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Blogs

Check out our blogs section where Chamber representatives, members and high-profile business figures write about a range of topics. If you are a member and want to submit a blog, please click here.

What is a framework agreement?

By stephanie Woodall | Klick Business Solutions Ltd

It is estimated that up to 45% of procurement in the UK is based on framework agreements. A procurement framework is an agreement put in place with a provider or range of providers that enables buyers to place orders for services without running lengthy full tendering exercises. Frameworks are based on large volume buying. Due to the larger amount of suppliers entered into a Framework agreement they offer businesses a higher chance of success should they wish to bid to go onto a Framework Agreement. Many businesses are ‘put off’ by applying to go onto a Framework Agreement. The main reason for this it that due to the high number of suppliers entered on to the agreement competition to supply...

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What you need to know when attending Magistrates’ Court

By Manjinder Kang | Kang & Co Solicitors

If you have been charged with a Criminal Offence or if you are being prosecuted for a Driving Offence, it could be your first involvement with the Criminal Justice System, and you may find the whole experience somewhat daunting and confusing. If your case is listed for a sentence hearing or a trial in the Magistrates’ Court, your priority should be to secure an experienced and skilled solicitor so you receive the correct legal advice before your Court Hearing and your interests are properly protected at Court. Most criminal and motoring offences such as Assault, Speeding, Careless Driving, Failing to Provide Driver Details and Driving Disqualifications are dealt with by the Magistrates’ Court. Our...

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Employment Law: The A to Z of conducting investigations

By Naomi Owen | No5 Barristers' Chambers

Have you been asked to conduct a disciplinary or grievance investigation in the work place? Check out my A to Z guide for investigating officers. If you need any further guidance, contact employment@no5.com ACAS The first port of call for any investigating officer (“IO”) is the ACAS Code of Practice for both disciplinary and grievance procedures. The Code sets out the minimum that is expected of an employer conducting such processes, and so is a good starting point and must be heeded. Be prepared Like all good boy scouts, the IO needs to have done their homework. It is important for the IO to read all documentation available, including the employer’s disciplinary/grievance policy and any...

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Moving office - six key factors for success

By Adrian Southall | KWB Workplace

Moving office is a rare event for many organisations and can be an expensive, disruptive and potentially difficult time. However, done correctly, it can provide a boost in profitability, staff recruitment and retention, while still achieving value for money. Here are six key factors you will need to get right to make your office move a success. 1. Timescales Start thinking about your office move at least two years before you need to move. The office market can experience shortages, so you may not be able to find office space which suits your needs which is immediately available. If your chosen premises are new-build or being purpose-built, it can often take between nine months and two years...

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Whistleblowing detriments must be both proven and in time

By Kathy Halliday | VWV

In the case of Royal Mail Group Ltd -v- Jhuti, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether in whistleblowing claims it was necessary for a claimant to prove... ...at least one detriment that fell within the three month time limit for bringing a claim in order to be successful in a claim based on a series of alleged acts, some of which were older than three months. The Law The ERA protects whistleblowers from suffering detriments because of 'protected disclosures' they have made. A 'protected disclosure' is a disclosure of information which a worker reasonably believes is in the public interest and tends to show that some malpractice is, or is likely to, take place. If a worker...

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Six things to do before moving your phone system to the cloud

By Stuart Bevins | Help Desk Communications

By now, I’m sure you're aware of BT officially terminating your ISDN/Digital phone lines… …The decision to switch off ISDN services and migrate all your customers to the IP network by 2025 is imminent, but what does that mean for your business and how do you make the change? At some point during the next three to five years, ISDN customers will have to move to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and for most of their customers it will mean investing in a brand-new phone system to accommodate the switch. To help you out with the process we’ve come up with a 6-point checklist that’ll get you prepared and ready for the upcoming switch! Check your Current Agreement Before you initiate a move, it’s...

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Emergency lighting compliance

By Chris Bourne | Lighting Solutions

It is the responsibility, of owners/landlords of commercial premises to ensure their buildings are fully compliant, maintained and tested in accordance with the emergency lighting standard BS5266.1 2016. Despite this being law more and more business owners /landlords are facing large fines or imprisonment where accidents occur and the emergency lighting system has been found wanting. Many businesses forget that a minor change in usage of a particular area can change the whole building escape strategy. Many business fail to maintain the products installed or realise they have to do a monthly check and annual full discharge that ensures the system is fully operational and fit for purpose. Is...

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Employment tribunal update

By Omar Rashid | The HR Dept

Staff are taking their bosses to court at the highest rate in years – fuelled by the fact it’s now free to do so after fees were abolished in July last year. Latest numbers from the Ministry of Justice (Oct-Dec 2017) show tribunal claims have gone up by 90% (single claims) with average claims for discrimination around £30,000 and for unfair dismissal around £15,000. It’s a special court that handles all employment-based claims and employees can lodge a claim against their employer at any time, although there are some time conditions for certain claims. An award (a sum of money given to the staff member), and payment of costs, often running into several thousand pounds are all made by the company. An...

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GDPR – managing mobile devices and your data.

By Anna Bowler | Subsidium

Most of you will be well on your way to preparing for the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May. But have you thought about the mobile devices, tablets and IoT that your team use? Do you know if the data you have saved on those devices is covered in your plans and protected against loss or theft? Can you access the devices and remove data? As highlighted in the recent Facebook scandal; can you be sure that you are not accidentally sharing data with third parties through apps?  Q1) We only have a few mobile devices, can’t it wait? Data protection and GDPR doesn’t stop at the desktop – the law is just as applicable to mobile and IoT devices. It doesn't matter if...

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Are our factories an endangered species?

By Epicor Software | Epicor Software

There is no doubt that the manufacturing landscape is tricky to navigate: • The cost base for manufactures is at an all-time high• International competition has never been more acute• Production operations have never been easier to transfer overseas With the rate of change accelerating fast, the outlook for manufacturing is far from rosy. The basic business model for large numbers of factories up and down the country can’t be sustainable in the long term. Yes, there will always be some products that will be made locally, such as items that are produced in low numbers, items with a short shelf life, (such as pre-packed sandwiches) heavy items such as bricks and those that need to be changed...

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