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Outrunning Risk - how to get in control and grow your business - FREE Seminar

Posted: 18/10/18 by GW Executive Consulting Ltd

Running a business can be complex and difficult. And every aspect of business life carries some risks you need to manage. For any business, large or small - it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Keeping ahead of all the legislation can be, well, mind-blowing! Managing risk proactively can help you minimise threats, allowing you to make the most of business opportunity which is critical if you’re serious about growth. The best way to grow your business is to free up time. If, instead of increasing sales, you’re spending hours trying to keep on top of risk and compliance issues – or – even worse, putting off tackling them, this event is aimed at you. Few of us are experts and while you could employ Risk Management specialists, all you might need is a little help, guidance and to be better prepared.

Come along to this event and learn:

• How to keep your business ahead of the game and be compliant

• How better risk management benefits the bottom line and helps you grow your business

• How to identify your core risk factors and develop a plan to deal with them

• What you need to do to protect your business when legislation is constantly changing

• How you can prioritise actions for the next 90 days

• When risk is good business

About IBD East Midlands

Ibd business advisers across the East Midlands have been supporting SME’s to improve business resilience, performance and profits since 2004. Experienced ibd advisers actively help business owners take their companies to the next level with practical help and advice.

After-work seminar with light buffet provided on Tuesday 30 October - 5.45pm-7.15pm

College Court Conference Centre, Knighton Road. Leicester. LE2 3UF. Sat Nav - LE2 3TQ

https://lbf2018.ticketleap.com/outrunning-risk-college-court/dates/Oct-30-2018_at_0545PM

OR

Breakfast seminar with free breakfast baps!

Tuesday 6 November - 8.30am–10am at Harborough Innovation Centre,

Wellington Way, Airfield Business Park, Leicester Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7WB

https://lbf2018.ticketleap.com/outrunning-risk-harborough/dates/Nov-06-2018_at_0830AM

These events are FREE to attend.

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Wood back for Saints as Boyd rings the changes for Dragons

Posted: 18/10/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Tom Wood returns to Northampton Saints’ starting line-up for the first time since March as Chris Boyd takes a much-changed starting XV to Newport for this Friday’s European Challenge Cup round two clash with Dragons.

The back row forward – who started his comeback from a long-term groin injury with a duo of Wanderers appearances – joins Teimana Harrison and Jamie Gibson in the back row as Saints make their second trip of the season to Rodney Parade following their pre-season victory there in August.

Elsewhere David Ribbans is reunited with Courtney Lawes in the second row after the England international missed out on Saints’ last two games. And Mikey Haywood comes in for club co-captain Dylan Hartley to make his first start of the season at hooker, with Ben Franks returning to the starting line-up to complete the front row alongside captain Alex Waller.

It’s a first start in Black, Green and Gold for 21-year-old Alex Mitchell as he joins Dan Biggar to form a new half back combination; while Director of Rugby Chris Boyd sticks with the same midfield partnership that started the opening round of the European competition against Clermont Auvergne, with Piers Francis and Andrew Kellaway maintaining their places in the centre.

But Boyd makes some adjustments to the back three; with Taqele Naiyaravoro recalled to the left wing alongside Tom Collins, who switches to the right, and Ahsee Tuala reinstated at fullback following Harry Mallinder’s early departure from the game last weekend.

James Fish – who started Saints’ first two games of the season – is also recalled to the match day 23, joining Francois van Wyk and Ehren Painter in the front row replacements. Last weekend’s debutant Dom Barrow joins Lewis Ludlam, Cobus Reinach, James Grayson and Luther Burrell to complete the bench.

Tickets for Northampton’s next home match, which sees Saints open their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign against Bristol Bears, are still available. Book your place from £28 adults and £12 juniors by CLICKING HERE.

DRAGONS vs NORTHAMPTON SAINTS

EPCR Challenge Cup, Round Two

Friday 19th October, 2018

Rodney Parade

Kick-off: 7.30pm

15 Ahsee Tuala

14 Tom Collins

13 Andrew Kellaway

12 Piers Francis

11 Taqele Naiyaravoro

10 Dan Biggar

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller (captain)

2 Mikey Haywood

3 Ben Franks

4 David Ribbans

5 Courtney Lawes

6 Jamie Gibson

7 Tom Wood

8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:

16 James Fish

17 Francois Van Wyk

18 Ehren Painter

19 Dom Barrow

20 Lewis Ludlam

21 Cobus Reinach

22 James Grayson

23 Luther Burrell

Not available for selection:

Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Jamal Ford-Robinson (knee), Api Ratuniyarawa (ankle), Tom Emery (ankle),Harry Mallinder (knee) and James Haskell (ankle)

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CEO Appointment

Posted: 18/10/18 by EasyWeb Group

EasyWeb Group are proud to announce the promotion of Sean Maher to the position of CEO.

Sean’s EasyWeb journey started 12 years ago, when he joined the business as a graduate with little experience – which just goes to show what can be achieved with dedication, determination and a talent for working with people.

Sean has been a pivotal member of the EasyWeb family for a long time now, and this promotion reflects how key his role has been and will be in taking the company forward. Congratulations Sean!

EasyWeb Group offer recruitment and HR services including low cost applicant tracking software, talent attraction services, employee engagement surveys and free training events.

For a full list of services visit https://www.easywebgroup.co.uk.

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Limited Tickets Available - MSO Workspace

Posted: 18/10/18 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

MSO Workspace would like to formally invite all members of the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce to the latest in their series of events.

At MSO Workspace, they try to make events that are different and this event is no exception.

Presenting…MSO Workspace Cocktail Tasting with the wonderful THE LITTLE BIG ALE COMPANY.

There will be a business card raffle, with a paintballing experience day, a full-day Althorp Suite meeting room use at Lakeside House, and much more! All donations and entry fees will go to KidsAid, a Northampton based charity providing therapeutic support for children and young people who have suffered any form of trauma.

With talks from:

Emily Hudson of Professional Introducer Network. Who really benefits from Networking?

Verity Wilkie and Alison Curryer of IMC Pro Solutions - A Social Media Party

Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice. - How to create more leads and win more clients.

DATE AND TIME

Fri 19 October 2018

18:00 – 20:30

LOCATION

MSO Workspace

Lakeside House

Bedford Road

Northampton

NN4 7HD

Book now to avoid disappointment - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mso-workspace-cocktail-tasting-charity-networking-tickets-49380695991

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BCC: Ease Brexit uncertainty to boost innovation through trade

Posted: 18/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

• Half of businesses surveyed say that Brexit is making it difficult to decide whether to import or export, hampering British trade

• Volatility of sterling is also causing concern

• BCC has long been calling for clarity for business on the practical questions over Brexit

• The BCC International Trade Summit takes place today at etc venues, 155 Bishopsgate, London

A survey by British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL Express UK, has today revealed that almost half – 49% – of businesses have uncertainty over Brexit front of mind when deciding whether to trade internationally, highlighting the economic cost of the persistent lack of political clarity.

A similar number (48%) of firms are concerned by the related issue of exchange rate volatility, which can increase the cost of raw materials and potentially make UK exports less competitive. Exchange rate volatility is a much greater concern for manufacturers (61%) and B2C firms (64%) than B2B businesses (36%).

As EU leaders gather in Brussels, the BCC today brings together 500 exporters, trade professionals and business leaders from around the world at the BCC International Trade Summit to discuss the issues and trends at the forefront of international trade, and to give innovative firms the tools they need to enter new markets.

The research also shows that while there are many concerns for businesses when deciding whether to trade internationally, those that do trade internationally are more likely to be innovative within their business – 65% of those that are internationally active have launched a new product or service in the last 12 months, compared to just 41% of firms who are UK-focused.

Government must do more to boost business confidence at the Autumn Budget and incentivise export and import growth. This, coupled with clear progress in negotiations, will encourage firms to take risks and break into new markets, boosting innovation and productivity in the UK economy.

Commenting on the results, Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “Firms have been dealing with uncertainty over the future relationship with the EU since the referendum vote over two years ago. However, this survey shows that as we get closer to the crunch, the lack of precision is starting to have a material impact on their decision-making.

“While business faces uncertain times, our research shows that businesses who do trade internationally are more innovative and dynamic compared to those who just focus their attention on the UK market. It is vital that clear progress is made in negotiations – to give firms confidence and empower them to take risks and try to break into new markets, creating the Global Britain this government so often talks about.

“At our International Trade Summit, we will hear from trade experts and dynamic businesses – as we look to help build connections and encourage firms to unleash their potential. Chambers of Commerce work day in day out to support businesses trading internationally, but we also need the government to step up and provide clarity now or put British competitiveness at risk.”

Shannon Diett, VP of Marketing, DHL Express UK, added: “The uncertainty expressed by British businesses taking part in this survey mirrors the increasing concern we are hearing from our customers, both of which further highlight the criticality now surrounding the Brexit negotiations. It is important to note however, that increasing the number of markets a business trades with helps to reduce risk and increase the opportunities for growth.

“It is imperative that decisions are made to allow businesses to plan for a successful Brexit and to facilitate continued smooth international trade with Europe.

“At DHL Express we are preparing for every scenario and as part of this we are reviewing resources, infrastructure, systems and people. We are joining forces across the DHL divisions to do everything within our power to ensure our customers can continue to operate and trade internationally in the smoothest way possible.”

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BCC: Ease Brexit uncertainty to boost innovation through trade

Posted: 18/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

• Half of businesses surveyed say that Brexit is making it difficult to decide whether to import or export, hampering British trade

• Volatility of sterling is also causing concern

• BCC has long been calling for clarity for business on the practical questions over Brexit

• The BCC International Trade Summit takes place today at etc venues, 155 Bishopsgate, London

A survey by British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL Express UK, has today revealed that almost half – 49% – of businesses have uncertainty over Brexit front of mind when deciding whether to trade internationally, highlighting the economic cost of the persistent lack of political clarity.

A similar number (48%) of firms are concerned by the related issue of exchange rate volatility, which can increase the cost of raw materials and potentially make UK exports less competitive. Exchange rate volatility is a much greater concern for manufacturers (61%) and B2C firms (64%) than B2B businesses (36%).

As EU leaders gather in Brussels, the BCC today brings together 500 exporters, trade professionals and business leaders from around the world at the BCC International Trade Summit to discuss the issues and trends at the forefront of international trade, and to give innovative firms the tools they need to enter new markets.

The research also shows that while there are many concerns for businesses when deciding whether to trade internationally, those that do trade internationally are more likely to be innovative within their business – 65% of those that are internationally active have launched a new product or service in the last 12 months, compared to just 41% of firms who are UK-focused.

Government must do more to boost business confidence at the Autumn Budget and incentivise export and import growth. This, coupled with clear progress in negotiations, will encourage firms to take risks and break into new markets, boosting innovation and productivity in the UK economy.

Commenting on the results, Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “Firms have been dealing with uncertainty over the future relationship with the EU since the referendum vote over two years ago. However, this survey shows that as we get closer to the crunch, the lack of precision is starting to have a material impact on their decision-making.

“While business faces uncertain times, our research shows that businesses who do trade internationally are more innovative and dynamic compared to those who just focus their attention on the UK market. It is vital that clear progress is made in negotiations – to give firms confidence and empower them to take risks and try to break into new markets, creating the Global Britain this government so often talks about.

“At our International Trade Summit, we will hear from trade experts and dynamic businesses – as we look to help build connections and encourage firms to unleash their potential. Chambers of Commerce work day in day out to support businesses trading internationally, but we also need the government to step up and provide clarity now or put British competitiveness at risk.”

Shannon Diett, VP of Marketing, DHL Express UK, added: “The uncertainty expressed by British businesses taking part in this survey mirrors the increasing concern we are hearing from our customers, both of which further highlight the criticality now surrounding the Brexit negotiations. It is important to note however, that increasing the number of markets a business trades with helps to reduce risk and increase the opportunities for growth.

“It is imperative that decisions are made to allow businesses to plan for a successful Brexit and to facilitate continued smooth international trade with Europe.

“At DHL Express we are preparing for every scenario and as part of this we are reviewing resources, infrastructure, systems and people. We are joining forces across the DHL divisions to do everything within our power to ensure our customers can continue to operate and trade internationally in the smoothest way possible.”

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18th Annual Diwali Lights celebrations to light up Northampton Market Square

Posted: 18/10/18 by Northampton Borough Council

New models for the procession and live entertainment are set to take centre stage at the annual Diwali celebrations on Northampton Market Square this November.

Organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation and supported by Northampton Borough Council, this year’s celebrations will open at 10am on Saturday, 3 November with information and food stalls.

Family-friendly activities such as henna painting, Karom board game and sari dressing will follow, with performances, music and stage entertainment from 1pm.

The much anticipated annual Diwali lantern procession will begin at 6pm at Market Square and All Saints Church. Local school children will join a parade including diva lights, drummers and new light-structures of Hanumanji the monkey God and Ravana the demon king.

Favourite characters Harminder the elephant, Ram and Sita and Shanti the big bird will also be joining the fun as procession heads up Abington Street, onto Fish Street, past the Guildhall and through to the Market Square.

A light will be offered to the Leader of the Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, and the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Tony Ansell, at the steps of the Guildhall and another light at the All Saints Church, will be received by Father Oliver Coss.

Dignitaries will take to the stage at 7pm for speeches and countdown to switch on the Diwali Lights in the Market Square, before bhangra music and dancing close the event at 8pm.

Neelam Aggarwal-Singh, chairperson for the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “It’s fantastic to see Diwali Lights celebrations get bigger and better and continue to grow from strength to strength each year. I would like everyone to come along and join us in celebrating this amazing festival of Lights.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “The town’s Diwali Lights celebrations are always a popular occasion, with families flocking into the town to enjoy the entertainment and see the lantern procession.

“Festive Road have done an amazing job creating two new characters to join this year’s parade. We hope these additions and a few fun surprises will help to make this year’s event even more entertaining. Come and join us as we celebrate this fantastic festival.”

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Logistics firm takes on new drivers to go the distance

Posted: 18/10/18 by The NX Group

An expanding warehouse, logistics and courier company based in Northamptonshire has taken on half a dozen additional full-time drivers, to be based at its head office in Crick.

The NX Group, which has warehouses in Northamptonshire covering nearly 100,000ft2, plus an expanding fleet of vehicles, has recruited six new lorry drivers. The firm has increased its workforce by 10% in the last year.

Charlie Mann, of Brixworth in Northamptonshire, joined The NX Group as a driver when it was first set up in 2010, and has since covered almost 350,000 miles travelling up and down the country as part of his role, and has even delivered items to 10 Downing Street.

“I’ve been to Downing Street a few times,” Charlie, 59, recalls, “and parked in front of the black door you see on TV – I’ve even been inside! One of the good things about this job is there’s a lot of variety involved, which helps keeps it interesting from one week to the next.

“I enjoy being a driver; it’s great if you enjoy travelling to different places and having a certain amount of autonomy in the way you do your job, but you do need to be working for the right company. The best thing about working for The NX Group is that it’s a small firm compared with others in the industry, so you’re an individual, instead of a number.”

Neil Powell, Managing Director of The NX Group, said, “We’re pleased to announce we have taken on six additional full-time drivers, as we expand our vehicle fleet and the business in general. I’d like to personally welcome each of our new recruits and wish them all the best.”

The company is also currently looking to recruit for its first ever Apprenticeship role. To view current vacancies with The NX Group, visit: https://www.thenxgroup.com/current-vacancies/

The NX Group is a comprehensive suite of supply chain solutions for businesses that require an extra level of quality and care for their products. Based in the golden triangle of logistics in Northamptonshire, its distribution, warehousing and courier divisions have grown year on year, thanks to its emphasis on quality, security and personal approach.

For more information about The NX Group, visit www.thenxgroup.com. You can also follow the company on LinkedIn and on Twitter via @theNXGroup.

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Seeking early advice is paramount

Posted: 18/10/18 by BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency

At BRI Business Recovery, they always recommend that, if a company is experiencing financial pressure, early advice is sought which will enable all options of recovery to be considered and, hopefully, without formal engagement of BRI.

BRI’s current internal statistics evidence that only 17% of enquiries result in a formal engagement and this is a direct result of seeking advice early.

Whilst, on occasions, there may be a need to instruct BRI, they will always provide advice and assistance to ensure the timing is in the best interest of creditors. An example of this is our instruction as liquidators of a construction company based in Northampton. The director sought our advice a year prior to our appointment. At that time company debts were circa £3.5 million.

The company had significant retention sums due and work-in-progress (“WIP”). An immediate appointment as liquidators would have substantially reduced realisation of the retentions and, of course, WIP would not have been completed. At the date of our appointment, the majority of retentions had been received and WIP completed with creditors owed just over £1 million.

Should your company be experiencing financial difficulties, please contact any of BRI’s management team immediately to see if they can help you avoid being one of the 17%.

https://www.briuk.co.uk

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SCCYC Winter Appeal 2018

Posted: 18/10/18 by Sikh Community Centre & Youth Club - SCCYC

This year, the Sikh Community Centre & Youth Club (SCCYC) Winter Appeal is supporting children that have left care.

The appeal is in partnership and in support of the great work entailed by Right Resolution CIC.

Donations for Hampers can be selected from the items listed below and dropped off at SCCYC by November 30th.

  • Pasta/Sauces
  • Soup
  • Tins of Veg/Fruit
  • Cereals
  • Jam
  • Biscuits/Snacks
  • Tea/Coffee
  • Squash
  • Rice
  • Milk (UHT or powdered)
  • Shower Gels
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Face Wipes
  • Sanitary Wear
  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Body Wash
  • Soap
  • Deodorants
  • Lip Balm
  • Toilet Paper
  • Cotton Buds
  • Cotton Wool
  • Hair Brushes
  • Hair Accessories
  • Socks
  • Woolly Hats

Please donate these items to: 23-25 St Georges Street, NN1 2TN.

For more information please email: mailtosccyc@watersideconnect.com or call 01604 475802

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NITAL open days

Posted: 18/10/18 by NITAL Training & Development

NITAL can confirm they are now offering employers and perspective learners the opportunity to visit their facility in Kettering on every first Friday each month.

This represents an ideal opportunity for those looking to train apprentices and existing staff, and also those looking to undertake an apprenticeship to see what NITAL has to offer.

The next open day will be on Friday 2nd November with an informal apprenticeship Levy Forum for employers starting at 09:30am. You can also access the centre if you are looking to secure an apprenticeship.

For more information please contact Simon or Abby Smith on 01536 408188.

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MK Gallery launches search for MK’s most exciting young dancer

Posted: 18/10/18 by MK Gallery

MK Gallery in Milton Keynes is inviting young people with a passion for dance to enter its latest competition – MK Young Dancer of the Year.

Those wishing to take part will need to submit a one minute video of their dance performance for shortlisting, with the shortlisted entrants having the opportunity to perform in a live show at the new MK Gallery auditorium in April, where a winner will be announced. Entry is open for ages 7 – 19 and dancers can perform in any style they wish.

The competition will be judged by representatives from the competition’s partners - Helen Parlor, Artistic Director at MÓTUS, Rachael Hutchinson, Creative Learning Manager at Milton Keynes Theatre, and New Adventures Dance Company.

The theme for the competition is ‘transformation’ – celebrating the reopening of MK Gallery in 2019 and the new exhibitions, programmes and activities that the gallery will provide.

Victoria Mayes, Head of Learning at MK Gallery said “We’re incredibly excited to be launching our Young Dancer of the Year competition. We know there’s so much talent and passion for dance out there and we are really keen to celebrate that. Whether it’s jazz or street, ballet or tap, or anything else in between, whatever dance you choose, we’ll be looking for a celebration of individuality, creativity and storytelling in the performance.”

Rachael Hutchinson, Creative Learning Manager at Milton Keynes Theatre said “Milton Keynes Theatre Creative Learning Team are thrilled to be partnering with MK Gallery to find MK’s Young Dancer of the Year alongside one of our visiting dance companies New Adventures. Dance plays an important part of our theatre programming and we want to ensure that there are opportunities for young people in MK to get involved and this project provides just that, an exciting new platform for young dancers and choreographers in our local area!”

Helen Parlor, Artistic Director at MÓTUS said “MÓTUS are delighted to be involved with Young Dancer 2019. To be able to facilitate and enrich the journey of any young person in relation to their exploration of dance is a privilege. This is a fantastic opportunity for any young person from any community across the city to engage and be engaged throughout this process, gaining experiences whilst learning from one another alongside a range of artists and further afield opportunities with Dance across the UK.”

This work has been supported by funding from MK Community Foundation.

For more details on the competition and to find out how to enter, visit www.mkgallery.org/dance.

Entry closes 25 February 2019.

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We’re looking for a choir!

Posted: 18/10/18 by MacIntyre

Can you hit a high note - or know someone who can?

MacIntyre’s Christmas Fair at Woburn Antiques Centre on Sunday 2 December is just a few weeks away and Macintyre are looking for one or two local choirs to perform on the day to help create a festive atmosphere.

For more information please contact mailto:events@macintyrecharity.org or phone 01908 230100.

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Your website is too complicated: time to KISS!

Posted: 17/10/18 by New Edge Media Ltd

It’s unfortunately very easy to make a complicated website - particularly if you take the DIY approach or employ the wrong web design company. It’s why your sales inbox is so dry. It’s why the phone isn’t ringing off the hook. It’s why, whenever you say “have you heard of us” to someone in your industry, they say “no”.

The truth about web design is that it’s actually incredibly hard to make a simple website. It’s why great web designers and developers exist and are in such high demand.

Like everything in life, the simplest ideas are always the most effective. It’s just the process of devising and implementing them that should be left to the experts! If you’re running a business and you’ve somehow commissioned a needlessly complicated website, it will be turning away more potential business than it’s attracting.

Why do simple websites work?

Simple websites work for three very - you guessed it - simple reasons:

What do you want people who visit your website to do? That’s right - spend their money on your products and services! And, with a simple customer journey, they’ll do just that. The simple stuff in life makes us happy. When something ‘just works’, or a process you assumed might be complicated is anything but, it puts a smile on your face. You want to put a smile on the face of your website’s visitors, don’t you?

If your website is over-complicated, visitors will spend more time thinking about how to use it than they will about your brand and why your product might benefit them. If it’s simple, the opposite is true!

Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) is a phrase the best web designers on the planet live by, and for good reason.

  1. Simplicity tempts people to spend
  2. Simplicity is satisfying
  3. Simplicity makes people think (about the right stuff)

How to apply the KISS principle to web design.

Clearly, employing a great web designer is what you need to do if you want your website to do a brilliant job for your business, but it’s handy to have some knowledge of how to apply the KISS principle to website design. So, here’s what it consists of:

  • Plenty of white space
  • Bold, engaging imagery
  • Blindingly-obvious CTAs
  • Non-fancy menu headings

White space is your friend in web design. The more of it that exists on each webpage, the more the user’s eyes will be drawn to what matters. Your website can’t succeed without bright, bold imagery that encourages people to explore the content within. If you can, always invest in original photography and graphics, too.

How do you want visitors to the site to ultimately finish their journey? Contact you? Buy something? Download a report? Whatever it is, make the call-to-action totally unmissable. Use ‘About Us’, not ‘Our Clan’.

No adverts

Enough said. Just… don’t. It might be tempting to install Google Adsense on your website, but unless you’re trying to monetise a blog, your business website really doesn’t need ads cluttering up each page.

ONE user journey

The important stuff above the fold. This is an ancient newspaper industry term, but is still relevant in web design. Everything you want people to see immediately should be viewable without any form of scrolling, pinching-to-zoom or squinting. Only give visitors to your site one method of purchase. The less choices people have to do something significant, the less time they’ll spend making a decision. Finally, it’s vitally important that every website is fully user tested before being declared ‘KISS-ified’.

Wrapping up

Make sure yours is trialed by a cross section of users (different age groups, genders and nationalities), and gather their feedback. Keep refining until every ounce of complication is removed!

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BCC: Inflation trajectory likely to be bumpy over coming months

Posted: 17/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the inflation statistics for September 2018, published today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Inflation slowed for the first time since April, with food and non-alcoholic drinks placing the largest downward pressure on price growth in September.

“Inflation’s trajectory is likely to fluctuate somewhat over the coming months as downward momentum from a more subdued economy trades off against upward pressure from the persistent weakness in sterling. The pick-up in producer prices indicates that there are still substantial supply chain price pressures. Businesses continue to report that the cost of imported raw materials remain significant, which could increase consumer prices again in the short-term as these high input costs pass through supply chains.

“Inflation’s path back to the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target is likely to be slow. We currently expect that inflation will not return back to target until the end of 2019. However, with the upward pressure on inflation largely temporary, there remains sufficient scope to keep interest rates on hold for some time, particularly during this period of heightened uncertainty.

“Against this backdrop, the Autumn Budget must include measures to address the escalating burden of up-front taxes and costs associated with doing business in the UK to give firms the headroom needed to adjust to Brexit and to invest, recruit and grow.”

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BCC: Inflation trajectory likely to be bumpy over coming months

Posted: 17/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the inflation statistics for September 2018, published today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Inflation slowed for the first time since April, with food and non-alcoholic drinks placing the largest downward pressure on price growth in September.

“Inflation’s trajectory is likely to fluctuate somewhat over the coming months as downward momentum from a more subdued economy trades off against upward pressure from the persistent weakness in sterling. The pick-up in producer prices indicates that there are still substantial supply chain price pressures. Businesses continue to report that the cost of imported raw materials remain significant, which could increase consumer prices again in the short-term as these high input costs pass through supply chains.

“Inflation’s path back to the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target is likely to be slow. We currently expect that inflation will not return back to target until the end of 2019. However, with the upward pressure on inflation largely temporary, there remains sufficient scope to keep interest rates on hold for some time, particularly during this period of heightened uncertainty.

“Against this backdrop, the Autumn Budget must include measures to address the escalating burden of up-front taxes and costs associated with doing business in the UK to give firms the headroom needed to adjust to Brexit and to invest, recruit and grow.”

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Visit our Brackmills drop in surgeries

Posted: 17/10/18 by Brackmills Industrial Estate Limited

Drop in surgeries for people working on Brackmills continue to run monthy - with staff invited to learn more about funding, business support and the benefits of being based on the estate.

Brackmills Business Improvement District (BID) has teamed up with the Northamptonshire Growth Hub and University of Northampton to run these monthly, two-hour, drop in sessions.

The venue for all the events will be Costa Coffee on Brackmills Trade Park, with the majority taking place on the last Friday of every month.

Sara Homer, executive chair of Brackmills BID, said: “As Brackmills continues to expand, attract new and growing businesses and generate more jobs for local people we are keen to make sure we keep talking to people working on our estate – to support business growth, individual development and make sure everyone knows about our status as a thriving Business Improvement District, which brings with it a host of advantages and opportunities.”

If you are interested in attending one or more of these events please email Chris.barker@brackmillsindustrialestate.co.uk.

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Making Tax Digital: Your next steps

Posted: 17/10/18 by Hillier Hopkins LLP

With 6 months to go until Making Tax Digital (MTD) goes live, Hillier Hopkins invites you to attend one of their free seminars to help you get ready for these big changes to your VAT reporting.

This is relevant to all VAT registered businesses with a turnover in excess of the VAT registration threshold. This is an update to our previous MTD seminars and will cover all of the latest developments.

Ruth Corkin, VAT & Indirect Tax Advisory and Simon Speller Hillier Hopkins’ cloud accounting expert, will offer valuable guidance and also highlight the different ways to tackle this within your own organisation. Tap into their detailed expertise and get answers to your questions and challenges.

Seminars include refreshments.

Watford – 13 November 12-2pm: Radius House, 51 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts, WD17 1HP

Milton Keynes – 19 November 12-2pm: Chancery House, 199 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 1JL

London – 27 November 6-8pm: Army & Navy Club, 36 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5JN

Download this flyer for more information on these events, register here, or contact them on 01923 634252.

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Brackmills directors appointed and confirmed at estate’s AGM

Posted: 17/10/18 by Brackmills Industrial Estate Limited

Businesses gathered on Brackmills this week for the industrial estate’s AGM and business meeting.

As part of the annual rotation of directors, as required by the BID’s (Business Improvement District articles of association, four directors stood down and were all re-appointed. These were:

• Richard Baker, Prop-search

• John Harley, ACS Office Solutions

• Ian Lewis, Travis Perkins

• Howard Wilson, Startech.com

Two directors, co-opted on to the board during the year, were formally elected as new directors. These are:

• Sharon Hacker, Cygnia

• Robert Whittle, Pidy UK

Other directors, not due for the annual rotation and therefore also voluntary directors of the BID for the coming year are:

• Charlotte Patrick, University of Northampton

• Cllr James Hill, Northampton Borough Council

• Sara Homer, Executive Director of the BID

Before the AGM directors and staff from a range of businesses across the estate gathered for a business event called ‘A Decade of Change & the Next Five Years’. Delegates were asked to get involved with the estate and share the projects they would like the BID to focus on during the next five years.

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Frozen food distributor Central Foods secures highest BRC level

Posted: 17/10/18 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has been awarded the BRC Agents and Brokers certificate for the second year.

And it has achieved Double AA accreditation - a new level introduced for the classification this year, and which is the highest level attainable.

Central Foods managing director Gordon Lauder said: “We are proud to have been awarded the BRC Agents and Brokers certificate once again. It is great news that Central Foods has achieved the highest level of technical and operational recognition available from this prestigious QA body, reinforcing how we can confidently reassure our customers of our ability to deliver on all levels.”

BRC Global Standards is a leading safety and quality certification programme, used by 25,000 certificated suppliers in more than 130 countries. The Standard for Agents and Brokers gives essential certification for companies that provide purchase, importation or product distribution services in the food and packaging supply chain.

Central Foods, which is based at Collingtree near Northampton, is one of the UK’s leading frozen food distributors, supplying more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers. It also supplies a wide range of frozen food to foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry, including pubs, hotels, restaurants, staff canteens, schools, hospitals, coffee shops, football grounds, garden centres and universities.

Offering a one-stop shop to the foodservice sector, it sources products from around the world and the UK, supplying more than 400 different lines, ranging from meat, bakery items and
canapés through to buffet products, desserts and puddings.

It has been operating for 22 years.

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Brackmills businesses shaping their future

Posted: 17/10/18 by Brackmills Industrial Estate Limited

Businesses on Brackmills are being asked to help shape the estate by identifying priorities and key projects they would like tackled in the next five years.

Over the next six weeks, employers are being urged to complete detailed surveys, which Brackmills Business Improvement District (BID) will then use to draft a five-year business plan for the estate.

This business plan, based solely on the business feedback, will then be voted on next March – when businesses are encouraged to vote YES for a third five-year term as a BID.

Sara Homer, BID Executive Chair for Brackmills, said: “What a difference a decade makes. Back in 2009 we asked businesses to vote for BID status and tell us what mattered most to them.

“We took this feedback, ran projects, invested funding and the estate has since transformed from a crime-ridden, unkempt estate to one that is safe, secure, vibrant and a location of choice for businesses big and small.

“It’s now time for businesses to have their say again, and shape the next five years, so we can make plans for the estate’s future and ensure Brackmills remains one of the UK’s premier logistics and transport hubs.”

Find out more about the estate’s Decade of Change by going here: https://www.brackmillsindustrialestate.co.uk/decade-change

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30th Anniversary party for MK Readers

Posted: 16/10/18 by Milton Keynes Reader Service

What a great 30th birthday party Milton Keynes Reader Service had on Saturday 13 October!

Over 100 enjoyed tea, cakes, bubbly and music from our “resident band” Faded Shoes, not to mention a visit from the Mayor, a poem of celebration from service user Pauline Shears and a toast from previous chairman, Derek Childs.

If you know someone who would benefit from their free services, or if you can spare an hour or two a week to read to someone who is blind or sightly impaired, they would love to hear from you.

www.miltonkeynesreaderservice.org.uk

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Saints stars join welding course at Northampton College

Posted: 16/10/18 by Northampton College

Not content with being stars on the pitch, three Northampton Saints players are now bidding to be top of the class by taking on a part-time welding course at Northampton College.

Tom Wood, Alex Waller and Teimana Harrison are all taking the course at Booth Lane as they look to develop their skills away from Franklin’s Gardens.

The trio are taking a Level 1 course in Fabrication and Welding, taking advantage of the college’s state-of-the-art facilities to hone their skills.

Back row forward Tom Wood, aged 31, is a DIY enthusiast who has his own workshop at home. When he’s not playing for Saints or England, for whom he has 50 caps, he can often be found tinkering with his own designs.

He said: “I’m doing the course to broaden my skillset so I can fabricate stuff at home. Basically I’m a hobbyist, doing a bit of woodwork and metalwork in my own workshop and I just wanted to put some paperwork and qualifications with the stuff I have been doing self-taught at home.

“All the facilities and equipment here at the college are first class. You can go nuts for a couple of hours, blitz some welds, make some mistakes and get the tuition from the guys to help hone your skills.”

For more information on Fabrication and Welding courses available at Northampton College please visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk

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BCC: Meaningful wage growth stifled by underlying issues in labour market

Posted: 16/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the labour market figures for October 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“With UK employment high by historic standards and unemployment continuing to fall, the latest figures paint a positive picture of the UK jobs market.

“While wage growth increased again, the pace at which pay growth is exceeding price growth remains well below the historic average, meaning the current squeeze on spending power is unlikely to ease. Achieving a meaningful improvement in wage growth will be an uphill struggle unless the underlying issues that continue to limit pay settlements are tackled - notably sluggish productivity, considerable underemployment and high upfront costs for businesses.

“The number of job vacancies is close to an all-time high, providing further evidence of the worrying skills shortages plaguing UK businesses. Firms are reporting that recruitment difficulties have reached critical levels, which coupled with Brexit uncertainty is increasingly putting employers off trying to hire, and if sustained could increasingly weigh on jobs growth.

“Against this backdrop, the upcoming budget must be used to halt the alarmingly decline in apprenticeships, including scrapping the 10% co-investment apprenticeship contribution rule for small businesses, a key barrier to SMEs recruiting and training young apprentices. We also urge ministers to work closely with business to deliver a future migration system that enables access to the skills needed at all levels to help grow our economy.”

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BCC: Meaningful wage growth stifled by underlying issues in labour market

Posted: 16/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the labour market figures for October 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“With UK employment high by historic standards and unemployment continuing to fall, the latest figures paint a positive picture of the UK jobs market.

“While wage growth increased again, the pace at which pay growth is exceeding price growth remains well below the historic average, meaning the current squeeze on spending power is unlikely to ease. Achieving a meaningful improvement in wage growth will be an uphill struggle unless the underlying issues that continue to limit pay settlements are tackled - notably sluggish productivity, considerable underemployment and high upfront costs for businesses.

“The number of job vacancies is close to an all-time high, providing further evidence of the worrying skills shortages plaguing UK businesses. Firms are reporting that recruitment difficulties have reached critical levels, which coupled with Brexit uncertainty is increasingly putting employers off trying to hire, and if sustained could increasingly weigh on jobs growth.

“Against this backdrop, the upcoming budget must be used to halt the alarmingly decline in apprenticeships, including scrapping the 10% co-investment apprenticeship contribution rule for small businesses, a key barrier to SMEs recruiting and training young apprentices. We also urge ministers to work closely with business to deliver a future migration system that enables access to the skills needed at all levels to help grow our economy.”

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Are you prepared for severe gales and wind?

Posted: 16/10/18 by BHIB Ltd

Gale-force winds are the most common cause of damage to property in the United Kingdom. Although the majority of damage reports come from domestic dwellings, businesses also need to be aware of the risks in order to keep employees safe and minimise damage to buildings and content. Storms with high winds can produce devastating consequences, bringing about £300 million in damages throughout the United Kingdom each year.

MET Office Wind Warnings

The UK National Weather Service, the MET Office, provides up to date weather advisories and warns the public of severe or hazardous weather through its National Severe Weather Warning Service. Warnings are given a colour (Green, Yellow, Amber or Red) based on the combination of both the likelihood of the severe weather event occurring and the impact the weather conditions may have. Make sure you check your local weather forecast to find out whether the MET Office has released any warnings for your area.

The MET Office provides the following examples of what to expect during severe gales and high winds:

VERY LOW THREAT (GREEN)

Debris dislodged and some branches removed.

Perhaps some very limited travel disruption.

Difficulties on certain routes, such as cross winds on exposed or high - level roads.

LOW THREAT (YELLOW)

Possible debris being blown around.

Some branches or trees may be brought down.

Some localised travel disruption.

Problems for high-sided vehicles on certain routes (drive with care).

MEDIUM THREAT (AMBER)

Some Travel Disruption, such as closed bridges.

More Widespread tree damage and other debris dislodged from roofs.

Some minor structural damage possible.

Risk of Injury from flying debris.

HIGH THREAT (RED)

Widespread structural damage, such as roofs blown off, mobile homes overturned and power lines brought down.

Risk to personal safety from flying debris.

Potentially widespread and prolonged interruptions to power.

Widespread transport disruption due to roads blocked by fallen trees and debris.

If the MET Office issues a warning for severe gales and high winds in your location, make sure you are prepared. Use the following tips and hints to help ensure your safety if high winds are prevalent.

Before the Storm

Make plans to secure your property. Secure or bring in any loose objects, such as ladders, waste bins, equipment or anything else that could be blown away or into windows and glass.

Securely fasten and close all doors, windows and entrances.

Park all vehicles in a garage, if available, if not, keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.

Learn the evaluation level of your property and whether the land is flood prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected if a storm surge or tidal flooding is forecast.

Be sure trees and shrubs around your property are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.

If in a high rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

Install a generator for emergencies.

Consider building a safe room.

DURING THE STORM

Stay indoors as much as possible.

Listen to the radio or TV for information.

Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.

Stay away from windows and glass doors.

Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level. Open internal doors only as needed and close them behind you.

Do not use a lift.

Do not go outside to repair damage while it is storming.

Do not drive unless necessary. If you must drive, take care when driving on exposed routes, such as bridges. Slow down and beware of side winds.

AFTER THE STORM

Stay alert for extended rainfall or flooding.

Do not touch any electrical cables that were blown down or are still hanging.

Stay away from walls, buildings and trees that look like the y may have been weakened.

Walk carefully around any property and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.

Inspect your property for damage. Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.

Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up or making repairs.

Make sure everyone around you is safe.

Never use a generator inside enclosed spaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

STAY SAFE WHEN SEVERE WEATHER STRIKES BY BEING PREPARED AND CHECKING WEATHER FORECASTS AND WARNINGS

Should you require any further help or assistance, please do contact BHIB’s Sam Halden on shalden@bhibinsurance.co.uk or call: 07791 578900.

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How to build Stress Resilient Teams - Free Video

Posted: 16/10/18 by NEXUS8 Connected Coaching

​The last few months have been extremely busy at NEXUS8 HQ - training, coaching and speaking at conferences on the topic of resilience - How to perform under pressure without the physical and mental health issues that can result from excessive stress.

One of our most popular talks, presented for both the Chartered Insurance Institute and The Institute of Safety and Health has been Building Stress Resilient Teams.

This 30 minute presentation on the neuroscience of stress and how to build high performing teams, is now available online by clicking on this link:https://hubs.ly/H0f7dn00

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Seeking early advice is paramount

Posted: 16/10/18 by BRI Business Recovery & Insolvency

At BRI Business Recovery, they always recommend that, if a company is experiencing financial pressure, early advice is sought which will enable all options of recovery to be considered and, hopefully, without formal engagement of BRI.

BRI’s current internal statistics evidence that only 17% of enquiries result in a formal engagement and this is a direct result of seeking advice early.

Whilst, on occasions, there may be a need to instruct BRI, they will always provide advice and assistance to ensure the timing is in the best interest of creditors. An example of this is our instruction as liquidators of a construction company based in Northampton. The director sought our advice a year prior to our appointment. At that time company debts were circa £3.5 million.

The company had significant retention sums due and work-in-progress (“WIP”). An immediate appointment as liquidators would have substantially reduced realisation of the retentions and, of course, WIP would not have been completed. At the date of our appointment, the majority of retentions had been received and WIP completed with creditors owed just over £1 million.

Should your company be experiencing financial difficulties, please contact any of BRI’s management team immediately to see if they can help you avoid being one of the 17%.

https://www.briuk.co.uk

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Connected Customer Workshop

Posted: 16/10/18 by NatWest

Join NatWest for a lunch and learn workshop to explore the commercial impact of customer behaviour driven communications.

Natwest would like to invite you to an event on Thursday 25th October for marketing and communications professionals.

The workshop, will provide you the opportunity to network with like-minded marketers and share knowledge.

Lunch, refreshments and materials are provided and the session will explore how a deeper understanding of customer behaviour can reshape communications and deliver positive commercial impact.

The workshop will broadly cover:

• Deep dive into two brands that are winning with their customer strategy, what are they doing and how are they doing it?

• Five essential ingredients needed in your organisation to drive a connected customer approach, and why it is of benefit

• A look at new customer acquisition vs. retention of existing customers

• How subtle changes to your customer’s journey can produce quick wins

Additionally, they’ll provide a toolkit with practical steps that you can put into practice.

Workshop Details:

Connected Customer Workshop - a small, intimate event to deliver an interactive and practical working session.

Places are on a first come, first served basis.

Location:

NatWest Building

300 Silbury Boulevard

Milton Keynes

MK9 2AZ

Timings:

11:45am: Arrival

12:00pm to 12.30pm: Networking and drinks

12.30pm to 2:00pm: Workshop with working lunch provided

2:00pm to 2.30pm: Networking with drinks

Please RSVP to lorraine@allwaysmedia.com or book your place through eventbrite via the button below.

Book Your Place

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Whittlebury Hall appoints new executive chef

Posted: 16/10/18 by Whittlebury Hall & Spa Ltd

Northamptonshire-based hotel Whittlebury Hall has announced the appointment of its new executive chef, Lee Scott.

Lee brings 25 years’ worth of industry experience with him cooking for some of the world’s most famous celebrities, from Mick Hucknell to Tom Cruise and most discerning diners during his time as head chef under Gordon Ramsey at the Savoy Grill. He has not had to travel far for this latest position and is on familiar ground as he joins Whittlebury from his previous role as group executive chef at Silverstone Hospitality Group.

Lee’s career has also included time as group development chef at Selfridges, as well as holding the position of executive chef at Ambienza Ltd Group where he secured three AA rosettes for the restaurant at Cotswolds 88 Hotel.

“I’m excited about this latest challenge,” said Lee. “Whittlebury Hall offers such scope for a chef interested in both intimate and large-scale banquet dining.”

Lee joins the expanding team of talented chefs at the four-star establishment and will work alongside award-winning head chef Harvey Lockwood, who runs Whittlebury’s two AA Rosette restaurant, Murrays. The hotel’s flagship restaurant has recently been refurbished and offers guests fine-dining cuisine showcasing the best Northamptonshire and British ingredients.

Operations director of Whittlebury Hall, Bernhard Zechner said: “We are delighted to welcome Lee to the team here at Whittlebury Hall. Lee brings extensive industry experience with him having worked in some spectacular restaurants during his career.”

For more information about Whittlebury Hall, visit www.whittleburyhall.co.uk.

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Explore More this Autumn with Arriva

Posted: 16/10/18 by Arriva The Shires Ltd

Though the days are getting shorter and the nights are closing in, the onset of Autumn serves up a host of colourful reasons to get out and about and explore the world around you. So to help people in Milton Keynes adventure more for less this October, Arriva has announced some special Autumnal group tickets which will enable you to take in all the seasonal delights the area has to offer without breaking the bank.

Throughout October half term, groups of up to five people will be able to enjoy unlimited travel with Arriva for just £6 a day, or £20 for the whole week.

Simon Finnie, Area Managing Director for Arriva Midlands South explained: “Whether it’s splashing in puddles and kicking up leaves in the park, picking Halloween pumpkins in the countryside, or hitting the shops to stock up on new knitwear, this is a great time of year for venturing out with family and friends to savour the change of the season in all its glory.

“We want to make sure that explorers, both little and large, are able to make the best of half term week, and really get to spend some quality time together. With these affordable multi-trip bus tickets, your adventure will start the minute you leave the door and continue for as long as you want it to, and all for a fraction of the cost. There really is no better way to discover the world on your doorstep than hopping on board and seeing where your local bus routes can take you.”

Both the Family Day tickets and Weekly Group Saver tickets can be purchased for all Arriva services on-board, online, or via m-ticket from 27th October until 4th November. Both enable unlimited hop-on, hop-off bus travel for a maximum of 5 people (limited to two adults) throughout the ticket’s validity.

For more information services and timetables, either download the free Arriva Bus App via the Apple Store or Google Play, or visit www.arrivabus.co.uk/midlands

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Golfers tee off in support of the Hospice

Posted: 15/10/18 by Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity

Keen golfers from the Northamptonshire business community gathered at Northampton Golf Club recently to take part in the inaugural Golf Day held by Cynthia Spencer Hospice. In total 80 business people representing 20 businesses from around the county took part and it is hoped that fundraising for the Hospice will reach £8,000.

Jon Thorpe, managing director of ACS Office Solutions who took part in the 18-hole golf competition said: “It was probably one of the best golf days of the year. We were blessed with the weather, blessed by the warm hospitality but not blessed by our golf! Congratulations to all the Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity team for a great day.”

“Congratulations for organising such a great day. The day ran smoothly and hopefully raised loads,” commented David Smith, finance director of Flexr UK.

The team that won overall was DR Roofing with second place going to Carshop and Vend 43 came in in third place.

Chelsea Galpin, corporate partnerships fundraiser at Cynthia Spencer Hospice said: “Our very first Golf Day has been a huge success and we’re really grateful to all the businesses who entered teams. Huge thanks to our sponsors Franklins Solicitors LLP, Guy Salmon Jaguar Northampton and Warner Edwards Distillery too. Our thanks also go to Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa, Silverstone, ACS Office Solutions, Andrew Gordon & Co, Connells Estate Agents and the Hopping Hare who all helped us put on a fantastic raffle and silent auction by donating prizes, and to Clarity, Law Firms Services and Neves Solicitors for providing the prizes for our ‘nearest the pin’ contests.

“We’ll be holding another Golf Day next year and, judging by the huge popularity and success of this first event, demand will be high so I’d encourage any businesses who would like to express an interest in entering a team to call me on 01604 973348 or drop me an email on chelsea@cynthiaspencer.co.uk.”

Businesses are reminded that Cynthia Spencer has meeting room facilities for up to 60 delegates available for hire in Moulton Park with morning, afternoon and full day rates available. Bookings can be made by contacting Paula Solomon on 01604 973340 or paula@cynthiaspencer.co.uk or by visiting www.cynthiaspencer.org.uk/get-involved/meeting-room-hire

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FREE Education Forum - Northampton and Nottingham

Posted: 15/10/18 by Acas East Midlands

FREE Education Forum
(You are welcome to forward on to anyone who works in, or closely with, the Education sector).

In partnership with Stone King LLP, recognised as a leading law firm in the Education Sector, ACAS has launched the ACAS Education Forum.

The Forum is primarily aimed at HR and School, FE and HE Business Managers, but also individuals and organisations who share our passion for exploring innovative ways to bridge the gap between education and the realities of the modern workplace.

The Forum provides the opportunity for like-minded professionals to learn and share in an open, honest environment and we invite you to join our members for collaboration and proactive learning.

Meetings and seminars will be held termly and on subjects of common interest. Membership is free and members are given priority places for events.

To register your interest, please contact Kenneth Bamford: KBamford@acas.org.uk and cc to: Surinder Dhillon: skd@stoneking.co.uk

We look forward to meeting you!

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BCC comments on latest batch of no-deal technical notices

Posted: 15/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the latest tranche of technical notices to advise businesses in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Firms will welcome the additional information provided in the final batch of technical notices, yet many questions remain unanswered. These highlight the urgency and importance of the UK government and the EU reaching an agreement as soon as possible, to avoid the confusion and significant disruption of a no deal scenario.

“We are surprised and concerned that there was no technical notice on the future status of EU nationals. All current guidance and the timetable for the roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme, assumes that a deal is reached, and a transition period is agreed. While firms will have been encouraged by recent political statements, how the scheme would operate in a no deal scenario is yet to be addressed. Without clear, official guidance, warm words will not be enough to ease the concerns of many businesses and their employees.

“The government’s intention to maintain current trading relationships with countries that have an existing EU free trade agreement is laudable and shared by business. But the continuing uncertainty over what rules will apply past the 29th March 2019 is a poor basis for exporters and importers to plan ahead and grow their trade.

“There will be major concerns that without a deal, the market for electricity will be disrupted. Businesses will welcome the Government’s commitment to maintaining continuity in any Brexit outcome. However, it will be on the minds of firms until a formal solution is agreed - particularly in Northern Ireland, given the Single Electricity Market on the island of Ireland.

“The BCC risk register shows that many questions still remain unanswered especially on cross border trade and workforce planning. Both sides must do all they can in the coming days to reach a deal that works for British business.”

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BCC comments on latest batch of no-deal technical notices

Posted: 15/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the latest tranche of technical notices to advise businesses in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Firms will welcome the additional information provided in the final batch of technical notices, yet many questions remain unanswered. These highlight the urgency and importance of the UK government and the EU reaching an agreement as soon as possible, to avoid the confusion and significant disruption of a no deal scenario.

“We are surprised and concerned that there was no technical notice on the future status of EU nationals. All current guidance and the timetable for the roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme, assumes that a deal is reached, and a transition period is agreed. While firms will have been encouraged by recent political statements, how the scheme would operate in a no deal scenario is yet to be addressed. Without clear, official guidance, warm words will not be enough to ease the concerns of many businesses and their employees.

“The government’s intention to maintain current trading relationships with countries that have an existing EU free trade agreement is laudable and shared by business. But the continuing uncertainty over what rules will apply past the 29th March 2019 is a poor basis for exporters and importers to plan ahead and grow their trade.

“There will be major concerns that without a deal, the market for electricity will be disrupted. Businesses will welcome the Government’s commitment to maintaining continuity in any Brexit outcome. However, it will be on the minds of firms until a formal solution is agreed - particularly in Northern Ireland, given the Single Electricity Market on the island of Ireland.

“The BCC risk register shows that many questions still remain unanswered especially on cross border trade and workforce planning. Both sides must do all they can in the coming days to reach a deal that works for British business.”

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Howes Percival rounds off 20th anniversary celebrations with school visit to National Space Centre

Posted: 12/10/18 by Howes Percival

Howes Percival’s Leicester office has rounded off a year-long series of celebrations, fundraising events and volunteering activities to mark its 20th year in the city by taking two local school groups for a day out at the National Space Centre.

The group consisted of Howes Percival staff and 57 children from two local schools; Ravenhurst Primary and The Lancaster Academy. During the visit, the children explored a variety of hands-on activities, including a rocket-building workshop and a 360-degree planetarium show, where they were able to experience space whilst discovering what it is like to be an astronaut.

Events to mark the 20 years since the firm opened its first Leicester office on New Walk began with a special gathering at The Curve Theatre that saw 150 clients and friends come together to celebrate the anniversary.

Over the next twelve months Howes Percival staff have taken part in a series of fundraising and volunteering events in support of three local charities: Alex’s Wish, Leicestershire Cares and Action Homeless.

Volunteering initiatives, in partnership with Leicestershire Cares, saw staff painting a local community centre, undertaking speaking engagements at schools, helping schoolchildren with their numeracy and literacy skills and assisting with mock interviews at schools to help students learn practical skills for life beyond education.

Fundraising activities included 12 members of staff taking part in the Skyline Zip Wire Challenge, which involved participants descending at speeds of up to 40mph along a 200m zip wire to raise money for Alex’s Wish, a local Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy charity. The charity also benefitted from money raised at the office’s popular Christmas quiz.

Christmas was also a time when staff donated much needed supplies to Action Homeless.

Justine Flack, a partner in the Family law team at Howes Percival said: “The whole team at Howes Percival in Leicester has really rallied behind our 20th anniversary fundraising and volunteering initiatives and we are pleased to have made such an impact.

“Taking local schoolchildren to the National Space Centre was a real highlight and a fun way to end the celebrations. Our staff have been working closely with the children from Ravenhurst and The Lancaster Academy in various capacities, so it was great to be able to take them out for the day to such an iconic local institution.

“Although the Space Centre trip marks the end of our 20th anniversary initiative, we continue to support local causes and the fundraising is on-going. A Howes Percival team will take on the challenge of the Leicester Half Marathon and plans are underway for our 2018 Christmas quiz which takes place in early December. Both events aim to raise money for the local branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association which is our office charity of the year.”

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Boyd makes four changes for Saints’ European opener

Posted: 12/10/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Piers Francis, Tom Collins, and James Haskell have all been included in Chris Boyd’s starting line-up to face ASM Clermont Auvergne on Saturday, while lock Dom Barrow will make his Northampton Saints debut in Saturday’s European Challenge Cup curtain-raiser.

The men in Black, Green and Gold will bid for their third Challenge Cup title, having won the competition in 2009 and 2014 – the only two other seasons in which they have been involved.

A big test awaits Boyd’s men first up however, with Saturday’s opponents Clermont currently sitting at the summit of the Top14 standings in France after seven rounds across the Channel.

Saints welcomed the French giants to Franklin’s Gardens last season in the Champions Cup, and will hope to repeat the impressive 34-21 triumph they achieved back in January on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Director of rugby Boyd is able to welcome inside centre Francis back into the No.12 jersey after the 28-year-old successfully completed his return to play protocols this week.

Francis joins Andrew Kellaway in midfield, and despite the half-back axis of Dan Biggar and Cobus Reinach remaining unchanged, there are more adjustments in the back three with Collins regaining a starting berth.

Boyd sticks with the same front row that took to the field against Leicester Tigers last weekend, but Barrow will make his Club debut in the engine room after signing from Saints’ east-midlands rivals over the summer.

Haskell returns at flanker for the first time since mid-September to add some ballast to the back row, and there is room amongst the replacements for Academy lock Alex Moon – who will make his European debut should he enter the fray from the bench at Franklin’s Gardens.

Tickets are still available for Northampton Saints vs ASM Clermont Auvergne, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 13 October. Tickets are available from £32 for adults and £14 for juniors. To buy tickets now, please CLICK HERE.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE

EPCR Challenge Cup, Round One

Saturday 13th October, 2018

Franklin’s Gardens

Kick-off: 3pm

15 Harry Mallinder

14 Ahsee Tuala

13 Andrew Kellaway

12 Piers Francis

11 Tom Collins

10 Dan Biggar

9 Cobus Reinach

1 Alex Waller (co-captain)

2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain)

3 Ehren Painter

4 David Ribbans

5 Dom Barrow

6 James Haskell

7 Lewis Ludlam

8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:

16 Mike Haywood

17 Francois Van Wyk

18 Ben Franks

19 Alex Moon

20 Jamie Gibson

21 Alex Mitchell

22 James Grayson

23 Luther Burrell

Not available for selection:

Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Jamal Ford-Robinson (knee), Api Ratuniyarawa (ankle), Tom Emery (ankle) and Courtney Lawes (back)

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One third of middle market firms in the South think a ‘no deal’ Brexit will boost revenues

Posted: 12/10/18 by RSM

One third of middle market firms in the South think that leaving the EU without a deal would have a positive effect on their revenues, according to a new survey by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

Thirty-four per cent of the region’s mid-market business leaders surveyed said they thought exiting the EU without a deal would benefit future turnover. Of this, 2 per cent felt it would be advantageous and 32 per cent said it would be favourable.

Just 15 per cent of respondents thought a ‘no deal’ outcome would harm revenues, while 7 per cent said it would be catastrophic. Thirty-eight per cent felt that leaving without a deal would have no effect on turnover.

The quarterly Brexit Monitor survey, conducted by YouGov prior to the EU leaders meeting in Salzburg on 19/20 September 2018, found that the views of business leaders in the South were broadly in line with the national sentiment.

However, opinions did differ across the country. Over half (52 per cent) of businesses in central England said they expected a turnover boost in a ‘no deal’ scenario, while 38 per cent of respondents in Yorkshire and the North East said they expected their turnover to take a hit.

John Taylor, RSM’s regional managing partner for the South said: “Businesses in the region are split when it comes to the confidence they have in the Government’s ability to deliver a good deal.

“However, in the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome, they are fairly bullish about their revenue prospects.

“One of the reasons for this surprisingly upbeat sentiment could come down to their view that come what may, they remain sufficiently agile to react in a way that adapts to the new environment.

“The current uncertainty is making it very difficult to plan. All eyes will now be on the EU summit on 18 October, when businesses will be hoping for some progress - and most importantly clarity - on the way ahead.”

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UK accounting continues ‘slight’ shift towards digital

Posted: 11/10/18 by Invu Services Limited

Accounting departments in UK businesses have continued to shift towards digital practices, but more than four in 10 (41%) continue to rely on paper-based processes, according to our research into the purchasing and accounts payable process.

The 41% is a slight fall from the 45% of business finance decision makers who admitted to relying on paper-based accounting in 2016.

Despite the trend towards digital, the report revealed a significant number of finance bosses who admitted that their company was struggling to move fully to a digital-based model.

More than half, 56%, said that a paper process was still used at some point within the purchasing process in their business.

Within accounts payable departments in these UK businesses, 16% of finance bosses said their company had not introduced any digital processes at all – relying on totally paper – while nearly a quarter 24% relied on manual scanning and storing of documents.

The need for Digital Transformation

These findings show a welcome trend towards the redundancy of paper-based accounting, but some businesses are still putting themselves at risk by continuing to rely solely on paper.

Businesses are often dealing with dozens, if not hundreds of invoices and payment enquiries on a daily basis and trying to manage and juggle these requests and demands using paper and filing cabinets can easily lead to finance departments being overwhelmed.

Delays commonly arising from manual processing of supplier invoices can result in a business being unaware of its future payment commitments – and then it is only a short step further before they end up in severe financial difficulties.

Given the current focus in the UK on productivity, it is staggering that so many companies won’t let go of their legacy paper-based systems and free their accounting teams up to add value to the business rather than drown in paperwork.

In a rapidly changing world, this report shows a welcome shift towards the use of technology. Concerns remain for the future of the 41% of businesses that appear to be lagging behind.

Click here to view the full findings of the survey, including purchasing trends and pain points for UK businesses in 2018.

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Complimentary Webinar: Understanding BRC Food Issue 8

Posted: 11/10/18 by Intertek

Session 1: Wednesday October 24 2018 8:30 A.M. - 9:30 A.M. GMT


Session 2: Wednesday October 24 2018 2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. GMT

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) Food Issue 8 standard is a globally recognised scheme which helps to establish quality, safety and responsibility within your food organisation.

In August 2018, version 8 was released and BRC certified food companies must be up to date. The latest issue focuses on:

  • Product safety culture
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Security and food defense

This webinar will provide an overview of the BRC food standard, the main components to meet the standards and updates on issue 8. Join their interactive webinar to learn more about how being part of the BRC certified network can benefit your business.

About the expert:

Allen Li, Certification Manager - Intertek Food Services

Allen is the Certification Manager and Global Technical Sector Manager in Food Certification at Intertek, where he oversees BRC services and a variety of other food certifications. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science and Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Processing and Storage of Aquatic Products, Allen began his career as a Quality Assurance Manager at a Chinese food company. He then returned to the classroom to earn his Doctorate in Processing and Storage of Aquatic Products and went on to become Lead Auditor & Manager with an acclaimed international certification body, offering a variety of food business certifications and other services.

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The future of Northampton town centre

Posted: 11/10/18 by Northampton Town Centre Ltd

More than 150 people gathered in Northampton in September - determined to have their say and help shape the future of the town centre.

The ‘Northampton town centre – Our Next Steps’ event, hosted by Northampton town centre Business Improvement District (BID), brought a panel of business, education and council leaders together, with Northampton residents and businesses asking challenging questions and sharing their aspirations.

Rob Purdie, executive director of Northampton town centre Business Improvement District (BID), summarised: “It is time to act, to focus on our town centre, to be positive and to move forwards. Northampton town centre needs a big hug and the passion and commitment from our speakers, panellists and all our guests proves this is what we all want.”

Here are a few highlights from the event:

The University of Northampton urged businesses and residents to warmly welcome students and staff to the town centre. Deborah Mattock, director of human resources, marketing and international relations, said: “We have 12,000 young people and 2,000 staff coming into Northampton town centre this month as our new Waterside campus opens. So, my question is ‘Northampton – are you ready?’ Our students have money to spend and skills to offer.”

Market Square – this was announced as a priority for the BID and also the council. George Candler, chief executive of Northampton Borough Council, said: “We need to create areas for people to congregate and there is an opportunity to do something with the market square, and we need to be bold and imaginative. This is a priority.”

The University of Northampton also announced it will, for the first time, be holding its Freshers Fair on the Market Square – so get ready to meet over 3,000 students.

Christmas lights will return this year, announced the council, despite rumours to the otherwise.

The Drapery: George Candler, chief executive of Northampton Borough Council, said the borough council has pledged to pick up the £55,000 bill for improvements to The Drapery - to tackle traffic flow and reduce the air pollution. Work will start soon.

New museum: Contractors are now on site, with the £7 million refit now underway that will double the size of the museum and also be home to a Centre of Excellence.

Vulcan Works, next to the museum, will be home to a small business hub. This project has been awarded £3 million of European money.

The old Greyfriars bus station: Jonathan Nunn, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “We want something iconic, bold, something better than the plan previously put forward. This is a priority and we are getting professional advice.”

New town centre homes: The borough council announced it is committed to getting people back into and living in the town centre. There is set to be 200 apartments for key workers and ‘grand plans’ for private and social housing in and around the town centre.

Blooming and beautiful: It was announced that the East Midlands in Bloom judges had visited Northampton and awarded it ‘gold’ status, so Northampton is now through to Britain in Bloom.

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Workshop: ‘Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Finance Options & Customs Formalities

Posted: 11/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Upcoming event information: Workshop ‘Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Finance Options & Customs Formalities”

Location: Griffin Room at H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking

Date: 31/10/2018, 9:00 AM

It is our pleasure to invite you to our 3rd Workshop on ‘Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Finance Options & Customs Formalities,’ taking place on Wednesday 31 October from 9 am to 1pm at the Griffin Room at H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking. This is followed by a networking lunch from 1pm to 2pm

Egypt is one of the largest markets in the MENA region, with a population of 95 million and growing. Its free trade agreement with the EU means that the country will have continued preferential access to the EU Single Market even after Brexit, and that it remains an important regional trade hub.

UK trade volume with Egypt stood at at close to £2 billion per year in the last few years. Following the implementation of much needed economic reforms, Egypt’s external sector is stabilising. New documentation requirements were introduced by the Egyptian government in 2015/16 to support
these reforms.

The objective of this workshop is to examine the various aspects of international trade documentation, and specific requirements for export to the Egyptian market. The workshop consists of three sessions; in the sessions, we will discuss how to prepare the content of your trade documents, available export finance options, logistics, and finally customs formalities.

The sessions are supported by the Surrey Chambers of Commerce.

Download the Workshop Flyer

Register now for this event

For more information, please contact Javed Hasan at the EBCC. javed@theebcc.com / T. 020 7499 3100.

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Workshop: ‘Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Finance Options & Customs Formalities

Posted: 11/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Upcoming event information: Workshop ‘Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Finance Options & Customs Formalities”

Location: Griffin Room at H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking

Date: 31/10/2018, 9:00 AM

It is our pleasure to invite you to our 3rd Workshop on ‘Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Finance Options & Customs Formalities,’ taking place on Wednesday 31 October from 9 am to 1pm at the Griffin Room at H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking. This is followed by a Networking lunch from 1pm to 2pm.

Egypt is one of the largest markets in the MENA region, with a population of 95 million and growing. Its free trade agreement with the EU means that the country will have continued preferential access to the EU Single Market even after Brexit, and that it remains an important regional trade hub.

UK trade volume with Egypt stood at at close to £2 billion per year in the last few years. Following the implementation of much needed economic reforms, Egypt’s external sector is stabilising. New documentation requirements were introduced by the Egyptian government in 2015/16 to support these reforms.

The objective of this workshop is to examine the various aspects of international trade documentation, and specific requirements for export to the Egyptian market. The workshop consists of three sessions; in the sessions, we will discuss how to prepare the content of your trade documents, available export finance options, logistics, and finally customs formalities.

The sessions are supported by the Surrey Chambers of Commerce.

Download the Workshop Flyer

Register now for this event

For more information, please contact Javed Hasan at the EBCC. javed@theebcc.com / T. 020 7499 3100

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Northampton town centre waves the purple flag

Posted: 11/10/18 by Northampton Town Centre Ltd

Northampton town centre boasts an ‘entertaining’, ‘diverse’, ‘safe’ and ‘enjoyable’ nightlife.

Judges from the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) awarded Northampton town centre ‘Purple Flag’ status earlier this year – a sought after accreditation for towns and cities that provide a vibrant mix of dining, entertainment and culture, while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.

Northampton is now one of over 70 town and city centres in the UK and Ireland with the award, which is comparable to the ‘Green Flag’ for parks and ‘Blue Flag’ for beaches.

During the assessment by ATCM judges in March was a tour of the town centre and key businesses, as well as presentations by Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire Police, Northampton Pubwatch, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Northampton town centre Business Improvement District (BID).

Rob Purdie, executive director Northampton town centre BID – the BID funded the Purple Flag application and joint-led the process with Northampton Borough Council – said: “Receiving Purple Flag status for our town centre’s evening and night time offer is a massive boost and we are absolutely thrilled with the outcome. It is a message to those who have negative things to say about our town that it’s not as bad as people think it is.

“Achieving this accreditation is no easy feat and there has been many many months of hard work behind the scenes by key town centre organisations and businesses, all working together to prove how our town meets stringent standards of excellence.

“We will be flying our Purple Flag with pride to really promote just how much Northampton comes alive after 5pm. It doesn’t mean we are going to stop with the many projects we have in the pipeline to keep on developing the town’s evening economy though, particularly those around improving safety and choice.”

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety at Northampton Borough Council, said: “Northampton’s night life has so much to offer and we are delighted to gain this Purple Flag status. It’s a clear indication of all the hard work that takes place to make the evening visiting experience as safe, positive and enjoyable as possible, and demonstrates what can be achieved when partners and businesses work together for the best interests of the town.

“The award also builds on our ‘Out tonight? Do it right’ personal safety campaign, launched in March last year, which reminds people of simple advice, such as going out with a fully charged mobile phone and understanding how to identify a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle.”

Northampton town centre BID project manager, pfbb UK’s Chris Barker said: “Leading on projects that help transform and promote the night time offer in Northampton town centre has been one of the BID’s key focuses and will remain that way. We are absolutely delighted with the news which shows that all our hard work with partner organisations has a huge benefit to and recognition for the town centre.”

The town centre tour by ATCM judges included the CCTV Control Room at St Johns, an Operation Nightsafe briefing at Campbell Square Police Station, and visits to Albion Brewery, St Giles Ale House, Nuovo, The Platform (The University of Northampton’s Students’ Union) and Fever & Boutique Nightclub.

Sam Live, deputy manager at Phipps NBC said: “Of course we jumped at the chance to be involved in the Purple Flag application, anything that helps encourage people into Northampton town centre, day or night, is a real positive. It was great to welcome the judges and for them to see how the Albion Brewery Bar contributes towards the town centre’s evening entertainment. What a fantastic result and a real boost for us and other town centre businesses to be awarded the Purple Flag.”

The Purple Flag programme is managed by ATCM which works alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses.

The application for Northampton town centre was funded by the BID and jointly prepared by all partners with Northampton town centre BID and Northampton Borough Council leading.

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Graduate uses her brain to deliver mental health gift boxes

Posted: 11/10/18 by The University of Northampton

A graduate has combined her knowledge of human personality and behaviour with the University’s Changemaker ethos by creating a ‘mental health’ gift box company.

Megan Partridge comes from King’s Lynn in Norfolk but now lives in Northampton and she started BrainboxUK following her degree in Psychology and Counselling at University of Northampton.

The Brainboxes are themed gift sets aimed at helping people kick-start a conversation about mental health (MH), a topic that can be difficult to broach.

The boxes contain items directly related to MH, such as stress busting tips and mindfulness advice, as well as general luxury products such as perfumes and toiletries.

Brainboxes are also heavily discounted, giving people an inexpensive way of approaching someone they think has an MH issue, or as a ‘pick me up’ gift to oneself.

The idea came to Megan during her studies at the University: “I have past experience of living with MH whilst I was studying for my degree. I started an online counselling service but this, coupled with my studies, became too much.

“Thankfully, the University offered me support and advice and what I always carried from this was to never rule out trying something new. So, working with Changemaker, I set about starting Brainbox.”

Megan worked with the University of Northampton’s Changemaker team to help form her idea into a fully-fledged social enterprise business.

Changemaker is an initiative that helps students, staff and members of the community to develop solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives, either at home or abroad.

Megan is supported by her peers Alanah Love and R’vanneth Brownlee, with all three also contributing to writing a blog for the website about MH, fashion and lifestyle.

Proceeds from all Brainbox sales are put back into the company, with 50% going toward funding the next phase in Megan’s MH crusade – an annual ‘MH camp’.

Set to start in 2019/2020, the event will be a combination of a traditional US summer camp and an English tea party.

Planned events will include physical fitness and sports, a kids’ camp and mindfulness activities, with agenda’s decided by guests rather than the organisers.

The Brainbox team also hope to expand the summer camp event to help people who have severe MH issues by offering free placements.

Megan added: “I’ve always been set on helping people in some way and I’m so glad the University have helped make Brainbox a reality. It is World Mental Health Day today, so I hope people will get behind us and use the boxes to make that important first-step to help someone open up about their MH.”

Brainbox also offer gift sets around ‘growing up’, with products and guidance to help those approaching adulthood. These include essentials to help people better organise themselves or housewarming products for those moving into their first home.

Brainbox’s work has been recognised with a nomination as Best Start-Up Venture of the Year at the University’s annual Changemaker Awards. To be held on Monday 12 November, the awards recognise the most innovative, inspiring and impactful Changemaker projects.

Find out more about psychology courses (undergraduate) at University of Northampton.

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Rob Horne overwhelmed and thankful for Derby support

Posted: 10/10/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Rob Horne admits he was blown away by the support shown to him at Twickenham last Saturday, with Northampton Saints today announcing that a six-figure sum was raised for the retired player at The Derby.

The 29-year-old was honoured during the Club’s Gallagher Premiership clash against local rivals Leicester Tigers at the home of English rugby, after tragically being forced into early retirement during the East-Midlands Derby at Welford Road last season.

Horne was left with a brachial plexus avulsion causing paralysis and chronic pain in his right arm, leading Saints to host the match at Twickenham to raise funds for his ongoing rehabilitation.

And with the wider rugby family coming together to support Horne, over 40,000 supporters descended on the south-west London stadium to give the Australia international a fitting send-off that saw Horne deliver the match ball to a rapturous ovation.

“I was completely humbled by the occasion on Saturday and I am so grateful for all the support that has been shown to me by Saints’ faithful supporters and the rugby community in England,” said Horne.

“My family and I want to thank the Club for everything they have done for me since my accident; I know a huge amount of effort will have gone into planning and pulling off The Derby, and it just speaks volumes about what the Club stands for.

“I loved my time playing in England, and even though I wish I could have stayed for longer, to be able to say goodbye in this way is something that will stay with me forever.”

Tigers won the Premiership clash 23-15 in torrential conditions at Twickenham, despite Saints outscoring their rivals by three tries to two.

But there was a silver lining for Northampton with 40,413 people in attendance, which alongside the Club’s own donation on behalf of season ticket holders, funds raised from sales of special-edition Rob Horne t-shirts and a hugely-successful public auction contributed to the total sum raised.

There were also substantial donations from ticket buyers and elite partner Carlsberg, while bucket shakes, programme sales and eco cup returns at Twickenham also contributed.

Saints chief executive Mark Darbon added: “Of course, the match itself saw Tigers wrestle back the East Midlands bragging rights for the time being – we’ll certainly be looking to change that when we play them again later this season.

“But I hope Saints supporters can see how important this game was in raising such a substantial amount of money for Rob, and the fact that so many people turned out shows just how appreciated and respected he is still in Northampton. It was a send-off befitting his qualities as a man and as a player.

“We are really proud of the sum raised; it is far higher than we could have ever hoped for had we kept the game at Franklin’s Gardens, and I must commend the Club’s staff who worked tirelessly to put on such a fantastic event.

“I would also like to thank the RFU for helping stage this match. The new East stand development is an excellent addition to an already superb stadium and we wish them luck in hosting the forthcoming Autumn Internationals.”

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Next Generation Chamber celebrates its first anniversary

Posted: 10/10/18 by Next Generation Chamber

An inspirational group for young business leaders has had over 100 people through membership during its first year.

Next Generation Chamber was launched at Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce’s centenary celebration on October 10, 2017, and since then it has formed its first committee, appointed its first president and vice-president and attracted high profile organisations as patrons.

The platform, which is run by Northamptonshire Chamber and its sister Chamber in Milton Keynes, helps businesses nurture young members of staff by offering them regular personal development sessions and networking events.

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “We had high hopes for Next Generation Chamber but the way it has taken off has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“The feedback we’ve received from members has been phenomenal and to have had over 100 people through membership in our first year is quite incredible.

“We are delighted to have attracted such high profile patrons as Mercer & Hole and the University of Northampton, and we are very proud of our members for forming their first committee and appointing their first president and vice-president.

“Our members are fantastic ambassadors for Next Generation Chamber and we are very excited to see how the organisation will develop with their input.”

Next Generation Chamber’s next networking event will be held at the Porsche Centre in Towcester on Thursday, October 25. Its latest personal development session, which is exclusive to members, is on The Art of Negotiation and will be held at Northamptonshire Chamber on Thursday, November 29.

For more information about Next Generation Chamber visit www.nextgenerationchamber.co.uk

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Only half of UK employers have a mental health policy in place

Posted: 10/10/18 by Robert Walters Operations Ltd

Only half of UK employers have a mental health policy in place, despite the fact that 97% of professionals believe their employer has a responsibility to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff.

The results come from a Robert Walters whitepaper ahead of World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10 October.

Neil Morgan, Associate Director at Robert Walters comments: “Professionals believe (62%) that training for managers as mental health ‘first aiders’ is important – but our research found that only 38% of companies have such a policy in place.

“While formal policies are an important part of an effective mental health strategy, this should not be seen as a tick box exercise for companies. Professionals place a great deal of value on having managers who are aware of this as a general priority and have the capacity to address it effectively.”

Research undertaken by Robert Walters found a disparity between strategies that are considered ‘important’ by employees, and those that are offered by the employer. For example, 74% of professionals ranked the ‘support for staff returning from (mental health related) absence’ highly, whilst only 50% of companies provide this.

Strategies such as remote working, which are widely offered by employers (71%), are considered less important in terms of contributing to mental wellbeing by professionals (60%).

James Murray, Director at Robert Walters comments: “Our survey revealed that over three quarters (76%) of professionals would be ‘uncomfortable’ discussing mental health at their place of work, for fear of damaging their career prospects. This is a major red flag and employers need to step up and consider how prominent a role they can play in encouraging their staff to be more open.

“By taking a proactive approach and leading by example, senior managers can play a key role in helping to develop the culture of their company to encourage discussion of mental wellbeing.”

The tide also seems to be turning on hiring managers, who have been slow to react to the 88% of professionals who consider the mental health policies of a potential employer important when looking for a new role. Just 3% of companies mention their mental wellbeing strategies in job adverts.

42% of professionals admitted to seeking out information about a prospective employers mental wellbeing strategies via review sites, given that the majority of professionals (64%) stated it was ‘difficult’ to find such information on a company website.

Download the whitepaper here:The important of mental health strategies in attracting top talent.

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​AFP Services Limited win at Kettering Business Awards 2018

Posted: 09/10/18 by AFP Services Limited

​AFP Services Limited have been recognised for their commitment to the success of their people and for the drive and dedication to their business.

They have been awarded both Employer of the Year and Business of the Year at the inaugural Kettering Business Awards. AFP are very proud of their amazing team.

#ketteringawards #business #peoplefocussed

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CML Appoints New Business Development Manager

Posted: 09/10/18 by CML Ltd

Leading third party logistics provider, CML, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new business development manager, David Fowler.

David will promote a range of contract and fulfilment logistics services that will support customers’ warehousing and logistical needs from manufacturing to delivery.

Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, David has experience in a range of areas from local account management, national and global sales, Nordic territory sales, EMEA supply chain logistics and ocean and airfreight EMEA. In his former position, David was responsible for delivering increased revenue, engaging in new client opportunities and assisting the business in achieving their growth targets.

Commenting on his new role, David said: “This position was particularly attractive because I’ve seen the extensive growth CML has undergone in the last 28 years and I want to be a part of that going forward. I was also drawn to CML’s incredibly flexible, can-do attitude towards business opportunities and focus on high end customer experience. It’ll be great to be able to offer third party logistics to a wide variety of markets especially wholesale, retail and e-commerce. My plans are to grow the business by promoting the services of CML, and attend key industry events and conferences to help build strong, long-lasting business relationships. I am thoroughly looking forward to developing these professional connections and introducing new clients to the quality services of CML.”

Commenting on David’s new appointment, CML’s managing director, Mark Webb, said: “Everyone at CML is really pleased to have David on board as the new business development manager, and I’m excited about the partnerships that will be created as David utilises his former industry experience to secure more customers.”

For more information about CML and the services it provides, visit https://www.cmlplc.com or call 01455 200 700.

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MSO Workspace Cocktail Tasting Networking

Posted: 09/10/18 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

​MSO Workspace would like to formally invite all members of the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce to the latest in their series of events.

At MSO Workspace, they try to make events that are different and this event is no exception.

Presenting…MSO Workspace Cocktail Tasting with the wonderful THE LITTLE BIG ALE COMPANY.

There will be a business card raffle, with a paintballing experience day, a full-day Althorp Suite meeting room use at Lakeside House, and much more! All donations and entry fees will go to KidsAid, a Northampton based charity providing therapeutic support for children and young people who have suffered any form of trauma.

With talks from:

Emily Hudson of Professional Introducer Network. Who really benefits from Networking?

Verity Wilkie and Alison Curryer of IMC Pro Solutions - A Social Media Party

Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice. - How to create more leads and win more clients.

Book now to avoid disappointment - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mso-workspace-cocktail-tasting-charity-networking-tickets-49380695991

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Take a look at the Nene Catalogue

Posted: 09/10/18 by Nene Storage Equipment Ltd

From mezzanine floors, partitioning, and conveyor systems, to workshop equipment, storage bins, and health & safety signage, as well as a variety of warehouse consumables: their catalogue has it all.

You can order direct from the catalogue either by telephone, or via their online catalogue.

They will deliver anywhere in the UK, using their own transport base or network of commercial carriers.

All major credit cards are accepted.

For all large quantity orders, a discount may be available, so it is recommended that you contact the office prior to ordering.

Nene Storage’s experienced in-house staff can assist with planning and management of refurbishment or new projects, no matter how large.

They can also arrange assembly and installation by their own specialist teams if required.

And if you can’t find what you require in the catalogue, call them on 01327 300456 to discuss your needs with one of their expert team members and see how Nene can help you.

https://www.nene.co.uk/products-accessories/other-accessories/catalogue/

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Need an office? You’ve come to the right place!

Posted: 09/10/18 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

​With centres across the country, MSO Workspace helps businesses find flexible serviced offices and meeting rooms in the best locations. Managed by a dedicated business centre manager, each centre hosts a wide range of organisations; from start-ups, growing businesses, to established national and international companies that require a regional presence.

Clients tell us they choose MSO Workspace serviced offices and meeting rooms because of their clear commitment to meeting their needs. They guarantee excellent IT and telecoms service, high quality office accommodation and an “easy-to do-business-with” attitude that allows them to concentrate on their business.

But MSO also understand that a nice office in a nice location isn’t enough, that’s why we offer a unique set of guarantees, designed and enhanced to help you get on with and concentrate on your business. They call them the MSO Guarantees:

Guarantee #1 – No Price Increase in Year 2
Guarantee #2 – Move in within 24 Hours
Guarantee #3 – Your Dedicated Business Centre Manager
Guarantee #4 – An Office That Fits Your Business
Guarantee #5 – An Office that Enhances Your Business
Guarantee #6 – Unbranded Business Centres

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October 2018 Newsletter from Bidwell Accountacy

Posted: 09/10/18 by Bidwell Accountancy Limited

HMRC has about-faced regarding the ban on using spreadsheets to work out your VAT return data from 1 April 2019, when the new requirement to file VAT returns using Making Tax Digital (MTD) format is introduced.

Bowing to pressure from industry, the accountancy profession and Parliamentary committees, HMRC has now agreed that you can use spreadsheets for VAT purposes; unfortunately, there is a large “but”.

The rationale behind the development of MTD is that HMRC wants your returns of data through its MTD portal to be linked directly to the source material, the accounting entries that make up the returns. They do not want you to cut and paste data from your accounting records (including spreadsheets) into HMRC’s digital accounts.

Accordingly, they have agreed to the use of spreadsheets as long as the data is transferred using bridging software that is compatible with its MTD systems.

Software developers are now faced with creating this bridging solution and we will be reviewing solutions to settle on the best-fit option for clients.

Invoice discounting with larger customers

Suppliers who sell goods and services to larger customers often find that the terms of their supply, limits or bans the process of factoring the debts to release funds into cash flow.

Cynically, this could be seen as a method these larger customers have used to control options available to their smaller suppliers.

Unfortunately, suppliers who sell predominately to major buyers find themselves in a cleft stick: they generally have to wait for longer periods to be paid and as a result are constantly short of cash.

Invoice factoring or discounting allows say 80% of a sales invoice value to be received when the invoice is issued and accepted by the customer; a specialist finance company or bank steps in to provide the discounting service.

The good news is that there is to be a change in the law to ban these restrictive practices and allow smaller companies to gain access to the funds locked up in their trade debtors.

Under the new proposed laws, any such contractual restrictions entered into after 31 December 2018, with certain exceptions, would have no effect and could be disregarded by small businesses and finance providers, which will help stop larger businesses from abusing their market position.

What is a reasonable excuse?

HMRC is still required to obtain certain returns from you even if there is no income or tax to declare. Failure to submit will likely trigger late filing penalties and unfortunately, pleading ignorance of your obligations to file “nil” returns is not a reasonable excuse.

Which begs the question, what is a reasonable excuse?

HMRC had published what may, and what will not, be considered excusable. They say:

A reasonable excuse is something that stopped you meeting a tax obligation that you took reasonable care to meet, for example:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline,
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs,
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness,
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return,
  • service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services,
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return,
  • postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted,
  • delays related to a disability you have.

You must send your return or payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.

What won’t count as a reasonable excuse are situations where:

  • you relied on someone else to send your return and they didn’t,
  • your cheque bounced, or payment failed because you didn’t have enough money,
  • you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use,
  • you didn’t get a reminder from HMRC,
  • you made a mistake on your tax return.

Often, failure to file is not a deliberate act. Unfortunately, appealing against what you consider to be an unreasonable stance by HMRC is not that simple, and ignoring the issue is not the way to go.

If you find yourself in dispute with HMRC on a late filing challenge, Bidwell can help. Please call them to discuss your options.

Passport issues if a “no-deal” Brexit

Guidance on the use of a British passport to travel abroad after 29 March 2019, if there is a “no-deal” Brexit, was issued by government last month. The pertinent facts are reproduced below:

After 29 March 2019, if you’re a British passport holder (including passports issued by the Crown Dependencies and Gibraltar), you’ll be considered a third country national and under the EU Schengen Border Code you will need to comply with different rules to enter and travel around the Schengen area. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries (like Australia, Canada and the USA) which do not belong to the EU or the European Economic Area.

According to the Schengen Border Code, third country passports must:

have been issued within the last 10 years on the date of arrival in a Schengen country, and have at least 3 months’ validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen area. Because third country nationals can remain in the Schengen area for 90 days (approximately 3 months), the actual check carried out could be that the passport has at least 6 months validity remaining on the date of arrival.

If you plan to travel to the Schengen area after 29 March 2019, to avoid any possibility of your adult British passport not complying with the Schengen Border Code we suggest that you check the issue date and make sure your passport is no older than 9 years and 6 months on the day of travel.

For example, if you’re planning to travel to the Schengen area on 30 March 2019, your passport should have an issue date on or after 1 October 2009.

If you are a parent or guardian:

For 5-year child passports issued to under-16s, check the expiry date and make sure there will be at least 6 months validity remaining on the date of travel. For example, a child planning to travel to the Schengen area on 30 March 2019 should have a passport with an expiry date on or after 1 October 2019. If a child’s passport does not meet these criteria, they may be denied entry to any of the Schengen area countries, and you should renew their passport before travel.

For countries that are in the EU but not in the Schengen area, you’ll need to check the entry requirements for the country you’re travelling to before you travel.

The Schengen Area is an area comprising twenty-six European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The area is named after the Schengen Agreement. States in the Schengen Area have strengthened border controls with non-Schengen countries.

Tax Diary September/October 2018

1 October 2018 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 December 2017.

19 October 2018 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 October 2018. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 October 2018.)

19 October 2018 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 October 2018.

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Whittlebury Hall conference and events manager shortlisted for customer service award

Posted: 09/10/18 by Whittlebury Hall & Spa Ltd

Conference and events operations manager Craig Fraser from Whittlebury Hall has been shortlisted for a prestigious hotel industry customer service award.

Craig has reached the finals of of the Boutique Hotelier Personal Service Star Awards in the Customer Service Star category, for the outstanding service he provides to Whittlebury’s corporate clients.

The awards celebrate the crème de la crème of the hospitality industry, showering praise and recognition on hard-working staff members.

Leading Whittlebury’s conference and events operations team, Craig helps to deliver a departmental turnover of more than £7.5m annually.

Marc Webster, commercial director at Whittlebury Hall, said, “As part of the conference and events team, Craig has an important customer-facing role and as such, plays a big part in ensuring customer satisfaction for all of our corporate clients. The feedback we receive from clients about Craig is truly outstanding – he always goes above and beyond to provide support throughout the entire event planning process, and everyone sings his praises as a result. I’m delighted that he has been recognised by Boutique Hotelier for his contribution, and everyone here will be keeping their fingers crossed for the awards ceremony later this month.”

The Boutique Hotelier Personal Service Star Awards will take place on Tuesday 16 October in London, when the winners of all categories will be announced.

For more information about Whittlebury Hall,visit www.whittlebury.com

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Shortlist announced for the 2018 Finance Awards

Posted: 09/10/18 by Robert Walters Operations Ltd

The shortlisted nominees across 12 categories have been announced for the annual Finance Awards.

Now in its second year, the awards ceremony is the only of its kind to recognise the work and achievements of finance professionals that contribute to the economy and employment across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex.

The ceremony – hosted in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and RSM - will take place on Thursday 8 November at the MK Dons Doubletree in Milton Keynes.

Janine Blacksley, Associate Director at Robert Walters Milton Keynes commented: “We are hugely proud of the success of the awards. We have had a record-breaking number of entries this year, all of an exceptionally high standard. It is hugely encouraging to see such passion and enthusiasm from the region’s business and financial community and we look forward to celebrating them all in November.”

Harpreet Panesar, ICAEW Regional Director - London & East, commented: “The dedication and hard work of professionals in the accounting and finance space has been one of the keys to driving strong economic growth in the region, creating jobs and driving business across a whole range of sectors.

“Historically there has been no awards of this kind to celebrating the regions thriving financial community and so we’ve been delighted to see the Finance Awards return for a second year.”

Adam King, Office Managing Partner of RSM in Milton Keynes, commented: “The Finance Awards saw a record-breaking number of entrants, as a result the competition was extremely high. The shortlist recognises the companies, teams and individuals who have successfully led and disrupted the finance profession in our region. RSM are delighted to congratulate all shortlisted nominees and look forward to the awards evening in November.”

All applications were judged by a panel of business leaders from the region, as well as representatives from ICAEW, RSM and Robert Walters.

For further information and to book tickets visit the Finance Awards website.

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134,000 VAT-registered businesses in South East unprepared for new digital tax rules

Posted: 09/10/18 by RSM

New analysis from audit, tax and consulting firm RSM suggests there could be as many as 134,000 VAT-registered businesses in the South East that are unprepared for new digital taxation rules which come into force from April next year.

Statistics from the Office of National Statistics, released today, show that in March 2018, there were 404,555 VAT-registered businesses in the South East.

However, the latest RSM research carried out by YouGov suggests that up to one third of businesses are unprepared for the new Making Tax Digital rules, which are effective from 1 April 2019.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is the Government’s ambitious plan to bring the UK’s tax system into the 21st century by transforming the way taxpayers interact with HMRC.

With only a few exemptions, VAT-registered businesses trading over the VAT threshold of £85,000 will be required to keep records in a digital format, ensure that the transfer or exchange of VAT information is digitally linked and submit their VAT return information to HMRC using MTD compatible software.

Any business affected by these changes must ensure that they are using MTD compatible software by April 2019. To be ‘compatible’ the software must include an Application Programme Interface (API).

The API will create a link between the business’s accounting software and HMRC’s systems. The API will enable the business to submit their VAT return figures to HMRC directly from their accounting software.

HMRC has indicated that there will be a ‘soft landing’ period between April 2019 and April 2020 during which there will be no financial penalties for record keeping failures, nor will there be a mandatory requirement for there to be a digital links between the accounting software which make up the VAT Return records. However, there must be an API from the outset creating a link between the accounting software of the business and HMRC.

Philip Munn, VAT partner at RSM said: ‘Making Tax Digital is one of the biggest shake-ups in tax administration for over 20 years. But with just six months to go before the rules come into force, there’s a worrying number of VAT-registered business that are completely unaware of the changes. And many of those that are aware have an awful lot of work to do to get ready.

‘VAT-registered businesses really need to make the next six months count, to ensure that their software, systems and people are all ready for the change.’

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Milton Keynes Chamber welcomes new non-executive director to the board

Posted: 09/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Milton Keynes Chamber has welcomed a new non-executive director to the board.

Julie Bean, of The Business Box, is the latest addition to the seven-strong board, following rigorous interview by Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths and newly appointed President Paul Musselle.

The business owner said she applied for the post in order to “give back” to the Chamber after the organisation supported her business development training firm’s growth during her membership.

Julie said: “Wow, I’m delighted and honoured to be joining the board as a non-executive director.

“For me, the reasons for applying for the position are really simple, in the six years I have been in business Milton Keynes Chamber, has paid an integral part in supporting the growth of The Business-Box, through the networking and business exhibitions that it provides.

“More than this, the free services which I have accessed have been invaluable to me as a growing business. Certainly the Legal and HR services have provided great advice when needed over the years.

“So, for me it was time to see if I could give back and help support Paul and his team in their future endeavours, whilst providing a viewpoint of a member and advocating for the benefits of the Chamber from a real viewpoint.”

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “It is with pleasure that I welcome Julie to join the Chamber’s board of directors. Julie has always been a great advocate of our Chamber and all that we stand for and I am delighted to be able to give her the opportunity to continue to do this in an official capacity.”

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BCC Quarterly Economic Survey: Uncertainty bites as survey shows UK economy is stuck in a rut

Posted: 09/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The British Chambers of Commerce’s quarterly economic survey – the UK’s largest private sector survey of business sentiment, and a lead indicator of UK GDP growth - shows little to be cheerful about as growth flatlines and business confidence weakens.

Key findings:

• Percentage of services firms attempting to recruit is at its lowest level for 25 years

• Of those services firms recruiting, difficulties rose to a record high

• Exports sales and orders are at their lowest level since the EU Referendum in Q2 2016

The results come as all signs suggest that this year’s annual economic growth is set to be the lowest since the financial crisis. The slowdown in exports in the manufacturing sector, and many services firms seemingly giving up trying to hire new staff, should be cause for concern, warns BCC.

Ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU, the leading business organisation urges the government to use this month’s Budget to deliver bold action to boost investment and confidence.

The survey, of 5,600 businesses, has revealed that the percentage of services firms attempting to recruit is at its lowest level for 25 years, and of the firms in the sector that did try and recruit, the percentage experiencing difficulties rose to an all time high, since the survey began in 1989.

Also, in the services sector, the percentage of firms reporting an increase in domestic and export sales and orders eased slightly in the quarter. Meanwhile in the manufacturing sector, the balance of firms reporting an increase in export sales and orders fell to their lowest in two years. The balance of manufacturers expecting their prices to increase also rose, with 81% citing the cost of raw materials as the driver of cost increases, the highest level for seven years.

Uncertainty over future trading conditions is continuing to act as a brake on business investment in both the manufacturing and services sectors. The balance of firms who looked to invest in either plant and machinery or training fell in both sectors to their lowest level in over a year. Business confidence in turnover and profitability also weakened in the quarter.

Commenting on the results, Suren Thiru, BCC Head of Economics, said:

“These results suggest that the current period of below average GDP growth continued into the third quarter of 2018.

“Activity in the services sector slackened in Q3 with the key indicators of domestic and international activity softening in the quarter. That said, the services sector is still likely to have been the main driver of third quarter growth.

“The manufacturing sector remains a weak spot for the UK economy, with export activity slowing sharply in the quarter. Brexit uncertainty and the increasing cost of imported raw materials is weighing on the UK’s external position – further evidence that the persistent weakness in sterling is doing more harm than good. As a consequence, net trade is likely to have contributed precious little to UK GDP growth in Q3.

“The sharp deterioration of the share of firms attempting to recruit is a concern and reflects both persistent hiring difficulties and heightened economic uncertainty - which if sustained could materially weaken jobs growth.

“Against this backdrop, the Bank of England’s recent decision to raise interest rates continues to look like a misstep. With economic conditions subdued and continued Brexit uncertainty, there should be a greater emphasis on providing increased monetary stability alongside a marked fiscal loosening to lift the UK out of its current low growth trajectory.”

Responding to the survey, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These figures reinforce what we are hearing from businesses up and down the country – the uncertainty over Brexit, and the lack of bold moves to boost business at home, are starting to bite.

“It should be a matter of grave concern to government that sales and orders both at home and abroad are stagnating. Weaker sterling is no longer proving a boon to many of our exporters, while consumer spending is failing to boost the domestic market.

“We have a vibrant and innovative business community that wants to invest and grow, but we are stuck in limbo while Brexit negotiations rumble on.

“The upcoming Budget must deliver radical, decisive action to boost growth and productivity at precisely the moment that the economy needs it most. There has never been a more important time for the government to bolster business investment, competitiveness and productivity, in the face of significant Brexit headwinds.”

On the warning signs from the labour market findings, Marshall added:

“While fewer companies are trying to recruit, those that are hiring they are finding it increasing challenging to fill vacancies. Many firms are deeply invested in developing homegrown skills and talent within their own communities, however this alone is not enough to fill the skills gaps, at all levels, that businesses face right now, and which are set to get worse post-March 2019.

“The results from BCC’s latest survey support our call for government to drop arbitrary migration caps and targets, and work with business to develop an immigration policy that supports a growing economy. We should not be slamming the door on any of the skills we need for our companies to succeed.”

Key findings in the Q3 2018 survey:

Manufacturing sector:

• The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales rose two points to +24, while those reporting improved domestic orders fell from +22 to +20

• The balance of firms reporting improved export sales fell five points, from +24 to +19, while the balance of those reporting improved export orders fell sharply from +22 to +14 – both indicators are at their lowest level since Q4 2016

• The percentage of firms expecting to raise prices over the next three months rose from 31% to 38%

• The percentage of firms citing the cost of raw materials as the source of cost pressures has risen sharply from 65% to 81%, the highest since Q2 2011

• The percentage of firms attempting to recruit fell from 77% to 67%, Of these, 75% reported recruitment difficulties. The balance of firms increasing investment in plant/machinery and training fell in the quarter to +15 and +17 respectively

• The balance of firms confident that turnover and profitability to increase in the next 12 months fell, from +47 to +44 for turnover and +35 to +29 for profitability

Services sector:

• The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales fell slightly, from +23 to +22, while those reporting improved domestic orders rose from +15 to +17

• The balance of firms reporting improved export sales fell slightly, from +15 to +14, while those reporting improved export orders held steady at +12

• The balance of firms expecting to raise prices over the next three months was unchanged at +27%

• The percentage of firms looking to recruit fell from 60% to 47%, the lowest since Q1 1993. Of these, 72% reported difficulties – an all time high for the survey

• Cashflow remains a concern, with a balance of just +8 reporting improved cashflow. Thisfalls to +5 among B2C firms

• The balance of firms looking to increase investment in plant and machinery, and training, fell slightly from +8 to +7 in plant and machinery, and from +16 to +14 in training

The balance of firms confident that turnover to improve over the next year fell slightly, from +40 to +38, while those expecting profitability to improve rose slightly from +29 to +30

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BCC Quarterly Economic Survey: Uncertainty bites as survey shows UK economy is stuck in a rut

Posted: 09/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

The British Chambers of Commerce’s quarterly economic survey – the UK’s largest private sector survey of business sentiment, and a lead indicator of UK GDP growth - shows little to be cheerful about as growth flatlines and business confidence weakens.

Key findings:

• Percentage of services firms attempting to recruit is at its lowest level for 25 years

• Of those services firms recruiting, difficulties rose to a record high

• Exports sales and orders are at their lowest level since the EU Referendum in Q2 2016

The results come as all signs suggest that this year’s annual economic growth is set to be the lowest since the financial crisis. The slowdown in exports in the manufacturing sector, and many services firms seemingly giving up trying to hire new staff, should be cause for concern, warns BCC.

Ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU, the leading business organisation urges the government to use this month’s Budget to deliver bold action to boost investment and confidence.

The survey, of 5,600 businesses, has revealed that the percentage of services firms attempting to recruit is at its lowest level for 25 years, and of the firms in the sector that did try and recruit, the percentage experiencing difficulties rose to an all time high, since the survey began in 1989.

Also, in the services sector, the percentage of firms reporting an increase in domestic and export sales and orders eased slightly in the quarter. Meanwhile in the manufacturing sector, the balance of firms reporting an increase in export sales and orders fell to their lowest in two years. The balance of manufacturers expecting their prices to increase also rose, with 81% citing the cost of raw materials as the driver of cost increases, the highest level for seven years.

Uncertainty over future trading conditions is continuing to act as a brake on business investment in both the manufacturing and services sectors. The balance of firms who looked to invest in either plant and machinery or training fell in both sectors to their lowest level in over a year. Business confidence in turnover and profitability also weakened in the quarter.

Commenting on the results, Suren Thiru, BCC Head of Economics, said:

“These results suggest that the current period of below average GDP growth continued into the third quarter of 2018.

“Activity in the services sector slackened in Q3 with the key indicators of domestic and international activity softening in the quarter. That said, the services sector is still likely to have been the main driver of third quarter growth.

“The manufacturing sector remains a weak spot for the UK economy, with export activity slowing sharply in the quarter. Brexit uncertainty and the increasing cost of imported raw materials is weighing on the UK’s external position – further evidence that the persistent weakness in sterling is doing more harm than good. As a consequence, net trade is likely to have contributed precious little to UK GDP growth in Q3.

“The sharp deterioration of the share of firms attempting to recruit is a concern and reflects both persistent hiring difficulties and heightened economic uncertainty - which if sustained could materially weaken jobs growth.

“Against this backdrop, the Bank of England’s recent decision to raise interest rates continues to look like a misstep. With economic conditions subdued and continued Brexit uncertainty, there should be a greater emphasis on providing increased monetary stability alongside a marked fiscal loosening to lift the UK out of its current low growth trajectory.”

Responding to the survey, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These figures reinforce what we are hearing from businesses up and down the country – the uncertainty over Brexit, and the lack of bold moves to boost business at home, are starting to bite.

“It should be a matter of grave concern to government that sales and orders both at home and abroad are stagnating. Weaker sterling is no longer proving a boon to many of our exporters, while consumer spending is failing to boost the domestic market.

“We have a vibrant and innovative business community that wants to invest and grow, but we are stuck in limbo while Brexit negotiations rumble on.

“The upcoming Budget must deliver radical, decisive action to boost growth and productivity at precisely the moment that the economy needs it most. There has never been a more important time for the government to bolster business investment, competitiveness and productivity, in the face of significant Brexit headwinds.”

On the warning signs from the labour market findings, Marshall added:

“While fewer companies are trying to recruit, those that are hiring they are finding it increasing challenging to fill vacancies. Many firms are deeply invested in developing homegrown skills and talent within their own communities, however this alone is not enough to fill the skills gaps, at all levels, that businesses face right now, and which are set to get worse post-March 2019.

“The results from BCC’s latest survey support our call for government to drop arbitrary migration caps and targets, and work with business to develop an immigration policy that supports a growing economy. We should not be slamming the door on any of the skills we need for our companies to succeed.”

Key findings in the Q3 2018 survey:

Manufacturing sector:

• The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales rose two points to +24, while those reporting improved domestic orders fell from +22 to +20

• The balance of firms reporting improved export sales fell five points, from +24 to +19, while the balance of those reporting improved export orders fell sharply from +22 to +14 – both indicators are at their lowest level since Q4 2016

• The percentage of firms expecting to raise prices over the next three months rose from 31% to 38%

• The percentage of firms citing the cost of raw materials as the source of cost pressures has risen sharply from 65% to 81%, the highest since Q2 2011

• The percentage of firms attempting to recruit fell from 77% to 67%, Of these, 75% reported recruitment difficulties. The balance of firms increasing investment in plant/machinery and training fell in the quarter to +15 and +17 respectively

• The balance of firms confident that turnover and profitability to increase in the next 12 months fell, from +47 to +44 for turnover and +35 to +29 for profitability

Services sector:

• The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales fell slightly, from +23 to +22, while those reporting improved domestic orders rose from +15 to +17

• The balance of firms reporting improved export sales fell slightly, from +15 to +14, while those reporting improved export orders held steady at +12

• The balance of firms expecting to raise prices over the next three months was unchanged at +27%

• The percentage of firms looking to recruit fell from 60% to 47%, the lowest since Q1 1993. Of these, 72% reported difficulties – an all time high for the survey

• Cashflow remains a concern, with a balance of just +8 reporting improved cashflow. Thisfalls to +5 among B2C firms

• The balance of firms looking to increase investment in plant and machinery, and training, fell slightly from +8 to +7 in plant and machinery, and from +16 to +14 in training

The balance of firms confident that turnover to improve over the next year fell slightly, from +40 to +38, while those expecting profitability to improve rose slightly from +29 to +30

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Top tips for mastering the media

Posted: 08/10/18 by Giggabox Limited

Two highly experienced media specialists, former Press Association Director, Andy Rice and former BBC journalist Simon Hall have collaborated to provide members with a 7-step guide to engaging with the media.

The two met at Simon’s workshop, held in October at the Allia Future Business Centre, organised by Cambridge Network. Andy comments, “Simon really did all the hard work. He’s been working at the sharp end at the BBC for years, and really knows what it takes to get the attention of a busy journalist; but I’ve managed Editors, and worked with some of the largest media organisations in the world whilst at PA, so I guess I’ve been able to add a little extra frisson.”

Andy, who joined Chamber member Giggabox earlier this year has put together a 7-step guide to getting your press release published or your story picked up by the broadcast
media.Their suggestions include finding an angle that will appeal to a particular audience, advice on how to find impactful headlines, the importance of rich media and the need to follow up and don’t be afraid to build a relationship. The full article can be found at www.giggabox.co.uk/blog

Andy advises: “Give it a go. The media has an avaricious appetite for news. You just need to make your news ‘tasty’. Good luck.”

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Northampton College students land roles in Motown musical

Posted: 08/10/18 by Northampton College

A “talented pair” of former Northampton College students are preparing to travel the country in the UK tour of West End hit, Motown The Musical.

Ethan Davis (pictured) and Deearna McLean landed understudy roles in the hit show after successful auditions this summer. Beginning next month, the pair will take the performance to 25 UK cities over 15 months.

The dedicated professionals have had to learn dozens of parts in preparation for the tour, which could see them called upon to cover cast absence.

Rehearsing for eight hours a day, six days a week, Ethan has been required to learn every male ensemble part, as well as the role of Smokey Robinson. The 21-year-old studied a Level 3 diploma in Musical Theatre at Northampton College before he gained a place at the American Musical Theatre Academy in London. Deearna also completed the same course at Northampton College.

Ethan, from East Hunsbury, thanked his college tutors for steering him in the right direction and added: “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. When I was at a crossroads over which direction to go in they advised me on the best route to take to achieve my aspirations.

“The course was fantastic – just like a drama school. It prepared me for what was to come. I began drama school with an advantage. The experiences I had at college boosted my confidence in singing, dancing and acting, enabling me to go on and be successful at drama school and ultimately auditions.”

Currently rehearsing at a studio in London, the pair will travel to Birmingham this week to begin final rehearsals at the Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre before the curtain goes up on Thursday, October 11.

Northampton College Musical Theatre tutor Suzanne Bushen said: “I am delighted to hear that this talented pair of former students are putting what they have learnt into practice on the UK stage. I’m incredibly proud to see what they have achieved so far and I look forward to hearing about the opportunities I am sure will come their way in the future.”

The pair have become the latest former Booth Lane students to be involved in the jukebox musical telling the story of his time running the legendary US record label and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson.

They are following in the footsteps of Natalie Kassanga, who also featured in girl band Alien Uncovered in the 2015 X Factor. She recently took on the role of Diana Ross in the West End version of Motown at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London.

To find out more about musical theatre courses currently available at Northampton College visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk

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Businesses see increased international trade growth, according to latest Chamber QES

Posted: 08/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Businesses in Milton Keynes have reported a significant increase in overseas trade, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce.

Export sales were up by 34 percent for Q3 – showing a totally different picture to the previous Q2, which had shown negative growth.

More than two thirds of respondents to the Chamber’s regular business barometer also expect an improvement in turnover over the next 12 months which is a rise in business confidence compared to the last quarter.

Both figures go against the trend being seen nationally, which is of a downgrade in export growth and a fall in business confidence due to Brexit uncertainty, however Milton Keynes has seen volatile export figures since the Brexit announcement.

Despite this, almost half of those firms questioned expected to grow their workforce during the next quarter and 87 per cent of respondents anticipate employment growth or no change for the coming months.

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “The optimism shown by the Milton Keynes business landscape is refreshing at such an uncertain time for our country. The positive economic indicators are probably due to the insulating effect of this quarter’s strong international operations.

“Business confidence going forward now relies upon a long-term strategy for the forthcoming Government changes to ensure adequate support and an optimum trading environment for businesses.”

To read the full report visit: https://chambermk.co.uk/representation/quarterly-economic-surveys

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Business confidence in Northamptonshire continues to hold according to Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey

Posted: 08/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Around half of respondents to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey by Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce expect to see their turnover improve in the next year.

The survey was open to businesses in Northamptonshire from the end of August until mid-September and revealed the expectations and performance of businesses during the third quarter of 2018.

Nearly half of all county service firms and manufacturers who responded to the survey continue to predict their business will grow, despite more sombre national growth predictions.

Manufacturers also reported increases in both their domestic and export sales during Quarter 3 although they raised concerns about competition, exchange rates and even steel tariffs during the period. The services sector revealed a gloomier picture, reporting drops in both their domestic and export sales in Q3.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “Despite a further downgrade in growth expectations for 2018 and 2019 from the British Chambers of Commerce, confidence in Northamptonshire continues to hold with around half of our QES respondents expecting their turnover to grow over the next 12 months.

“This optimism has been roughly continuous for the last year, but has not yet translated into buoyant investment or employment expectations, and is not borne out by the figures for domestic sales or exports.

“We’re also seeing stagnant investment in training, locally and nationally. With a labour market that continues to favour the employee, firms will need to consider raising their investment in their staff for retention or recruitment or potentially risk losing out.”

Northamptonshire Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey is part of the largest and most representative survey of its kind in the UK. It provides central and local policymakers with feedback of the performance, concerns and views of businesses across Northamptonshire.

To read the full report visit: https://www.northants-chamber.co.uk/representation/quarterly-economic-surveys

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Calls for government lead on reducing environmental impact of disposable nappies

Posted: 05/10/18 by Bambino Mio Ltd

Nappy Alliance calls for government lead on reducing environmental impact of disposable nappies

The Nappy Alliance has welcomed government support for reducing the environmental footprint of disposable nappies and has called for a clear and timely approach to promote take up of reusable nappies.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP told a Conservative Party conference fringe event on Tuesday that he was committed to reducing plastic waste and that, as part of this, the government is considering measures to reduce the use of disposable nappies.

Chair of the Nappy Alliance and Founder & Managing Director of Bambino Mio, Guy Schanschieff (pictured) said: ‘From an industry point of view, it’s good to see the impact of disposable nappies being discussed within Government.

‘We want to be clear that, even as a reusable nappy alliance, we don’t think that disposables should be banned because we understand they serve a purpose for many parents. What’s important here is that we can make a difference by reducing the number of disposables used and by making reusable nappies more mainstream, ensuring that they are easily available.

‘Widescale use of reusable nappies can dramatically reduce the amount of plastic entering our waste system and ending up in landfill. Reusables are easy to use, and do not contain chemicals which may come into contact with the baby’s skin. Because cloth nappies can be used again and again they can help parents save a significant amount of money in the first few years of a child’s life.’

The average baby uses 4000 nappies up to potty training (weighing up to 120kg), the majority of which will go to landfill – 8 million of them every day in the UK alone.

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Mallinder and Kellaway come into Saints back-line for Derby clash

Posted: 05/10/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd has made two changes to his starting XV for this week’s Derby clash against Leicester Tigers.

Twickenham Stadium is the venue for the first East Midlands Derby of the season, with Saints hosting the game at the home of English rugby in aid of retired player Rob Horne, who will deliver the match ball in front of over 40,000 supporters.

Both BT Sport and terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5 will be at HQ to show every second of the latest instalment of this classic rugby rivalry, with kick-off set for 3pm.

The men in Black, Green and Gold arrive in south-west London off the back of a five-point win over Bristol Bears last weekend, and completed a season double over Tigers last term for the first time since 2005.

Boyd has called fullback Harry Mallinder and centre Andrew Kellaway into his starting team for the first time this season, with Piers Francis unavailable and Ahsee Tuala switching onto the wing for the Twickenham showdown.

Fresh from scoring his first Saints try last time out at Ashton Gate, Taqele Naiyaravoro completes the back three, with inside centre Luther Burrell partnering Kellaway in midfield, and Cobus Reinach and Dan Biggar filling the half-back positions once again.

Meanwhile Boyd has named an unchanged pack following an impressive set-piece showing at Bristol, with Dylan Hartley and Alex Waller jointly leading the side in the front row.

David Ribbans and Courtney Lawes are selected together again in the engine room with Jamie Gibson, Lewis Ludlam, and Teimana Harrison packing down at the base of the scrum.

And Fraser Dingwall comes into the replacements in the only other change to the matchday 23, with the England Under-20 international in line for his debut first-team appearance for Saints should he enter the game off the bench.

Tickets are still available for tomorrow’s Derby at Twickenham, which kicks off at 3pm, from £25 for adults and £10 for juniors. The match is being played in aid of Rob Horne; for more information and to book tickets please CLICK HERE.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS v LEICESTER TIGERS

Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round Six

Saturday 6 October, 2018

Twickenham Stadium

Kick-off: 3pm

15 Harry Mallinder

14 Ahsee Tuala

13 Andrew Kellaway

12 Luther Burrell

11 Taqele Naiyaravoro

10 Dan Biggar

9 Cobus Reinach

1 Alex Waller (co-captain)

2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain)

3 Ehren Painter

4 David Ribbans

5 Courtney Lawes

6 Jamie Gibson

7 Lewis Ludlam

8 Teimana Harrison

Replacements:

16 Mike Haywood

17 Francois Van Wyk

18 Ben Franks

19 Api Ratuniyarawa

20 Mitch Eadie

21 Alex Mitchell

22 Fraser Dingwall

23 Tom Collins

Not available for selection:

James Craig (concussion), James Fish (ankle), Paul Hill (shoulder), Rory Hutchinson (knee), Toby Trinder (foot), Ken Pisi (shoulder), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), Nafi Tuitavake (neck), Andy Symons (knee), Piers Francis (concussion), and Jamal Ford-Robinson (knee).

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Chamber Award Success!

Posted: 04/10/18 by The SK Group

It was an emotional moment for the team at SK Energy, who were greeted by a rapturous cheer as they scooped the Customer Commitment Award at the Northamptonshire Business Awards put on by the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

Jason, who is head of business development, was speechless after collecting the trophy, sponsored by GPW Consulting, at the glittering awards ceremony.

Instead, managing consultant, Reemesh Patel, said: “We are very shocked, we did not expect to win in such a highly contested category and against two great local businesses in HR Solutions and Silverstone Fleet Management who were equally deserving! No-one will know how much work has gone into building this business from day one. From an idea to making it possible for our clients. We truly love what we do and all our clients. Regardless of size and turnover, we give them all the same dedication and understanding they deserve. We are honoured and humbled to have received this award not to mention the reception the team just received!”

SK Energy is an independent energy brokerage based in Wellingborough. SK Energy help businesses of all sizes from corner shops to large industrial and commercial users procure their gas, electricity and water contracts more efficiently.

They offer a no obligation free energy and water health check on the current procurement strategy before providing a comprehensive analysis following a full tender to the market.

If you are interested in switching or renewing your business energy contracts today or just looking for some advice call the team on 01933 448622 or email sales@skenergy.co.uk

www.skenergy.co.uk

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Milton Keynes Chamber welcomes new president

Posted: 04/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce members welcomed their new president at the award-winning organisation’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday night (3 October).

Paul Musselle, managing director of video production company Giggabox Limited, described the new appointment as “a real honour”.

He follows previous president Andrew Hall, managing director of business consultancy Haywood Mann.

Paul said: “It is a real honour to serve as your new president and I’m hugely grateful to those board members who voted for me. I will do my best to get our message out there and support the board in all they do.

“This is our Chamber and it is up to us which direction we choose to take things forward in Milton Keynes. I believe that the continued success of Milton Keynes Chamber relies upon three Vs – voice, volume and visibility.

“We want to be the voice for the Milton Keynes business community and to do that we need to continue to grow. We will only grow if we share our stories and the benefits you get from the Chamber and creating that visibility.

“That bigger membership volume then gives our chief executive more weight to take to the national events.

“I look forward to working together to achieve great things in the coming months.”

The Annual Dinner, held at Chicheley Hall, saw more than 60 members gather to hear a review of the 2017-18 financial year from Milton Keynes Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths, head of operations Tracey Griffiths and marketing manager Nick Blackmore.

Highlights included a national award win, the launch of the hugely successful Next Generation Chamber for aspiring young professionals and impressive performance figures across all aspects of the Chamber.

Paul Griffiths said: “What we have achieved in the past 12 months would not have been possible without the support of our invaluable members and the dedicated efforts of the whole Chamber team, backed by our non-executive board directors.

“I have great faith in our organisation, today and in the future and I welcome Paul Musselle as our new president. It will be a pleasure to see where we can go as we continue this impressive work forging forward together.”

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Become an equality ally to celebrate diversity

Posted: 04/10/18 by Northampton Borough Council

Celebrate Northampton’s diversity this Hate Crime Awareness Week (13 to 20 October) by signing up to become an equality ally.

The equality ally scheme is being launched during an afternoon tea event at the Guildhall by Northampton Borough Council and partners on Tuesday, 16 October. All are welcome to find out more about the scheme, which aims to promote equality for everyone, uniting our communities and creating a culture of acceptance and support.

Equality allies will be encouraged to wear a brightly coloured, heart shape pin badge during the national Hate Crime Awareness Week to demonstrate their support of equality and raise awareness of how anyone who feels they’ve been affected by hate crime, can get support.

A hate crime is any criminal offence or incident, which is perceived by any person as being motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on personal characteristics such as age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, race and faith.

A hate crime can be reported on the Borough Council’s website or to Northamptonshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Anyone who wants to sign up to become an equality ally will also be able to visit information stalls of local support organisations in the Courtroom between 12pm and 2pm on 16 October. In addition they will be able to find out more about a series of podcasts called ‘What’s the storey’. These podcasts aim to increase acceptance and understanding of others by hearing real stories from real people. Anyone who would like to sign up to share their story, can do so at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdsC25FN_isy_9l1SsUQKekggddROEglRdNFF7xtFSX4t9RfQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

People will also be able to sign up to become an equality ally during a special screening of The Greatest Showman at Northampton Filmhouse on Thursday, 18 October at 6.30pm. Before the screening begins, Northampton Inter Faith Forum will be sharing a short film with attendees about equality, through the eyes of children. Tickets for the screening can be purchased at: www.northamptonfilmhouse.com/films/thegreatestshowman

A Remembering Srebrenica walk on Sunday, 21 October will close the week of awareness activities. The four mile walk will begin at 12.30pm from the Pavilion in Becket’s Park and will take in various faith venues where participants will be welcomed inside for a tour and short talk. The walk is scheduled to finish around 4.30pm at St Anne’s Orthodox Church in Cattle Market Rd.

Anyone who would like to take part in the walk can sign up by emailing sueward80@hotmail.com and making a small donation to the Remembering Srebrenica charity at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vicki-rockall

Cllr Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We’re pleased to be working with partners to deliver a range of activities that help to celebrate the town’s diversity as well as to raise awareness of what hate crime is and how people can get support.

“The launch of the equality ally scheme is a perfect way of challenging discriminations and promoting equality and acceptance. We encourage people to pick up one of the free pin badges from the Guildhall or at one the events we are hosting and wear it, with love, throughout Hate Crime Awareness Week and beyond.”

To report a hate crime online please visit www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200258/community-safety/23/hate-crime

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New product development kitchen unveiled at Central Foods’ HQ

Posted: 04/10/18 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has unveiled a new product development kitchen at its Northamptonshire headquarters to help in developing and showcasing the products it offers to foodservice operators.

The kitchen will be used by executive chef Paul Hunt and other members of the team to prepare items supplied by Central Foods, which will be served to visiting buyers from wholesalers and other organisations.

The kitchen has been fitted with the latest state-of the-art equipment including induction hobs, combi ovens, fryers, griddles and microwaves. It will also be used to trial new products that the company is considering listing, as part of its commitment to sourcing and offering high quality, on-trend products for foodservice operators across the UK and beyond.

“This new facility enables Central Foods to improve the way we showcase our products, as well as ideas of how best to serve them,” said Gordon Lauder, managing director of Central Foods. “It will also help us when trying new products that we are considering adding to our range – helping us to keep abreast of the latest trends and continuing to offer our customers an appetising selection of food products that go down well with their own customers.”

The company supplies more than 400 different lines, ranging from vegetarian and free-from items, meat products, bakery items and canapés through to buffet products, desserts and puddings. It currently sells to more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers, and foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry including schools, universities, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, leisure centres, garden centres, cafés, care homes and many other outlets.

Paul Hunt, aka The Skinny Chef, is a fully qualified chef who has undertaken recipe development work for key food manufacturers, and also been responsible for putting food on
the tables of high street restaurants and pub brands, as well as developing products for supermarkets in the UK and Europe.

He was engaged by Central Foods last year to showcase products supplied by the company and to take part in demonstrations and sampling sessions to help promote the range
available. Paul has been advising on the fit out of the new product development kitchen to ensure that the state-of-the-art catering equipment installed matches the equipment used by chefs and professional caterers in their own kitchens.

“We have worked with Paul to make sure that we are developing food products using the same equipment that our foodservice customers will be using. This ensures we are confident any products we launch will perform exactly as they should in our customers’ kitchens, allowing them to easily replicate the dishes,” added Gordon.

“The development is an extension to our current offices and has a glass roof, which fills the room with natural light – allowing us to showcase our products in the best possible way and take images for use on social media, to offer inspiration to chefs and kitchen staff across all types of operations.”

Central Foods celebrated its 21st anniversary last year and is regarded as a leading frozen food distributor in the UK.

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Quiz night success for Onyx

Posted: 04/10/18 by Onyx Recruitment

Onyx Recruitment has raised almost £2,000 for a local employability charity.

The independent recruitment firm would like to thank all the Milton Keynes businesses who fielded teams for its charity quiz night on Thursday 28th September to support Worktree - www.worktree.org

Worktree helps schoolchildren better understand the careers available to them.

Special congratulations go Business Growth Team 1 who won the quiz.

If you would like to find out more about how Onyx Recruitment can help you attract the best talent for your business, please contact Michelle Theuma on 01908 477501.

www.onyxrecruitment.co.uk

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Experts in health and safety

Posted: 04/10/18 by All Food Hygiene

All Food Hygiene has been fulfilling businesses training requirements for over 25 years.

Its topics include Food Safety, HACCP, Internal Auditing, COSHH and Health & Safety and most of its courses are accredited.

Principal Stephen Vaughan said: “Health and safety has been an important part of our offering. This has recently been supplemented by Fire Safety Training.

“Fire accounts for 16,000 workplace fires each year in the UK and over 300 deaths. Most businesses that suffer a serious fire fail to fully recover.”

The firm offers Level 1 Award in the Principles of Fire Safety Awareness to support learners in any workplace, particularly new starters, where a basic understanding of fire safety is required.

In addition it offers Level 2 Award in the Principles of Fire Safety for anyone involved in fire safety management.

The courses can be run internally for groups of up to 20 candidates.

Other developments for the firm include Allergen training. This is in response to an increase in people that suffer from an adverse reaction to some foods. In the UK there this results in 10 deaths every year and it is estimated that 6% of the UK population suffer from some form of food allergy during their life.

Stephen added: “Catering and manufacturing companies need to protect themselves and their customers by training all of their staff. Our half day course is Level 2 Award in Identifying and Controlling Food Allergy Risks and can be run for your staff in your business.”

Call: 0870 3800333

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University makes employment promise to students

Posted: 04/10/18 by The University of Northampton

The University of Northampton is working with local businesses to provide guaranteed temporary employment to prospective, current and final year undergraduates once they graduate.

The Northampton Employment Promise offers to secure short-term paid internships for students who have been unable to gain employment 12 months after graduating.

For students to secure a three-to-six-month paid placement, they must meet certain criteria, including achieving at least a 2:2 degree and completing specified Changemaker and employability certifications.

The scheme is being run by the University’s Changemaker Hub, which provides students with volunteering opportunities, work placements, internships and part-time jobs.

Wray Irwin, Head of the University’s Centre for Employability and Engagement and Changemaker Hub lead, said: “The idea behind this initiative is to give students practical experience which can be added to their CV and boost their employability.

“We know that if students engage with the Changemaker Hub and complete one of our flagship awards, then they become highly employable. Students who engage with the awards are likely to be self-motivated and proactive at work and within the community. This added value and social impact that students can refer to on their CV is something that really resonates with employers.”

Mairi Watson, Dean for the Faculty of Business and Law hailed the initiative as an opportunity to further engage with businesses.

Mairi said: “We are one of the first Universities to offer students and graduates an opportunity of this nature. From our student’s perspective, this placement will only serve to boost their employability – and from the University’s point of view it will develop even stronger links with local and national businesses.”

For more information on the Northampton Employment Promise, please click here.

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British Coffee Association publishes white paper on embedding circular economy into the industry

Posted: 04/10/18 by SusConnect Ltd

The British Coffee Association (BCA) recently published a white paper, entitled Bean to Bin and Beyond, which details the progress, barriers and opportunities in embedding a fully circular economy in the UK coffee industry.

The white paper, which SusConnect assisted in producing, aims to assist the coffee industry to become the first industry to achieve a fully circular supply chain in the UK.

More information about the white paper and how to receive a copy are available at the link below:

https://www.comunicaffe.com/bca-announces-white-paper-to-help-uk-coffee-industry-embed-circular-economy/

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BCC comments on Prime Minister’s speech

Posted: 04/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party conference, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

On the PM’s support for business: “Business communities across the country have been dismayed by the tone of politics in recent months, and the sidelining of their very real concerns. They will be reassured by the Prime Minister’s firm pledge to back business. However, warm words are not enough, and businesses expect concrete measures in the Budget and beyond to fix the fundamentals here at home, and underpin future competitiveness, productivity, and prosperity.

On the post-Brexit immigration plans: “Businesses have real concerns about the Prime Minister’s plans for the UK’s future immigration policy. Our firms face record high skills shortages at all levels. Immigration policy cannot be just about the best and brightest – companies must be able to access the skills and talent they require if they are unable to train or hire in the UK.

“There are skills shortages in every sector across the country, and the Prime Minister’s proposed approach risks hurting industries such as care, hospitality, retail, and agriculture. The test of the government’s new immigration rules will be whether they let businesses access skills and talent quickly and easily when companies can demonstrate that they have been unable to hire or train the people they need here in the UK, and to do so without increased red tape and bureaucracy.

On Brexit: “Firms will judge the Government on the clarity they provide on the real-world questions around Brexit, and whether the UK will avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the EU. Firms will be relieved that the Prime Minister views no deal as a bad outcome – but clarity and precision is required urgently if businesses and our communities are to thrive in the months and years to come.”

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BCC comments on Prime Minister’s speech

Posted: 04/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party conference, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

On the PM’s support for business: “Business communities across the country have been dismayed by the tone of politics in recent months, and the sidelining of their very real concerns. They will be reassured by the Prime Minister’s firm pledge to back business. However, warm words are not enough, and businesses expect concrete measures in the Budget and beyond to fix the fundamentals here at home, and underpin future competitiveness, productivity, and prosperity.

On the post-Brexit immigration plans: “Businesses have real concerns about the Prime Minister’s plans for the UK’s future immigration policy. Our firms face record high skills shortages at all levels. Immigration policy cannot be just about the best and brightest – companies must be able to access the skills and talent they require if they are unable to train or hire in the UK.

“There are skills shortages in every sector across the country, and the Prime Minister’s proposed approach risks hurting industries such as care, hospitality, retail, and agriculture. The test of the government’s new immigration rules will be whether they let businesses access skills and talent quickly and easily when companies can demonstrate that they have been unable to hire or train the people they need here in the UK, and to do so without increased red tape and bureaucracy.

On Brexit: “Firms will judge the Government on the clarity they provide on the real-world questions around Brexit, and whether the UK will avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the EU. Firms will be relieved that the Prime Minister views no deal as a bad outcome – but clarity and precision is required urgently if businesses and our communities are to thrive in the months and years to come.”

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Amaray recognised as one of the UK’s Best Companies To Work For In Packaging

Posted: 03/10/18 by Amaray

In March, Packaging News partnered with Best Companies group to launch a survey to find the UK’s best packaging firms to work for.

The winners are outstanding organisations who distinguish themselves beyond others as a great place for employment.

To be considered, all participants had to complete a rigorous two-part assessment process. 25% of the evaluation was based upon the benefits the company offers and the great things they do for their staff. The other 75% of the evaluation was from an anonymous employee engagement survey. The responses revealed which employees trust in their company’s mission, understand that their work really matters, and believe that they are being treated fairly and with respect. From that information, Best Companies were able to determine who would be the best company to work for.

Receiving this award is not an easy task and those honoured should be extremely proud of their organisations and most importantly, their staff.

Amaray was announced as winners and was presented their award by Philip Chadwick, Packaging News editor during the Luxury Packaging Awards on 12th September.

(Photo: Jamie Tinsley, Amaray managing director, right, receives the award)

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Tax-Free Childcare - now available to the self-employed

Posted: 03/10/18 by Elsby & Co.

You may be aware that it is no longer possible to sign up for childcare vouchers provided via salary sacrifice schemes through an employer. Applicants can only apply for the government’s “tax-free childcare” funding. There are, unsurprisingly, pros and cons of the new system but the self-employed can now apply.

Tax -free childcare:

The government will contribute up to £2k per child per annum - that is 20% on childcare costs up to £10k per child, increasing to £4k for disabled children.

In order to qualify, both parents must be working and earning at least the minimum wage for 16 hours per week - £125.58 per week if over 25 - and cannot earn more than £100k per year.

Parents administer the new scheme themselves through the government website. Eligibility must be confirmed every quarter. The government will pay £2 for every £8 spent on childcare and payments will be made every quarter via an online account. Payments to childcare providers are also made through this account.

As with childcare vouchers (the old system), your childcare provider can accept tax-free childcare provided they are registered with Ofsted or an equivalent governing body.

Advantages:

  • It is available to the self-employed, unlike childcare vouchers which have to be paid through a PAYE scheme.
  • You can get tax-free childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you are eligible for both
  • It is per child, not per parent as with childcare vouchers
  • It can be claimed during the school holidays and as you administer it yourself, you will have more flexibility to stop and start when required.

Disadvantages:

  • It is only available for children up to 1st September after their 11th birthday or 17th birthday if disabled, whereas childcare vouchers can be used until the child is 15
  • You cannot claim tax-free childcare funding at the same time as working tax credit, child tax credit, universal credit or childcare vouchers.

HMRC have a calculator which can help to find out how much you could get towards approved childcare:

Childcare calculator

Childcare Vouchers (the old scheme):

The old scheme wins over “tax-free childcare” for:

  • Couples where one parent doesn’t work
  • Basic rate taxpayers with total childcare costs of £9,336 or less
  • Higher rate taxpayers with total childcare costs of £6,262 or less
  • Parents who earn over £100k

Tip: If you are already receiving childcare vouchers through an employer, you may wish to switch to the new scheme, but beware, you cannot go back to receiving childcare vouchers and you have to give your employer written notice of your decision to stop paying for childcare vouchers within 3 months.

The amount you save, depends on your personal circumstances, do give us a call if you would like to discuss - 01604 678470.

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ASI Solutions’ RHiNOPHALT® used to extend the life of Alderney Airport Runways, Aprons and Taxiways

Posted: 03/10/18 by ASI Solutions Ltd

Milton Keynes based ASI Solutions Limited have had their asphalt preservative, RHiNOPHALT® applied to the runways, aprons and taxiway at Alderney Airport in the Channel Islands.

Applied by experienced airport contractors, Allied Infrastructure Management Limited (a Colas company), around 28,000m2 of asphalt surface was treated over several night-time closures in works which included updating the paint markings.

RHiNOPHALT® preservative penetrates into the top of the existing asphalt surface and seals in essential oils and resins, whilst at the same time improving the binding and waterproofing properties of the existing surface. The treated surface becomes more resistant to abrasion, stone loss, water ingress, and the severe ageing effects of extreme temperatures.

This is particularly important at an airport where the risk of FOD (foreign object debris) from the loose stone which results from failing asphalt is a major risk to aircraft engines.

Other key consideration in the airport’s choice to use RHiNOPHALT® were the ability to work at night, enabling normal services to continue during the day, and the fact that grip could be recovered immediately after application; clearly very important for the safety of passengers and crew in landing planes!

The airport also took the opportunity to enhance and improve the paint markings on the runways and taxiway to bring up to current standards, and to improve the visual references for pilots.

The general manager in charge of the airport, Colin Le Ray said: “This project will result in a major improvement in the surface quality of Alderney Airport’s runways, aprons and taxiway for aircraft and it represents a significant investment in the island’s transport infrastructure.”

He also added: “The Rhinophalt will protect the existing asphalt from further weathering and deterioration. This helps to ensure continued serviceability of all the pavements for the medium term at Alderney Airport”.

RHiNOPHALT® has been widely used at civil and military aerodromes, in the UK such as London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF Marham, Airbus (Hawarden), as well as overseas at Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport in Iceland, Lisbon (Portugal), Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

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Autism Hour - Supporting Employers and Employees October 11th

Posted: 03/10/18 by TRACK

October 6th marks the start of the Autism Hour Week. One of the aims of this week is to ‘Share information about autism with employees: we don’t expect everyone to be an autism expert but we believe everyone should understand autism. We’ll provide information about autism to help your staff make your customers’ experience a positive one’ (National Autistic Society).

Track want to support employers and employees to learn more about Autism in the Workplace, and are hosting an event at the PTS Academy Stadium in Northampton on October 11th. Tickets are still available at £30 (+VAT), please confirm by this Friday so they can send you full details of the event.

It would be great to see even more businesses from across Northamptonshire come and along, and find out more about the diverse range of skills which autistic people can bring to the workplace. A big thank you to those who have already booked tickets

‘An Introduction to Autism in the Workplace’ - on the 11th October at @ntfc.

Track are holding a morning of guest speakers, activities, case studies, networking opportunities, Q&A and more!

Book your tickets here https://bit.ly/2NCrGf6 or email thomas@track.org.uk

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Naughty neighbours!

Posted: 03/10/18 by Giggabox Limited

​MK Chamber member Giggabox was recently asked to capture the energy and excitement of the recent Cambridgeshire Chamber B2B expo: https://bit.ly/2QrdsvE

“Working with Giggabox was a really positive experience. They worked with us from start to finish making sure we were happy with every step and helped us with creative ideas. The final video was perfect filled with different elements, I especially liked the time-lapse of everyone setting up in the morning and the way the interviews came across.

“I would highly recommend using them again for our next exhibition,” commented Jenni Misseldine, events and training coordinator with Cambridgeshire Chamber.

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Are you ready Milton Keynes? 5 days to MacIntyre’s Memories & Miles Walk - Sunday 7 October 2018

Posted: 03/10/18 by MacIntyre

MacIntyre’s series of walks kicked off last Sunday in Bedford where we had a fantastic turn out, the weather was sunny and there were lots of smiles,

This week why not join them in Milton Keynes - tickets are still available on their website www.mactintyrecharity.org/events and click on the Milton Keynes Memory walk or you can register and join on the day,

The 1 mile walk is around Lodge Lake, Loughton and the registration and start point is at Lodge Lake Car Park which is just off of H4 Dansteed Way, Bradwell Road with plenty of additional parking kindly offered at National Badminton Centre.

With a motivational Zumba warm up from MacIntyre’s friends at Energie Fitness MK and activities dotted along the walk, it’s a fab way to spend a Sunday and bring any four legged members of the family too!

Come and walk in celebration of MacIntyre’s award winning work supporting people with Dementia or at risk of developing Dementia. Every penny raised goes towards their MK Memory Café which is held at our Great Holm coffee shop on the last Tuesday of the month.

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Johnson Underwood Have Expanded

Posted: 02/10/18 by Johnson Underwood Ltd

Northampton based recruitment agency and business Johnson Underwood have recently expanded their team by taking on two new members of staff.

Faye Crockatt, business development manager, comes from a successful sales background having previously worked at VSG and The Shield Group. She now joins Johnson Underwood, bringing with her nearly 15 years of experience to help further shape and develop the corporate recruitment solutions that this independent agency offers to new and established clients.

Small, medium and large companies will remain under the wing of Carol Johnson, who enjoys working with and delivering to local organisations where the personal touch really matters.

Heather Whittington, online marketing consultant has worked within the digital remit since 2003, working for successful creative agencies such as Milton Bayer and BBH. She joins the Johnson Underwood team bringing a wealth of experience in all areas of online marketing with her and will be developing the marketing presence both on and off-line moving forwards.

Johnson Underwood have nearly 30 years of independent recruitment and HR knowledge under their belts and work in a wide range of industry sectors across Northamptonshire and surrounding counties. REC accredited there is only one place to look when you are recruiting – Johnson Underwood.

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We’ve joined!

Posted: 02/10/18 by Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times are very excited to have recently joined the Northamptonshire Chamber. It is a super group to be a part of and they are very much looking forward to meeting all their network partners at the up coming events.

In an effort to briefly explain about Sign of the Times: they have been in the business of producing key signage solutions for over 30 years. In 2016 they became a partner with Astley, a Newcastle based signage firm, whose partnership now has an enviable resource with over 160 staff, four UK sites and 15 fitting crews out on the road.

They work with both local and national companies, producing all manner of signage from illuminated fascias to multi-site rollout retail programs.

For more information, fellow members can visit their website: www.signofthetimes.co.uk

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Building Better Opportunities Project

Posted: 02/10/18 by Goodwill Solutions CIC

Wednesday the 26th of September saw The Academy hold it’s quarterly Project Steering Group meeting with all the great partner organisations they work with invited. It was a chance to get together and share the latest news on the project and also to get to know each other and the organisations a little better.

This time round there was a great presentation in the morning by Carole Carson from Youth Works on child and adult safeguarding covering the law as well as some key information on who to refer to when we have concerns, and what key signs to look out for which was well received and informative.

Later they had an interactive training session on equality by Diversiti one of Goodwill’s newest BBO Partners, Garry and Kenny. In the course of the afternoon they covered what are equal opportunities as well as impacting legislation such as the 2010 Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty which impacts any organisation in receipt of public funds.

They then covered protected characteristics and the six forms of discrimination, bias, the source of it and how to identify and challenge our own biases.

All in all it was a fascinating and informative session.

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BES opens new Southern office in Milton Keynes

Posted: 02/10/18 by Boulting Environmental Services Ltd

BES, one of the UK’s leading specialists in the design, construction and validation of high specification pharmaceutical, life sciences and healthcare facilities, is to establish a Southern HQ in Milton Keynes thanks to sustained high demand for its expertise in the biotech ‘golden triangle’.

Based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, the company has developed an enviable reputation and a world-class client list over the past 15 years, with customers including Smith and Nephew, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GSK and the NHS. Boasting a highly-skilled team of specialists from disciplines including architecture, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, the company has established a sought after formula for turnkey delivery of specialist environments, which includes consultancy, design, engineering, construction, fit out, commissioning and validation services.

Explains managing director of BES, Steve Marsh: “The decision to open a southern office was integral to the future development of the company, which has enjoyed substantial growth since it was established in 2002. Reacting to the demands of our clients, it was clear that a southern office would help us best serve these customers and we quickly identified Milton Keynes as the ideal location for us. With its close proximity to the main bio sciences and healthcare organisations found in Oxford, Cambridge and London, Milton Keynes offers superb transport links combined with fantastic amenities.”

As part of the company’s ambitious growth plans, the opening will enable BES to respond more quickly to the needs of its southern clients and will allow BES to build on its reputation and success to date.

Regional director Gavin Statham will head up the new Southern HQ. He comments: “We already have an impressive client base in the South and, as that has grown, we have identified both an increasing need to offer a local team and a valuable opportunity to grow our business.

“We are renowned for our client-focused approach and our Southern HQ team will help us to build on that reputation while ensuring we continue to offer the very specialist expertise that has underpinned our rapid expansion as a national provider of clean rooms and technically advanced environments across the UK and beyond.”

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Hart’s Introduces Business Lunches

Posted: 02/10/18 by Hart's Food and Events Ltd

Hart’s Food and Events Ltd would like to introduce their Business Lunches.

The lunches have been designed to offer something a little different from the traditional business lunch. There are fabulously filled sandwiches, but they also offer salad pots and deli displays, soups and jacket potatoes. And they couldn’t forget about the Famous Hart’s Sausage Roll.

Hart’s Business Lunches are perfect for a relaxed lunch, board meeting, a sales meeting, client meetings, strategy planning days, etc.

Hart’s can also set up regular contracts for business lunches.

They are offering a member to member offer for Milton Keynes Chamber Members, so please have a look at the dedicated offer page.

Their business lunches are only a small part of our whole corporate offer. They can provide a full hospitality service from breakfast, to morning coffee through to an evening canapé reception, product launches, dinners and bar services.

If you would like to find out more about their corporate services, drop them an e-mail to: enquiries@hartsfoodandevents.co.uk or give them a call on 01525 853183.

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Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors are proud sponsors of the Milton Keynes Museum

Posted: 02/10/18 by Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors are one of two leading Milton Keynes companies who have become the first to sign up to a new sponsors scheme aimed at supporting MK Museum’s expansion.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, has committed funds over the next five years towards the cost of completing the fit-out of the Museum’s new galleries. Once open, the ancient and new Milton Keynes galleries will tell the full story of this area, from pre-history through to the creation of the UK’s biggest and boldest new town.

“It’s fitting that the first companies to join our new sponsors’ scheme are both ‘Made in Milton Keynes’,” said museum director Bill Griffiths. “One of the major themes in the new MK gallery will be the stories of the schemers and dreamers, the organisations and individuals, who have built their businesses, homes and lives here and are the reason for our new town’s success.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors and Tower Commercial Support on board – and hope they will be the first of many signing up to have a stake as sponsors in these exciting new exhibition galleries.”

The Museum still has a funding gap of £1.5m to finish work on the new galleries and undertake an extension of its popular Granary café. With funding support from MK Council, the striking gallery buildings were completed to time and budget at the end of December 2017 and are being used to host a series of temporary exhibitions while fundraising for the full fit-out continues. To date almost £0.6 million has been secured from trusts, foundations, individual supporters, events and the Museum’s own reserves.

Richard Millard, managing partner at Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors said the decision to become inaugural sponsors was an easy one for a company whose own roots go back to the birth of ‘the new city’.

“The firm was founded by Geoffrey Leaver in 1965 at around the same time as Milton Keynes. From the outset he embraced the vision for this New City, and the ‘can do’ attitude that has been fundamental to the success of Milton Keynes and Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors. His contribution to the city was recognised at the 2017 Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards, when he was acknowledged as a pioneer of Milton Keynes,” he explained.

“Like the Museum we have grown with the city to a practice with over 50 staff members. The new galleries are a chance for all of us to recognise where we have come from, celebrate what we have built together, and create a brilliant legacy for the generations that come after us. The completed galleries will help make Milton Keynes Museum one of the best in the UK and we are glad to support them in any way we can.”

Corporate sponsors are being asked to commit a minimum of £2500, unlocking a series of promotional and staff benefits. For individuals who wish to become founder sponsors, the minimum contribution is £1250.

“This is a unique and time-limited opportunity to be a founding part of creating a lasting legacy of which we know the whole city will be proud,” said Bill Griffiths.

Contact the Museum for a sponsor brochure or see the website www.mkmuseum.org.uk for full details.

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Into an Apprenticeship

Posted: 02/10/18 by Goodwill Solutions CIC

The Academy was asked by the Leaving Care Team to run its Skills4Work course for a number of young people who were in care and about to leave because of their age. One of the learners, Stuart, had already completed a course in electrical installation and had good GCSE grades, so when we were asked by Automatic Systems Ltd. to help with a Level 3 Electrical Installation and Maintenance Engineer apprenticeship vacancy for them, Stuart was an obvious candidate. His CV was put forward and he was interviewed by John Baker, country manager at Automatic Systems.

Stuart was successful and accepted the job offer. NITAL, based in Kettering, were asked to take on the training provider role. Stuart started on 2nd July and was immediately put with one of the existing engineers, helping with the installation and maintenance of automatic entry systems such as car park barriers .

Stuart has made a successful start to his apprenticeship and has started his off-the-job training at NITAL’s premises in Kettering as well.

Goodwill Solutions would like to thank John Baker and Automatic Systems Ltd. for taking on an apprentice and wish Stuart all the very best for his apprenticeship and for a very promising future career.

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Business leaders in the South split on prospects of a good Brexit deal

Posted: 02/10/18 by RSM

Business leaders in the South are split on the UK Government’s prospects of delivering a good Brexit deal, according to a new survey by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

Conducted by YouGov prior to the recent Salzburg meeting, RSM’s Brexit Monitor survey found that half of respondents in the South were confident in the Government’s ability to achieve a ‘good deal’, up slightly versus the previous quarter. This was higher than the national average of 39 per cent which dipped to its lowest quarterly level since the survey was first carried out in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017.

For the first time, the survey also canvassed business opinions towards a second referendum, revealing that a majority of respondents in the South said they were in favour.

Sixty-seven per cent of middle market business leaders in the region said they were either fully in favour of, or would broadly welcome, a second referendum on the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Meanwhile, just 7 per cent said they would either not welcome, or would strongly oppose a second referendum.

The survey found that support for a second referendum was equally high in London, while Scotland was the least favourable towards a second referendum with just 47 per cent in favour.

John Taylor, RSM’s southern regional managing partner said: ‘Despite the political impasse, companies in the South are more optimistic than other regions about the prospects of the UK Government securing a good deal. However, many are also in favour of having a say on the terms of the deal, with two thirds expressing support for a second referendum.

‘At present the Government’s position suggests that a second referendum on the terms of departure is not an option that’s currently on the table.

‘All eyes will now be on the EU summit in mid-October, described by Donald Tusk as ‘the moment of truth’. Many businesses will be hoping for some much-need progress from both the EU and the UK.’

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Pudding Night at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 02/10/18 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

Pudding Night returns to Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, NN12, on Wednesday 10 October from 7-9pm.

During the evening, attendees will learn, through a mix of demonstration and hands-on cookery, how to make an array of delicious puddings to delight their guests or treat their family. They will leave with lots of tips and tricks for pudding success and recipes they will want to recreate time and time again.

Pudding Night costs £24.50pp and full information can be found by visiting www.btcworkshops.co.uk

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Emma’s art shines the spotlight on England’s faded seaside towns

Posted: 02/10/18 by The University of Northampton

The murkier underbelly of English seaside towns has been uncovered in a project by a University of Northampton student.

Emma Richardson has spent time visiting coastal communities which have seen better days and produced a selection of art pieces which reflect what she found.

The Fine Art Master’s student’s work, which is titled Wonderland, concentrates on Jaywick, the Essex seaside town which was branded the most deprived area in England by the Government in both 2010 and 2015.

But as part of her research, Emma also visited Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Southend and Clacton as part of what she dubbed her ‘anti-grand tour’.

The results include a striking large-scale painting of two children tussling outside a pre-fabricated seaside home, an interactive face-in-the-hole painting, a light sculpture made from a discarded National Lottery sign and a helium balloon.

“Wonderland seeks to portray the dystopian reality set against the utopian dream of what Jaywick aspired to be in its heyday during the early 20th century,” said Emma. “Originally designed as part of the Plotlands development, Jaywick, has in recent years also become known as benefits-by-the-sea. “Its decline can be traced back from when its East End occupants settled there permanently after World War II and being seemingly ignored by government. It is perhaps pertinent that Jaywick residents voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU following the referendum in June 2016.

“It is apparent from my travels that there is this feeling of darkness and decay in many seaside resorts like Jaywick. This is reflected in the counter-culture as well as various signs and signifiers such as the tacky, gaudy atmosphere of the arcades and amusements. They are a distraction from the grimness that lies underneath. Everything bright and welcoming tends to be concentrated on the strip of sandy beaches, but beyond that there is often degeneration visible in the poor quality housing, lack of jobs and local amenities.”

Emma is now looking for galleries in coastal areas to display her Wonderland project.

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BCC initial reaction to the Government’s post-Brexit immigration plans

Posted: 02/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Businesses have been waiting with great impatience for more detail on the UK’s future immigration policy, and many will have decidedly mixed views about the Prime Minister’s plans.

“First impressions matter to business, and our companies will welcome the promise of speedier entry into the country for many short-term business visitors and tourists.

“However, Ministers must recognise that businesses in every corner of the UK are facing severe skills gaps at every level, and must be able to recruit great people from both here at home and from overseas. Immigration policy is not just about the ‘best and brightest’, but straightforward access to the skills needed to help grow our economy. The test of the government’s new immigration rules will be whether they let businesses access skills and talent quickly and easily when companies can demonstrate that they have been unable to hire or train the people they need here in the UK.

“Many firms will be very worried about the potential for increased red tape and bureaucracy for job applicants. Businesses have waited long enough, the government must urgently clarify how its new immigration rules will work in practice. They must work with business on a phased approach to change so that companies of all sizes and sectors can continue to recruit and invest with confidence.

“Controlling immigration is one thing – but the government should also take this golden opportunity to drop arbitrary migration caps and targets, which give many of the very people we need the sense that the UK is closed for business.”

On EU nationals already in the UK, Marshall added: “It took the government over two years to make the unequivocal commitment to EU nationals living and working in the UK that should have been made the day after the referendum. Ministers must ensure that the process for EU nationals to confirm their residency is simple and inexpensive – and implemented quickly to ensure our colleagues and friends feel secure and wanted.”

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BCC initial reaction to the Government’s post-Brexit immigration plans

Posted: 02/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Businesses have been waiting with great impatience for more detail on the UK’s future immigration policy, and many will have decidedly mixed views about the Prime Minister’s plans.

“First impressions matter to business, and our companies will welcome the promise of speedier entry into the country for many short-term business visitors and tourists.

“However, Ministers must recognise that businesses in every corner of the UK are facing severe skills gaps at every level, and must be able to recruit great people from both here at home and from overseas. Immigration policy is not just about the ‘best and brightest’, but straightforward access to the skills needed to help grow our economy. The test of the government’s new immigration rules will be whether they let businesses access skills and talent quickly and easily when companies can demonstrate that they have been unable to hire or train the people they need here in the UK.

“Many firms will be very worried about the potential for increased red tape and bureaucracy for job applicants. Businesses have waited long enough, the government must urgently clarify how its new immigration rules will work in practice. They must work with business on a phased approach to change so that companies of all sizes and sectors can continue to recruit and invest with confidence.

“Controlling immigration is one thing – but the government should also take this golden opportunity to drop arbitrary migration caps and targets, which give many of the very people we need the sense that the UK is closed for business.”

On EU nationals already in the UK, Marshall added: “It took the government over two years to make the unequivocal commitment to EU nationals living and working in the UK that should have been made the day after the referendum. Ministers must ensure that the process for EU nationals to confirm their residency is simple and inexpensive – and implemented quickly to ensure our colleagues and friends feel secure and wanted.”

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Inside Limited

Posted: 02/10/18 by Inside Limited

Inside Limited are a commercial fit our contractor based in Milton Keynes covering Milton Keynes, Birmingham, London and down to the South Coast.

Take a look at one of their jobs recently completed.

Check out their link: insidelimited.com/

Or contact them on: mailto:office@insidelimited.com or tel: 01908 533 439.

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BCC reacts to Chancellor’s speech

Posted: 01/10/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the Chancellor’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “After a period where many in business have felt that their concerns have not been centre stage in Westminster, firms will be heartened by the Chancellor’s forthright support for business as the foundation of both a strong economy and a strong society. It is right to champion the positive role that businesses play, day in and day out, across our communities – a role that has recently been overlooked by politicians of all colours.

“While Philip Hammond’s tone is encouraging, he must go further. His upcoming Budget must deliver bold action to boost investment and confidence at precisely the moment that our business communities need it most. As we move towards the UK’s departure from the EU, there’s never been a more important time for the government to pull out all the stops to get businesses investing and growing.”

On the Chancellor’s announcements on productivity and business support, Marshall said: “The Chancellor’s focus on improving productivity is welcome, and Chambers stand ready to work with ministers to help more firms achieve their potential. The government must do its part too – and address the constraints that hold back far too many of our firms. Getting the basics right, from education and training to fixing roads and patchy broadband, would do more to help increase competitiveness and efficiency than just about any other measure.”

On the Chancellor’s announcements regarding apprenticeship reforms, Marshall said: “We have spent months pushing ministers to make practical changes to the way the apprenticeship levy works, and these measures are an important step in the right direction. However, the review announced by the Chancellor must introduce greater flexibility to the apprenticeship system, to ensure that businesses of all sizes can find and train the workforce they need.

“The Chancellor is right to heed our calls for large firms to be allowed transfer unused levy funds down to smaller firms in their supply chain, helping more SMEs to access high quality apprenticeships and close the growing skills gap. The government should go even further in the long-term, and allow levy-payers to transfer 50% of their funds, so that more companies in complex supply chains can train their people and boost productivity.

“Ministers also need to urgently address the issues faced by smaller firms, not just by the bigger levy-payers. SMEs may not be paying the levy, but they have faced higher recruitment costs and great difficult accessing the right training in recent months. Ending the 10% co-investment that SMEs now have to pay would encourage more firms to take on and train new talent.”

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BCC reacts to Chancellor’s speech

Posted: 01/10/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the Chancellor’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “After a period where many in business have felt that their concerns have not been centre stage in Westminster, firms will be heartened by the Chancellor’s forthright support for business as the foundation of both a strong economy and a strong society. It is right to champion the positive role that businesses play, day in and day out, across our communities – a role that has recently been overlooked by politicians of all colours.

“While Philip Hammond’s tone is encouraging, he must go further. His upcoming Budget must deliver bold action to boost investment and confidence at precisely the moment that our business communities need it most. As we move towards the UK’s departure from the EU, there’s never been a more important time for the government to pull out all the stops to get businesses investing and growing.”

On the Chancellor’s announcements on productivity and business support, Marshall said: “The Chancellor’s focus on improving productivity is welcome, and Chambers stand ready to work with ministers to help more firms achieve their potential. The government must do its part too – and address the constraints that hold back far too many of our firms. Getting the basics right, from education and training to fixing roads and patchy broadband, would do more to help increase competitiveness and efficiency than just about any other measure.”

On the Chancellor’s announcements regarding apprenticeship reforms, Marshall said: “We have spent months pushing ministers to make practical changes to the way the apprenticeship levy works, and these measures are an important step in the right direction. However, the review announced by the Chancellor must introduce greater flexibility to the apprenticeship system, to ensure that businesses of all sizes can find and train the workforce they need.

“The Chancellor is right to heed our calls for large firms to be allowed transfer unused levy funds down to smaller firms in their supply chain, helping more SMEs to access high quality apprenticeships and close the growing skills gap. The government should go even further in the long-term, and allow levy-payers to transfer 50% of their funds, so that more companies in complex supply chains can train their people and boost productivity.

“Ministers also need to urgently address the issues faced by smaller firms, not just by the bigger levy-payers. SMEs may not be paying the levy, but they have faced higher recruitment costs and great difficult accessing the right training in recent months. Ending the 10% co-investment that SMEs now have to pay would encourage more firms to take on and train new talent.”

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Wood leads Wanderers again for trip to Newcastle

Posted: 01/10/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Tom Wood will lead Northampton Wanderers for the second straight week as the side heads north to face Newcastle Falcons A in the Premiership Rugby Shield.

The 8pm kick-off will be broadcast live on Freesports, available on Freeview HD channel 95, Sky channel 422, or Virgin TV 130/553.

The Wandies – two-time defending champions – are unbeaten in this year’s competition after wins over Leicester Tigers and Sale Jets, before Wasps cancelled last Monday’s fixture.

But they will head to Kingston Park with a point to prove, with their only defeat last season coming at the hands of Falcons, who ended a 15-game unbeaten run in the competition for Northampton.

Academy manager Simon Sinclair and head coach Mark Hopley have once again mixed experience and youth within the side; veteran back-row Wood is named captain in the No.8 jersey as he continues his comeback from a long-term groin injury.

He is joined at the base of the Wandies scrum by senior academy flankers Joe Wallace and Paddy Ryan, with Alex Moon and Devante Onojaife making up the second row together for the first time this season.

Will Davis continues at loosehead prop while hooker Reece Marshall and Jamal Ford-Robinson bring some first-team experience into the front row.

Connor Tupai starts for the first time in the Shield this season at scrum-half, and will look to forge a partnership with George Furbank – who switches into the No.10 jersey from fullback.

Matt Worley opened the scoring in last Monday’s friendly against London Irish and will look to add to his account from the wing, with Tom Emery and Ampthill’s Jack Spittle joining him in the back three.

But there’s no change in the Wandies’ midfield as Fraser Strachan and Ollie Sleightholme continue in the centres after both crossed the whitewash last time out.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS A vs NORTHAMPTON WANDERERS

Premiership Rugby Shield, Round Four

Monday 1st October, 2018

Kingston Park

Kick-off: 8pm

15 Tom Emery

14 Matt Worley

13 Ollie Sleightholme

12 Fraser Strachan

11 Jack Spittle*

10 George Furbank

9 Connor Tupai

1 Will Davis

2 Reece Marshall

3 Jamal Ford-Robinson

4 Alex Moon

5 Devante Onojaife

6 Joe Wallace

7 Paddy Ryan

8 Tom Wood (c)

Replacements:

16 Samson Ma’asi

17 Jack Culverhouse*

18 Karl Garside*

19 Alex Coles

20 Olly Povoas*

21 Morgan Dayes (U18)

22 Ciaran Whyte*

23 Sam Evans*

*Guest player

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Northampton College student hailed a ‘lifesaver’

Posted: 01/10/18 by Northampton College

A Northampton College student has been hailed a ‘lifesaver’ having come to the aid of a disabled woman who had fallen out of her wheelchair and was lying unconscious on the floor.

Lewis Parry, a health and social care student at the college’s Booth Lane campus, was given a round of applause from fellow students as a result of his actions.

The 18–year-old, from Melton Road North, Wellingborough rushed over to the stricken woman who had collapsed close to where he was due to catch the bus into college on Friday, September 28.

He said: “She had fallen face down on the pavement and was unresponsive, not breathing at all. A couple of people had just walked past but I stopped to see if she was ok and when it became obvious that she wasn’t I rang for an ambulance to make sure she got the help she needed.

“I helped to move her into the recovery position, holding her neck to keep her still and when the paramedics arrived they assessed the situation and took her to hospital.

“The idea of leaving somebody on their own in a situation like this scares me, I instinctively knew I needed to help. I feel proud, and actually blessed, to have been able to experience something like this that makes me know that if it happens again in the future I will know exactly what to do.

“I have been learning about things such as CPR, the recovery position and how one injury can lead onto others and the content of the college course really helped me on the day. To be able to put into practice what we have been taught in a real life situation is an incredible feeling. I hope the lady is ok and recovering well.”

As a result of his intervention, Lewis was late into college but when staff discovered the reasons why his tutors were informed and the teenage hero walked into class to a round of applause from fellow students.

Tutor Laura Thorpe said: “I feel incredibly proud of Lewis. When others were walking by he crossed over the road and sought help very quickly. His course has been helpful to him and given him an understanding and a sense of duty to other people.”

To find out more about health and social care courses currently available at Northampton College visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk

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Financial Services sentiment slumps, as growth expectations for coming quarter stall - CBI / PwC

Posted: 01/10/18 by PwC LLP

Brexit uncertainty biting hard on banks and investment managers

Optimism in the financial services sector fell sharply in the quarter to September, amid signs of a listless operating environment, according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey.

The quarterly survey of 100 firms found that optimism about the overall business situation in the financial services sector fell further, having declined in all but one quarter since the start of 2016. The deterioration of sentiment in banking and investment management was particularly widespread – only finance houses reported an improvement in optimism.

Overall business volumes increased slightly in the three months to September, although the level of business dipped slightly below normal. Conditions varied again across the sector. Whilst many sectors saw business volumes rise – notably insurers – banking volumes were stable for a second successive quarter and investment managers said volumes contracted, confirming a striking loss of momentum during 2018. Looking ahead to the next three months, overall business volumes are expected to be unchanged, marking the weakest growth expectations since 2009.

Employment growth across financial services stalled in the quarter to September, with cuts to headcount in banking outweighing increases in most other sectors. Overall headcount is expected to remain stable in the three months to December, with the sharpest cuts expected in banking and investment management.

Also asked about recruitment and skills, two fifths of firms said they had found it more difficult to recruit and retain workers over the past year. Almost half of firms said skill shortages could constrain business expansion in the year ahead – the highest share since the start of the survey in 1989. Nearly three quarters of firms expect to find it more difficult to recruit IT workers in the year ahead.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:

“While it’s good to see that demand for financial services is holding up, with business volumes edging higher last quarter, it’s simply impossible to ignore the dangerous signs of strain on the sector arising from the combined challenges of a subdued economy, Brexit, regulation and rapid advances in technology.

“For the sector to continue to be one of the UK’s most attractive economic assets, it is fundamental that a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU is agreed. This will provide temporary but essential relief for financial services firms of all sizes. Then attention can turn to the vital task of finalising our future economic relationship with the EU, in which services need to play a pivotal part.

“In the long run, it’s clear the sector needs to think more creatively about recruiting and retaining its skilled staff. Investing in employees with the right skills – especially technological skills – and ensuring the sector offers a more diverse and attractive career path are key.”

Carl Sizer, financial services leader for PwC in the Midlands, said:

“Disruption and business sentiment are clearly being impacted whilst there are understandable concerns around the shockwaves created by Brexit alongside dealing with the impacts of regulation and technology. It’s essential that regional financial services centres, like Birmingham, collectively remain strong whilst addressing how these issues manifest themselves, and put them at the heart of firms’ contingency plans over the next six months.

“As the Brexit negotiations continue companies across the sector – who are providing vital services to customers, corporates and governments – have the chance to galvanise themselves and their clients against any potential fallout. This must be underpinned with prudent planning and skilful execution of their plans.

“We are seeing change in the sector being accelerated by the pace of technological advances. Whilst technology is a creative force for the sector, it is also a huge challenge for organisations to manage and adapt their recruitment, customer service, business transformation and regulatory requirements.”

Amid weak volumes growth and rising costs, profits in the sector as a whole were flat in the quarter to September, for a second successive quarter. Several sectors saw profits fall, with investment managers reporting the steepest drop since the financial crisis. Overall profitability is expected to grow in the three months ahead, but to continue declining for investment managers and building societies.

Investment intentions for the year ahead cooled over the three months to September. Financial services firms plan to raise spending on marketing and IT, although the pace of growth in IT spending is expected to slow, but they also expect to cut back land and buildings and vehicles, plant & machinery.

Firms cited a broad range of reasons to invest, including efficiency improvements, statutory legislation and regulation, and to provide new services. The main brake on investment spending remains uncertainty about demand and inadequate net returns.

Technology is altering recruitment, with over half of firms saying changes in headcount were being driven by technology-driven efficiency gains. Regulatory compliance, business transformation and Brexit were all seen as more important for recruitment strategies than the expected level of demand for services.

Meanwhile, the UK’s broader economic outlook remains fairly subdued, with GDP growth held back by weak household income growth and the impact of Brexit uncertainty on investment. For more detail, see our June economic forecast.

Key findings:

• Optimism in the financial services sector dropped sharply (-30%), the tenth quarter of declining sentiment in the last eleven quarters (the exception was the first quarter of 2017). This marks the longest period of flat or falling sentiment since the global financial crisis of 2008

• 6% of firms said they were more optimistic about the overall business situation compared with three months ago, whilst 36% were less optimistic, giving a balance of -30% (compared with -4% in the quarter to June). Barring December 2016 (-35%), this was the steepest drop since the financial crisis (-34% in March 2009)

• 23% of firms said that business volumes were up, while 11% said they were down, giving a balance of +12% (up from -4% in the quarter to June)

• Looking ahead to the quarter to December, business volumes are expected to be flat: 15% of firms expect volumes to rise next quarter, and 14% expect them to fall, giving a balance of +1%, the weakest since December 2009 (-13%)

Incomes, costs and profits:

• Overall profitability was flat in the three months to September, with 20% of firms reporting that profits had increased and 21% saying they fell, giving a balance of -1%. This followed a similar picture in the previous quarter (+4%), but profits are expected to improve in the next three months (+16%)

• Income from fees, commissions and premiums was largely unchanged (+1%), but income is expected to fall in the quarter ahead (-13%)

• Income from net interest, investment and trading fell (-13%), with a slight increase expected in the next three months (+5%)

• Total operating costs rose (+17%) and average costs increased at the fastest pace in four years (+21%). Both total costs and average costs are expected to rise next quarter (+16% and +15% respectively).

Employment:

• 20% of financial services firms said they had increased employment, while 17% said that headcount fell, giving a balance of +3%, disappointing expectations (+15%)

• Numbers employed are expected to hold steady (0%) next quarter.

Investment over the next 12 months:

In the year ahead, financial services firms expect to increase spending on IT and marketing, but to cut back on other forms of capital spending:

• IT: +49% (a drop from +70% in the quarter to June)

• Marketing: +31% (a rise from +20% in the quarter to June)

• Vehicles, plant and machinery: -15% (down from -9%)

• Land and buildings: -18% (down from +5%)

The main reasons for authorising investment are cited as:

• To increase efficiency/speed (75% of respondents)

• For replacement (68%)

• Statutory legislation and regulation (66%)

The main factors likely to limit investment are cited as:

• Uncertainty about demand or business prospects (60% of respondents)

• Inadequate net return (55%)

• Shortage of labour, including managerial & supervisory staff (26%).

Business expansion over the next 12 months:

The most significant potential constraints on business growth over the coming year are:

• Level of demand (58% of respondents)

• Statutory legislation & regulation (52%)

• Availability of professional staff (48% - a survey record high).

Recruitment and skills in Financial Services:

• Over two-fifths (42%) of firms had found it more difficult to recruit and retain workers over the past year, but half had not (50%). In response, various actions are being taken:

• Change advertising (25%)

• Invest in artificial intelligence and automation (21%)

• Provide training (12%)

• Increase wages (7%)

• The most acute skills shortages in the year ahead will be felt in the recruitment of workers in:

• IT (72%)

• Compliance/audit (35%)

• Risk management/actuarial/claims (34%)

• Firms said changes in headcount were being driven by:

• Technology driven efficiency gains (58%)

• Business transformation (55%)

• Regulatory compliance (51%)

Brexit (30%).

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