Surrey Business Magazine - issue 46

Page 1



WHEN TO RETIRE Brewin Dolphin MOTORING Platinum cars of the year DIRECTORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES Mayo Wynne Baxter









01483 735540



J A N U A R Y 2022



56 ECONOMY 26 NatWest’s market analysis FINANCE 30 Supply chain and cashflow – what should businesses do? 46 Should I delay retirement? 49 What’s the future for property development? RECRUITMENT 32 The great resignation



22 A tale of three sisters



34 Racism in sport and everywhere


42 The cost of poor mental health on your business



78 The mobile staycation


LEGAL 44 A disrupted market creates opportunity from mergers and acquisitions 51 What next for the commercial property industry? 54 Becoming a director – the responsibilities they don’t tell you about 70 Towards an even more flexible workplace? BUSINESS PROFILE 52 Southern Cranes & Access INNOVATION 72 Sussex Innovation celebrates client successes CHARITY FOCUS 75 Step into 2022 on the right foot


82 Platinum cars of the year


PEST CONTROL 77 Clock tower cleaned up by pest controllers

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.


SURREY CHAMBERS CONTINUES TO LOBBY GOVERNMENT A very happy new year to you all. Noone imagined we would be starting 2022 in a similar position to 2021 but as ever, Surrey businesses keep powering through. However, we are acutely aware that for some businesses things are currently extremely tough. We have been working with the network of Chambers and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) to paint a very clear picture to the Chancellor about the need for financial support. We have been sharing specific examples of income lost by Surrey businesses at the very highest levels of government, which really enhances the impact of our representation. This lobbying has been taking place constantly and for several months, we have called for the UK Government to set out what support would be in place for business if Plan B measures were required this winter. Ideally, this would

❛❛ We have been working with

the network of Chambers and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) to paint a very clear picture to the Chancellor about the need for financial support ❜❜


have been established in advance of any announcement to bolster firms’ confidence and ability to plan ahead. At the time of going to press, the restrictions were more moderate in comparison to previous measures, and businesses and consumers have proved to be adaptable, but their economic impact will place downward pressure on consumer confidence. On the lead up to Christmas the increase in the Omicron variant and the resulting restrictions triggered a significant and understandable increase in reluctance among consumers to socialise and spend. Consumer-focused services firms, such as retail and hospitality and those in their supply chains have faced a disastrous situation because it came during the critical Christmas trading period when those firms rely on consumers’ willingness to interact and spend (and is often vital to sustaining their cashflow ahead of typically quieter months). Those businesses in city centres which rely on the footfall from people working in offices were also hit hard by the new measures. Policy options which we have asked the Government to urgently consider for supporting

those fi rms, include reverting the VAT for hospitality and tourism back to its emergency rate of 5%, reinstating 100% business rates relief for retail and hospitality and making additional grant funding available. If, by now, tighter or longer-lasting restrictions have been introduced (a move to Plan C) we will be pushing for increased grant funding and the reinstatement of other support measures.


Meanwhile we continue to pull together events and information that will support our members in whatever conditions they fi nd themselves. Our 2022 programme of events is coming together as a hybrid delivery, enabling us to change tack as and when we are able to. We have now established

a series of support, for every size and type of business. From the Start up Academy to our Executive Partner group, a group sharing best practice on People issues, our fully trained International Trade team and a forum sharing skills needs, we are able to respond to all challenges faced by businesses. Most of this is done via our members and partners as we provide a fantastic eco-system for the Business Community. We look forward to a productive 2022 alongside our creative members. Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540,,

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.

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#CHAMBERBUSINESS At the heart of our local business communities, we've got the understanding, data, insights, services and expertise to support you and your business


We are Surrey's largest not-forprofit business support and networking, organisation

We act as a catalyst by connecting you to opportunities, skills, knowledge and valuable contacts.

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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



Tuesday 11th January | 08:00 – 10:00 Woodhaven Space, 17 Kettlewell Close, Woking, GU21 4HY Running from 08:00 – 10:00, our bi-monthly Business Breakfasts are a wonderful opportunity to meet a range of Surrey businesses over a delicious breakfast. With a calendar bursting with interesting and stimulating events, we are sure you will fi nd topics that are current and relevant to you and your business. We acknowledge that making new contacts is rather high on your priority list, so start your day with networking, hearing from a possible guest speaker, whilst most importantly, all over a breakfast! Click here to book.


Wednesday 26th January | 10:00 – 12:00 Doubletree by Hilton, Victoria Way, Woking, GU21 8EW Woking Works and Surrey Chamber invite you to join local social media expert and CEO of Air Social, Alex Vinall, as she shares her insights around creating engaging content. Plus, how to research, plan and execute a winning strategy that will keep your customers coming back for more. Click here to book.


Wednesday 12th January | 08:30 – 10:00 Costco Wholesale UK Ltd, Sunbury-on Thames, TW16 5LN We are delighted to be returning with our Business Breakfasts again, brought to you by Surrey Chambers of Commerce, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Chamber of Commerce and Spelthorne Business Forum. This is an excellent opportunity to make some new contacts over a delicious breakfast. We are delighted to be hosted by Costco Sunbury for this event, and you can expect tea, coffee, bacon baps and pastries. Click here to book.


Friday 28th January | 12:00 – 15:00 Brooklands Hotel, Weybridge, KT13 0SL Following the recent government announcement, we have taken the diffi cult decision to postpone the Surrey Chambers Annual Christmas lunch, and are postponing it to Friday 28th January 2022 where we will be hosting a New Year Celebratory Lunch. We are very much looking forward to catching-up with our members over a glass of bubbly. Click here to book.

BUSINESS BITES NETWORKING LUNCH Friday 11th February | 12:00 – 14:00 Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford, GU1 3UX Welcome to Business Bites - a networking lunch with a guest speaker and an interesting topic of choice. Running from 12:00 – 14:00, the Networking Lunch is the perfect opportunity to meet new clients in the area. You can enjoy some informal networking over a light lunch with fellow members, clients, and future customers. Click here to book.


Tuesday 15th March | 08:00 – 10:00 Oatlands Park Hotel, 146 Oatlands Drive, Weybridge, KT13 9HB Running from 08:00 – 10:00, our bi-monthly Business Breakfasts are a wonderful opportunity to meet a range of Surrey businesses over a delicious breakfast. With a calendar bursting with interesting and stimulating events, we are sure you will fi nd topics that are current and relevant to you and your business. We acknowledge that making new contacts is rather high on your priority list, so start your day with networking, hearing from a possible guest speaker, whilst most importantly, all over a breakfast! Click here to book.


Thursday 24th February | 18:00 – 20:00 Login Business Lounge, 34 Park Street, Camberley, GU15 3PL Our Members Networking Evenings are a monthly event where we invite our members to join us for networking, welcome drinks, and canapes to catch-up on the happenings of the previous month’s business calendar. Running from 18:00 – 20:00, Members Networking Evenings are the perfect opportunity for an informal, relaxed gathering with members you already have relationships with and those you don’t. Click here to book.


Thursday 24th March | 18:00 - 20:00 The Guildford Harbour Hotel, Guildford, GU1 3DA Surrey Chambers of Commerce are proud to present our Surrey Young Professionals Networking Evening. Whether you are new to the world of networking or simply wish to brush up on your networking skills, our Surrey Young Professionals Networking series is here to connect you with like-minded people, all over some delicious canapes and cocktails. Click here to book.

Welcome Mercedes-Benz of Epsom We are very excited to start 2022 with a new addition to Sandown Mercedes-Benz - Mercedes-Benz of Epsom. We would like to welcome their customers and teams to the Sandown family and look forward to continuing to offer fantastic customer service across Surrey. Our Retailers are located in Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Berkshire so you are never too far from a Sandown retailer. To book an appointment with our sales, service or parts teams please contact us on 0300 177021.

Mercedes-Benz of Basingstoke Mercedes-Benz of Farnborough Mercedes-Benz of Newbury

Mercedes-Benz of Dorchester Mercedes-Benz of Guildford Mercedes-Benz of Poole

Mercedes-Benz of Epsom Mercedes-Benz of Hindhead Mercedes-Benz of Salisbury

CHAMBERS NE WS IS YOUR WORKPLACE FIRST AID, FIRE AND HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANT? Accidents, emergencies, and disasters can strike anyone, anytime and anywhere. Nobody expects these incidents to occur, especially ones that affect us personally, our colleagues, visitors, and the workplace as a whole. The successful implementation and management of an Occupational Health and Safety system requires a team approach. To succeed, the team needs to be prepared to work together to mould and develop the system and its structure to suit their unique work environment, structural layout, and requirements. In addition to ensuring compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act, the provisions in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, organisations must prepare, develop and

practice a well thought out Evacuation Plan. Emergency response planning enables us to develop, implement and practice the most appropriate evacuation planning procedures for employees and the Health and Safety Team to follow in the event of an incident. The team usually consists of trained First Aiders, Fire Wardens, Evacuation Marshals and Health and Safety Supervisors (Evacuation Controllers).

Together with the support of an accredited and professional health and safety training provider like OHS Compliance Ltd, an organisation can ensure continual improvement and By conducting regular and at least annual compliance. We assist clients in creating healthy, safe and prepared working evacuation drills, the organisation can environments, through fi rst aid, fi re expect a well-disciplined, informed, and organised reaction and response from all safety and health and safety training. employees who are required to evacuate. We are owner operated, cost effective and passionate about the quality of our The evacuation drill also facilitates products, services and our company! the testing of the alarm system, Contact Helen to discuss your evacuation chairs and any other special considerations that need to be made for training requirements vulnerable people.

VISION ENGINEERING AND ZEISS COLLABORATE TO PRODUCE DEEPFOCUS 1 Vision Engineering, the leading British designer and manufacturer of highquality non-contact measurement, digital 3D visualisation, and ergonomic inspection technologies, is partnering with Zeiss Industrial Metrology to add an extended depth of focus inspection system to its range of microscopy systems for the fi rst time. The new DeepFocus 1 system represents a signifi cant collaboration between two of the world’s leading microscope innovators. DeepFocus 1 combines Vision Engineering’s technical and design expertise with Zeiss’ new Visioner 1 long depth of focus digital microscope head. DeepFocus 1, featuring MALS Technology™, delivers live, real-time extended depth of focus imaging with depth of focus up to 100x greater than

that of a conventional microscope, which removes the need for time consuming post imaging focus stacking by delivering ‘all-in-focus’ images instantly to a depth of up to 69mm. Using a micro-mirror array lens system (MALS™) enables DeepFocus 1 to generate “virtual” lenses with distinctly different curvatures, thus focus planes. This is achieved by changing the orientation of each individual micro-mirror in an orchestrated way.

Re-shaping the curvature of this “virtual” lens at speed enables ultrafast focusing and real-time all-in focus imaging and documentation. Extended Depth of Focus (EDoF) view shows the top-down view of the subject with all details in focus. Height-map view displays height data from the subject aiding visualisation of monochromatic samples and understanding of height. Topographic view shows a simulated 3D visualisation of the subject which can be rotated and manipulated. Paul Newbatt, Vision Engineering’s Group Sales and Marketing Director said, “We are delighted to partner with Zeiss in adding DeepFocus 1 to our growing innovative microscopy product range, which further cements our position as a leading microscopy solutions provider in the electronics, and precision engineering sectors”.


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


LET’S TALK TOWN CENTRES MENTAL HEALTH NETWORK FOR BUSINESSES Guildford-based mental health charity Oakleaf Enterprise is helping local companies tackle workplace mental health through their Mental Health Leaders Network. Addressing mental health at work has never been more important. One in six employees are experiencing mental ill-health at any one time and stress, depression and anxiety were responsible for more than half of all working days lost due to health issues in the UK in 2019—before the pandemic. The good news is evidence shows tackling workplace mental health is possible. Doing so can give a good return on investment to the employer, increases employee wellbeing and productivity, and reduces attrition. Oakleaf launched the Mental Health Leaders Network in November 2021 with 14 founding member companies, with the aim of providing a platform for discussion and learning around workplace mental health in Surrey. There are a range of benefits to joining the network including mental health support and guidance; networking and events; raising awareness of your business; and, crucially, helping make a difference for local people managing mental ill-health. Since the founding of the charity in 1997, Oakleaf has worked to help individuals with mental ill-health improve their wellbeing and secure the skills, confidence and training needed to achieve their goals and return to the workplace. To do this, the charity provides free training and employment support, a wide range of wellbeing activities, and counselling services. Oakleaf currently supports over 400 individuals and has remained open throughout the pandemic.

The shape of the high street has drastically changed since the pandemic hit. Runnymede Borough Council’s Town Centre & Event Manager, Azra Mukadam, explains what the Council is doing to help local businesses bounce back. “My work is focused on our main towns, Addlestone, Chertsey and Egham. Our aim is to help local businesses thrive and to create appealing and vibrant town centres that attract visitors. My role was created to boost the local high street economy and to support businesses, something that is more important than ever since Covid. Investing in our towns is a key part of the Council’s wider corporate plan.”


“We establish what challenges each town is facing by engaging with businesses, Ward Councillors and the Chamber of Commerce. Each town is very different. “For example, there is a very active Chamber of Commerce in Egham, who have been great to work with. Work is already underway to recreate their set-up in Addlestone and Chertsey.”


“There are three Town Teams across the area, including, Egham, Addlestone and Chertsey.

The teams are a collaboration between local businesses, community stakeholders and the Council, which aims to support and improve our town centres. We meet quarterly with the groups to discuss challenges and any positives, looking at how the town community can work together to achieve smaller projects.” To join, email: towncentremanager


“We know that the pandemic has created challenging conditions for many businesses and we’re here to offer support where we can. We secured money from central government through the Welcome Back Fund. This enabled us to support our high streets, boosting the visitor economy. “We’ve also hosted experiential events, encouraging people to visit our town centres. Late last year we partnered with Addlestone One and renowned artist Emma-Leone Palmer to launch LUX, an experiential art installation. This was followed by our Addlestone Festive Fayre, which was also a huge success.” To find out more and to join our business network, visit:

All membership fees from this new network go towards supporting Oakleaf’s services. If you are interested in learning more or joining the Oakleaf Mental Health Leaders Network, simply get in touch with Jen Clay or visit Oakleaf’s website at



WINTER PIMM’S NETWORKING: making a difference on your doorstep On December 3rd 2021, local IT company, projectfive, hosted their 10th annual Winter Pimm’s Networking event at Barossa in Camberley As business networking events go, this was a little different! Over 100 attendees, including our CEO, Louise Punter and Head of Membership, Sarah Butcher, wrapped up in their winter woollies, put on their wellies and headed to Barossa nature reserve in Camberley.

❛❛ As well as the positive impact on

the heathland, the event also raised over £2,000 for Surrey Wildlife Trust ❜❜


Winter Pimm’s Networking is a festive event that’s all about making a difference on your doorstep. Guests helped the team from Surrey Wildlife Trust to clear an area of non-indigenous Scots Pine trees, which are harmful to the heathland habitat below. The lowland heath is an extremely rare habitat, that is home to a variety of protected species, that simply cannot survive anywhere else. This work is vital to their protection.


After a welcome from projectfive’s MD, Steve Coburn, and a safety briefing from Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Ross Packman, the group were ready to go out and start chopping down some trees! Each guest could choose, chop and take home a Christmas tree for free! After lunch, guests headed back out onto the heathland to clear as many trees as possible. The day was rounded off with an orange

ribbon prize draw (with prizes generously donated from local businesses), mince pies and Winter Pimm’s.

As well as the positive impact on the heathland, the event also raised over £2,000 for Surrey Wildlife Trust. The projectfive team would like to say a huge thank you to Surrey Wildlife Trust and Thames Basin Heath for looking after them on the day, to their partners Login Business Lounge, Collectively Camberley, CMPP and Surrey Chambers, and of course to everyone that came on the day – you really made a huge difference on your doorstep.


Surrey Chambers Golf Society SCGS 2022 Golf Fixtures

2022 Order of Merit sponsored by: 2022 Nearest the Pin Sponsored by: 18th January: Hankley Common

24th February: West Hill

4 Ball stableford & team event.

4 Ball stableford & team event. 9am tee off.

Sponsorship available

Sponsorship available

22nd March: Foxhills Longcross

SCGS Major: 28th April Tandridge

4 Ball stableford & team event. 9am tee off.

2nd SCGS Golf Major: 4 Ball stableford & team event. Shotgun start.

Sponsored by No Grey Area

Sponsored by Precision Golf

17th May: Coombe Hill

16th June: Hindhead

4 Ball stableford & team event. 9am tee off.

3 Ball stableford & team event, 11am tee off.

Sponsored by Vooba

Sponsored by Eclectic Interiors

6th July: Hayling Island

4th August: Camberley

4 Ball stableford & team event.

4 Ball stableford & team event

Sponsorship Maris Interiors

Sponsorship available

6th September: New Zealand

4th October: RAC Old Course

4 Ball stableford & team event.

4 Ball stableford & team event.

Sponsorship available

Sponsorship available

3rd Nov: Swinley Forest

December: Woking G.C.

3 Ball stableford & team event.

4 Ball stableford & team event.

Sponsorship available

Sponsorship available

Surrey Chambers Of Commerce

Surrey Chambers Of Commerce



01483 735540


We are excited to announce our Surrey Chambers Golf Society programme for 2022 One of our best-kept secrets at the Chambers is that we have our own very own golf society. It has been running for 26 years and is open to anyone who enjoys golf and networking and wants to combine the two. Covid stopped us from running many events in 2020, but we are pleased to say that golf was back up and running from April 2021 and we managed to play nine courses in the year. We play a different course each month, and they are handpicked to ensure they are some

of the highest quality that Surrey has to offer. Some of our favourite clubhouses include Swinley Forest, New Zealand, Coombe Hill, Hindhead and many more. Playing with the society not only offers you the chance to play at these wonderful venues but also the opportunity to network with like-minded business people, forging great connections on and off the course that last for years after you have played together.

After a thrilling year of golf in 2021, we are pleased to share our fi xtures list for 2022. Our highlight for 2022 is no doubt the return of our SCGS Major Tournament to be held at Tandridge in April. We will host a shotgun start event, so be sure to book in your team now. To get involved please visit our website for more information or to book on to events.



Taylor Wimpey Contact: Antonis Pazourou Tel:01494 558323

Charles Russell Speechlys Contact: Rebecca White Tel: 01483 252525

Heathrow Airport

Royal Automobile Club Contact: Emily Goodyer Tel: 01372 276311

RSM Contact: Chris Hurren Tel:01483 307000

Royal Holloway University Contact: Dr Elton Xhetani Tel: 1784 443667

Projectfive Contact: Steve Coburn Tel: 01276 455455

Contact: Emily Spanton-Hay

Invotra Contact: Kimberley Casey Tel: 07703 351801

Klarity Works Contact: Jake Galvin Tel: 020 4574 9908

Invotra Consulting Contact: Jamie Garrett Tel: 07824 168080

Haines Watts Contact: Daniel Morgan Tel: 0208 5495137

Greatest Hits Radio Tel: 01483 300964




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.

KLARITY WORKS LTD 02045 749908 Contact: Jake Galvin

STRAWBERRY7 01252 279777 Contact: Adam Pearce

INVOTRA CONSULTING LTD 02045 749908 Contact: Jamie Garratt

ZACCO UK LTD 03333 660528 Contact: Coreena Brinck

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!



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A TALE OF 3 SISTERS Not your average “accidental” entrepreneurial story. Molly, Rosie and Harriet Freshwater in conversation with Fiona Shafer, MD of MDUB. We were thrilled when long-term MDHUB Member Rosie Freshwater of Rume2 introduced her elder sister Molly and younger sister Harriet – Founders of The Secret Linen Store – to the MDHUB in 2019 and have very much enjoyed working with them since. We were highly curious to see the similarities, differences, potential sibling rivalries and drivers of these three very individual, spirited and highly successful Sussex businesswomen (all still in their 40s) when we brought the three of them together. Rosie set up leading digital marketing company, Leapfrogg in 2013 in Brighton, selling it in 2016 whilst having the foresight to keep the brand, flipping it into a senior digital retail consultancy, and still running this as part of her business portfolio. This included starting and continuing to run Digital Team on Demand in 2016 as a pool of on demand digital consultants.

Rosie launched Rume2 co-working space in Chichester in 2019 with a business partner, which has now doubled in size since opening and even survived Covid. They are now looking to expand further by franchising. Rosie also works as a Non Exec and business mentor. Molly and Harriet founded The Secret Linen Store in 2013. They have navigated through Brexit and Covid to reach a turnover in excess of £8 million and now employ around 30 staff. They sell bed linen and other beautiful bedtime accessories across the UK from their website, and are building a business that cares about people and the planet. They have big ambitions to grow the company, creating lots of exciting jobs on the South Coast and giving back to charities and the wider community. They recently generated over £20k for the Choose Love charity in their Black Friday sale.

Left to right: Molly, Harriet, Rosie

❛❛ They have navigated through

Brexit and Covid to reach a turnover in excess of £8 million and now employ around 30 staff ❜❜



How competitive were you growing up and given your age differences, was it a problem? Molly: I am between Rosie and Harriet in terms of competitiveness. I am quite easy going. I want to be best that I can be at everything and can compete with my own self – Rosie brings it out in me! Rosie always goes the extra mile – home made everything! But she has mellowed since she had kids –it’s not all about Rosie anymore! I am really proud of them both now and don’t think we have anything to be competitive about these days. Harriet: I was not competitive at all – I don’t really care, as I was in the “middle” but I do find I am now competitive with Rosie in later life. Rosie brings it out in me – not privately but professionally and quite secretly (this was a new one on Rosie who had not recognised it). I guess I am trying to prove I can be as successful as Rosie.

As children what did you want to be when you grew up? Molly: I wanted to work in a shoe shop in Selsey when I was very little and then I wanted to become a fashion designer. I went on to do a foundation course in Art but found the business “too fashioney, too many people tottering around in high heels”. So I took the decision to go down the Home Textile Designer route as I have always been creative and love looking at fabrics and textiles. Home is easier than fashion. Rosie: I wanted to be famous but not anymore as I have too many skeletons in my cupboard! I was a “triple threat” singing, dancing and acting. I went on to do drama at Uni but it did not quite pan out – I never had an aspiration to run my own business. I had absolutely no

comprehension I would end up in a business career. Harriet: I didn’t know and still don’t know really as I change my mind a lot. I have no aspirations to be anything for more than five minutes. I had wanted to be a singer and still love singing. I also went through a phase of wanting to be a teacher and a Mum – I did not want anything academic, business or too stressful! I dropped out of college twice after two weeks, I have no A-levels and didn’t like being taught as I like to get on with doing things myself. I learn by doing things and like to work alone. I then decided to work in finance as I like numbers and started training to be an accountant but also dropped out of that, ending up in marketing, which I just fell into. I did not ever think about running a business and had no idea what an entrepreneur was early on.

Rosie: I am ultra-competitive but maybe not as much as I used to be. Particularly with Molly – as closer in age (20 months) than Harriet (five years younger) and I was also competitive with the world – whatever I did, I wanted to be better than anyone else. I have changed a bit. I sort of felt my place in the family was to be the successful one, but it is great to see my sisters now handle it as part of the journey and to come to me for help. I am now in a Non-Exec role with The Secret Linen Store. There is a fourth Freshwater sister Libby – who is 12 years younger than Molly, who works with Rosie. Apparently, Libby does not have an ounce of competitiveness in her body. Maybe it’s because she is the youngest.



Were Mum and Dad Freshwater entrepreneurs? Whilst there is a family history of successful entrepreneurs, Mum and Dad both have a very strong sense of community and liberal, socialist principles. Dad was a super clever Maths teacher who went into HR and on to be Director of HR for Everest Double Glazing. We are not sure how much he enjoyed it but with four children, needs must. He also get to stay away three nights a week, which probably gave him a welcome relief from all of us. Our Mum went back to college at 50 to train as a landscape designer. Dad is the person least driven by money. They sent us to an average High School, not Mallory Towers. When we were kids he wanted to buy a sensible Peugeot but we all wanted him to buy a big shiny Mercedes. What do you think is the biggest life skill your parents have instilled in you all? Harriet: Be nice to people. Be kind and always smile Rosie: Mine is totally different! Absolutely try your hardest at everything they do! Dad’s favourite phrase was – “Freshwaters never miss school unless they are dying!” Never give up – no point in doing anything unless you do it to the best of your ability. At social events, he taught us that FHB (Freshwaters Hold Back) – which taught us to let other people go first – and not dive headlong into the buffet. Be nice, polite and let others go first and don’t eat all the food! Molly: I never felt I was pressured to do well but to be the best you can be which I have passed onto my daughter Mabel. They gently guided us to make decisions - there was no “you must do this“! And they gave us unwavering support to allow us to be who we wanted to be but with good boundaries.


What do your parents think about your collective success? As Mum and Dad are big socialists, we are not sure if the fact that we are growing businesses might sit at odds with their belief systems. We know that they are proud of us but probably not that interested. They always ask how we are doing individually but we don’t talk about it when we get together as a family. They seem far more interested to move on to talk about our interests outside of work like pottery, sewing, singing and how we are doing personally.

❛❛ I wanted to be famous but

not anymore as I have too many skeletons in my cupboard! ❜❜


❛❛ Dad’s favourite phrase was – “Freshwaters never miss school unless they are dying!” ❜❜

G i ve n t h a t yo u r u n se pa r a te businesses do you feel that helps with not falling into the classic family business issues when several generations are involved? Harriet: I work with Molly, my husband and brother-in-law and whilst it can be more challenging on occasion there are many benefits from a trust perspective. We try hard not to talk about it at home, we try to be very strict but sometimes I have to pull rank on my husband, so it is a balancing act. He does a great job but he has a different work style and I respect that. Rosie: My husband has worked for me since I set up my first business and Libby is also my employee and again trust is so important. Although sometimes it is hard to separate out conversations with a “boss / employer “ hat on. Left to right: Harriet, Rosie, Molly

Rosie commented that she would never work for her parents in a billion years, nor would she want her kids to work for her. As a recent addition to the Secret Linen Store Board, the sisters are all in agreement that it works really well. Rosie feels that there is a good element of removal as no one is anyone’s boss but is also very candid in saying that she would have been astounded a few years ago if she had ever envisaged it working out so well working with Molly and Harriet.

Molly: The only time that lively conversations happen is when she and Harriet are trying to do the same thing – as their roles are so different and they know exactly what they are doing in their individual areas. Trying to have an opinion on the same thing is the only time they really clash. Rosie fills the gaps with the skills that they need. Every single day l would choose to work with my family over a friend – as issues are always addressed and brought out in the open. What do you value about each other’s businesses today? Rosie on Harriet and Molly: The Secret Linen Store is an incredible business and I can view it from working with other online businesses. No one else has the success story of these two due to massive hard graft, amazing products and an amazing customer experience – which has been the bedrock of their success. Harriet on Rosie: Rosie has seen it from the other side so that is why we brought Rosie in to the business as she is thoroughly respected. We felt very motivated as Rosie has always had a business, so we have a lot of respect for her – I would like to try and take some of the credit but I can’t!

If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit Email MDHUB Directors: Fiona Shafer: or Phil Green:





sa, >50=growth since previous month


70 60

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

50 40 30 20

“Latest PMI data revealed a sharp expansion in the South East, with activity growth now seen in each of the last nine months. Favourable demand conditions were again evident with new orders rising at a robust pace. Meanwhile, firms continued to add to their head-counts as they sought to fill vacant positions and boost output to meet consumer demand.

10 2001










“Meanwhile, sentiment dipped to a joint 13-month low as global supply issues, Brexit and the pandemic cause uncertainty. With restrictions tightening in response to the Omicron variant, the outlook could dampen further during December.”



Growth of new business remains robust

sa, >50=growth since previous month

Companies in the South East noted a ninth consecutive monthly expansion in new work intake during November. Moreover, the rate of growth was in line with that seen in October and robust overall. Where sales rose, panellists mentioned a general improvement in demand conditions.

70 60 50 40 30 20

08 09













Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit



Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

“However, growth was restricted by global supply issues, delivery delays and intense cost pressures. In fact, input price inflation reached a second successive series high amid higher transportation, labour, fuel and energy costs. Worryingly, cost pressures show no immediate signs of easing but firms are seeking to protect profit margins by raising selling prices at record rates.

10 07




Employment levels rise for the ninth successive month

sa, >50=growth since previous month

Firms in the South East reported a further increase in payroll numbers in the penultimate month of year, taking the sequence of job creation to nine successive months. Anecdotal evidence highlighted greater output requirements and efforts to fill vacant positions. The overall rate of growth was substantial, and much higher than the long-run series average.

65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 07

The upturn in employment across the region was in line with the UK average.

08 09













Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

❛❛ Companies in the South East noted

a ninth consecutive monthly expansion in new work intake during November ❜❜



Input price inflation accelerates to new series high

sa, >50=growth since previous month

Private sector companies in the South East recorded another monthly rise in overall cost burdens midway through the fourth quarter. In fact, the rate of inflation was the quickest in 25 years of data collection. According to panel members, supplier shortages and Brexit as well as rising transportation, labour, energy and fuel costs pushed up expenses.

90 80 70 60 50 40 07

08 09













Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit



IT & Computing Services saw a notable rise in activity in the three months to November. That said, the pace of expansion was the weakest among the monitored services’ sub-sectors, and softer than those recorded in the second and third quarters.

sa, >50=growth since previous month (3mma)

70 60

Inflows of new business showed a loss of momentum compared to the strong growth rates earlier in the year. Alongside an easing of the post-lockdown boom in demand, higher prices charged were also a factor, having risen at a near-record rate in the three months to November as firms came under pressure from an unprecedented surge in costs.

50 40 30 20 00











Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit

Computer & IT Services firms nevertheless recorded an above-average rate of employment growth. This partly reflected strong business expectations, which were the highest of all the monitored services sub- sectors.




‘Face Media Group’


By Andrew Tate, Partner and Head of Restructuring and Transformation, Kreston Reeves

SUPPLY CHAIN AND CASHFLOW – WHAT SHOULD BUSINESSES DO? The physical impact of stressed supply chains is hitting many businesses hard and is likely to do so well into 2022. A cashflow crisis is likely to follow for some businesses in the next 6-12 months as margins are squeezed leaving them with shortfalls in working capital. Businesses must forecast, plan, and speak to lenders now to shape their future if they see any financial challenges ahead. Businesses in our Shaping your future survey already recognise the impact challenges in supply chains will have on profitability but, for some, I believe the real picture has yet to be truly felt. Businesses with complex and challenged supply chains are not likely to see the impact on cashflows until mid or late 2022.


Margins are being squeezed with increased transportation and consumable costs that often cannot be passed on to customers or consumers. The costs of pallets so often taken

for granted have increased by over 400%. Lower margins translate into lower profits and a greater need for working capital when businesses need to meet fixed costs – wages, supplier costs and overheads. This comes at a time when many businesses are facing a constrained working capital environment following the COVID pandemic. Government grants and loans have helped shield many businesses from this, but the loans will need to be repaid over time, compounding a challenging financial picture. Businesses need to look ahead the best they can, using forecasting tools to tools to plan scenarios. This will help them identify financial pinch-points and any potential future funding requirements. Businesses should open


❛❛ Margins are being squeezed with

increased transportation and consumable costs that often cannot be passed on to customers or consumers ❜❜ discussions with their lenders and funders now to see them through any tricky periods. Lenders have been supportive of businesses throughout the pandemic and will not want to see their customers fail. However, it is likely they will require security on further funding, and this may not be straightforward if security is already given for current borrowing. To compound the problem, the Government, in 2020, gave HMRC

a priority status in insolvencies, and banks may choose a more cautious approach in further lending to businesses. By talking to lenders and funders now, or, if needed, considering restructuring options at an early stage, opens considerably more options for businesses with supply chain challenges. If left until a crisis hits, investors will understandably seek a much higher stake for investing at a time of greater risk and uncertainty.

If you would like to discuss planning to shape the future of your business, please get in touch with us. You can download a full copy of our Shaping your future report at shapingyourfuture. Andrew Tate, Head of Restructuring and Transformation E: T: 0330 124 1399 shapingyourfuture



THE GREAT RESIGNATION Joe Brown, Managing Director of Peopleforce Recruitment looks at how best to face the challenges of the current labour market

It’s been almost a decade since we launched Peopleforce Recruitment, way back in 2013. During that time we’ve helped dozens of businesses, big and small, face their recruitment challenges, across sectors as diverse as aviation, pharmaceuticals and information technology. Throughout all of these industries and inside almost every sector we speak to, we see that they’re now experiencing some of their hardest hiring headaches to date. British businesses, in particular, have been faced by a double-whammy of difficulties - which are largely none of their own making. Brexit, for starters, has reduced the talent pool across the country, as perhaps made clearest by the shortage of lorry drivers which caused such chaos last summer. And there’s now murmurings from the finance industry – one of Britain’s most highly prized sectors – that we’re facing an imminent shortage in foreign workers.


But it’s not just Brexit bureaucracy that’s to blame for the current skills shor tage. The repercussions of COVID-19 have undoubtedly spread into the labour market too.

Above all else try to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, and be willing to adapt ❜❜


According to economists we’re now feeling the effects of the ‘Great Resignation’, with employees leaving the workforce or switching jobs in droves. In light of the pandemic, older employees are opting for early retirement, while younger staff, backed up by a buffer of lockdown savings, are becoming emboldened and walking away from jobs that don’t meet their demands.

RECRUITMENT According to economists, we’re now feeling the effects of the ‘Great Resignation’, with employees leaving the workforce or switching jobs in droves ❜❜


The result of all this is an estimated 1.1 million job vacancies at the last count; the highest level we’ve seen in 20 years. So, if you’re a business that’s looking to hire or simply retain your current staff, what can you do to best face the opportunities and threats posed by this challenging labour market? In every case, the first step is to look carefully at your employee proposition. While all the issues arising from Brexit are out of your control, one thing that is in your power is creating an attractive place to work. And it doesn’t just come down to offering the best salary. As the ‘Great Resignation’ has shown, in the current job market many workers are seeking something more. Put yourself in your employees’ shoes and consider what is most important to them. Is it flexibility around childcare? The ability to work remotely from anywhere? Getting back into the office environment? A four-day working week? One positive thing that the pandemic has shown us is that our ways of working needn’t be as rigid as they used to be, especially in white collar sectors where there’s more opportunity to embrace technology and move to more flexible ways of working. Above all else try to avoid a one-sizefits-all approach, and be willing to adapt.

Whatever your business’s new way of working – entirely remote, hybrid or office-based – make this clear to candidates and your employees from the outset, and consider using your policy as a USP. If you are embracing remote or hybrid working, just be sure to be mindful of your responsibilities to your employees, and bear in mind that the legislation is ever-changing. Seek professional advice, if needed, and work with industry bodies to protect yourself and your employees. Elsewhere, it’s also worth reassessing how you care for the wellbeing of your workforce. Another repercussion of the pandemic is that we’re all feeling a lot more vulnerable – both physically and mentally. One way to address this amongst your staff is to offer enhanced support and perks directly linked to improving their health. Big names including Starbucks and PwC have all taken recent action here by giving staff easy access to mental health professionals or apps, and by following suit you could improve staff performance and retention. This is something Peopleforce has done for many years and we’ve seen the benefits time and again. It will also demonstrate that you’re a caring company, which is increasingly attractive to any employee.

Finally, when you want to attract candidates that are going to stick, consider engaging with a trusted recruitment partner who understands your business. The best recruiters will have access to candidate pools that aren’t readily available, giving you that edge over your competitors. They’ll also be able to manage the recruitment process from start to finish, and gauge a candidate’s true motivations to ensure that these match. Understandably, this is something which can be often missed when recruitment is the responsibility of the hiring manager (who just wants to fill their vacancy) or the HR team who have 101 other things to deal with. All too frequently, recruitment happens as a knee-jerk reaction to somebody handing in their notice and the search for a direct replacement begins. However this is the perfect opportunity for you to reassess your requirements and ask some questions such as ‘What is the actual purpose of this role?’, ‘Has the nature of the role changed?’, ‘What value does this position add to the team?’ and most importantly, ‘Why has the person resigned?’. By doing so you will know that you are at least hiring someone for the right reasons. Post-Covid the hiring landscape has changed forever. And now more than ever companies need to discover what their prospective and current employees want from an employer. Get this right and you might be able to benefit from new talent entering the workforce, while also retaining your current staff. Rather than viewing the ‘Great Resignation’ purely as a threat, view it more as an opportunity to do things better.

To discuss your next hire with us T: 01273 830810 E:







By Alan Wares


BIG STORY Rewind to the 1970s, when we had The Black & White Minstrel Show, Love Thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language on television, the rise of the National Front as a legitimate political movement, and monkey-chanting at the (very few) black players playing football. The death of former West Bromwich Albion forward, Cyrille Regis in 2018, brought about a tidal wave of emotion and memories as to how he and two team-mates, Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson, had been at the vanguard of emerging black footballers in England. Along with Viv Anderson at Nottingham Forest, and a few others in the late 1970s, they had suffered the most tortuous, horrific racial abuse from the terraces; It was the kind of behaviour thankfully not seen at football today; at least, not in England, and to nothing like the same scale. Bananas were thrown on the pitch, monkey chants drifted across the terrace like a bad smell, along with howls of laughter at the oh-so quickwittedness of the collected masses. For my part, I remember being on the North Stand at the Goldstone Ground in Hove, to see Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams – the first black goalkeeper in England – receive appalling racial abuse from my fellow fans. This was 1981. I was 11 at the time; I knew this sort of thing went on, but at 11, what

could I do? I knew I felt uncomfortable with this stuff going on around me, but my point is – I didn’t know it was abuse then. And therein lies a point about nurturing racism, or at least stopping its nurturing. No-one is born racist; racial integration in a junior school playground is so common as to be natural. Sadly, it’s something we all pick up along the way. All of us. The difference is the individual who chooses to reject it. In my case, I grew up in a regular, white, traditional English household, and watched the likes of Jim Davidson, Bernard Manning et al offload their ‘jokes’ uncensored. And in so doing, one learns at a susceptible age, to believe what may or may not be acceptable. If the BBC can show this sort of material, then it must be OK. And so, with little guidance, it’s easy to have a dalliance with far-right wing (or far-left wing for that matter) politics. Mine didn’t last long, but it was all part of my self-taught journey through social politics. By the time the mid-1980s came along, and a greater social movement against Margaret Thatcher’s less palatable policies was gathering force, issues like anti-racism, anti-homophobia and antisexism were considered ‘extremist’, and strongly discouraged. In the minds of some today, it still is.

Bananas were thrown on the pitch ❛❛ and monkey chants drifted across the terrace like a bad smell ❜❜

However, as time has moved on, so has most of society come to realise that not only is there no value in being so discriminatory, it’s actually the wrong thing to be; morally-reprehensible, irrational, not acceptable and counterproductive. Many articles in Platinum Business Magazine in its so -far 93-issue history not only relate to recruitment, retention and staff welfare, but also point out the legal obligations of employers to their employees on many levels – and this includes race issues. In short, it’s illegal on many levels to indulge in racist practices. And yet, the law of the land doesn’t always equate with society at large, and any law is only ever going to be as effective as how it is policed and dealt with through the judicial system.

HOW RACISM MANIFESTS ITSELF Racism does not need to be deliberate. Someone may discriminate against you without realising it or meaning to, but this might still count as racism. Whatever the motives of the perpetrator, the perception of the victim or any other person is central to how a racist incident or complaint is defined. Racism can be an action by an individual or a culture of a workplace: ‘normal’ behaviour that underpins everyday practices. It can be a one-off action, or subtle


every day behaviours that can add up to negatively affect a person (known as micro-aggressions). Racism can also be the deliberate or accidental outcome of an

organisation’s policy or practice. It can be seen in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, and thoughtlessness. Racism, like discrimination more broadly, is often linked to power. It can determine who gets hired, trained, promoted, and dismissed. It can determine who feels included in a workplace, who feels safe and confident to be themselves at work, and who feels that their individual needs and strengths are recognised.



The story of Azeem Rafiq and the allegations of racism towards him by various individuals at Yorkshire County Cricket Club while he was a player there has sought to ask far more questions than it can ever answer. But it has brought the unresolved societal issue of racism – and particularly racism in sport – back into the spotlight. Rafiq’s accusations of constant racism were bad enough, but it was Yorkshire’s reaction which shocked most people. It was, frankly, a farce, and one by which they have done little except to hide behind excuses. They eventually upheld some of Rafiq’s complaints, but then decided no-one should be punished as the racism was, in their view, ‘goodnatured banter’. A quick word about ‘banter’, and how people use that as their first line of defence. Banter, by its very nature, must exist between two or more consenting parties. One-way ‘banter’ in whatever form – especially racism – is not banter, it’s abuse, and trying to hide behind it is the ver y essence of cowardice. Someone may well have to explain one day what ‘good-natured racism’ is.

sent an anti-Semitic message in 2011. He has since apologised, but to some, it will only muddy the waters. So, does this latest revelation exonerate Yorkshire, or free them of their obligations to improve their behaviour? Will it exclude Rafiq from being able to continue with his ongoing complaint given his now far from polished record on race relations? The answer to all is... no. Quite the opposite, it doesn’t weaken either case; it strengthens the whole matter, and adds urgency to clearing up the problematic blight that is racism – institutional and individual. It also seeks to show that racism, or ethnic abuse is a global problem; a global web, reaching everywhere in all directions, with only certain cultures ready to want to clear it up.

For some appalling treatment of one race or ethnicity on another, even a simple snapshot today from across the world could throw up Qatari treatment of Indian workers building their World Cup stadia; the relentless stories of institutional police behaviour on individual black citizens in the USA; Israel treating the Palestinians like they don’t matter; the open and increasing levels of anti-Semitism permeating throughout the higher echelons of the Hungarian government; the cuddly Al-Qaeda’s treatment of... everyone who isn’t a ‘true Muslim’, especially those they accuse of being apostates. I could go on, but you get this gist.

The row is rumbling on, and Yorkshire Cricket, as an institution, are not going to come out of this well at all. All they have done so far, at least publicly, is shrug their shoulders of it, and mumbled platitudes of their version of an apology. As if that wasn’t bad enough, to throw another stink bomb into the issue, matters have been compounded by the later revelation that Rafiq himself had



All strands of society are beholden to a certain level of racial profiling and stereotyping, even if internallyprocessed. At some point in their lives, almost everyone has been. Very few people could – if they were asked to honestly reveal this deepest of taboos – claim to have never uttered a racist statement, however unintended, nor had a racist thought cross their minds, even if it stayed there. Can I claim never to have had a racist thought? Of course, not. You go with your social environment with what is acceptable. Not even good or bad, or right or wrong – just acceptable. It’s said that education on BAME cultures, histories, and knowledge of the wider world to those who indulge in racist abuse and intolerance is the way forward, and one doesn’t disagree. But one must also question what kind of education those same people had beforehand to think that pigment in the skin tone is an appropriate measure by which to affect such a hostile and abusive relationship with their fellow humans. The UK is one of the most diverse nations in the world, a place where


Rafiq’s accusations of constant racism ❛❛ were bad enough, but it was Yorkshire’s reaction which shocked most people ❜❜ inspiring traditions sit cheek by jowl with historical injustices, and frustrating contradictions constantly challenge our perspectives. Our challenge is to recognise that when political, social, sexual and ethnic opposites mix, that they represent a Britain that everyone can be proud of, one that we should be promoting in the on-going fight for the soul of our society.

History, as they say, is written by the winners. So, the winners set the agenda of what is right and wrong, good and bad, virtuous and evil throughout time. Great Britain, almost certainly like every other country, has its fair share of history-airbrushing to fall back to make the case for patriotism and, when that fails, something far more sinister.


Without wishing to sound like a tinfoil hatter, it’s the Establishment; this largely a n o ny m o u s , a l l - e n c o m p a s s i n g , leviathan that nobody sees, but that everyone accepts is there to continue with some arbitrary status quo. And now that narrative is now being challenged, the Establishment will be keen to retain its power (which, of course, it will) and influence (not such a dead cert). Historians will always point to already knowing about any given point in British history, and scratch their heads at why the rest of us aren’t taught it. For one example, we are often told that Britain hasn’t been successfully invaded since 1066. This simply isn’t true. Historians have debated long and hard over this but the consensus among them is that Britain was last successfully invaded in 1688 by William of Orange, having been subject to invasion at least 73 times in that 612-year gap. Even the tiny fishing village of Brighthelmstone was sacked and razed to the ground by the invading French in 1514, which is why, St Nicholas’ Church in Dyke Road aside, you won’t see any buildings in Brighton older than the early 16th Century. This example has little to do with racism of course, but it’s indicative of that airbrushing of British history in order to promote ourselves up to be – and be seen as – a superior construct; that to be an Englishman is to be one of life’s winners with little regard for others. Of course, not everyone sees history that way, and with – for the sake of argument – the arrival, especially post-war, of new workers that Britain urgently required from the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and other ex- colonial territories, a greater understanding of ethnicity took place. Look at how, on so many levels, British culture absorbed the culture and identity of the newly-arrived, and vice-versa. For instance, look at the veracity with which Britons absorbed Indian cooking, especially curry; the notion of the Man In the Corner Shop who would become part of the community; Jamaican music, especially ska and reggae, Jamaican cooking, the love of cricket

One-way ‘banter’ in whatever ❛❛ form – especially racism – is not banter, it’s abuse ❜❜ from both areas, and so on. Not all nationalities and cultures have integrated as well as others, and suspicion across communities – ALL communities – remains. However, for those wishing to maintain the status quo, of the superior Briton, a different narrative needed to be written, and a quite nasty one. It’s mostly at the whims of a few national newspaper proprietors does that narrative spill over. Buoyed by this, the ‘Windrush’ generation are now on the receiving end of a modern-day government policy which

has retrospectively sought to forcibly repatriate thousands of first generation immigrants back to the Caribbean. Having been told they no longer needed their immigration papers, and that the Home Office had burned those papers in 2010, the latter suddenly decided that they were required after all, in order for non-natives to stay. The enforced repatriation policy was, incidentally, at the forefront of the British National Party agenda in the late 1990s, and with the Nationality and Borders Bill also making its way through the legislature, who knew what visionaries they’d become…? But what possible positive value could they hope to bring upon society by splitting up communities, friends and families? This is no needless exercise in administrative house-keeping; this is racism, pure and simple. And it is coming from the top.



So many people irrationally dislike Sir Lewis Hamilton, the most decorated sportsperson in British history, that one has to ponder whether this is due to the colour of his skin


Talking of the top, a 2021 survey by consultancy firm Green Park of the FTSE 100 companies noted that of the three ‘top tier’ senior positions – CEO, CFO and chair – only 11 (3.4%) were filled by ethnic minority people, and only one more than in 2014. At this rate of change, ethnic minorities will reach their population-wide representation in the year 2237. The role of CFO was found to be the most ethnically-diverse at 7.2%; non-white CEOs in the FTSE 100 had fallen from 4% to 2% between 2019 and 2021, and for the first time since 2014, there was not one person who identified as ‘black’ in the roles of CEO, CFO nor Chair in the FTSE100.

Green Park, who conducted the survey. “We know there is no shortage of qualified black and minority candidates to fill these roles if companies are willing to look. Yet the snowy peaks of British business remain stubbornly white.” And that brings us full circle to the point that racism, in whatever form, rattles its way through all aspects of society, including sport.

The picture at the top of English football looks equally lost. There are currently no BAME people in the Boardrooms across the Premier League. There has been a total of nine black managers in the history of the Premier League (two of them were on an interim basis) since 1992. There are 40 listed referees in the top two divisions of football in England; all of them are white. You have to go back to May 2008 for the last time a black referee – the only black referee – officiated a Premier League match. Out of the top seven divisions, there are 200 listed referees; four of whom are black or Asian.

The figure has yo-yoed between three and 5% since 2014, but stubbornly refuses to increase. Given that the non-white population of the UK is around 13%, it’s clear that there is still some kind of blockage in the pathway to the top of industry. Is this deliberate, or is the talent pool not available?

This is still way short of the overall representation of the population, and pathetic in comparison to the 30% who make up professional football players, and who have their careers decided by those Boardroom members. Other sports have similar, problematic, unrepresentative issues to contend with – especially cricket and, it appears, motor racing.

“These figures put some flesh on the bone of 2020’s anti-racism and police brutality protests,” says Trevor Phillips of

Sir Lewis Hamilton MBE, arguably Britain’s best-ever Formula 1 racing driver, Honorary Fellow of the Royal


BIG STORY Academy of Engineering, is highly critical of F1’s attitude to BAME drivers, and to their treatment of him personally, especially in the early days of driving. He is the first and, so far, only black driver in the history of the sport. It’s a mind-set he is determined to change. “People come up to me from different ethnic backgrounds saying, “My kid wants to be you one day”, and I can assure you that when I started racing, there weren’t people from those [ethnic backgrounds]. I take great pride in that,” he commented in 2017. Sir Lewis, a keen anti-racist activist, takes the knee. Professional footballers across England take the knee. Astonishingly, this anti-racism gesture is dismissed by certain aspects of the media. To help resolve where we go from here, the last word goes to Chris Ramsey MBE, Technical Director of Football at Queens Park Rangers FC, who was awarded his medal for ‘services to football and diversity in sport’ in 2019. “There are people out there, who don’t have a voice, and don’t have the same

For one example, we are ❛❛ often told that Britain hasn’t been successfully invaded since 1066. This simply isn’t true ❜❜

opportunity, and that’s what my work in inclusion seeks to correct. The lack of diversity on the bench hasn’t improved. The talent is out there, but it’s down to the decision-makers. There needs to be more diversity on the boards; and diversity in thought, not just diversity in colour. Evolution isn’t working, there needs to be more revolutionary thinking – in all aspects of the game. “Moving forwards, there needs to be a clear-out. However, there can’t be a clear-out, as succession-planning doesn’t necessarily allow for more BAME people to join the Boards of Directors in football. The way to change it is in getting those people currently in those positions wanting to change it. And if they want to be seen to wanting to make that change, they have to be radical in changing their thinking.” Good luck with that, Chris.

TAKING THE KNEE While there have been examples of ‘taking the knee’ – the symbolic gesture of going down on one knee ahead of a major sporting event by the participants – before, the modern context for it was set by Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Colin was an American Football player for the San Francisco 49ers who, against advice and the rules, took the knee ahead of a match in protest at ongoing police brutality against black citizens across the USA. The gesture has been taken on in many sports across many countries,

most notably in the Premier League and Football League in England, in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement. England footballers, while representing their country, also ‘take the knee’ ahead of international matches. BLM is not, as opponents of antiracism have pointed out, a support for any political party or group. It has no ties with any left-wing organisation or party nor left-wing political ideology.



The cost of poor mental health on your business By Lesley Attwell, Senior Employee Benefits Consultant, Verlingue Mental health support is one of the most practical ways for employers to demonstrate that they genuinely care about their employees. As we progress through the pandemic, this is more important than ever, with one in four employees planning to leave their current jobs due to burnout or feeling unsupported by employers. With 41% of people experiencing mental health symptoms, businesses have a duty of care to promote the importance of better mental health. Happy, engaged employees are also productive ones, so business performance will be improved as well as morale and motivation being lifted.

❛❛ 70 million work

days are lost each year due to mental health problems ❜❜



Mental health problems go beyond the financial, yet calculating the costsversus-benefits of intervention can be persuasive when making the case for investment. n 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems The Mental Health Foundation. n P oor mental health is costing UK employers £45 billion a year. n £29 billion of this is from presenteeism – employees coming to work and underperforming because they are in poor mental health. n A Deloitte study found that for every £1 spent on intervention an estimated return of £5 could be expected. n Mental health-related staff turnover costs firms £8.6bn in the time taken to find and train a new employee to work to a level of full productivity.




Early intervention Being able to identify, support and address mental health problems early can reduce the likelihood of more serious problems developing in the long term. Appoint Mental Health champions or first aiders. Whilst 58% of line managers understand that providing emotional support is part of their role, only 13% of them have had any mental health training. Staff training is a great first step - having “someone to open up to” and signpost colleagues to other support tools available.


Establish new working patterns during the Covid-19 pandemic Whether working remotely or on-site, employers should promote a good balance of structure and flexibility for employees within their working hours. Employees have enjoyed greater flexibility during the pandemic which has enabled them to do things such as attending exercise classes or taking their children to school. While retaining core hours may be necessary for certain roles, we advise employers to promote flexibility where possible.


Open and honest conversations Open and honest communication in the workplace is key to achieving a healthy mental health environment. Promote Mental Health milestones throughout the year to help break stigmas and amplify the message that “it’s ok not to be ok” encouraging individuals to seek support if they require it.


Encourage exercise and get out into nature! The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2021 was ‘nature’, and the incredible impact it can have on improving mental health and wellbeing. Encourage colleagues to exercise, ideally outside, because walking or running outdoors may help to prevent or reduce feelings of anger, tiredness, and sadness. The Mental Health Foundation has released a range of ideas and tips, including trying new routes that bring you closer to green spaces or water. A simple way to boost employee health is by providing support tools such as 24/7 employee assistance plans, health cash plans, health cash plans and occupational health services.

To find out how we can help your business develop a health and wellbeing strategy, please contact Verlingue’s Senior Employee Benefits Consultant, Lesley Attwell: Email: Mobile: 07394 570045


LEGAL Jonathan Grant, Head of DMH Stallard’s Corporate Department looks at what 2022 might bring for the M&A market in the South East


A disrupted market creates opportunity for Mergers & Acquisitions THE DISRUPTION OF 2021 LED TO AN ACTIVE DEALS MARKET

2021 produced a strong South East M&A market, with successful, high performing businesses targeted by large trade buyers, private equity (PE) investors and private equity-funded groups, all looking to grow through acquisition. Buyers have pushed for quick deals, and prices have been high; this has in turn put pressure on sellers to be well prepared. The greatest activity has been in the £10m to £50m space and successful deals have been run by well organised/experienced deal teams able to manage the disrupted business environment.


In 2021 professional services (financial advisory/insurance broking), digital se r vic es (c o m munic atio ns and marketing), technology and SAAS, pharmaceutical/health sector, and builders merchants/construction related businesses have seen high deal volumes.

As we move into 2022, there is still consolidation in financial services, although now at the sub-£10m level and for insurance broking. Professional services in the form of accountancy and legal are continuing to see new entrants and pressure for consolidation.

❛❛ Logistics and infrastructure are sectors well set for M&A and investment ❜❜

Looking forward, I expect digital and online marketing/SEO to be in high demand reflecting the BD “pivot” required by many businesses. Less expected, is increasing interest for quality retail and leisure businesses. Whilst traditional retailing was hard hit in 2021, many online retail businesses surfed a wave of surging demand through lockdown. A market with this


level of disruption creates opportunity for trade and PE buyers to build new businesses, as the market adjusts to a “new normal”. Expect businesses with quality brands to be in demand. Logistics and infrastructure are sectors well set for M& A and investment. Moving goods around the world continues to see demand exceeding supply. Acquisition offers an opportunity to improve margin for large manufacturers and luxury goods companies. Securing a reliable route to market will remain impor tant in protecting reputation. Meanwhile, large Government infrastructure projects, such as HS2, offer businesses who have secured tender contracts significant growth and opportunity.


The New Year also brings with it some significant threats to business, which has the potential to disrupt, or to stimulate deal activity. Any business putting itself on the market needs to deliver to a growth plan, or face pressure on price. Logistics challenges combined with labour shortages and rising labour costs will all add pressure. Just as these macro economic factors can be a threat to business, they can also produce pressure for merger and consolidation as businesses seek to protect themselves from a challenging market. Those who successfully navigate the challenges are likely to be in high demand.



Some of the inflationary pressures faced by businesses has been extreme, with the cost of shipping goods rising by up to 40% and salary inflation for “hot” sectors reaching similar levels. Some of these costs will inevitably be passed onto UK manufacturers needing raw materials and to consumers buying imported goods. Whilst the Bank of England seems reluctant to increase interest

Perhaps one surprise of the last 20 months, is how few restructuring/ distressed deals the mid market has seen. As Government Covid loans end and tax suspension winds down there will be an increase in distressed deals. Commercial banking has been relatively quiet over the last 20 months, due to the pressure of servicing Government support loans, but this is returning to a more normal pattern now. Some business will be successful in securing growth finance but others may find they run out of time or capacity in the commercial lending market.

rates rapidly, this seems inevitable, as a response to growing inflationary pressure. Highly leveraged businesses will face increasing costs and pressure. DMH Stallard’s Corporate Team are “Very professional, City-standard expertise but much more responsive and accessible. Feels like a real partnership. Knowledge and experience are excellent and are a given.” Client quote, Chambers 2022 If you are considering preparing your business for sale or are actively looking to diversify, contact

The process of selling your business THE PROCESS OF SELLLING YOUR BUSINESS STAGE 1


Right time to sell

Find the best deal

• Revenue rising

• Use broker?

• Profit rising

• Use trade contacts?

• Good leadership team


Interested parties set up Offer Letter/ Letter of Intent

• Continuing growth prospects




Diligence/ Data Room is set up

Key documents produced to include:

Completion process

Understanding the risks

• Minutes and resolutions

• Renegotiation?

• Undertakings

• Loss of confidence

• Sale/Purchase Agreement • Tax Covenant • Disclosure Letter

• Money movement


• Price chip • Business performance • Key people leave

• Employment Contracts

Contact us 0333 323 1580 Brighton







SHOULD I DELAY RETIREMENT? If your pension is smaller than you’d hoped it would be, you might be considering postponing your retirement. Deferring retirement could enable you to continue paying in to your pension and hopefully benefit from further stock market growth. Here, we look at the financial impact of delaying retirement. A financial adviser can help you to decide on the best course of action, by considering your personal circumstances.


WHAT DIFFERENCE COULD DELAYING MAKE? Delaying retirement by several years could bring significant financial advantages. For example, consider a 55-year old earning £50,000 gross per year, with a £400,000 self-invested personal pension (SIPP), who can choose between retiring next month and delaying for five years.

Our analysis shows that if they are planning to retire at age 55 on half of their current income, or £25,000, they could risk running out of money at age 76. However, if they work until age 60 and reinvest growth within the SIPP, save their excess income and add a one-off £10,000 lump sum to the SIPP, their funds are likely to last until age 92. These calculations are based on pension growth of 5% per year after charges and inflation at 2%.

FINANCE YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO SAVE By delaying retirement, you could continue to get tax relief on pension contributions at your marginal rate of income tax, until age 75. That’s if you are in a position to carry on saving. Your pot and contributions will have the opportunity to grow over a longer period of time, potentially providing a greater income in retirement. And if you can add the occasional lump sum – for example, if you have paid off your mortgage and will not spend all your income – you could further boost your retirement savings. YOU COULD GET MORE STATE PENSION The state pension age for both men and women is currently 66, but it is gradually increasing and will reach 67 by 2028. The full state pension is £179.60 per week. However, if you aren’t going to depend on your state pension for essential outgoings, you could defer payment. You earn an additional 1% on your state pension for every nine weeks you postpone taking this, or around 5.8% more for every year you delay. However, you should check that receiving a greater amount in state pension will not impact on other benefits you may receive, such as pension credit.

You might want to switch to working part-time, or flexibly, and keep your pension fully invested while drawing on other savings and investments ❜❜


You can obtain a state pension forecast to see how much you would receive as a starting point. YOU COULD RETIRE GRADUALLY You might want to switch to working part-time, or flexibly, and keep your pension fully invested while drawing on other savings and investments. Alternatively, you could opt for income drawdown. This enables you to keep your pension savings invested while you draw an income from your investments when needed. This way, you can make small withdrawals while continuing to work and earning an income, giving your investments the opportunity to grow and recover any lost value. YOU MIGHT BENEFIT FROM WORKING LONGER The traditional life path of full-time employment followed by a long period in retirement may be long gone. People are living longer, healthier, active lives – and you might want to continue working in some form, past retirement age, for your general wellbeing. A period of part-time work and phased retirement can reduce some of the pressure on pensions, which may only be needed to top up a lower income level, rather than immediately replacing earnings.

SHOULD YOU DELAY? THINGS TO CHECK: n Before deciding to delay retirement, check whether your pension scheme will impose any charges or restrictions for changing your retirement date. Also, ensure you will not lose any valuable income guarantees, such as a guaranteed annuity rate (GAR), by delaying retirement. n When you get closer to retirement, review where your pension is invested and ensure you are comfortable with the risk you are taking. You might want to gradually reduce your exposure to shares, for example, and move a greater portion into cash and bonds. n Bear in mind that the current lifetime allowance (for tax year 2021/22) is £1,073,100. This is the amount you can accumulate in a pension over your lifetime, and breaching the limit could see you incur a hefty tax charge when you start withdrawing income. In theory, the longer you delay, the higher your potential income. However, there are no guarantees of this, and it will depend on market conditions when you retire. Seeking advice from a financial adviser can ensure you are on track for a comfortable retirement and establish how best to boost your retirement fund to suit your personal circumstances.

The value of investments, and any income from them, can fall and you may get back less than you invested. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future. Information is provided only as an example and is not a recommendation to pursue a particular strategy. Information contained in this document is believed to be reliable and accurate, but without further investigation cannot be warranted as to accuracy or completeness. Please note that this document was prepared as a general guide only and does not constitute tax or legal advice. While we believe it to be correct at the time of writing, Brewin Dolphin is not a tax adviser and tax law is subject to frequent change.

Paul Cannons E:


It’s Our Planet Too Case Study help them understand the urgency to conserve the planet. From here came her motivation to start It’s Our Planet Too, whose mission it is to inspire children to love and care for our environment.

What is the best way of teaching children the importance of conserving the environment? Kate Cohen’s business, It’s Our Planet Too, certainly looks to be in the running for that title. Here’s a look at Kate’s story, and how she went from majoring in Environmental Science in university, to running a social enterprise dedicated to teaching children to love the environment. The idea of It’s Our Planet Too was first conceived many years ago, long before Kate became a mother. Having studied environmental science at university, Kate had an idea for a website about the environment aimed at children. She then registered the domain name, doodled a logo and forgot about it, only to pick it up again a few years later, when her children were growing up. Seeing how her children’s generation is taking notice of our impact on the environment, Kate felt it more important than ever to

Today, It’s Our Planet Too offers a range of branded children’s products, all of which are sustainably and ethically produced. The sale of these products go towards promoting their brand values and supporting selected wildlife charities in their work. Indeed, Kate tells us that It’s Our Planet Too is committed to giving back, contributing at least half of its profits to good causes. When asked about the greatest challenge faced when running her business, Kate points out that gaining traction in a crowded marketplace has been the most difficult part of running It’s Our Planet Too. This is especially since the business is reliant on organic growth through social media platforms. If she were to do it all again, Kate tells us that she would go in with an appreciation that everything tends to take much longer than you think it will. To this end, she reminds us that it is important to be realistic with oneself on what is achievable on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – something that could be difficult for a perfectionist. As advice to new entrepreneurs, Kate underscores the importance of surrounding oneself with a group of like-minded people, especially if one is a ‘solopreneur’. Recalling her

Social Media Website: Instagram: Facebooks:

journey, she points out how she has become part of some inspirational communities of entrepreneurial women on the way. Looking to the future, Kate ultimately aims for It’s Our Planet Too to become recognised as a brand that is synonymous with making a positive change for a greener future. At the same time, she emphasizes the importance of becoming a commercial success, so that the company can continue to make a meaningful difference to the charity they support. After all, according to Kate, the most fulfilling part about running It’s Our Planet Too is the positive comments received from customers and followers, because they remind her that her products and messages are indeed working to inspire children to make a difference to the planet.


By Daniel Morgan, Managing Partner, Haines Watts Esher

What’s the future for property development? Running a property development business has always had a certain amount of risk associated with it and the current market is making it harder still. For smaller property developers, careful planning to react to these conditions will be vital for 2022 and beyond. THE IMPACT OF SUPPLY CHAIN AND LABOUR ISSUES Labour and material costs have gone up massively over the past year, and that’s having a significant impact on budgets and return on investment (ROI). Historically, developers have found it easier when it comes to selling a completed development and making end profit. In 2021, they’re seeing more of the risk, the return isn’t so good and that’s leading to a change in mindset for many players. PIVOTING INTO NEW MARKETS AND NEW AREAS The UK property market has changed hugely over the past two years. Pivoting into a new market, or changing the use of your planned development, could be the best strategy for 2022, for example: n Switching from commercial to residential – the rules around Permitted Development Rights and ‘change of use’ guidance are being relaxed further, making it easier to change commercial premises into residential. That ’s leading to many city-centre and high street commercial buildings being retrospectively changed into flats.

n De-risking your strategy – think about your end market and who you’re selling to and aim to reduce the inherent risks in the chain. You’re looking for a stable market, steady finance, trusted suppliers and an end product that you can be confi dent will sell. n Build-to-rent (BTR) – Rather than building properties with the aim of an end sale in mind, your aim could be to retain ownership and then rent out these properties or commercial spaces to paying tenants. With the right strategy, this can generate good long-term revenues. n Building industrial and office spaces – if you develop and build the right industrial or retail premises, you may well sell or rent out the spaces before they’re even built. n Knowing your end buyer – having a good understanding of your end buyer or tenant is vital. The profile of your ideal buyer/tenant can change rapidly over time and Covid was a great example of this. People didn’t want flats in the city in 2020 and 2021, but that demand may come back again in 2022 if we go back to a more office-based, city-focused way of working. It’s hard to predict, so research is important. n Pursuing sustainable and green projects – this can be profitable, but you’ll need the best possible advice to make them work well. For smaller developers, meeting the key green requirements can be a headache, and you may well need to talk to a sustainability consultant who has the required expertise.

n Revisit your funding strategy – it’s crucial to think about funding too. With future projects, it’s sensible to fund the build based on the worstcase scenario, so you know you have the cash there to get to the end of the build, even with delays. The world has changed, and the mindset of a developer has to change to fit the new reality. The key is to get in control of the forecasting, the budgets and the financial management of each project. When you’re in control of the numbers, it’s far easier to plan out a project, set the right budgets and achieve the desired return. T: 020 8549 5137 E:


Selling, buying or starting a business? Call us on 0800 84 94 101 Offices across Sussex


What next for the commercial property industry? heads of terms stage to avoid debate and delay later in the transaction”.

Emily Wood and the DMH Stallard Real Estate Team consider what 2022 has in store for the commercial property industry By March 25th 2022, James Picknell, Real Estate Disputes Partner, predicts that the much anticipated legislation will be in force to help tackle the signifi cant amount of unpaid commercial rent arrears accrued during the pandemic. The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill is currently passing through parliament. It will provide a set period of time during which landlords and tenants will be able to refer their disputed arrears to an arbitrator for determination. Only certain arrears, accrued by businesses which were required to close during the pandemic, will qualify to be addressed by the new law, which will sit alongside the recently published updated Code of Practice for Commercial Property Relationships following the Covid-19 pandemic. As for business rates, the pandemic relief for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will continue into the new year, reducing from 100% relief to 50% from April 2022 through to March 2023. But Emily Wood, Real Estate Disputes Group Head, warns relief will be capped at £110,000 per business, and the government has now included

Instead, the government will be creating a £1.5 billion “pot” from which local authorities can distribute awards to businesses ❜❜


Another issue that we expect relates to energy efficiency legislation. From April 1st 2023, a landlord of a commercial property will not be able to continue to let that property if it is sub-standard (with limited exceptions). Jonathan advises, “Landlords need to look at their portfolios now to work out whether works need to be carried out and well-advised tenants will also be careful to carve out of new leases any obligation in respect of these type of works or their cost.”

provisions in the Rating Coronavirus Director’s Disqualification Dissolved Companies Bill to stop any business rates appeals based on the pandemic amounting to a material change in circumstances, which many office tenants in particular had pursued. Instead, the government will be creating a £1.5 billion “pot” from which local authorities can distribute awards to businesses according to which sectors have suffered most in their area. Turning to commercial leases themselves, most already provide for the rent to be suspended for a limited period in the event of damage caused by an insured risk. One major change as a result of the pandemic has been the extension of those provisions in some new and renewal commercial leases to circumstances when the property cannot be used for a reason relating to a pandemic rent suspension clause. Jonathan Crook, DMH S tallard’s Commercial Property Transaction Partner, is certain that these types of clauses are here to stay and advises that “tenants should raise the issue at

The new Environment Act 2021 contains obligations on property owners and developers likely to become law sometime in 2023. Planning partner, Chloe Karamian, thinks the new net gain biodiversity requirements for new developments is going to be a particular hot topic for the future. She is expecting to see many more green roofs, green walkways, street trees, hedgehog highways and wildlife/bat boxes included in future developments. Finally, Emily Wood predicts the reinvigorated green agenda means a change in approach to dilapidations is on the horizon. As we are encouraged to upcycle, recycle, and reuse, there is inevitable pressure on landlords to explore more sustainable green approaches at lease end.

DMH Stallard’s Real Estate Team is known for their “First rate legal minds. Highly efficient and organized in their dealings. Immensely personable.” Client quote, Legal 500 2022 If you would like advice on any commercial property matter, please e-mail



SOUTHERN CRANES & ACCESS Increasing investment in its equipment and headquarters along with a need to provide the highest levels of service and safety show that Southern Cranes & Access is serious about its position in the crane hire industry The business can trace its roots back to 1981 when Mike Sadler started Gamble and Sadler Crane Hire which he grew steadily and eventually sold to Hewden Stuart Crane Hire in 1995. A couple of years later, Southern Crane Services was born with Mike and his two sons Clive and Robert at the helm. In 2003 Kelvin Prince joined the team setting up a part of the business that was more London-focused. The company was renamed as Southern Cranes & Access Ltd and, with plenty of investment and hard work, has growninto the thriving business that it is today. The company currently boasts an extensive and diverse fleet of machinery. This includes 45 mobile cranes ranging from 20 to 300 tonne capacity, over 80 items of powered access and telehandlers along with a comprehensive fleet of transport primarily used to support the core business.

The size and scale of the Southwater premises ensures that the business has plenty of room for growth in the future ❜❜



Having rented premises for many years, in 2015 the business eventually managed to find and purchase a suitable site from (repetition of ‘premises’) which the whole operation could be based. The Southwater yard now boasts approximately six-acres of hard standing for the storage of plant, purpose-built workshops and offices. The size and scale of the Southwater premises ensures that the business has plenty of room for growth in the future. The company also operates from premises in Camberley, Surrey and Thatcham,


The pandemic has been a time when having an excellent relationship with your bank has been particularly important ❜❜


Of course, committing to this scale of investment doesn’t just happen. It requires a group of directors who are totally committed to an on-going strategy that has been well thought through. They, in turn, could not do this without the best professional advice and support.

Berkshire. These locations essentially provide parking spaces for cranes and are necessary to give the business greater geographical coverage and access to central London. Not wishing to let the pandemic halt progress, and with the help of Natwest, Thatcham was purchased during 2021 providing further long-term stability for the company. The directors all recognise the importance of continued ongoing investment when it comes to running a successful operation. If you wish to negotiate contracts with major clients, being financially competitive is simply not enough. A modern fleet of machinery operated by highly skilled and competent staff with a focus on safety and quality is essential to working with blue chip clients. As a company, this is

where they prefer to be and working with other businesses who have a similar ethos on quality and safety and are not entirely driven by cost. Even as the pandemic hit in 2020, ongoing investment was only paused temporarily. During 2020/21 the business made a total investment of over 4.5 million Euros taking delivery of three 40-tonne, two 50-tonne two 60-tonne and one 160-tonne mobile cranes with more on order for 2022. In addition to its core business Southern Cranes is also looking to diversify into other sectors wherever possible. It is currently assessing opportunities within the spider crane and roto telehandler markets and will happily invest if deemed viable.

Starting with Gamble and Sadler in the 1980s right through to today with Southern Cranes & Access, Natwest continues to be their bank, providing invaluable support and advice. The pandemic has been a time when having an excellent relationship with your bank has been particularly important. Most recently, Dave Greenough and his team supported the business through the purchase of the yard at Thatcham; a potentially tricky process made easier when dealing with partners whom you trust. After nearly 25 years in operation alongside their trusted partners Southern Cranes and Access Ltd has become a robust and enduring business continuing to thrive even through the toughest of times. Long may it continue.

For more information Crane hire: 01403 790874 Access hire: 01403 339105 E:




the responsibilities they don’t tell you about

By James O’Connell, Partner Mayo Wynne Baxter


The law has spent the past 165 years sharpening the obligations it places on directors of limited companies. These obligations are many and varied, and spring from a company’s Articles of Association, the Companies Act 2006, relevant decisions of senior judges (a.k.a. case law or common law) and other relevant legislation (e.g., the Insolvency Act 1986). In my experience as a commercial lawyer, few directors understand the responsibilities they are shouldering when they agree to be a director of a limited company.

One of the core principles of our legal system is that for individuals, everything is permitted unless it has been prohibited. But it is different for limited companies. Although they are legal entities, they are only permitted to do the range of things that the law expressly entitles them to do. Directors need to be aware (in a way that sole traders don’t) of the boundaries to the rights granted to limited companies. Companies can’t, for example, marry or (for the most part) move countries or give away assets in a Will, or adopt, or join the army.


The law does not distinguish between executive and non-executive directors, so NEDs beware, you are on on the hook too! ❜❜


So, what are the main obligations that all directors are under a duty to observe (a duty owed to the company – which means all the shareholders) in addition to sector-specific responsibilities like directors of restaurant chains having to ensure hygiene standards are met. Those general obligations are: n t o act only within the powers set out in the company’s constitution (usually comprising its Articles and Memorandum of Association) and relevant Acts of Parliament. n t o work to promote the success of the company – i.e., acting in good faith, in the manner most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, not just the members the directors like. n to exercise independent judgment.

n p repare, circulate, and file the company’s annual confirmation statement and accounts and other required documentation as necessary (e.g., a change in the number of shares issued by the company). n of confidentiality to the company. n t o ensure that the company complies with its obligations relating to the health, safety, and welfare at work of its workers. n t o keep adequate records (e.g., board minutes) for at least 10 years. Other than the last one, the above obligations often referred to as a director’s fiduciary duties. A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other persons. Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person, for example, a corporate trust company. The obligations apply to all directors. The law does not distinguish between executive and non-executive directors, so NEDs beware, you are on the hook too!

n t o exercise reasonable care, skill, and diligence. n n ot to accept benefits from third parties given because you are a director or because you are expected to do something as a director in return which would not be in the best interests of the company. n declare any personal interests in transactions involving the company.

James O’Connell, Partner E: T: 01273 223209


INFLUENCERS FORUM Workforce shaping is about aligning your company’s business and human resources needs to make sure you’ve got the right employees with the right skillsets at the right time to help it run efficiently and effectively. With technology disruption coming from all sides, it can be difficult to know where to start the conversation. Unfortunately, far too many times, companies put off conversations about the impact that technology will have on their workforce, as they think it won’t become a reality for another five or 10 years. The reality is that these issues need to be addressed today. So, joining us around the Influencers table is Jennifer Williamson, Head of Culture and Values at Kreston Reeves; Joe Brown, Managing Director of Peopleforce Technical Recruitment; Pam Loch, Managing Director of Loch Associates; Julie Kapsalis, chair of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, and MD of the Chichester College Group; and Sam Jones, tax manager at Kreston Reeves.

MAARTEN HOFFMANN The Platinum Publisher

Maarten Hoffmann is the facilitator for the Platinum Influencer Forums





Pam Loch, Employment Solicitor and Managing Director, established Loch Associates Group in 2007 with the aim of providing solutions to help organisations manage and look after their people. Loch Associates offers a unique combination of employment law, HR, health & wellbeing, and mediation expertise, ensuring clients have access to a range of services from a single trusted partner.

Jennifer is a partner at award-winning accountancy practice Kreston Reeves. Alongside delivering business and strategic advice to her clients, Jennifer sits on the Board of the firm, leading its Culture and Values. Jennifer believes that being an accountant is far more than just a numbers game and that by taking the time to really get to know both clients and colleagues that she works with, she can make a real difference in helping them identify their needs and realise their ambitions. By leading with purpose beyond the pay cheque, she helps guide clients and provide great career opportunities for our people.

Managing Director, Loch Associates

Head of Culture and Values, Kreston Reeves


Chair of Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and CEO of the Chichester College Group Julie is Chair of Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and Managing Director at Chichester College Group – supporting over 20,000 learners across five campuses. Julie has worked in economic development for over 20 years with a particular focus on enterprise, skills and social inclusion.

SAM JONES Tax manager, Kreston Reeves

Managing Director, Peopleforce Technical Recruitment



Sam joined Kreston Reeves in 1995 and has progressed through the firm to become a Corporate Partner. Since joining the firm, Sam’s client portfolio has been wide ranging and includes both corporate entities and charities and not-for-profit work. This has enabled her to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and experience in her specialist areas which is delivered through an exceptional service tailored to the needs of the individual clients. Sam has experience in external audit, whilst also assisting with business strategy, advisory and governance work in both sectors.

Joe Brown is the Co-Founder and a Director of Peopleforce Recruitment – an award-winning consultancy providing skilled candidates to a number of technical industries. The business is based in Brighton, although it operates globally and has grown significantly since its formation in 2013 generating annual revenues of around £15m. Joe has particular expertise within the Pharmaceutical and Medical sectors.

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.

Commercial Director, Platinum Media Group

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. T: 07767 613707



The first question is for Pam. As an employment law firm at the sharp end of this, what do you see in your day-to-day workings?

In recruitment, Joe, you’re pretty much at the forefront of this. Would you agree with what’s been said? And what do you have to add to it?

Pam Loch: I think currently the challenge for most employers is recruitment and retaining their staff. I would say there’s a relatively short-term view being formed by a lot of businesses, particularly smaller businesses that are finding it more challenging. They are not looking far into the future. And they’re probably not thinking about technology and how it’s going to impact on them necessarily, because I think there is a significant issue that’s hitting them in the short term as to how they retain their staff. There are various surveys that are coming out showing the number of people that are thinking about changing that job.

Joe Brown: I do agree. Technology has been in the forefront of people’s minds for the past few years. We see all our clients trying to automate, to some degree, their processes. Sometimes it takes away from what a business is trying to achieve, because ultimately, you’re still looking to take on people; you’re still trying to integrate people into your workforce. And if there’s too much of a detachment between people as part of the recruitment process and just expecting technology to do bits and pieces, then that can have a detrimental impact on clients and your employees.

I think it’s a big challenge for most employers, dealing with the ‘here and now’ and resignations. How do they deal with that when you’ve got a supply, which is very small in terms of the supply people out there with the right skill set? So you’ve got this huge challenge for them to overcome in the first place.

Jennifer, would you agree with that? What are you seeing as the issues in shaping our workforce? Jennifer Williamson: I think there is a ‘here and now’ need, and that people just have a resource issue they need to fill to get work done. We have people that have contemplated what they want their career to be, where they want it to be. And as we have a growing business, we need to make sure that we have the right level of resource in order to fulfil the work we’ve got. For us, technology is inevitable. We’ve seen it accelerate so far in the last few years that we know now that we really can’t ignore it. Clients are expecting services, particularly compliance services, at a reduced cost or added value in the service they’re getting. And the only way for us to manage that, with increasing wage bills, is to use technology and other resources. It gives us some really good tools to talk to clients about.


We’ve seen technology accelerate so far in the last few years that we know now that we really can’t ignore it ❜❜


Sam, are you seeing the same things? Sam Jones: Definitely. We’ve talked here about the short-term issues they’re seeing now. And I think we need to encourage businesses to look forward to make sure in five years’ time, those key people are still there. So it’s not the short term years, we need to backfill the gaps that we’ve got, but actually, who are your key leaders; your key management team? And how do we keep them with us throughout that whole journey?


Julie, as the only one of us responsible for the workforce of the future, is it just shaping the candidates for the next generation of work, or is it all getting a little bit confusing? Julie Kapsalis: The priority for us is to try and match supply and demand. It doesn’t always match though. If you’ve got a group of 16 to 18 year-old students that all want to study one area, and that’s not where the jobs are - you can’t just click your fingers and change that mismatch. What we’re trying to do is to look at what core skills we can be giving that are transferable to a wide variety of sectors. A lot of the employers that we talk to, talk about - in terms of employability skills - having the right attitude; somebody having that work-ready approach. And it’s really important to us that in any of those subjects, you’ve got those core employability skills because more people are not staying in one sector for their entire career. With the increase of technology that’s only going to happen more.

Pam, do you find the new staff coming into the workforce are ready for the workplace? PL: Employers sometimes make assumptions that because somebody is younger, they might not have the correct skillset. A lot of employers are now looking at attitude, and there are still younger employees that have got the right attitude. What employers need to do, though, is they’ve got to nurture that, and show them a clear career pathway. I think that often employers are almost expecting somebody to come on board and know immediately what’s expected of them.



Joe, because you do technical recruitment, have you had people come to you, or experienced people in the workforce moving from job to job? Or do you have younger people coming through? JB: A lot of our clients do look to recruit graduates or trainees. It has been the case that companies felt that they can recruit those kinds of employees more easily. But they’re increasingly struggling to do that now, where competition is very high for young people who have the right abilities and attitude.

Often employers are almost ❛❛ expecting somebody to come on board

and know immediately what’s expected of them It’s not just a ‘one size fits all’, which I think has been another issue in the past for businesses ❜❜ Do you feel that they’re ready for the workplace? JB: It really does vary. You see a lot of candidates that are very enthusiastic, and that want to go out of their way to try and show that they are wanting to get the job. And then you get others who might be interested to begin with, but then perhaps just don’t follow that up throughout the process, and don’t give themselves the best chance compared to other candidates.



Jennifer, when you’re on boarding new, relatively young staff, do you find that there’s other work to be put into them to get them ready for the workplace? Or are they ready for the workplace? JW: It’s a real mixed bag. I don’t think you could say that any are the same in how they approached joining work. We go through quite a rigorous recruitment process, and we like to think that process takes out the people that aren’t ready to join us. But despite how good they are at self-learning, and communicating with clients, you’ve got to put in a lot of work to make sure they feel well embedded in the firm. So we have things like a buddy system; where we’re working remotely, they have that interaction all the time about increasing their technical competence. But it’s interesting to hear what Julie said about careers, and I’ve heard that before. I’d be interested in Julie’s thoughts. Are you seeing that in the people you train want their personal brand to be more visible, because the career thing is less important to them? JK: Yeah, definitely. I’m generalising but we are seeing that. And that people, when they are thinking of applying for a job, are looking at the values and the culture of an organisation. It’s not necessarily just driven by what the salary is. We’re seeing more of our learners saying, ‘that’s the kind of company I want to work for.’

JB: For quite a long time, there’s been a bit of a disconnect between what young people were looking for when they’re joining a company and perhaps what the management within a business are promoting. PL: I would agree with that. For too long, there has been that disconnect. But you also need to understand what your workforce is looking for. Because I think there’s also assumptions made by managers about what their staff want from working with them. I don’t want to make assumptions about my workforce, so actually doing a survey enables you to find out more about what they’re looking for, and what’s coming out is that they are interested in your values. It’s not just a ‘one size fits all’, which I think has been another issue in the past for businesses. JK: Another area that I’m really passionate about and would like to see employers do more about is around returners, predominantly women returners, though they could be men returning from caring responsibilities.

I think the returners is definitely something that’s really important to the entire workforce, because there is a huge amount of talent out there being wasted. But is it not putting a huge weight on the company that they’re having to adapt to so many requirements and so many needs from new staff coming in? Is it not complicated these days? SJ: It is complicated, but I think it is about listening to what the team needs. And every team is different. I know within Kreston Reeves that my team can’t be compared to Jen’s team. We’ve got part-time staff, full-time staff; and we’ve got people who don’t work school holidays. And I think it’s a case of listening to them, seeing what they need because if they’re good, you need to be accommodating. Nowadays, we have completely flexible working. We have boundaries about making sure people come in and work as teams. But outside of that, if they’re doing their job and the outputs are there, we should be able to trust our staff to get that done.

I see, every day, large numbers of predominately mothers who, now their children are older, are looking to return to the workplace, but require a degree of flexibility in terms of the hours that they work. Or they might need a bit of support, retraining or upskilling. I think it’s a huge area of untapped talent.



A few years ago, I had a conversation with the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, who were boasting how much they put into preparing their staff for the workforce. That same week, I also had a meeting with the two largest employers in the southeast, who poured scorn on that. Nobody that they encountered was ready for the workforce. Is there a disconnect between what the employer is looking for and what the new potential employees are ready to present? JB: I think that there’s some very high expectations from people who are entering the workforce as to what employers can offer these days. And I think that there is there is sometimes people forgetting that ultimately, you must go to work to do a job. And a lot of it is about just learning, improving yourself and doing all that, and you have to offer something as well as your employer offering something.

We’ve had someone who said, ‘I’m not coming into work today, because the person who gives me a lift is off on holiday’ ❜❜


The example that I gave was a few years ago. Julie, do you feel things are changing with educational staff or establishments; that they are not just teaching the skills required, but teaching effectively the soft skills required into entering the workforce? JK: Things are improving. Government policy is pushing universities and colleges into working much more closely with employers. But it has to be an ongoing dialogue about having really strong relationships with employers. I think areas that can help that are where we’ve got ‘T-Levels’, which all the people doing them have an extended work placement. The majority of our courses have some form of work placement as well. And then there are businesses that take on apprentices. There are some brilliant examples of companies that have the most phenomenal apprenticeship schemes, though we need to do more to encourage those businesses that aren’t taking on apprentices. It’s not just new recruits, many companies still don’t realise that they can use apprenticeships to progress existing staff; something we know is key to retention.


PL: We’ve had a great experience taking on an admin apprentice years ago. He’s now a solicitor advocate having done his barrister training. Then we persuaded them to come back and work with us as a solicitor so there are some really good experiences. Equally, we’ve had one or two not so good experiences with some apprentices. We’ve had a client with someone who said, ‘I’m not coming into work today, because the person who gives me a lift is off on holiday.’ And it had to be explained to them by HR that ‘how it works is you’re an employee in a contract, you agree to work each day, these are the hours you work each day, therefore, you’ve got to get to work’. Now, that sounds really basic, but if nobody’s actually taught them those sort of things, how do they know what their expectations are?


I’m interested in this balance-of-power shift. Probably older generation employers are finding it more difficult to do this. But the example you gave is exasperating. I don’t understand how anybody can have that way of thinking such as Pam’s example. How far does this go before we all start working for the employees? JB: You have a contract with an employer and an employee, and the employee has responsibilities towards that employer, just as the employer has responsibilities towards the employee. There is the thing about employers’ responsibilities to, for example, ensure that those working from home do not end up on a different kind of tier relationship with their employers as those working in the office. It’s something which will be more impactful in the coming years where you’ve got people that fully work remotely, and they can’t have those water cooler conversations. And therefore, they feel that they’re slipping behind in terms of being integrated within the workplace, but whose responsibility is it? I’d be interested to hear what other people think about that whether the responsibility lies with the employer or the employee? JW: I agree with your concern. I think that particularly with hybrid working, you run the risk of having this ‘you weren’t in the room for the conversation or the decision’. And that creates this divide. If you’re all remote, or you’re all in the office, it’s okay, but the hybrid does definitely create this. It’s very difficult to manage hybrid working. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got huge advantages, and it’s here to stay. But it is difficult to manage.



Those advantages – are they for the employer or the employee? JW: Both. If you’ve got a project to get done, where it’s time-intensive and very concentrated, it’s much easier to get that done if you make yourself absent and avoid distractions. But as well as being in output-driven, technical areas of work business, we are a people business, with our clients and our colleagues, and if you’re not talking to them or with them, or learning from them, it does have a negative impact. PL: I think it’s really challenging, remote working. As human beings, we generally interact face to face. There are a lot of people who are not like that, and they prefer to remain at home and maybe disconnected, but that might suit the job they do. So it might depend on the work that somebody undertakes. But I think we need to invest in training our managers in a different way to manage, because it isn’t the same skill set. I find it challenging when I had staff working at home during the lockdowns. Equally, the employee needs to accept that they should go into the office or attend social events so that they maintain contact, and make sure that they are available when they need to be available; not shutting themselves off.

I don’t think we have much choice but to allow that flexibility, because without it, we’re dismissing a huge swathe of people who want that ❜❜




There are companies who do not accept remote working. They would only employ people who are happy to come into the office. While remote working is possibly here to stay, I see a bit of a push back on quite a few large companies saying, as of the new year, we’d like all our people to be in the office. You’ve even got the Prime Minister talking about the Civil Service threatening those not in the office... JB: Remote working happened as a result of the lockdowns and companies were forced to make it work. We found people were able to do their job from home. It worked for some people given their setups; conversely, it didn’t work for other people given their setups. So I think there is that feeling that it is here to stay. It’s going to be the case that it must work for both sides. PL: One thing we have to keep in mind is that you’ve got legal rights here. And employers must be cognisant of that. You’ve got the Equality Act; that means that if you’ve got some disability, and you need to work from home, and because that’s a reasonable request, then an employer then has to accommodate that. And then the other aspect, of course, is flexible working. The government is sending out messages that they want people back. But next year, we’ll be expecting the flexible working legislation to change again, to put a greater onus onto employers to allow flexible working when it’s requested.

Was that flexible working legislation introduced before or after the pandemic? PL: Well before. It’s been quite a while. So the plan is it’s going to change in 2022. JB: It’s going be interesting when that legislation does go through as to what the scenarios would be for an employer to say that the job cannot be done from home. Because technically, if someone’s got a phone and a computer, they can do pretty much most officejobs from home. So it’s going to be very interesting to see where the balance of power lies. Is that an effect of the pandemic that’s going to work its way out? Or do you think this is permanent? SJ: I think it depends on the type of work and the type of team. For instance, today, I make a lot of calls so it makes sense for me to be at home because I haven’t got the interruptions at the office, and I can focus on contacting my clients. And then I’ve got two days in the office but that means I’m there with my team. We can keep the projects going that we’re working on together, and they get the benefits of us all being there. I don’t think for us at Kreston Reeves, it will massively change.

What sort of percentage does Kreston Reeves have of remote working versus permanently in the office? SJ: As a firm, we’re asking people to try and get together two days a week. But at the moment, our desks are all bookable. So we book seats, and we are encouraging teams to decide how that might work. I know some of our offices are doing a rotation systems or certain teams are on certain days. Now, the Canterbury office is only about a third full but I know that some of the other offices are some days at complete capacity. Jennifer, how far can this go? JW: We’d already started introducing hybrid working before the pandemic accelerated it in March 2020, but I don’t really see we’ve got much choice. I know there are different schools of thought; we have some people that hate it, and we’ve got other people absolutely love it. Because of the way the employee market is, and the need to recruit and retain talent, I don’t think we have much choice but to allow that flexibility, because without it, we’re dismissing a huge swathe of people who want that. But... who knows? You need a crystal ball to know where it’s going to go.



Julie, do find any kind of disconnect between the incoming workforce and the skills required? JK: It’s something we’ve got to keep a close eye on because things are changing. An interesting example would be the horticulture and agriculture sector in the south east. Automation within that sector is radically changing the kind of skills and investment in research and development that those businesses are undertaking. And they are actually doing some really cutting edge stuff in terms of looking at how they improve their productivity, how they reduce waste, looking at the impact on the environment. If I look at the relationships we might have with some of those big companies, they’d have approached us about students coming and doing some seasonal work, harvesting of crops. Now they’re talking to us on how to develop new technologies. It’s a shift. And it’s just about making sure that education providers are aware of that shift. Going back to your crystal ball, particularly when you’re doing careers advice with young people, things are going look very different in five or six years’ time.

Do you find any benefit in companies coming in to the college and helping with the structure or the formation of certain courses to make sure that they are work ready? JK: I think it’s critical. And we’ve got quite a lot of examples where we’ve done exactly that, where we will have employer forums that will meet at least once a year where they will come in, and they will challenge us. They will look at the curriculum that we’re delivering and developing and push in terms of ‘is it providing the right kind of skills and experience that they need?’. One of the projects that I’m really excited that we’re working on at the moment as a region is a bid for an Institute of Technology, which is about bringing together the region’s universities, colleges and employers to design new higher technical qualifications to very specifically meet employer needs.

Does Kreston Reeves get involved in any form of contact with educational facilities? JW: Yes, our main institutes, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the ACCA. And we have strong links with those to try and help inform what the qualification of the future should look like. We run all our trainees through apprenticeships as well. I think we need to consider the right qualifications and training that we need for the future of our business and clients, that’s likely to mean a greater focus on training that places more emphasis on technology, a digital skill set and real time business advice. JK: I’m really pleased that Kreston Reeves is one of the key partners in this Institute of Technology bid, doing exactly what you’re saying they’re looking at, we’ll be looking at with yourselves, the impact of FinTech, legal tech, regulatory tech, and actually how that’s going to shape your sector and the skills it requires. JB: It’s a really good example of what you’ve just picked up on there. I’ve got very basic knowledge of what an AAT qualification equips people with the ability to do. For example, should somebody still be learning, say, double-entry bookkeeping for 10 years, when every business is using programmes like QuickBooks; programmes which have all that done for them? JW: That’s what I’m alluding to. I’m sure professional qualifications have evolved since I took them and the syllabus needs to continue to evolve at the same pace as business needs.



With the new staff coming in, how important are qualifications over experience; over attitude? JW: That’s a really interesting question. And if you’d have asked me five years ago, I would have given you a very different answer. We used to let people go when they couldn’t pass their exams. And we would say, ‘you can’t pass the exams, you need to be qualified’. But we are not in the same place any more. If they can do a good job in the office, but the exam or technical qualification route isn’t for them, that’s fine. SJ: I helped with the trainee recruitment this year. I didn’t look at necessarily what degree they did or what course at A-Levels they were doing that school, etc. It’s all nice if they’ve got an accounts or finance qualification, or legal degree. But if their attitude is right, and they’ve given us the right reasons why they want to come into accountancy or tax, and if we think they’re the right fit for the team, then we’re prepared to potentially give them the job even if they’ve got an unrelated degree or school subjects.

People are looking for businesses that have a culture and values that align with their own. It’s not about what you do, it’s not about how you do it, it’s about why you do it ❜❜




Are there any examples that where that’s gone dreadfully wrong? SJ: Despite the rigour of our recruitment process, there’s always the chance we’ll make the wrong choice on occasion! I see some people might interview well. But I think the interview rounds are very different because I have no idea if they had shoes on, or if they’ve got big fluffy slippers on the bottom of their feet. But it’s very different now. And you can’t test them on their Excel skills in an interview, so I think you have to take a punt sometimes, and personality and drive are sometimes a big tick. JK: There’s a piece around something I challenge quite a lot when you see a job description come in, and it says essential criteria ‘must have a degree’. Why? Or in what? And what’s it going to bring? There’s the example that gets used all the time about one of the barriers to women applying for roles is they’ll look at that essential list. And if they don’t tick all the boxes, they might not apply. Whereas 20/30% of men might think they can do it, and they’ll apply. I think it’s getting better, but that barrier is still there. JB: One thing that we do an awful lot more of is to challenge the clients on what is actually required in the role. And for so often they will have this endless list of things that they’re looking for. And what they’re describing is this unicorn that just does not exist. Or that you are being unrealistic with your expectations, and we will always push back on. PL: I hear what you’re saying about people interview very well. There’s also people are deluded about it so they may think that they are absolutely superb, but in reality they’re not. Because the problem I find is some people do come over amazingly well and putting aside the qualifications, you think, ‘they’re great’, actually, they might think they’re great, but they’re not that great, and they’re not going to fit the job.



Just as a wrap, I would like to go around the table and just ask you, what you what your view is, of what the shape of the workforce is going to be. If we say in the next five to 10 years, can I start with you, Jennifer? JW: This talks to a webinar we did recently about what was important in terms of employer brand. You’ve got to be really authentic about why you do what you do. It can no longer be around, ‘we just provide accountancy services and financial solutions’. There’s got to be a purpose beyond the paycheque. Because that’s what people are looking for. They’re looking for businesses that have a culture and values that align with their own. It’s not about what you do, it’s not about how you do it, it’s about why you do it. And it’s really important that you embed that in your brand, and what you get out to people, and also that it really connects with how you treat your people in your practice. So I think we’re seeing a lot more, not just employees, but also clients that will only work with us if we meet certain environmental or social or governance criteria. And that’s becoming more and more important, and really does set you apart. JB: Everything must be looked at in terms of the sector or the individual company, and I think no ‘one size’ is going to fit all on this. Because ultimately employers employ people, and everybody is different. Within an organisation you’re going to have to offer flexibility, or offer new ways of working. But I think certainly we’ll see a lot more of bespoke kinds of model to employ and people, and employers making sure that they take on board people’s desires regarding who wants to work flexibly. I think that’s the key thing.

SJ: It’s all around flexibility. The businesses need to move with their workforce as to what their needs and wants are. Each each sector industry is going to have different needs and wants. But also, I think the key point is the forward planning. So if we’re looking at 10 years, what do they think their workforce structure could be like in 10 years? Obviously, this needs to be reviewed regularly and making sure it still meets their day to day needs. And actually, is there anything more out there from their remuneration strategy to ‘I’m going to come back to share schemes again’? Is there something they can be doing now, that could still benefit them in the future? PL: Certainly, there’s going to be a much more agile workforce. And I think the employers, are going to have to be more agile, which means from a positive perspective, I’m hoping that older workers will have more opportunity. Because once you’re over 50, it’s very difficult to get employed again in the current market. And I also think there might be more opportunities for younger staff where employers are prepared to invest in them. And so it needs employers that are more innovative than they have been in the past in terms of how they approach the workforce, both from the point of view of whom they employ, but also what they offer as a package. JK: I echo what others have said; I think it is about choice and flexibility, and values. They are the things that will attract and retain talent. And recognising that it’s not just technology that will drive innovation and productivity. People will play a central and critical role in that as well. And again, not just businesses focusing on investing in their technology or their R&D. In order to do that they’ve got to invest in their people, and the skills of those people. And I think the most important thing is making sure those links between businesses, and schools, colleges and universities are there so that as that crystal ball becomes clearer, we might need to know that supply chain is there. But not forgetting the importance of people returning to the workforce, existing people in the workforce, older workers. We’ve got to invest in our people. Excellent. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen for joining us, and for your time on the Influencers Forum.



Towards an even more f lexible workplace? By Pam Loch, Employment Law Solicitor and Managing Director of Loch Associates Group The launch in December 2021 of new guidance on hybrid working from the Flexible Working Taskforce reinforces that the way we work is likely to be permanently changed. Are employers now beginning to approach hybrid, or blended working with a more positive approach embracing its potential benefits, and is that being extended to a more flexible approach generally to working hours, holidays and other benefits? And are employers now thinking outside the box of conventional 9-5 physical presenteeism and traditional benefits? Research into hybrid working by Gallup, Harvard and Stanford Universities and Global Workplace Analytics has shown that workplace flexibility increases the bottom line in five areas: Productivity, Performance, Lower Absenteeism, Retention and Profitability. It’s also the case that in a tight recruitment market, where job-seekers can afford to be more discerning in their choices, looking at incentivising the packages on offer (and not just the money on offer) is what can make an employer stand out from the crowd. Hybrid working arrangements, where they can be accommodated, are certainly here to stay. Staff engagement and work/life balance can be improved with hybrid working, which in turn may help with the recruitment and retention issues many employers are currently facing. Certainly, many staff who want remote working do enjoy a better work/life balance and it seems that there is evidence productivity can increase as a direct result of this flexibility.


However, the Flexible Working Taskforce says it’s impor tant to remember that hybrid working arrangements will not work well for every industry, role or individual. Indeed, there is a lot to consider to ensure successful hybrid working arrangements, such as contract changes, policy development, management training, the cost and purchasing of equipment and compliance with health and safety obligations. Another trend we are seeing is towards greater flexibility and employee autonomy in working hours. It was recently reported that one of the large City law firms was considering shifting away from traditional time recording and abolishing the billable hours approach. We also know an accountancy practice has successfully introduced core working hours with extended flexible breaks to give employees more control over when they work. This demonstrates that long-established practices are now coming under scrutiny. Other changes that are being introduced are in respect of holidays. Buying

Research into hybrid working has shown that workplace flexibility increases the bottom line in five areas ❜❜


additional holiday (and selling excess holiday) policies have been around for some time now, but more employers are considering extending this is to offering unlimited holidays. Seemingly a we l c o m e ini tiative am o n gs t employees, and attractive to new recruits, it remains to be seen whether this results in staff taking more time off in the longer term as past experiences with this has not supported that happening. However, it may transpire to

LEGAL be a flexible benefit which seems very attractive to employees but in reality, employers can offer it at little cost or exposure. Again, key to a successful roll-out of unlimited holiday will be the introduction of policies to ensure that leave is taken responsibly and in line with operational, delivery and performance requirements. It will also be necessary to ensure that holiday continues to be measured and monitored for health and safety reasons. Research has found that employees can tend to take fewer holidays as a result of concerns about presenteeism and anxiety around taking what may amount to too much holiday! There is also the option of a fully flexible benefits package, allowing employees to select from a comprehensive choice of benefits to suit their personal circumstances, ensuring they receive something beneficial to them personally. This is not something that is new to larger employers, but it is being increasingly being considered as a way to retain and recruit staff by SMEs. While it’s sensible to retain core benefits, it does mean employers can offer a wider range of wellbeing services such as access to an online GP service or free/

discounted gym membership, private medical and dental insurance, bicycle loans/cycle to work schemes. Generic benefits packages rarely work for all employees in an organisation as everyone will have different needs and wishes dependent on where they are in their personal and work lives. Some benefits can be offered under a salary exchange arrangement which increases their attractiveness for both employees and employers. For example, we have recently been working with a client who is introducing an electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme for their staff.

If you are an employer thinking of transitioning towards even more flexibility in the workplace there is some critical thinking to be done before launching any initiative. Don’t make assumptions that your staff will share the same views as you. Staff surveys are an excellent way to find out your team’s views but also a fantastic tool to show you value and care about their views too. We know this because that’s the feedback our HR Consultants receive when they do surveys for our clients. Use the survey to find out if these benefits will actually be valued by the employees. Finally, make sure if you do make changes that your policies are clear so that everyone knows what the rules are and make sure you have taken a consistent approach towards everyone. Pam Loch, Employment Solicitor and Managing Director, Loch Associates Group GET IN TOUCH: Our team of Employment Law Solicitors and HR Consultants are on hand to guide you through and help you manage your team during these challenging times.

Get in touch if you need any assistance E:



Last month was the 32nd year of the Sussex Business Awards which saw two of Sussex Innovation’s nominees take home awards: Race Nation – Innovation of the Year 2021 8foldGovernance – Micro Business of the Year 2021

SUSSEX INNOVATION CELEBRATES CLIENT SUCCESSES “ We’re ex tremely proud of the award -winning members of our community,” says Nigel Lambe, Chief Executive of Sussex Innovation and one of the panel of judges. “It’s a real pleasure to celebrate the achievements of two companies that have not only seen commercial success during a challenging year for business, but also exemplify the social values and impact that we love to support.”

RaceNation is a sports ❛❛ technology company, uniquely providing event registration, club membership management and fundraising on one online platform ❜❜

RaceNation presented with the trophy by SINC CEO Nigel Lambe (far right)


A SUCCESSFUL PIVOT DURING A CHALLENGING YEAR RaceNation is a sports technology company, uniquely providing event registration, club membership management and fundraising on one online platform. Their white-label technology powers more than 2,600 events across the UK whilst raising millions of pounds for charity. Much of normal life has been put on hold during the pandemic, and the mass participation sports industry was no different. UK-wide, race events were cancelled for almost a year, putting huge pressure on thousands of organisers and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods. For RaceNation, a huge change was needed to not only maintain its own business, but that of its clients.

Organisers were soon looking for alternative ways to host their events, and RaceNation brought technological solutions. The company helped numerous clients to hold their events in a virtual format with a suite of new features, not only raising valuable revenue for themselves but the thousands of vulnerable charities that rely on mass participation events for fundraising. User-based submissions allowed entrants to remotely upload results, times and distances via tracking giant Strava. Changes to the sign-up process helped lift donations upon registration from 30% to 66%. Updates to the RaceNation App let those with phone tracking be sponsored and cheered on virtually by loved ones supporting them from anywhere in the world.


diagnosing dementia after a single brain scan. 8fold’s governance, development and product management experts supported Professor Zoe Kourtzi and her team at Cambridge University by translating the code that was initially written as a proof of concept into a robust prototype. This allowed the team to turn what was previously a concept, into a scalable solution that is now being used in clinical trials in the UK. Micro Business of the Year 2021 winner, 8foldGovernance

8foldGovernance ❛❛ is a ‘one stop’ digital

health innovation agency, supporting both NHS organisations and the digital health technology sector ❜❜ Ultimately this agile response worked. RaceNation received more than one million page views across the year, despite fewer events being held. New users went up by a third as more firsttime participants were enticed by the promise of joining in events from home. Against the odds, RaceNation is not only surviving, but thriving, brokering new digital partnerships and launching their own event delivery arm. By implementing a new, fully serviced online strategy they have offered a lifeline to organisers, charities and participants across the UK. “We saw first-hand the impact that Covid would have on the event and charity industries and so we immediately wanted to help,” says director Will Golder. “We built these new features to support our clients that found themselves in such unpre c e dente d circumstances, and were delighted to see an immediate impact. We saw virtual races around the world, races to the moon and other brand-new concepts launch overnight. Winning this award has rightly given well earned recognition to our whole team across both offices for all their tireless work over the last 18 months.”

A SMALL TEAM WITH A BIG SOCIAL FOOTPRINT 8foldGovernance is a ‘one stop’ digital health innovation agency, supporting both NHS organisations and the digital health technology sector in the UK. It helps innovators to safely and successfully develop and launch new healthcare products and services. In an industry where the safety and privacy of patients is paramount, 8foldGovernance provides specialist support with information governance, data protection, risk management and regulatory consulting, alongside more conventional product development and marketing services. The experienced team has helped to launch and scale pioneering digital health technologies across flagship hospitals including Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London, where little ideas have been transformed into big solutions. One recent example is an artificial intelligence system that is capable of

This extraordinary innovation has made headlines for its potential to give patients their results in as little as one day; reducing the anxiety of waiting for test results, speeding up early diagnosis while also saving the NHS millions each year. Throughout the pandemic, the NHS has needed to quickly adopt new technologies in order to offer remote services for patients. The 8foldGovernance team worked tirelessly to ensure that data protection and privacy were not compromised during this speedy implementation. 8fold Governance is also in the process of applying for B Corp certification to demonstrate its commitment to social accountability. Beyond its core mission to improve outcomes for people using health and care services in the UK, the management team is invested in the wider impact of the company for employees, clients, communities and the planet. “We are truly honoured to accept this award, particularly after what has been a difficult year for everyone,” says CEO, Lyndon Johnson. “It symbolises the triumphs but also the challenges that together we have overcome to get us to this point. We sincerely thank all our clients and friends that have supported us on this journey, including the team at Sussex Innovation who nominated us.”



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STEP INTO 2022 ON THE RIGHT FOOT Working from home and missing the daily commute has had a huge impact on so many people’s step count – but don’t worry, we have the challenge to help you get your steps in throughout February! NURSES’ STEPS

Chestnut Tree House are asking people to walk a month in the footsteps of a hospice nurse and raise vital funds to provide care and support for local children and families. The nurses and care support workers at Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice rack up thousands of steps a day when looking after local children and young people, both at the hospices and in families’ own homes. The month-long virtual event, Nurses’ Steps, asks you to commit to walking

either 7,000 or 10,000 steps a day throughout February, just like the hospice nurses. The challenge is open to anyone, of all ages and abilities. Whether you take part with your colleagues, family, or on your own, Nurses’ Steps is for everyone. Walk your way at your pace at any time or location of your choice. Last year, 10-year-old Amelie took on the challenge for Chestnut Tree House in memory of her sisters, Heidi and Eloise.


In 2010, Victoria and Lewis Ramm had their first daughter, Heidi. She was perfect, but at five weeks old she became seriously ill and was put on a life support machine. At this difficult time, Victoria and Lewis were introduced to Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice where they were able to spend precious time with Heidi doing all the little things families do together like sitting in the garden, having a picnic, and bathing and dressing their little girl. Heidi died in her sleep laying between her Mum and Dad with them cuddling her.

A year later, Amelie was born and she was perfect. The doctors said that Heidi’s condition must have been a one-off, so when Eloise was born two years after, in 2013, they felt positive. Sadly, history repeated itself and after

five weeks, Eloise was showing the same symptoms as Heidi, and they once again found themselves at Chestnut Tree House. The family were able to spend over three weeks together, having the opportunity to live as a family and to create special, lasting memories. For Victoria and Lewis, it was the little things the staff at Chestnut Tree House did for them like


It costs just £12 to sign up, and you will receive support throughout the challenge, an exclusive pair of Chestnut Tree House shoelaces, and a medal upon completion. If you want to take on the challenge as a family, two parents/ guardians can sign up with their children for just £30 and get access to exclusive activities, such as colouring sheets and scavenger hunts. Nurses’ Steps is fun for all the family!

Find out more and register at nurses-steps

finding a pushchair so they could walk together in the gardens, providing nourishing, home-cooked meals, and enabling them to snuggle up together on the sofa to watch TV. Amelie was able to join them and ride her bike and play football and the whole family were able to swim together in the hydrotherapy pool. And when Eloise died, they stayed at the House until her funeral, spending time together and saying their goodbyes. Speaking about why she chose to take on Nurses’ Steps, 10-year-old Amelie, said, “I wanted to raise money for Chestnut Tree House because they helped us. I completed about 15-20,000 steps a day by walking around the playground at school with all my friends and taking my dog out for a run. It was great fun and I enjoyed it.”


By focusing on your finances The last couple of years have presented many challenges for businesses. We’re here to help navigate the next 18 months, with a central hub of resources that will help you and your business move forwards and grow. Start shaping your future.

For more than accountancy, business and financial advice. Call: +44 (0)330 124 1399 Email: Visit:


CLOCK TOWER CLEANED UP BY PEST CONTROLLERS Cleankill Pest Control is experiencing more calls than ever about pest birds causing problems.

“Pigeons carry diseases and nearly all pigeons carry bird mites - a tiny parasite that feeds off the bird and makes humans itch and scratch. Pigeon fouling and nest materials also provide a home for many other insects such as clothes moths, carpet beetle and mealworm beetles. When the pigeon fouling is dry it creates airborne bacteria affecting anybody that may be susceptible to asthma and other breathing difficulties, so it is very important that any mess is removed. All of the mess was removed under Waste Disposal Regulations 1994.”

The issues include businesses whose staff are getting attacked by aggressive seagulls while trying to carry out maintenance on rooftops; pigeons causing health hazards by covering fire escapes with slippery droppings and sleep deprived homeowners who are being kept awake by birds nesting in eaves outside bedroom windows.

Pigeons often gain access to lofts and empty buildings through small gaps. Once they start to breed, the build-up of guano can be considerable. Gaps should be blocked and then affected areas cleaned out and treated with a biocide. The terracotta Clock Tower in Preston Park had its foundation stone laid in 1891 and had its formal unveiling ceremony on June 17th 1892.

More unusual calls include an office block in London where gulls were picking up pebbles and dropping them on the glass atrium roof causing thousands of pounds worth of damage each time a pebble smashed the glass. At a school in Bexhill where an expensive Eden project-style roof had been installed, gulls were pecking holes in the plastic causing it to deflate. Recently Cleankill Pest Control was called in to clean up the famous clock tower in Brighton’s Preston Park. Pigeons had entered the Grade II listed tower through a broken stained-glass window and had taken up residence.

The work involved cleaning the pigeon mess and debris inside the tower and then installing mesh to stop the birds re-entering. Cleankill Pest Control Director Jon Whitehead explains: “Fortunately the problem was spotted before a large number of pigeons started to use the tower. There was however enough guano to be hazardous to health.

Cleankill Pest Control offers a specialist bird control service for facilities and property management companies, from the initial survey and specification through to the final proofing solution. As registered waste carriers, Cleankill can carry out full scale removal of bird fouling, as well as contaminated goods and furniture from infested properties.

❛❛ More unusual calls include an office block in

London where gulls were picking up pebbles and dropping them on the glass atrium roof causing thousands of pounds worth of damage ❜❜

To book a free survey or price comparison go to call 0800 056 5477, or e-mail



With the damned pandemic still lingering, it seems that 2022 might again be the year of the staycation therefore, here’s a cracking option – the Campervan Vacation. By Maarten Hoffmann




Campervans have always held a certain mystery and romance to many and l have to admit that l am one of them but often like the idea more than the practice. I ventured into this life many years back when l drove a classic Winnebago RV from LA all the way down the Baja peninsular in Mexico to La Paz and Cabo san Lucas. It was certainly a fantastic adventure, with the Sea of Cortez on one side and the Pacific on the other, through a fascinating desert, with the most important factor - 35 degrees of heat. When Ford asked me to review their new model in this sector it was November and, as expected, cold, damp and miserable but l am always up for a challenge. So after lying to my partner that we had the latest Bentley outside, we ventured forth. The first thing to note with all campervans is that there is little doubt that they lock someone into a room with serious OCD and give them the design of the base vehicle, and the complete list of everything that has to be crammed in, and leave them with it. Lord knows how long it took but everything has to have a place and with such limited space, he had better be damned smart about what goes where. The Ford Custom Nugget is a Transit van converted into a campervan and as the Transit van is one of the best selling vans on planet earth, it should be quite a good base for a bit of outdoor living. For those with the Bongo Friendee, here’s another one with a daft name.

❛❛ For those with

the Bongo Friendee, here’s another one with a daft name ❜❜ The benchmark for such vans is the VW California – a model with a long and illustrious history that has become achingly cool as the ‘surfer dude’ van. I reviewed that a few years back and it was great fun so Ford has quite a battle on its hands. The famous conversion company Westfalia have done this conversion, so that’s a good sign.

First impression is that it drives really well. With its 2-litre EcoBlue engine allied to a 6-speed auto box, it is quick, sturdy and doesn’t feel as heavy as it obviously must be. I spent a couple of days with it before we departed, and it is easy to flick around town, quite easy to park with reversing cameras and sensors, and huge wing mirrors – It was so cavernous, that if it had been painted white, I’d have felt tempted to drive like I owned the road, winding down the window to shout dog’s abuse to cyclists and pedestrians alike, clipping every kerb along the way. There are lots of storage spaces and cup holders, Ford’s SYNC 3 entertainment system with an 8-inch screen with voice activation or touch screen. It also offers Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-collision Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.



We ventured along the south coast to Poole and Sandbanks and then onto the Isle of Portland, drove right to the top of the island and found a place to camp, with great views and no obvious signs that it was a dogging car park. It was cold and raining and I began to wonder what I was doing here. So now time to sort everything out and get to grips with how it all works. The first very clever arrangement is the kitchen. Instead of being down the side of the van like the VW, they have placed it at the very back by the huge rear door. It is very well equipped with gas cooker, fridge, sink, hot water, plenty of drawers and cupboards and a shower! You have to be standing outside to take the shower and God knows what your fellow campers would think, standing there with your tackle out, singing Nessun Dorma when they wake for their morning cornflakes, but as l had zero intention of having a shower, or singing, it didn’t really matter. It’s a great addition though when coming off a sandy beach, rinsing the dog or actually taking a shower. It also has a retractable awning that extends from the roof to make a shaded area, and then tucked away very cleverly in the rear door is a table and chairs. In the summer, this would make an excellent area that effectively extends the inside outside. We had zero inten-

❛❛ As cold was the biggest problem we faced in this very ‘out of season’ test, l had hopes of a decent heating system as without it, l was headed straight back home ❜❜

tion of cooking but we did make cups of tea and it is all very civilised, easy and close at hand. The gas bottle is internal and is next to the water on/off switch and, once you know where it all is, it is straight forward and well designed.

battery so there is no fear of being dead in the morning. Instead, it uses some of the fuel in the tank and can run all night if you so desire. The cabin was 100 degrees within minutes and l realised l would stay.

As cold was the biggest problem we faced in this very ‘out of season’ test, l had hopes of a decent heating system as without it, l was headed straight back home. l was not disappointed. The heating system does not run off the

Mid-cabin, you have the rear seats that move back and forth to make the second of the double beds. For inside dining, the two front seats rotate 180 degrees and then the rear seats push back and a table is then placed in the centre and you have a decent 4/5 person dining room. To ensure the front seats will swivel, they have had to design the handbrake to ensure that when it is fully on, it is not in the up position. As to the second double bed, that takes a tad more effort. Above the kitchen is the latch that makes the roof rise up revealing a double bed with three zipped windows. Then, in yet another cupboard, is the mini ladder that enables you to climb up there without putting your feet all over the kitchen cabinets. It’s a neat arrangement and the bed is quite comfortable, and bear



In summary, this is an excellent vehicle that is already selling really well in Germany apparently. The pandemic has led us all to reconsider vacations and the ‘staycation’ market looks to explode, much to the delight of long-suffering hotels around the UK. I hear that holiday park homes, boats, cabins, canal barges and the like are selling like hot cakes and the motorhome market is no different. Excluding the weather, we had a great time in the Nugget and l can imagine in mind l say this during the wind and the rain of a British November! With a good duvet, it is warm and cosy although the lack of any USB ports up there does mean phone and tablet charging is a faff. There are only two USBs in the whole vehicle which for four people is not really enough especially if there are kids involved. And on that issue, why oh why do manufacturers boast the vehicle is a WiFi hotspot when it never actually works? Really, l have never managed to get one working and here is no exception. We did manage to get it on the phone but then were referred to the website (signal required) before it dropped out and it noted we had to pay for something. Several attempts later and we gave up as life is just too short and just did a hotspot off the phone to watch anything on the tablet.

TECH STUFF MODEL TESTED: Nugget Custom ENGINE: 2.0-litre EcoBlue POWER: 185 bhp SPEED: 0-60mph 12.2 seconds TOP: 106mph ECONOMY: 30.1 mpg combined PRICE FROM: £62,726 AS TESTED: £65,816

cruising the length and breadth of the UK in it with ease and being able to stop anywhere you choose, without the hotel bills, it is very tempting. As it drives so well, it could then be used almost as a daily driver as it just looks like a Transit van. The challenge is the competition, in the form of the VW California and the new Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo. The VW starts at around £56,000 but you will need to spend north of £65,000 for all the kit. The Merc will drain you of £59,000. Where the Nugget tries to excel is the sliding doors on both sides of the van and, unlike the others, the well-equipped kitchen. On the top model you can also have a loo which the others certainly do not offer. Having said that, the base price is £62,726 so l am not sure there is enough price gap to stop you from looking at the other two models and that could be a problem for the Ford. Park at the beach and then sleep at the beach – why not, it’s a hoot.

I was concerned about the lack of standing height in the cabin as when the top bed is ready to go, it hinges from the front and therefore offers good standing room in the a kitchen but not in the cabin. I have just found out that l missed a switch, as the roof actually has the ability to rise in one piece and therefore raises the cabin head room significantly – there goes one of the only bitches l had about the Nugget. Well, two as the name is still an issue and to make its worse in the test model they sent me, the number plate says nugget!



PLATINUM CARS OF THE YEAR Reviewing over 52 cars each year and spending a full seven days with each, affords me a unique perspective into what is available and the good, bad and ugly. The choice of car is very personal but few make such a large financial decision without researching them and listening to those in the know.

Therefore, here are the Platinum Cars of the Year for 2021 and my ultimate Car of the Year that tops all others when considering space, drivability, practicality, price and that little extra something that makes you look forward to that long drive. By Maarten Hoffmann, Senior Motoring Editor


2 Jaguar XE

3 Alfa Romeo Giulia


2 VW ID.3 Pro Performance Life

3 Tesla Model 3




3 Porsche Taycan

❛❛ The Tesla S is still top of the

tree but only just and l predict it will lose this crown in 2022 ❜❜


2 Mercedes AMG GT

3 Jaguar F-Type SVR



LUXURY CAR OF THE YEAR WINNER Bentley Continental GT Convertible

2 Rolls Royce Ghost

3 Mercedes S-Class


2 Ferrari 812 Superfast

3 Lamborghini Evo

❛❛ The McLaren 720S is a startling mix of speed, fury and total enjoyment ❜❜ 84



2 Mercedes E-Class

3 Volvo V60


❛❛ The Lamborghini Urus should

not work on paper but it does and in a spectacular fashion ❜❜

2 Bentley Bentayga

3 Range Rover SVR




The Platinum Car of the Year is the Audi RS6 Avant – for the second time. For me it is unbeatable – a car large enough to move house, that is as fast as a Lamborghini with an exhaust note that makes my spine tingle, that looks superb, with exceptional build quality and acceptable depreciation.

❛❛ I love this car - it’s huge, stylish, supremely

comfortable with an exhaust note that makes your hair stand on end and it is ridiculously fast, with 60mph coming in 3.1 seconds and roaring on to 200mph. Really, what more do you want for £92,550? ❜❜ 86



Sandown Mercedes-Benz At Sandown, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service. Our dedication to customer care and quality stretches beyond the forecourt, with specialists always on-hand to help you at our Sandown Mercedes-Benz Retailers. Please be assured that we have always prioritised the safety of both our customers and staff. We have taken all the necessary steps to enable you to deal with our sales, service and parts teams safely and in full compliance with the latest government’s guidance.

Our Sales, Service and Parts departments are all COVID-19 compliant.

Appointments booked in advance over the phone or online.

Mercedes-Benz of Basingstoke Mercedes-Benz of Farnborough Mercedes-Benz of Newbury

Click & Collect is available for new & Approved Used vehicle purchases.

Mercedes-Benz of Dorchester Mercedes-Benz of Guildford Mercedes-Benz of Poole

All documentation is contactless and signed electronically.

Home delivery is available for sales, service and parts customers.

Mercedes-Benz of Epsom Mercedes-Benz of Hindhead Mercedes-Benz of Salisbury


NATWEST The future of work HEALTH The Freeze Response MOTORING VW ID.4


Jan | Feb 2022 #14

cont ent s 9






14 Levelling the playing field


UPFRONT All the latest bulletins from the world of business

16 A window to the future world of work

10 BIG STORY The future PM?


18 Best foot forward (with purpose) Part 2 20 The freeze response 24 MOTORING VW ID.4: It’s a nice drive






Our illustrious steering committee guide the editorial tone of the magazine

JULIE KAPSALIS CEO Chichester / Crawley College Group

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

EMMA LANE Director Allied Irish Bank


ABIGAIL OWEN Senior Corporate Counsel DMH Stallard

ALISON ADDY Community Officer Gatwick Airport

LOUISE PUNTER CEO Surrey Chambers of Commerce

MAXINE REID Partner Quantuma

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director The Platinum Media Group


MAARTEN HOFFMANN CEO/Publisher The Platinum Media Group

ALISON JONES Partner Kreston Reeves

FIONA SHAFER Managing Director MD HUB


FIONA GRAVES Events Director The Platinum Media Group

welc ome


As we reach the end of a second extraordinary year, I reflect on the temporary loss of our physical editions of Dynamic which I so loved and yet marvel at the increased readership and reach of our online version. Once the initial panic subsided, Dynamic has thrived and grown. Our loyal advertising sponsors continue to support us, and new advertisers are attracted by our wide circulation. Maarten assures me that the printed magazine will return as soon as possible, and I am looking forward to that. Also exciting is the news of the impending launch of the Dynamic Awards for Women in Business. I attended the Platinum Surrey Business Awards with hundreds of others in the wonderful airy and spacious venue at Denbies vineyard. It was a most uplifting experience demonstrating the incredible resilience and strength of the local business community.

It was also wonderful to wear an evening dress and heels again! Looking forward to 2022, led by our female Home Secretary, I am hoping that public sexual harassment becomes a crime. It may be a battle, but it must be won. No longer should men deliberately press up against women on public transport nor should wolf whistling be acceptable normal practice. Men must understand that uninvited whistling at a woman is not a compliment but a threat. Any behaviour that could make women uncomfortable in all public spaces should become a crime. And of course, I am looking forward to a return to normality in the way that we work, socialise, frankly just live, in the months ahead. Together we will defeat this awful ‘thing’ which has interrupted our lives so significantly, and enjoy better times ahead.


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.


FEMALE DIRECTORS ON THE CHARGE Women now make up the majority of independent directors at Britain’s largest companies, research has found. The largest 150 groups listed on the stock market now employ 442 female non-executive directors, compared with 422 men.

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

Behind every great woman, there’s probably a bunch of other great women Anon

CHILDCARE EMERGENCY Tackling childcare costs must be a priority for the executive, two business groups have said. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Women In Business NI said lack of investment in a childcare policy is “now an emergency”. Costs in Northern Ireland are the second highest of 24 European countries examined by Ulster University. Women in Business NI said it was a “major factor in a parent’s ability to work”. Roseann Kelly, from the organisation, said it could be unaffordable for parents to return to work because of the lack of subsidy, with childcare costs accounting for 37% of the average wage of a two-parent family.


STOP THE DRAIN Stress, anxiety, and uncertainty are just a few words that an ex-Headteacher has used to describe how many female teachers are currently feeling, and that the fear of not having a regular salary every month is the only reason why many more have not left the profession. Ex-Headteacher, Shazia Hussain, has worked as a teacher for over 20 years but decided during the pandemic that it was time to ‘get her life back.’ She says she knows ‘for a fact’ that many other teachers are exploring their options as morale continues to plummet, with thousands of exhausted teachers left complaining about feeling demoralised.


ALPHA MALE CULTURE Banks need to employ more women and pay them fairly. But men can also be put off by the City’s ‘alpha male’ culture, the sort of men who might be less inclined to land their employers with huge fines were they hired more often. In the wake of gender pay gap reporting showing men are employed on an hourly rate averaging an appalling 35% more than what women typically receive, and an even worse 52% when it comes to bonuses, MPs have called for the City to act on its ‘alpha male’ culture and prioritise flexible working over the destructive presenteeism that persists at many institutions.

Focus and tenacity: understand the market, people, competition and the opportunities Hilary Devey, CBE, businesswoman

SEX MATTERS New research released last week suggests that sex matters when it comes to surgery. Researchers examined the sex of the surgeon and the sex of the patient in over a million surgeries and found that female patients with male doctors fared slightly worse than any other combination. The reason for the disparity likely comes down to communication and relationship-building. The study, published in JAMA Surgery, examined 1,320,108 surgeries conducted on adults in Ontario, Canada from 2007 to 2019. The Researchers accounted for variables that might matter like the type of surgery, age of the patient and patient’s diagnosis, as well as information about the surgeon such as how long they have been practicing and the number of surgeries performed each week. All in all, female patients with male surgeons were 1.15 times more likely than female patients with female surgeons to have complications (including death) in the 30 days following the study. Men with male surgeons had similar outcomes to men with female surgeons.

KRESTON REEVES AWARD Emily Baldwin from accountancy firm Kreston Reeves has been named one of the UK’s top accountants by the prestigious industry publication Accountancy Age. She joins Accountancy Age’s under 35 2021 ranking. The ranking showcases and highlights the industry’s rising talent – those who are making great contributions to both their firms and fields. Emily was recognised for her personal purpose, her ability to “bring people together to stimulate innovation and growth’.



RECORD NUMBERS OF QCS A record number of women have been appointed at Queens Counsel in the latest round of promotions to the top rank of the barristers profession. Forty-five women were appointed to the senior level; among the names announced recently, nearly double the number seven years ago and accounting for about half the total of new silks in 2021. The high volume of female QCs will cheer Bar leaders, who have faced mounting pressure in recent years to address the issue of career progression for women. While the number of women entering the profession has reached parity with men, progress towards achieving equality at the senior rank has been slow. In total, 101 QCs were appointed in the latest round out of 274 applicants. The 45 successful women were drawn from a total of 72 applicants. In 2003 that figure was none. Among the new crop of female silks was Sarah Vine (pictured, left), a criminal law barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in cases of sexual offences, who last year was appointed as the first wellbeing director of the Criminal Bar Association. The profession has been battling for several years against entrenched perceptions that it remains the preserve of white men. Two years ago a survey for The Times found that more than half of barristers questioned said that there were problems with sexual harassment in the profession.

BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIERS The Government wants to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK by 50% by 2030 – the equivalent to nearly 600,000 businesses led by women. This target followed the 2019 Review of Female Entrepreneurship which reported on the barriers faced by women starting and growing businesses in the UK. The three key barriers to growth were identified as women being unaware of funding available; a need for more local mentoring and networking and greater family care support.

Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and the world’s youngest female billionaire

A MILION WOMEN RETIRE EARLY Almost one million women in the UK have retired early because of the menopause putting the country at risk of a pensions crisis, a government advisor has warned. Andy Biggs, the government’s business champion for older workers, said that wellpaid women who could contribute most to workplace pensions were leaving full-time employment in droves because of the impact of the menopause on their health and well-being. ‘Nearly four million women in the UK are aged



If you’re too comfortable it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track Susan Fales-Hill, author & broadcaster

GENDER HEALTH INEQUALITY A women’s health ambassador will be painted to help decide ‘gender health inequality’ in England after a review found that that four our of five women believed that they were not properly listened to by doctors and other health professionals. Maria Caulfield, the Minster for Women’s Health, said that some of the revelations were shocking and she called for ‘long-term, system-wide change’ after the study found that women’s health had been neglected for decades because of entrenched sexism in the NHS. The consultation, conducted by the Department of Health and Social Care from March to June after being delayed from 2020, took responses from 110,123 women.

WOMEN TURNING AWAY FROM THE TORIES Boris Johnson has a serious problem with women. Support for the PM among female voters has dropped off a cliff recently, with potentially disastrous consequences for the Conservative Party if he is still the leader at the best General Election.

It suggested a widespread belief that services for conditions that only affect women were of lower priority, and that taboos and stigma in women’s health could prevent people from seeking help and reinforce beliefs that debilitating symptoms were ‘normal’. The report showed that health inequality affected women differently according to age, with this in their 20s struggling mostly with gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, while the issues highlighted by those in their 30s were fertility and miscarriage. Women in their 40s and 50s were most affected by poor menopause care.

Women tend to be less tribal about their politics – about 15% are undecided about whom to vote for when the country next goes to the polls – and Johnson is haemorrhaging support amongst this politically crucial group. At the 2019 last General Election, the Tories had a clear advantage among women: 43% voted Conservative and 34% backed Labour. Now those figures have been reversed. The percentage of women telling YouGov that they would vote Conservative has dropped 11 points since October 2021.

between 45 and 55 and are in employment and women over the age of 50 are the fastest -growing segment of the workforce,” Briggs said. ‘Yet one in five women end up leaving the workplace as a result of some of the symptoms of the menopause,’ he added. Six out of ten women said that the menopause has a significant impact on them from a work perspective and yet it’s just never talked about or even acknowledged in many cases. For decades women going through the menopause were forced to do so in silence but the tide seems to be turning. The Countess of

Wessex is one of a growing number of highprofile figures to break the taboo of menopause by speaking publicly. She recently highlighted to affect the menopause can have on women’s careers. Companies have been urged to update their policies to avoid litigation because employment tribunals citing menopause have jumped in the past few years. Figures from HM Courts and Tribunals Service showed that menopause was cited in ten cases in the first six months of 2020, compared with five in the last nine months of 2018







THE FUTURE PM? By Maarten Hoffmann




At the age of 46, Liz Truss has become the UK’s second female foreign secretary – following a trail blazed previously only by Labour’s Margaret Beckett 15 years ago. In a relatively short time in Parliament, she has held a wide variety of posts, dealing with high-profile domestic and international issues. But her new role, one of the big three in any government, will bring a new level of scrutiny, as her predecessor Dominic Raab found when he faced widespread criticism for remaining on holiday during the Afghanistan crisis. Ms Truss, who has a supportive househusband and two daughters, has plenty of big issues in her Foreign Office intray, her promotion coming at a time when China, Russia, the UK’s place in a post-Brexit world and Iran’s nuclear programme are provoking many questions in diplomatic circles. Born in Oxford in 1975, Truss describes her parents, a mathematics professor and a nurse, as “left-wing”. It was not a characteristic inherited by their daughter. She moved to Paisley, in Scotland, aged four, and, in 1983 – in a hint of her future political proclivities played the part of Margaret Thatcher in a school dramatic production. The family then decamped to Leeds, where she attended a state secondary school. Truss went on to Oxford University, where she read philosophy, politics and economics and was active in student

Truss, far right, with her family on a CND rally


politics, initially for the Liberal Democrats and later for the Conservatives. Afterwards she worked as an accountant for Shell, and Cable & Wireless, but her heart was set on Westminster. Part of Conservative leader David Cameron’s ‘A-list’ of priority candidates, Truss was finally elected MP for the safe Tory seat of South West Norfolk in 2010, with a 13,140-vote majority. While in Parliament she co-authored a book called Britannia Unchained, which recommended stripping back state regulation to boost the UK’s position in the world, marking her out as a prominent advocate of free market policies on the Tory benches. In 2012, just over two years after becoming an MP, she entered government as an education minister. At the 2015 Conservative conference, she was mocked for giving a speech including an impassioned section on UK cheese imports, but this did not impede her progress. In a spoof-defying address, she reached for her inner Winston Churchill to condemn the level of cheese imports to the UK and suffered much ridicule. However, those that know her mention that this is water

She worked as an accountant for Shell, and Cable & Wireless, but her heart was set on Westminster

In her former role as Justice Secretary



Liz with her husband, Hugh O’Leary

Westminster wags suggested she had given up on her ambitions to be the prime minister and was making a pitch for Queen

off a duck’s back, as she is made of much sterner stuff. In 2016, she became justice secretary under Theresa May, the following year moving on to become chief secretary to the Treasury, a position at the heart of the government’s economic programme. After Boris Johnson became prime minister in 2019, Truss was moved to international trade secretary - a job which means meeting political and business leaders to promote UK PLC. As foreign secretary she will rack up just as many, if not more, air miles, with an awful lot more people watching her every move. Over the years many have written her off as a political force but she may yet have the last laugh. She now holds one of the great offices of state and is an unashamed frontrunner to succeed Boris Johnson - or an one commentator unkindly put it “Boris has set such a low bar that bottom feeders now look like shining stars” Critics say her record as international trade secretary is not quite as the spin would suggest, that the 63 trade deals she ‘secured’ were little more than rollover EU deals and the DIT was dubbed ‘the Department for Cut and

Paste’, and later, the Department for Instagramming Truss. Recently, however, the UK signed a £10 billion trade deal with Australia for which she was rightly credited with having laid the groundwork before Boris fly’s in, claiming it as his own. The new repackaged Liz Truss

It must be said to her credit that she is the youngest women ever to be appointed to cabinet, to becoming the first female lord chancellor and justice secretary in history and now the first female Conservative foreign secretary. A recent image of Truss in a tank drew unflattering ‘Thatcher-lite’ comparisons in the red rags, and her Christmas Instagram post was so grand that Westminster wags suggested she had given up on her ambitions to be the prime minister and was making a pitch for Queen. To make the final pitch for the top job, she needs to rapidly begin the separation from Boris, rather than ‘continuity Boris’ as is often mentioned. She will need to start disagreeing, standing her ground and suggesting alternatives to the PM’s plans - and she needs to be ready to resign on a principle and that is what will launch her campaign to replace Boris. There is a real appetite for another female PM - launched by Thatcher, damaged by May and ready for the next one to really show the value of a women in the top job. My advice for her - whatever you do, DON’T DANCE.


Samantha Kaye from Wellesley Wealth Advisory discusses how you can give your daughters and granddaughters the tools they need to achieve an equal footing in adulthood

LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD There’s no avoiding it – the girls in your family will face financial challenges boys won’t. Our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and goddaughters therefore need a leg up – not to set them ahead, but to put them on an equal footing. The turn of the year is therefore the perfect opportunity to talk money with your daughters and granddaughters. Here’s what you can do!

likely to retire with a 40.3% smaller pension pot than the average man’s.1 Many of these challenges are the result of long-standing social attitudes that are embedded in our society. As time goes on, we’re seeing a gradual shift in mindsets, and I hope to see even more progress in terms of gender equality. But in the meantime, there’s still plenty we can do to support our younger female members of the family!



We’re all aware of the gender pay gap, but it’s only part of the picture. Having babies, raising children, running a household and caring for older family members can further hinder women’s earning, saving and investing potential, meaning that women are

The key is to not only make our daughters and granddaughters aware of the challenges, but to give them the tools to beat them, too


Of course, we must teach our daughters they can change the world if they want to, but even if they have more modest aspirations, we can still teach them how to thrive in the one we currently live in. It all comes down to financial education. With the right savings and investment strategy, women can start to overcome the hurdles in their path. Taking time out to raise a family doesn’t have to mean your pension takes a hit if you plan for it. Working part-time doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice career progression. The key is to not only make our daughters and granddaughters aware of the challenges, but to give them the tools to beat them, too.




Financial education in schools can be inconsistent, so the onus is very much on families to equip the next generation with the knowledge and skills to manage their day-to-day finances. Children can learn about budgeting by helping with the weekly shop or planning an outing, and about the benefits of saving with their own cash account.


Finally – and perhaps most importantly – financially empower your daughters. In a world where it’s the norm for women to be financially disadvantaged, help them feel like they’re in control of their finances and give them the confidence to ask for that promotion or pay rise at work. That sounds like a good new year’s resolution to me! Not sure how to approach the subject of money with your daughter or granddaughter? Let’s start a conversation today. Sources: 1 Achieving Gender Equality in Pensions, Prospect 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. 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 T: 01444 849809



The NatWest Future Businesses Report looks at trends that could revolutionise how we work and live in the next 15 years

A WINDOW TO THE FUTURE WORLD OF WORK Robot repair shops, bug burger bars and smart-tech VR travel agents could be the small businesses of the future, according to the forecasts of a new report released recently that charts how we could live and work in the next 15 years. In the near future, travel agents could be letting holidaymakers ‘trybefore-you-fly’ through virtual reality experiences and the daily commute could take place in high-speed personal travel pods to beat city congestion.


Protein-rich insects served by ‘bug burger bars’ are predicted to become the fast foods of choice with fried locust or a greasy worm burger replacing the late-night kebab, while AI fashion boutiques could use technology to design perfectly madeto-measure clothes. These are the ground-breaking predictions of the NatWest Future Businesses Report, authored by leading futurist Dr Ian Pearson, consumer business guru Kate Hardcastle MBE, Shivvy Jervis,

founder of FutureScape248 – the award-winning human-centred innovation lab – and futurist and author Tom Cheesewright. NatWest, the UK’s biggest supporter of small businesses, commissioned the report to discover the small businesses and start-ups we could expect to see within the next 15 years. The fascinating visions of Britain in 2036 were put to a poll of 2,000 Brits, who were asked to choose which business predictions they would most like to see become reality.


Dream Bigger programme in schools encouraging young people to explore entrepreneurial mindset; our fully funded Business Builder initiative for early-stage entrepreneurs; and our Entrepreneur Accelerator hubs for high growth, green and diverse businesses, our vision is to help more companies start, scale and succeed. “At NatWest, we champion the

Protein-rich insects served by ‘bug burger bars’ are predicted to become the fast food of choice

Robot rental and repair shops (53%), servicing and providing droids and robots used to carry out household chores, is the service forecast to be on offer that Brits most want to become a reality. Robotics is also the industry Brits would most like a job in in future, with over half of those polled (52%) saying they would like to work with robots in the year 2036. Over half of Brits (56%) agree that helping the environment via sustainable initiatives is the single most important factor when it comes to supporting new businesses. Almost two thirds (64%) of Brits said their jobs would need to adapt within the next 10-15 years to keep up with new developments, but only 4% said that they thought their job would become totally obsolete. Almost all Brits polled (94%) agreed that workers are likely to need a more diverse skill set to work in the businesses of the future. Andrew Harrison, Managing Director for Business Banking at NatWest, said: “As this landscape evolves, NatWest continues to be the biggest supporter of UK small business at all stages of development. From our

potential of businesses that build tomorrow. The findings from our report demonstrate that many exciting opportunities lie ahead for those with the passion and drive to succeed.” Leading Futurist Dr Ian Pearson, one of the authors of the NatWest Future Businesses Report, said: “The Report helps to paint a picture of what changes we may see in the business environment over the next 15 years. What was clear to all of us was how a greater interaction with technology is

going to revolutionise businesses and trans-form almost all industries. Many of the future businesses we predicted build on technologies that are often already in development, so it won’t be long until some of these futuristicsounding businesses start appearing on our high streets and business parks. “One thing the panel all agreed on is this is not the end of our high streets, which will thrive if businesses can offer good enough reasons to go there. Long term, more than 50% of retail will still be in high street shops with predictions like AI tailoring and insect food outlets showing how businesses could adapt in future.” Contributors to the report also included Barrie Davison, National Sector Head for Healthcare and Education, David Scott, head of retail and leisure, Roddy McLean, director of agriculture, Ian Burrow, head of agriculture and renewable energy, Neil Bellamy, NatWest’s head of technology, media and telecoms and Richard Hill, head of manufacturing and automotive.



BEST FOOT FORWARD (with purpose) Part 2

By Alison Jones, Partner, Kreston Reeves


As I wrote in the first part of this article in the last edition, having a clear purpose in life and through your business activities is increasingly important. Customers and clients are placing an increasing value on why a business exists, not just what it does. Many of you might already have a clear purpose – either individually or as a business. Here at Kreston Reeves, we have embraced business purpose and my own is “To help people maximise potential and achieve their goals”. I’d be interested to hear what your purpose is.


It does add value to a business and its products and services. It also provides focus and energy. It helps a business and individuals to be forward thinking and not just to focus on the bottom line – although that is important for many reasons. Having purpose can also provide clarity and focus in stormy times, such as those we continue to weather due to Covid, and also for what else lies ahead on the horizon, and climate change is surely the biggest challenge we collectively face?


Businesses with purpose have the power to change and to change faster

Having purpose means you don’t just concentrate on the now but you also look and plan ahead for the future and the impact you can make. I wonder if Queen Elizabeth II had a clear purpose when she took the throne 70 years ago? As we look ahead to the Platinum Jubilee year in 2022, I can’t help but think that the Queen must have felt daunted and perhaps even overwhelmed at what lay ahead for her and her family. Luckily, she was not alone and we have recently learnt much more about the support Prince Phillip provided her. I’d like to think she has always had the bigger picture in mind, and that is what all business owners should focus on, the bigger picture, the longer term, and to not be afraid of asking for advice. Business purpose has never been more important and it is critical to achieving change, and if following COP26 we all want and need to initiate great changes, then it must be central to everything a business does going forwards. Businesses with purpose have the power to change and to change faster. They are also more likely to have

more engaged employees and strong leadership teams. Businesses of course still need to be responsible to their shareholders and to meet their goals, but in doing so they also need to balance those needs of their customers and clients, of their employees and wider society. Business purpose needs to clearly link to your business strategy, as it will influence day to day and longer term decision making. It also helps to provide you and your team with a reason to get up in the morning, reasons to come to work and reasons to look ahead and to the future with positivity. If you are struggling to identify your individual or business purpose, look at which achievements over the last 18 months make you proudest.

Can this be distilled down into a few words to reflect your mindset and intentions going forwards? If you tell people about your purpose, does it energise, enthuse, and excite them to come on the journey with you and ultimately, will it influence decision making and behaviour going forwards, whatever is on the horizon? Having purpose, having strength will provide the glue, the basics, the foundations to help hold everything together, even when the journey is a bumpy one. If you are struggling for inspiration here are some of the purpose statements of some well-loved brands and businesses: ◗ Lego – To inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow ◗ Ikea – To create a better everyday life for the many people ◗ Airbnb – We help people to belong anywhere ◗ Tesla – We exist to accelerate the planet’s transition to sustainable transport ◗ Patagonia – Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

If you would like to discuss the challenges and opportunities that your business is facing, please get in touch. As I mentioned earlier, my purpose is to help you achieve your goals and I would love to hear all about yours and help shape your future. ◗ Alison Jones is Partner at Kreston Reeves T: 01273 811000 E: shapingyourfuture


Do you feel like crawling under the covers and ‘playing possum’ these days? You’re not the only one – The Freeze Response has crept up on many. By Tess de Klerk

THE FREEZE RESPONSE Not as well known as the fight or flight responses, the freeze response is becoming more common and ingrained in society (especially in younger people) due to the perceived lack of control we have over everyday events. Think Covid rules coming and going without our slightest input, as one example. A feeling of powerlessness induces freezing; fight or flight both require immediate energy and power whereas freezing comes from a feeling of helplessness and fear which leaves the person unable to tap into the biological systems designed to assist them in either fighting or fleeing.


FREEZE RESPONSES ◗ Restricted breathing or holding the breath ◗ Feeling tense and stuck in some part of the body, commonly in the solar plexus region ◗ Mind becomes muddled or blank ◗ Inability to make decisions ◗ Feeling cold/frozen, numb ◗ Sense of stiffness and heaviness, sometimes limpness (the ‘flop’ response) ◗ Feeling of fatigue washing over body and mind ◗ Disassociating from problems by ignoring them, for example by binge-watching ◗ Disassociating from emotions


Clearly freezing in response to a threat might seem effective in nature as seen with possums “playing dead” in the face of danger but in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, or take any action of self-preservation or defence. Most people would have experienced a degree of freezing in times of extreme shock and the benefits of this reaction lie in slowing down and ‘preserving’ but if this reaction becomes the go-to stress response then the brain is being programmed to decide that it cannot take on a threat nor escape from a threat. Of course, in our modern lives we rarely face real threats that can lead to imminent death as an animal does when being hunted by prey. No, our threats are much more subtle and are mostly presenting as problems and challenges for which we need to find solutions – not freeze and disassociate and perhaps end up binge-watching instead of resolving our problems. Interestingly, reports from psychologists are suggesting that many people who would previously routinely have reacted by either fight or flight in the face of challenges are now finding themselves freezing,

The freeze response is becoming more common and ingrained in society due to the perceived lack of control we have over everyday events avoiding and dissociating. Can-do believes have lost hope and become can’t-do believes which gnaw away at people’s self-esteem. It was widely accepted that our automatic stress responses are formed in childhood and that childhood trauma or PTSD at any time in life is the most obvious precursor for the freeze response but now it seems that prolonged periods of feelings of powerlessness are inducing this response too. Whatever the reason, regularly reacting to stress with the freeze response risks programming the brain over time to become less and less resilient in dealing with stress. Unfortunately we can’t just ‘decide’ to stop it – it is an automatic response from the nervous system - but we can build resilience in many ways such as:

SELF-CARE IN ALL ITS FORMS ◗ Talking with a therapist or trusted loved one. Having a soundboard helps to put things into perspective. ◗ Slowing breathing: The stress response causes fast, shallow breathing. People can slow this down with breathing techniques. For example, diaphragmatic breathing can lead to a quieting or reversal of the stress response. ◗ Verbal self-affirmations such as “you are safe” ◗ Practising mindfulness. The RAIN process in particular is very effective in dealing with overwhelming emotions.




RAIN This fantastic mindfulness technique Buddhist tradition, and modified by Tara Brach, focuses on radical acceptance and compassion. It can be practised as a meditation or simply during a few minutes of awareness.

R: stands for RECOGNISE Take a moment to recognize that strong emotion is present. Recognise and name whatever feeling is predominant at that moment, for example, “I feel overwhelmed”. These emotions should be treated without judgement as good or bad, providing you with the realisation “oh, so that’s what I am feeling.” Often enough, this step alone can provide some relief in the form of knowing exactly what’s going on in your own mind.

A: stands for ALLOW & ACCEPT Allowing means to ‘let it be as it is.’ It is the acknowledgement and acceptance of your present moment reality. Allowing doesn’t mean that we have to like the situation but it does mean that we fully accept the difficult emotions instead of suppressing them. The reason this is so important is because we often have the unconscious impulse to push away, suppress or ignore difficult emotions which can lead to inner struggles which in turn create more suffering and tension. Allow and accept your emotions without judgement and criticism – it is okay to just let it be.



I: stands for INVESTIGATE Now that you have recognized and allowed this emotion you can choose to investigate it. You may not always feel you need the “I” step as sometimes just the recognition and acceptance is enough. At other times you may feel naturally drawn to investigate. Approach your thoughts with an attitude of curiosity and compassion by mentally enquiring with questions such as “Why do I feel the way I do?” “Are there events that happened ahead of the emotion that might have influenced it?” “Are there physiological factors (such as not getting enough sleep) that are affecting the emotion?” The single most valuable question is to ask the part of you that feels most vulnerable: “What do I really need right now?” Is it love? Acceptance? Forgiveness? Feeling accompanied? Feeling embraced? Feeling safe? These questions can help us come into wiser relationships with our emotions and thoughts.

N: stands for NURTURE

This step is all about learning to be kind to yourself and offering yourself what is needed. Offering yourself what you recognised you need during the last step. It might be acceptance, forgiveness generosity or sympathy. It is not self-pity; rather, it is a recognition and acceptance of your humanness, your imperfection, and your suffering. It is empathising with yourself the way you might with your best friend. You might say “It is okay to feel overwhelmed, you’re only human and you have a lot on your plate”. Or, you can imagine that affirmation coming from someone else — a loved one, a spiritual figure. The source doesn’t matter as long as it’s nurturing. In her book, Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach puts it this way: “Instead of resisting our feelings of fear or grief, we embrace our pain with the kindness of a mother holding her child.”

We each have the conditioning to live for long stretches of time imprisoned by a sense of deficiency, cut off from realising our intrinsic intelligence, aliveness, and love. The greatest blessing we can give ourselves is to recognise the pain of this trance, and regularly offer a cleansing rain of self-compassion to our awakening hearts Tara Brach



VW ID.4: It’s a nice drive It won’t set the earth on fire but it might significantly contribute towards saving it. By Motoring Editor, Fiona Shafer, MD of MDHUB Let’s start with some particularly good news. The VW ID.4 is the least “range anxiety” inducing electric car I have driven to date. In my experience, this is a hugely significant and important factor when considering buying an electric car as it saves you being distracted from the overall driving experience. It further reduces both your heart rate from going

off the scale and the rising sense of panic when driving a very thirsty, highperformance EV whilst simultaneously watching the miles being devoured every time you turn on the air con or heating. So, a massive shout out to the very talented experts at VW who I have always been very fond of as I love their considered innovation and build quality, including the reassuringly solid but gentle sound when closing the doors. It’s a sentiment that may seem rather sad to some but gives me all manner of joy and reassurance when purchasing and driving them. No surprise then that VW have in fact been working on all electric vehicles since 1972 when they produced the first T2 Camper –

Described in one of its many reviews as “don’t expect too much in the way of driving enjoyment” which I thought was very fair







dubbed the Elektro Transporter. In 1977 it went on sale to the public under the memorable slogan “Zero litres per 100 kilometres”. I like that. Rather than regale you with fast paced and exciting motoring adventures across Sussex this time round, this award-winning ID.4 urban SUV commanded my attention enough to really look into some different and broader aspects of what might appeal to a potential purchaser. I will start by saying that I felt that this is quite a conservative car. It was far better described in one of its many reviews as “don’t expect too much in the way of driving enjoyment” – which I thought was very fair and a good way to have one’s expectations met in advance. Please don’t be put off by this statement as this is a nicely economical, very secure and understated, no nonsense family car which will appeal to many, especially those of us who are thinking of taking an immediate leap over to an EV. It has outstanding safety credentials receiving a full 5-star rating when crash tested by Euro NAP but also gained Advanced status which is a mark of a car’s superior on board safety technology. It gained 93% score for adult protection, 89% for children and 85% for the car’s safety systems – adaptive

◗ Ridiculously easy to drive. ◗ It also does not “feel” like an electric car. ◗ Great turning circle akin to that of a smaller car. ◗ It is carbon neutral at the point it is handed over to you. ◗ Very smart upholstery and interior. ◗ Great family car. ◗ Mammoth boot space. ◗ Good acceleration but for those of you requiring extra pace the GTX version (0 – 62 mph in 6.2 seconds) – by comparison Tesla’s Model 3 is quicker and cheaper. ◗ Electric range 319 miles. ◗ Charge time from 0 – 100%: AC3 11kw - 7 hours 30 minutes. DC3 100Kw – 38 minutes. AC1 – phase 7.2 kw – 12 hours 40 minutes. ◗ We Charge App for charging - finds available charging stations nearby, plans routes with automatic charging stop recommendations and automatically pays via app or charging card.


◗ Rocker switch to control driving modes is positioned directly behind the steering wheel and therefore obscured from view – takes a bit of getting used to. This was a big negative and it seemed as if a rogue car designer from another company had snuck into the factory during the early hours of the design process to be deliberately mischievous. ◗ A very heavy boot door – which was not electric, and you get very dirty hands trying to locate the catch. ◗ Slim arm rests that you pull down on the front seats, which reminded me of going on a very uncomfortable economical Air flight, R*N AR. ◗ Brakes not quite as responsive as I was expecting. ◗ No obvious notification that the EV is on or off– all rather irritating and disconcerting – until you are actually get out of the vehicle and then it bids you farewell with lights and signals.

8/10 I think that a lot of very happy memories, holidays and family moments, will be taken in this car.

cruise control, a city emergency braking system and a driver fatigue alert system. It comes with a 3-year warranty plus breakdown cover for ID models and


the battery pack comes with its own 8-year/100,000-mile cover. Servicing is after 18,000 miles or 24 months or whatever comes first. Having seen many people jump out of the way of EV’s as they stealthily pass by, a big clarion call out that this ID.4 can also be heard a little more easily by pedestrians than other EV models through artificially generated vehicle noise. The Acoustic Vehicle Alerting system (AVAS) – sounds when starting up at speeds up to 30km/h and when reversing. Hooray!

Model tested: VW ID.4 Power: 201 bhp Battery: 77kWh Speed: 0-60mph 8.2 secs Top: 112 mph Range: 310 miles (quoted) Price from: £34,995



Announcing the Dynamic Awards 2022 THE awards for women in business JUNE 2ND 2022 The Grand Brighton