Controlling Corporate Manslaughter Risk Through Effective Lone Worker Solutions

With the recent drastic increase in the consequences for firms contravening health and safety legislation, Tom Morton, CEO of Argyll, the UK’s largest lone worker solutions provider, advises why organisations should mitigate their risks associated with lone working.

The release of new sentencing guidelines for courts (issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council in February 2010) have raised the stakes for companies convicted of corporate manslaughter offences. The new law applies to every organisation within the UK and provides an effective route to securing a conviction in the event of a fatality, if it can be proved that a company was in breach of the ‘Duty of Care’ owed by the organisation to its workers by virtue of the way in which its activities are managed or organised. In addition to the existing threat of civil actions being taken by staff, unions or family members, and the costs of defending any action taken, the fine recommended for a public corporate manslaughter prosecution to be imposed on any business is now £500,000 or greater. Not only will the organisation face this unprecedented fine, but it may also be burdened with the additional costs of a remedial order and a publicity order.

Fines of this scale can have a devastating impact on small and medium-sized businesses with modest turnover and profit figures. In the case of very large businesses, the fines issued could be much higher than this minimum and the guideline suggests these will reach into millions of pounds.

However, these financial penalties are only part of the story. Courts are also empowered to issue remedial orders, requiring businesses to address any specific health and safety failures that it hasn’t already dealt with, but the final coup de grace is potentially the most damaging element of any corporate manslaughter sentence: the publicity order.

A business served with such an order is required to make a public announcement giving details of the offence committed and the financial penalty imposed. The court will dictate how this announcement must be made but it is expected that national and local press announcements and a message on the business’s own website will be usual practice. The reputational damage caused by a publicity order could end up costing businesses (especially large household names) far more, and take much longer to recover from, than any financial penalty the court can issue. The potential costs of complying with a remedial order and publicity order will not be taken into account by the court in setting the fine and will be a further drain on businesses that may already be facing unprecedented financial pressure.

In the 2008 TUC safety representatives survey, working alone was the sixth main hazard of concern for safety representatives. Recent research shows that 1.3 million people are attacked in the UK every year at work and assaults are increasing by 5% every two years. The rise in workplace violence now costs UK industry hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation and the loss of more than 3 million working days each year.

Health & Safety has been pushed to the top of the corporate agenda by the newly introduced legislation that threaten grave legal and financial consequences for those not exercising an adequate ‘Duty of Care’ for staff exposed to risk whilst operating as Lone Workers. In a nutshell, Trustees and Directors must consider every possibility when assessing the risk faced by Lone Workers and including the impact risk to the organisation.

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High Desert Region Green Jobs Initiative Announces New Executive Director

As of February 5, 2010 The High Desert Region Green Jobs Initiative has a new Executive Director, Kenneth C. Collins, Sr. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Kenneth served as the Initiative’s Green Building and Small Business Advisor.

Linda K. Jones, Co-Founder of the Initiative and its Executive Director since its launching in October, 2008, is stepping down effective February 5, 2010.

Serving as Executive Director of the High Desert Region Green Jobs Initiative has been a very rewarding experience and I take tremendous pride in what we have been able to accomplish. As I transition to my campaign for State Assembly, I will continue to work towards expanding the clean energy economy in the High Desert and the high paying new jobs that come with it” Jones said.  “I leave confident that under the leadership of Kenneth Collins Sr., the HDRGJI will continue to thrive and grow, serving our community by supporting economic and workforce development to bring green jobs to our region” she concluded.

“ I am looking forward to leading the Initiative for 2010 and beyond. Linda K. Jones’ and Co-Founder Ann Vanino’s vision to link economic and workforce development to bring green jobs to local residents has set a strong foundation for my work . Our key goals in 2010 are to bring green jobs training to the region, work with local government organizations to increase community awareness of the benefits of the growth of the region’s green economy and work with our stakeholders to develop public/private partnerships advancing energy and water efficiency and renewable energy projects in the region.” said Kenneth Collins

Kenneth Collins brings to his new role experience as a building contractor and real estate broker as well as 20 years experience as a Signal Systems Supervisor for The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Kenneth attended Alpine Elementary School in Littlerock, CA for five years. After receiving an Aerospace Avionics Certificate from Antelope Valley College, he worked at Rockwell International on the B-I Bomber. Kenneth is a resident of Lancaster, CA.

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FCA Launch New Website Addressing The Shortage Of UK Foster Carers

Foster Care Associates (FCA), the UK’s leading Independent Fostering Agency (IFA), has launched a new carer-focussed website to step up its campaign to recruit new foster carers throughout the UK.

FCA Launch New Website Addressing The Shortage Of UK Foster Carers

With a current shortage of up to 10,000 foster carers in the UK, FCA decided to enhance their online activity as part of their extended recruitment drive.

The new site provides potential foster carers with a guide to all of the considerations a foster carer may face, as well as developing into a general fostering-focussed information resource. Geo targeting has also been introduced to ensure intensive focus on the main cities across the UK.

Kevin Smith, Online Manager at FCA said: “As part of our online strategy, we’ve conducted extensive keyword research to identify what fostering-related terms people are typing into the main search engines. We want to make sure that FCA appears in the search results for all generic fostering related terminology. This website allows us to do that. It also confirms our position as a market leader in the foster care industry.”

The new website also boasts a postcode search tool so that foster carers can find their local office, a glossary of the main terminology relating to fostering children, extended detail about the different types of fostering placements and services delivered, an informative video library and an FAQ section.

“We appreciate that potential foster carers want to learn more about the local support services available in their area, and new features on the website such as the postcode search tool allows us to do that,” said Marie-Louise Allred, Marketing Manager at FCA. “We expect it to become a valuable resource in addressing the shortage of foster carers across the UK.”

Moving from a Local Authority based website (where the key focus was to promote FCA’s fostering services to Local Authorities across the UK), the website now provides a guide for potential foster carers and existing foster carers, as well as helping Local Authorities and Health Trusts to access information.

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Maximise Your Chances of Landing a New Job

Winning a new role in today’s highly competitive job market requires a level of application that many part-qualified accountants may have thought was only required when preparing for their professional examinations.

Maximise Your Chances of Landing a New Job

Here are a few simple tips from recruitment experts Reed Accountancy to help you take your next step in finding your next accountancy job. Know where you want to get to Only when you know where you want to get to can you work out how to get there.

Having this clarity for your career is crucial in enabling you to properly spot and evaluate the less obvious opportunities, which may not bring you an immediate big jump in salary or responsibility, but which will provide you with enhanced longer-term personal and career development opportunities.

What makes you different?

The next thing to do is work out what your Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) are.

Your USPs are those aspects of your background, achievements, skills, experience and expertise which will help you to stand out from other applicants and be of most interest and value to a prospective employer.

How to stand out

Now that you know what your USPs are, you need to decide how to market yourself so that your application immediately stands out positively from the inevitable mass of others that an employer will have received.

Make sure your CV is concise, punchy and customised with your relevant achievements, qualifications and experience. Don’t include clichéd phrases like “works well as part of a team” or “highly motivated self starter”. Instead, concentrate on showing where and how you have added value to previous employers, using specific and quantified examples.

Also, be aware that business acumen and a commercial awareness are valued in accountancy professionals just as much as they are among in other disciplines. By showing that you possess these important skills, in addition to your core accountancy qualifications and experience, you will make yourself a much more interesting candidate for any organisation looking to maximise their profit or surplus.

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What Else, Apart From Qualifications, Will Help You Climb The Career Ladder?

Having the appropriate accounting qualifications is essential as you seek to find your next accounting job, but employers take much more than proven technical aptitude into account when considering who to recruit and who to promote. And this broader approach isn’t limited to finance roles in the private sector: in the public sector and in practice too, recruiters look for a broader range of skills from applicants.

hat Else, Apart From Qualifications, Will Help You Climb The Career Ladder?

A few years ago, in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals and the subsequent introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance requirements, compliance and control were paramount. IAS, IFRS and technical ability were all and we were firmly within ‘The Age of the Auditor’.

The role of the accountant continues to change and evolve, and now business acumen, commercial awareness and first rate people skills have become the number one priority. At the moment, not all accountants are ready and able to face this new set of challenges…..

For almost 20 years, Robert S Kaplan of Harvard Business School has said that accountants need to “spend less time dealing with financial accounting, audit and tax”, arguing that more time should be spent on “operations, marketing strategy and behavioural and organisational issues”.

Kaplan has certainly now got his wish, as throughout 2009 Reed Accountancy and Reed Finance have been inundated with requirements from employers who specify they want candidates who “demonstrate MD or CEO potential”.

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HR Professionals Optimistic For 2010 After Tough 2009

Redundancies and pay freezes were commonplace in the HR profession last year, revealed the Reed Human Resources Salary Survey 2010. Although some sectors were affected more than others, overall there was a slight fall in the UK average salary for HR professionals of 3-6%. However, early indications of increased activity in HR recruitment at the start of 2010 show organisations are gearing up to recruit again and gives some cause for optimism for the year ahead. With more signs of economic recovery now being reported, optimism among HR professionals is growing and only 39% of HR departments said they were unlikely to raise their headcount in the next 12 months.

HR Professionals Optimistic For 2010 After Tough 2009

Demand for Talent Management, Recruitment, Reward and Learning & Development specialists is already increasing, as employers look to strengthen their organisations by bringing in, developing and retaining the best people to help their organisations succeed in 2010.

“2009 was a tough year for the HR profession as a whole, but the outlook for 2010 is positive and there are solid foundations upon which HR can build itself back up,” said Reed Human Resources Divisional Manager Jason Willis.

“In recruitment terms, we expect to see a swing from the Public Sector back towards the Private Sector as the year progresses. As for salaries, these should edge back up as the recovery strengthens and demand for both HR generalists and specialists increases.”

Summary of 2009

HR practitioners with niche skills sets generally came through the recession best, with Organisational Development and Compensation & Benefits specialists in most demand.

On a function level, the standing of HR in many organisations actually rose through the downturn. HR functions played an important role not only managing redundancy and the effects on those who remained, but also often worked closely to advise board directors on organisational restructuring, skills deployment and development. In most regions and industry sectors the highest paid branch of HR is Organisational Development, where the UK average salary for an OD Manager is £53,719. In-house Recruitment tends to be the lowest paid specialism, with the UK average salary for a Recruitment Manager being £34,913.

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Nearly Three Quarters of Finance Professionals Say They Will Look for A New Job In 2010

Levels of optimism are much higher than six months ago among finance professionals and their employers, according to the 2010 Reed Accountancy & Reed Finance Salary and Benefits Guide – which polled over 200,000 jobseekers and 40,000 employers in a wide range of sectors across the UK.

With 59% of employers optimistic about improving trading conditions and 71% of individuals saying they intend to look for a new finance job in 2010, retention of key finance staff will be a challenge across the public sector, private sector and also within accountancy firms this year.

Despite last year’s much-publicised pay cuts and pay freezes, the majority of finance professionals reported receiving slight pay increases (1.5 to 2.5% on average). Pay rates in the public sector rose by the most (between 2.5 and 3%). The recession created increased demand for more specialist finance roles – in particular within audit, recovery, restructuring and change management.

2010 – A year of change

Even though 43% of individuals said they felt secure within their current position, with growing levels of confidence there is likely to be a rise in the movement of finance professionals between organisations throughout 2010. The survey uncovered notable discrepancies between the perceptions of employers and employees: 71% of employers said they believed their employees were loyal to their organisation. Meanwhile, while only 25% of employees felt that they are rewarded adequately in their current role – suggesting that pay rates will become an increasingly important factor in a ‘war for talent retention’ in the coming year. Financial analysis, financial risk management and compliance will continue to be key skills in demand during 2010, while aspiring jobseekers will be attracted to perceived fast-growth sectors such as energy (from nuclear to renewables), digital technology and online media.

Reed Finance Director Tim Vye commented: “With the UK emerging steadily out of recession and a general election before the summer, 2010 may be an uncertain year for some employers. However, recruiting and retaining the best finance talent will be a priority as the job market moves away from being employer-driven. “2010 will also mean fresh changes for finance professionals in all market sectors. 64% of respondents in our survey said the role of the accountant has changed significantly over recent years, with a far greater need for people skills, strategic thinking and commercial acumen.”

Recruitment within Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) has shown encouraging increases recently. Many employers are increasingly looking for finance professionals with ‘future boardroom potential’.

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