Posted by Brabners

Fri 05th, Jan

It’s been on the radar for some time but today marks 3 months until the date by which private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees need to publish their gender pay gap information.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, which came into force in April last year, require analysis and publication of the gender pay gap information based on six compulsory calculations that are aimed at exposing gender pay gaps by no later than 4 April each year. The first such report is required by 4 April 2018.

Where a gap exists (and in most organisations, it’s more than likely to, in April 2016 the ONS recorded the gender pay gap in the UK as a whole as being 18.1%) then employers should question the causes of the gender pay gap in their organisations and, it is hoped, will consider the measures they can take to narrow it.

Crucially, once employers publish their gender pay gap reports, it will also be existing employees, potential job applicants, customers, contractors, suppliers and clients that may question why there is a gap and what steps are being taken to address this.  In the government’s consultation response, the Young Women’s Trust was cited as reporting that 84% of women surveyed, aged 16 – 30, would consider an employer’s gender pay gap before applying for a job.

As at 21 December over 450 employers (including some public sector employers) have already published their information.

If you haven’t yet published the required information we can help by advising on compliance with this new regime, reviewing your draft reports, advising on tricky areas such as:

  • casual workers;
  • overseas employees;
  • pension contributions;
  • bonus payments; and
  • share options.

We can also assist you with drafting a narrative that explains any gender pay gap and details strategy for reducing it.

In some circumstances, seeking advice may also bring the benefit of legal professional privilege against information and draft reports/data that would otherwise be disclosable in legal action, such as Equal Pay claims.

Don’t delay- the clock is ticking loudly now for reports to be published for 2017 by 4 April 2018.

For further information, please contact: 

Susan McKenzie                           Lee Jefcott
Solicitor, Employment                   Partner, Employment and Pensions


Author: Susan McKenzie

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 22nd, Dec

2017 has been monumental in our country’s political and economic history and 2018 promises to be another unpredictable period for business, albeit one with tremendous opportunity that the Chamber looks forward to supporting.

There is no doubt that the impending Brexit negotiations on trade will have fundamental implications, not just for our international traders but for those dependent upon the import of raw materials and goods. Ensuring our businesses are prepared for changes to customs practices and immigration will be integral to the Chamber’s goals in the New Year, hopefully avoiding the political noise and fanfares about the colour of a passport and focussing on the essentials of how we will trade goods and services and employ people with the right skills for the jobs we need to be done.

The return of the International Business Festival in 2018 once again gives us the opportunity to place Liverpool as a great destination to do business, whether attracting inward investment, pursuing overseas trade links or brokering trade between international partners. The festival accompanies a huge piece of work looking at how Liverpool City Region positions itself on the world stage and allocates its resources to achieve our shared global ambitions. We look forward to working with our Members to ensure businesses are positioned centrally to the development of such strategies.

We remain below the national average in skills attainment. More must be done to maximise the outstanding assets of our higher education institutes and the talent they provide, to support the development of our local economy. Similarly, our providers of apprenticeships and training have much to offer and our job is to ensure our employers have the ability to access such opportunities in a much clearer and simplified way. The voice of business is key to ensuring employer need within the work-based learning environment is clear.

Finally, the welcome progression of Northern Powerhouse investment in transport and digital must be maintained into tangible returns in 2018. The development of High Speed rail links from West to East in addition to North-South needs to accompany shorter term investments in road, rail and air transport infrastructure that prioritises access to and from the port, airport and motorway networks. We look forward to getting the views of business involved in the debate and will continue to lobby regionally and nationally to ensure our city region is not held back by an inability to move people and freight.

So there is much to look forward to. I’d like to thank all of our members and shareholders for their support through this challenging year. The Chamber’s provision of knowledge, advocacy and network services within the city region will develop substantially in 2018 and we enter the New Year confident that we can deliver the mantra of the Chamber’s founding members: that we meet and act for a common good and represent the commercial interests of Liverpool.

Have a wonderful Christmas. We look forward to being your agents, advocates, supporters and champions in 2018. 

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Following last week’s EU Council meeting

Posted by British Chambers of Commerce

Thu 21st, Dec

Dear Adam,

I am writing to update you on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU following last week’s agreement at the European Council.

Moving negotiations between the UK and the EU to a discussion about our future relationship is good news for EU citizens living and working in the UK and for all the organisations that employ them. It should also be welcomed by everyone in this country who relies on the expertise, services and support that EU citizens provide as valued members of UK society.

The Prime Minister has consistently said that protecting EU citizens’ rights - together with the rights of UK nationals living in EU countries - has been her first priority. EU citizens made a decision to live here without any expectation that the UK would leave the EU. The UK government wants them to be able to carry on living their lives as before.

We have taken a big step forward. EU citizens living lawfully here before the UK’s exit from the EU will be able to stay. The deal will respect the rights that individuals are exercising and the benefits they currently have. This will help EU citizens and organisations alike plan for the future.

The agreement will not only enable families who have built their lives in the EU and UK to stay together, it also gives certainty about healthcare, pensions and other benefits. It also includes reciprocal rules to protect existing decisions to recognise professional qualifications, for example for doctors and architects.

These commitments will be locked into a binding and reciprocal agreement with the EU. You can read the agreement here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf.

All EU citizens will need to apply to obtain status in UK law. A new, transparent, smooth and streamlined process to enable them to apply for settled status will start during the second half of 2018 and remain open for at least two years after the UK leaves the EU.

Communicating with EU citizens about the settlement scheme is a top priority for my department to ensure people are aware of what they need to do to secure their rights. Your support will also be crucial and I would encourage you to share the links above with your members. EU citizens can also sign up for regular official email updates here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know.

As we move from withdrawal issues to discussing our future relationship with the EU, I shall shortly be publishing proposals for the UK’s future immigration system, and bringing forward an Immigration Bill as announced in the Queen’s Speech. I will continue to engage with the UK business community/higher education community as part of this process.

I hope this email provides reassurance to you and your members and I look forward to sharing further progress with you over the coming months. I welcome your contribution to ongoing engagement on both the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and also the development of our future immigration system.

The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP

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Posted by British Chambers of Commerce

Mon 11th, Dec

From April 2018, all rates will increase as follows

  • NLW (raised by 4.4%)  to £7.83
  • 21-24             £7.38; 
  • 18-20             £5.90;
  • 16-17             £4.20;
  • Apprentices £3.70

The NLW remains on track to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. 

Here is The Low Pay Commission’s  Report on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) / National Living Wage. Here is the rationale for the recommendations made and the Government’s response

In our written and oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission, BCC called for a 2.7% cost of living increase so as not to drive people out of jobs and warned that firms were close to reaching a tipping point.   The LPC felt businesses still had more scope to reduce profits or increase prices. 

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Mon 11th, Dec

Friday's announcement of a deal to commence trade negotiations with the EU is an important step for the UK but is, in effect, merely a trigger to begin talking about the actual important things.

With a Brexit date rapidly approaching, the coming six months are critical to ensuring that clarity is provided to businesses about the post-Brexit arrangements for trade, customs, migrant workers and funding.

The dominance of Brexit within both the government and media agendas has diminished the focus upon the critical domestic issues that are impacting our businesses.

Our continuing focus is to ensure attention remains upon improving transport and digital infrastructure, skills and employability access and support and rebalancing the economy for the betterment of the North.

So let’s be relieved that the Brexit deadlock has been broken a little but let us not lose any sense of purpose in pursuing what our city region needs: better rail and road links, further improvements in digital and mobile accessibility, greater opportunities and funding to raise skill levels and resource and support to boost export trade.

It’s a long road, but we look forward to the challenge of enabling our city region to be the best place to start, locate or operate a business in the UK.

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 01st, Dec

This week started with a red-eye train journey to Manchester for a joint meeting with the Minister for Rail, Paul Maynard, MP.

Representatives of government, rail operators and private sector businesses joined our colleagues from Greater Manchester and West and North Yorkshire Chambers to discuss the North’s priorities for rail improvements and investment.

As you would expect, the general consensus was that the North needs increased connectivity if we are to make any significant impact on improving the movement of people and freight, with Liverpool particularly set to benefit from connectivity to HS2 and, in the future, to Northern Powerhouse Rail. Maximising the port’s connectivity through improved access and boosting rail capacity for freight is integral to achieving the potential for our city region.

I was particularly encouraged by both the Minister’s familiarity with the region (he is one of that rare species of Northern MPs to hold a Ministerial portfolio) and the way in which he spoke so positively about Liverpool and the city region. It was also clear that he recognised the contributions of the three Chambers to the debate. He certainly understood the need to tackle the ‘rail-speak’ that dominates much of government rhetoric to make this crucial agenda more relevant to business.

A further meeting with the Minister will take place with British Chambers of Commerce next week where the positioning of rail connectivity within the context of the industrial strategy will be discussed and debated. We will be there to further promote the needs of Liverpool and the North so don’t hesitate to get in touch if there are any issues you want us to raise.

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Introducing The Brand Equity Wheel

Posted by Vision One Research

Wed 29th, Nov

Brand Equity is a construct  designed to reflect the real value that a brand name holds for the products or services it provides. Measuring Brand Equity is the ultimate measure of brand health because it drives sales, market share and overall profitability.

Introducing The Brand Equity Wheel

Vision One’s Brand Equity Wheel is one of the most forward thinking brand equity evaluation tools available – designed to help brand owners optimise their brand and success. The Brand Equity Wheel helps brand owners by focusing on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are widely known to have a tangible effect on brand health. The wheel is made up of 4 key areas (and 8 key metrics)

Brand Pyramid (or sometimes known as the Brand Funnel) is a classical brand marketing took ideal for evaluating brands and their strengths and weakness. The Brand Pyramid incorporates key metrics, including; awareness, consideration, usage and loyalty.

Brand Stature – Standing out from the crowd is essential for any brand. Brand Stature reflects both the strength and leadership of the brand in the market and its uniqueness using vision ones proprietary brand questions.

Brand Value – In line with current thinking on brand equity, we place a good deal of emphasis on the value (£) people attribute onto a brand. We seek to measure the financial strength of the brand and peoples disposition to pay more for it. However, another important aspect of ‘Value’ is how well the brand meets consumer needs.  We also assess how well the brand meets 25 rational and emotional needs.

Brand Delivery – Happy customers is the route to success for many brands. We assess how well the brand delivers against expectations (Customer Satisfaction) along with a Net Recommendation Score (NPS)

These fundamental four components of brand health can be further broken down into 8  factors which can be measured.
These measurements lead to an overall brand health score.

The Brand Equity tool uses some ground breaking approaches to provide unique insights into your brand.

Read more here...

 

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PrivilegeHR share their tips on how to retain chefs beyond Christmas

Posted by PrivilegeHR

Mon 27th, Nov

Recent research has highlighted a growing issue within the hospitality industry when it comes to the recruitment of chefs, with a staggering 93% of agencies reporting that there are not enough trained chefs in the UK to meet current demands.

Experienced HR Director and Founder of PrivilegeHR, Mary Ball shares her advice on how hospitality companies can source and retain quality chefs in the current climate amidst the widening gap between supply and demand.

The Christmas period can be a particularly stressful time for hospitality recruiters with restaurants taking more covers in December than any month in the year. With this soaring consumer demand, recruitment drives are in full swing but can this enthusiasm last into the New Year? There are a number of things that employers can do to ensure that they hire and more importantly, retain chefs beyond the busy Yuletide spell.

A common issue that continually plagues the hospitality sector is the lack of adequate training available for staff, particularly with chefs, a job that is incredibly skilled and detailed in nature. The Christmas season is notoriously busy when it comes to recruitment and companies often welcome in a large number of new staff, meaning that training time and quality can be compromised. It is absolutely essential that every member of staff receives adequate training and if this is offered as part of the advertised job package it will make the position more desirable from the offset, attracting employees who are keen to develop and progress.

Training should not just be offered at the start of a new contract but should be continuous as part of staff development. Learning opportunities make staff feel valued, demonstrating that an employee is willing to invest time and money into them which in turn makes staff more company loyal and more skilled at their job; a win-win situation for both parties. Employers could consider taking on young and ambitious staff who may not have years of experience but have the drive to learn and commit to your business. As an employer, if you invest into someone’s career then they are more likely to repay you with dedication.

Staff gratification plays a huge role when it comes to retention with many employees leaving a job after feeling undervalued or unmotivated and with so many staff on the books One way to achieve this is by offering staff bonuses based on performance or by offering a desirable contract which is attractive and competitive. Investing in your employees could save money in the long run as it means less time and money put in to re-recruiting.

Encourage employees to have a voice within the workplace and you could see significant improvement in overall work ethic and atmosphere in the kitchen, particularly when to chefs who are the very heart of your business. Albeit reputation and customer service will attract diners in to an establishment, the chef’s menu plays a crucial role so encourage creativity. Their input could help to shape a business and it is always healthy to get a varied perspective on services. Businesses hire chefs based on their expertise and experience so allowing them to draw on this and not only could your business thrive, but the employee will feel valued. Trust your staff to input their ideas and be vocal about their issues and this makes for an effective work place.

Finally, take the time to develop your staff beyond the job remit to help them to achieve their maximum potential in the workplace. Many employees place focus on the core functions of the job and for chefs this is predominantly being able to produce quality dishes however, the importance of interpersonal skills is paramount. If a chef can communicate effectively with a wider team of waiting staff and fellow chefs then this makes for an all-round more efficient workplace. Training skills such as these and basic administration produce well-rounded employees that can really make a positive impact on business and are more likely to develop to take on the role of training new staff as more come through the door.

For more information visit www.privilegehr.co.uk

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 24th, Nov

Depending on whose opinion you listened to in advance of his speech, Wednesday’s Budget announcements were either the most important or irrelevant in living memory.

There was an underwhelming feel to proceedings throughout the build up and in the aftermath, although some of the announcements will be welcomed by businesses there is a prevailing sense of political reality impeding ambition to give the economy the shot in the arm the country needs to build, build and build.

First up, the positives. The business rates rise of 3.9% in April was partially mitigated by the bringing forward of the calculation of interest by CPI rather than RPI. A rise of 2.9% will still be incurred but the full rate rise has been avoided thanks in part to the joint lobbying by British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI and FSB.

There was a reaffirmation that digital infrastructure and 5G / fibre connectivity will be a key asset in the country’s competitiveness. How this will manifest itself remains to be seen but the prospect of even greater connectivity within our own conurbation is to be welcomed.

The maintenance of an £85k VAT threshold was also a wise move for the moment whilst there is no ‘soft-landing’ for self-employed and micro businesses who incur VAT for the first time. Also, there was no announced uplift of Insurance Premium Tax.

Much of what remained was fairly limited in scope and large on rhetoric. The stamp duty elimination for first time buyers is a minor solution to a much bigger problem. The Chancellor himself articulated in the preceding sentence to the announcement that it was cash shortfalls that stops young people getting on the ladder and if social mobility and home ownership aspiration is to be a realistic prospect, policy needs to reflect the difficult position that savings-deprived young people are in when it comes to mortgage applications.

Businesses were eager to see a budget that lifted the burden of input taxation but, with the exception of the business rates switch, such commitments were in limited supply. The political situation perhaps negated the prospect of ‘big and bold’ being the theme for the budget but there remains a lack of treasury confidence to commit to big infrastructure spend. Disappointingly, there is little suggestion that input taxes will be reduced as the government pursues its Corporation Tax roadmap. We hope a freeze to the roadmap and a commitment to limit the imposition of new input taxes will be forthcoming in the New Year.

On Brexit:

The commitment to a contingency Brexit fund was a political necessity but will do little to dispel genuine business concerns that the government is willing to accept a ‘hard Brexit’ without the necessary ‘implementation period.’ Movement on negotiations and the resultant clarity of direction is a critical to enable businesses to appropriately plan and to be reassured that the free and frictionless trade arrangements mooted by the Chancellor are realistic to achieve.

On Skills:

Failure to clarify or commit to the redistribution policy of apprenticeship levy spend across company supply chains are frustrating, given the six months experience already obtained within the new apprenticeship funding regime and the consequential impact on apprenticeship starts in the period. The reaffirmation of T-Levels was notable as, although further details will be forthcoming, there has been some scepticism related to their introduction, the available funding and capacity-building ability of providers.

On infrastructure:

Commitments to the delivery of mobile connectivity on the Transpennine railway and the £1.7bn ‘Transforming Cities Fund’ are welcome but sustained funding and a commitment to progressing electrification of railways in the North with the longer term aspiration to build Northern Powerhouse Rail are the necessary next steps to rebalance and grow the economy.

Perhaps it is telling that the big headline of the budget was not in the policy but in the Chancellor’s statement of OBR growth projections for the coming years. There is no doubt that forecasting looks bleak for economic growth but Chambers of Commerce and Bank of England data indicates a relatively positive outlook for business relating to productivity and wage growth. Brexit looms large on an ever diminishing horizon, and trade talks need to commence soon.

The Chambers of Commerce throughout the country will continue to lobby government on behalf of business with quantitative and qualitative information that reflects the prevailing voice of business. Do join us in the conversation.

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 17th, Nov

Two events stood out for me this week as reflective and poignant in differing ways.

Last Sunday I had the honour of laying a wreath at the City’s outstanding Remembrance Service at St George’s Hall. The Chamber has undertaken this duty for many, many years and it was truly humbling to witness the dignity and respect conveyed to the brave men and women who served – and continue to serve – in our armed forces.

It was a tacit reminder that whilst we undertake our daily lives seeking to enrich ourselves and our businesses – with all the stress, anxieties and pressures it may incur – those who serve to protect and serve our country are undertaking a role which enables us to live and work in our great city with comparative freedom and safety.

The second event which caused genuine reflection also took place at St George’s Hall at a Waterstone’s event on Wednesday, where the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, spoke passionately and with a great deal of humour and humility about his time as Chancellor and the shifting political landscape of the past decade.

Listening to a relaxed, charismatic and genuinely statesmanlike Brown extol the virtues of ‘a national conversation’ about Brexit, Britain’s place in the world and the economic realities of austerity upon the inequality of the country, I was struck by how his persona differed from the perception of him as PM in the dying embers of the New Labour government.

There is no doubt that our country is a different place to that which Brown left in 2010, yet the chord struck with me was his reflections on the lack of consensus-building in politics and within society. We have seen in the build up to next week’s budget dominated by very public disagreements between figures within government on the way forward. Social media is dominated by extreme and entrenched positions on every subject – Brexit, transport strikes, northern inequality – and the prevailing environment appears increasingly bleak and negative.

Yet there remains much to be encouraged about and the opportunity for our city to be at the forefront of the UK’s economy – post-Brexit or otherwise – remains in our hands. Ten years on from Capital of Culture, the shift in politics and the economy can result in reflections of Mr Brown’s time in government being viewed through a misty-eyed haze. Now however, the opportunities reflected in both the Metro Mayor’s policy announcements on Wednesday and the government’s commitment to Transport for the North on Thursday are indicative that Liverpool need not be subject to the negative psychosis.

Issues remain and there will undoubtedly be ups and downs in the ensuring period as both the country and our city find our place in the world. There is no doubt that the Chancellor’s Budget will be one of the most intriguing and instructive for many years and we do not know at this stage the extent to which there will be good or bad news for our businesses. We hope that a commitment to limit additional up front taxes, to invest and commence imperative infrastructure projects in the North and to provide greater clarity and funding for our education and skills system will be prominent within the announcements. 

The poignancy of Remembrance Sunday should remind us all that a century on from the ‘war to end all wars’, our city has survived and emerged from difficult times in the past and remains capable of adapting to, and leading in, this new economic world.

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Happy 9th Birthday 6th Door Ltd

Tue 19th, May

As I’m leaning on the stand-up desk in my makeshift home office, that over the weeks has been turned into a video and podcast recording studio

How to take back control of your water costs

Fri 13th, Mar

While most businesses already have a comprehensive strategy in place for their electricity and gas consumption, water management is often overlooked.

How to choose an energy consultancy

Fri 13th, Mar

Most business owners recognise the advantages of shopping around for the best energy deal, but without the time, resource and expertise to find the best tariff, it can be an almost impossible task.

Business energy: Don’t get caught out by rollover rates

Fri 13th, Mar

As a busy business owner, you may feel there are not enough hours in the day to secure your next energy contract. You know you’ll get around to it, but when you’ll get around to it is another matter.

Business water matters – Top 3 water saving tips

Fri 13th, Mar

Water is often referred to as ‘the forgotten utility’. While many large businesses are clearly focussed on their comprehensive energy strategies, it seems many are yet to implement a strategy around managing their water usage.

Know where your cloud data is stored or risk a GDPR fine

Thu 27th, Feb

For businesses who have chosen cloud-based data hosting services there’s a temptation to relax and think “great, we’re paying someone else to take care of our data, we don’t need to worry about it any more.”

Transparency plans could slow down region’s business growth

Thu 27th, Feb

Efforts by regional start-up initiatives that have led to Merseyside outperforming the rest of the UK when it comes to business growth could be hampered by new government proposals, a leading legal expert has claimed.

Backup or risk losing your business

Thu 13th, Feb

Maintaining a robust backup is hard work, it’s important to not only build the correct solution for your business and trust your IT support provider to look after it, but to also maintain a sense of urgency as a business owner to...

Information Destruction and Compliant Data Handling in the Education Sector

Thu 13th, Feb

Identity theft costs the UK economy £5.4 billion and a recent BSIA report showed 169,592 cases of identity fraud, representing an increase of 49% over the previous year.

Give Your Business Utilities a Refresh for 2020

Mon 20th, Jan

January is a time for reflection for most people and this includes business owners, with the new year bringing with it an opportunity to take stock of performance during the past 12 months, create goals for the year ahead, and ensure...