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theedge News 4 Liverpool University IT Training

10

Legal Matters

13

The Workspace Edition

14

Outlook: Koogar

20

For Living

21

Christmas Shortlist

22

Colour Splash

24

Charity News

26

SEO 29 Elaine Owen

30

Adopt a Charity for 2013

32

A history of personal computing 36 Outlook: Wirral Fire

38

Taxman no Scrooge at Christmas 39 Commercial Kitchen Directory

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The business of being good

43

Paul Davies

44

A good place to do business

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Networking Diary

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Classifieds 47 A Let’s Go! Publication Issue Nine Editor Barry Bragg Publisher Melissa Bragg Design & Production Neil Rees for SunriseDP (www.sunrisedp.co.uk) Sales Executive Steve Lomas 0151 203 2115 Creative Assistant Alex Ramsey Administrator Ami-Lee Price Published by Let’s Go! Publishing Limited. With kind thanks to our contributors. To advertise in future issues email melissa@theedgewirral.co.uk or telephone (0151) 200 7422. To contribute email editor@theedgewirral.co.uk. © Copyright Let’s Go! Publishing Limited 2012 No part of this publication may be reproduced, either in part or as a whole, including artwork, without prior written consent. All details are correct at time of publication. The editor of The Edge has consulted sources believed to be reliable in their efforts to provide information that is accurate and true at the time of publication. The views expressed in this publication are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of Let’s Go! Publishing Ltd.

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ello and welcome to issue 9 of The Edge which puts the workspace in the spotlight and underlines the importance to your business of having the right working environment. Your workspace is the physical manifestation of your business and it impacts on everything you do. Productivity, image, recruitment, staff retention, job satisfaction, health and safety and customer loyalty can all be positively affected by improved working conditions. 2013 is almost upon us and what better time than the New Year to begin some of those long overdue workspace improvements. In the most extreme cases this may mean moving premises or expanding upwards or outwards from your existing place of work or getting the interior designers to give you a total office refit. Even where budgets are constrained there are lots of cost effective ways of showing some TLC to your workplace, staff and customers. New carpets, furnishings, shelving, lighting, washrooms or even just a lick of paint, a spring clean and some general maintenance can have a positive impact on your working experience. From a collective viewpoint I think we would all agree that Wirral provides us all with a special working environment. As we wait to see the outcome of the latest range of enforced Council cutbacks, we can take comfort from the encouraging statistics which show Wirral is bucking national and regional trends on business start ups and job creation. Much of this is down to the continued good work of Invest Wirral and we should all hope that this is allowed to continue unhindered. A strong, well supported business sector is essential to seeing us through these tough economic times. On a lighter note, the Christmas season is almost upon us and plans are being made to enjoy the festive celebrations. Please accept the best wishes of all the team at the Edge. It’s been a pleasure working with you again this year and we look forward to meeting the challenges ahead together in the year to come.

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theedge

For enquiries and comments email news@theedgewirral.co.uk tweet @theedgewirral web www.theedgewirral.co.uk or find us on facebook

Progress to Excellence SANDRA Kirkham is back leading her Wirral-based, national training company under its new name Progress to Excellence. Previously known as NVQ Training & Consultancy Services, the business became one of the fastest growing in the region. Sandra and her central team at the Egerton House headquarters

Now in operational control as managing director Sandra is again driving the delivery of flexible in-house training across England and Scotland. From Level 2 Apprenticeships, progressing through to Level 5 awards in the health and social care sector as well as business and management training for BOTH public and private sector organisations. From headquarters at Egerton House, Tower Quays, she and her team are looking forward to growth, partnership and acquisition. Sandra said: “I am delighted to be back in operational control of Progress to Excellence at an important time in the development of the business. “The company name change co-incides with our new remit and new investment to secure further growth.”

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Call for employers to play bigger role in the classroom

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chool teachers and parents are calling for UK employers to increase their involvement in education by playing a greater role in advising and providing work experience for young people. According to research published today by the Association of Colleges, 93% of school teachers want pupils to have more access to employers and businesses while in education. The research found that both school teachers and parents admitted struggling to provide career advice. Almost half of those school teachers surveyed said they had given a pupil bad or uninformed advice in the past, while 82% say they don’t feel they have the appropriate knowledge to advise pupils on careers. One fifth of parents (20%) feel out of depth advising their children about careers, and 32% say they only feel comfortable talking about jobs which are familiar. The research claims that 34% of parents

would like their own employer to offer work experience to their child. And 82% of parents believe work experience is essential in helping young people develop the skills needed in the work place. It also revealed a mismatch in what parent and school teachers believe employers want from young recruits. Both parents and teachers ranked work and life experience low on a list of attributes they believe most important to employers recruiting from education. However, the research claims this actually tops the list of qualities employers feel is most lacking in young recruits. Joy Mercer, director of policy at association of colleges, said: “Whether it’s providing more work experience placements, getting involved in the shaping of the curriculum or just having more presence in the classroom, employers should be working hand in hand with educators to better prepare young people for employment and improve their job prospects.”

Historic building brought back to life for Insurers

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horelines, a former 19th century train shed and former home to Littlewoods Pools has been brought back to life under a £3 million refurbishment programme lead by property consultants, Smith and Sons. The 35,000 square foot building has been unoccupied for several years and the principal space has been taken by international insurance brokers, MD Insurance, who will re-locate their global head office to Wirral. The remaining 10% of the building will be let separately as a single unit of circa 3,500 sq ft. presenting a small to medium size enterprise with an excellent commercial opportunity. Owners, Merseyside Estates have appointed Smith and Sons to let the accommodation and Sean Seery, Partner at Smith and Sons said: “Shore Lines sits at the heart of the Wirral Waterfront and is historically important. To be part of the team that brought this amazing building back to life is fantastic. It is a redevelopment on a grand scale and the exciting plans by MD Insurance Brokers, sees a market leader locating here and helping to showcase Wirral as an excellent business location.”


news

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lans for a new international golf resort on land next to Royal Liverpool Golf Course have been resurrected. Wirral Council first went public with the plan in 2008, in a bid to attract the attention of developers. With the onset of recession the plan was shelved but the authority has used the Women’s British Open championships at Royal Liverpool to showcase the plans again to the world’s golfing media. The vision comprises a 285-acre development on land off Carr Lane in Hoylake. It would have a championship golf course, five-star hotel, conference rooms, spa and complementary outdoor facilities linking to existing activities including nearby watersports. Wirral Council already owns 160 acres of the identified land with the remainder controlled by a collection of individual landowners. Assessments have already been conducted on the landscape,

wildlife and biodiversity, ground conditions, planning policies and commercial considerations. The council said it was now hoping to speak to potential developers again which might be interested in building the international golf resort. Council deputy leader Cllr Ann McLachlan said: “Tourism plays a major part in Wirral’s economy and it is growing. This growth has been aided by an improvement in the quality of our tourism businesses, particularly since we hosted The Open Championship in 2006. We believe the time is now right to speak to potential developers who would be interested in taking our tourism offer to another level. Although this is just a vision at present, we would like to find out what interest there is out there to bring a project of this scale forward.”

Cammell Laird apprentice wins National welding competition

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Merseyside apprentice has scooped the top prize in one of the UK’s toughest engineering competitions, The Apprentice Welders’ Competition 2012. Ben Birch aged 22 from Oxton works for Cammell Laird and is a student at Maritime and Engineering College North West (MECNW). The UK Apprentice Welder competition involves more than 40 Further Education and Training Colleges across Great Britain. A final nine competitors, three each from England, Scotland and Wales, completed some complex welding tests which saw local apprentice Ben sweep to victory. Ben said: “I’m delighted to have won this award. I want to use it as a springboard to further my career. I would like to thank Cammell Laird, MECNW and all my tutors who have helped me so much.” Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret congratulated Ben on his ‘tremendous achievement’. “This is an impressive performance from Ben who has represented the company exceptionally well in this national competition. His achievement is testament to the calibre of teaching and training he is receiving from Cammell Laird and

our partners MECNW. Cammell Laird has worked very hard over the last few years with MECNW to implement a new rigorous programme of training for apprentices. Youngsters like Ben show the bright, energetic young talent that is coming through the system and this is exactly what our industry needs. It is tremendous for us and Ben’s tutors to see him perform so well and to see the standards we set being recognised at a national level.”

Foundation ball a huge success The Candice Colley Foundation would like to extend a huge thank you to all who attended, donated or supported their Autumn Ball on 13th October at Thornton Hall. The total amount raised is still to be confirmed but they expect it to total more than £10,000. The Foundation is a small charity launched in memory of 23 year old Candice who lost her 4 year battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in December 2010. For more information please visit www.candicecolley.co.uk.

£5m of funding to attract investment Wirral Council has secured funding to attract huge new investment opportunities to the borough. The Investment Strategy Team has secured £5 million of funding from the Regional Growth Fund to stimulate sustainable growth across the country. Funds will allow infrastructure improvements to be made to port areas for the storage and assembly of wind turbines, for offshore wind developments, creating local employment opportunities. Funding will also allow Wirral Council to offer targeted grants, encouraging inward investment and enabling companies to diversify into manufacturing key supply chain components. In 2011, Wirral Council unsuccessfully applied to the government’s £200m technology and innovation fund to develop a national hub for offshore renewable energy. This year’s successful bid aims to place the borough at the forefront of renewable energy enterprise, which is a rapidly growing multi-billion pound industry. John Syvret CBE, Chief Executive Officer of Cammell Laird, said: “I was delighted to hear the important news that Wirral Council has been successful in its Regional Growth Fund Bid. The emerging Offshore Wind Sector is very much a target market of Cammell Laird as it provides massive opportunities for growth in its business, which will undoubtedly create new job opportunities both within the core business and throughout our supply chain. www.theedgewirral.co.uk | 5


news

Wirral Met Partnership gets jobless back to work

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unique partnership with Wirral Metropolitan College is helping to get the borough’s jobless back into work. Dozens of local unemployed people are now on new career paths – thanks to the initiative between the college, JobCentre Plus and Wirral employers. The sector-based work academy initiative is not only placing people in real jobs but also is providing employers with “skilled up” staff. During a two-week pre-employment programme at Wirral Met’s Learning Shop in the Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead, learners are tutored in job skills which include CV writing and how to present themselves in the workplace. Tracey Sheriff, the college’s employability skills sector manager, explained: “The partnership works by local employers identifying vacancies with JobCentre Plus and Wirral Met providing the two-week training for selected candidates. Our part of the programme is that we give the candidates structured training and make them fit for the jobs being offered. The employers have to commit to giving everyone an interview. For their part, the candidates have to commit to the fortnight by doing everything required of them. It’s a lot of hard work but fun too for everyone on the programme. We’ve had some great successes with the majority of candidates being recruited. Also, the employers love it as one of the things we encourage them to do is come in and take part in the training. That way, they can get to know people on the course before they give them their interviews.” Among the local employers who have taken on full-time staff as a result of the programme are Wirral’s Light Cinema, Grosvenor Casino and the Hungry Horse pub. Part of the programme involves the candidates researching the businesses where they might end up working and taking part in a Dragons’ Den workshop where they can get involved in generating ideas for success in the workplace. Di Fitch, Wirral Met’s enterprise co-ordinator, who is also involved in the programme and runs the Dragons’ Den, added: “We have been so proud of the people who have taken part in the programme and the fact that their training has led them to being given real jobs.”

Greyhound Chromatography Launch Chemical Ecommerce Website

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eading supplier of specialist laboratory and chromatography supplies, Greyhound Chromatography, has launched its new ecommerce website. The website has been designed to showcase the company’s 30,000 plus product range and also to provide a search facility which enables customers to search for chemicals based on a series of scientific nomenclature. Some chemicals have four or five different names across the world so a highly intelligent and thorough search facility was central to its success. Paul Massie, Managing Director of Greyhound said: Quote: “We are delighted with the new website. Due to our increasing international trade a vibrant and comprehensive website is a must. Glow New Media, based in Liverpool, supplied exactly what was needed, a fabulous site that we have total control of as it grows. With access to over 350,000 products; including over 25,000 Reference Standards Greyhound’s website is fast becoming the industry’s first stop for Chromatography supplies”. The website can be viewed at www. greyhoundchrom.com.

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Msoft plots expansion as it heads for record year

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eading healthcare technology company MSoft is putting in place an acquisition strategy after revealing it is on course to more than double turnover this year. MSoft eSolutions will increase revenues from £1million to over £2.2million in the current financial year. The Wirral based company has also strengthened its senior management team by recruiting Paul Coburn as Finance Director and promoting Robert Fawcett to the role of Operations Director. Coburn will work closely with Managing Director Matt McAlister developing and implementing an acquisition strategy for the business. Fawcett, who has been promoted after six years with the company, will now help to appoint two new sales managers who will report to him. Eastham-based MSoft has two main divisions to its business. Firstly, the company provides health trusts with its innovative blood-tracking software, Bloodhound, enabling positive identification of users and patients and in depth auditing of all bloods across each and every stage of the transfusion process - to help get the right blood into the right patient.

Sustainable Travel Grants

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irral Council is offering a free service to help East Wirral businesses develop plans to help staff travelling on sustainable transport. Their dedicated team are able to work on a one to one basis for the equivalent of 3 working days and aim to do all the ground work developing a bespoke plan and supporting its implementation. The team will undertake site audits and staff surveys to discover how your staff are currently travelling to work and what facilities are currently in place. This will enable your business to decide on the measures that will help your business. They can also help you promote the measures and help implement them within your workplace. This can help your business address transport problems around your site; help address corporate & social responsibility, environmental credibility or community relations. It can help develop a healthier work force, develop an employee benefit package, reduce the need for car parking, reduce the need for travel or make financial savings. A workplace improvement grant is available to businesses for projects that improve access to workplaces by sustainable transport. Projects could include cycle parking or the offer of a free trial public transport pass for staff. Employers could be eligible for a grant of up to £2,500. For more details contact Colin Irlam on 0151-606-2366 or e-mail colinirlam@wirral.gov.uk


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news

Industrial giant invests in Wirral

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major Indian business has bought a Wirral-based insulation specialist with plans to significantly expand its operations. Mumbai-based Indsur Group, a global leader in manufacturing insulator castings for power infrastructure, has acquired Bidston’s Nevron Eurotherm Insulation Ltd, which provides insulation and metal cladding solutions, in an all cash deal. Officers from Wirral Council have been liaising with Indsur Group Directors since their meeting during a visit to India in July of this year. Invest Wirral, Wirral Council’s business support team, has provided support to Nevron for several years and will continue to offer proactive support to the new management in its expansion plans. Leader of Wirral Council Phil Davies said: “This is a major investment from an industrial giant operating on the world stage, and a huge coup for Wirral. Indsur Group’s purchase of Nevron provides a significant opportunity for expansion, opening up markets in many European countries, and underlining the benefits that our engagement with emerging economies can have for Wirral’s growth. Seeking inward investment in Wirral businesses is a key facet of our award-winning Investment Strategy, which is delivering tangible results for Wirral’s communities.”

New plans for Army Reserve concerns SMEs

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lans to double the size of the UK’s reserve force to compensate for cuts to the regular army have angered SMEs. Philip Hammond unveiled the Green Paper Future Reserves 2020, which included plans to increase the number of reservists from 15,000 to 30,000 after regular army numbers have been slashed by 20,000. The proposals, which include allowing reserve soldiers to take up to 40 days a year, have been criticised by business groups. Jim Murphy, Labour’s shadow defence secretary, said: “Without business on side, increased reservist numbers will falter. Having staff away for 40 days a year and one year in five is a significant ask which large companies may be able to absorb but which will be tough for SMEs. At a difficult time for many companies, employers must be given the support they need when their workers serve on reserve duty. Mike Cherry of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We have some concerns about the extended time a staff member could be away from the business - for the smallest of firms this could make it more difficult to be supportive of their reservists. There also needs to be a clear line of responsibility for who is accountable if the reservist is injured while on duty.”

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training

IT Training Academy expands CPD courses for Industry The following are now available:

Configuring Windows 8 Course This three-day course provides training and hands-on experience of installing, upgrading, and migrating to the Windows 7 client operating system. It is aimed at IT professionals who wish to expand and enhance their knowledge and technical skills with Windows 7 client and networks, lunch and refreshments are included.

Microsoft Office Specialist Microsoft Office (Outlook/Access/PowerPoint/Word & Excel) is used by businesses on a day-to-day basis. However, there are numerous features within Microsoft Office that have the potential to improve the processes and therefore efficiency of a business, that are not being utilised. This course allows delegates to gain a globally recognised standard for demonstrating desktop skills in each of the Microsoft Office applications. Certification is available as core or advanced level courses, depending on what is required. Each candidate will have an initial assessment so that training can be tailored to support any areas that need strengthening or fill any knowledge gaps.

Microsoft Certified Professional

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he University of Liverpool IT Training Academy is expanding its provision to local businesses and the wider community with an exciting range of software training. The university boasts great facilities for undergraduates to hone their Microsoft software skills with a view to improving practical awareness of office based programmes and enhancing their employability. Following the launch of the IT Academy, these facilities are now also available to companies and private individuals as part of the University’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) provision. Engaging in CPD is vital for staff at all levels of an organisation and is an essential aid to maintaining an up to the minute skill set in a fast changing, competitive work environment. Both employees and employers will benefit from the University’s range of learning options and customised programmes which feature the latest subject knowledge. Modules included within the programme cover Microsoft Database Services, Windows server, Windows client, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Share point. Courses are priced per module, with modules starting from £75, and delegates can opt for as many or as few modules to tailor their studies to suit their own personal usage or job role. Courses can be studied online or at the University during 3 to 5 days of intensive study per module. The University boasts state of the art facilities with a 60 seat PC lab and 30 seat Apple lab available for IT based CPD, with university staff available to guide delegates through their courses and offer as much or as little support as required.

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For people working in IT (systems administrators etc). These 3 and 5 day courses are directed at keeping IT Professionals up to date with current developments in; Networking, Server, Domains set up, account management, Microsoft domain controller, web services, and database services.

App Development The University’s Computer Science department has designed a series of three-day courses (core and advanced) to provide individuals and businesses with the skills required to develop Apps for Apple and Android platforms. With Apps being increasingly utilised in the promotion of companies, this is an essential course for organisations looking to add a new marketing dimension to their business. The courses have been designed to provide an introduction to the main views, interfaces and hardware capabilities of devices, as well as using development and de-bugging tools. By the end of this course, delegates will hold the skills required to be able to produce their own apps. These courses are aimed at individuals who want to explore mobile app development, as well as businesses that need to develop their own apps. Delegates do not require any previous experience of Objective-C, Mac OSX software development or iPhone development. However, they should have some software development knowledge and some experience of programming in a compiled language; ideally a C-based language such as C, C#, C++ or Java.

Contacts For further details of any of these courses or to discuss other requirements please contact Andy Craig (CPD Officer for Computer Sciences) a.craig@liverpool.ac.uk / (+44/0) 151 795 4269.


9398 Uni of Liverpool Ad_Layout 1 06/09/2012 12:13 Page 1

IT

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL I.T. ACADEMY PUTTING THE POWER AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

Microsoft Office Specialist recognised Certification The University of Liverpool, led by the School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science is opening its I.T. Academy in September 2012 with the launch of the globally recognised Microsoft Office Specialist recognised certification qualification.

The I.T. Academy will be running tutorials and exams in the following Microsoft applications.

• • • • •

Clurgys Services Ltd Mobile Technician 0151 228 4817 07704028449 clurgy@live.com

Word 2010 Excel 2010 PowerPoint 2010 Outlook 2010 Access 2010

Who are they for? Whether you are a Business or organisation looking to upgrade your employees IT skills or an individual wishing to improve your employability/promotion prospects the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification qualifications are the ideal solution.

Registration Fee £75 plus VAT.

10%

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Registration fee entitles delegates to: • Microsoft e-learning training materials • GMETRIX e-learning training materials • 1 online examination • Attendance at Wednesday morning or afternoon tutorials at the University of Liverpool Computer Science Department

Booking/Further Information To find out more about these courses/ register for qualifications please visit: www.cpd.csc.liv.ac.uk or contact a.craig@csc.liv.ac.uk or phone+44 (0)151 795 4269

Microsoft and the Microsoft Office logo are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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legalmatters

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workspacefeature

By Andrew Smith Bsc ADS Innovation, Wirral Andy@stridingout.co.uk

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Famous Architect once said that ‘A harmonious design requires that nothing be added or taken away’. When designing, it is important that this logic is applied to the forefront of any decision. The design should both physically and aesthetically enhance the space it resides within and most crucially it should help build up a working relationship between your employees.

One Design with Hindsight

Three Materials and Surfaces Tactile surfaces are a good idea, incorporating materials which can be physically pleasing helps to create spaces that are both playful and tangible. In this case try and forget the idea of ‘look but don’t touch!’

Four Public and Private/Thresholds There should always be a clear boundary of where your team members are located and where the clientèle are situated. Public and private areas help to improve work ethic by making individual spaces more personal and in turn more comfortable. You will notice how a person acts around people who they know and who they don’t. So try and use this to your advantage.

Five Working Together

Remember that the more objects you fill the space with, the less space there will be! Imagine what will be in the room, and where will it be stored if it is not in use? This will affect the overall design. The idea of hindsight is critical, think about your office space as a whole entity, as storage is just one factor that could realistically become a big issue.

Whoever your designer is you need to make sure that you have a great working relationship. This will help the designer to understand your business and is crucial to overcoming any barriers or disagreements that will impact the overall success of your work space.

Two Colour and Expression

If you are keeping costs down to a minimum, then reusing old furniture may be the key. Be aware that a bright new space can usually be brought back down to earth with the incorporation of dated furnishings. In doing this a completely new design can emerge just from looking at the old!

Colour is the easiest way to transform an area from an empty shell to an innovative, vibrant work space. Simple yet effective colour combinations can create spaces that are pleasurable to work within and a happy team member is always a positive thing! 14 | www.theedgewirral.co.uk

Six Ornament and Design


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opinion

Sign off the right way with Amanda Daniels Director, Koogar

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mail signatures are essential, let’s be honest! But how you present them is very important. It’s not just about adding everything you possibly can to the bottom of your email in hope that the recipient is going to read it all. Now, there is a lot of talk about having an image email signature verses a text one but you have many things to take into consideration, for example; that is looking at your emails and how are they looking at them? The “Who” Are they business people who have an office or are they out and about? Or consumers who look at email at lunch times? Are the platforms they will be using are all different? The “How” If they are business people then they will probably have a smart mobile that they will receive their emails on. However, consumers have different mobiles where some can see emails, some just Facebook or some that are not smart phones at all! Most email clients, i.e. Outlook, Gmail, etc. do not display images within the email unless you have specifically asked it to do so. If

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your readers are looking at your email on their smart phone then can that smart phone see your images? Some can and some can’t, again without clicking a button first. Smart phones allow instant access to telephone numbers, links and other content with just a simple click. If your company information is within an image it’s not so easy for the user to contact you at the click of a button. Business owners are now able to check not just their emails on their phone but also spread sheets, word documents and more. When singing off, think about the following: 1.

Don’t over fill your signature with all of your details, just enough to let the other person know how to contact you

2.

Think about the size of the image your about to put in there and does it really have to be there?

3.

Check how your email signature looks on a mobile phone. Does it fit or does it wrap? Can you see the image without have to accept them?

4.

Look at having just a text version so its quicker to load for the reader and maybe add an image in there when you have a special offer on.

Make sure your email signature is simple and creative at the same time. Is the information in there that you would need if you are contacting you? And finally, is it you? Add a little personality and fun, but not lots of quotes, just enough information to make the reader take action by either replying, clicking on your YouTube link or calling you straight away. Less is always more! i www.koogar.co.uk


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‘Hot Maguerita’ wall art from Suite Sensation, Birkenhead

forliving

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS Angelis by Roberto Giannotti exclusively at Hallmark Jewellers

Ring from Balducci, Neston

From a selection of decorations at Tapleys

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forliving

Winter Whites with a dash of colour

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White rooms are completely versatile and can either create a modern sophisticated feeling of serenity or make a fun artistic impact on the energy of a space with a splash of colour. The rooms featured here are both striking and inviting and offer a beautiful focal points of interest. This simple clean style looks impressive, and is actually pretty difficult to get wrong. There are a few simple rules you can apply that will ensure you end up with a truly signature white room.


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charitynews

Wirral ladies strip for cancer calendar

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group of plucky Wirral ladies have stripped off for a calendar in aid of breast cancer. Taking inspiration from the film Calendar Girls, the project will raise cash for Breast Cancer Breakthrough and Cancer Research UK. To give the calendar added poignancy it was decided to feature real-life cancer survivors and others who are still battling the disease. The calendar came about through an employee initiative at House of Fraser which encouraged workers to raise money for breast cancer. The calendar was suggested by Estelle Costello as something a bit different that could capture the imagination and raise thousands by delivering such a powerful message. Bernie Bucket who helped organise much of the project said ‘The calendar features 11 women, 9 of who are cancer patients and each posing for their own month, with the whole group photographed for December. The calendar was photographed by Venture Photography in Rodney Street who donated their services free of charge. The shoot was very exciting and we all enjoyed our time in the studio...we all felt like film stars!” “Gemma Roberts, the photographer made everyone feel special. The photographs were edited by Dan Bentley and sent to Graphic Offset Printers for production at cost. The calendars retail at just £6.99 + £1.50p&p and can be ordered by emailing berniefs@live. co.uk or calling 07874 005236.

Who do you want to Light up a Life for?

Progress for Sue Saul P A Wirral mum, facing a race against time to raise cash for cancer treatment says she “remains determined” to beat the disease. Sue Saul, from Pensby was diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer which had become terminal. After researching the disease, Sue and husband Marcus, discovered an immune therapy in Germany with a price tag of more than £50,000. Following a non stop fundraising effort by family, friends and the public the necessary funds were secured and after four visits to the specialist clinic, Sue has revealed how doctors have managed to halt the growth of the cancer and she feels positive about the future. Sue said: “I have been home since September and am planning to go back to Germany before Christmas. This will be the longest I have gone in between treatments so the doctors want to see what happens and if it starts to grow again. My last scans showed there was no progression so now we just have to wait and see what happens. The idea is that we gradually reduce the number of visits to the clinic and hopefully my body can fight off the disease.”

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“I was blown away by people’s response to my appeal. When told my condition was terminal, I refused to accept it and did not want to allow my daughters to grow up without a mum. They were my inspiration to find something to prolong my life with them. “We don’t know what will happen in the future but I am determined to fight it in any way I can.”

lans are in place for an evening to mark the annual Light up a Life event held in the gardens of St John’s Hospice. This anticipated event allows people to come together to remember and give thanks for their loved ones. Anyone can be honoured in the books, with or without a connection to the hospice and living or deceased. Light a light for someone who cares for you or you care for. To say thank you or just to say hello. The Hospice request a donation of £10 per light and a card is sent to the donor or to a relative of the person the light is lit for. This fundraising event raised nearly £100k in 2011 and allowed us to provide very special care for our patients and their families. The lighting of the lights outdoor service will take place on Sunday 3rd December at 5.30 with refreshments and fundraising activities available from 4pm. Each evening from the 4th December to Friday 8th December the books of honour are available to view between 5pm and 7pm. Free parking is available on site and lights can also be dedicated online at www.wirralhospice.org. For additional information or to dedicate a light please call 0151 343 0808.


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seo

How your website may be

endangered by Penguin

The websites which have seen increased rankings, traffic and, ultimately, business from Google’s updates have been those that have adhered to what Google has always sought to champion: quality websites offering well-written, unique content which is relevant and helpful for the user.”

A

nyone keeping up with the more recent changes from Google over the last 12 months could be forgiven for thinking the search giant has teamed up with the WWF and has branched out into protecting wildlife. However, the very cute and cuddly names given to its recent algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, haven’t been down to a policy change resulting in Google helping endangered species. Quite the opposite; it has meant many websites have become endangered as far as their search engine rankings are concerned. It’s not that Google’s algorithm updates have changed what it’s looking for in a website; instead the updates have helped the search giant separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff, and will continue to do so. The updates aim to crackdown on rented links and keyword-stuffed content, tactics used by less ethical SEO (search engine

By Lianne Wilkinson Engage Web

optimisation) companies. Punishing these previously successful SEO techniques has sent a lot of Internet marketing companies back to the drawing board, and even hitting reverse on some of their link building activities by removing links that are now actually damaging their clients’ rankings and in many cases charging their clients for the privilege. Where there are losers, there are also winners. The websites which have seen increased rankings, traffic and, ultimately, business from Google’s updates have been

those that have adhered to what Google has always sought to champion: quality websites offering well-written, unique content which is relevant and helpful for the user. SEO isn’t a box of magic tricks or a dark art practiced by morally dubious, clandestine figures shrouded in mystery. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about your website giving your users what they want. Google wants to help people find what they’re looking for via the Internet. It’s how Google makes billions of dollars every year. The more Google gives people what they’re looking for, the more people will use Google instead of alternative search engines, the more money Google makes. Help Google to help you by making your website an authority within your industry. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. i

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businessmanagement

By Elaine Owen FRSA A diary excerpt from the MD of Designated Associates and CEO of Striding Out CIC

Relocation October 2012

from The John Laird Centre, Park Road North, Birkenhead to Vale House, Vale Park, New Brighton. Project Durations • 6 months to refurbish the property prior to relocation • 3 weeks phone & network cabling • 1 Week IT/Web migration work • 24 hours actively relocating the IT infrastructure • 2 Days to relocate the team • 2 Weeks to troubleshoot • 3 weeks + and still waiting for BT to complete! ‘Dedicated to my wonderful family and friends who have put up with me this year as our company relocation has taken so much time, effort and energy – thanks for your encouragement and support. Yes! We have finally moved! Everyone welcome – Join us for a Christmas drink & lunchtime nibbles 1pm Monday 17th December 2012 at Vale House, Vale Park, New Brighton, Wirral.’ Elaine x Transforming a run down, tired training, event and meeting space in Vale House, Vale Park, New Brighton has taken six long months and been an incredibly satisfying project to manage, but making the leap of moving in has been really challenging! I work as an executive coach and I will often ask clients to reflect on their learning from a situation and so herein I do the same – in the hope that my lessons learned will help you, the reader to avoid the mistakes I made.

Lesson One Not everything will run according to plan. Biggest issue for us was telecom providers who said one thing and did another. We have just had our new phone system

installed 3 weeks after we moved in and it’s still not finished yet!

Lesson Two You can’t afford to be a perfectionist when it comes to moving. Better to accept some things will need to be flexible and brief your staff team and clients accordingly.

Lesson Three The demands of a busy work schedule will get in the way – hire a great moving team and let them take the strain.

Lesson Four The most creative decisions are made when there are a wide range of opinions around the table and a limited budget – embrace the challenge, fire up the team and create ideas together. The results are incredibly rewarding.

Lesson Five Be prepared – It can be a bumpy journey! You need energy and enthusiasm and a positive outlook to maintain professionalism and leadership throughout the duration of change of a big move! Remember.. . smile and wave!

Lesson Six The energy rush of moving can be amazing but what goes up must come down. Remember your people – some of them won’t want to move, getting in to work could be more difficult or expensive for them. Ensure you plan in time and opportunity to listen and respond to their concerns and consider re-location incentives.

Lesson Seven Look at every aspect of moving and create an action plan with smart objectives for each area. Identify risk areas, milestones, key holiday times and the key legal’s and bring them all together in one place that can be easily updated. I used Microsoft Project software, drop box and smart devices with Google apps for ease of team communication.

Lesson Eight Have faith in the potential of Wirral’s young people. I put a young architect Andrew Smith of ADS Innovation in charge of the overall design and site management. Our journey was made faster and more pleasant with his involvement and a vibrant new look and overall design for our work space and hireable meeting and training space has been created.

Lesson Nine You will make mistakes – but they will be no worse than anyone else’s and mistakes can create real learning if you take time to reflect and consider what you have learned and how you would do things differently next time... NEXT TIME?! Lesson 10... there won’t be a next time, LOL! Hard though at times the move has been, I wish now that we had made the move years ago! But then if we had it wouldn’t have been into the fabulous Vale House with the wonderful surroundings of Vale Park with the promenade and River Mersey views. Come and take a look for yourself!

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charities

Benefits to supporting a charity A Supporting a charity or nonprofit group can help your business grow, but most of all, it can be a great way to give back to your community and help support causes that need your help”

s Christmas approaches you will undoubtedly receive requests from local charities for sponsorship, donations, participation in events or other means of support.

Large businesses will have programs and budgets for social responsibility and community involvement in place and there are benefits for SMEs to get involved also. Here are six reasons you should support a charity in your community so let’s get busy this coming year and do our bit:

one

The opportunity to give something back. This is the number one reason to seek out a charity to support. It allows you to share some of your good fortune and success and in doing so your own community can bring business benefits, too.

two Community support and good will. Being part of a community is vital for small business. In the days of the mega stores and the internet, it can be difficult to sustain a small business. One way to ensure that your business thrives in your community is to help build a thriving community.

three

Marketing opportunities. When you donate money, time, products or services, charity and non-profit groups usually have some sort of recognition program. Having your business name included in this way is good promotion. It is one of the reasons you see children’s sports teams with company names on their kits. People are more likely to support businesses they associate with and feel are part of their world.

four The opportunity to support

causes you believe in. It is great if you can tie your business purpose to a particular charity, but if you cannot, you can pick a charity or community group that you are passionate about and support them. For example, a baby clothing store could support baby safety, prevention of child abuse,

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breastfeeding, and many other causes that “make sense” for a baby clothing business to support. But, if the owner has a passion to help animals, she can certainly promote those causes in a baby store, too.

five Contributions don’t have

to drain your bank account. Many organizations, particularly those at the local level have needs for time and services as well as cash. Contact the group you would like to help and ask them if there are volunteer opportunities available.

six The opportunity to be involved.

Getting involved in your local community is a great business strategy for many reasons. As you get to know others and work with them for a cause that you believe in, you will have fun and become a part of the group. You will be involved and that can help you with marketing your business in many ways—you will know the needs of the community and be able to find ways to meet them. It’s hard to buy that kind of market research anywhere, but almost impossible for small businesses. Supporting a charity or non-profit group can help your business grow, but most of all, it can be a great way to give back to your community and help support causes that need your help. Whether you support women’s groups, energy efficiency, animal rights, rainforest preservation or ending world hunger, be sure to research your group first. Ask your local Chamber of Commerce, or other local supporters about them. Pick one “preferred” group that you support with most of your available time and money but also keep a small amount of money in your monthly budget for other charities. Usually, you can buy small ads in programs or yearbooks; sponsor a hole in a charity golf tournament, or supply soft drinks for a bring and buy sale. These little bits of money can buy a lot of goodwill and public relations while also helping the local community.


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technology

As the Commodore 64, the worlds biggest selling personal computer turns 30 we look back at the history of the home computer from its origins as a geeky, niche product requiring home assembly and user programming to the sleek and seductive mass market appeal of the Apple iPad with its mobile connectivity and myriad of ready made Apps ready for instant download.

Mits Altair 8800

– The first home computers came as build it yourself kits, led by the MITS Altair 8800, launched in 1975. The technology, which was later sold as an assembled unit, was the inspiration for all future PCs.

Apple II Sinclair ZX80

– The Apple I had already been released in kit form but the pre assembled Apple II really opened up the home PC market.

– The precursor to the ZX Spectrum, launched in 1980 and the first PC available in the UK for under £100 making it the first truly mass market computer.

IBM 5150 PC

– Was one of the first expandable and customisable home computers. It was also the first to run a new operating system called DOS, made by Mircrosoft. After its launch in 1981, it became a huge success, appealing to businesses wanting to adopt computer technology but needing the reassurance of a major brand like IBM to do so. Its success spurred other manufacturers to use the same third-party components - most notably the Intel CPU and Microsoft’s DOS - and design their systems to run software written for IBM. The clone market was born and the IBM PC became the desktop computer industry standard on the back of it.

OSBORNE 1

– Widely considered to be the first ‘laptop’ PC, the Osborne 1, which came with a five inch screen and two floppy drives, weighed 24lb and cost £1,000. The Osborne 1 was the first machine to be designed specifically with portability in mind. Weighing in at 10.7kg, it was not lightweight but within its casing it packed all the components of a desktop machine: keyboard, display - a 5in screen - ports, power transformer and a pair of floppy disk drives. This was a machine you could take from place to place, plug in and use, rather than a device to be used on the move. For added appeal, Osborne bundled word processing, spreadsheet, Basic and, later, database software with the machine.

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technology

Epson HX-20

Epson’s HX-20 was the world’s first mobile computer. Unlike the Osborne 1 the HX-20 had an on-board battery allowing it to be used on the move. The A4-sized unit featured a full keyboard; a 120 x 32 pixel, 120-character by four-line LCD display; a calculator-style integrated printer for hardcopy output and, on some models, a built-in micro cassette player for data and program storage.

GRiD 1100 Compass

- Released in April 1982, the GriD Compass was the world’s first clamshell computer and the template for the notebook computer. The Compass was based on an Intel 8086 processor running GriD’s own operating system and there was a 1.2Kb/s modem built in also.

Apple Macintosh

- The Mac didn’t introduce the graphical user interface - the Xerox Alto did - but it was the personal computer that did the most to popularise it. Microsoft’s Windows would eclipse the Mac OS in volume but despite rivals like Gem, the Mac defined how a modern GUI should work and look. It also provided the foundation for the desktop publishing revolution, which changed forever the economics of book and periodical publication, by showing that any content could be produced on a computer.

Acorn Archimedes

- Acorn’s successful BBC Micro kept the company going through the mid-1980s when its 6502 processor was getting dated. Rather than buy in an alternative, Acorn chose to create its own. The result was the ARM chip, first implemented in the Archimedes in 1987. The chip’s design was based on the vogue for Reduced Instruction Set Computing (Risc), and so the Archimedes became the first mass-market Risc-based personal computer.

Psion Organiser

- Psion was best known as a provider of software for Sinclair computers, but in 1984 it launched the Organiser, its first hardware product and the world’s first handheld computer. Two years later, Psion

released the Organiser II, which is considered the first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). The Organiser II had a programming language, OPL, allowing it to run general-purpose applications. Psion soon shifted away from organiser functionality to focus on handheld computing with devices like the Series 3 and Series 5.

IBM/BellSouth Simon

- IBM took the PDA to the next level: incorporating mobile phone connectivity to create the first smartphone, the Simon, released in 1994. Simon had a stylus operated 4.5in touch screen on which were presented phone, personal info, email and other PDA-style apps. Simon was a chunky, clunky affair and was discontinued in 1995. The following year, Nokia would release the 9000 Communicator and demonstrate how it should have been done.

Apple iPad

- It was the Mac all over again. Apple didn’t invent the tablet, or the tablet-centric operating system, but its iPad nonetheless has done more than any other platform to popularise this form-factor. Indeed, while GUI computing would have become dominant without the Mac, there’s a case for claiming that today’s array of tablets would not have arrived without the iPad. www.theedgewirral.co.uk | 37


opinion

Urgent actions now required by business owners By Mike Pearson Fire Strategist Wirral Fire Protection Ltd

T

This month sees the start of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority’s (MFRA) new policy to cease to attend calls from Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC) generated by fire alarms in commercial buildings between the hours of 07.30hrs and 19.30hrs, unless a back-up call is received via the 999 system confirming there is a fire, or belief that a fire condition exists. For a period of up to one year, MFRA will still respond to calls generated by Automatic Fire Alarms between 19.30hrs and 07.30hrs and send the full pre-determined attendance for which the premises has been assessed for. It is considered that a vast number of business owners are completely unaware of this u-turn, meaning that they will still be paying for remote cover even though the Fire Service will not respond to the ARC’s request for a fire fighting appliance without

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confirmation from an eye witness. In essence what the new plans mean, is that if your workplace is affected by fire and not protected by some alternative means, and particularly if it is located in an industrial area, it may not be there in the morning. What makes this even more concerning is the upwards trend in Insurance companies refuting payment of fire claims made on commercial premises even for non fire-related reasons. A local businessman is currently fighting a contested £400K claim for a fire which affected his premises, located on an industrial estate in Moreton earlier this year. The original reason cited by the insurer, was the presence of a three lever, as opposed to five lever lock, on one of the buildings’ security doors. This stipulation, which was in no way connected to the cause of fire or indeed affected the spread of fire, was highlighted in the policy’s small print. So what can you do to protect your business? A good starting point would be to arrange in-house key holders who can respond to a phone call from the alarm receiving centre and attend the premises to carry out an investigation. Alternatively, external key holders may be considered, however we would advise an on-site presence within thirty minutes of a fire alarm activation, and this could be tricky. During opening hours, or when employees are present, the fire alarm link to the ARC should be relaxed to prevent unwarranted Fire Service attendance during the day. i www.wirralfire.co.uk


christmasparties

Taxman no Scrooge at Christmas

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ell ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’ and you might be surprised to learn that HMRC isn’t trying to spoil the fun by playing Ebenezer Scrooge. On the contrary in fact, our loveable pantomime villain taxman actively encourages businesses to celebrate the seasonal festivities by providing generous employee benefit exemptions for corporate Christmas Parties and gifts so we can rightly raise a glass and enjoy some festive fun! >

The opportunity to attend the party must be available to all employees... so it cannot be just a directorsonly gig!”

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Parties Tax law allows a business to treat employees (and their guests) to a staff party and deduct the expense against profits to reduce tax. So this is great for the employer but tax could still be payable by the employee charged as a benefit in kind, unless the following conditions are met: • The average cost of parties throughout the tax year does not exceed £150 per employee. The total cost includes VAT, the function, transport and any accommodation provided. • Where more than one function takes place per year each party is looked at separately and if the limit is exceeded a benefit in kind would trigger income tax payable for the employee. Each party is considered separately and is either exempt or assessed as benefit in kind. So say you had a summer barbeque costing £60 per employee and then a Christmas party costing £140 per employee it is clear the £150 has been exceeded. Therefore you would choose the Christmas party to be exempt and so the BBQ would be assessed as an employee benefit in kind. • The opportunity to attend the party must be available to all employees generally or available generally to those at a particular location. So it cannot be just a directors’ only gig. Other guests can be invited such as employees’ partners but the primary function must be the entertainment of staff. Be aware though, that the £150 is an exemption not an allowance, so if a single annual party comes in at £151 per head, the entire amount will become taxable as an employee benefit.

CHRISTMAS PARTIES We would love you to join us for your Christmas party this year. Book a table in either the Conservatory or The Restaurant, from 2 to 20 guests. The Restaurant can also be booked exclusively for up to 50 guests. 2 Courses £15.95 3 Courses £19.95 NEW YEARS EVE Pollards Inn will be open for everyone on NYE till 1am. Join us in the bar for drinks, merriment and dancing from 7pm, our DJ will play all your favourite songs (and maybe a few requests) and will count down to midnight! A festive buffet will be served from the Restaurant for £15 from 7pm till 8.30pm, please reserve your tables prior to the night. Please note: there is no charge for entry on NYE and we will be serving our normal menu from midday till 4pm in the conservatory. We also have 5 lovely country bedrooms... Our Christmas & New Years Eve brochure is downloadable from the website right now. Pollards Inn, Village Square, Willaston CH64 2TU T 0151 327 4615 E info@pollardsinn.co.uk @Pollardswirral

PollardsInnWillaston

www.pollardsinn.co.uk

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Input VAT is claimable on the party, provided its main purpose is for staff entertainment, otherwise it is blocked and so not reclaimable. If non staff guests are invited then technically this element of the VAT is not reclaimable and the input VAT should be apportioned unless the guests make a small contribution to the company (making this a taxable supply and thus all the VAT can be claimed).

Employee Gifts This is much more straight forward. Below is an extract from HMRC’s handbook which actually sums up the detail quite well. “An employer may provide employees with a seasonal gift, such as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas. All of these gifts are considered to be trivial and as such are not taxable. For an employer with a large number of employees the total cost of providing a gift to each employee may be considerable, but where the gift to each employee is a trivial benefit, this principle applies regardless of the total cost to the employer and the number of employees concerned.” Again VAT has to be considered separately and this is not charged on gifts made to the employee where the total gifts in any tax year do not exceed £50. However always consider if the £50 threshold is exceeded the gift itself might not be standard rated and so no VAT is charged anyway. Good example being the turkey which is zero rated! As always with matters HMRC it is wise to take advice from your accountant before committing to additional festive expenditure, to make certain it qualifies under the exemption rules.


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businessethics

The business of being good By Eli Jacobs Hertfordshire University

Eli Jacobs is a Principal Lecturer and an Associate Head of the Business School at the University of Hertfordshire with a specialism in Business Ethics. She has her own training consultancy and you can find her business news commentary on Twitter @eliethics and can be contacted on e.jacobs@herts.ac.uk.

There are a lot of expectations put on large organisations in terms of “doing good”. We speak of organisations as having moral responsibilities and behaving like “good citizens”. Generally we believe that businesses should try to protect the planet and be “green”; support charitable causes, and actively tackle social problems like poverty and disease through programmes and initiatives. The question is, do we hold organisations to higher standards then we apply to ourselves? How enthusiastically do we recycle and reduce our own carbon footprint? Which charities do we actively support?

gain advantage for themselves even at the expense of others. I teach “business ethics” to Undergraduates and Postgraduate students which is a controversial and challenging topic. There are a lot of “grey areas” and inconvenient truths about organisations’ behaviour and therefore about our own

As a nation we seem to lurch from one scandal to the next. Whether that is phone hacking by the press, child abuse within the church, interest rate fixing from the banks, Hillsborough covered up by the police or expenses scandal from MPs, there would appear to be no aspect of society untouched by malpractice, corruption or greed. The tax avoidance situation is just another manifestation of the less savoury side of human nature. Of course it draws the same criticism from all quarters but are the revelations really so shocking? Or do they just confirm the much held view that if given the opportunity many organisations and/or individuals will try to

behaviour as individuals and collectively as a society. Behind each revelation of corporate greed and malpractice there will be a very small number of employees whose behaviour may be criminal and prosecutable. But equally there will be many more who just turned a blind eye and stayed morally mute. Where companies or individuals break the law, punitive measures can be taken by the courts. But where corporate actions, however questionable, are within the law perhaps the ultimate sanction lies with us as customers, suppliers or business partners and it is our responsibility to change our own behaviour until they moderate theirs.

“The tax avoidance situation is just another manifestation of the less savoury side of human nature.”

P

rofit making organisations are much like the majority of people. They behave well on some days and badly on others. They can be inconsistent and unpredictable. So we can read some pretty shocking stories about organisations being involved in shady practices like using child labour in their supply chains, secretly fixing prices with their competitors, or trying to bribe their way to being awarded contracts. In terms of business behaving badly the latest big news story seems to be focussing on hugely profitable organisations finding ways to pay very little corporation tax. This is bound to offend the moral majority and especially so in times of economic crisis and national debt. The fact that these organisations are popular household names with global profiles makes it even harder for us to accept. Companies including the likes of Starbucks, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Vodafone and Barclays form a “Who’s Who” of high profile suspects in the tax avoidance debate. Much like individuals these organisations also have their good side and do carry out acts of charity and philanthropy. So, whilst we can read some depressing stuff about IKEA finding loopholes to avoid paying taxes we also need to remind ourselves that they are involved with programmes with the United Nations to help refugees and also have admirable initiatives to promote “clean” energy. Few of us would openly support organisations who are energetically seeking new methods of avoiding paying taxes, but perhaps we should look at the bigger picture while also looking at own behaviour.

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commentary

The view from here Business Consultant Paul Davies takes a sideways look at the world of commerce

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he face of Business Support in the UK has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. Until quite recently we had a number of universal open-access programmes, offering hands-on advice and support at local level. Now we have a nationwide internet-only facility with wide ranging but generic content, supplemented by local authorities, LEP’s and others trying hard to provide something more targeted and face-to-face. They are severely hampered by lack of money, ongoing cutbacks and budget pressures on essential services. By and large those involved are doing a good job but lack of funds means the level of business support has reduced dramatically, or in some cases altogether.

I’ve just spent a few hours trawling through the Government’s new website www.gov.uk. This site replaces both the DirectGov and BusinessLink websites, and is touted as a one-stop-shop for advice, support and information for every citizen and business in the country. Need a taxdisk? Register a birth or death? Information on student loans? Advice on benefits? It’s all there, including a Business Support section consisting primarily of signposting and links to other agencies, such as HMRC and Companies House, together with a series of interesting but ultimately superficial five-minute videos covering topics like “How to avoid Cashflow Problems in your Business” and “How to write a Business Plan”. Wow! – could I really learn to write a Business Plan and put a Financial Forecast for my business after just fifteen minutes coaching? Sadly, there was no real depth and most disappointingly, no links or signposting to any private or commercial support providers, who could offer hands-on assistance or practical tools for businesses, setting up, expanding or in difficulty. When I compare the level of practical help offered at Gov.UK with that available at my own favourite business support website www. bytestart.co.uk, the difference is remarkable. 44 | www.theedgewirral.co.uk

Practical tools, templates, advice sheets and white papers are all of high quality and F.O.C. If the government doesn’t want to replicate facilities already available then the least they should do is signpost those facilities so that enquirers have easy access to them. As an experiment I tackled the section on the Gov.UK site offering support to businesses needing Access to Finance. I completed the required questionnaire for a hypothetical Wirral manufacturing company, looking for information on Grants and Loans. This generated a list 88 organisations who might be able to help. Somewhere in that list could possibly be a source of finance for my Merseyside manufacturing business, but I doubt if the Tamworth Conservation Grant Scheme, the East London Muslim Loan Fund or the Bedfordshire Rates Hardship Fund, will be particularly interested in helping. If I really were that business, I would want access to a knowledgeable local advisor, up to date with local and national business funding, who could assist me with finding a suitable partner and help with the engagement and application process. By co-incidence, I’ve been doing just that this week with a small, dynamic local company, who are looking to borrow money to expand. Together we’ve completed an application to the Merseyside Special Investment Fund. As part of the application process we’ve been able to put together a Strategic Business Plan and Financial Forecast for the business and the owners have found it extremely useful

to focus on the critical issues involved in the proposed expansion and set down in concrete terms their hopes and aspirations for the business. If the money comes through they are now well placed to use it constructively to grow their business and take on additional staff. My assistance was funded by Invest Wirral, under their Business Support Programme, which is being curtailed at the end of November, due to emergency cutbacks at Wirral Council. Tough decisions are being taken and where budgets are being cut you can’t ignore priorities like Social and Care Services, Education, Waste Collection and Highways? But there’s a real risk here that we might throw out the baby with the bathwater – and this applies on a national, as well as a local level. The simple fact is that without a thriving economy, we can’t hope to provide the money we need for our essential services. Our citizens need jobs, and jobs come from businesses large and small, old and new, all of them requiring nurture and support. In my view this support is sadly lacking at the moment. I understand that Invest Wirral are hoping to re-instate their Business Support Programme early 2013, but the fact that vital incentives like this are in such a precarious state should be of concern to all Wirral businesses and residents.


a great place to do business...

Wirral Council leads way on new enterprise Wirral Borough Council is at the top of the pack when it comes to creating new enterprises, having contributed more new enterprises to the Merseyside region in the last year than any other council – and at a rate of growth that outperforms both regional and national averages. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics indicate Wirral has 6,915 enterprises; an increase of 255 or 3.8% on the previous year’s figures. Wirral’s figures have contributed 34% of the overall increase in the number of enterprises across Merseyside. Cllr Pat Hackett, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning said: “We have seen significant successes at locations like Marine Point, New Brighton, and at Wirral International Business Park, which continues to regenerate the local area while providing a base for new investment and growth. The figures are promising indicators that Wirral is a healthy environment for start ups, and particularly in relation to other local authorities in our region.”

Wirral bucks the national trend on jobs Recent figures show that Wirral continues to out-perform the national average for the numbers of people who are out of work. The latest statistics for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants show the borough is bucking the national trend, with 130 less people claiming support. Wirral also has the lowest rate for people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Liverpool City Region. Cllr Hackett explained: “Our JSA rate continues to be the lowest in the Liverpool City Region at 4.4%, with a monthly decrease of 130 claimants, and an annual reduction of 0.5%, which means we are comfortably outperforming the average for England. In the last year we have seen 885 people moving off Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is good news in what are extremely difficult economic times. However, we must not become complacent and must continue to do all we can to support businesses, and to make Wirral a desirable place for enterprise.”

We asked for opinions on why Wirral continues to perform so well Alastair Gould Managing Partner, McEwan Wallace Wirral is a great place to do business. Excellent transport links make the peninsula an ideal place to commute to. Furthermore, Liverpool and Chester are easily accessible, with Manchester and Wales also nearby. The UK’s biggest regeneration project, Wirral Waters, is taking place in Birkenhead and Wallasey. This will have a major economic impact on Wirral and the Northwest region, creating around 27,000 jobs. Wirral also boasts a well qualified and adaptable workforce, not to mention the affordable sites and premises that offer scope for expansion.” Frank Rogers Head of Business Development, Brown Turner Ross These statistics come as no surprise as Wirral is an outstanding place to live and work. As Chair of Wirral International Business Park Group I know the 140+ businesses operating there bring innovation and cutting edge technology from all corners of the globe to Wirral. In terms of inward investment strategy, job creation and support for new & existing businesses the Invest Wirral Team has achieved results that have made a massive contribution. In my experience this Team is unique; demonstrating a clear and cohesive commitment to the needs of its business community. Its Business Mentoring Scheme has proved invaluable to many new and embryonic businesses.” Alan Woods Director, Woods Squared Wirral has a ‘can do’ attitude. Opportunities are no greater than in other areas of the UK but I believe the positive news about the Peel investment in Wirral Waters and the work undertaken by the team at Invest Wirral to promote our region has increased the overall confidence within the area.” Elaine Owen Managing Director, Designated Associates Wirral takes s a vibrant approach to business and is a great place to work and live. It’s ideally situated next to Liverpool close to Manchester and Chester and its unique offer of coast and countryside provide a unique environment. As someone who was born here and who started my first business here in 1994 and raised a family of three along the way, I’ve really benefited from all that Wirral has to offer - I wouldn’t want to live or work anywhere else!” Nick Burn Owner, Riverhill and Grove Hotel Hotels From a personal point of view, our 2 three star hotels have recently taken on 10 new employees to cope with an improving business environment and the busiest Christmas bookings in recent years. Riverhill had a great boost with Clare Lara, professional Materchef winner, her husband and the team joining us. Like many Wirral businesses we have maintained our confidence and continued to invest through the recession (in our case refurbishment at both hotels) and this seems to be paying back dividends and leaving us looking forward to the future.” www.theedgewirral.co.uk | 45


networking

Events& Networking November Fri 16th 10-11.30am November’s Fruit Cake Friday FREE Networking and topical seminar at Thursby House in Bromborough. Book your place at 0151 346 2000. Tues 20th 12noon-1.30pm Get Linked up with LinkedIn Social media seminar. Vale house, Vale Park, Wallasey, CH45 1LZ. For details 0151 653 3338 www.wirralchamber.org.uk Tues 20th 12-2pm Business networking, Liverpool. Carluccios, The Met Quarter, Whitechapel, Liverpool, L1 6DA. www.carluccios.com/ restaurants/liverpool Thurs 22nd from 8.30am Invest Wirral Business Support Seminar Workshop on Workplace Pensions and the new rules for ALL employers. Egerton House, 2 Tower Road, Birkenhead CH41 1FN. Info and to book www.businesswirral.com Fri 23rd 8.30–10am International Sales Skills in 60 Really Useful Minutes. Chamber of commerce seminar. Liverpool Chamber of Commerce CIC. Number One Old Hall Street, Liverpool www.liverpoolchamber.co.uk Fri 30th 8.30–10am International Social Media in 60 Really Useful Minutes. Seminar by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce CIC, Number One Old Hall Street, Liverpool www.liverpoolchamber.co.uk

December

Wed 5th 2pm Property Auction by Smith and Sons at The Village Hotel. www.smithandsons.net. Thurs 6th 8-10am Priory Business Forum Networking and topical seminars over coffee and a bacon batch. Maritime Engineering College, Birkenhead. FREE www.the-priory.co.uk Thurs 6th 12noon Property Auction by Sutton Kersh at Liverpool Marriott Hotel www.suttonkersh.co.uk Thurs 6th 11am-1.30pm Doing Business in India Information, networking & lunch by Wirral Chamber of Commerce. Hard Days Night Hotel North John Street Liverpool. FREE. Book at www.wirralchamber.org.uk Thurs 6th 6-8pm Networking and wine tasting evening CEPN Networking at the Holiday Inn, Ellesmere Port £10 per person. Fri 7th 10-11.30am December’s Fruit Cake Friday FREE Networking and topical seminar at Thursby House in Bromborough. Book your place at 0151 346 2000. Wed 12th 11am-1.30pm International Business Lunch Information and networking to focus on trading in Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey & South Africa. Hard Days Night Hotel North John Street Liverpool. FREE. Book at www.wirralchamber.org.uk

Tues 4th 9.30-10.30am Open Surgery with Women in Business. FREE business support and mentoring for women. Book at admin@designatedassociates. com or 0151 653 3338.

Wed 12th 7.30-9.30pm Free Business Networking - Chimneys Networking event for anyone running a business in Wirral or the surrounding area. The Chimneys, Hooton. www.wirralbusinessassociation.co.uk

Wed 5th 7.30-9.30am Entrepreneurship is Good for Britain Seminar at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, One Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9HG. FREE. book at www.wirralchamber.org.uk

Mon 14th 5pm Business Equipment Auctions Clwyd Auctions. Clwyd Auctions. Holywell Road, Ewloe, Deeside CH5 3BS www.clwydauctions.co.uk

46 | www.theedgewirral.co.uk

Mon 17th 10am-12noon Administration Skills Explore ways to work effectively in a team environment, enhance critical communication skills and self management techniques for the workplace. Info 0151 653 3338 or admin@ designatedassociates.com

January Wed 9th 7.30-9.30pm Free Business Networking - Chimneys Networking event for anyone running a business in Wirral or the surrounding area. The Chimneys, Hooton. www.wirralbusinessassociation.co.uk Fri 11th 6-8pm Monthly Networking Event CEPN networking at Holiday Inn Ellesmere Port £10 per person. www.cepnforum.org.uk 18th 12noon Property Auction by Sutton Kersh at Liverpool Marriott Hotel www.suttonkersh.co.uk Tues 22nd 12noon-1.30pm Get Linked up with LinkedIn 5 simple steps to get the most from your LinkedIn profile. Information, light lunch and networking. FREE to Wirral Chamber members £9.60 for non members. www.wirralchamber.org.uk Tues 29th 1-3pm Google Adwords & Analytics Workshop Learn how set up your own AdWords campaign with a Google Advisor. Vale House, Vale Park, Magazine Lane, New Brighton CH45 1LZ admin@designatedassociates.com Wed 30th 9am-5pm Export Procedures & Documentation. Find out more about this invaluable seminar for anyone who has to deal with export procedures. www.wirralchamber.org.uk Thurs 31st 9am-5pm Social Media Workshop in Wirral. Full day workshop £199 per person. Information and booking www.koogartraining.co.uk


Accountants

Clearance Service

Meeting Space

Cleaning

Conference Facilities

Office Space

Catering

Internet Marketing

Telecoms

See mainad ad p.** See main onon page 9

To advertise:

0151 200 7422

classified@theedgewirral.co.uk

entrepreneur

awards

Member

finalist

www.theedgewirral.co.uk | 47


59_BusinessSupport_EdgeMagazineAd_Layout 1 01/03/2012 10:57 Page 1

Want to improve cycle parking at your workplace? You can with a Workplace Improvement Grant The grant can help to provide facilities such as cycle parking, clothes lockers or showers. Helping your staff cycle to work makes them more alert and productive when they arrive. Cycling promotes a healthier workforce which means, in general, they will take less days off sick. The maximum grant that will be issued per business will be ÂŁ2,500.

To find out more visit www.wirral.gov.uk/LSTF 59JAN12JS

or contact Colin Irlam direct on 0151 606 2366, or email colinirlam@wirral.gov.uk Partly funded by the Department of Transport


theedge - for business in Wirral - Issue09