DIRECTOR INCORPORATING IoD
SPRING 2016 Choosing an Accountant A Better Place For All Embracing Diversity BooksEast The Last Word: Raedwald
BELIEVE Minnie Moll shares
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Welcome to this, the fourth issue of Suffolk Director. We aim to deliver engaging content by directors for directors and we are reaching out to contributors that might have a story they wish to share. Although the publication lives or dies by its advertising revenue, as Bill Gates stated two decades ago, “Content is King” and I believe that this is even more important in print than online, where the sheer physicality of a magazine or book gives the material added gravitas. Whilst we are a ‘real’ publication we don’t neglect our social media platforms so give us your feedback on twitter @suffolkdirector and also keep an eye on our website suffolkdirector.com, a new portal for business debate…
Contents 2 BELIEVE Minnie Moll shares
7 Bribery & Corruption 9 Choosing an Accountant 10 Suffolk Coast Business 13 IoD Suffolk 15 2016 Events 16 Chair 18 Member Benefits
Jonathan Tilston Publisher
19 Committee 20 Young Director 21 A Better Place For All Believe. Believe in yourself and great things can happen. This issue includes ‘all’ things gender. It’s the first issue of our new style magazine with a cover ‘girl’. Minnie Moll’s story of believing looks at how five people can take on the normally singular role of chief executive. A team described as offering more fluid leadership as they collaborate to do great things at The East of England Co-op.
Matt Woor shares his story from hiding away to coming out and how now he is helping diversity and equality live and breath at Suffolk County Council. Andrew Burton talks about BooksEast, a festival specifically targeting men and young people, and attracting many wonderful contributors from the literary world including business legend Charles Handy. And Raedwald rants admitting he’s a man. Carrie Bendall Editor
24 Where Things Are At 25 Reputation Building 26 Embracing Diversity 29 BooksEast Festival 32 The Last Word Raedwald
Design & production
Photography Pagepix pagepix.co.uk IoD Suffolk Committee Tim Fenton
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time of publication. All times, prices and details of the events were correct at the time of going to press. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers, proprietors, the Institute of
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suffolkdirector.com 1 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
Minnie Moll One of five joint Chief Executives at East of England Co-op sharing the typically singular role
BELIEVE 2 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
Minnie Moll was born in Norwich and grew up in Suffolk where she spent the first thirteen years of her life living on a Thames Barge at Pin Mill on the river Orwell. Now she may feel she has come full circle as she watches out over the Orwell from East of England Co-op’s building at Wherstead Park. A brand and retail marketing specialist, Minnie arrived at East of England Co-op two years ago after five years as marketing director on the board at Notcutts Garden Centres where her work led Notcutts to win two national awards at the Marketing Society Awards for Excellence. One for Best Customer Relationship Marketing and the other a Special Award for most effective use of marketing expenditure. Before taking up these roles in Suffolk, Minnie was with innovation company ?WHAT IF! where she had access to some of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. Whilst Minnie was there ?WHAT IF! won The Sunday Times Best Place to Work in the UK award twice. The East of England Co-operative Society is one of the largest totally independent businesses in our region encompassing Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, and Minnie is Joint Chief Executive responsible for all aspects of membership and marketing communications across the society’s businesses: food stores and supermarkets, funeral services, opticians, pharmacy and travel.
East of England Co-op is not ‘The Co-operative’, but it is part of the same movement and has a historic financial stake in the Co-operative Group as a corporate shareholder. There are 14,000 co-operatives across the UK generating £37 billion for the UK economy. There is even a Co-operative Party, which gives co-ops a voice in Parliament and works to support the co-op movement. The East of England Co-op is your local, totally independent Co-op and has had roots in the region for over 140 years. East of England Co-op is a consumer co-operative owned entirely by its 250,000 active members whether they are customers, colleagues or the local community. Anyone can be a member, the more you shop the more dividend points you earn and the greater your share of the profits: two pence back for every pound you spend for the last 5 years, twice what you get with the big supermarket loyalty schemes. Paying dividends to members is a priority, so is investing in local communities where they need help and supporting local producers ensuring your pound is kept local. East of England Co-op operates over 200 retail outlets across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. It employs over 4,600 people; has an extensive retail and commercial property portfolio; and, turned over £340 million in the year 2014 to 2015.
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Collegiate leadership With no single chief executive officer, East of England Co-op starts its points of difference from the top. A Leadership Team of five Joint CEOs assumes collectively the responsibilities of a chief executive and all are driven by the knowledge that they are protecting and nurturing their members’ legacy for this generation and the next. Each of the five is an expert in their own field as well as business management: Minnie Moll, Membership & Marketing Mark O’Hagan, People and Performance Doug Field, Finance & Technology Roger Grosvenor, Retail Nick Denny, Property This collegiate leadership approach was introduced five years ago with a simple belief that five brains are better than one. All have equal say in decisions allowing the business to benefit from the experience and skills of five people working together. Together they ensure important decisions are shared, fair and balanced, echoing the philosophy behind the co-operative movement. 4 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
“Whilst we are a team of five, all with different personalities, ideas and views, there is a good chemistry. We get on very well and make a strong single minded team,” says Minnie. “Together we are 100% committed to developing and growing our fantastic business. We are all equally passionate about East Anglia, its communities and how businesses can help grow the local economy. It’s not the first time I’ve worked in this collegiate way and I fully believe in it. “Expecting all necessary qualities in one leader is a big ask especially when most of them come from financial backgrounds. It can be a huge risk vesting ultimate responsibility in one person. We each have different experiences, our ages range from late 50s to early 40s and we have families of different ages. “In practice, the person with the specific skillset leads the conversation and we all tend to reach conclusions together. We’ve never had to vote. Everyone has the right attitude, trust and respect and we have great debates. It all leads to more fluid leadership. It’s also more efficient and means we are more fleet of foot.”
Believe Minnie fundamentally believes in the co-operative model and shared ownership. If you do well you do good. Too many corporates have too much power, many millennials have grown up witnessing a break down of trust. The co-op model is as relevant now as it’s ever been. It’s part of Minnie’s role to reconnect with people, remind them that they have choice and the chance to do things differently; explain why the co-op is cool, why it benefits everyone and why it’s fresh, modern and relevant. Also, how it’s possible to harness people power to create amazing organisations. For Minnie, passion and belief fuels communication. “It makes you want to go and infect everyone else,” she says. “To sell something and communicate it powerfully you have to believe in it.” Minnie describes marketing as everything everyone says about everything and cites companies who have had marketing in their DNA from the outset: Google and Apple. She also mentions 38 Degrees who have an amazing track record of attracting campaigners and getting issues into Parliament. And so, what is infectious about East of England Co-op and makes Minnie tingle with excitement about her relatively new role?
Food Despite massive change in the food retail market with huge competition and falling prices East of England Co-op can take great pride in its strong food retail strategy: It keeps membership at it’s heart, it’s a business for people and communities and not just for profit
supplies just one store to get them started and the co-op can help with the design and packaging, even writing a business plan. It also means fair prices and paying the producers on time. In the last financial year Sourced Locally sales were £16.8 million, it helped to create 400 local jobs and the range now extends to thousands of products. Over the years, it has ploughed back £45 million into the local economy. Minnie believes it’s an important part of being a community retailer and better for everyone.
Celebrating local food and drink Now in their fourth year, the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year Awards shines a light on the hardworking, dedicated teams behind the local produce they sell in their stores. As Minnie says “It’s thanks to them that we’re able to offer our customers thousands of locally produced products, from fruit and vegetables, jams and sauces, to meats, fish and even cleaning products”. Over 15,000 votes were cast online and in-store this year by members and customers, which saw Havensfield Eggs crowned County Winner in Suffolk; putting them in the running for the ultimate title of Producer of the Year 2016. First generation farmers, Alaistaire and Fiona Brice provide all East of England Co-op stores with freshly laid eggs from their free range hens. Fiona said: “There are so many fantastic producers in Suffolk, working with and being helped by the East of England Co-op. To be crowned county winners is astonishing, a huge endorsement of our product and brand, and a great honour.” It has to be a winning formula for everyone.
It attends to the smallest details to create easy, friendly shopping It makes sure the right store is in the right place Through Sourced Locally, it champions local producers and keeps produce close to home The East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally initiative is something that Minnie takes huge pride in. The scheme began in 2007 with local asparagus, it supports local producers in each of the three counties, reducing food miles and delivering great, fresh products. Typically it can mean the producer 5 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
Fairtrade Giving farmers and workers across the world better prices, working conditions and fair terms of trade is important at East of England Co-op. It’s not just about tracing products back to their source – it’s about improving the lives and communities of the people who produce them. A staggering 600 million people worldwide are affected by seasonal hunger. Buying Fairtrade products is an easy way to take action and literally changes lives.
Community Giving back to its local communities is a core part of East of England Co-op’s ethos and it gives Minnie many stories to talk about and to continue to inject and spread enthusiasm amongst all those she meets. The Co-op Cuppa is putting smiles on plenty of faces. Using Co-operative Fairtrade 99 Tea, every cup not only supports positive action across the East of England, but also tea-growers across Kenya and Malawi. Everyone can apply for a one off or a continuous supply. The Carers’ Cabin at Ipswich Hospital is just one of the places that benefits. The community token scheme is implemented across all food stores and is something Minnie describes as “stolen with glee” from other retailers. Every three months, local good causes around the stores receive a share of £32,000. But there are many other praiseworthy initiatives spread across the three counties. One of which is to be the Leading Dementia Friendly Retailer in the Region. There are over 35,000 people living with dementia in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, and in a survey carried out by Alzheimer’s UK, 23% of participants said that they have had to stop shopping as a result of living with dementia.
So far, they’ve supported over 60 dementia cafes and 3,062 colleagues have been trained as dementia friends. This training has included a workplace challenge called ‘Shopping in their Shoes’. Colleagues were tasked with collecting a list of shopping basics whilst wearing an ageing or ‘GERT’ suit. These ageing suits replicate a number of age-related conditions, distorting the senses through reduced eyesight and hearing, as well as making movement more difficult with weights fitted to joints. Those that have already taken part in the challenge found it a really valuable experience, giving them amazing insight into the challenges of shopping as age starts to take its toll.
“As a community retailer it is incredibly important to us that all of our customers, including those with age related conditions or Dementia, are able to comfortably shop in our stores – and that our colleagues are able to provide them with support and assistance when they need it.” Minnie Moll All in all I found my short trip around East of England Co-op with Minnie Moll an energising and eye opening experience. A retailer not just paying lip service to being “a business for people and communities and not just for profit” but one living and breathing it every day. Delivered with a lightness of step made possible by a revolutionary Leadership Team structure. Carrie Bendall email@example.com
6 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
Bribery and corruption! If your business deals with large organisations, local authorities, schools, hospitals, social housing associations or businesses abroad, you will probably have noticed that contracts you are being asked to sign require you to comply with the Bribery Act 2010 What does this actually mean? Of course your business is not involved in bribery or corruption, so surely you can sign to say that this is true! Unfortunately, this is not enough to comply with either the Bribery Act or the contract you are signing up to. Sometimes contracts specifically require you to have an anti-corruption and bribery policy. This is the fairly easy part – we provide many such policies to our clients – but even if the contract itself does not state that you require a policy, the Bribery Act requires you to have procedures in place, and the only way of evidencing this is to have a written policy.
More than this, the Act states that your business and management need to make your position on bribery, and what this means, clear and unambiguous to all staff and business partners. Bribery prevention policies and procedures must be embedded in the way that you work and everyone must understand them throughout your organisation. It is common for staff not to read their work policy document or, even if they do read it, not to understand what it means for them. The only way to really show that a policy has been communicated clearly and that staff understand it, is to go through it with them in a training session. Indeed, more and more contracts and tender processes are specifically stating that you must provide your staff with training on this subject, so unless you can comply you could lose out on winning that new work. At Birkett Long we can provide you with an anti-corruption and bribery policy for a small fixed fee, and run interactive training sessions tailored to the number of staff you have and the time available, also provided via a fixed fee. We ensure that training is relevant and of practical use to your staff at your individual business – and you will be pleased to hear that we promise no legal jargon either! For more information contact Emily Brown at Birkett Long LLP on 01268 824936 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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CHOOSING AN ACCOUNTANT
How to choose a good accountant - from the horse’s mouth By Fiona Hotston Moore – partner, Ensors Chartered Accountants
Choosing your accountant is a key decision for both business owners and private clients. One bean counter is not in fact the same as the next bean counter! Your accountant should be your trusted business partner with whom you are comfortable discussing candidly all things financial from routine tax filings to longer term financial strategy for you, your family and business.
don’t need a Big 4 firm. You are probably looking for an individual who can advise you on a range of business areas (a “general practitioner”). There may be specialist services you will need in the future such as corporate finance for a future sale, acquisition or fund raising or inheritance tax planning and ideally your accountant should be able to pull in specialists from within the firm.
What fees will you be paying?
I recommend investing some time considering what you need from your accountant and meeting two or three before making your decision. Personal recommendations are a useful starting point. Alternatively ask the accountant for references.
Things to consider include: Is the accountant qualified? Unfortunately anyone can describe themselves as an “accountant” even if they have no accountancy qualifications or limited experience. Find out if the individual is qualified with one of the main accountancy bodies, eg: a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW or ICAS (ACA/FCA), or a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA/FCCA) or a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA). Unqualified accountants may not have professional indemnity insurance.
What services do you need now and what might you need in the future? If you are starting up in business or you are a growing entrepreneurial business you probably
For most services accountants can provide fixed fee estimates which avoid nasty shocks. Consider whether you wish to pay monthly. Will you be charged for a quick call or email? Do not assume that the cheapest quote is the best. Ask the accountant how they will add value to your business?
Does the accountant understand your sector? Some industries require sector knowledge such as medical practices, charities, pension funds. Ask your accountant if they have experience of other clients in your area and how they have helped those businesses.
Finally, keep your side of the bargain. Talk to your accountant regularly and share with them your plans. Provide information in the agreed format and on time. If you are happy with their service tell others and if you aren’t happy tell the accountant. Fiona Hotston Moore is a partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants ensors.co.uk Fiona.email@example.com 9 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
SUFFOLK COAST BUSINESS
Suffolk Coast Business Alyson Tipping
Formed in 2009 as the Heritage Coast Market Towns Initiative, Suffolk Coast Business facilitates co-operation between companies and business associations in Aldeburgh, Framlingham, Leiston and Saxmundham providing representation, advice and routes to funding Suffolk Coast Business works in partnership with Waveney Business Forum to provide easier access to skills for local businesses and their workforce, further employment opportunities and active promotion of the region to attract inward investment and drive forward the local economy. It has many generous sponsors of events and other activities.
Business Breakfast Club
Suffolk Coast Business is always pleased to hear from businesses of any size from microbusinesses to large corporations and anyone else in between. Individual members of the business associations are offered monthly networking breakfasts, an annual exhibition and conference and low cost skills workshops.
Friday 18 March 2016, The Dolphin Inn, Thorpeness
Suffolk Coast Business Events Routes to Market 2016 Wednesday 23 March 2016, 9am – 2pm Ufford Park Hotel and Spa, Woodbridge, IP12 1QW Keynote speaker: Minnie Moll, East of England Co-op, Executive Officer for Media Marketing and Membership. Workshops: Fiona Hotston Moore, Ensors – How to pitch and close the deal
Every 3rd Friday of the Month, 7.45 – 9.00 am £5 for members, £10 for non members Includes breakfast, networking and interesting speakers covering topics relevant to SMEs and microbusinesses Guest Speaker: Nigel Poore, PoorlyPC Ensure your PC is as secure as it can be and more general topics of interest to small businesses such as encryption, backup and password management Friday 15th April 2016, Leiston Long Shop Museum Guest Speaker: Russ Rainger, Director, Long Shop Museum Trustees An update about the Long Shop and the exciting events taking place this year, attendees will also get a behind the scenes tour of the museum. Friday 20 May 2016, Location to be confirmed Guest Speaker: Charlotte Johns LLB, Managing Director, Kingfisher HR
David Miles, Business Training Made Simple – tips on winning new business from your website
Charlotte is a dual qualified Barrister and Solicitor and specialist Employment Lawyer (not practising) and will be providing an overview of employment law for SMEs and micro businesses
Vibrant market place, plenty of networking and learning opportunities
Any questions contact: Alyson Tipping firstname.lastname@example.org
Open to members and non-members
To book your place: suffolkcoastbusiness.co.uk
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Date: Wednesday 23rd March 2016 Time: 8:30 – 10:30 Location: Sir Bobby Robson Suite, Ipswich Town Football Club, Ipswich, IP1 2DA Format: Full English breakfast, speaker and networking Prices: £15.00 + vat for members and their guests £30 + vat for non members
Economic Breakfast with James Sproule IoD Chief Economist and Director of Policy One week after the budget we welcome IoD Chief Economist and Director of Policy James Sproule, to provide an outlook on the UK economy. To book your place visit www.iod.com/suffolkevents or call Caroline Kearney 07917 699498
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IoD SUFFOLK | 2016 EVENTS
A packed programme ahead Tim Fenton
The 2016 Events Programme looks set to be one of our best yet. Your committee is still working to finalise the dates and venues but the full programme is almost complete and will be mailed round shortly
First up is our Economic Breakfast with the IoD’s Chief Economist and Director of Policy, James Sproule. James will be speaking and answering questions exactly a week after the Budget – that is from 08:30 to 10:30 on Wednesday 23rd March in the Sir Bobby Robson suite at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road ground.
IoD Suffolk Annual Members’ Meeting, 23rd March 2016, 10.45
Last year’s visit from James was our most popular Business Breakfast Event and we expect tickets to sell quickly. As well as the inside track on the UK economy, there will be a full cooked breakfast courtesy of ITFC’s award-winning caterers. Parking is available via the Constantine Road entrance.
Planning for 2016
Members are welcome to bring guests. Members and non-members welcome. Prior to joining the IoD James Sproule led Accenture’s UK Research and global Capital Markets Research. He started his financial career as a merchant bank economist working with the Bankers’ Trust, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Kleinwort. He brings all that experience to bear in his analysis of the Budget and his predictions for the UK’s economic prospects for 2016 and beyond. If you have your own particular concerns about general economic trends, the possibility of BREXIT or prospects for your own company’s sector, James will be more than happy to answer questions in what was last year an entertaining and highly informative briefing.
Right after the Economic breakfast, we will be holding the IoD Suffolk Annual Members’ Meeting. This is open to members only and a good opportunity to talk to our chairman and committee members about the branch. In response to member feedback, we are prioritising visits to successful Suffolk-based businesses. Film and TV production in the County is definitely on the up. Key companies are keen to share their business challenges and opportunities with us of making Suffolk a destination for film production. This is just one example of the exciting businesses we will profile in 2016. The experience that customers have of our products and/or services is always a key differentiator. We plan to include an Insight Event where a Suffolk business with customer experiences at the heart of their operations share their insights as part of our professional development offer. Our support for Suffolk Mind last year worked well for both partners and we plan to follow that up with some practical learning on how to manage mental health issues in two Workplace Workshops. Add a Summer Drinks Party, the Annual Charity Dinner and, on May 9th, an EU Referendum Debate and that is a busy year ahead. To book your place visit www.iod.com/suffolkevents or call Caroline Kearney 07917 699498 15 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
IoD SUFFOLK | CHAIR
Who are we and what do we want? Graham Kill
There have been many times in my career when assumptions and biases have been rudely but correctly challenged by data. So, as well as talking to members and my committee, I set out to see what the data might yield about you – our members – and how that analysis, might help us shape the programme for the coming years
We can start with geography. I plotted an anonymised batch of home and work postcodes on a Google map of Suffolk. It probably won’t surprise you to know that the vast majority of your fellow members live and/or work within 30 mins of the county’s twin economic centres of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. The committee has always worried a lot about where in the County to stage events – should we alternate between Ipswich and Bury? Should we go further afield? Or should we settle on one central venue? We’re still thinking about this and are likely to try a few different options this year. I am an advocate for controlled experimentation in business. But one thing we know now that we didn’t before is that 90% of you live within a 45 minute drive of Stowmarket (journey times per Google!). 16 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
This doesn’t mean we’re going to stage all our events in Stowmarket. There are other factors to take into account such as venues, speakers and participating businesses, but we are going to try one or two. As well as location, the type of event we put on is key. We had good anecdotal information from member lunches held in 2015 about some of your likes and dislikes, but wanted to supplement that. Those of you that joined the Christmas Drinks event in December were armed with ‘sticky dots’ to place weighted votes on a series of potential event options. 109 of you (members and nonmembers) cast votes that day. As we are here to serve members while attracting new members, we wanted to recognise an existing member’s vote should be weighted more highly, so we applied a 1.5X factor to existing member votes.
IoD SUFFOLK | CHAIR
IoD Suffolk Total weighted votes for events in 2016 Economic Breakfast Local Business Visits Purely Networking Business skills workshops/seminars Fun Activities Annual Conference Themed presentation from local business leader and discussion Themed panel discussions on topics important to local business Annual Charity Dinner Charity support/events
The IoD’s charter is about setting standards of excellence and continuously driving improvements in the performance of directors and organisational leaders, for the benefit of business, the economy and the country. Central to achieving this are activities that allow you, as members, to connect with, and create high performance networks and relationships, and to develop your director and leader skills to world class levels. It was good to find that the top four event types from the voting at the Christmas Drinks aligned well with the national IoD agenda. As is detailed elsewhere in this edition of the magazine, this year’s Economic Breakfast with the IoD’s Chief Economist, James Sproule, will be held on March 23rd. Of course, while numbers are useful, we need words to describe our plans. A comment I noted down during a member’s lunch last year captured all of the above very succinctly. What IoD Suffolk members are looking for is:
“Insight and a quality of networking members could not get anywhere else” Message received and understood. We will do our best. All further thoughts, 19656 Suffolk Director Magazine HP 174x114mm AW_Layout 1 24/02/2016 13:03 please, Page 1
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IoD SUFFOLK | MEMBER BENEFITS
IoD keeps you in the know Tim Fenton
Knowledge is power. That has never been more true than it is now; with so much information collected and published digitally The key information for any business is the detail of what you do and who you do it for. That will be where your competitive advantage lies. The other stuff – trends in the UK economy as a whole, your sector or market – are of secondary importance but still vital. If you ignore it, competitors can catch you out. One of the most valuable things the IoD can do for you as a director is help to keep you up to date with that sort of ‘bigger picture’ information.
Individual members can use the service to research their own sectors and markets. Your branch committee uses it to monitor the bigger picture in Suffolk. Recent findings include the fact that Suffolk’s fastest growing business over the past couple of years is a logistics firm in the Felixstowe area. Two of the top ten fastest growers are based in Framlingham. And one is a social enterprise.
For a start, there’s the daily Business and Politics email round-up. Lots of newspapers and other organisations produce these but the IoD’s is written for directors. So when it reports the ups and downs of the share market, it looks for the lessons offered on the broader economy. Is confidence falling? Is this a temporary blip? Maybe this is not the right time to advertise an additional post. Politics, too, is done in a way that’s relevant. The Government says it wants to close the gender pay gap. What might that mean in practice for a company like mine?
It’s good to know, too, which familiar generalisations about the County are supported by the facts and which are not. The proportion of retired people in Suffolk is a couple of percentage points above the national average but actually below the figure for the Eastern region as a whole. Student numbers, though, are much lower. We are fully one third below the UK average. And educational attainment still lags. Along with that goes lower wages. The averages for Suffolk are something like 10% below those for the Eastern region.
But even more useful is the Business Information Service. Their experienced, professional researchers are at the disposal of members up to 25 times a year to research any topic you need.
As well as data, the IoD offers members advice on legal and financial matters, human resources and marketing. The service comes with standard membership. Make the most of it!
Take a look at www.iod.com/guidance/ business-library to get started 18 18||SUFFOLK SUFFOLKDIRECTOR DIRECTORSPRING SPRING2016 2016
IoD SUFFOLK | COMMITTEE
Your invitation to join the IoD Suffolk Committee Graham Kill
I chose to spend my time, and with people, where I can: learn something new; and/or have fun; and/or be rewarded (in the broadest definition of reward) – and, ideally, all three at the same time. Being part of Suffolk IoD committee, for me, delivers in all three dimensions Each committee member has his and her own reasons for wanting to be part of the committee, but all are passionate and committed about giving members locally “Insight and a quality of networking members could not get anywhere else”. As we begin another IoD Suffolk year with our Annual Members’ Meeting on 23 March at 10.45 we say goodbye and give huge thanks to Christopher Johnson, Catherine Chambers, Dean Willingham and Sally Butcher for their invaluable contributions during their period as committee members. This provides us with an opportunity to recruit some new members: Role
Description of role
Attract and manage annual and event sponsors – they are essential to being able to host events.
Budgeting, forecasting and reporting at a branch and activity/event level.
Managing branch events that give members locally insights and a quality of networking not available anywhere else.
Jane Cattermole New member Information and Tim Fenton Content
Gathering, editing and curating information and content for distribution in: Suffolk Director magazine; online platforms and to brief speakers.
Online presence New Member
Online platforms for distributing content and information to members and beyond, and for efficient communication between committee members.
Developing contact and relationships with individual members to better understand the needs of Suffolk IoD members.
Students and Education
Manage our relationship with Suffolk One and its students and develop similar relationships with other schools, colleges and universities.
Administration and management of the branch’s activities.
Lead the branch. Representative on public bodies. Primary media contact. Developing IoD relationships across Suffolk.
We would very much like you to join the committee to help us with our Members, Events and Online activities. If you would like to know more please contact me on email@example.com or 07518 189802. 19 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
IoD SUFFOLK | YOUNG DIRECTOR
University? Jordan Holder
It’s no secret that I don’t hold a degree nor should it be. But, there seems to be this assumption that anyone in the professional services industry needs to hold a degree and a wealth of qualifications to back up anything that comes out of their mouth. Is this really the case? In the world of business there is nothing that can’t be learned, and that’s the beauty of business. It’s an ever changing world. A few years ago, if you wanted funding in your business, you’d go down the route of a Venture Capitalist. Now, anyone can log into Kickstarter and help support the growth of a business. And that doesn’t take a degree does it? My message to students who are in the midst of this dilemma is to give it some real thought before committing; try to understand the pros and cons. The job market is a competitive one, standing out from the crowd is essential. Experience holds the greatest value as employers are able to actually see the progress you have made in an organisation or project you have undertaken. In a study of over 1000 students conducted by Policy Bee, they found that over half of the graduates they spoke to were disappointed with the support they received from their careers department. Furthermore, only 8% of graduates said that their University discussed freelancing/ self-employment as a career option. Universities need to be actively encouraging their students to be entrepreneurs, if you can’t find a job, create one. Experience is everything in today’s world, get as much of it as you can and learn from everyone. I take inspiration from a myriad of sources, YouTube, TED Talks, Books, Individuals, Social Media, Networking and Public Speaking. Explore all areas, gain the knowledge employers so crave.
“For the most ambitious young people, the corporate ladder is obsolete” Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, a new model for funding early stage startups 20 20||SUFFOLK SUFFOLKDIRECTOR DIRECTORSPRING SPRING2016 2016
IoD Student Business Projects On the 1st February, we launched the IoD Student Business Projects with Suffolk One IoD Student Members. Sixteen students are now working with local business owners to find creative solutions to their businesses problems. The aim of this project is for learning; learning what it’s like to be working with a small business and gaining that valuable experience of working amongst directors. On the flip side, we wanted the business owners to learn more about students and challenge the assumption that all young people are lazy. They’re not!
“The projects are a great opportunity to gain experience at evaluating and suggesting ways in which businesses can improve and develop within their demographic sector.” Sherrie Le-Gros, Student, Suffolk One
“The IoD business project has been truly beneficial, allowing me to get directly involved in local business and everything it entails. Everyone has been so friendly and supportive.” George Beattie, Student, Suffolk One Thank you to: Portcullis Market Access, Ensors, Pound Gates, Smart Garden Offices, Policy Bee, MAD-HR, BayTree VA Jordan Holder IoD Student Membership Officer & Portcullis Market Access firstname.lastname@example.org
A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL
Suffolk Community Foundation Carrie Bendall meets Stephen Singleton, Chief Executive Many older people are isolated and lonely and in this time of austerity and government funding cuts, the role of the Suffolk Community Foundation has never been more important. In its time so far the Foundation has helped many, many people in Suffolk but the real need for it is possibly just becoming a startling reality. In our conversation, Stephen describes a dramatic change affecting the charity sector. Traditional funding streams are drying up and the needs of other forms of funding have emerged.
Stephen Singleton was appointed Chief Executive of Suffolk Community Foundation in 2005. It was the result of a chance remark made by a new employee and new Suffolk resident at the Ipswich Council for Voluntary Services in a meeting sometime earlier. The question was asked whether Suffolk had a Community Foundation? It hadn’t. So a group of people with a marvellous vision and a can do attitude formed a steering committee and set about fund raising so that they could recruit a Chief Executive who would make it happen. And amazing things have happened since then. Based at Wherstead, the Foundation employs 10 people, a number which is boosted by many more volunteers. It celebrated its 10th Anniversary last year. And during its 10 years it has awarded grants of more than £12 million to over 2,000 local charities and community groups. Today it manages more than 50 endowment funds totalling £10 million and crucially has created a platform for bringing large sums of money into the county from national funders such as Comic Relief, The Henry Smith Charity and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. For many people in Suffolk, it’s a huge surprise that a Foundation and so much charitable fund raising are necessary. But an idyllic setting and comfortable existence for so many just hides the many thousands of people in need. More than 78,000 people including 19,000 children are living in poverty bringing with it other social issues.
Crisis intervention has become an increasing need for the Foundation’s support. Today there are more than 50 food banks and crisis food providers in Suffolk. There are more and more people having the courage to speak up about domestic and sexual abuse. It all needs funding support to get the best possible service to where it is needed. The next 10 years of the Foundation come with a vision for longevity, to grow endowment funds to £30 milliion and to increase grant making from £2 million to £5 million a year. It’s a big target and Suffolk Directors and businesses can play a huge role by channelling any resources and able volunteers they have to spreading the word and helping in the communities they are part of. The benefit of the Foundation is that they know where to channel the money, they know where it is needed most and they can provide due diligence on the charities that apply for grants. They can also hold funds that grow in perpetuity and create lasting legacies. The Old Barns Peninsula Business Centre Wherstead Ipswich Suffolk IP9 2BB suffolkcf.org.uk @suffolkgiving
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A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL
Jonathan Agar Chief Executive, Birketts “Our Partners feel very strongly a desire to be connected and contributing to the local community. The Community Foundation makes so much sense. Each one has a county focus and there is little leakage in either distributing funds outside the county boundaries or in extreme overheads and high cost which is why Stephen and the Suffolk Community Foundation is such a good answer for us. “The other appeal is the staff engagement. Our grants team now, can get very involved with the Suffolk Community Foundation and go out and be part of charities. We can give some pro bono advice where that might be necessary or helpful. Staff engagement with the recipient charity can be quite significant and quite successful. “I regularly get letters asking for support for all sorts of causes that are outstanding but with two or three letters a week it’s nye on impossible to decide which one should benefit. Having the fund means that with great sincerity and real meaning we can point them to the Foundation so that they can help us decide what meets our criteria. Far better that way than it be my decision. “I really do believe made in Suffolk given in Suffolk, made in Norfolk given in Norfolk and that giving to your nearest and dearest is a societal responsibility. I know first hand the deprivation in Africa but I find it difficult to support a project there when I know that 15% of primary school children in our area are going to school without breakfast.” 22 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
James Hopkins Executive Chairman, Hopkins Homes “I’ve known the Foundation from the early days when it was set up. It’s a fantastic charity, particularly for us, the largest house builder in East Anglia. I get requests for donations every week. I don’t know who they all are or how worthy they are. For busy people like me, the Foundation researches, checks and makes sure of the most worthy causes. “We meet once a year, it’s very good, easy and constructive and they help direct us to places most relevant to us in places like Haverhill, Ipswich and Lowestoft. You really can’t support everyone and this is a great way of making important decisions. “I’m really excited because we’ve just set up a ‘Building Communities’ Fund. It’s a £250,000 endowment fund with grants ranging from £500 to £5,000 awarded twice a year in the areas where we are building houses. The key causes we will be supporting revolve around homelessness, deprivation and vulnerable people. “Whilst we are building high quality homes, we are always keen to play our part in building communities and in supporting some of the toughest social challenges in Suffolk. The creation of a fund means it will be everlasting.”
A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL
Colin Hitchen Commercial General Manager, Freightliner “At Freightliner our charity policy revolves around our employees who are all invited to nominate a charity close to their hearts. As founder members of the Port Community Fund, collaboration with other members means we can maximise our giving and its impact. “Since the Port Community Fund was created in 2008, we’ve raised over £460,000 with grant awards in excess of £300,000. We now have an endowment fund of £160,000 to support grant making into the future. Our ambition is to reach £1 million. “The whole process of charitable giving is far easier with the support of the Suffolk Community Foundation. They handle all the vetting procedures and administration. If we are unable to support a given charity, they can be redirected back to the Foundation to look for support from other funds. “Our experience of the Foundation has been amazing and I encourage any potential new members to sign up and enhance our contribution to local charities still further. Charities who have received grant awards from the Port Community Fund include the Disability Advice Service, East Suffolk Association for the Blind, Felixstowe area Community Transport, Suffolk Cruse Bereavement Care, Woolverstone Project and the Bumblebee Children’s Charity.”
Andrew Goulborn Commercial Director, Call Connection “How simple Suffolk Community Foundation make it and how reassuring to have them as part of our team. This is our ninth year and we are looking forward to celebrating our £200,000 anniversary. We contribute in all sorts of ways: through pay roll, matching staff donations and special fund raising days in the office. “We have a heavy emphasis on local support but do involve ourselves in Comic Relief and Sports Relief. We are aware that charitable money seeps out of the county but we are intent on supporting the right things and use the Foundation to screen and give comfort that the Suffolk charities we want to support have their seal of approval. “We also know that the Foundation helps grants get to the destination efficiently. Our brief to the Foundation is for charities that support younger people as they make up most of our 250 workforce in Suffolk. It’s also important to us to know that no one charity becomes dependent on us. That’s happened in the past and the Foundation play an important role helping us manage this. “Suffolk Community Foundation are always spot on, recommending charities that resonate with us and where our money can make a difference.” 23 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
WHERE THINGS ARE AT
Where things are at Luke Morris
As we steam well in to 2016, it seems opportune to reflect on our recent experiences of the corporate finance market in East Anglia As it happens, 2015 was pretty buoyant. Certain sectors had a torrid time, admittedly, perhaps none more than the energy sector (our region hit particularly given deferral around our offshore gas projects) as well as the Electricity Market Reform, which has changed how renewables projects are incentivised.
adept at raising taxes without anyone noticing too much. He’s now more blatant. The self-employed hit with new ways of taxing their personal service companies. Buy-to-let landlords battered with changes on the way the money that they borrowed to buy their properties is treated, as well as a 3% hike in stamp duty on new purchases.
Nonetheless, general confidence seemed to hold up. We encountered a number of businesses with strong balance sheets and continued strong appetite for business sales, acting for both buyers and sellers. The need for businesses and individuals to retain large cash reserves seems to have dissipated and many are now focusing their attention on growth through acquisition.
Then there’s the pension plans of the salaried middle classes. Since 2010, George has raised an estimated £5 billion a year (slightly more than the cost of the prison service) by chipping away at higher-rate tax relief on pensions. Lifetime limits on the amount you can put in while still getting tax relief have been introduced. Commentators think he may go all-out and impose a flat rate of pension relief in the spring...
This opportunity does not seem lost on those business owners seeking an exit, particularly those who delayed a sale over recent years until they felt comfortable the market had recovered. The banks too are continuing to share with us their desire to support sensible deals and we have seen this in evidence. Our experiences seem to be mirrored by others in the region. According to Experian, the number of £500,000 to £10 million deals in the East of England increased by 67% last year, and the overall deal value increased in line by 66%. Nationally, the number of deals of this size increased from 1,757 to 1,960, the busiest year since 2007. Looking further in to 2016, there will be uncertainties. As well as global volatility, there are rumours of important tax changes arising from the Spring Budget that may significantly impact on the way deals are structured in the future (we will be running Budget seminars across the region to reflect on any such matters arising, do sign up). The main jitters as far as deals go concern reform of so-called entrepreneur’s relief. The trend seems clear to me. George Osborne has hitherto been 24 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
From an accountancy perspective, the new UK accounting rules (so-called FRS 102) are now being applied in anger for the first time. This is a fundamental change in accounting principles, the most significant in a generation. Whilst this is very technical in nature, it will have a very noticeable impact on the presentation of accounts and also corporate finance deals. Detail to keep in mind if you’re planning something. Regardless of the challenges ahead, there is no reason not to remain cautiously optimistic. Luke Morris Partner 01473 833411 larking-gowen.co.uk email@example.com This article is designed for the information of readers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, information contained in this article may not be comprehensive and recipients should not act upon it without seeking professional advice. Larking Gowen is registered to carry out audit work in the UK and Ireland by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Reputation building Stuart Robertson
All businesses have a reputation how do you manage yours? Before the arrival of social media platforms, the way to build a solid reputation was to offer your clients what they want, on or ahead of schedule at no more than the agreed cost. If these simple tasks were achieved, your client would recommend you to others and help take your business forward. Now through online engagement some of these processes can be achieved quicker and to a larger audience but the other side of the coin is that this exposure can also damage your reputation far quicker than it did. People who you may not know will have an affect on how your business is perceived, with tripadvisor and other trade review sites inviting clients to report on their experience with you for the world Suffolk Director 02 2016_Layout 1 18/02/2016 10:19 Page 1 to see.
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This can be positive if all the reviews are glowing, but often it may only take one negative review, for whatever reason (valid or not) to damage your reputation and potentially lose a new clients. The world is full of people that can never be satisfied fully, however, if the management take the time to comment on all reviews, including the negative ones, this shows the world that they do care about their product and their customer. The key messages are still the same - “help your clients achieve what they want/need, and you will have what you want/need”. Although there will always be room to improve, this will help build a solid reputation in your chosen field. Stuart Robertson Head PGA Professional and Director The Doctorgolf Academy Ufford Park Woodbridge Suffolk, IP12 1QW firstname.lastname@example.org 01394 383480
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Embracing diversity Matt Woor
Glass ceilings and invisible barriers do exist, stopping certain individuals progressing because of who they are rather than the skills they possess. Inequality may be holding you back without you really realising it. Take a good look at your workforce. How many are men? How many are women? How many are white? How any are black? How many are disabled? How many are LGB or T? Do you know what this means?
You employ someone who seems very capable with all the correct qualifications. But what happens if that person is part of the LGB &T community and feels unsafe to come out in your employment? I guarantee they will spend as much time focusing on the things they feel they cannot say as they do on the job you actually want them to do. Remembering to repeatedly use the lies; “What was that fake name I used to describe my fake girlfriend last week?” The stress, combined with the exhaustion of maintaining the lie, can result in time taken away from work.
Productivity levels up, customer satisfaction up, staff loyalty up, and staff turnover down. You do the maths.
Bringing your whole self to work
I believe people should be employed for roles because of the merits they bring to that role, and not the shape of their genitals or the sex of the person they are attracted to.
As a gay man I know how it feels to experience the darkness and isolation of having to keep a secret about who you really are. Growing up I may as well have been invisible. I deliberately lived my life in such a way as to not stand out; I tried very hard to not give away any conscious clues about my personal conflicts about my sexuality. I honestly spent every day of my existence checking and retelling the same lies necessary to maintain the status quo – until Monday January 6th 1997 – when I reached a point where there were too many lies to remember, and too little energy to maintain them any longer – I chose to come out – many others have chosen to take their own life instead.
The benefits of embedding equality within your organisation are huge. Your employees will feel free to be themselves, free to focus their undivided attention upon the job you want them to do, happier coming to work and more loyal to the organisation that empowers them to feel this way. Your customers will also get a better experience from the member of staff who actually feels pride in the organisation they represent.
Now, 19 years later, I am the Chair of the Suffolk County Council LGB&T Network – a group of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered staff, councillors standing proudly alongside our straight allies. We actively celebrate the diversity of our organisation, working with partners like Suffolk Police and Stonewall, to spread the benefits of equality across Suffolk.
How much productivity are you losing from this person and how miserable must they be feeling at work? What if it was you?
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This year our efforts in making diversity and equality live and breathe within Suffolk County Council were recognised by Stonewall, the UK’s leading charity for LGB&T people, with inclusion at number 78 in their Workplace Equality Index Top 100 of national employers – a rise of 20 places from our position last year. It is hard work and we still have more to do but it is enjoyable and it really does make coming to work so much more rewarding.
Transgender What we have learned at Suffolk County Council over a period of time working with Stonewall and our transgender colleagues amongst others, is that gender reassignment is a personal and individual journey. As an employer we are not there to prescribe a particular set of rules, forms and processes that need completing in a certain order, in a certain time for us to treat the person with the respect they deserve in their preferred gender. The journey of gender reassignment must be down to the individual; choosing the direction, the speed and the destination – but that doesn’t mean as an employer you can’t be fully supportive if they choose to open the door and offer you a lift in the passenger seat. For me, gender and transgender is not about what toilet someone uses, it isn’t about what clothing they wear or the shape of their genitals – it’s another label we use to try and make sense of the world around us as human beings - if we could just
use the one a person wants us to use that feels most comfortable for them – well… for me it really shouldn’t be a big deal. I am not a transgender person; I have no experience of rejecting or doubting my prescribed gender at birth. So I cannot write how it feels to live in a body that feels alien, or the emotion of looking in a mirror and not recognising the face starring back at me. But I can be that person’s ally – I can support that person and be prepared to have that meeting with the HR team to ask: – “What is our corporate guidance for managers and staff dealing with Transgender issues? And if we haven’t got one, I want one.” I will stand up for you, I will listen when you need me to and I will not judge you or break your confidence ever. I promise if you really want to be - you can be that person’s ally too.
Celebrate and embrace diversity at every level 1. You are a role model; your staff look to you whether you like it or not, so you might as well be a good one. Lead by example. Talk to your workforce about equality and why you see it as a key part of your organisation. Take time to discuss diversity in a meaningful way. Embed your commitment to equality and diversity within your organisation’s goals. Put things in place to measure your success in achieving this goal – don’t just make it a throw away sentence on a website.
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2. Know your organisation: how diverse is your workforce at the moment? Is it a good time for a survey maybe? What are your HR behavioural polices? Does your policy on parental leave properly cover same sex couples? What guidance do you have about transgender issues? Equality must be sown into everything you do. Every policy, every guidance document. Check your suppliers too – are they equality champions? Make equality part of your supply chain and spread the love. 3. Invite staff to create networks around key topics; gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, faith, age, disability; you are a role model remember, so join those networks you relate to and be an active member. Don’t tell me you are too busy to attend either. If you’re too busy for equality, then it’s never going to happen in your organisation. Arrange regular meetings, set up the email distribution list, maybe a Twitter account – and start listening and supporting one another. Arrange some social events, talk to your whole business about them. You will have to make time for these groups of course – encourage your staff to take time within the working week to do the equality related jobs, why not make it part of their job descriptions or personal review targets. They are after all working towards one of your new organisational goals remember. 4. Reach out to other equality networks; seek out the professionals like Stonewall. They have all the support you could need to make your networks a success. Yes you will have to invest in equality. Set a budget for it, which is
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reasonable and affordable. Use this budget for membership of groups, equality training for staff but also maybe by sponsoring your local Pride march or helping to support other equality groups. Remember you are supporting an entire community not just your staff – so get out there and join in. 5. You absolutely have to mean it; there is nothing to be gained from a tick box exercise when it comes to equality. For example, if you believe that a woman should be paid the same as a man for doing the same job (and I hope you do!) then after reading this, right now, phone your payroll and ask to see some analysis on the gender pay gap. If you have a gap fix it and put in place rules today to ensure that a woman is never again paid less to do the same job as a man in your organisation. It is time to lead by example – you are an equality role model now. Matt Woor @mattwoor Matt.email@example.com Matt is the Social Media Channel Manager for Suffolk County Council as well as being the Chair of the SCC LGB&T Network. Born in Ipswich he attended Holywells High School before studying at Ipswich School. He is a Stonewall supporter and Suffolk County Council is currently 78th in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index Top 100 for 2016
BooksEast Festival Andrew Burton
“Wanting to meet an author because you like his work”, quipped Margaret Atwood in Negotiating with the Dead, “is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.” Atwood’s characteristically provocative statement contains an essential truth. What is the point of meeting an author at a book festival when the real relationship between reader and writer takes place quietly, in private, in the pages of a book or via a reading device? Are we not likely to be disappointed when we meet our literary heroes and heroines in the flesh? And why should Ipswich, between 11 and 15 May 2016, be hosting a brand new books festival, BooksEast, when Suffolk, the region and the nation is already awash with such festivals?
The reason my fellow BooksEast collaborators and I want to bring BooksEast to Suffolk is that we share a passion for the transformative power of books. We want families, children, groups and businesses to be as excited as we are about the way books can broaden our horizons. Books are uniquely well placed to offer us fresh perspectives on the world around us and to encourage empathy; goodness knows, as a society, we need this now more than ever.
The Gender Agenda Women make up the majority of audiences for most literary events and we plan to shake this up by introducing new strands we hope will also appeal to men. The programme includes a literary pub crawl written by Eastern Angles’ Artistic Director Ivan Cutting in which the audience is invited to follow Arthur Ransome and George Orwell as they work out their differences wandering from pub to pub and ending up at the real ale pub The Dove; management guru Charles Handy will reveal the ideas behind his latest book The Second Curve; the authors of the hugely successful, tongue-in-cheek Ladybird series (The Husband: How it Works et al.) will be making an appearance; ITV’s Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart will launch his book on Queen Elizabeth II; Sir Ranulph Fiennes will talk about his adventures in the earth’s polar extremes with his lifelong collaborator Anton Bowring in A Life at the Limits and David Cavanagh will present his eagerly anticipated John Peel biography Good Night and Good Riddance: How 35 Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life. Sir Christopher Frayling will give two talks; one about his book on the writer Angela Carter and another on his infatuation with Spaghetti Westerns, ahead of a screening of Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Roger Hermiston will explore Churchill’s Great Coalition 1940-45; and Dame Fiona Reynolds’ talk about British Nature is sure to be a festival highlight.
Born out of Ip-Lit, the literary strand of the Ip-Art Festival, BooksEast has ambitions to become the Hay of the east coast, and plans to achieve this through several interconnected strands of programming, each delivered collaboratively with key partners. Roger Hermiston
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The Next Generation BooksEast wants to address the literacy deficit in some Ipswich primary schools by working in partnership with The New Wolsey Theatreâ€™s Creative Learning team. Actor / storytellers will deliver fun and accessible workshops in selected schools in the weeks leading up to the festival and pupils and their families will be given festival tickets to come and experience the power of the written word. We are also in partnership with the Ipswich Childrenâ€™s Book Group which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year, and with Suffolk Libraries.
Photograph of Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Simon Hulme,Yorkshire Post
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Christopher Frayling
Photograph: Elizabeth Handy
A writer, broadcaster and lecturer Charles regularly features among the top names in Thinkers Fifty, the list of international management thinkers and in 2011 was awarded their first Lifetime Achievement Award. His books on the changing shape of work and its effects on our lives and organizations have sold two million copies around the world. His latest book is The Second Curve, a series of thought provoking essays on the future of society.
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Family Friendly Our festival programme is geared to attract children and their families for a wide range of events. Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon will be launching her latest book The Monstrous Child; award-winning writers including Kevin CrossleyHolland, Ruth Fitzgerald, Fiona Neill and others will be appearing; and there will be a Short Story Competition for young people.
Film and Books
Photograph: Joanna Hurley
Book-related films will be screened at Ipswich Film Theatre, immediately following author talks, and videos will be screened at events throughout the festival.
Andrew Micheal Hurley
Literary Luminaries BooksEast Festival is proud to host some luminaries of the literary world, including a Bright Futures panel comprising Eimear McBride (author of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014 winning novel A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing) and Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney, winner of the Costa First Book Award 2015). Granta ‘Best of British’ novelist Xiaolu Guo, will discuss her book I Am China. Whether or not you like pâté, there will be a smorgasbord of authors and books to choose from at the BooksEast Festival which takes place 11 to 15 May in and around Ipswich Town Hall, Film Theatre, gallery spaces and café. Find out more at bookseast.co.uk Andrew Burton is a writer and arts marketing consultant working with clients throughout the East of England. He is collaborating on the BooksEast Festival with director Assis Carreiro, creative producer Sara Newman and associate director Susannah Burke.
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THE LAST WORD: RAEDWALD
RAEDWALD I Am A Man Of course, the feminist Ditum hated this line of argument: her whole world is based on men being bastards, which really does depend on being able to define “men”. But as she is so “right on”, she writhed in her chair and wouldn’t call out Lester on the nonsense she was spouting. Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch, an established classic on women’s sexuality has shown no such reservations: “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman” she said recently. Recently I sat open-mouthed watching Newsnight. It tries to be a serious programme. There’s been quite a bit going on so far in 2016: China’s stock market, dominated by flighty private investors, is all over the Shire. We have to take this sort of thing seriously, we’re told, as they (China) represent a sixth of world GDP. Oil at about $30 a barrel (this time last year $60-ish, this time in 2014 $100ish). Putin acting with impunity. ‘Daesh intent on making Al Qaeda look like The WI. So, by and large, some serious stuff to talk about you would think. So you’ll understand that I was troubled by presenter Emily Maitlis’ performance. Less inclined to flash her legs these days and not recently a sufferer of fools. Not, that is, when covering a proper story. This evening, however, was different. This evening the story was “Transgender—the new civil rights frontier?”. Our Emily (virtue-signalling throughout, thoughtful, understanding, pen in hand, soft as a pussy cat) was interviewing “trans-activist and musician” CN Lester and “feminist writer” Sarah Ditum. And what utter guff she let them get away with. “So, you were born a woman?” probed Maitlis, sympathetically. “No, I was born a baby,” barked Lester in response. She then attempted to argue that physical sex is not a biological reality. Butting in rudely to state that this is “one [only one, please note] of my academic specialities” she goes on ranting that the idea of male and female is “far more complicated than what we were taught at GCSE Biology”. 32 | SUFFOLK DIRECTOR SPRING 2016
My big disappointment was Maitlis, a pushover throughout. The Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES) estimates that around 1% of the British population are “gender nonconforming”, to some degree. Nevertheless, the mainstream is becoming more and more obsessed with wider gender issues. Not helped by Maitlis’ acquiescing tone. Not helped by the likes of GIRES pedalling spurious data. Not helped by MPs turning gender confusion from a health issue into a political statement to be enforced. Not helped by targets for trans-equality and plans to change third person pronouns. Targets for women on boards. Firms forced to reveal gender pay gaps… Careful. Perhaps you just get on with your job and judge others on their ability and attitude. The pay gap thing in business is a myth: the plural of anecdote is not data. Time and again, the bald fact is that women generally just make different choices. Where there is solid data, however, it’s clear: women rule. Girls now outperform boys at school. More of them go to university, and they do better when they are there. Just look around. President of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce: Sarah Howard. Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council: Deborah Cadman. Layers of management coming through in business, banking and the professions, where merit counts most above all else, are stuffed with women. I would wager that— pluck a figure—say at least 1% of them are “gender nonconforming” too?
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