The Coronavirus has necessitated businesses close across Staffordshire leaving many empty buildings: this will likely be the first time your building is going to be empty for an extended period of time. There is a concern that your property could be at risk of being targeted: this could potentially come in the form of an illegal occupation, the theft of stock or criminal damage.

The risk factor to your premises will naturally be dependent on a number of factors: area, local criminality, size, stock, security and this is an aide memoire for assisting you in your decision-making. Staffordshire Police is maintaining a visible presence and is committed to preventing any crime. However, we need your help to ensure that your buildings are as secure as they can be.

As a rule, it is important that you focus on the risks to your premises and regularly review your security. Work in partnership online to reduce the risk by sharing information with your local business community, crime reduction partnership and local police.

The restrictions on your movement will be prohibitive. Only travel where absolutely necessary. Please consider your health, and that of your colleagues, friends, families, and wider population.

The following information will help you protect your property:

1. Review your property portfolio
Conduct a detailed security review of all occupied and unoccupied property and land that you have responsibility for: use a systematic approach of reviewing your premises layer by layer, starting with the boundary and working your way inwards. Look for vulnerabilities in the space between the perimeter, any outbuildings and the main building. Out of sight, out of mind: Lock away any items that could be stolen, used as a climbing aide or targeted for arson.

2. Access and boundary treatments
Invest in a recognised security standard gate and locking mechanism, which is securely fixed to the ground and in alignment with the boundary fence. Ensure your boundary is security rated and high enough to deter someone from climbing over it. We recommend a minimum height of 2.1 metres. Contact your local planning office for details of what height they will allow as a matter of course. There are a wide range of perimeter fences available with additional security features which will be sufficient to deter a physical attack. Some fencing options have a protruding topping that is difficult to climb, whilst allowing natural surveillance through the barrier. Some fencing can also incorporate lighting.

3. Prevent vehicular access on to the site – ‘Design out the space!’
A strong vehicle height restrictor can stop large vehicles entering your site. If the site is closed, you can prohibit vehicular access to the entrance/boundary by securing it with heavy-duty concrete blocks or security rated bollards. If your company has access to heavy-duty vehicle, you can deploy them in any outdoors areas thus ‘designing out the space’ for any prospective occupation. If you don’t have any vehicles or trailers large enough to accomplish this, consider if there are other companies who could use the space for storage of their vehicles or freight and whether this a viable option for legitimately occupying the space. Parking vehicles close to or in front of the entrances to buildings can reduce vulnerability by making them harder to access. Please ensure this is safe to do so, and maintain compliance with fire regulations.

4. Surveillance
In concert with ‘government coronavirus policies’, an SIA licensed security guard employed at the site could provide a permanent presence and quickly alert the authorities to any attempt to enter the property. The SIA website has additional advice on key worker status for the private security industry. The Coronavirus has completely redefined the way we interact (on the risk to the building and personal safety criterion) but there are accredited organisations who could provide a form of residency and permanent occupancy of the building in line with the government recommendations of self-isolation. Note: Always be mindful of the personal safety of your staff and remind them to always call 999 in an emergency.

Having a monitoring station with remote access to the site means police and, if applicable the local authority, can be instantly notified upon an illegal entry, with or without a security presence on the site.

Ensure your CCTV system is an accredited system (correctly installed) and positioned in a way that covers your premises and any vulnerable areas. Please ensure that your staff can operate the system in event of criminality. It should not be in a position where it can be easily attacked or removed.

There are also CCTV systems available that you can link to an App on your phone allowing you to monitor your buildings. Some of these possess a vocal capacity, which is tremendously beneficial because you can ‘communicate’ with any intruder. Some have grown ‘used to the presence of cameras’ and simply presume no one is monitoring them-hearing a voice can change that. Two industry bodies accredit reputable CCTV companies: the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

Lighting affects behaviour. Ensure that your property has good lighting levels (BS5489- 2013 for public spaces). We recommend constant low level dusk-till-dawn lighting which can be enhanced by motion detector lighting if needed. Bollard mounted lights are not recommended as they are prone to vandalism and do not sufficiently illuminate the face of any potential intruder.

5. Forensic marking
There are several property marking deterrents which can be used to enhance your security and protect your infrastructure and assets. These contain a unique traceable liquid/DNA code that can provide evidence of a vehicle or individual’s presence at your property. There are also similarly constructed DNA spray type devices available that can be linked into an intruder alarm system. Highly visible warning signs will show your property is protected and warn of the dangers or consequences of entering.

6. Removing the utility supply
These amenities can be attractive to any would-be occupiers. Cutting-off the electric or water supply to the site, if they are not needed, may deter illegal occupiers. Be aware that removing them will impact on any security features you have such as an intruder alarm or CCTV. You will also have to consider fire regulations.

7. Protecting buildings within your site

The vulnerability of a building will depend on a number of factors including its location, local criminality and the type of boundary that exists. If the location is close to the boundary, it will make it easier to target, as there is no additional layer of protection. Protect your doors and windows by using security accredited shutters or grilles. The security rating will be dependent on your building and its contents. Some venues have been targeted historically for illegal occupations and raves on account of having large rooms inside (halls, large dining areas etc.) so if these have entrance doors secure them. Add yet another tier of security. If using a security officer is not an option, consider using a timer switch to create ‘the illusion of occupancy’.

Fit a monitored alarm to the building. This is a good deterrent and a variety of alarms are available. Two industry bodies accredit reputable companies: the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

Consider the use of fogging systems that activate upon an alarm being activated-these have a proven record of being dissuasive to criminality-you can’t steal, what you can’t see. Lock valuable products away from any shop floor or visible location. We recommend a safe, to the correct security and insurance accreditations, bolted to the floor and located in a safe and secluded location.
This link to security for construction sites may also be beneficial: https://nbcc.police.uk/guidance/construction-site-security-guide

Covid-19 Emergency Grants Scheme

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic across the UK, the Community Foundation for Staffordshire launched an appeal via JustGiving to raise funds for those affected.

We have now launched our Emergency grants programme that is open to organisations and individuals across Staffordshire who have been affected by the pandemic.

Please note that we cannot support the county without continued support and donations to the JustGiving appeal, so we still need you help in raising awareness of our appeal.

Donate here

The Emergency Grants Programme

Who can apply?
  • Registered charities
  • Constituted Community or Voluntary groups
  • Social Enterprises
  • Any other voluntary, not for profit organisation
  • Parish and Town Councils (project can not fund statutory responsibilities)
  • Organisations that are newly established may be able to be supported, but please call us before applying.
  • Business – as long as their project clearly benefits the local community and not their own costs, profit or gain.
  • Individuals who are residents of Staffordshire or Stoke on Trent

 

Statutory bodies such as a city and county council or health institution cannot apply.

 

What Grants are Available?

There are 3 tiers for organisation grants:

  • up to £1000. We expect most applications to fall into this category
  • £1000 to £5000. We require a more detailed project plan for these grants.
  • £5000 + These grants have a more strategic aim and anyone wishing to apply for more than £5000 should first contact us to discuss their project
  • Individuals may be awarded up to £500, but this must be for actual costs rather than estimates. We will discuss this with you when you call to make your application.

You will find a full, detailed criteria on our website and we strongly advise that you thoroughly read through this before making an application to ensure that it is processed quickly and efficiently.

For more information and apply, please click here

For anyone who finds themselves facing redundancy, taking early retirement, or just re-evaluating their current career path, Transition to Teach is a fully government-funded initiative to raise awareness of teaching as a credible alternative. We hope to be able to ease a little pressure by supporting anyone who may be affected, either by current events, or for other reasons, to help them explore whether teaching could be a possible new career for them, and to look at  their eligibility and the various training options and financial incentives available. For those who opt to take it further, we continue to offer one-to-one specialist advice and guidance throughout the application process, the training year and the first year as a newly qualified teacher.

This is a free service for all employees based in England. It is funded by the Department for Education, who recognise the real value of career changers and the depth of knowledge and experience they can bring into a classroom. It is also important to note that we are not a training provider and are able to offer impartial advice regarding training and the career ahead from specialists who have been involved in education at all levels for many years.

We are keen to make as many people as possible aware of this service and are writing to you in the hope that you will be able to share the information, amongst your clients, partners and colleagues, and in particular, where you know staff may be affected now or in the future.

I have attached our employers’  leaflet which provides some more information for you and your colleagues, and an employee’s leaflet which can be distributed to potentially interested staff, either internally, or amongst stakeholders, family or friends. We recognise that teaching will not suit everyone but it is good for people to be aware that there is information and specialist help available if they want it and hopefully for some, it may provide a new opportunity at this time of uncertainty.

Anyone who would like more information about teaching as a career can express their interest at:

https://www.transitiontoteach.co.uk/

Your city needs you

 

People are being urged to volunteer to support some of the city’s most vulnerable people as part of a community response to coronavirus in Stoke-on-Trent.

#StokeonTrentTogether has been formed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council working alongside local charity and voluntary sector organisation VAST to meet the everyday needs of vulnerable residents who are affected by Covid-19 specifically those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family to call upon.

It offers a free call telephone line and website service so that people can access help to get basic food supplies, prescription collections, gas or electricity meter top-ups, regular conversations and even dog walking.

Nearly 400 volunteers have already registered to be part of the initiative but more are being urged to sign up as 500 people have already turned to the helpline for help and support.  Nearly 120 residents rang the service over the weekend following a move to seven days a week extended opening hours. This included requests for help with prescriptions, nappies and baby formula.

 

Council leader Abi Brown said: “129 organisations across the city have already volunteered to support #StokeonTrentTogether. It’s been an amazing response but we need more people to come forward to help. Your city needs you.

 

It can be as simple as agreeing to phone someone who may be lonely in their own home as they self-isolate. Whatever level of support you sign up to give will go a huge way to making a difference to people in need. Over the weekend we worked closely with The Hubb Foundation in Burslem to get emergency supplies out to people in need. We were able to get food out to one resident who hadn’t eaten for two days after becoming ill with the virus and self-isolating. We also got nappies and formula to a young family who are all self-isolating. It is invaluable work and we know that the people of Stoke-on-Trent will get out of it as much as they put in.

 

“While our team of volunteers and staff were able to meet all the demand, we want more volunteers to come forward. We are also encouraging people who would like to support with donations to go to their local food bank although they should do this in a considered way that is mindful of government advice on social distancing and essential journeys only.”

Food parcels have also started to be delivered to people who cannot leave their homes across Stoke-on-Trent. These first food parcels are being co-ordinated by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to support the most vulnerable residents in the city who have been told to self-isolate at home for 12 weeks in response to the coronavirus crisis.

A total of 1.5 million extremely vulnerable people have been asked to shield themselves during the pandemic as the Government urges residents nationally to ‘stay at home and save lives.’

Pallets of supplies were received from government at Fenton Manor Leisure Centre which since it was shut to members of the public as a result of Covid-19 is now doubling up as a logistical hub to help with distribution of the critical supplies across the city.

Staff from Unitas, the council’s housing repairs company and council staff – some of whom have been redeployed from other non-essential council services that have closed – have worked to co-ordinate the supplies. The packages contain essentials such as bread, milk, toilet roll, pasta, fruit and tinned goods and are enough to give an individual food for a week.

 

Council leader Abi Brown continued: “The situation is fast-paced and ever changing but it’s been extremely heart-warming to hear that alongside the work by #StokeonTrentTogether, the first packages are being delivered to some of the most vulnerable in our city.

 

“We are linking with our suppliers and making the best use of supply chains in the city – such as wholesalers that we have contracts with as well as our City Catering teams – so that we can continue to help the people that we need to.

 

“Across the city, people are standing up to be counted. It’s amazing to see such selfless acts of kindness and support for those in greatest need. I’m so proud of everyone involved. These are extraordinary times where we’re seeing an extraordinary response. I’m in no doubt Stoke-on-Trent will shine in these challenging times.”

 

“Finally we are urging hotels and other accommodation to consider if they can support in our bid to find a suitable location for those who are homeless to stay following new guidance introduced by government. If you think you can help, please get in touch.”

 

Donations can be received at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, in City Road, Fenton or Dimensions Leisure Centre, Scotia Road, Burslem between 8.30am and 4.30pm as well as to other food banks across the city. Donations of food, nappies, baby milk, baby wipes and sanitary products are particularly welcome.

 

Residents can access the #StokeonTrentTogether website via www.corona19.vast.org.uk, or call 0800 5615610 seven days a week between 9am-5pm.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The importance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.

Chamber member, Darren J. Brookes is offering a one to one free coaching session throughout the coronavirus lockdown.

Darren said, “The Covid-19 virus has affected everyone. A lot of business owners have taken a real hit and sadly some people have already completely lost their business. I feel it’s a time where people will have to rethink their strategies, and how they are going to operate in moving forward.”

“For me personally this will mean running my business virtually, as I usually meet clients face to face. Through social media, speaking to clients, colleagues and friends it was apparent that a lot of people are really struggling at the moment; the isolation, not going to work, not connecting with friends and family has had a major impact on peoples overall wellbeing.”

“A few friends reached out to me for support, so I had the idea of running individual coaching sessions for free. I’ve booked clients in for one session, where we can put a plan in place, look at daily habits that will have a positive impact on wellbeing, set goals and develop a positive mindset. Although it is only a single session, it’s setting a positive foundation; for what may be challenging times ahead.”

If you feel that you will benefit from this, then you can contact Darren direct –darren.brookes@mail.com | 07989713920 | http://life-coach-cheshire-staffordshire.co.uk/

Staffordshire’s leading business consultancy agency Strategi Solutions Group Ltd is offering advice and support to businesses during the current pandemic of coronavirus.

From HR to marketing and social media to supporting employee mental health Strategi Solutions Group Ltd is offering a range of tools, top tips and advice for businesses across Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Many of the resources are FREE with only specialist and or bespoke support requests being charged at a significantly reduced rate.

“We are here to support,” comments Wendy Dean CEO of Strategi Solutions Group Ltd. “Businesses must pull together at this time and show continued support by sharing skills, experience, knowledge and where possible buying local. I am so proud of the team and the commitment they are showing clients new and old.”

Dean continues: “Whether you are a SME or large corporation the advice we are sharing will apply, so please use it and we hope it benefits you now and or in the future.”

Naturally in Strategi Solutions Ltd style the content is warm and upbeat, encouraging businesses to look for the positives and use this enforced time to future plan and strategize.

To benefit from these resources, businesses are encouraged to follow Strategi Solutions Group Ltd online
Website: www.strategisolutionsgroup.co.uk
Facebook: @strategisolutionsgroup
Twitter: @stratsols
Linkedin: StrategiSolutionsGroup
Or to email them directly hello@strategisolutions.co.uk

“We are very much open for business, the Strategi family are working incredibly hard from home to continue to provide our clients and partners with the best quality service during these unprecedented times. We are here to help and look forward to welcome clients new or old. Please get in touch and say hello, we are available for video calls, audio calls and emails,” says Dean.

An appeal has been made to businesses in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent for PPE equipment for care workers.

Staffordshire County Council is asking for companies to help support the vital work of adult and children social care work and ensure that homecare, care homes, nursing homes, children’s units and frontline social workers have the required PPE to do their jobs safely.

The council is asking if businesses could donate PPE in their stocks to help the authority with its work in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

The following list of PPE would be greatly appreciated:

1. Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks
2. Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks with eye protection
3. Small Medium and Large/extra-large nitrile or vinyl gloves
4. Disposable plastic aprons any colour
5. Eye protection glasses
6. Hand wipes
7. Surface wipes
8. Short or long sleeved disposable gowns
9. Hand sanitiser
10. FFP3 masks
11. Zip log bags

Any businesses that can help should contact Becky.lee@staffordshire.gov.uk 

We hope that you are safe and well during these difficult times.

We wanted to remind you that our Insight Hub has a wealth of resources that are free to view/download.

White Papers

Over 50 white papers, including:

  • Additive Manufacturing of Ceramics
  • Your Metal Component Has Failed in Fatigue – What Do You Do Next?
  • Cleaning and Sterilization Validation of Reusable Medical Devices

Webinars

Over 30 webinars, including:

  • The Use of Imaging for Claims Support
  • Testing the Durability of Offsite Residential Buildings
  • Understanding Polymer Processing and Structure to Minimize Failures

Videos

Check out our latest videos, including our series on solving processing issues.

 

We hope that you find these resources useful.  You can also read about the work we do in our Case Studies section.

Langley Foxall Update

Langley Foxall has worked hard in curating a new product to address the current situation. We understand that businesses have two main objectives.

1. Business Continuity; including the ability to work remotely
2. Cash Flow Management; Reduce expenditure without impacting business continuity.

We want to address businesses that have legacy bespoke software systems and can relate to any of the following:
1. Don’t have the capability for remote working
2. Aren’t getting the critical support needed to protect business continuity.
3. Aren’t working efficiently to produce a productive environment when working from home.

We’ve developed a new product to battle these three issues businesses are facing, so if this speaks to you, the rest is well worth reading.

This new business continuity support product has 5 features:
– Cloud Transformation – (Where applicable) Take legacy systems into the cloud.
– Bug Reduction – Tackle up-time issues head-on, create a strategy for bug fixing with our top of the class development team.
– Server Cost Reduction – (Where applicable), we have partnerships with AWS, Azure, Google cloud giving us a competitive edge. We also use advanced scaling & load balancing techniques to improve server performance and reduce costs further.
– Ongoing Support – 24/7 Support Desk, with SLAs and a dedicated account manager.
– Zero Downtime Guarantee – We recognise the commercial importance of being online, so we’re putting a Zero downtime guarantee on all services rendered.

If you want to read more about this product click here

We understand that the top priority for businesses right now is to hunker down and reduce expenditure while maintaining their core business functions and that is exactly what we’re aiming to achieve. There is no smoke and mirrors, just top of the class knowledge in resource management, reducing bloat in code, manpower and hardware.

We’re that confident in our implementation, we’re wrapping both services in a guarantee to ensure zero downtime throughout the process.

Best of all, we’re offering completely free consultancy and a turnaround of 72 hours. so you have nothing to lose by getting in touch.

At Langley Foxall, we understand how the current economic climate is impacting your business. Over the coming weeks, we’re striving to ensure it’s business as usual.

If you want to find out more about how this can work for you then drop us an email or give us a call.
Gavin Perry
01785 220892
gavinperry@langleyfoxall.co.uk

848’s commitment to you

By now the global pandemic crisis is understood by all and its consequences will now shape our lifetimes and dictate our new world order.

848 group is a growing, successful business and 7 days ago we had a strong pipeline of work and recruitment plans across the board to bring Business Changing IT to our customers, old and new. All of this has now been placed on hold pending the improvement of the global pandemic.

In the announcement on Friday, Rishi Sunak offered a range of measures to UK Business to offset the massive economic consequences of this problem and over the weekend the situation has continued to deteriorate. Mr Sunak has put the people first and it is to be applauded.

Because of this, I am today announcing the following measures for our customers;

• From the 1st April, all new invoices will have a 50% deferment applied to their balance. In other words, only half of your current debt is payable on our standard terms, the remainder will be deferred until the crisis is ‘over’. What that means will be reviewed month by month but for now, 848 group will not expect payment for the invoice balance of 50% until the resumption of ‘normal’ trading can be resumed. This will apply for a minimum of the next 3 months.

• This offer is open to all customers old and new. In other words, I will put the considerable skills and resources of our teams in helping you implement IT systems that will help you be competitive in the months and years to come.

• This will apply to our Managed Services Customers and Professional Services customers alike regardless of term or commitment.

• There are exemptions, of course, these are related to our supply chain where our key partners such as Microsoft, Google, TechData, agency providers and others have terms that mean we are required to pay them in full to keep the cloud services running. I invite our suppliers to join me in offering deferred terms to our customers if it is possible to do so.

• Updated statements and payment terms will be communicated to our clients over the coming week, clearly, we need to ensure that the balances owed are paid promptly.

Our industry is often misunderstood and indeed some obfuscate solutions to business problems and sell Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt as reasons to invest in IT, even now this is happening because of the Covid-19 Crisis. Our offer is designed to be tangible and to provide a real difference to our customers.

We have seen incredible generosity and sacrifice from all our departments to ensure our customers old and new, can be assisted in these difficult times. I am humbled by the show of solidarity, determination and commitment from our entire team in realising this potential lifeline.

I wish your families and yourselves well during this difficult time. If you have any questions you can contact me directly at kerry@848.co

www.848.co