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The snow has caused chaos for many UK businesses where working from home is not an option. The risks have now risen for businesses that have not considered their work related road safety (WRRS) policy for employees that have to drive for work.
Under the new revisions to the corporate manslaughter act and corporate homicide act, companies and senior management are accountable in the case of a fatal work related collision for any shortcomings in the procedures or systems that may be deemed to have contributed to the incident. This means that if there is a fatality, employers can now be investigated if it was during working hours.
Many companies that insist on employees making their way into work, despite the extreme conditions should consider their responsibilities under the new Corporate Manslaughter Act.
Despite ongoing publicity surrounding the revisions to the corporate manslaughter act and corporate homicide act which came into force in April 2008 many companies, particularly SME’s have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and are failing to review, implement and communicate an effective Work Related Road Safety (WRRS) policy.
Under the new rules, companies and senior management are accountable in the case of a fatal work related collision for any shortcomings in the procedures or systems that may be deemed to have contributed to the incident.
Research carried out by Rent-A-Car shows that more than one in three workers (35 per cent) use their car for business purposes, making it the most common form of business transport.
Providing “cash for cars” does not mean that a company absolves itself of responsibility for ensuring the safety of these vehicles and their drivers. Managing the safety of these so called “grey fleet” drivers is difficult but cannot be ignored.
Employers with responsibility for employees driving their own cars on business should take the following precautions:
- Set up a company work related road safety policy: employers should not be daunted by the prospect, and once in place, providing it is enforced and reviewed periodically, it has been proven by many organisations to save money in terms of insurance premiums, accident repairs, out of service costs, accident administration, and employee sick leave/work injuries etc. Risk-assess the fleet across the five core areas: legislation, health and safety, environmental, employee and financial. Set out rules, guidelines and procedures to help minimize “in house” fleet and “grey fleet” related risks and put in place regular checks on insurance, MOT document’s, scheduled servicing and ensure basic maintenance checks are regularly carried out. Finally, ensure that an efficient audit trail is in place.
- Compile a “Driver Manual”: a driver manual should contain the company policy and procedures, safe driving information, emergency contact information, procedures for reporting defects and repairs, what should be done in the case of an accident and outline essential vehicle checks. It should be in A5 format, concise and easy to read and include practical advice.
- Treat all drivers the same: whether the employee is in a company car or drives their own vehicle (grey fleet), they should be treated exactly the same. The company work related road safety policy, driver manual and related training should be provided to all drivers. Businesses should ensure that all drivers regularly maintain their vehicles. Regular checks by the company should be made on:
- Fluid levels and battery.
- Lights and windscreen wipers.
- Tyre pressures and tread levels: 1.6mm of tread over the centre 3/4 width of the tyre is the legal minimum; tyres should be changed before this to avoid police prosecution and to maintain the required levels of grip. The police have the power to fine drivers up to £2500 plus three penalty points per tyre for less than minimum treads.
- Ensure the driver has adequate insurance that allows the car to be used for business purposes. Both the driver and the employer can be fined if the car is not insured adequately and may find that they are not covered in the event of an accident.
- Ensure the car has regular MOTs and is taxed for the road.
- Check driving licenses: check any new employees driving license to confirm that they are eligible to drive. Implement a regular check on driving licenses to keep track of penalty points and possible driving bans and maintain a driver file to monitor driver’s safety records and behaviour.
- Ensure all drivers are prepared in the event of an emergency: company car users should be equipped with safety packs including torch, high visibility clothing, warning triangle, and breakdown contact information. Employers should ensure grey fleet drivers are supplied with exactly the same safety equipment.
- Ensure every driver carries a high visibility vest for each passenger: It is also important to store medical and emergency contact information as well as essential vehicle details and roadside assistance contact information inside the passenger cell of the vehicle together with the high visibility vests so that it is easily accessible.
- Education: carry out training where appropriate and warn against drugs and alcohol whilst driving. It is also important to give drivers plenty of time to get to their next location and don’t set impossible schedules – this is especially relevant in the delivery and courier sector where the setting of productivity bonuses which might affect driver safety will be viewed upon negatively in the event of a road traffic incident.
The revisions to the corporate manslaughter act provide stronger powers for the police and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to conduct investigations following an incident into a company’s provision of adequate health and safety at work policies. In a concerted attempt to reduce road deaths and casualties Work Related Road Safety (WRRS) is firmly under the spotlight and relates to the safety of employees who drive as part of their work. This is understandable when it is suggested that at least 30 per cent of road collisions involve people who are at work and more recent figures suggest that 50 per cent may be a more realistic figure.
In April 2008, revisions to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force in the UK. The Act enables an organisation to be found guilty of an offence under the Act, if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death, and amounts to a gross breach or failure of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased. The result of being found guilty of an offence under this Act is that organisations can now face unlimited fines – set to start at five per cent of annual turnover.
Parents know that social networking sites such as Facebook are a great way of finding out what their teenage children are up to but they can also be used by businesses to build relationships with their customers.
Twitter, the fastest growing social networking site of 2009, is to the Internet what texting is to mobile phones. By limiting users to just 140 characters per message, or ‘tweet’, Twitter provides the immediacy of a two way conversation on the Internet.
I asked Anthony Lloyd, owner of the Fallowfields Hotel in Kingston Bagpuize, to tell me how he is successfully using Twitter to market his Hotel.
“We have had tremendous success with Twitter, but not with direct responses to individual Tweets.
My style is to build up interest in getting people to follow my tweets – I have about 1600 followers to date, they are all targeted and all in the UK.
A lovely PR lady I met this morning at a BNI meeting said, ‘you express your personality on Twitter’. I think she meant this as a compliment – she booked something so I guess it was!”
Fallowfields Hotel is committed to sourcing food locally and even has its own farm.
“To develop interest, the farm gets a mention” says Anthony, “photographs of the animals; a bit of foodie stuff; other restaurants that I have been to and enjoyed; a bit of marketing and a bit of general business stuff; some charity stuff; I RT interesting bits of information, and above all use @mentions and DMs to engage with people, building the relationship to a point that it can be developed further off Twitter. If there is a secret, this is it.”
Anthony is clearly an experienced user of Twitter so I asked him if there are any “don’ts” to go with the “do’s”
“What I do not do is to use “tweet later” tools, because this repetitive form of self promotion/advertising is easily recognisable and turns people off.
Neither do I do the ‘good night tweets’ such as the ‘just had a ham sandwich, glass of Horlicks’ type of tweet.”
Perhaps the most important question to ask is how successful has Anthony’s Twitter marketing been?
“In the last 3 months I’ve had about 50 to 60 people through the restaurant, a conference for 50 booked for January and one overnight stay”
In addition to the very real business benefits, Anthony has also had
“Invitations to networking groups, some very good new friends, some great advice, some great fun, new golfing partners and there’s much, much more to come, I know it.
I’m not sure whether I have heard this benefit articulated elsewhere but I have found Twitter to be a great “accelerator of relationships”. With people I have engaged with on Twitter and then met face to face, the relationship starts from a higher level.
Twitter has the capability to be a powerful marketing tool for your business – and it is completely free – all it takes is the time to make it work.
“There is no magic to ‘selling’” says Anthony “and I was taught the formulae by the grand masters at IBM many years ago! Twittering is simply an up to date formula – the principles are identical to those learnt all those years ago.
To find out more about twitter go to http://twitter.com
Anthony Lloyd can be found on twitter at http://twitter.com/FallowfieldsUK
David Doughty, Oxfordshire Economic Partnership for Horizons and Futures Magazine, Spring 2010
Tuesday 6 October 2009 6:30pm
Martin Dare-Edwards, Director of Infineum UK, and Site Manager for Infineum’s UK operations will talk about the growing trend for organisations large and small to collaborate on open innovation.
Martin has 26 years of experience in petroleum and petrochemical R&D. Over the past 2 years, Martin has acted as an external ambassador for Infineum’s Growth and Innovation activities. He continues to seek opportunities for external idea generation and collaboration.
This event is free. Refreshments and an evening buffet will be provided at 8pm.
Booking is essential for all events. Please complete the booking form.
For more details:
Telephone: 01865 815866
Tuesday 29 September 2009
BREW seeks to provide best practice tools for local authorities engaged in commercial waste reduction and resource efficiency.
This event is free. Refreshments and an evening buffet will be provided at 8pm.
Booking is essential for all events. Please complete the booking form.
For more details:
Telephone: 01865 815866
Tuesday 8 September 2009 6:30pm
Ed Cooper, Hub director for Thames Valley Enterprise Hub will talk about the plans for a Thames Valley Innovation and Growth Team, funded by the South-East Economic Development Agency. This team will support innovation and the growth of businesses in the Thames Valley area. Ed has expertise in business planning, project management, environmental technologies and construction, as well as mechanical engineering, funding and grant applications. This event is free. Refreshments and an evening buffet will be provided at 8pm.
The Oxfordshire Economic Partnership’s vision is to guide strategic change to develop Oxfordshire’s capacity for innovation, business and personal development, research and education, and the effective management of local environmental assets. These Innovation seminars are aimed at a mixed audience of business leaders and members of the public across Oxfordshire and will provide a valuable opportunity for companies and individuals to network and share best practice.
Soha Housing is committed to providing excellent services to over 12,000 people in and around Oxfordshire. They have a strong track record at helping develop communities and believe passionately in involving residents in improving their lives. They have a turnover of £30m, own and manage 5,200 homes and build 160 new homes per year. They need a new non-executive member to join the Board of 12 who shares their vision of being one of the best Associations in the country with a genuine commitment to involving residents in all that they do. Therefore your background and experience is not paramount, although they are keen to hear from people with experience of finance, human resources and corporate skills. Board meetings are held in the evening at their Didcot offices. The time commitment needed is approximately 15 days per year to include training, strategy and other meetings throughout the year. In addition to the remuneration, your expenses will be reimbursed. They welcome applications from all sectors of the community to reflect the diversity of their customers. They are currently under represented with female Board members and they would especially like to redress this imbalance. For an informal discussion with the Chair, Victor Breach, or the Chief Executive, Richard Peacock, please phone Rachel Diss on 01235 515903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their web site, http://www.soha.co.uk
I went to a very useful Chartered Director peer group mentoring workshop on personal branding this morning and I am looking forward to the next one
SkillsFest 2009 was a great success – well done Joanne, Rosie, John and the rest of the OEP team!
There are many reasons for wanting to become a non-executive in the NHS including wanting to put something back, personal development and getting a foot on the non-executive ladder but whatever the reason, there are some basic things you need to know.
Unless you have been involved in the NHS either as a patient, carer, employee or supplier it may not be apparent that the NHS is not one organisation – In fact there are separate organisations to cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and in England the NHS consists of over 300 autonomous, legally constituted, bodies – each with their own Board of directors – the majority of which are known as Trusts.
When thinking of the NHS you might think of GPs or Hospitals but there are several different types of trust – Acute Trusts (Hospitals), Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), Mental Health Trusts and Ambulance Trusts as well as specialist Trusts such as Learning Disability.
All of these types of trust fall within the remit of the 10 Strategic Health Authorities in England and non-executive director appointments are made by the Appointments commission.
There is another type of Trust – the Foundation Trust – which has more independence than the others and is regulated by an organisation called Monitor. Foundation Trust non-executives are appointed by their own Council of Governors rather than the Appointments Commission.
By the end of 2010 the vast majority of NHS trusts in England will have become Foundation Trusts – many are in the process of applying to Monitor for FT status and this provides an opportunity for potential non-executives as trusts look to strengthen their Boards as part of the application process.
Regardless of their status, there is a strong focus on corporate governance in all the NHS trusts and the Chartered Director qualification is a very good way for potential non-executive directors to demonstrate a personal commitment to the furtherance of good governance.
Whist NHS trusts do not fall within the realms of the Companies Acts their governance is modelled on the combined code – Monitor’s code of governance for Foundation Trusts can be downloaded from the Monitor web-site.
The Appointments Commission makes public appointments for the NHS on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health following the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice to guarantee fairness. All paid appointments are advertised in either the national or local press to give as many people as possible the chance to apply.
The first step in becoming an NHS non-executive is to visit the Appointments Commission web-site (http://www.appointments.org.uk) and search for any vacancies in your area. You can also register to receive e-mail notification of vacancies, either local or national as they arise.
You should also visit the Monitor web-site (http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk) and check their Foundation Trust directory to identify Foundation Trusts in your area. You will then need to visit the web-sites of the individual trusts and check local newspapers for vacancies.
Having identified potential opportunities it is a good idea to visit the web-sites of each NHS trust – there is a wealth of information which will be useful when making your application.
You will be able to see details of the current Board members, both executive and non-executive and you will be able to see where there are possible skills and experience gaps that you could fill.
You will also be able to read previous Board meeting minutes and other papers to get a feel for the issues that each trust is facing.
It is a good idea to contact the Chair of the trust at an early stage for an informal chat as they will have a good idea of the type of person they are looking for.
All NHS foundation trusts have a duty to engage with their local communities and encourage local people to become members of the organisation. NHS foundation trusts have to take steps to ensure that their membership is representative of the communities they serve.
If you are thinking of applying to become a non-executive director of a Foundation Trust then it would be a good idea to join the trust as a member. Anyone who lives in the area, works for the trust, or has been a patient or service user there, can become a member of an NHS foundation trust.
This would give you an opportunity to get involved with the trust and you might also consider standing for election to the Board of Governors.
The appointing body (Appointments Commission or Trust Council of Governors) will be looking for a range of skills and experience from their non-executive members in order to fully reflect the communities they serve.
The Chartered Director qualification will enable you to demonstrate that you have the experience needed to be an NHS chair or non-executive director. In particular they will be looking for experience at senior level in finance governance strategic planning; commercial management; voluntary or community roles and professional areas related to the type of NHS organisation. They should also live in the geographic area served by the trust and its board.
At interview you should be able to demonstrate competencies in commitment to patient needs; forward planning capability; ability to challenge constructively; influencing and persuasion skills; team working approach; self motivation and clear and creative thinking.
As an NHS non-executive director the Appointments Commission anticipate that you will spend around 2.5 days a month in your role – however the reality is you will probably spend at least double that if not more.
You may well be involved in Board committees such as Audit, Remuneration, Finance, Governance or Charitable Funds and there will be strategic away days and Board development session to attend.
If the trust is going through the FT application process then there are likely to be times of intensive involvement with the trust in producing the Integrated Business Plan or preparing for Board to Board sessions with the Strategic Health Authority or Monitor.
If successful your appointment will be for a fixed term of between two and four years, depending on the needs of the organisation.
Remuneration ranges from £6,005 to £12,941 a year, depending on the particular role.
Regardless of your initial motivation, I am sure that you will find life as an NHS NED to be a very rewarding experience where you can make a difference to the lives of patients, service users, carers and employees of the organisation that you serve.
Non-Executive and Vice Chair
Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust
You can contact David at: www.linkedin.com/in/daviddoughty