Drum Business Park Group Meeting

Drum Business Park Meeting on 24th May 2018

The next meeting will take place on 24th May as follows:

08.30am – Breakfast refreshments and Networking opportunity

09.00 – News and Updates

09.30 – General Discussion

10.30 – Close

If you would like to know more about why you should become involved please contact Andrea McGuigan at Business Durham on 03000 261255.

All businesses and employees based on Drum Industrial Estate/Business Park are welcome to attend.

 

Please note: You must be a business resident on Drum Industrial Estates/Business Park in order to attend this event.

By registering for this event you agree to your contact details being stored on a database to receive information on forthcoming events and updates from the Drum Business Park Group.  You also agree to your email address being shared with our nominated PR company for them to contact you for news and case studies to be included in our newsletter. If you do not wish for your details to be held or shared please send an email to businessdevelopment@durham.gov.uk stating that you wish to be excluded from such databases.

Grand support required for the MRI Scanners Appeal


The County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has launched its Grand Partner scheme to appeal to businesses across the county to pledge £1000 for the MRI Scanner Appeal.

By pledging to be a ‘Grand Partner’ to the charity you will be supporting the fundraising efforts to purchase two new scanners for Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital. This advanced technology will help consultants with earlier diagnosis of many life-threatening and life-limiting conditions for patients.

Fundraising activities could include anything from cake bakes, coffee mornings or fun runs to marathons and in return you’ll receive PR, social media recognition and a certificate of appreciation.  Call Pat Chambers on 07770455651 or email pat.chambers1@nhs.net for more information.

Drum unit to let

unit 27
Unit 27, Third Avenue on Drum Industrial Estate has become available to let. The property comprises a midterraced industrial / workshop unit with dedicated parking to the front. It is constructed of steel portal frame design with brick infill walls to elevations and asbestos sheet cladding to front elevation and roof above. To the front and integral to the warehouse there two small offices with WC facilities.

The landlord intends to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment program including the following items:  new profile cladding to front elevation; impact barriers to front elevation; new automatic roller shutter; new trade counter frontage to offices; LED lighting; internal decoration; and white line car park.

Offers are expected to be in the region of £28,500 per annum. Viewing can be arranged by prior arrangement only and further information is available from Frew Pain & Partners. Call James E F Pain on 07841 871710.

Dragons Den duo have an appetite for growth

Natural
Drum Industrial Estate entrepreneurs Liam Sherriff and Craig Newbigin (pictured above), who last year secured investment offers of £100,000 during an appearance on BBC2’s ‘Dragons Den’, have launched a Crowdcube campaign that should see them raise a further £250,000.

Natural Nutrients Managing Director Liam Sherriff said: “Crowdcube is one of the simplest and most respected crowd funding platforms out there. ‘It allows us to offer existing customers the chance to invest in a brand they already love, and for us to reach out to business angels and investors looking for an exciting, ethical investment opportunity in fast-growing market.”

Natural Nutrients provides customers with “clean” and natural alternatives to existing sports nutrition and health products. The company also provides free online nutrition advice from Nutritionists, to help improve their customers’ health and wellbeing.

Natural Nutrients already have listings with several high-profile outlets in the region like Fenwick Newcastle, Ramside Hall Spa, and soon Durham County Council leisure facilities. The company plans to use the investment to support additional launches with online nutrition giants Musclefood and Holland and Barrett – the largest health food retailer in Europe. They also plan to invest into new products and recruit two new members of staff as they plan to drive into other new markets, including export.

Liam continued: “We have a range of products that knowledgeable consumers love, and that can offer quantifiable benefits and more unique selling points over competing products in the marketplace. Our big plans are retail, but we will also use the funding to grow direct sales via our website and to build relationships with more specialist gyms and CrossFit facilities throughout 2018. We have also identified mainland Europe as a key market opportunity and have secured Department for International Trade funding to help us get there.”

Investors can choose from packages that start from as little as ten pounds, right through to five figure packages aimed at sophisticated investors looking to get involved in Natural Nutrient’s future growth.

Women In The Workplace Still Getting A Raw Deal

In the month of International Women’s Day, in the year of the centenary of women winning the right to vote and as a huge spotlight shines on sexual harassment in the workplace, Alison Schreiber from The HR Dept Durham urges SMEs to take action in their businesses to tackle inequality.

  • Unequal pay still rampant and big companies are starting to see huge claims.
  • Sexual harassment complaints on the rise.
  • Maternity discrimination rife.
  • There are huge benefits of being a family-friendly and flexible employer that SMEs should embrace.

 

Despite the Equal Pay Act in 1970 and the Equality Act 2010, women still earn less than men in Britain today. Equal pay is the right for men and women to be paid the same when doing the same, or equivalent, work. The current pay inequality means that women effectively stop earning relative to men on a day in November, known as Equal Pay Day.

There are several high profile equal pay claims taking place currently mostly in large supermarket chains, if successful there will no doubt be a trickledown effect to claims in SMEs.

Alison Schreiber of The HR Dept Durham said, “Business owners must get their house in order when it comes to equal pay. Not only is it morally wrong in 2018, it is illegal and there will be consequences if your employee’s lodge a claim.

The pay gap is not closing, it has remained the same for the last three years. Employers can conduct an equal pay review or audit to see if there is a pay gap in their business. These reviews involve comparing the pay of men and women doing the same work, identifying any pay gaps, and eliminating gaps that cannot be explained on grounds other than gender.”

Following the high-profile cases of sexual harassment in the workplace, businesses and organisations are seeing a spike in sexual harassment complaints. SMEs are not immune to this and local businesses need to prevent and tackle this behaviour head on.

Alison said, “Business owners must take sexual harassment very seriously. Your company will have a policy for handling grievances, and you should follow this. It is a fundamental employment right that no-one should suffer sexual harassment. If it occurs, and you do not handle it appropriately, your company will be exposed to the risk of financial and reputational damage, alongside the suffering of the victim.”

On maternity discrimination at work, Alison added, “It is shocking that 54,000 women are dismissed or selected for redundancy annually because of being pregnant or on maternity leave. And not only is it shocking, it is also illegal to discriminate on these grounds. The maximum award granted in 2016/17 for sex discrimination was £127,230. This is something to be avoided!

There are huge benefits of being a family-friendly and flexible employer that embraces equality, so think about creative ways you can resource your business which may allow you to attract and retain the best staff.”

The art of tending your HR garden.

To be a good people manager you really need to be a good gardener. The first part of planting a good herbaceous border is selecting strong and healthy plants that are suitable for the soil you are going to grow them in. Not much different to recruitment is it? For those plants to survive they need nurturing and you need to ensure they have the space to grow and blossom.

Not all plants will thrive in your garden

The nasty side of managing and gardening comes in the pruning and weeding. Amongst your beautiful blossoms and across that wonderfully manicured lawn are the dreaded weeds. This is why probationary periods are in contracts. If staff are struggling – and sometimes it’s simply because it’s not the right job for them rather than being incompetent – it is better to call it a day. Hold regular review meetings and give the training and support needed, but be honest.

The difference between termination during the probationary period and out of it can be a much longer notice period, which can prove to be expensive.

Constricting your business

Then imagine seeing a Japanese Knotweed around the perimeter of your house. Unless drastic action is taken, the whole building will be under attack. This happens when staff deliberately undermine your culture and their attitude affects the whole team. And worse still, it extends to poor customer service.

The other risk that comes from eradicating badly behaved staff is the fear that you get the process wrong and you end up facing an expensive tribunal claim.

Effectively managing redundancies

Pruning is like redundancy, and the key here is selecting the right branches or jobs that need to go. Many managers think redundancy is about individuals, but it is much more complicated than that. Huge care needs to be taken when drawing up selection criteria.

The key always is to follow the correct processes and never act in haste. Companies fall down because they rush things and forget to give the employee all their statutory rights, such as the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative. That’s why our customers love having their head gardener on hand to provide step by step guidance. And they also enjoy the peace of mind our unique legal expenses insurance provides.

Gardeners can improve productivity too!

According to a recent survey, well-cared for and well-maintained plants can boost productivity. The placement of one plant per square metre at eye level improves it by 20%. A well-planned display increases productivity by up to 38%, creativity by 45% and well-being by a staggering 47%.

Discover how The HR Dept can help you tend your HR garden, contact us today.

Tel: 01325 526 036

Mobile: 07535 853 226

Email: alison.schreiber@hrdept.co.uk

Web: www.hrdept.co.uk

plants

Drum Business Park Group Meeting

Drum Business Park Meeting on 29th November 2018

The next meeting will take place on 29th November as follows:

08.30am – Breakfast refreshments and Networking opportunity

09.00 – News and Updates

09.30 – General Discussion

10.30 – Close

If you would like to know more about why you should become involved please contact Andrea McGuigan at Business Durham on 03000 261255.

All businesses and employees based on Drum Industrial Estate/Business Park are welcome to attend.

Register here to attend.

Please note: You must be a business resident on Drum Industrial Estates/Business Park in order to attend this event.

By registering for this event you agree to your contact details being stored on a database to receive information on forthcoming events and updates from the Drum Business Park Group.  You also agree to your email address being shared with our nominated PR company for them to contact you for news and case studies to be included in our newsletter. If you do not wish for your details to be held or shared please send an email to businessdevelopment@durham.gov.uk stating that you wish to be excluded from such databases.

Drum Business Park Group Meeting

Drum Business Park Meeting on 27th September 2018

Drum Business Park Group is an expanding group of businesses from the Drum Industrial Estate who meet on a regular basis to share best practice, discuss problems and create one voice to solve common issues.  There is an opportunity to inter trade and understand neighbouring businesses on the park.

The next meeting will take place on 27th September as follows:

08.30am – Breakfast refreshments and Networking opportunity

09.00 – News and Updates

09.30 – General Discussion

10.30 – Close

If you would like to know more about why you should become involved please contact Andrea McGuigan at Business Durham on 03000 261255.

All businesses and employees based on Drum Industrial Estate/Business Park are welcome to attend.

Register here to attend.

Please note: You must be a business resident on Drum Industrial Estates/Business Park in order to attend this event.

By registering for this event you agree to your contact details being stored on a database to receive information on forthcoming events and updates from the Drum Business Park Group.  You also agree to your email address being shared with our nominated PR company for them to contact you for news and case studies to be included in our newsletter. If you do not wish for your details to be held or shared please send an email to businessdevelopment@durham.gov.uk stating that you wish to be excluded from such databases.

Drum Business Park Group Meeting

Drum Business Park Meeting on 26th July 2018

Drum Business Park Group is an expanding group of businesses from the Drum Industrial Estate who meet on a regular basis to share best practice, discuss problems and create one voice to solve common issues.  There is an opportunity to inter trade and understand neighbouring businesses on the park.

The next meeting will take place on 26th July as follows:

08.30am – Breakfast refreshments and Networking opportunity

09.00 – News and Updates

09.30 – General Discussion

10.30 – Close

If you would like to know more about why you should become involved please contact Andrea McGuigan at Business Durham on 03000 261255.

All businesses and employees based on Drum Industrial Estate/Business Park are welcome to attend.

Register here to attend.

Please note: You must be a business resident on Drum Industrial Estates/Business Park in order to attend this event.

By registering for this event you agree to your contact details being stored on a database to receive information on forthcoming events and updates from the Drum Business Park Group.  You also agree to your email address being shared with our nominated PR company for them to contact you for news and case studies to be included in our newsletter. If you do not wish for your details to be held or shared please send an email to businessdevelopment@durham.gov.uk stating that you wish to be excluded from such databases.

Drum Business Park Group Meeting

Drum Business Park Meeting on 22nd March 2018

The next meeting will take place on 22nd March, 2018 at Co-op Distribution Centre from 08.30-10.30am

The format is as follows:

08.30am – Breakfast refreshments and Networking opportunity

09.00 – News and Updates

09.30 – General Discussion

10.30 – Close

If you would like to know more about why you should become involved please contact Andrea McGuigan at Business Durham on 03000 261255.

All businesses and employees based on Drum Industrial Estate/Business Park are welcome to attend. 

Register here to attend.

Please note: You must be a business resident on Drum Industrial Estates/Business Park in order to attend this event.

By registering for this event you agree to your contact details being stored on a database to receive information on forthcoming events and updates from the Drum Business Park Group.  You also agree to your email address being shared with our nominated PR company for them to contact you for news and case studies to be included in our newsletter. If you do not wish for your details to be held or shared please send an email to businessdevelopment@durham.gov.uk stating that you wish to be excluded from such databases.

How should you deal with a workplace romance?

office romance
Only 12% of company managers have been provided with training on managing workplace romances; 43% of HR staff have encountered a workplace romance; and 99% of policies on workplace romances state that romantic relationships between supervisors and their staff are not allowed.

Employees falling for each other isn’t rare. Naturally, close relationships will form between people who spend large parts of their lives together. One study from 2011 found that 30% of office romances led to marriage. But that still leaves 70% that don’t end with wedding bells. Alison Schreiber, Director at The HR Dept, Durham & Darlington, looks at the issue and how it can be managed.

Whilst nobody enjoys telling Cupid where he can and can’t aim his arrow in the workplace, there are times when senior management really should step in. For instance, when a manager and their direct subordinate enter into a relationship. After all, the superior’s impartiality and authority will be compromised, and this can affect a team’s morale. You certainly don’t want employees accusing a manager of weakness or favouritism – and this is if the relationship doesn’t turn sour with the problems that it could bring like the manager being accused of an abuse of power.

It’s also your duty to ensure that, if you find that an employee fancies a co-worker who does not reciprocate, any pestering must be dealt with the moment the issue is raised. The last thing you want is a sexual harassment tribunal case.

Some people enjoy a gossip, and the relationships between co-workers can be prime subject matter. It’s important to ensure this doesn’t go too far and reduce productivity. Malicious gossip is very corrosive to team morale. It can also start cliques and bring other problematic issues. Therefore, it’s worth making sure this doesn’t get out of control.

Offering supervisors some training on managing workplace romances will be beneficial. Even if you don’t have an official policy and are seeing a romance blossom, you may need to remind the happy couple to remain professional in work.

And if you think it’s required and fits the culture of your business, you could draw up a policy on office romances.

Bad weather has a bad effect on business

weather
Most of the UK has been blanketed in snow with several severe weather warnings issued. Undoubtedly businesses everywhere will be feeling the impacts and worrying about what their obligations are and what it is going to cost them. Alison Schreiber, Director at The HR Dept, Durham & Darlington, looks at the issue and how it can be managed.

There are three particularly pertinent issues for your business, firstly your staff getting to work safely, secondly health and safety in the office and lastly what you have to pay if the worst happens and your staff can’t make it in or you have to close the office.

It is ultimately your staffs’ responsibility to get to work but we would advise that you act reasonably, be empathic and ensure they are fully aware of what you expect.

We would advise sending a communication to your staff including:
• Notifying them to leave plenty of time to get to work due to transport closures and slow roads
• Explaining what they should do if they cannot get to work and that unauthorised absence won’t be tolerated
• Letting them know that they can take annual leave, if they have any left, if they feel they can’t safely get in
• A reminder that it is their responsibility to get to work – and if they don’t attend you don’t have to pay them
• What your working from home policy is in these circumstances

The bottom line is that no one should ever risk their lives getting to work but it is the employee’s responsibility to attend work on time.

When bad weather arrives often schools close leaving your staff with emergency childcare issues in this situation your staff are entitled to unpaid time off for emergency dependent leave.

If you decide to close the office or place of work then you do have to pay your staff their wages.

You may choose to close the office if the heating breaks or the temperature is too low, if normal service will be disrupted or it would be too dangerous to keep open.

Bad Weather FAQS

The central heating has broken down do I have to send staff home?
The temperature of the workplace falls under health and safety law and, while there is no legal minimum temperature for a workplace, employers are required to keep warmth levels “reasonable”.

Generally, the guidance suggests that that this should be around 16ºC, or 13ºC where the job involves strenuous physical work.

Schools in our area are closed do I have to pay my staff if they take time off?
Staff can take unpaid time off for emergency dependent leave. The idea is that this allows them to put alternative arrangements in place. This also applies if they are responsible for a dependent adult who may need additional care during this cold spell.

My engineer says he is snowed in. Can I make him take holiday?
Technically you cannot make them take holiday as the rules state that you have to give them twice as much notice as the amount of holiday you wish him to take. However, you do not have to pay them either an offer of using untaken holiday seems a good solution.

I want to close the office do I have to pay staff?
If you decide to send staff home that have battled their way in, yes you do have to pay them.

My Office Manager wants to work from home. Do I have to agree?
No, but if working from home is an option as long as the work gets done and it is not just an excuse to get paid for making snowmen!

The Accounts Manager hasn’t turned up but I know she could have got in easily, what should I do?
Make sure you are being reasonable. Check that buses are running and that roads are passable; then when she returns investigate listening to her justifications and decide if disciplinary action is appropriate.

And finally…
Have lots of hot drinks, spare heaters and mince pies to reward those who made it and keep listening to weather reports as to avoid accidents staff could be better off travelling home earlier.

If you need advice on preparing a contingency plan for bad weather, or for dealing with unauthorised absence, pour yourself a hot chocolate and give The HR Dept a call.

Nelson Wolfe move for charity

running
Pension scheme administrators Nelson Wolfe have raised over £300 for Movember by completing 400 miles worth of activities.

John Adamson, company director, and Jordan Linfoot, business administrator, (pictured above) completed the challenge over the course of November for the Movember Foundation.

The charity addresses some of the biggest health issues faced by men including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

John said: “We each completed 200 miles, which averaged about seven miles a day by walking, running and even going to the gym, and we tracked it all with a smart pedometer. All of It’s an important cause for us having had family affected by health issues, so we’re delighted to help raise funds for Movember.”

Nelson Wolf advises on the pension scheme administration for Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSAS) and help company directors and key employees to create their own specialist pension schemes.

More room for World of Rides!

rides
World of Rides has begun extending its business property to make room for its business growth plan.

As part of its three-year plan, the extension is self-funded and is expected to support the company’s growth and exporting strategy.

The company has been based on Drum Industrial Estate since 1990 and, for over 46 years, has been the leading UK manufacturer of children’s leisure rides in the United Kingdom. They supply major shopping centres, retailers, visitor attractions, fun farms, holiday parks, garden centres, family entertainment centres and hospitality centres that include national and single-site operators.

Premier kebab manufacturer goes for growth 

meats
Istanbul Meats, one of the country’s premier doner kebab meat manufacturers, has relocated its premises and is exporting to Poland as part of its plans to expand the business.

The family-run business has taken over their neighbouring unit on First Avenue, Drum Industrial Estate, to make room for the growing demand for their kebab meat.

The products, which are all made in-house, include lamb, beef and mixed meat kebabs, are blended using their own recipe and locally sourced quality meats. The company are now expanding the product line as well as exporting to a range of commercial food distributors and wholesalers in Poland.

Leyla said: “Having grown organically through recommendation and word of mouth, our continued success is a testament to our commitment to using only the finest quality ingredients, rigorous quality control measures and an emphasis on customer satisfaction.”

Three years of success for Tulip Tyre and Test Centre

tulip
Tulip Tyre and Test Centre have been established on the Drum Industrial Estate for three years now. The company has gone from strength to strength over this duration, which has seen owners Angela and Simon Tulip refurbish the building and achieve an award of excellence from the AA.

Angela said: “We’re ever so proud of our progress so far. Many of the businesses here on the Drum Estate now come to us to maintain and repair their vehicles. However, as well as cars and vans we also service older and more unusual vehicles. Our latest project has involved fixing an old fire engine!”

Contact the garage on 0191 410 0222.

How to handle diabetes in the workplace

diabetes 1

How to handle diabetes in the workplace (after security guard wins tribunal). With 3.8 million people now diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, businesses are increasingly likely to have to face the challenge of managing employees with the condition.

Alison Schreiber, Director at The HR Dept, Durham & Darlington, explains the facts and offers advice on how to manage the issue.

With 3.8 million people now diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, businesses are increasingly likely to have to face the challenge of managing employees with the condition.

As well as wanting to help and support all employees it’s wise to be aware that, in most instances, diabetes will be considered a disability under the Equality Act. And so this recent case will serve as a warning.

A security guard who worked on his own has won his employment tribunal case after quitting his job following a hypoglycaemic (hypo) attack. The company did not know he had diabetes at the time of the attack. However, they did carry out a review afterwards and felt that they could not make any changes to his role.

The judge found that the company failed to make reasonable adjustments for his disability. But what should a company do to help diabetics at work?

Tips for managing diabetes in your workforce

No two people will have the same coping or avoidance strategies or treatment regime. An individual plan and risk assessment needs to be undertaken. This is particularly important with a lone worker, where looking for an alternative role within the company should be considered.

Encouraging the employee to inform colleagues should help. Understanding and making sure others know what diabetes is, can often reassure employees with diabetes and their colleagues. And getting their permission for you to notify first aiders or appointed persons will allow them to react quickly should an attack happen.

Making adjustments to any sickness monitoring scheme such as the Bradford factor is important so that diabetics are not discriminated against. Another action to consider where possible is to provide a private room for injecting or glucose intake. Relaxing rules about eating at the workstation or ensuring that regular breaks are taken are simple steps that you can take.

If you want to know how you can avoid an employment tribunal for not making reasonable adjustments for employees with medical conditions, get in touch with your local HR Dept.

Sexual harassment in the workplace. A warning.

me too
With more and more allegations of sexual harassment coming to light, County Durham businesses are warned they could face potentially damaging tribunal payouts and reputational damage should a claim be made against their company.

Alison Schreiber, Director at The HR Dept, Durham & Darlington, looks at the issue and how it can be managed.

After coverage of the Harvey Weinstein news, stories from ordinary people through the hashtag #MeToo, and allegations against other stars like House of Card’s Kevin Spacey it’s time to do a review of policies and procedures. Even Westminster is to overhaul its staff complaints policy after nearly 40 ministers have been labelled ‘handsy’ in a leaked list of predators.

The highest sexual harassment tribunal payout at £830,000 means it pays to take this seriously.

Even more than the financial hit the reputational damage to a company can be more devastating, especially if the perpetrator has a history and is in a position of power, even more so when victims have been told to keep quiet. It is good to remember that no one is above the law and the dignity of all staff is paramount to a productive team.

Sexual harassment can include:

• sexual comments or jokes, wrongly often explained as a bit of banter
• physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances, touching and various forms of sexual assault
• displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature like girly calendars
• sending emails with a sexual content

Sexual harassment complaints can end up at an employment tribunal – in a recent case, a factory worker won £10,000 compensation for sexual harassment after her boss wrote in her 40th birthday card that he wanted to grope her inappropriately. One person’s ‘bit of banter’ is another person’s humiliation and a subsequent court case.

Another tribunal in the NHS saw an HR manager win over £800k having been harassed after rejecting the advances of the chairman, claiming constructive dismissal, sex discrimination and sexual harassment.

Business owners can protect their staff from sexual harassment and their reputation by having clear and unequivocal bullying and harassment policies and processes. They should make it extremely and undeniably clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. That it will be dealt with swiftly and severely be it an allegation about the cleaner or the managing director and following an investigation appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if the allegations are proven up to dismissal.

Having official equal opportunities and anti-harassment policies down in writing is a great start. But these can also be supported by staff training and regular reviews and updates on the standards of behaviour expected.

Launch of UK’s first Autism and Neurodiversity Academy

academyA new training organisation has been launched by the North East Autism Society (NEAS), who are based on the Drum Industrial Estate, offering specialist training for employers to support staff with autism or other neuro-diverse conditions.

It will also support and advise businesses of all sizes which aspire to widen their customer base to embrace people with neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity is a term used for explaining and defining different and overlapping conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or OCD.

The Autism and Neurodiversity Academy is a wholly owned subsidiary of charity North East Autism Society, who say it is the first academy of its kind in the UK.

Pledge to help MRI Scan charity today!

scanner
The County Durham & Darlington NHS FT Charity (CDDFT) scan over 1,000 people every day, for many types of cancer, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal or neurological conditions.

The new and advanced technological innovation will help their consultants with earlier diagnosis of many life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and places them at the forefront of radiology in the UK.

The fundraising continues in earnest as the trust has until December 2018 to pay for the new scanner and there are a number of ways you can help – from a direct donation through to attending or sponsoring one of their charity events.

For 2018 you could pledge to be a ‘Grand Partner’ to the charity and commit to raise a minimum of £1000 during the year with your friends or colleagues. This could include activities like cake bakes to marathons or any other ideas you have. So, take the pledge and help pay for the new MRI Scanner!

Call Pat Chambers on 07770455651 or email pat.chambers1@nhs.net for more information.

Stamp out bullying in the workplace

bullying workplaceWorkplace bullying can have a devastating effect on individuals and an equally horrible and pervasive impact on the culture, happiness and wellbeing of the wider workplace.

It has no place in our businesses and business owners must work hard to ensure the right standards and conditions are set so that any bullying is called out and dealt with quickly.

Alison Schreiber, Director at The HR Dept, Durham & Darlington, looks at ways that businesses can reduce bullying in the workplace and stamp out intolerance.

Anti-bullying policies are widespread, but the problem is becoming worse, not better. In 1998, managers in 7% of workplaces reported grievances raised concerning bullying. This rose to 8% in 2004, and to 11% in 2011.

What is bullying?
It’s important to take into account that bullying is distinctly different from harassment. There’s no universally accepted definition of what an act of bullying is. However, Acas provides a broad description of it as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.”

Bullying can involve conflict and rudeness, but can also be subtle, such as excluding and ignoring people, making unacceptable criticisms and overloading people with work.

Why should employers take action to combat bullying?
Bullying is unacceptable in the workplace and can cause issues such as:

  • Poor morale and employee relations.
    Loss of respect for managers and supervisors.
    Reduced performance and productivity.
    Increase in absenteeism.
    Higher staff turnover.
    Damage to company’s reputation.

For the individual, it’s even more damaging and is a major cause of stress and low esteem.
Aside from the cost to people’s wellbeing and your company culture there is a financial impact too! Bullying is estimated by ACAS to cost employers £18bn per year.

What can businesses do about bullying and harassment?
Bullying is most common in organisations with poor workplace cultures. An anti-bullying policy works best as part of a company-wide strategy to build a positive workplace culture.

Make sure everyone knows and understands the anti-bullying policy so it becomes part of the way your workplace functions. This is then supported with clear procedures for dealing with grievance and disciplinary matters, making it known to everyone what the consequences are and that may be dismissal.

Provide managers with training so that not only is their management style improved but they learn to recognise the signs and can step in quickly. Managers that are good role models can go a long way.

Make sure you aren’t the bullying boss! Keep your eyes and ears open, your staff might not always raise a grievance, listen to conversations, rumours and pay attention and look into to any trends i.e. if a manager has higher sickness or turnover in their team than others.

How can I protect my business?
Grievances and disciplinary meetings can often be a difficult and overwhelming task for any manager. Making sure you get the process right can avoid a costly and protracted employment tribunal through the courts. With our monthly retained Advice Line service, you get a local HR professional and the market-leading insurance against all legal costs and any award.

This blog was first published here.

Wheels to work!

mopedDo you or your employees need help getting to work or training?

The Wheels to Work County Durham transport scheme has been running in parts of the County Durham area for just over a year.

The moped-loan scheme aims to help people access employment, training or education that would otherwise be inaccessible due to poor public transport connections or out-of-hour work patterns.

The project has been funded by Chester-le-Street, Stanley and Mid Durham Area Action Partnerships (AAP’s) in partnership with Durham County Council, in response to a growing need to help local people get to work or college.

The idea behind the scheme is to provide a loan of a moped for six months to help people to establish themselves in work and/or training. Currently, anyone living in Chester-le-Street, Stanley or Mid Durham can apply to join the scheme.

Mopeds of either 50cc or 125cc are available to people aged 16 and over as long as they have a provisional or full driving licence.

The cost is £25 per week for a 50cc and £30 for a 125cc moped and, thanks to a grant from the County Durham Community Foundation, people on apprenticeships, working less than 18 hours each week or employed on zero hours contracts can benefit from a generous subsidy.

Ace Motorcycles in Durham provide the motorcycle training (all included as part of the scheme) and the loan also includes protective clothing and a heavy-duty lock, insurance, tax, breakdown cover, as well as servicing and maintenance of the moped. There may be a chance to buy the moped from the scheme, in partnership with a local Credit Union, at the end of the loan period.

So far, the Wheels to Work County Durham project has enabled 47 people to apply for and/or stay in work.

Please get in touch to find out more or pass on our details to any staff or potential staff who may experience difficulties getting to work – this scheme aims to make people more employable by helping them to be mobile and independent.

Further information can be found on the Wheels to Work website or call Gina on 07460 068668, Susan on 07472 668884 or email info@wheelstowork.org.