Security experts believe hi-tech door entry devices which also take your temperature could be crucial if workers and school pupils are to return with confidence following lockdown.
The Security Services Group, based in Stoke and Shrewsbury, are advising customers to install Temperature Monitoring Access Control (TMAC) solutions brought to the market for the first time in June.
“This is brand new technology and its ideal for organisations looking to monitor health as people emerge from lockdown following the coronavirus lockdown,” said Dave Critchley Sales Manager of Security Services. “We’re in talks with companies looking to update their door entry equipment following lockdown and we also believe these devices are ideal for schools and hotels as they emerge from lockdown.
“Security Services have been supporting firms with their electronic fire/security requirements for more than 35-years and advances in technology means the market is always evolving. We see this TMAC solution, from Dahua Technology, as a major leap forward as it not only uses face recognition to monitor who is attempting to enter but has the capability to rapidly scan people suffering abnormally high body temperatures.
“It is also incredibly easy to deploy. The screen is built into a stand and all users need to do is to plug it into a normal socket.”
‘Along with the obvious safety advantages as we emerge from lockdown, there are applications for a safer world moving forward, for example, it can be deployed for automatic school registration and pupil ID or to identify workers and visitors within a building in the event of an emergency.”
The Security Services Group, based at Berry Street, Stoke, have continued to work through lockdown. The company has 50 staff in Stoke and a further 25 at its sister company, Security Wise, Shrewsbury.
The company operates across the UK, installing and maintaining CCTV systems, intruder alarms, fire alarms, automated gates and barriers, nurse/warden call schemes, door access systems, and home automation
ENDS
To find out more about Security Services Group. http://securityservices.uk.com.

Cyclist Jess Varnish has lost her employment tribunal appeal against British Cycling.
Ms. Varnish has spent years in a legal battle over her claim she should be considered an employee of British Cycling or UK Sport and therefore should be subject to certain protections under law – including sick pay, a pension and the right to sue for unfair dismissal.
If successful, her case could have had far reaching implications for professional athletes and sport funding bodies.
Following a two-day remote hearing in May. The judge, Mr Justice Choudhury, said yesterday (15/07/2020): “The [original] tribunal was entitled to conclude, based on an evaluative judgment taking account of all relevant factors, that the claimant was not an employee or a worker. The tribunal had not erred in its approach to the assessment of employee status and nor had it reached conclusions that no reasonable tribunal, properly directed, could have reached.”
If Varnish, a former world silver medallist, had been deemed an employee, it would have allowed her to pursue a claim against both British Cycling and UK Sport for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.
But the tribunal decided that the use of public funds from the National Lottery to provide coaching, the lack of remuneration from British Cycling to Ms Varnish and a grant from UK Sport that took the place of ‘wages’ was inconsistent with being an employee or a worker.
Comment from Karen:
“In law, it is important to consider the difference between an employee, a worker and being self-employed. The employment tribunal likened Jess Varnish’ position to a student receiving a grant and ruled she could not, therefore, be seen as an employee of British Cycling or UK Sport.
“Of course, this does not just apply to elite athletes. Companies must consider how employees have employment rights that are not given to freelancers, such as the right to holiday pay, statutory sick pay, maternity or paternity leave and redundancy rights.
“The designation as a worker gives lesser protection than an employee but still affords some protection, for example, under the Working Time regulations, national minimum wage and paid holiday rights.
“Jess Varnish fell into neither the employed or worker category and the appeal tribunal rejected her submission that the services provided by British Cycling amounted to remuneration, finding that they were “benefits”.
If you are a company director or manager needing advice on employment law, please contact me at kcoleman@excellolaw.co.uk.

In response to the industry’s hunger for information on technology that can pull them out of the post-pandemic productivity lull, automation equipment supplier EU Automation, has pooled all its resources into a new, free, online Knowledge Hub. At the click of a button, visitors can download a wealth of resources on additive manufacturing (AM), artificial intelligence (AI), Industry 4.0, cyber security, obsolescence, sustainability and the circular economy. The company has also made its two chart-topping books available to download free of charge.

EU Automation has been publishing its industry magazine, AUTOMATED, since 2016. In the last four years, it has gathered insight from trade bodies, innovative start ups and created a content bank. The Knowledge Hub takes this several steps further, by providing industry an easy way to download a range of resources on an industry trend of their choice.

The company has also made its two manufacturing chart-topping books available for free download. The books were previously available on Amazon for a small cost, but the authors felt that enabling free download would best aid manufacturing professionals in their online learning.

The first book, The Book of Obsolescence Management (BoOM) explains how manufacturers can use obsolescence to their advantage, giving practical advice from industry experts at COPA-DATA, Renishaw, the International Institute of Obsolescence Management and more. The book has been downloaded more than 17,000 times and sat at the top of the Amazon manufacturing chart for several weeks.

The second book, 4.0 Sight, is a global look at the fourth industrial revolution, covering initiatives like Japan’s Society 5.0 and Made in China 2025. Similar to BoOM, it is packed with insight from big industry players, including ABB, GE and Toshiba Machine.

“Google Trends data suggests that the search term “free online learning” increased dramatically during the COVID-19 outbreak,” explained Jonathan Wilkins, director at EU Automation. “There is a desire to learn about innovative manufacturing technologies that could help propel companies out of the pandemic lull, by improving processes, making better use of their people and by helping to drive productivity.

“As a distributor that speaks to manufacturers all over the world every day, EU Automation wanted to share the knowledge and expertise it has gathered on cutting-edge technology and present it in a digestible way. We hope that collating all our expertise and removing the pay-wall on our books will help more industry professionals access learning resources, and inspire them to consider new approaches,” added Wilkins.

To access the Knowledge Hub, visit https://www.euautomation.com/en/knowledge-hub.

We are actively seeking Council and Local Area Advisory Board members

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are looking for active, influential members who would like to take their involvement to the next level by joining Chambers’ Council or one of the Local Area Advisory Boards for Stafford and the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Chambers CEO, Sara Williams said: “Serving on our Council, or a Local Area Advisory Board is a great way to keep abreast of what is going on in business and the wider economy. As a businessperson you can get directly involved and can represent the views of businesses in your community right up to the highest level.

“In addition, you will make new contacts within your peer group and forge valuable business connections.

“We welcome applications from all businesspeople from all backgrounds from self-employed to large business in any sector. “

Here are some quotes from existing Council and Local Area Advisory Board members:

“I would recommend Council membership to any Chamber member who would like to get more involved in Chamber activity and in the local community.”

Margaret Michell

“Being a member of the Chambers Council is an amazing opportunity to be a bridge between the Chambers team and the local businesses they support. It has enabled me to meet with some fascinating and inspirational people in the local business community.”

Lisa Cooper, Socially Grown

“I can honestly say that being a member of the Staffordshire Moorlands Board has totally transformed the way that I operate. It has introduced me to likeminded businesspeople who are willing to work together and collaborate on initiatives which make a real difference to all our businesses and the local economy.”

Jed Eatough, LSGK Accountants Ltd

“I joined the Chamber’s Council because I believe that it is vital to be willing to serve in order to support local businesses and jobs – no more so than now when we face such major challenges.”

Jeremy Lefroy

If you are interested in becoming a council or board member, or would like to chat about what is involved please contact Vicki Hardie vicki.hardie@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

Sara is away this week, so our guest blogger is Rob Lawley, Head of International Trade

Increased international trade support ready for January 2021

With the end of the EU withdrawal transition period drawing closer it is vital that companies trading across borders prepare thoroughly for the implications from 1st January 2021.

As always, it is our intention at Staffordshire Chambers to be the ‘go to’ organisation for support on all matters international trade.

To this end, from 1st September we are increasing our support package and changing the existing Export Club to the International Trade Club with the following greatly increased benefits:

· Up to six hours free advice per annum on import/ export technicalities.

· Priority service for customs declarations and access to specialist advice.

· 50% discount on a customs compliance visit – currently charged at £2,000

· £50 discount off a Chamber international trade training course

· Premium walk-in service fee waived for two ‘walk ins’ per annum – currently charged at £15 per walk-in

· Completion of first export document free of charge – currently charged at £25

· Discounted letter of credit and export documentation collection service.

· Discounted credit reports on overseas companies.

· Access to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) global network

· Exclusive invites to four International Trade Club breakfasts per annum

There will be workshops from the beginning of October covering the topics associated with the new customs regime which will be underpinned by our existing suite of courses and more new workshops focussing on the customs declaration service.

In the meantime if you have any enquiries or issues please contact our international trade team on 01782 202222 or visit www.staffordshirechambers.co.uk/internationaltrade/

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002. We also have a Twitter hour each Tuesday and Friday from 11am – 12noon #StaffsChamberChat

Stafford based IT provider 848 took immediate action as soon as lockdown hit to ensure the company wasn’t drastically affected and maintained its excellent reputation.

 

Keen to “do the right thing” Director Kerry Burn and his team agreed to take steps which would ensure they came out of the Covid-19 crisis in a positive position.

 

Kerry said: “Immediately after we realised the severity of this pandemic we offered to defer our clients’ fees by 50%. As far as I know we’re one of the few IT providers in the country who did this.

 

“We wanted to make sure we looked after our customers, and knowing cash was likely to be a big issue going forward for most businesses, we decided to defer our costs to help them manage cashflow better and give them one less decision to make.”

 

The whole team also pulled together in a bid to preserve 848’s cashflow and agreed to a temporary pay deferral, showing the strength, commitment and trust the staff have in 848.

 

Kerry added: “We have a great team of people working for us and together, the whole team agreed to a three month 50% pay deferral, which helped us to manage cash flow, as we also deferred fees for clients. It was fantastic to see how strong the team morale is.”

 

And as an additional nod to their integrity and faith in their services, 848 have also just repaid 50% of their furlough money back to HMRC.

 

Kerry said: “We’re also very proud that we’ve been able to repay 50% of the furlough money back to HMRC. We felt passionately that we would only take or use any funding that we really truly needed. And thankfully, the measures we have taken over the past few months have meant that we’re still in a strong position now we’re coming out of the other side.

 

“All of these collective team decisions have meant we’ve come out of the other side without too much concern and are able to return to some kind of normality in business.”

 

If you’re interested in working with an IT provider with integrity, contact 848 on  0344 984 8848 or info@848.co

More than 1000 personal protective equipment (PPE) starter packs have been snapped up by local micro-businesses in Staffordshire.

The ‘Start Back PPE Pack’ contains one pack of 30 face-masks and 25 pairs of gloves, and is being offered to up to 2,000 businesses in the Staffordshire County Council area who apply via their website.

The support is intended for micro-businesses (nine employees or less) who either work in close contact with the public, or in a confined space that makes social distancing difficult. It isn’t intended to replace their own supply.

Already, more than 1000 micro businesses have taken up the offer of a free pack, and help to fund suppliers including a list of those who are offering regulation and cost-effective PPE to businesses.

County Councillor Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: “The response of micro-businesses to this scheme has been really good—in just over a week we’ve had 1000 businesses take up the offer of a starter-pack, and the feedback we’re getting is that these packs and the information we give to businesses is really helping them.

“As we see more businesses open up, it is essential that they have the tools and the information needed to operate safely, and are able to get the PPE they need.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Staffordshire economy and it’s clear from our research that many who have to work near other people may find this still a worrying time.  We hope that these PPE starter packs, the list of PPE suppliers coupled with the extensive support packages we have already set up to help businesses during the crisis, will go some way to getting them back on track.”

Mike Silvester from Bridgeford Electrical Services Ltd based in Stafford was one of the first to sign up for a pack. He said:  “I deal with customers face-to-face on a daily basis, working inside their homes. As I can’t conduct my business in any other way, this PPE has helped me start back up again, and the information provided means I can purchase PPE myself, safe in the knowledge that I’m getting the right items for a reasonable price.”

Micro businesses can apply for the PPE starter packs here: https://bit.ly/StartbackPPE

More than 1000 personal protective equipment (PPE) starter packs have been snapped up by local micro-businesses in Staffordshire.

The ‘Start Back PPE Pack’ contains one pack of 30 face-masks and 25 pairs of gloves, and is being offered to up to 2,000 businesses in the Staffordshire County Council area who apply via their website.

The support is intended for micro-businesses (nine employees or less) who either work in close contact with the public, or in a confined space that makes social distancing difficult. It isn’t intended to replace their own supply.

Already, more than 1000 micro businesses have taken up the offer of a free pack, and help to fund suppliers including a list of those who are offering regulation and cost-effective PPE to businesses.

County Councillor Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: “The response of micro-businesses to this scheme has been really good—in just over a week we’ve had 1000 businesses take up the offer of a starter-pack, and the feedback we’re getting is that these packs and the information we give to businesses is really helping them.

“As we see more businesses open up, it is essential that they have the tools and the information needed to operate safely, and are able to get the PPE they need.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Staffordshire economy and it’s clear from our research that many who have to work near other people may find this still a worrying time. We hope that these PPE starter packs, the list of PPE suppliers coupled with the extensive support packages we have already set up to help businesses during the crisis, will go some way to getting them back on track.”

Mike Silvester from Bridgeford Electrical Services Ltd based in Stafford was one of the first to sign up for a pack. He said: “I deal with customers face-to-face on a daily basis, working inside their homes. As I can’t conduct my business in any other way, this PPE has helped me start back up again, and the information provided means I

can purchase PPE myself, safe in the knowledge that I’m getting the right items for a reasonable price.”

Micro businesses can apply for the PPE starter packs here: https://bit.ly/StartbackPPE

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has dug deep into the coffers again this week as he announced measures in his Wednesday statement, worth £30bn, to prevent mass unemployment and stimulate the coronavirus hit economy.

Measures include:

· A bonus of £1000 payable to firms for every member of staff kept for three months when the furlough scheme ends in October

· 50% off ‘Eat out to help out’ vouchers’ during August

· A VAT cut on hospitality from 20% to 5%

· An ‘Apprentice recovery package’ to create more high-quality jobs for 16-24-year olds

· A stamp duty holiday for properties valued up to £500,000

The Chambers welcomes all the above announcements whilst we realise that further stimulus will be needed to help the UK economy restart, rebuild, and renew over the coming months.

The Chancellor admitted that there will be further job losses, and this is evidenced by the daily announcements from big name retail, travel and hospitality firms who are cutting their losses. Evidence that the £1000 job retention bonus will not be enough to save jobs.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will continue to lobby the government to address concerns – including the impending end of key business loan schemes, and the unanswered question around what support will be offered to communities that face local lockdowns.

If you have any concerns or issues you would like us to take up on your behalf then please let us know by sending them to info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

Good news for the tourism sector as the government has announced to boost the visitor economy, drawing down on remaining allocation from the EU’s Regional Development Fund.

Up to £5000 will be available to pay for new equipment, technology, professional help etc.

Funding locally will be allocated to the Stoke & Staffordshire Growth Hub, based at the Chambers.

Funding will be concentrated in places such as Staffordshire, where the employment share of tourism and hospitality is especially high.

Whilst we await further clarification you can register your interest by calling the Growth Hub helpline 0300 111 8002. You can view the scheme announcement at https://bit.ly/2DlAOS9

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002. We also have a Twitter hour each Tuesday and Friday from 11am – 12noon #StaffsChamberChat

A competition for start-up entrepreneurs in Staffordshire Moorlands has been won by a new business providing flood risk and drainage consultancy.

The 2020 winner, Rennard Consulting, was set up in October 2019 by Faye Gennard who lives in Leek.

The second annual Dyer’s Den competition carried a prize worth £5000 in cash and business services. The final was originally scheduled for April but was moved due to the lockdown and took place online in early July.

Dyer’s Den is the idea of Jed Eatough, director of Leek based LSGK Accountants Ltd and is supported by partners Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Staffordshire Moorlands Chamber of Commerce, Tinsdills Solicitors, Moorland Contract Group, Yellow Circle Web Solutions, Cathy Bower Photography and Mark Brammar Associates.

The prize is made up of £750 in cash, mentoring, legal and financial help and advice, membership of the Chamber of Commerce, website design and portrait photography. There is also a £250 cash prize for the runner up. The cash element of the prizes was provided by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Staffordshire Chambers of commerce.

Competition winner Faye Gennard said: “I was really excited and grateful for the opportunity to pitch my business in front of the judges. Winning the competition will be a real game-changer and I am looking forward to capitalising on the all the elements of the prize package to take my business forward.”

Jed Eatough added: “It was a really strong field this year with all three finalists giving fantastic pitches. However, the judges were unanimous that Faye was the outright winner.

“I have spoken to all the finalists after the final and they all said what a great opportunity it was and how it made them focus their minds on all aspects of their business.”

The runner up was Keates’ Boxing Academy who will receive £250 in cash.