Making it official this past week, Cumming, a leading Project Management and Cost Consultancy, just announced that Stoke-on-Trent based Prosurv Consult has merged with the international firm. The merger will provide Prosurv with additional global resources and expertise, enabling the UK Professional Services company to continue to provide unmatched construction advisory services to its current Client base.

Prosurv is one of the UK’s most respected Project Management and Construction Cost Consultants. The multi-award-winning company provides project leadership for clients throughout the entire construction lifecycle to ensure that all parties are motivated to deliver quality and client-focused services for complex projects. The construction consultancy is leading some of the most high-profile education, residential, retail, mixed-use, renewable, hospitality, infrastructure and brownfield land regeneration projects currently under development in the UK.

Prosurv will continue to operate under the day-to-day leadership of its founders Paul Dunning, Daniel Smith, Chris Price, and Richard Berry.

“Cumming’s investment in Prosurv demonstrates our continued confidence in the U.K. market, and our strong belief in the long-term fundamentals of its construction and real estate sector,” said Derek Hutchison, Executive Vice President at Cumming. “Following the successful integration of London-based MHBC Cumming, we are excited to merge with the Prosurv team to help broaden our collective capabilities across the United Kingdom.”

By joining forces, Cumming’s worldwide team increases to approximately 815 professionals across 29 US offices, as well as permanent teams in Beijing, London, Edinburgh, and the new Prosurv team in Stoke-on-Trent.

 

Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) has become the first further education provider in England to achieve the top grades in every area of Ofsted’s recently reformed Education Inspection Framework (EIF).

In the first full Ofsted inspection since NSCG formed in 2016, inspectors also commended the way in which leaders and managers of the former Newcastle-under-Lyme College had very effectively brought about the merger with Stafford College, which had, prior to merger been rated ‘Inadequate’.

Karen Dobson OBE, Principal & Chief Executive of NSCG, said: “Being the first further education college nationally to achieve ‘Outstanding’ in all areas of Ofsted’s new framework is absolutely brilliant, we hope everyone connected with the College will join us in celebrating this success. However, we can never stand still and at NSCG we are always looking to do better and to be better.  We have an exciting future ahead and will remain committed to excellence”.

To read the full Ofsted report for Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, visit: https://files.api.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50124947

 

V-Prep hits the international stage!

The V-Prep team is very excited to have attended the EATS exhibition this year. Standing for the European Aviation Training Symposium this event was held in Berlin in the last week of October.

This opportunity allowed V-Prep to demonstrate its innovative training techniques using a combination of film footage, 3D animation, 2D design and narration to clearly demonstrate aircraft procedures.

The A320 and the all new B737 training package were given overwhelming positive feedback and the team created some invaluable connections and potential opportunities.

Experienced solicitor Sophie Porter has joined the team at Beswicks Legal in Stoke-on-Trent.

Sophie is a highly-regarded private wealth solicitor who has expertise in probate, estate administrations and estate planning, including succession planning for businesses and using wills and trusts to protect wealth.

Head of Beswicks Legal’s private wealth team David Birchall said: “We’re delighted to welcome Sophie to Beswicks. Private wealth is an important and growing area of work for us.

“The addition of Sophie to the team enables us to help even more people, providing them with peace of mind that their home, savings, business interests and other assets are properly protected for future generations.”

Sophie added: “Beswicks is the go-to firm in Stoke-on-Trent, so I was delighted to be able to join the team. Beswicks has a strong reputation for providing outstanding advice and a five-star service, which are both things that I feel very strongly about delivering to clients.”

Motorists are now being given the latest traffic, travel and parking information thanks to a series of new ‘smart’ signs.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has installed eight full screen electronic variable message signs (VMS) which will be permanently located on key routes heading into the city centre.

The new low energy LED signs – which are linked directly to the city council’s highways team – can be used to display a wide range of traffic-related information, from details about live spaces available in the city’s main car parks to real-time updates about any emerging issues on the roads, such as closures, diversions or gritting.

The signs have been placed on Snow Hill (near Havelock Place), Etruria Road (near New Century Street), Lichfield Street (by the canal bridge), Waterloo Road (by Woodall Street), Town Road (by Plough Street), Bucknall Road (near the Army Reserve Centre), the A53 towards Hanley (near bet365) and Copeland Street (near to the Civic Centre).

Along with the new fixed signs, the network of eight existing electronic parking signs across the city have also been upgraded.

Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, said: “The new VMS signs will give up-to-the-minute travel information through text and images on emerging problems on the roads such as accidents and closures, and can also be used to promote safety and travel campaigns and give real-time parking space availability.

“The great thing about them is they can be updated with the touch of a button, giving motorists accurate and up-to-date information – something which motorists have requested. It will make it easier for people to get to where they want to go, and help us to create a smart city. This technology will help motorists decide what routes to take, optimise the available parking spaces in the city centre and reduce congestion.”

A unique partnership that supports volunteers to promote mental and physical wellbeing through a number of community managed libraries across south Staffordshire has won a national award.

The partnership between Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and Staffordshire County Council was recognised at the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards with the Health and Local Government Partnership of the Year award.

The Trust and county council have worked together to deliver eight community managed libraries in the south of the county. The authority provides the building, books, infrastructure and meets agreed costs, while MPFT recruits and supports volunteers who manage the day-to-day library service and provide wellbeing development programmes.

Activities held in libraries range from health checks to yoga, craft workshops and job clubs. These can involve Trust staff as well as those from other organisations with volunteers working with staff from the council’s library service and social inclusion navigators.

More than 250 people now volunteer, and membership numbers for both MPFT and the libraries have increased.

The awards are the most coveted accolade in UK healthcare and celebrate the outstanding contributions of staff, teams and organisations across the healthcare sector. The Health and Local Government Partnership of the Year award recognises NHS and local authority partnerships that deliver better value for patients and citizens.

The judges said of the team: “Their vision was clear in empowering communities to improve lives and is an example of how the NHS and local authorities can partner for better outcomes.”

Neil Carr, Chief Executive of MPFT said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. This is a unique and visionary initiative involving the Trust and county council working in tandem to empower volunteers to support local people and bring communities together.

“The benefits such a partnership continues to deliver cannot be underestimated and I am so pleased that it has been recognised in this way.”

John Henderson, Chief Executive of Staffordshire County Council said: “The Community Managed Libraries programme keeps our libraries at the heart of their communities by remaining relevant to local needs.

“MPFT has shown great energy, flair and enthusiasm in working with volunteers and developing what’s on offer inside the libraries and I am delighted by their success.”

MPFT was also shortlisted in six other categories at the HSJ Awards:

  • Mental Health Provider of the Year
  • Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award in recognition of the Joining Forces Network of seven NHS trusts, led by MPFT, that provides inpatient mental health care for serving military personnel
  • Primary Care Innovation of the Year in recognition of an innovative partnership service provided by MPFT’s Telford and Wrekin Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service and Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust’s Telford Musculoskeletal Service that combines care for the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the local community
  • Community or Primary Care Service Redesign in recognition of the Lichfield Staying Well pathway, supporting frail patients to live and age well
  • Digitising Patient Services Initiative in recognition of the Trust’s work to digitally empower staff to deliver a fully integrated care record
  • Freedom to Speak Up Organisation of the Year

Neil added: “Well done to all of our teams for being nominated. I’m enormously proud of their hard work and innovation that challenges the status quo for the benefit of our patients, service users and the populations we serve.”

 

Christmas comes to intu Potteries

The festive season is kicking in at intu Potteries, with their festive display where a white Christmas is guaranteed, complete with walkabout Santa and carol singing.

Whether customers want to catch a Christmas movie, have fun together with friends or do a bit of festive shopping, they can do it all thanks to intu’s later-night opening which kicks in with their Thursday late nights from 2 December. Opening hour details can be found on their website or by picking up a Christmas leaflet in the centre.

intu are guaranteeing a white Christmas this year, courtesy of their magical indoor snow fall. Young and old alike can enjoy watching the snowfall every 20 minutes until Christmas Eve at their festive display.

A walkabout Santa is there each weekend from the 14 November and then every day from the 16 December until Christmas Eve greeting children, snapchatting the elves and ringing his bell. Make sure the little ones have their wish lists ready as there are Santa letter writing stations as part of the festive display.

intu would like to invite local choir groups to entertain their shoppers over the festive period. Email potteries.information@intu.co.uk for more information and an application form.

Jon Rouse has been announced as the preferred candidate for the top officer job at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Subject to ratification at a full council meeting on Thursday 14 November, Jon is set to join the local authority as city director. In early February 2020, he will take on lead officer responsibility for the multi-million pound organisation with just under 5,000 staff that deliver over 700 services for 256,000 residents in Stoke-on-Trent.

For the last three years, Jon has been the chief officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership charged with delivering improved health outcomes in Greater Manchester.

He has a strong track record in local government having held the post of chief executive of the London borough of Croydon Council. He was also previously chief executive at both the Housing Corporation and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

In Greater Manchester, Jon has been responsible for pioneering a new integrated health and care system which is now being adopted across the country. Other successes include significant improvements in social care quality, major improvements in mental health services meeting national access targets for children and adults, and improvements in getting children school ready, including closing the gap with the rest of the country for children on free school meals.

Cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cabinet member for corporate resources, strategy and partnerships said: “We had an incredibly strong field of candidates apply for the role – people know Stoke is on the up and want to be part of our next chapter even though we still have challenges. Having a candidate of Jon’s calibre join us reflects how far we’ve come as a city.

“Jon is an excellent candidate. Subject to full council’s confirmation, we look forward to him starting work with us. Jon’s immediate priorities are delivering our improvement work in children’s services and progressing the appointment for our director of children’s services. We all feel that Jon can build on our success to date, meet our challenges head on and continue to move Stoke-on-Trent forward on a regional and national level.”

Jon said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been offered this opportunity to serve the people of Stoke-on-Trent. It is a city of deep heritage, great enterprise and community pride. I look forward to becoming part of the Stoke-on-Trent team, supporting the council to achieve its ambitions for the city and working in close partnership with colleagues across public, private and voluntary sectors.

“It is of course a big wrench to leave the Greater Manchester Health and Care Partnership. It has been a privilege to spend the last few years helping build our unique devolved model for improving population health. I am very proud of the progress made, the results achieved, and the strength of partnership established. I have every confidence that the partnership will go from strength to strength. I will take much learning into my new role.”

Share your views in our QES survey

Surveying for our latest Quarterly Economic Survey is now open. We would love to hear from firms of all shapes and sizes – whether starts ups, sole traders, SMEs, medium sized or large corporations – to help create an accurate picture of the business landscape across Staffordshire.

The QES survey results will allow us to find out more about your business and some of the issues you’re having. It’s so important that we understand your challenges in order to raise these issues in national and regional government. Your responses will remain completely anonymous.

Whether you’re a seasoned director or new to your company, please spare just a few minutes to fill in the survey. Thank you for taking part!

Complete the survey here.

Avoiding a no-deal Brexit and delivering an urgent confidence boost through action on infrastructure, immigration, skills and business costs must be at the forefront of the next government’s agenda, says the British Chambers of Commerce.

2020 and beyond: business priorities for the next UK government – compiled with input from the 53 accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK and the BCC’s growing global network – sets out key priorities that would enable businesses of all sizes to reignite the country’s stagnating economy.

BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said:

“The message from business communities all over the UK couldn’t be clearer: the next government must deliver an end to the Brexit stalemate and take decisive steps to improve the business environment here at home.

“To say business leaders are angry and frustrated would be putting it mildly. They are doing their bit for the country – and think it is high time politicians do their bit too.

“We cannot afford to allow our infrastructure to fray, for the gaping holes in our training and skills system to go unfilled, or for governments to pile on new costs that stop firms from investing in growth.

“Millions of businesspeople across the UK pay their taxes diligently, and care deeply about their communities and the environment. They should never be seen as the enemies of progress, and Westminster should never be distracted from delivering the conditions needed for growth, jobs and prosperity here at home.

“Our proposals would help an incoming administration reignite business confidence and investment – and would pay lasting dividends for our communities and the UK economy.”

Key business priorities for the next administration are:

On Brexit:

  • Avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the European Union. Ensure the smoothest possible shift from a transition period to the future UK-European Union relationship. Introduce a temporary SME Brexit tax credit to support businesses that need to undertake specific activity to adjust to changes in trading conditions.

On people:

  • Introduce a simple and flexible new immigration system that minimises the administrative burden on businesses and allows access to all skill levels – including temporary, seasonal and permanent roles – with recognition of professional qualifications.
  • Increase funding for apprenticeships to ensure SMEs can access training, at all skill levels, in their local area and reform the Apprenticeship Levy in England to allow businesses to use all forms of accredited training.

On business investment and costs:

  • Launch a business-led review of the business rates system in England and Wales, and work with the Scottish government to co-ordinate these reforms to provide a level playing field.
  • Extend the £1 million Annual Investment Allowance for a further two years and widen its scope.

On infrastructure:

  • Raise public investment in infrastructure to at least 1.4 per cent of GDP per year – exceeding the funding guideline of 1.2 per cent recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission.
  • Complete the legal frameworks forall phases of HS2; deliver promised investment in Northern Powerhouse Rail; and proceed to deliver a UK-wide high-speed rail network as soon as possible.

On international trade:

  • Ensure continuity of trading conditions with third countries so that businesses can continue to benefit from the levels of market access that they have had under European Union free trade agreements.
  • Secure the future of the UK-European Union trading relationship, minimising cross-border trade frictions and avoiding a hard border with Ireland.