end of the discussion. Does anybody have any final statements? MB: If there is one thing that I would take away after having read this is if you don’t have two-factor authentication on your Office 365, stop reading now, put this aside and go and do it. MP: My take away would probably be that the onus of security needs to shift towards the manufacturers and the vendors. I ultimately believe that there is a huge amount of power that resides in those companies and they could do so much more for our safety. KJ: I would like everybody to be pretty alarmed by the nature of everybody being a target, and how much that could affect us all. I would say that the biggest ‘bang for your buck’ would be to look at Cyber Essentials Plus, and if possible, to mandate that where you can when looking at contracts with suppliers and customers. I hope that this will push through and have a ripple effect, if you today go and mandate it, then hopefully someone else will who works with you, and so on. SN: My take away, if you’re slightly larger as a business, would be that you have to have someone at the board level who deals with cybersecurity: make somebody accountable right now. To an extent, that can go to every business, get someone to report on it, why it happened and what you are doing to stop it from happening again. CW: Mine would be the cyber resilience centres that are across the country, you can access trusted resources and products, we are providing services to SMEs that currently find them unaffordable to access.



FREEDOM WORKS ARRIVES AT ASTRAL TOWERS... Become a founding member! Bespoke Office Solutions; We can custom build offices based on client requirements. Flexible Contracts; Minimum 90 day notice period. Space Between 2 - 100 Desks; We can cater to micro businesses all the way to large corporate companies looking for HQ's or 'satellite offices'. All Inclusive Solution; Offices include 24/7 access,1GB dedicated Wi-Fi line, refreshment and utilities, all within a professional and flexible space. Mini Bus Service; Office contract includes inclusive transport going to & from Gatwick Airport and the train station. Prime Location; Located within the Manor Royal Business District, with local shops, gyms and cafe's only a short walk away. 01293 368100

It’s finally time to bring that idea to life. Join NatWest’s free online Business Builder course today to start turning your idea into a business tomorrow. Search NatWest Business Builder to sign up



Raymond Briggs’s classic 1978 picture book, The Snowman™ is loved by many, but the themes and emotions particularly resonate with Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and the families they care for. The young boy in the story gets to experience the most amazing adventure, but then he loses his new friend. But, when you think of The Snowman, it’s not always the sad ending you remember. It’s the happy times they have together, and this is very much what Chestnut Tree House is about – providing wonderful care, experiences, and precious memories of happy times together.


At this time of year, the Chestnut Tree House fundraising team are usually busy with last minute preparations for the biggest event in their fundraising calendar – The Snowman™ Spectacular fundraising ball. Sadly, they had to take the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 event due to COVID-19. The event usually raises vital funds for the care of local children and their families. In 2019 alone, The Snowman™ Spectacular raised an incredible £404,665, thanks to the support of a host of generous sponsors, guests and donors. The 2021 ball may not be happening, but the good news is that there is still a way you can get involved and be part of something really special this winter to support your local children’s hospice. The Snowman™ Spectacular Online Auction is still taking place and will be live for four weeks from Saturday November 6th! From signed books to VIP experiences, luxury short breaks to a cookery lesson with a MasterChef Champion, there is something for everyone to bid on. You can also make a difference to local children and families by choosing to donate via one of the special ‘Pay for Care’ lots.

By getting involved in The Snowman™ Spectacular Online Auction during November, you will be helping children with life-shortening conditions, and their families, across Sussex and South East Hampshire. The Snowman™ Spectacular Online Auction is going live on Saturday November 6th and will close at 9pm on Saturday December 4th 2021.

MESSAGE FROM CHESTNUT TREE HOUSE PATRON AND CREATOR OF THE SNOWMAN™, RAYMOND BRIGGS CBE When I created The Snowman over 40 years ago, I could never have imagined the pleasure he would bring to so many lives. I am delighted that my Snowman and I are involved with Chestnut Tree House, and I know what a huge difference this wonderful charity makes to children and families in our local community. Every year, many of you give generously at The Snowman Spectacular fundraising ball, which helps Chestnut Tree House to continue to care for children across Sussex and South East Hampshire. Sadly, due to COVID-19, the event is not able to go ahead this year, but I hope you will all support The Snowman Spectacular Online Auction, which is still taking place. This year has been difficult for many of us. But for families of children with life-shortening conditions, there have been even more challenges. Please support Chestnut Tree House so that they can continue to be there for the children and families who need them. Thank you and wishing a very Happy Christmas. Raymond Briggs, Patron of Chestnut Tree House

Find out more at christmas Registered Charity Number 256789 © Snowman Enterprises Ltd 2021. THE SNOWMAN™ Snowman Enterprises Ltd.



Managing risk is like locking your car. The only question is: why wouldn’t you? By Scott Nursten, CEO, ITHQ

TIPS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR CYBER RISK MANAGEMENT Successful cyberattacks are happening more frequently: fact. As a result, cyber insurance premiums are up 32% with pay-out rules stricter than ever. Insurers are pushing particularly back hard on claims where companies aren’t doing enough to manage risks for themselves. Risk management is essential; as important as locking your car when you park it. How many insurers would pay out if your unlocked car was stolen? So why do businesses have such a blind spot when it comes to managing cyber risks? Cybercriminals get inside first, then decide what kind of target you are. The biggest problem is one of perception. Most businesses either think they are not a target or assume their antivirus or firewall gives them more protection than it does. Cybercriminals rarely select their targets before launching an attack. In fact, the absolute reverse is true. Attacks are almost wholly automated, extremely sophisticated (often polymorphic or fileless, meaning they have no signature for standard antivirus to detect) and relentless. Automated attacks are little battering rams that don’t stop. Once on your network, criminals look around, get to know you and decide your worth. We have just seen this exact scenario with a business in the city. The hackers got in, then figured out who the business was and the ransom they were likely to pay.


If a big bank is hacked, the ransom will be millions. A smaller business might be asked for £50,000. The point is the hackers will gain access then decide ransom amount, making everyone a target. Another popular misconception is that hackers are kids in hoodies, not to be taken too seriously. Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) reported in October that it was tracking 270 government-sponsored threat actors

from more than 50 countries. These are governments helping hackers extort c r y pto c u r re n cy fro m weal thie r countries, creating an untraceable revenue stream.


Now you have a clear view of cyber threats today, here are five tips to help you better manage your risks and reduce your vulnerability to attack.



Risk comes in many forms. Start with risks you must mitigate to meet regulatory or compliance requirements. Next come known risks you should mitigate because they are particularly high. Finally, understand your fringe risks; risks that are less likely to impact your business but are still known. Understanding these three levels of your threat horizon will allow you to establish a risk management baseline.



Every organisation has a different risk profile depending on various factors. A bank’s risk profile looks very different from a manufacturer’s in terms of technology. However, where the bank carries high risk of financial theft, the manufacturer might carry a higher risk to life if computer-controlled heavy machinery is hacked. Ensure you’ve accurately understood every potential impact and profiled your risk.

❛❛ Once on your network, criminals look around,

get to know you and decide your worth. We have just seen this exact scenario with a business in the city. The hackers got in, then figured out who the business was and the ransom they were likely to pay ❜❜ CYBER SECURITY 3 USE FRAMEWORKS

Make use of cybersecurity frameworks like ISO 27001, NIST, the Centre for Internet Security (CIS) Controls or the UK-based National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC). They adopt different approaches and carry their own merits. ISO 27001 is very much about policy and process whereas the CIS offers defensive tools and controls against real-world, current threats. The NCSC, on the other hand, is all about practical, day-to-day steps to improve your security posture. I believe businesses should engage with multiple frameworks. However, if your budget and resources are constrained, I recommend using CIS or NCSC based frameworks for their practical approach.


If your IT team is not already subscribed to a threat intelligence service, why not? Combining threat intel with your existing security systems helps contextualise ongoing attacks, showing if you are being actively targeted or just being hit by bots. Our new head of cyber resilience was phished on his first day – via email that appeared to be from me. This was likely the result of a bot scanning LinkedIn posts for people changing jobs (he spotted it immediately, of course.) This attack was simply looking for weak spots, rather than targeting ITHQ. Threat intel will help you identify real dangers in all the noise.


Frameworks can also help you to rationalise your cybersecurity tool estate down. It might feel like ‘more security is better’ but too many tools can, ironically, leave dangerous gaps – not to mention the unnecessary cost of running multiple similar platforms through poor contract management. A recent audit one of our team carried out at a well-known UK bank revealed 110 different security tools, with many doing the same job. Instead of extra security, things were being blocked and missed by conflicting systems. Aside from paying too much for a flawed system, hacks could still get through. A final tip would be to include staff awareness training in your risk management. Back to our recent phishing attempt: infected emails don’t open and click themselves. We use a sophisticated email security tool, but the email got through. It was awareness that ultimately stopped the attack.

For more information, feel free to get in touch with me at





By Paul Rooke, Solicitor Mayo Wynne Baxter

COVID CLOSURES In the recent case of London Trocadero (2015) LLP v Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd it was held that the landlord was entitled to judgment for rent and service charges despite the fact that the premises could not be used due to the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic. The tenant had agreed to keep the premises open for trading during certain minimum trading hours and had covenanted to comply with legislation. In March 2020 the tenant was forced to close due to the restrictions imposed during the pandemic and no rent was paid from June 2020. The landlord gave no warranty that the premises could be used for the use as set out in the lease and brought proceedings for recovery of the unpaid rent and service charges.

The Government has proposed legislation for mandatory arbitration for rent arrears incurred during the pandemic. Once introduced it is intended that rent arrears incurred during the pandemic will be ringfenced ❜❜




The tenant sought to argue that terms should be implied into the lease that would result in suspension of payment of rent and service charges when use of the premises was illegal. In addition, the tenant argued that the premises were to be used as a cinema and so no payments were due for periods when it was not possible to use the premises as a cinema. The court rejected both arguments put forward by the tenant. It was held that the tenant’s expectation to use the premises as a cinema was not sufficient to enable a tenant to not pay rent.

Furthermore, the tenant’s attempt to imply terms into the lease did not meet the business efficiency test or the obviousness test. The risk lay with the tenant who could have taken out business interruption insurance. The decision is important for landlords who are owed rent arrears. It shows that a landlord is still able to take action against a tenant for non-payment of rent or other monies due under the lease even where the tenant was unable to trade due to restrictions imposed during the pandemic. The Government has proposed legislation for mandatory arbitration for rent arrears incurred during the pandemic. Once introduced it is intended that rent arrears incurred during the pandemic will be ringfenced. Landlords and tenants will be required to come to an agreement. If, however, an agreement cannot be reached a binding arbitration process will be put in place to come to a binding agreement which both parties must adhere to. Until such a time as the legislation is introduced a landlord can continue to chase for rent owed but not paid.

Paul Rooke Associate Solicitor Direct Dial: 01273 223221 E:


Yaron engler case study How does a professional percussionist become a men’s coach? Yaron, previously a worldtouring drummer, offers 1-to-1 coaching and his ‘AND THEN WHAT?’ group programme with men. These coaching programmes focus on holistic personal growth, rather than purely aspirational goals.

Yaron Engler did just that, when he started his coaching business with a focus on helping men thrive in leadership roles. His inspiration stemmed from an observation that men today are under considerable pressure to be leaders, fathers and partners. He finds that men often feel lost, frustrated and angry as a result, but are unable to find viable avenues to address these issues. Seeing how existing options such as therapy are not what these men truly need or want, Yaron set out to offer a unique set up of coaching that helps men let go of the things that hold them back and move forward and live the lives they want.

At the heart of his coaching is the signature CROP® method. Yaron calls his method “CROP” because of the word’s double meaning – the notion of growing and nurturing crop, and that of ‘cropping out’ things in life that no longer serve us. CROP is a simple 4-step framework that involves cleansing and clearing unnecessary baggage, reconnecting with one’s true self, observing one’s actions, and consciously living a life one chooses. Yaron

emphasises that CROP® is really a cycle of deep growth, with participants going through the steps multiple times, as and when they face new challenges.

Yaron’s story as a men’s coach started in 2015, where he participated in a ‘men’s group’, in which men spent time in groups to sort out various challenges they were facing. What particularly impacted him was how group meetings promoted men as positive role models and leaders in a grounded way. Indeed, Yaron credits this work with saving his marriage. Observing how necessary but rare such coaching was in today’s world, he decided to offer a coaching service of his own. Today, Yaron is driven by the

authentic growth he sees his clients achieve, in both personal and business life. Recalling some anecdotes with clients, Yaron mentions how a client, previously a workaholic, was able to change his job, enter a new relationship and create more time for himself after attending the programme.

On the other hand, he also tells us that his international experience as a musician has equipped him with skills in managing large projects and navigating different cultures, both of which have proven immensely helpful to what he does today.

As his business evolves and grows, Yaron has faced As it turns out, however, it several challenges. Chief is not just men that Yaron is among them is marketing and helping. What inspires him brand messaging. the most is the messages of Associating too closely thanks he receives from wives with therapy and mental and girlfriends of his clients health support, for instance, - affirmation that what he is could turn men away, due doing has improved his clients’ to the stigma associated relationships with their loved with seeking help. At the ones. Indeed, Yaron likens this same time, promoting to a ‘ripple effect’, where the the programme as selfimpact of his coaching is felt development risks focusing by the people who surround too much on out-and-out his clients at home and in aspiration, alienating the business. desired target audience: men who have decided that there Reflecting on what he would is more to life than being busy have done differently, Yaron and achieving concrete goals. mentions that he wishes he Nevertheless, Yaron remains had studied business earlier. confident that the value in

his work will speak for itself, and that there is growing acceptance in this postpandemic world for work such as his.

Today, Yaron’s coaching programme has touched the lives of many loyal members, boasting a 75% retention rate. Moving forward, Yaron hopes to grow the programme organically, reach 800 men on the programme by 2028, and bring more men on board to deliver the work. Separately, after seeing how his work has helped men in leadership positions, Yaron hopes to widen this impact by extending his coaching to boys, and perhaps people in prisons, in the future.

Follow Yaron on social media: Website: Instagram: Linkedin:


By Kevin Charman and Richard Bevins

BRINGING GLOBAL EXPERTISE TO LOCAL RELATIONSHIPS Hello to our fellow Platinum Business Magazine readers. It’s a great pleasure to be able to introduce ourselves to you and to be sponsoring both the Surrey and Sussex Business Awards in 2021. The judging process has really brought to life the quality of the businesses we have based in our region and we’re really proud to be part of that community and doing what we can to help businesses really succeed. Many of you won’t be familiar with the Verlingue name as it’s fairly new to the UK – most people can’t even pronounce it the first time! To put that little issue to bed early, it’s best to think of Verlingue like meringue!! Grammar lesson over, let’s tell you a little bit about who we, what we stand for and what we do.


Verlingue is a fourth generation, familyowned business headquartered in Brittany in France. The UK business is founded on two well established, local businesses, Barnett & Barnett and NBJ which came together with a Manchester based business in 2018 and rebranded to Verlingue in January 2020. This independent, family owned culture is the bedrock of everything we’re building in the UK. It guides our ethical, investment and recruitment strategies and drives our commitment to long term relationships with our clients.

That’s why we keep a strong and growing local presence with our offices in Redhill, Egham and London and also why we invest so much in making sure our clients have the best service journey, which is recognised by our Investor in Customers Gold accreditation which we’ve held since 2018. In terms of “what we do”, put simply, we help businesses understand, reduce and transfer risk in their business, everything from staff safety, cyber resilience or bad debts. Some of this

❛❛ Our position as a top 15 insurance broker in

both the UK and Western Europe also means we have a powerful presence in our market meaning our clients can benefit from very competitive premiums and many other services ❜❜


is achieved through training and consultancy and some of it is done by helping businesses buy the right insurance programme with the right insurer, including cover for assets and people in different areas of the world. But it’s not all about preventing things from going wrong. Our Employee Benefits teams work with businesses to help them recruit, reward and retain the talent they need by helping them benchmark their employee benefits programmes against competitors in their sector and then helping them implement programmes in the most tax efficient way. In the Covid era, this aspect of the remuneration strategy has become increasingly impor tant especially in the area of staff wellbeing and mental wellness. Often, it’s not about spending more, it’s about spending well.

In the insurance sector buying power is influenced by how much premium you place in the market. Our position as a top 15 insurance broker in both the UK and Western Europe also means we have a powerful presence in our market meaning our clients can benefit from very competitive premiums and many other services. To explore how we may be able to help your business, or simply for a second opinion on your insurance arrangements, please get in touch.

Redhill Kevin Charman Cert CII Director – Corporate & Trade Credit E: M: +44 (0) 7770 985 804 Egham Richard Bevins ACII Director – Corporate and Risk Management M: 07769 708 909 E:



DIVERSITY IN ACTION AT SUSSEX INNOVATION Nigel Lambe, CEO of the Sussex Innovation Centre, answers the question of why Diversity and Inclusion is important to business success: Our cultures, backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs shape our thinking. When organisations create a workforce with similar backgrounds, decision making tends to be homogenous and produce the same outcomes, time af ter time. However, when we embrace cultural difference and a broad range of experiences and beliefs and create an environment where sharing opinions is encouraged, it challenges our preconceptions and we start to think differently, reassess and change our approach. This drives innovation, continuous improvement, change management and ultimately, success.


Fundamentally, innovation requires collaboration. Hence, diversity is not only inclusive practice, but a key component of innovation. Studies and observations on diverse work environments suggest that they result in greater progression and acceleration of innovative thinking. McKinsey’s examination of racial diversity in workplaces across multiple countries, including Canada and the United States, showed a 35% increase in potential financial returns. Other research has found that businesses championing gender diversity on their executive teams were more competitive and 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability.

Individually, we can challenge our own concepts of innovation and ‘progressive thinking’ through exposure to the experiences of our peers of different cultures and heritage. This in turn works to challenge ignorance and discrimination at work and emphasises a culture of self-reflection, selfawareness, and empathy. These are all key development points which we at Sussex Innovation aim to facilitate, leading to the formation of our Diversity and Inclusion Action group. The creation of this group solidifies our obligation to challenge existing norms, beliefs and existing business practices which may undervalue or discriminate against underrepresented communities, signalled by the Black Lives Matter Movement in the summer of 2020. We believe that celebrating difference should also be met with acknowledging the disparities of racial privilege in business.


Last year Eva Poliszczuk, then Project Manager of our Catalyst Team, outlined Sussex Innovation’s plan of action for how we would support and centre Black voices in business. We have recently been reflecting on this diversity plan that was drawn up in July 2020 and have continued building on it to ensure diversity and inclusion is core to our ethos as a business, and that we advocate for racial equality across all business and innovation spaces. We now have our HR Manager, Monica Beckles stepping up to lead our Diversity Action Group. Monica has been driving our commitment to diversify our talent pool and recruitment. Diversity in our leadership team has improved significantly in the past 18 months, by 30% in race and a further 12% in gender. We are part of the University of Sussex, which was recently awarded the global award for student diversity in the Study Portals Global Satisfaction Awards 2021. We therefore have a very diverse talent pool at our fingertips – which we take advantage of in the form of our Catalyst team. This year’s team are from an array of backgrounds including Nigeria, Brazil and India.

We have aimed to support more women in business through our Female Founders group. This has been running for the past three years and throughout lockdown – providing a space for women in business to network and support each other. These events have successfully provided the means for us to reach out to more women in business and make them aware of the support we provide. To champion more Black- owned businesses, we want to give back to participants of our next season of podcasts, through opportunities such as free consultancy or funding support. Whilst our changes have been promising, we are still working towards creating a better, diverse, and inclusive environment. In the coming months, we intend to expand our focus to other areas of inclusivity such as disability, neurodiversity and the LGBTQ+ community.

❛❛ diversity is not

only inclusive practice, but a key component of innovation ❜❜


We launched the first season of our podcast series ‘100 Stories’ in 2020. The purpose of the podcast is to share and a m p l i f y t h e vo i c e s of B l a c k entrepreneurs, discussing the barriers they have experienced as well as their successes. We believe it is particularly important to understand the various instances of discrimination Black professionals experience, providing an o p p o r t u n i t y fo r l e a r n i n g a n d understanding on issues such as microaggressions and stereotyping that exist in business for people of colour. We have already begun recording new episodes and plan to release the second season in the beginning of 2022. Sharing the stories of people of colour in business has proven a valuable platform to understand how we all have a different journey yet share similar hurdles. Mo Kanjilal, Co-Creator of Watch This Sp_ce, shared the issue of shortening ethnic names at school: “most people were white... and they would do things like not be able to say my name properly... I always shortened it...”. Stephanie Prior, Marketing & Business Development Manager at Healys LLP, discussed the challenge of unconscious bias and her experience of worrying about the perception of her cornrows for an upcoming interview.

We are always looking for more stories from Black entrepreneurs to support our push for greater inclusivity and innovation. If you are interested, please email Kelly at



By Jay Barnett, Associate Solicitor at DMH Stallard

THE CONSUMER POWER SHIFT – CMA reforms on the horizon The Government has proposed reforms to enhance consumer rights and the way those rights are enforced. The proposals, which were out for consultation until October 1st 2021 if implemented in their current form, will have a significant impact on both businesses and consumers, much in the same way GDPR hit businesses back in May 2018. In this article, we look at what those proposals are, and what businesses should consider doing now.

THE ROLE OF THE CMA A key reform currently on the table, is to increase the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) reach, whereby it could be allowed to: n fine businesses up to 10% of their global turnover for infringing consumer law; n levy civil fines for businesses which mislead or don’t cooperate with the CMA – including personal liability for directors/owners; and

n l evy fines itself – this is a big one as currently it has to bring a claim and ask the courts to impose a fine where wrong-doing is found. The reforms as proposed would place the CMA at the frontline of consumer-related issues, with extensive powers over businesses to ensure compliance as well as overseeing a streamlined penalty process: the CMA may become the consumers’ biggest weapon. CONSUMER POLICY REFORMS In addition to the CMA’s proposed extra powers, the Government wants to introduce additional consumer protection; this flows from the increased trend in online shopping during the pandemic. Additional measures may include: nP re-contract Information: Help to avoid consumers falling into ‘traps’, such as unreasonable minimum contract terms, auto-renewals and unfair minimum notice periods for cancellation. Consumers should also expect to receive clear, pre-contract information, prior to purchasing a product or service.


LEGAL WHAT TO DO NOW Since the consultation period has now closed, we should begin to learn more about the Government’s plans and the timetable for their introduction in the coming months: watch this space. MORE BAD NEWS… For those who sell into EU, the position will be more complicated going forward. The EU has adopted a directive (the Omnibus Directive) which, like the UK Government’s proposals, aims to strengthen consumer rights through enhanced enforcement measures and increased transparency requirements. A key difference, however, is that we have certainty as to the new EU regime: Member States have until November 28th 2021 to implement the Omnibus Directive and must apply measures under it from May 28th 2022.

n S ubscriptions: New rights could be granted to consumers allowing them to have an easy, hassle-free way of cancelling subscriptions. This would not only do away with long cancellation notice periods, but also impose an obligation on businesses to remind its subscribers that their subscription is still active – no more would consumers be allowed to forget about fallow memberships, or subscriptions. n Online Reviews: A ban on businesses paying or incentivising consumers to submit reviews is proposed. This may also extend to restrict or outlaw the use of influencers and brand ambassadors. n A rbitration and Mediation: It could become mandatory for businesses to take part in arbitration and mediation in order to encourage faster, independent dispute resolution for consumers regardless of what may be in the business’ terms.

Whilst you may consider it premature to do anything now, we do know, from our experience with GDPR, that many businesses are less than compliant and that it can be a costly (and a somewhat stressful experience) to undertake wholesale change in one step. Now is as good a time as ever to look to plug gaps in compliance with current laws so that you are better prepared for the proposed changes. A few things to look out for include:

❛❛ They can fine

businesses up to 10% of their global turnover for infringing consumer law ❜❜

n S afeguarding all Pre-payments: If your business holds consumer money as a form of pre-payment, you may be required to “ring fence” and protect that money if your business should fail. n P rohibiting ‘Dark Patterns’: ‘Dark Patterns’ (using algorithms to manipulate consumers into spending more) could be banned entirely. These proposals would see obligations imposed on a business, both practically, in how it sells to its customers, as well as legally, in respect of the terms and conditions it uses.

n Terms and conditions for consumers should be written in plain, clear and easy to understand language (i.e. no legal jargon!). n U ndertake an audit of compliance with current consumer rights legislation and, in particular, around returns and cancelation rights. n If you are selling into the EU, you should start to put your house in order now. You could adopt a “one size fits all approach” or look to separate out your UK and EU trading terms. If you want some certainty now, all we can say is, as Sam Cooke sang, “Change is Gonna Come”!

Jay Barnett is an Associate Solicitor in DMH Stallard’s Commercial team. He can be contacted on 01293 558526 or by email at





sa, >50=growth since previous month



Managing Director, London & South East, Corporate & Commercial Banking

60 50 40 30 20

“September data revealed another improvement in business activity in the South East, taking the period of expansion to seven months. Encouragingly, growth rates in output and new orders accelerated as firms continued to resume pre-pandemic operations and return to normality. Sharp increases in outstanding business also suggest hiring activity is likely to continue into quarter four.

10 2001








70 60 50 40 30 20












Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit



New business levels rise at sharp and accelerated pace September data revealed a quicker rise in new business, marking a seven-month sequence of growth. According to panel members, higher footfall and the resumption of business operations encouraged sales. The rate of expansion was the second softest in the current sequence of growth, but was still strong in the context of historical data.

sa, >50=growth since previous month





08 09


Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

“There were still some pressing concerns surrounding supply in September, as firms continued to face COVID-19 disruption and the reverberating effects of Brexit. Firms saw highly inflated prices for raw materials, fuel and transportation, but will hope that some of these issues can be resolved, at least temporarily. Nevertheless, material scarcity and labour shortages are likely to threaten growth in the final quarter of 2021.”

10 07


The South East was in third place in the regional rankings for new business, behind Wales and the West Midlands.


The South East Export Climate Index is calculated by weighting together national PMI output data according to their importance to the manufacturing exports of the South East. This produces an indicator for the economic health of the region’s export markets. Despite falling from 55.8 in August, to a sevenmonth low of 55.0 in September, the Export Climate Index pointed to a sharp improvement in export conditions. Solid expansions were seen across all five of the largest export markets, with Ireland registering the strongest uptick. Netherlands and Germany followed, but here growth rates softened. Activity in France rose for the sixth month running while the US saw the softest rate of output growth for a year.






Sep ‘21



2 Germany 12.0% 55.5 3




4 France 6.1% 55.3 5 Ireland 6.0% 61.5 Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

❛❛ September data revealed

another improvement in business activity in the South East ❜❜


Job creation extends to seven successive months Hiring activity in the South East’s private sector rose for the seventh month in a row at the end of the third quarter, and with a rate of growth that was far above the long-run series average. Panellists cited greater output needs following the resumption of business operations, and a general improvement in demand. Overall, the expansion was strong, but softened to a six-month low with some panellists noting difficulties finding labour. Staffing levels also rose across the UK as a whole, and at a slightly faster pace than that seen in the region.


sa, >50=growth since previous month 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 07

08 09













Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit



sa, >50=growth since previous month

Input prices faced by private sector companies in the South East increased for the 16th-month running during September. Moreover, the rate of inflation was substantial and the secondfastest in the series history, surpassed only by that seen in July. When explaining the upturn, companies mentioned difficulties in sourcing materials (namely electronics, plastics and fuel), as well as higher freight, staff and energy costs.

85 80 75 70 65 60 55 40 45 40 07

Output Index,

08 09













Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

Sub-sector data indicated that goods producers faced a much steeper increase in selling prices than service providers.



INTERVIEW WITH PAUL MASON MD of Nordell Plastics Winner of the: MDHUB RESPECT 2020/21 Leaders Award for MD of the Year Interviewed by Fiona Shafer – MD of MDHUB

Paul Mason is MD of Nordell Plastics, one of the UK’s leading and independent plastics manufacturing and design refinement companies based in Worthing. We have been working with Paul since 2019. A regular contributor at our MDHUB Peer groups, we know that Paul loves structure more than most, management models and frankly anything that will make it better for his team and the business – so when the pandemic was added into the mix we were really interested to see how Paul in particular would approach it.

Well, rather well as it happens…. Paul’s brilliant engineering mind is perfect for problem solving and never has that fine mind been more challenged but also stimulated in the past 18 months. Building upon Nordell’s core values of pride, effort, strength, respect, support and trust, Paul and his team have had (and continue to have) significant achievements in 2020 - 21

n Being classed as an essential business manufacturing critical parts, they remained open throughout – even though there was an immediate effect on reduced orders n Thinking quickly, they capitalised on an opportunity to manufacture medical consumables that required cleanroom manufacturing, requiring revised business planning and raising significant capital. This was not enough to fulfil demand so another one had to be built and production had to be extended to 24/7 working.

❛❛ Paul’s brilliant engineering

mind is perfect for problem solving and never has that fine mind been more challenged ❜❜



❛❛ It was the moment we finally got the finance in place, or so we thought, whilst realising we were £50K short in the car en route to the solicitors ❜❜

n They Introduced Workvivo – a brilliant two-way communications platform to ensure cross site communications were their very best during this period of significant growth. n They increased their staff from 80 to 194 n A management buy-out (MBO) was was completed in December 2020 which Paul has been working on since 2013 and Paul is now the sole owner of Nordell. n With 60% growth built around an estimated turnover of £11.5 million n As Paul says “a fantastic problem to have” and has got him typically thinking, in his very understated way about “how to scale up well”.

Paul’s early career started within the automotive industry as an apprentice working on car safety systems, going on to run projects for Ford, Chrysler and Opel before moving to work for Deutsch in Hastings. Here, a frustration with politics and red tape was too limiting for Paul’s innovative mind and he joined Nordell in 2002, becoming Operations Director in 2007. This allowed Paul to start looking at the business from the outside in and the future opportunities for Nordell. When the former owners were open to an MBO, Paul’s realisation that as a very opinionated individual, it would be very hard to work for anyone else, he began a fact finding mission on exactly how one went about buying a company with money he did not have.


INTERVIEW As MD, which part of your role do you enjoy most ? I like to see development. I like to see “better” – that moment when someone really gets something, the confidence to challenge. It’s a good energy when teams get it right. I don’t like to see people struggle.

Was it your intention when you set out on your career path to run a company and become a Business leader ? No. I always wanted to be an engineer and still describe myself as such. Dismantling and taking things part in my younger years, causing my fair share of problems, trying to understand how things worked, pushing boundaries, breaking rules, rebelling – trying to understand what makes things tick – that’s me. I was a bit of a handful at school, not great at English and thrown out of a few things along the way. What has this early experience taught you about where you are now ? I have only ever done what I have wanted to do and I carry this belief with me today. When you do what you really want to do, a 1000 things come into force and then typically you can make it happen. Getting into a position where I became a bit of a nucleus in the business led to my progression and to me buying the business - I didn’t have to conform to do anything I didn’t want to do – it removed the shackles and gave me freedom. And I like to argue – I am an engineer. As the business grew and developed l surrounded myself with individuals who could hold an argument and do what is best for the business and now. It’s in our culture – it is ok to challenge and let people speak their minds.

The role of an MD is to see how everything works together. I have to try hard as an engineer, not to just highlight the flaws that I see – knowing that what is working well is doing so because I have good people around me. I have to be careful not to just jump to root cause and need to take people with me. We have a very good mix within our Senior Leadership Team .We have an evolving Yin and Yang in our team that creates balance. I am not a particular people person and a man of few words. We are now investing in training and developing our future leaders. What was your proudest professional moment ? It was a short lived moment and went by in a flash. It was the moment we finally got the finance in place, or so we thought, whilst realising we were £50K short in the car en route to the solicitors but we worked it out and I then had to sign the 46 documents with the special pen my wife has bought me for the occasion. It was a real moment of satisfaction. Your Best Business Book and why? The Goal – The theory of constraints by Eliyahu M.Goldratt. It challenged my thought process for the better. Which famous Inventor has inspired you most and why ? Elon Musk. Much the same as Steve Jobs, they both have the unique ability to see what is not there. I have tunnel vision compared to them. They can see things from the public perspective and I think that is a stratospheric ability,r ather than the toilet roll I look through!




Award Sponsors – Steve Hayman and Terry Nitman of Cheesmur Building Contractors What would irritate me most about you on a long haul flight – back in the day ? Probably my opinions! Depending on what the matter was. I can’t contain them. But I am quite happy to be quiet on a flight. I would say I am not very high on the social interaction scale although I think my wife would rather I hold a conversation with her than watch a movie. How do you relax – if that is not a silly question for an engineer ? I throw myself into projects as I feel good if I feel I have worked hard and achieved something. I go on a family run at the weekend with my six year old daughter on her bike and our puppy, who will do random things that puppies do. Watching a movie with my daughter – she just asks questions the whole time. So, do you think she takes after her Dad? Yes – she is very competitive and opinionated and wants to do things her way – much to the disgust of my wife.


What did Winning the MD of the Year Award mean to you ? I was not expecting it at all. I didn’t feel I deserved it as we are all doing what we can at a very challenging time but I was grateful to be awarded it. Looking back at what we have achieved as an organisation, it has been pretty amazing and I was delighted to receive it on behalf of the Nordell team. It was quite a moment in time to reflect back – how we got out of the red bit and into the green bit and what we have been able to achieve as a business. It was a great event with very positive vibes.

❛❛ An hour spent worrying what others are doing, is an hour less for us to concentrate on what we are doing ❜❜

I am interested to hear you are competitive Paul – I have never heard you mention it ? I have no choice – I have to compete. It is not in business, it is only personal. In business I don’t care what our competitors are doing as I don’t aspire to be like them – I want us to identify our own opportunities and work on this to make it happen. I am competitive as I want the business to develop. An hour spent worrying what others are doing, is an hour less for us to concentrate on what we are doing. But if someone overtakes me when I run, I want to overtake them back !

Big thanks to the whole Nordell team, our suppliers and customers for their support and trust. And the support of the MDHUB as we continue with our development, you have been a real rock during this time.

What do the next three years look like for Nordell? Rebuilding the basics after exceptional growth. Design and deliver the service of the business as a product – that is when we know we have nailed it and got it right and met expectations. It’s not necessarily all about growth, if you can continue to grow as well as improve focus, you are a Super hero … or a liar !

If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB Futurehub Leadership and Development programme for future leaders please email


Does your business need a helping hand? During these unprecedented times, many businesses are struggling so we would like to help. We are offering free general guidance on: • Unpaid invoices & contract disputes • Commercial landlord & tenant issues • Professional Negligence • Commercial insurance claims

• Trading Standards & consumer complaints • Shareholder & Partnership disputes • Employment claims & settlement agreements • Franchise disputes

Call us on 01273 223290

or visit

Offices across Sussex


For feathered friends Luna and Reg it was love at first flight. Their relationship has flourished and now they are proud parents to little Jimmy

Bird control team grows naturally with latest hatching Since Mum Luna joined Cleankill Pest Control in 2018, the falconry service has grown significantly in response to demand for environmentally friendly ways of dealing with nuisance birds such as pigeons, gulls and parakeets. Cleankill’s first full-time, trained bird handler Alan Day has now been joined by Richard Quartley and between them they look after six adult Harris hawks – Luna, Reg, Rooster, Heidi, Elvis and H. Alongside flying birds of prey as a deterrent, the bird control team is busy checking properties for damaged netting and making sure any netting is as secure as possible to cope with the blustery autumn and winter weather. October and November are the months when you should call a professional pest control company like Cleankill to check your netting and repair any damage. Commenting on the birth of little Jimmy, Managing Director Paul Bates said: “We welcome baby Jimmy to the family. When Alan started with Luna, we knew there was a gap in the market for a green pest control solution that could deal with pigeons and gulls in and around London. What we couldn’t have imagined is how much demand there would be. “What has really impressed us is their effectiveness. Once the hawks are regularly fl own at a site, pigeons and gulls soon learn that it’s not a safe place to roost and choose to go elsewhere. The hawks don’t attack the birds, their presence is all that is needed.”

Blocking access holes can be a very skilled process.

All birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, although exceptions can be made for certain listed species including feral pigeons. The first consideration for control of feral pigeons should be preventing access to their roosting site or scaring them away.

Now employing 50 staff, awardwinning Cleankill Pest Control offers eradication and preventative services for all public health pests, including: mice; rats; cockroaches; wasps; fleas; squirrels and pest birds. As a registered waste carrier, Cleankill also removes pigeon debris and other waste. With offices in Surrey, East Sussex, Bristol and Buckinghamshire, Cleankill has many customers throughout London, Surrey, Sussex, the Home Counties, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Professionally fitted nets do not detract from the aesthetics of a building and won’t restrict light from entering. Bird spikes and bird wire are also well-tried and tested techniques for repelling birds from window ledges. Other methods include a special gel that appears as flames to birds, lasers, mini-electric shock and water jetting. A more recent problem is pigeons nesting underneath solar panels.

For more information go to or E: for a free survey or price comparison.



A WEEKEND IN SHAKESPEARE’S COUNTY By Tess De Klerk The medieval market town of StratfordUpon-Avon is, of course, the place where The Bard was born, lived in his youth and later passed away. It is a must-see for loyal Shakespeare fans and a pleasant get-away for anyone who enjoys a peek at the past. The entire town is steeped in history and its location on the banks of the steadfast River Avon adds to the atmosphere of this pretty and immemorial town. As expected, the Shakespeare theme is EVERYWHERE and our short trip didn’t allow us to experience it all but I can


recommend a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, his 16th century childhood home, for a fascinating glimpse into their daily Tudor-era lives. Who knew that wealthy men easily spent the equivalent value of a new car today on a pair of fancy gloves back then. Showing off by hanging their gloves on the outside of their waistbands – peacocking through the ages!

Anne Hathaway’s interesting cottage is not to be missed. About a mile out of town with plenty of parking but I suggest taking the footpath there when the weather permits. Members of staff were impressive in their knowedge and passion while the cottage gardens and accompanying apple orchard were a definite highlight in the happy weather.

❛❛ It is a must-see for loyal

Shakespeare fans and a pleasant getaway for anyone who enjoys a peek at the past ❜❜

TRAVEL THINGS TO DO n Watch a play at the famous Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre n Stroll along the River Avon (feed the geese at your own peril) n Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace n Picnic in the gardens of Anne Hathaway’s cottage n Learn a lot at Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly Farm

Anne Hathaway’s cottage

Butterfly farm


Restaurants and cafes abound in Stratford Upon Avon and you’re spoilt for choice with more offerings of cream tea than one can shake a butter knife at. We opted to give tea a miss in anticipation of our supper at chef Mike Robinson’s restaurant, The Woodsman. And was I pleased that we skipped tea that day! I can attest to my meal being the most remarkable I’d had in a long time; the grilled Galician octopus tender and flavourful while my main of grilled haunch of wild fallow deer with venison sausage, sand carrot & smoked prune ketchup was ambrosia in each and every bite. Each plate felt like an experience in itself and the drinks menu was superb too. Honestly, I can’t praise the kitchen at The Woodsman highly enough.

Hotel Indigo OUR STAY AT HOTEL INDIGO STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Our hotel, the lovely Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon must have the best location possible - in the old town, opposite Shakespeare’s last home, a hop, skip and jump away from the river and The Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. I appreciate how the Hotel Indigo chain always focuses on the unique characteristics of the surrounding area when designing their boutique hotels, how each hotel has its own quirks and characteristics and Stratford is no exception. The hotel is partly in the original building of an old Tudor inn, The Falcon Inn, with the building dating back to 1624! Just stepping into that part of the hotel, with its heavy wooden beams and huge fireplaces transports a person back to Elizabethan England. The building manages to heave with history while being as comfortable as any modern hotel. For the experience, I recommend booking a room in the Tudor or Georgian parts of the hotel but if unavailable don’t fret, our room was in the modern extension and was comfy and lovely with a

spa-inspred bathroom, Egyptian cotton linens and stocked mini-bar. Make a point of having a cocktail or two in the gorgeous garden, a treat in itself. We enjoyed walking in the Bard’s footsteps for a quick weekend getaway; there is a lot of history preserved in this small town and the beauty of the surrounding nature left an impression too. I could easily return, even if only for another meal in the superb Woodsman! And I’d happily book a stay at Hotel Indigo Stratford-Upon-Avon again too.



BENTLEY CONTINENTAL CONVERTIBLE By Maarten Hoffmann, Senior Motoring Editor I can never imagine ever ordering a green car. For some reason, it really is not a good look in my opinion but those chaps at Bentley have changed my mind when they delivered the new Bentley Continental in green. It looks sensational. But what of this British institution that is now owned by the Volkswagen Group who, by the way, also now own Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche? Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as Bentley Motors Limited by W. O. Bentley in 1919


in Cricklewood, North London, and became widely known for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Today most Bentley models are assembled at the company’s Crewe factory, with a small number assembled at Volkswagen’s

Dresden factory, but l vote we still call it a British car. The old Continental GT was a not an unattractive car, but this new one moves things along considerably. Bentley’s moved the front axle forward, improving weight distribution by shifting the engine lower and further back in the chassis. This means the front overhang can be much shorter, which together with the longer rear overhang gives the GT a much more aesthetically pleasing profile than the car it replaces. Views are mixed - l really like the look of the car but others l asked were not so keen. Engine wise, you’ve still got a choice of a 4.0-litre V8 or 6.0-litre W12 – each with a couple of turbochargers for good



measure – but now there’s more power and torque, plus cylinder deactivation for better economy. The GT still drives all four wheels, but now through an eight-speed DSG box rather than a torque-converter automatic, and up to 100% of the power can go to the rear wheels. Three-chamber air suspension aims to give a silky smooth ride, while a 48-volt active roll control system is tasked with keeping the GT’s substantial mass in check through the corners.

and in that respect, they have triumphed. It’s a breeze to drive, if you forget the price tag should you bin it, and even when you gives it the beans, it is well behaved and well mannered. Stopping is quite important of course and this model comes with the largest steel discs ever fitted to a production car and it’s just as well as this is quite some weight to pull to a stop. But is does it well with little drama and no bowel-loosening moments. Of course the interior is where it needs to be judged as a ‘proper’ Bentley and l am pleased to say there is no disappointment here either. Refined is the world l would use. The stitched quilted leather seats are superb with more adjustments than the space shuttle with six options of the type of massage they offer, which still feels like there is a littler man in the back caressing your lumber region. The sure sign of quality is when the roof is down. But here again they have triumphed. They claim the convertible is as quiet at the old coupe and they are spot on. Hair stays in place, little road roar and buffeting and if turns a tad nippy, pop on the heated seats, the wind scarf that blows hot air onto the back on your neck, heated steering wheel and then crank up the heating and really, you could drive this car to Greenland and still have the top down. There is a huge transmission tunnel between the front seats and it is

TECH STUFF MODEL TESTED: Continental GT Convertible ENGINE: 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 POWER: 542 bhp SPEED: 0-60mph 4.0 seconds TOP: 198 mph ECONOMY: 22.6 mpg combined PRICE FROM: £173,700 AS TESTED: £182,800

peppered with buttons but nothing too confusing. The party piece is the 12.3in screen; get bored with it just hit the button and it flips over to reveal some lovely analogue dials. Look hard enough and you will see the Audi heritage with the virtual cockpit stye display and a few steering wheel controls but nothing that really bothers you. What might bother you is the £4,700 for the rotating screen! In summary, this is a superb car that makes you feel like a king. It’s smooth, stylish and elegant but if you really use the go pedal, it is fast, furious and fantastic. Either way, you’ll love it and as they say if you have to ask the price...

For such a heavy car (2.4t), it is remarkably dynamic to drive and the roll in corners is kept to the absolute minimum. The main element one notices is the pure power and speed. They have thrown every bit of tech possible at the car to ensure that it feels light and easy to drive



mo o r F


3 ly £


p 3*

nth o m

EQA Business Contract Hire Offer From £363* per month with an advance payment of £2,175 The Mercedes-Benz EQA is the first all-electric compact car from the Mercedes-EQ family. Equipped with the latest comfort features and safety systems, the EQA guarantees an excellent electric driving experience. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system offers you an intuitive way to connect with your car, whilst the Navigation with Electric Intelligence calculates the fastest route to your destination, taking into account charging times, and taking the stress out of route planning.

EQA 250

All-electric range of up to 263 miles[1] Charge in approx. 30 minutes[2] Benefit in Kind tax rate 1% (2021/2022)

For more information please contact our Sales Team at Mercedes-Benz of Guildford on 01483 916291

Mercedes-Benz of Guildford Moorfield Road, Guildford, GU1 1RU

01483 916291

*BUSINESS USERS ONLY. Based on an EQA 250 AMG Line Auto. Advance Rental of £2,175. 8,000 miles per annum. 48 month (9+47) Contract Hire agreement. All rentals exclude VAT at 20%. No ownership option. Vehicle condition, excess mileage and other charges may be payable. Rental includes Vehicle Excise Duty for the contract duration. Orders/credit approvals on selected models between 27 July and 30 September 2021, registered by 31 December 2021. Subject to availability, offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Some combinations of features/options may not be available. Sandown Surrey and Hampshire Limited & Sandown Dorset and Wiltshire Limited are appointed representatives of ITC Compliance Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (their registration number is 313486). Permitted activities include advising on and arranging general insurance contracts and acting as a credit broker not a lender. We can introduce you to a limited number of finance providers and do not charge fees for our Consumer Credit services. We may receive a payment(s) or other benefits from finance providers should you decide to enter into an agreement with them. The payment we receive may vary between finance providers and product types. The payment received does not impact the finance rate offered. All finance applications are subject to status, terms and conditions apply, UK residents only, 18’s or over, Guarantees may be required. Image for illustration purpose only. Based on EQA 250 Sport. [1] The indicated values were determined according to the prescribed measurement method – Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Figures shown may include options which are not available in the UK. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) require mains electricity for charging, range figures determined with the battery fully charged. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. Figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the starting charge of the battery, factory-fitted options, accessories fitted (post registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load. Further information about the test used to establish fuel consumption and CO2 figures can be found at [2] Specified voltage and current values refer to network infrastructure and can be limited by the vehicle. Times are from 10–80% charge using public rapid charging at 100 kW.


November | December 2021 #13

BLACK HISTORY MONTH MOTORING Audi e-trom GT Employment Law and the Menopause

IN IT TO WIN IT Why more women should enter awards




cont ent s 9

BIG STORY Angela Merkel






UPFRONT All the latest bulletins from the world of business


BIG STORY The Merkel legacy

18 In it, to win it! 20 A springboard to sustainability £160bn opportunity for SMEs tackling climate change

22 What’s love got to do with the development of the black woman in organisations?


28 Bring colour into your organisation and profit! 30 Self-employed? You’re not alone! 32 Best foot forward (with purpose) Part 1 34 Dealing with menopause 37 Champneys Forest Mere 38 Tackle your texting turtle neck 42 MOTORING The Audi e-tron GT Quattro







Our illustrious steering committee guide the editorial tone of the magazine

JULIE KAPSALIS CEO Chichester / Crawley College Group

EMMA LANE Director Allied Irish Bank

VICTORIA KERTON ROSEMARY FRENCH OBE Regional Director Executive Director NatWest Gatwick Diamond Initiative


ALISON ADDY Community Officer Gatwick Airport

LOUISE PUNTER CEO Surrey Chambers of Commerce

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director The Platinum Media Group


ABIGAIL OWEN Senior Corporate Counsel DMH Stallard

FIONA SHAFER Managing Director MD HUB

MAXINE REID Partner Quantuma

MAARTEN HOFFMANN CEO/Publisher The Platinum Media Group

ANA CHRISTIE CEO Sussex Chamber of Commerce

ALISON JONES Partner Kreston Reeves


FIONA GRAVES Events Director The Platinum Media Group

welc ome

FROM ROSEMARY FRENCH OBE Chair of the Dynamic Steering Committee ROSEMARY’S OBE WAS AWARDED FOR SERVICES TO WOMEN IN BUSINESS Welcome to issue 13 of Dynamic, THE Magazine for Women in Business on its two-year anniversary. So much has happened in women’s lives and the world of business while Dynamic continues to thrive, keeping us informed of what we want and need to know. It is good to read about Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world and certainly one of the most influential states people of all time. She has shaped Germany from reunification to the economic powerhouse of today. She will be remembered as one of the most admired leaders and will remain a role model for women for generations to come. In this issue, Dynamic considers gender pay gap reporting, and the lack of black women on boards, and whether it is making a difference, as large businesses are held to account, and the number of women on boards, which may be increasing but still very few make it to the top.

On the world stage, the Taliban have stopped girls returning to secondary schools in Afghanistan. How many doctors, academics, entrepreneurs, even football players will we lose? There will be more strict rules to come which will further severely restrict female rights. In the UK, everyday life is getting harder for young women. While behaviour is changed bearing in mind the appalling Sarah Everard tragedy, a new threat crops up. Spiking? Do we tell young women not to go to that concert, nightclub, even pub. Avoid walking alone, wear grunge clothes, avoid alcohol and hold on to that alarm. Even then will they be safe enough? How soon before they need a chaperone? Achieving equality continues to move very slowly while young women’s lives have regressed a century.


WWW.PLATINUMMEDIAGROUP.CO.UK DISCLAIMER All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. Dynamic Magazine is owned and published by The Platinum Media Group.


TALIBAN TO ‘RESPECT’ WOMEN The Taliban said they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women ‘within the limits of Islam’, as they held their first press conference since seizing Kabul. Though concerns are still large as during their rule between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban implemented their own strict interpretation of Sharia law, preventing women from working and girls from going to school; something they have already repeated at the secondary school level.

{up f r o n t } All the latest bulletins from the world of business

HRH THE PRINCESS ROYAL MAKES TIME TO CELEBRATE IN BURGESS HILL Many companies struggle to hang on to good employees. But in Burgess Hill recently, HRH The Princess Royal helped one celebrate the fact that few apparently want to leave! 52 of the 98 local staff at world-class manufacturer Time 24 have collectively put in more than 900 years service with the firm – an average of 17 years each. For colleagues Nick Halsey, Colin Grimsley, Sue Smith, Paul Bartram, Karen Taylor, James Greenfield and Nigel O’Sullivan, though, it’s been almost a lifetime’s work. They individually clocked up 25 years or more with the electronics wiring specialist in 2020. Such continuity of service was a significant personal and professional milestone, said Time 24 Director and Co-founder David Shore. He was delighted their achievement had been recognised by Her Royal Highness who visited to present long service awards.

TAXI ASSAULTS Lyft, the US taxi-hailing app, has said that 4,158 incidents of sexual assault were reported to the firm between 2017 and 2019, raising concerns about the safety of other services. In its first-ever safety report, Lyft also detailed the number of motor vehicle deaths and fatal physical assaults during the period. Those instances were far outweighed by the volume of sexual attacks reported over the three years.





The average gender pay gap of all firms that reported in the past financial year is 10.4%, showing no difference from the average of all firms reporting in 2019-20.

A senior engineer, Aminah Shafiq, says she hopes her PPE headscarf design will inspire Muslim women who want to pursue a career in engineering and construction.

The BBC looked at a companies median pay gap - that is, the difference in pay between the middle-ranking woman and the middle-ranking man. This is different to unequal pay – paying women less than men for the same work – which is illegal.

Aminah Shafiq, from Birmingham, said her design makes it safer for women wearing a headscarf to work in operational jobs. The 24-year-old, who works for Severn Trent, said she came up with the idea during lockdown and she hopes it “represents them and accommodates” women who have otherwise felt unsafe with their freeflowing headscarves when around machinery.

In all, 9,628 companies reported in time for the deadline, greater than the total number of 6,945 firms that reported in 2019. Of these, 7,572 report a pay gap that favours men, with just 1,286 having a pay gap favouring women, and even fewer, 770, reporting no pay gap at all.

INJECTION SPIKING A NEW THREAT Recent stories of women being spiked by injection on nights out have caused concern among students and politicians. Yet to date, medics have also been divided on how easy it would be to inject someone with drugs without them noticing. UK police forces are investigating possible cases, with the Home Secretary asking for an urgent update on the scale of the problem. However, experts say it’s unlikely to be happening on a wide scale, and that drink spiking is still a more pressing issue.

A ROOM NOW FULL Kelly Becker, who runs engineering firm Schneider Electric’s UK and Ireland operations, says 20 years ago she was often the only woman in the room. “I can still be the only woman in the room, but it’s less and less, and that to me is exciting.” Ms Becker’s experience reflects a broader shift, with women now making up more than a third of top jobs at the UK’s 350’s largest firms. The number of women on boards has risen 50% from 682 to 1,026 in five years, an amazing rate.







THE MERKEL LEGACY By Maarten Hoffmann Angela Merkel is one of the few people to have migrated to East Germany from West Germany – a path rarely trodden in the rush of humanity trying to go the other way. This move was prompted by her father’s religion: born Catholic, he converted to Lutheranism and received a pastorate at a church in Quitzow, which was then in East Germany. Thus began the rise of a lady who is generally recognised as the most powerful woman in the world and the de facto leader of Europe. Merkel is a riddle wrapped in a conundrum, having been brought up in the East and formerly a member of the Free German

Youth (FDJ), a youth movement that was sponsored by the ruling Socialist Unity Party. Later, at the Academy of Sciences, she became a member of the FDJ district board and Secretary for ‘Agitprop’, dealing with Agitation and Propaganda. Merkel claimed she was Secretary for Culture, and when Merkel’s ex-boss in the department contradicted her, she insisted that “according to my memory, l was Secretary for Culture. But what do l know? I believe l won’t know anything when l am 80.” The trouble was, she was not 80, and one might therefore reasonably expect her to recall her title. This is the woman who went on to rule over the largest exercise is democracy in a lifetime – the European Union: Hence the riddle.




Merkel’s rise was predicted at a very young age. At school, she learned to speak Russian fluently and was awarded prizes for her proficiency in Russian and mathematics. At the University of Leipzig she studied physics from 1973 to 1978, earning a doctorate as a physical chemist for her thesis on quantum chemistry, after which she worked as a researcher and published several papers. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, briefly serving as the Deputy Spokesperson for the first democratically elected East German Government in 1990. Following the German reunification of that year, she was elected to the Bundestag for Stralsund-Nordvorpommern-Rügen, a seat she has held ever since. She was later appointed as the Federal Minister for Women and Youth in 1991 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and became the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety in 1994, serving until 1998. After the CDU/CSUFDP coalition was defeated in 1998, she was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before being elected the party’s leader in 2000 in the aftermath of the CDU donations scandal, which toppled party Chairman Helmut Kohl and his successor


Wolfgang Schäuble. As one of Kohl’s protégées and his youngest Cabinet Minister, she was frequently referred to by Kohl as ‘meine Mädchen’ or ‘my girl’. Following the 2005 federal election, she was appointed Germany’s first female Chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of her own CDU party, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote, and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the support of the CSU and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). At the 2013 federal election, Merkel led the CDU/CSU to a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag. In 2007, Merkel was President of the European Council and chaired the G8, the second woman (after Margaret Thatcher) to do so. She played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. One of her priorities was also to strengthen transatlantic economic

I understand why he has to do this – to prove he’s a man,” Merkel said. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”


relations by signing the agreement for the Transatlantic Economic Council on April 30th, 2007. Merkel is seen as playing a crucial role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international levels, and has been referred to as “the decider.” Merkel advocated a strong transatlantic partnership and GermanAmerican friendship. In the spring of 2003, defying strong public opposition, Merkel came out in favour of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, describing it as “unavoidable” and accusing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of anti-Americanism. She criticised the government’s support for the accession of Turkey to the European Union and favoured a “privileged partnership” instead. In doing so, she reflected public opinion that grew more hostile toward Turkish membership of the European Union. Full Turkish membership would place the entire union in the hands of a country with 74 million Muslims, who would carry an enormous voting bloc, and this has long been deemed unacceptable. In October 2010, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her CDU party at Potsdam that attempts to

build a multicultural society in Germany had “utterly failed”, stating: “The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it does not work and we feel attached to the Christian concept of mankind; that is what defines us. Anyone who doesn’t accept that is in the wrong place here.” She continued to say that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values. This has added to a growing debate within Germany on the levels of immigration, its effect on Germany and the degree to which


Muslim immigrants have integrated into German society. On September 25th, 2007, Merkel met the 14th Dalai Lama for private and informal talks in the Chancellery in Berlin amid protests from China. China afterwards cancelled separate talks with German officials, including talks with Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries. Unlike many world leaders, she did not buckle and stuck to her guns. One of Merkel’s priorities was strengthening transatlantic economic relations: she signed the agreement for the Transatlantic Economic Council on April 30th, 2007 at the White House. The Council, co-chaired by an EU and a US official, aims at removing barriers to trade in a further integrated transatlantic free-trade area. This project has been described as ultra-liberal by the French left-wing politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who fears a transfer of sovereignty from citizens to multinationals and an alignment of the European Union on American foreign policy and institutions. Der Spiegel reported that tensions between Chancellor Merkel and US President Barack Obama eased during a meeting between the two leaders in June 2009. Commenting on a White House press conference held after the meeting, Der Spiegel stated, “Of course the rather more reserved Chancellor couldn’t really keep up with the Obama charm offensive, but to reciprocate for Obama’s ‘good natured’ diplomacy, she gave it a go by mentioning the experiences of Obama’s sister in Heidelberg, making it clear that she had read his autobiography.”




Relations between the two soured dramatically when the leaks from whistleblower, Edward Snowdon revealed that America’s National Security Agency had been spying on Germany, and on Merkel personally, for decades. In an angry exchange with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel compared the snooping practices of the US with those of the Stasi, the ubiquitous and all-powerful secret police of the Communist dictatorship in East Germany, where she grew up. The German Chancellor also told the US President that the NSA cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak. Livid after learning that the Americans were listening in on her personal mobile phone, Merkel furiously confronted Obama with the accusation: “This is like the Stasi.” And she would know! The newspaper also reported that Merkel was particularly angry because, based on the disclosures, “the NSA clearly couldn’t be trusted with private information, because they let Snowden clean them out.” Rather than resorting to a European response, Merkel pursued a bilateral pact with the Americans aimed at curbing NSA activities and insisting on a “no-spying pact” between allies. Obama refused but agreed to desist from monitoring Merkel personally. It is alleged that she went into secret meetings with selected heads of European countries to devise technology that would defend against US snooping aggression. This is phenomenally difficult as the US is the leading player

in the sector and it marks the first time that Germany recognised US aggression since 1944. Russia’s stance has always comprised a mixture of fascination and trepidation for Merkel. Not only fluent in Russian, she also understands what makes them tick. After all, if Europe is to stand up in its own right on the international stage and rebuff America’s crass attempts to spy-then placate, Russia would be the obvious partner. Alas, this plan was doomed after the Ukraine invasion and Putin’s ostracisation from Planet Earth. Nevertheless, Merkel is very good at the long game and is now seen as the gobetween for isolated Russia and the West. Meeting Putin for talks at the Kremlin, she stressed the importance of finding a diplomatic solution. “It’s necessary for us to work, to cooperate, including over complicated situations – the way the situation is now – and try to find diplomatic solutions,” she said at the start of the talks. Political analyst Lilia Shevtsova said the meeting between the two leaders was highly symbolic. “They are hardly happy to see each other,” the prominent

Angela Merkel compared the snooping practices of the US with those of the Stasi, the ubiquitous and all-powerful secret police of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, where she grew up


pro-Western analyst wrote on Facebook. “He is trying to retain his seat at the table by turning to the shadows of the past and other people’s glory. But she has not accepted his rules of the game.” Many are concerned that Putin used last year’s VE Day festivities to justify Russia’s meddling in Ukraine and promote his nationalism-tinged agenda. He has shrugged off Merkel’s gesture and instead played up ties with Asia, Latin America and Africa. “Everyone we wanted to see was here,” he said in televised remarks. He then immediately hosted 91-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who praised him for standing up to Washington and noted that their two countries had been slapped with sanctions. “That is the reason why we should remain together,” Mugabe said. When the Zimbabwean Butcher is the only person who will talk


Yet all this closeness has apparently made her respect Putin less, not more to you, you know there is a problem. Putin is rumoured to be a raging misogynist, and having to deal with Merkel must rankle. This was demonstrated for the entire world to see in 2007. The incident of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and the dog is a famous one. It was 2007 and Merkel was visiting Putin at his presidential residence in Sochi to discuss energy trade. Putin, surely aware of Merkel’s well-known fear of dogs, waited until the press gathered in the room, then called for his black Labrador to be sent in. The Russian president watched in unconcealed glee as the dog sniffed at Merkel, who sat frozen in fear. Later, in discussing the incident with a group of reporters, Merkel attempted an explanation of Putin’s behaviour. Her quote, reported in George Packer’s December 2014 profile of Merkel in the New Yorker, is one of the most pithily succinct insights into Putin and the psychology of his 14-year reign that I have read: “I understand why he has to

do this – to prove he’s a man,” Merkel said. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.” Merkel is not the first person to suggest that Putin’s machismo – everything from his harassment of fellow heads of state to his shirtless photos and his invasion of Ukraine are shows of strength meant to mask feelings of weakness. But she has put her finger on this phenomenon with remarkable bluntness. Her female instincts kick in and are right on the money. She has an especially close relationship with Putin (this incident notwithstanding) and unusual insight into how Putin’s Russia works. Among Western leaders, her relationship with Putin is almost certainly the closest and most important. Yet all this closeness has apparently made her respect Putin less, not more. It is also dangerous, tempting the nuclear-armed and legitimately formidable Russian military


into a war in Europe. But at least Merkel, who is in many ways the pivot point between Russia and the West, understands what she is up against. And here is a point that cannot go unrecognised. Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher was a force to be reckoned with and stood up to hectoring bullies and male dominated military aggression. If Merkel was to be the confidante of both Obama and Putin, there is an obvious gender connection here. Do women make better politicians than men? Both ladies were female scientists who became the first women to lead a male dominated Conservative Party, and the first women to lead their countries. But their leadership styles could not be more different. Where Thatcher ruled with an iron fist, Merkel prefers discussion, deliberation and consensus. Her nickname, ‘Mutti’ (‘mummy’), is a far cry from the ‘Iron Lady’. Her leadership style – prudent, democratic, and modest – has proven to be hugely successful. She exemplifies a different type of leadership, one that many other women, regardless of political affiliation, can relate to. A survey in August 2013 showed that a third of German women now consider her a role model.


Yet there is a significant similarity: neither Thatcher nor Merkel consider themselves feminists. And although her gender undoubtedly affected her career, Merkel very rarely talks about it. Her party has by far the smallest percentage of female members of parliament, even if their leadership and cabinet appear otherwise; she has always worked in male dominated environments. Her path to power has been more a marathon than a sprint, and one during which her ability was frequently doubted. Her political record on women’s issues is lacking, and many feel she has done too little to promote gender equality. Unresolved issues include equal pay, women’s career prospects and women on boards. Particularly troubling is that Germany has one of the highest gender pay gaps in Europe. This failure was recently criticised by the Social Democrats (SPD). Unlike Merkel, they call for the implementation of a minimum wage as a step towards correcting gender pay inequality. They also support women in higher positions by backing a 40% quota for women on boards, which Merkel delayed until 2020. But their criticisms were blunted by questions about the number of women in the SPD leadership, which does not showcase the same gender diversity as the top ranks of the CDU. This brings us to the deeper problem: issues of gender remain largely unrecognised and unaddressed in German political discourse. Neither


party was willing to address issues in gendered terms in their recent national campaigns. The failure of German politics to address women’s issues is further highlighted by the worrying fact that 46% of women don’t look to the government for help on women’s issues. Merkel managed to secure 44% of the

women’s vote for her party, compared to 39% of German men. This goes against global trends, where women have begun to lean more towards the left of the political spectrum. But despite her success in the election, only 28% are happy with Merkel’s ‘Frauenpolitik’ and more than half of German women

German power is revealing itself to be the solid core of the Western world. And that’s not all bad news


believe that a lot more needs to be done before gender equality is achieved. Dealing with prejudice throughout her career, Merkel has been reluctant to emphasise her femininity. Years ago, as leader of the opposition during Gerhardt Schroeder’s chancellorship, ‘Die Merkel’ made a conscious effort to run a genderneutral campaign and would not have dared to tackle women’s issues for fear of being labelled and restricted to those issues – a common fear among female politicians. But unlike male leaders in the past, she has accidentally been bestowed with the ‘burden of representation’, which makes her failure to act on behalf of women more visible. In the last year, she has become bolder and there are a few examples of her taking action: for example, when she recently invited 75 leading professional women and around 30 female students to a conference on women in German society. Her dress style makes a firm statement that she will not be judged by her gender. A vast array of trouser suits ensures that little comment, whether bitchy or complimentary, can be levied. Needless to say, the perennial Queen of the May, Karl Lagerfeld, couldn’t help himself when he whined: “Bad proportions, too long pants, too tight jackets. She has scarcely any time to come to Paris, and when she is in Paris to visit President Hollande she is very busy.” Not going to Paris to shop is his benchmark for judging women, which about says it all! But with fashion not coming to her as naturally as economics, Merkel has got her formula and she’s sticking with it. Her signature look comprises threebutton blazers, often from German designer Bettina Schoenbach, in a huge range of colours. Dutch graphic designer Noortje van Eekelen even created a personal Pantone chart that runs to an impressive 90 shades. That’s one for every situation Europe’s most powerful woman might find herself in. In Angela Merkel, the world witnessed the unmistakable return of

Germany as the dominant power of Europe. After decades of deliberately constraining its power, Germany has snapped its restraints. Instead of aligning itself to the collective interest of a unified Europe, Germany has asserted its own interests. At the extreme, there have been hysterical comparisons with Germany’s Nazi past. But even moderate and responsible Germans have marked this episode as a turning point in the history of their country: “During the long night of negotiations over Greece on July 12th-13th, something fundamental to the European Union cracked,” wrote Germany’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, Joschka Fischer. What changed, he said, was “the Germany that Europ-

When the Zimbabwean Butcher is the only person who will talk to you, you know there is a problem


eans have known since the end of World War Two”. The German Chancellor put Germany’s demands ahead of those of its European partners. She overruled her core partner, France, in the comanagement of Europe and the majority of EU governments. Formally, Greece has been negotiating its national solvency with the socalled “troika” of institutions – the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF. But, in reality, the nub of the negotiation came down to Greece pleading with Germany, the weakest debtor pleading with the strongest creditor. And submitting. Merkel laid down tough demands for Greece’s government to raise her taxes, cut her spending and repay her debts. If she agreed, she would receive enough new loans to allow her to stay solvent, to keep her banks to open, to stay in the Eurozone.




It was an exercise in power politics. Greece was the immediate object of the exercise, but Angela Merkel was giving a lesson in fiscal discipline to all the other debtor nations of Europe – including France. Germany’s first post-war Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, famously declared: “German problems can only be solved under a European roof.” This was the concept guiding the creation of the European Union – Germany took the initiative to extend the roof to pool its power with that of its neighbours in a revolutionary experiment in surrendering sovereignty. But Europe’s debt crisis has revealed a change. Germany remains under a shared roof, but it is a German roof that extends over Europe, not the other way around. This newfound German assertiveness has been called the “return of the Germany problem” and “the return of the ugly German”. Most dramatically, German newspaper Süddeutsche carried a piece about Merkel, under the headline: “Europe’s new enemy”. There has been talk of a “fourth Reich” or fourth empire. As Heather Conley of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies puts it, the crisis over Greece is answering the post-World War Two question: “Will Europe develop in France’s image, financially underwritten by the Germans? Or will Europe follow German rules, financed and policed by Germany?” The answer now emerging


But she has put her finger on this phenomenon with remarkable bluntness. Her female instincts kick in and are right on the money is: “Europe will be shaped by Germany (with occasional French intervention).” The Eurozone, and the EU itself, would have splintered years ago if not for Merkel’s determination and Germany’s strength. Remember all the headlines and confident prognostications that the EU couldn’t stand, that it must shatter under the force of the crisis? This was the orthodoxy. There was no inevitability that the EU would endure.

Merkel’s Germany has held it together. Vladimir Putin’s angry Russian bear is real, and it’s increasingly aggressive. Who will stand up to it? Among the major European powers, it has so far been Merkel’s Germany that has shown the firmest resolve to resist Russia. While the US under Obama dithered over what she is prepared to defend and what she will resist, Merkel’s Germany has been putting the spine into Europe. Economically and strategically, German power is revealing itself to be the solid core of the Western world. And that’s not all bad news. If we can forgive the barbaric transgressions of their forefathers, Germany could and should be our closest ally. That so-called ‘special relationship’ we have with America is so much tosh and nonsense. It’s all oneway, and to be frank, they couldn’t give a hoot for our thoughts. I have a vague, passing interest in cars and therein lies an excellent example. German-built automobiles stand absolutely head and shoulders above the motoring crowd and have done for the past 30 years. They do not produce the finest machinery the world


has ever seen with slave labour or smoke and mirrors. They work bloody hard, have the finest technical expertise, derived from an exceptional education and iron discipline, and earn a damn good crust from it. If you can suspend your bemusement at the following example, l think it might emphasise the point. In 1939, this small country comprised 67 million citizens. They followed a deranged maniac, admittedly, but in their devotion and discipline they took to conflict and totally dominated the planet of 2.3 billion people. They easily conquered every country in Europe, with one hand tied behind their back, and went on to take over the world. Only the horrific Russian winter and America finally waking up stalled their progress. This was a remarkable feat of efficiency.

The difference here is about 70 years and a woman. Mrs Merkel was unlikely to go to war or invade Poland, no matter what Basil Fawlty thought. Here was the the opportunity for the UK to partner with a country to which we have been inextricably bound throughout history, devoid of aggression and masters of their universe. Angela Merkel led a people of determination and hard graft, and as we adopted our own royal family from their fair shores, perhaps we should have realised that allowing Germany to partner with the economic minnow that is France is lunacy. They will only ever be a subservient infant, and perhaps we should have stepped forth and occupied our rightful place by their side. Brexit of course put paid to that. It is, perhaps, a measure of just how powerful she has become that Angela Merkel now appears to be influencing youth slang. The compilers of Germany’s most popular dictionary say that the

Germany remains under a shared roof, but it is a German roof that extends over Europe, not the other way around


verb “merkeln” is on track to become the most popular “youth word” of the year. Media strategists surrounding the Chancellor who may have fleetingly thought they could seize on the opportunity to encourage more young people to support the German Chancellor will, however, have been quickly disappointed. The word is none-too flattering, meaning being indecisive, or failing to have an opinion on something – behaviour that Germans often attribute to Merkel. And this is an issue that dogs most highly competent world leaders. The more they play on the international stage, the more support they lose at home. She has had tough decisions to make and they will never please everyone, but there is one inescapable truth: Frau Angela Dorothea Merkel has taken Germany from a country that was ashamed of its past, content to live in the shadows of the world stage to being one of the biggest players on the planet, the leading state in Europe, one of the wealthiest and most productive countries around and the psychological counsellor of Messrs. Putin and Obama. It might take a while, but Merkel will one day be recognised as one of the most influential women the world has ever seen.


IN IT, TO WIN IT! By Rosemary French OBE I remember in the late 1980s being invited as a guest to the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Awards at the Savoy. Created as a tribute to Madame Clicquot, the Awards celebrate their 50th year in 2022 and are acknowledged as the first awards competition dedicated to businesswomen. I now know that Madame Clicquot, when widowed at the early age of 27, took control of her late husband’s champagne business and was one of the first women to lead a large company principally of men. She was quite a force to be reckoned with. I have no idea why I was invited although I suspect it was an article in the Times that I wrote on behalf of my bookseller employer, about ending the Net Book Agreement. This dated back to post war price maintenance and fixed the price of books thus stifling


competition amongst booksellers. Hard to believe today! Suggesting that the Agreement should end was hugely controversial although I was well aware I was being set up by my openly misogynist boss as a fall guy to take the resulting flack! The article certainly brought my name to the attention of publicists. I cannot remember who won that year, but I do vividly recall that I was a young woman overwhelmed in this grand hotel, full of hundreds of high achieving women. I had been used to

being the sole woman in most business circumstances and suddenly I was mixing with all these women who were striding ahead, pushing through the glass ceiling, long before we even called it that. For some it came at a price, not having children, broken relationships, or mental health, but it was then that I knew I was not alone. There were many of us, it was just that we were not openly spoken about, promoted, respected nor admired until the Veuve Clicquot Awards brought these women the attention they deserved.


I mentor several women at various stages in their growth. Whether they are a start-up or a well-established business, I emphasise the importance of entering business awards. Generally, I am immediately pushed back. ‘I couldn’t possibly do that’ or ‘who am I to enter?’ I do not give up saying that it is not about being humble, shy, or retiring. They are in business and all businesses need to promote themselves at every opportunity.

I cannot remember who won that year, but I do vividly recall that I was a young woman overwhelmed in this grand hotel My approach is that if you do not believe in yourself and your business, how can you expect others to? It is a free form of promotion and marketing that enables you to take time to look at your business like an outsider. The best awards judges often also offer feedback which is brilliant free advice. If it is not automatically given why not ask for it? I advise them that so few enter that they will have a high chance of being shortlisted. That national awards are no less winnable than regional or local awards. Boost Awards currently list 90 awards suitable covering many sectors and themes. However, I am a firm believer that such applications must be written by the entrant not by a professional awards writer. Judges can tell! Also, your individualism, passion and dedication will better shine through when it is written by yourself. It is an enhanced elevator pitch.

I also stress that there is absolutely no need to stick to awards for businesswomen. All categories should be considered and if relevant, entered. What is there to lose? I know it can take time to write a good and full application. I am occasionally surprised at how little some entrants offer to the judges in their applications making it easy to dispose of them during early sorting. However, a lot of time spent in the first application will pay dividends for other award entries when so much can be cut and pasted. Another tip is to ‘answer the question,’ although for some more sloppily organised awards these questions can be so vague that it is not possible to ascertain what they are looking for. In those cases, refer to previous entries and follow a similar pattern of answers. Just remember that the judges are looking for all round business success or proven development. Outline the innovation in your business, how you manage and bring on employees, how you overcame challenges and obstacles, how you plan, do you give young people a chance with apprenticeships, how do you reach your customers? Since your business strategy should include most of these in any case, it is simply a case of getting it down on paper as though you were explaining your business to a consultant over coffee. Finally, leave enough time to ask someone else to read over your application. An employee, your boss, a customer perhaps? Inevitably, they will spot something you have missed.

If you are shortlisted or a winner, remember to advertise this on your emails and business marketing material. It is truly something to be proud of and will give potential customers further confidence that they are dealing with a reputable and recognised company. So, what is it like being a judge on such awards? I always groan when asked to judge because there is an enormous amount of work involved usually in my own time. However, I take it as a great compliment and always accept. When I get to the end and the winner is chosen, I feel hugely satisfied that I and the other judges have done a fair job. It is rare that there is only one judge. Actually, I would never agree to judge if that was the case. I need at least one other judge to ‘bounce’ thoughts off. We all have prejudices and together these can be ironed out. A decent judge will look beyond the application and arrange an interview. In the past I always visited the shortlisted entrants but recently I completed judging the Women in Construction Awards for South East Construction Expo. Due to Covid-19, we interviewed online, and it was remarkably successful as well as efficient for all parties. Once again, we were surprised, at how much extra we gleaned from the shortlisted candidates which inevitably made the job of selecting the winner even harder! If you are shortlisted, there is nothing like the excitement of an Awards ceremony waiting for the winners to be announced. Like the proud and strongwilled Madame Clicquot, who always demanded ‘only one quality, the finest,’ women can stand behind their award entries knowing that they have offered for judgement the absolute best of their business, themselves and their employees.



A SPRINGBOARD TO SUSTAINABILITY £160bn opportunity for SMEs tackling climate change New research from NatWest reveals key ways for SMEs to unlock opportunity on the pathway to net zero KEY FINDINGS

◗ There is a £160bn-plus revenue opportunity for SMEs thanks to the drive to tackle climate change ◗ With the right support, many SMEs will benefit financially from reducing their carbon footprint ◗ 30,000 new companies could be created to support the UK’s transition to net zero ◗ Half the UK’s carbon reduction ambition can be delivered by the country’s SME sector.

NatWest is pledging £100bn of climate and sustainable funding by 2025 to support the investment the UK needs for a sustainable recovery


In-depth analysis of the UK SME landscape by NatWest has found that small and medium-sized enterprises have the potential to unlock significant revenue opportunity for themselves as well as enable the country to meet its ambitious climate commitments. SMEs already play a critical role in the UK economy, contributing around 50% of total UK turnover and 60% of employment. Now, the time has come for SMEs to move from the periphery of climate conversations to the centre of the UK’s green ambition. The Springboard to Sustainable Recovery report says that if the public and private sectors work together to provide relevant support, SMEs could not only drive business value by reducing their own emissions but also unlock growth through wider climate action. NatWest is pledging £100bn of climate and sustainable funding by 2025 to support the investment the UK needs for a sustainable recovery.*


SMEs have two oportunities to create value from climate action: ◗ Driving business value by reducing their own emissions ◗ Unlocking growth through wider climate action

£160+ bn revenue opportunity SMEs as a result of the drive to tackle climate change



“Climate change is the biggest single issue facing humanity today,” says Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest. “We are the only bank to be a principal sponsor of COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference in 2021. We are using this platform to demonstrate ways for people and businesses to tackle climate change, including, through this new research, exploring the role of SMEs in the UK’s journey to net zero. “This report sets out a number of concrete actions we, and others, can take to enable SMEs to create real value for themselves, and society as a whole,” says Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest “We should never underestimate the power of the small (and in this instance SMEs) for leveraging big advances. This report sets out a number of concrete actions we, and others, can take to enable SMEs to create real value for themselves, and society as a whole.”


In 2006 Nicholas Stern (now Lord Stern) led what was to become one of the most influential reports on climate change ever produced, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review. In A Springboard to Sustainable Recovery, he writes: “This report focuses on the practical support SMEs need today to ensure their future success in a rapidly changing economy and society. “Every government and business should now be focused on the investments and innovation required to reach net-zero emissions as quickly as possible. We know that these investments can drive sustainable improvements in growth, prosperity and living standards around the world. SMEs will be at the centre of the action, being key forces for productivity, jobs and growth.”

Financial institutions, government, industry bodies and corporates all have a part to play in breaking down many of the barriers to unlock the SME climate opportunity. These include: ◗ funding access ◗ awareness ◗ knowledge ◗ skills and capabilities ◗ market access ◗ navigation NatWest is committed to helping SMEs to grow and scale through sustainable means.




WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BLACK WOMAN IN ORGANISATIONS? By Yetunde Y. Hofmann The black woman continues to be left behind in terms of promotions, career development, and pay advancement, regardless of the industry she is in and despite the continuously expressed strong business case for diversity by leading academics, consultancies and business leaders the world over. Research after research continues to be published, one of the latest is this one – Transparent - by the LSE in partnership with the 30% Club on the plight of the black woman and what needs to be done in organisations to drive change. Mckinsey has published several thought leading pieces including Women in the workplace that highlight not only the benefit to the organisation of the advancement of the black woman and diversity in general but also sharing ideas on how this can be done. The Parker Review in 2017 recommended a voluntary target for the Nation’s FTSE 350. This target was to have at least one member of their boards from an ethnically diverse background. Today, that target has not been met. The Hampton Alexander Review in 2016 recommended that FTSE 100-350 Boards should be 33% women. Whilst some progress has been made on the FTSE 100 Board, as reported in the Cranfield University 2020 female FTSE board report, less than 3% of the these women


would be described as black women. When we look beyond the Board and to the wider organisation, the statistics are even less encouraging. This report in the Guardian newspaper states that only 1.5% of senior positions held in UK businesses today are held by black people. This figure hasn’t changed since 2014. In an open letter in the Sunday Times recently, a group of leading companies publicly called for organisations to address the systemic racism that exists within them. However, what is experienced by many black women today is a significant rhetoric and inconsistent action. The black glass ceiling – those barriers seen and unseen – that stand in the way of her progression in an organisation and

In an open letter in the Sunday Times recently, a group of leading companies publicly called for organisations to address the systemic racism that exists within them


her being considered fairly and equally for the opportunity to grow and to contribute at increasingly senior levels of responsibility and influence remain in place. She continues to face discrimination based on her gender and her race. On top of that, she lacks the encouraging factors of visible senior role models, advocates, sponsors and mentors as well as targeted management and leadership development designed to meet her needs. It is, however, not impossible. I believe, without a shadow of doubt, that the business leader who makes the development of the black woman in their organisation a priority is one who genuinely appreciates, believes in and understands the value of inclusion and the contribution of diversity to the success of a business. That business leader would know and believe that in developing the black woman the vicarious impact on the rest of the workforce is beneficial even to the most privileged demographic in the world of work. This belief would result in action that goes beyond the pledges to do

something, the celebration of black history, the awareness training on conscious and unconscious bias and so much more. For real change to happen and change that is meaningful and impactful, what is required is a shedding of control, a willingness to let go of ‘what is mine’ in the interest of the greater good and a decidedness to demonstrate that every single person in the world of work and in the organisation, without

It would be a deeply held belief and knowledge that everyone has potential and has a right to express that potential

exception, has something to contribute. It would be a deeply held belief and knowledge that everyone has potential and has a right to express that potential. It would mean a knowledge and a belief that leadership in business goes beyond the personal acquisition of wealth, the delivery of the bottom line and pleasing the shareholder to a place where a willingness to put the interests of the team, the organisation, the community it serves and society above his/her own is the priority. It would mean a desire to create an environment in which everyone is treated not only as human but is given the opportunity to express all of who they are, to advance their career and to maximise their potential to the benefit of all – and that includes the black woman. How then can a leader who is genuinely interested in tapping into the potential of ALL the talent in his/her business proactively develop the black woman in a way that makes a material difference not only to her but to the leader and the organisation? Here are six ways to achieve this:




As a business leader or indeed an organisational leader of any kind, what you do, say, to whom, when and how is observed, imitated and amplified. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror and conduct some serious self-examination of your own biases and working practices. Do an audit of your personal and professional network to see how diverse it is. At work, with whom do you spend the most of your time and with whom do you feel the most comfortable? How wide is your tent? Who is on the outside looking in? In your quiet reflection, look back over your week or month and reflect on the behaviours you have displayed that may have sent a message, though unintentionally, to the underrepresented groups and that includes the black woman that says, “you’re not quite good enough to be in my team”. To what extent have you challenged your teams and your colleagues to be creative and do “different” – for example in sourcing diverse suppliers. The CIPD, for example, has advice on how to source diverse suppliers. Who do you publicly praise for their achievements and why? In your meetings do you speak last or invite others to speak up before you do, knowing that what you say may influence others to follow you blindly. Have you invited the black women in your organisation, regardless of their organisational level, to share their lived experiences, how your behaviour and that of your direct reports impacts them and what they would like to see happen to bring positive change? Once you’ve raised awareness of who you really are and appreciated that some of your behaviour may not be displaying your very positive intent, then you can take decisive action drive change one initiative at a time, with meaningful goals, developed with those impacted, time scales, reporting on progress and celebrating the milestones attained.


It is important to study first what it means to be an ally and know that in choosing to be one, you are willing to stand up and be counted. This article by Very Well Mind shares some useful insights. Being an ally means a willingness to amplify the voice of the black woman leader in your organisation to stand toe to toe with her and making the successful achievement of her goals and objectives your own too. It means a willingness to challenge the status quo and encourage your stakeholders and her stakeholders to take an interest, by creating opportunities in which the white people in the organisation can listen to her lived in experiences. For example, an FT article reported that people who have foreign sounding names had to send 74% more applications in for a job than their white counter parts. And this article here in the HBR reminds us of how the black woman leader is less likely than others to get support for her development in her organisation. So, by amplifying her voice and following up with meaningful action, she is likely to be more confident in going for those promotions and opportunities that may at first seem out of reach.


Mentoring is an effective and mutually beneficial tool of development for both the mentee and mentor and should be a development resource for all. A mentor in the main however is a sounding board, a useful source of confidential advice and a place where the black female leader can wrestle with decisions in a safe space. It is however less likely to unlock the gate to her development upwards or the opportunity for her to attend high profile meetings or be seconded to those highly sought after strategic, companywide projects that parachute the members into their next jobs in the company. The keys that can unlock these gates are held by a Sponsor. Having a sponsor is like having an agent whose role is to ensure the black woman is seen. The sponsor will proactively ensure her advancement and, when senior enough, can be instrumental in her securing that next role and/or her ability to participate in those career enhancing meetings and strategic decision-making forums. Therefore, if you had to choose one over the other, ensure she has a sponsor first and foremost before turning your attention to finding her a mentor.

In your meetings do you speak last or invite others to speak up before you do?




The black woman in an organisation has two challenges – the fact that she’s a woman and that she’s black. She is also less likely to have visible role models in significantly more senior roles than she currently is in. It is therefore important to nominate her to the type of leadership programmes that enable her to network with powerful black women leaders from across different organisations. It is also important to expose her to the career development stories of senior black and successful women who have achieved a lot despite the challenges faced because of their gender and race and who still have ambition to do more and make bigger and stronger contributions at work, in the community and in society. The beauty of learning in the company of others who have similar experiences – and where in those forums you are in the majority

demographic – is that it will provide her with a safe space in which she can share her challenges, both personal and professional. It will give her the opportunity to gain contributions from others in a candid way and free of the backdrop of her employing organisation and all the culture and politics that may come with it. Doing this then enables her to return to her place of work with more confidence and ideas on how to navigate her way forward more successfully in her career. And when she returns, support her with a plan that ensures she is promoted within a couple of years of having completed the programme so that she is not left to manage her career on her own. The result can only be a win-win for the black woman and her organisation. It not only sets an example for other underrepresented groups but, by building a stronger talent bench, enabling more creativity and innovation it ultimately demonstrates the commercial benefits of genuine diversity.


One of the reasons why the professional and personal leadership development of the black woman in your organisation may not happen effectively or consistently will lie in the people processes and systems employed in your organisation. This will be even more prevalent if your HR function is not diverse and has little or no black representation. Therefore, commission the engagement of external expertise to conduct a thorough review of your processes of attraction, recruitment, onboarding, career development, talent and performance management, appointments and promotions and be ready to have them dismantled and reassembled having removed all elements of bias. If you employ the use of psychometric tests, ensure you understand the norm groups used as benchmarks for them.


The death of George Floyd led to many companies racing to appoint Diversity and Inclusion leads and establish Employee Resource Groups (ERGS) for the people in their underrepresented groups. Although this is laudable, the only way they can be effective and fulfil the roles and responsibilities they have been called to do is when they are given not only the mandate by the highest levels of leadership but also given the resources – time, money and people – as well as access to the decision-making forums and meetings that will enable them to make an effective contribution. When they make a recommendation that is received, communicate it companywide and when a recommendation is declined, give the reasons why and encourage them to return with additional recommendations and ensure that they have sponsorship at the highest level possible.




Now, none of the above recommendations are new. The gap at the top of the business is still wide and not only is this evident by her absence, on top of that she is under paid and remains the subject of micro aggression and exclusion. Her plight is made worse still when the notion of intersection is raised – how much further back is she when, in addition to her race and gender, she has a hidden or visible disability or challenges with her mental health. In an organisation that provides support by establishing resource groups, ask which of these could she be a member of? Then remember that in our beauty as human beings, each person is inherently individual and to this end so is the black woman leader – each woman, like every human being, will have her own distinct wishes, values, ways of working, style of leadership, background, experiences and much more that make her who she is. This is no different to any other human being. I fear therefore that change will remain slow and that in years to come, we will be faced with the same data and statistics that show a lack of adequate representation and exclusion of the black woman leader unless the most critical leadership and organisational capability is developed in our leaders and organisations. That is the capability to Love. Love is that unconditional acceptance of all of who I am, warts and all as a human being and the unconditional acceptance of another – all of who they are, as a human being. It is the desire, intent and willingness to relate first as human. It is a willingness and a decidedness to see another person for who they are; an ability to separate the human being from their behaviours, without excusing a behaviour that goes against the grain of the values of the companies or the rules of engagement of the team.


And yet, love is one of the most resisted topics and subjects in the world of work, whilst ironically being the greatest need and gift of being human. It is at the heart of what it means to belong and although there are small attempts to move in this direction – leaders talking about kindness, servant leadership, compassion and purpose in the context of work, none can genuinely be sustained without being rooted in Love. Without love you cannot truly be inclusive and without inclusion you cannot enable diversity. Without appreciating the contribution of diversity, and ultimately that of the black woman, the development of the black woman will simply be reduced to lip service and dropped at the earliest possible opportunity. Therefore, without the presence of Love - that agape and

unconditional love – you cannot have inclusion. Indeed, without the genuine presence of love in society, in community, in education, in our public and government institutions, in organisations – without it permeating every corner and angle of what and how we go about our lives at work, at home and in business - we really don’t have a chance. But what it takes is a willingness to start. I, for one, am grateful that you as a leader are reading this article. When you, as a leader, operate from a place of love and with the genuine best intention for yourself and all your team at the forefront of your mind, it will be amazing the difference this will make for the black woman and all the leaders in your organisation. Create a culture and experiences within your organisation where everyone, without exception, can speak up, share their hopes and ambitions for the future without fear of derision of censure. Put in place personal, leadership and career development interventions for your black women talent and support these with SMART goals. As a leader, pursue self-mastery that has, at its very heart, your desire to be your very best self. Create a work environment in which everyone in both the majority and minority felt safe and secure and like they belong. Have the courage to broach this very critical yet most challenging topic. Be willing to explore how lovebased leadership and a love-based culture can make a material difference to the performance, creativity and engagement of your people. The bravery to start the conversation, knowing that with one conversation at a time, one day the world of work will be a place in which not only the black woman leader, but everyone without exception would thrive is a significant step forward. All it will take is a willingness from you and from me to start.

◗ Yetunde Hofmann is a Board level executive leadership coach and mentor, global change, inclusion and diversity expert, author of Beyond Engagement and founder of SOLARIS – a pioneering new leadership development programme for black women. Find out more at and find Yetunde @Yetundeh on Twitter

Businesses local to Gatwick are 50% more likely to export than the national average

Gatwick brings global trade opportunities closer

We’re more than just an airport


BRING COLOUR INTO YOUR ORGANISATION AND PROFIT! Kellie Miller is a critic, curator, artist and owner/director of Kellie Miller Arts (KMA) the award-winning, independent, contemporary gallery in The Lanes, Brighton. She has been a professional artist since 1994 and her work has been exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad including Taiwan, Japan and the UK. Kellie holds an MA in Arts Criticism and is an associate lecturer on Goldsmiths’ MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, mentoring their students to develop business ideas in creative and cultural fields.**

My world is all about colour. Whether I produce artworks, curate, sell, inspire, or lecture, the arts are my life and I love to share my ideas, thoughts and creations. Throughout my career I have often found I was the only black person in the room - or one of very few. I tend not to meet other black artists or other black gallery owners. I rarely meet other black businesswomen. Although this can make one feel ’unique’, it can also be a little perplexing. Too many black people are still not invited to the tables of change. How do

Throughout my career I have often found I was the only black person in the room – or one of very few


we empathise with others when we haven’t shared their experiences? How can we change our organisations and businesses to provide opportunities to others and be more inclusive? I have spent many years ignoring this issue in order to progress in my career and be accepted. But I am pleased to say that – today – the news agenda is changing and people are now eager to discuss the issue of diversity in the workplace. The fact remains that black people are absent from, and frequently underrepresented, in many UK companies.


And if we are not there then our voices cannot be heard and we cannot be counted. If we are always on the margins, we will continue to be seen as ‘different’ or ‘exotic’, or ‘other’. How can young people aspire to be the best if they see far too few people like them in significant or influential positions? As TV Dragon, Deborah Meaden, says: “Don’t label yourself. There are prejudices against all sorts, all around us. You give power to prejudice by recognising it. If you ignore it, it is an amazingly powerful thing. I’m in business-full stop. And that’s the strongest message you can send.” But in the case of ethnic diversity, such prejudice cannot be ignored. The statistics speak volumes. As of February 2021 there were no black CEOs in any of Britain’s 100 largest companies. The percentage of black executive directors and non-executive directors at FTSE-100 firms (including board and executive committee level positions) has actually dropped from 1.3% to 1.1% in the last six years. The USA fares better than UK companies but there are still only four black CEOs at Fortune’s 500 companies. A Danish study published in the American Economic Journal discovered that bias in the hiring process leads to selecting colleagues of the same ethnicity, even if not appropriate for the vacancy. On the other hand, positive discrimination can cast black people as window dressing, undermining their abilities and encouraging imposter syndrome. Being the only one of few can lead to undue scrutiny of performance by colleagues and engenders the constant need to prove oneself.

Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “We know there is no shortage of qualified candidates to fill these roles if companies are willing to look. Yet the snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white.” Phillips said the lack of black leaders at Britain’s biggest businesses makes talented black employees think they would not be able to advance in their careers, looking instead to smaller companies, or the US.

How can young people aspire to be the best if they see far too few people like them in significant or influential positions?

Each of us has a different heritage and we will belong to various tribes throughout our lives as we search to belong and be loved. Black history can make it difficult for us to find our tribes and as a result, we can become an island. This tribal tendency leads to a bias to attract and work with people similar to ourselves and our own upbringing. Perhaps this is why most of the UK government are private school educated and even come from the same educational establishments? We live in a multicultural Britain, yet many of our professional industries lack diversity. As we are still fighting for women’s equality, I feel it might take time to address the issue of ethnic visibility. Diversity should be woven into every organisation. Simply comparing current race issues with the past assumes that institutional racism no longer exists. But the evidence is to the contrary - black people are over-

policed as citizens but under-policed as victims. So, how can we redress the balance? Companies can no longer afford to ignore the benefits of diversity. Consulting firms McKinsey & Co and Deloitte LLP have clearly demonstrated that diversity is associated with better financial outcomes and company cultures. Diverse leadership leads to all staff feeling more included. It can guide companies to be more progressive and enable them to discover new markets, new products and new ways of doing business. Success hinges on finding advocates with people in power. How diverse is your business or organisation? The Race at Work Charter website contains a wealth of advice on improving diversity within and across organisations. It is often assumed that the best person for a CEO position has already been in that role but in fact, first-time CEOs of public companies often perform better than those who have previously served in such roles. These opportunities should be made available to a more diverse range of candidates while nurturing and supporting them in such positions. I would encourage all businesses to support programmes to raise the awareness of black businesses, initiatives such as Black Pound Day, a campaign which encourages consumers to support Black-owned enterprises, runs on the first Saturday of each month. Let’s be progressive and part of the change. Let’s bring colour into our businesses and embrace the rich tapestry that different cultures and diversity can bring.

◗ Kellie Miller, Director Gallery: 01273 329384 Studio: 01273 720625 Mobile: 07803 589059 Kellie Miller Arts, 20 Market Street, Brighton, East Sussex,


Being your own boss comes with particular challenges, but you don’t need to face them on your own, says Samantha Kaye from Wellesley Wealth Advisory

Self-employed? You’re not alone! At the Women in Business & Tech Expo 2021 in October, I was delighted to meet so many like-minded professional women who have made incredible success of their individual paths – from climbing the ranks in their company to working for themselves. It’s clear that more and more women are doing the latter – we currently make up around a third of the self-employed.1

Being your own boss can give you a real sense of freedom, both professionally and personally. Yet being a self-employed woman can also present challenges – for example, earning 43% less than our male counterparts.2 But how can “girl bosses” thrive? It all starts with these three areas of personal finance…

Women often feel they have to do everything themselves. However, outsourcing financial planning – just as you would with any other business need – can mean you have one less thing to organise





It’s far trickier to budget or plan ahead when you have a changeable workflow. Start by making a plan for regular spending needs, such as your mortgage and living costs, and set up a direct debit to ‘pay yourself’ each month based on an average of what you earn. Next, concentrate on longer-term needs – for example, planning for retirement, building up investments, the potential for a period of maternity leave or childcare costs, if you decide to have children.

2. TAX

Think beyond the amount that you take as income – it’s just as important to consider the most tax-efficient way of doing it. On the whole, paying into a pension from your company will be the best way of maximising your income while minimising your exposure to tax, as you’ll be taxed on earnings after pension deductions. The drawback is that you can’t access money in a pension until the age of 55 (57 from 2028). The advantage, however, will be that you’ll have control over how much income you withdraw, and therefore how much income tax you will be subject to.


Most entrepreneurs employ an accountant to deal with their own tax return and that of their company. While an accountant can work wonders with Income and Corporation Tax, a financial adviser is often more geared up to help with savings goals, pensions, inheritance issues, investments and insurance ‘protection’ that pays out if you become critically ill or die. I’ve previously written in Dynamic about how having a trusted financial adviser in your ‘power team’ will ease the load and bring a level of tailored specialist support – this is something I can’t stress enough! Women often feel they have to do everything themselves. However, outsourcing financial planning can mean you have one less thing to organise. Don’t feel like you’re alone – let’s start a conversation today! Sources: 1 Coronavirus and self-employment in the UK, Office for National Statistics, April 2020 2 Men earn 43% more than women in self-employment, IPSE research reveals, IPSE, March 2020

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances. Wellesley Wealth Advisory is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Groups wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Groups website Wellesley Wealth Advisory is a trading name of Wellesley Investment Management Ltd.

◗ Samantha Kaye Chartered Financial Planner | Adviser Wellesley House, 50 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9LH 01444 849809


BEST FOOT FORWARD (with purpose) Part 1 By Alison Jones, Partner, Kreston Reeves We’ve recently swapped the late summer sunshine for more stormy, autumnal weather. In between the recent heavy rain showers, the appearance of a beautiful rainbow got me thinking about how important it is to look ahead both in life and in business, and to remember that stormy times are often short-lived. I believe good times are always ahead. Many of you might be considering


how much easier it would be to just get on with your working life and to run your business if there weren’t so many other issues to think about at the moment. And 18-months ago, as the world seemingly came to a crashing halt, how many of us thought beyond those immediate storm clouds? Figures published by the Office For National Statistics (September 23rd 2021) looking at the impact of coronavirus and other events on UK business and the economy gives some interesting insights and I believe cause for optimism:


As a firm we are committed to supporting the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development and we have pledged to be carbon neutral by the end of 2021

◗ The proportion of businesses currently trading has remained broadly stable since June 2021, and reached 90% in early September 2021. ◗ The proportion of currently trading businesses whose turnover has not been affected compared to normal expectations has continued to steadily increase to a high of 53% in late August 2021. ◗ In early September 2021, only 2% of all businesses not permanently stopped trading expect to make some redundancies over the next three months. ◗ Of businesses not permanently stopped trading, 6% expect employees to return to their normal place of work in the next month. ◗ 4% of businesses do not expect their employees to return to their normal place of work at all, highest in the information and communications industry. ◗ In late August 2021, nearly one in five businesses were either not able to get the materials, goods or services they needed from within the UK, or changed suppliers or found alternative solutions.

◗ There has been an ongoing fall in the proportion of business saying they have not been able to import or have imported less than normal, although over 60% of importing businesses continue to state they have faced challenges importing. I think that these statistics illustrate that businesses and business owners always find a way to adapt, survive and hopefully thrive. The truth is, there will always be something big on the horizon, so equipping yourself and your business with the skills and access to information and advice to make effective decisions will help you to navigate storms more easily. And that’s the point really, through life we learn, we gain skills and experience to enable us to continue moving forward as effectively as we can. I am an optimist and when one door closes, another one opens and this mindset can really help, especially if you struggle as we all do at times with getting through the here and now. It’s easy to give up, but as we all know it’s harder to stay and fight.

I have also noticed recently that many business owners I speak to want to make a difference with what they do in their business. It isn’t just about the financial success; it is increasingly about their own emotional well-being and the need to make both a difference and a contribution to our wider society. Having a clear purpose in life and through your business activities is increasingly important as customers and clients are placing an increasing value on why a business exists, not just what it does. And they are increasingly looking to businesses as well as government, to help navigate the next challenges on the horizon. The greatest challenge we all now face is that of climate change. From October 31st to November 12th, the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 takes place in Glasgow and COP26 will firmly put the issues of uniting the world to tackle climate change on the news agenda. As a firm we are committed to supporting the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development and we have pledged to be carbon neutral by the end of 2021. We have already planted a tree for all of our clients to celebrate our 200 anniversary and we are now working on removing all single use plastic from our offices. We believe we have a responsibility to act towards solving the climate crisis that we all face. And will it be on your agenda, as a business and as an individual? Perhaps your purpose after this conference will be more focused in this area? But whatever you decide, don’t forget that sunshine always follows the rain. I’ll be continuing this theme in the next edition.

◗ Alison Jones is Partner at Kreston Reeves E: T: 01273 811000 or 0330 124 1399




By Pam Loch, Loch Associates

DEALING WITH MENOPAUSE Pam Loch, is an award winning employment law solicitor and MD of Loch Associates Group. She is regularly on the TV and radio and in the press talking about HR issues. Here she considers discrimination cases involving the menopause and what employers can do to support women experiencing symptoms

Despite three in five working women between the ages of 45 to 55 saying that menopause symptoms have negatively impacted them at work, it is

only very recently that the menopause has begun to shed its mantle as ‘the last taboo’ in the workplace. The House of Commons Women’s Equalities Committee has recently launched an enquiry to examine existing discrimination legislation and workplace practices and consider whether enough is being done to prevent women from leaving their jobs as a result of menopausal symptoms. The menopause is a natural part of a woman’s ageing process but it is not a












The menopause is a natural part of a woman’s ageing process but it is not a natural topic for discussion especially in the workplace natural topic for discussion especially in the workplace. The average age for women in the UK to reach menopause is 51 and around one in 100 women do so before 40, sometimes naturally or as a result of surgery, illness or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy). On average, the length of time a woman will experience menopausal symptoms is 7.4 years but they may last much longer. With women now representing 47% of the working population and more women than ever before being over 50 and working, it is time to change the approach and become more open, aware and

knowledgeable about the menopause. All women experience the menopause differently. For some, it will have no real impact (around 15%) but for many the symptoms can be severe and significantly impact on their performance at work. Mood disturbances such as anxiety and depression, panic attacks and loss of confidence can reduce productivity and affect attendance. Many women experience disturbed sleep and night sweats due to changing hormone levels which then make them tired and irritable during the day. This can impact


on how they interact with colleagues but also put a strain on their relationships outside of work. Cognitive function may be inhibited too, with “brain fog” and difficulty concentrating being common symptoms. The physical symptoms of menopause, such as headaches, muscle and joint stiffness, and recurrent UTIs can affect a woman’s mental health as well as their physical performance at work. Employers and business-owners can no longer afford to ignore the menopause if they want to retain the skills and experience of their female workforce, especially in this tight labour market, and avoid potentially costly and damaging discrimination claims. Training managers is the starting place so that they don’t immediately see sudden changes in a woman’s mood or communication with others, or a lack of concentration leading to errors, as a performance management issue which could lead to dismissal, when it could be related to their menopausal symptoms. Equally inappropriate comments or ‘banter’ in the workplace about a woman’s age, mood swings or sweat patches could lead to grievances and claims against employers as well as the individuals who make the comments. Educating all staff and not ignoring the menopause is essential to avoiding damaging claims being made. These two leading discrimination cases featuring menopausal symptoms show how menopause-related issues caught employers out:





20 AGE

30 AGE

35 AGE

40 AGE

50 AGE

60 AGE

70 AGE

80 AGE



In Merchant v BT, Ms Merchant was subject to performance management processes and provided a GP letter to her employer stating that she was menopausal, and that this could “affect her level of concentration at times”. Her manager did not follow BT’s internal process and did not obtain a medical assessment before dismissing her. Instead, he relied on his own knowledge of menopausal symptoms. Ms Merchant successfully brought claims for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination. With some training for the manager involved, the outcome could have been different.


A disability is described by the Equality Act 2010 as a “physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on dayto-day activities”. If the symptoms of menopause are severe enough they may fit within the definition of disability, This was the case in Davies v Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (2018). Ms Davies was menopausal and was found to have been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against when, despite reasonable adjustments being in place, she was accused of lying when she couldn’t remember if she put her menopause medication into a jug of water, which was then drunk by two male colleagues. The judge determined the employer failed to take into account that her behaviour was “affected by her disability” when making the decision to dismiss her.


It is time to change the approach and become more open, aware and knowledgeable about the menopause WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO?

There has been a general fear of discussing ‘women’s health’ issues in the workplace which needs to be addressed through cultural change. Armed with an understanding of the symptoms, managers will be better equipped to spot the symptoms and make adjustments to help staff cope more effectively. Employers should therefore ensure that they have proper policies and training in place. In addition to having Equality and Diversity policies, employers may also want to consider having a menopause policy setting out the business’s approach to supporting employees with menopause and signposting staff to additional resources. Anti-bullying and discrimination policies are essential nowadays and should include guidance on unacceptable language or ‘banter’ around the menopause and age. Effective training will empower managers to have the confidence to discuss menopause symptoms and think about adjustments that can be made to the workplace. Simple measures

such as desk fans, allowing more toilet breaks and improving access to water can help without being a burden on employers or work colleagues. Other adjustments such as agreeing to requests for flexible working should be considered carefully and in line with the relevant statutory framework. Employers should not assume that every woman is going through the same issues when it comes to the menopause and managers should tailor support to the individual employee. The most important thing for businesses is not to jump to conclusions about a change in performance that could be down to symptoms of the menopause. If the employee’s menopause symptoms are likely to amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010, employers should speak to their employees and make sure they have considered and made any reasonable adjustments prior to progressing down the performance management route, to potentially exit the employee. Loch Associates Group is a one-stopshop for people management services. Our specialist Loch Employment Law solicitors are experts in providing strategic advice and dealing with unfair dismissal and discrimination claims and our team of HR consultants at HR Advise Me have a wealth of experience in day to day HR management, providing training on discrimination issues, as well as management training. Our HR Medical Specialists are medically trained and can have conversations with employees about their menopause symptoms and provide advice on implementing reasonable adjustments. Seeking expert advice before you exit an employee is always best – prevention is better than the cure.

◗ T: 0203 667 5400 E:


CHAMPNEYS FOREST MERE By Tess de Klerk It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for a country spa hotel than that of Champneys Forest Mere. Woods open up to reveal a charming manor hotel overlooking a fairytale lake and from the outside, everything seems absolutely perfect. It is unfortunate that I can’t say the same for the inside. Perhaps my expectations were too high. This was my first visit to a Champneys spa and I was under the impression that Champneys was synonymous with high luxury but our visit was decidedly 3-star. Our standard room was cramped, by a fire door and the bathroom sink wouldn’t drain properly. Staff were friendly and helpful but nothing seemed to work efficiently as proved by the 16-people deep line for being seated for breakfast and 12 people deep for lunch. Still, none of that bothered us much since we were happily at a health spa hotel but when there was no indication of food intolerances

on the menu, I started to feel let down. At a health spa, I expected to not have to ask staff to have to ask the chef for what I might be able to eat as a punter with gluten intolerance! Eventually staff brought me an additional piece of paper with a complicated system to follow to figure out what I can order. And really, there wasn’t much. Gourmet dining it was not. The spa is nice as long as you’re not expecting anything above 3-stars. The indoor pool is large, saunas are spacious and there are plenty of relaxation zones with water beds and warm, soft blankets. Unfortunately, the Thallasotherapy pool was out of order as was the ladies’ steam room.

Champneys offer Club Memberships and it meant that the spa was really busy. I didn’t use the gym but it looked fantastic and the offers of classes were extensive. The spa treatment area was inviting and relaxing and staff were lovely. Our therapists were warm, professional and very good at pampering! After our visit I can see how using Champneys Forest Mere as your regular gym or even day spa is fantastic and good value but, regrettably, I have to say that we felt let down by our hotel stay and dining. ◗



TACKLE YOUR TEXTING TURTLE NECK By Tess de Klerk Having near our entire lives on our little electronic devices can be a real pain in the neck! Forward Head Posture, or Turtle Neck, is caused by the head protruding forward when, for example, texting and scrolling or using the tablet in bed which eventually causes the muscles to slowly adopt a new pattern, becoming elongated or weakened in time. Are you currently reading this while hunched over a device? If so, here’s a very scary wakeup call: Looking down at your phone can force up to 60 pounds of weight on your spine! Research has


shown that every inch of forward head posture, results in an additional 10 lbs. of weight pulling on your posterior (back) neck muscles. The same muscles that run down your spine as well as attach to the shoulder blades. Such weight and tension can cause chronic neck and back pain and tension, jaw pain, headaches and decreased range in neck motion and even herniated or other disk problems. A study also found that forward head posture is associated with abnormal autonomic nervous system function and disturbance of cervical sensorimotor control or, in layman’s terms, turtle neck can cause problems with balance, dizziness and eye movement control. Best to get it sorted!



0° 15° 30° 45° 60° 10-12lbs 27lbs 40lbs 49lbs 60lbs



Lift your mobile to eye level instead of bending the head towards your mobile ◗ Easy to forget, that’s for sure. I find wearing a certain ring on my texting thumb as a reminder helps.


Set up your workspace ergonomically ◗ R aise your computer monitor so your eyes hit the top third of the screen when you look straight ahead. ◗ Position your mouse and keyboard so that your elbows are bent at a 90 degrees angle with your forearms parallel to the ground when using your keyboard or mouse. ◗ Choose a chair-desk combo that promotes good posture by allowing you to sit with your feet firmly planted on the ground, elbows at a 90-degree angle when you rest your arms on the desk.

I find wearing a ring on my texting thumb a helpful reminder to lift my mobile to eye level


Use an appropriate pillow ◗ Choose a firm pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck therefore resting the head in a neutral position. If your pillow is either too high or too low, it could cause your head to lie in an overtaxed position... all night long, every night. ◗ Cervical pillows are helpful for many people but not for everyone and the same effect can be achieved by sleeping on your back with a rolled towel under your neck instead of a pillow.




◗ Let’s start with my favourite movement. People often focus only on the back body but it is important to understand that bad posture is very much influenced by the tightening of the muscles in the chest. It is important to stretch the pectoralis major and minor to address all kinds of posture problems. I love this for its instant relief through powerful myofascial release through the front body.

◗ It’s best to use a foam roller but a bolster or rolled-up blanket will do in the short term. I suggest a foam roller 36 x 6 inches. ◗ Have a dowel (one meter or longer) or rolled-up towel handy. ◗ Lie down on your foam roller so that it runs along the spine and supports both the hips and the head. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Tuck in your belly so that your lower back touches the foam roller. Reach your arms by your sides with palms facing up.


◗ Tilt your head forward gently, touch your chin to your chest, hold for five seconds, then release. ◗ Gently tilt your head to the side, attempting to touch your ear to your shoulder, until you feel a mild stretch. Hold for five seconds, release, then repeat on the other side.

LIFEHACK Set your car mirrors at a height where you are forced to sit up straight when driving. Each time you slouch you’ll be forced into proper posture as you straighten up to have a clear view.


Be consistent with the above exercises and relief should be felt within a week or so. Self-massage is another fantastic tool or book in with a professional masseuse or physiotherapist for that extra helping hand. Turtle neck be gone.


◗ Inhale to sweep your arms out to the sides and up overhead, keeping your fingers brushing the floor the entire time. Pause for a moment at the top to feel a nice stretch in the chest and shoulders. ◗ Then, exhale and sweep the arms back down by your sides. ◗ Repeat for 12 reps. For additional exquisite release use your dowel or towel to hold on to when your arms are out to the sides and overhead.

Here’s a scary wakeup call: Looking down at your phone can force up to 60 pounds of weight on your spine!


◗ A chin tuck exercise is quick and easy to do and it helps strengthen your upper thoracic extensors, the muscles that align your head over your shoulders. Do these throughout the day.

◗ Press your fingers into your chin and feel the glide of your head go slightly back. The motion is small, but you should feel an immediate response at the base of your skull, known as your occiput.

◗ With your ears lined up over your shoulders, take both hands and place your fingertips on your chin.

◗ Once you have applied the motion, release and proceed to protrude your jaw forward and repeat the steps again by pushing your fingers into your chin. Repeat for 5-10 reps




Show stopping style over substance? But it did let a sleeping dog lie. By Motoring Editor, Fiona Shafer, MD of MDHUB If you are in need of much needed personal attention right now (and let’s be honest, who isn’t after the last 18 months) whilst racking your environmental credentials right up there at the same time, then this is worth a spin. The e-tron landed with me bang, smack in the week when we were at the height of the recent petrol crisis and the release of the long awaited James Bond film – the fully electric Audi e- tron GT Quattro – will fuel any unfulfilled car

FAST CHARGING FACTS ◗ Fast charge – 5 mins to charge enough power for 62 miles. ◗ 23 minutes to take charge from 5% back up to approx 80%. ◗ Uses twice as much energy as the new Electric Mini (£28,000)


fantasies either fed or dulled by Covid. But possibly only temporarily. Of all the cars I have reviewed to date, this is the car that turned more heads, had more people knocking on my driver’s window when parking and charging, then any car I have driven before. It is just stunning to look at inside and out. Long and sexy in understated Datona Grey, beautifully designed lines, sculpted seats, carbon fibre panoramic roof and a fantastic light bar across the back – which when it lights up just says... Hello and follow me. But it also has some slight naffness about it too, which I always seem to find in Audis and get hugely frustrated about. Why not just carry on all of the beauty and quality into the interior? No doubt cost has a lot to do with that conundrum but at a starting price of £79,900 for this £105,000 model… I think they could do better than a plastic dash, cup holders in silly places, comic brand name and the lighting up of the E Tron brand as you open the doors. Apparently, this is an early UK production model meaning the spec




YAY ◗ Gorgeous, pure escapist design – it will take you to another place ◗ Agile, responsive, adrenalin inducing ◗ No exhaust sound ◗ Stunning acceleration ◗ Option of vegan-friendly upholstery (does that mean you can eat it if stuck in a snow storm?) ◗ Vastly improved “How to charge” guide ◗ Smart cable bag and easy to use cables ◗ Bang & Olufsen Sound system


◗ Range Anxiety – pretty high ◗ You will definitely need a home charger for this car or close access to a Fast charger ◗ The Tech is disappointing – a real mixture of old and new and not intuitive ◗ Sat Nav really very poor ◗ iPhone connectivity very poor ◗ Cupholder positioning ◗ Middle cubby hole – an interesting addition ◗ Very limited visibility through rear window ◗ Boot space – awkward and limited

7/10 It was viewed by Daniel that the e-tron was a prototype, of what can be achieved with electric cars in terms of performance, design and functionality. At £79,900... potentially this prototype will be an expensive showpiece for some but a needed evolution step to lead us away from petrol/diesel.


Model tested: e-tron GT Power: 476 bhp Battery: 800volt, 93kWh Speed: 0-62 - 3.3 secs Top: 155 mph Range: 295 miles (quoted) Price from: £79,900

does not reflect the typical Vorsprung trim... even so. So, what was it like to drive? I have on occasion had companions with me in my reviews as I really welcome an alternative passenger viewpoint as one can get very bored of one’s own musings. This car finally provided me with the opportunity for my very good friend and client Daniel to accompany me. When I had first told Daniel about the car reviewing opportunity in 2019, he had very generously offered to proof read any of my articles – on occasion – wholly believed in why I believe so passionately in improving the car buying experience for women and also, so that he could make sure I did not write complete twaddle. My words not his. This was the first occasion that our ridiculously busy diaries had matched and very fortunately, Daniel said Yes. I also extended the invitation to his adorable one year old French Bulldog

Zara (the Wonder Dog) – who I did have advance knowledge that she travelled remarkably well in cars. How would Zara fare with the beautifully linear 0.62 mph in 4.1 secs with a top speed of 153 mph? We need not have worried as Zara slept through the entire trip from Worthing over to Midhurst and back, whilst we spent way too much time trying to work the crushingly disappointing technology and watch our “range anxiety“ increase every

It is just stunning to look at inside and out

time I accelerated, turned on the air con and try to locate a charging station. Unless you have a fast charger installed at home or nearby, this very thirsty car takes up precious time. Over 48 hours, I spent three of those charging it, downloading three Apps in the process (one of which was aptly called Mer…) and abandoned one garage as the charger was Out of Order as it kept blowing the whole garage power supply when a car plugged in. That all said 269 miles cost £25.48. Planning of routes is essential and that’s not a discredit to what is a great car, it is the gap that we have in our evolution toward electric vehicles for all – fast chargers!


Our focus is you Outstanding legal advice for individuals, families and businesses.

For business We make it our business to know your business, working with you to add value and to deliver tailored legal services with energy and creativity whether you’re an established market leader or an ambitious start-up.

For you Your family’s security and wellbeing are your priority. And we have the legal skills and knowledge to support your plans and the challenges life brings.






Our success depends on understanding your needs Please call or email to discuss how we can help you: 03333 231580