Oct 182018
 

A new version of the UK Corporate Governance Code was published in July 2018 and takes effect from 1 January 2019.

Of the 2,600 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, only 1,200 are listed on the Main Market and of those around 850 have a Premium Listing and are therefore required to report on how they have applied the Code – though it is recognised as a best-practice guide to Corporate Governance which sets the standards of board leadership and effectiveness, remuneration, accountability and relations with shareholders and stakeholders.

The Code, which has developed over the last 25 years since the publication of the Cadbury Report, contains broad principles and more specific provisions that Premium Listed companies are required to report on as part of their annual report and accounts. They must state how they have applied the main principles of the Code and either confirm that they have complied with the Code’s provisions or provide an explanation where they have not.

Roughly half the countries in the world which have some form of Corporate Governance regulation have adopted a code approach, similar to the UK, whilst the other half have opted for legislation. The important difference between the two approaches is that with a code, it is the shareholders who are expected to exert pressure on the directors to comply rather than the courts.

Placing the onus on shareholders to ensure that their directors follow the code is a much more flexible solution than legislation and means that the code can be regularly updated to reflect changing needs in Corporate Governance. Unfortunately, the dramatic shift in share ownership from predominately private individuals to financial institutions over the last 40 years has resulted in less pressure on directors to comply with the code rather than more.

To combat this perceived lack of interest of institutional investors in the way the businesses they are investing in are run, the UK Stewardship Code was introduced in 2010 – though this has turned out to be relatively toothless and politicians will be looking for other ways to further influence the standards of Corporate Governance in the boardrooms of the major UK companies.

Both codes are ‘owned’ by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) which consults widely before making revisions to the codes – in the case of the latest revision to the code, consultation started in February 2017 and concluded a year later in 2018. The transparency of this process has been questioned with some commentators saying that the resultant revisions bear little resemblance to the responses submitted during the consultation.

The new shorter and sharper Code seeks to re-emphasise the relationships between companies and their shareholders and stakeholders, which are enshrined in the 2006 Companies Act, and their importance for the long-term sustainable growth of the UK economy.

The main changes to the code include:

  • a new provision to enable greater board engagement with the workforce to understand their views. The Code asks boards to describe how they have considered the interests of stakeholders (that is anyone with a legitimate interest in the company including employees, customers, suppliers and the local community) when performing their duty under Section 172 of the 2006 Companies Act;
  • a requirement for Boards to create a culture which aligns company values with strategy and to assess how they preserve value over the long-term;
  • an assurance that boards:
    • have the right mix of skills and experience;
    • encourage constructive challenge and;
    • promote diversity;
  • an emphasis on the need to refresh boards and undertake proper succession planning;
  • consideration of the appropriateness of Chairs remaining in post beyond nine years;
  • strengthening the role of the nomination committee in succession planning and establishing and maintaining a diverse board;
  • conducting regular external board evaluations – Nomination committee reports should include details of the amount of contact the external board evaluator has had with the board and individual directors;
  • an emphasis on the need for remuneration committees to take into account workforce remuneration and related policies when setting director remuneration including performance-related pay to address public concerns over excessive executive remuneration.

FRC Chairman Sir Win Bischoff said about the new code:

“Corporate governance in the UK is globally respected and is a framework trusted by investors when deciding where to allocate capital. To make sure the UK moves with the times, the new Code considers economic and social issues and will help to guide the long-term success of UK businesses.

This new Code, in its new shorter and sharper form, and with its overarching theme of trust, is paramount in promoting transparency and integrity in business for society as a whole.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Britain has a good reputation internationally for being a dependable place to do business, based on required high standards. It is right that we keep under review and update our corporate governance code to ensure the highest standards.

“That is why I supported the FRC in deciding to update their Corporate Governance Code, and I am pleased to see the revised Code.

“These changes will drive improvements in how boardrooms engage with employees, customers and suppliers as well as shareholders, delivering better business performance and public confidence in the way businesses are run. They will help the UK remain the best place in the world to work, invest and do business.”

Concern about the new Code was expressed by James Jarvis, Corporate Governance Analyst at the Institute of Directors, the Professional body that aims to improve standards of directorship:

“While the shorter and sharper nature of the code is welcome, along with the increased emphasis on the importance of a wide range of stakeholders, the IoD does have concerns over the relegation of professional development to the Guidance for Board Effectiveness. As we highlighted during the consultation period, the role of the modern director is increasingly complex and specialised, and there is an ongoing need for these individuals to take stock of their competencies. By removing reference to the professional development of directors from the Code and only mentioning it peripherally in the Guidance, the FRC risks indicating to directors that it is not important.”

At the same time as the FRC were producing the new code, they themselves were the subject of a review into their own effectiveness. This review, led by Sir John Kingman, the chairman of Legal & General Plc, which is the largest institutional investor in the UK, was set up in April 2018 by the UK government to assess the FRC’s governance, impact and powers to help ensure it is fit for the future.

The outcome of the review, which is due to be completed by the end of 2018, is aimed to make the FRC the “best in class for corporate governance and transparency, while helping it to fulfil its role of safeguarding the UK’s leading business environment.”

The FRC has two big jobs to do – in addition to being the guardians of Corporate Governance, the FRC is also the UK’s accounting and audit watchdog. Some argue that these tasks are too big to be undertaken by one body, whilst others ask if there is a conflict of interest between the roles? – the IoD has called for the creation of a new body to be responsible for promoting higher standards of Corporate Governance to leave the FRC free to concentrate on its core task of improving company audits.

Given the question marks hanging over auditors in the light of recent high-profile corporate failures such as Carillion there is an argument that Corporate Governance is the thing that the FRC does well and it is their perceived failure to improve auditing and accounting standards that needs to be addressed.

The IoD’s rationale for setting up an independent body to oversee the UK Corporate Governance and Stewardship codes is that the shaping of voluntary best practice for boards of directors and the setting and enforcement of accounting standards are very different activities

Dr Roger Barker, Head of Corporate Governance at the IOD said:

“Corporate governance has been swallowed up within a regulator that now urgently needs to focus its energies on improving the legitimacy of statutory audit. The FRC has for many years done a good job acting as the keeper of the UK’s corporate governance code, but we feel its centralised decision-making structure is not conducive to the differing regulatory approaches needed for governance and stewardship on the one hand, and statutory audit on the other. There must be a clear distinction between being robust on audit quality, while continuing to nurture the UK’s much-admired principles-based corporate governance regime”

The IoD is not the only Professional body with an interest in governance. The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), otherwise known as the Governance Institute – the professional body for governance has also made its views about the FRC known in its response to the Kingman Review call for evidence.

Unlike the IoD, the ICSA is firmly opposed to the suggestion that responsibility for Corporate Governance should pass from the FRC to another regulator given the expertise that has been developed by the FRC.

The ICSA’s concern with the implementation of both the UK Corporate Governance Code and the Stewardship Code is the lack of sanctioning powers open to the FRC to enforce them. This is a view shared by Labour MP Frank Field, co-author of the 60-page report into the BHS collapse by the parliamentary business, innovation and skills select committee with particular reference to Sir Philip Green who fails all but one of the section 172 tests but has not been prosecuted for failing to obey the 2006 Companies Act.

The UK Shareholders Association (UKSA) and ShareSoc have jointly asked for firmer and faster action to be taken against those who violate the integrity of reporting standards. They say that the general perception is that “in practically every financial scandal or financial crisis, the FRC seems to have taken far too long to decide and too often has concluded that nothing has gone seriously wrong”.

Partly this lack of bite for the FRC lies with its position within the regulatory hierarchy as a “Council” it has much blunter teeth than the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which might have more success in enforcement if it was given the powers to do so. The Companies Act has been law since 2006 but we have yet to see any meaningful prosecutions for failure to comply with section 172 and only now in 2018 is the new Code asking boards to specifically say how they comply.

With so many high-profile corporate failures being due to an inability to respond to reputational or environmental risks rather than financial ones, does it make sense for the Corporate Governance regulatory body to still have the word “Finance” in its title?

It will be interesting to see what the outcomes of the Kingman review are when the findings are reported at the end of the year.

One thing is for certain, regardless of who ‘owns’ the Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes in the future and which political party is in power, the pressures on business leaders to improve the way they run their companies whilst avoiding scandals of corporate failures and excessive executive pay will continue to rise.

The 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code can be downloaded here

Oct 162018
 

Find out how you can obtain a Non-Executive Director position by booking a place on this interactive 1-day course.

non-executive director“A well structured and presented introduction to the responsibilities, challenges and attributes required of being a NED. It was thought-provoking. I have referred back to my copious comments in the comprehensive slide hand outs many times already”

Simon C Jones, Interim Transformation Leader and Hidden Value Discoverer

The How to become a Non-Executive Director course helps you to plan and prepare for your first NED position. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge.

This one-day interactive course is aimed at aspiring NEDs and covers essential knowledge about roles, responsibilities, strategy and corporate governance that are key foundations for a Non-Executive board role. It also considers up to date thinking on corporate governance and the responsibilities of owners, the board and employees.

This is followed by practical sessions on identifying NED opportunities, the process of obtaining a first appointment and performing due diligence before any position is accepted. There is emphasis on the importance of presenting your experiences with clarity and relevance.

This course identifies the various ways and circumstances in which non-executive directors can make an effective contribution to a board’s work. It also examines methods for their selection and reviews their motivation, induction and reward.

Who should attend?
Individuals who are currently a non-executive director; those seeking appointment as a non-executive director and those looking to appoint a non-executive director.

What to expect?

  • Clarifies how and why non-executive directors can strengthen a board
  • Provides practical guidance on how best to secure an appointment as a non-executive director

Course objectives
Participation on this course will provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Clarify the board’s role, purpose and key tasks
  • Appreciate the contributions that non-executive directors can make to the board in different types of company and situations
  • Recognise the qualities and experience needed to fulfil a non-executive director appointment
  • Appreciate appropriate methods for finding, selecting, appointing and rewarding non-executive directors
  • Understand the preparation required to interview for or be interviewed for the post of non-executive director

Course Leader: David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered DirectorThe course is delivered by David Doughty, a Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private and public sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. See his LinkedIn profile here: (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/daviddoughty)

Key Details
Duration: 1 day
Location:

Institute of Directors
116 Pall Mall
London
SW1Y 5ED 

Price
£330.00 (ex VAT)

Payment with Booking Price

£300.00 (ex VAT)

Partner Price*
£280.00 (ex VAT)

Book Now
To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:

Course Registration
The fee includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of the course handbook

Attendance counts as 6 CPD hours of structured learning


*Discounts on Excellencia course fees are available for:

Sep 052018
 

The Effective Non-Executive Director course is an interactive one-day course designed for existing Non-Executive Directors who want to further develop their skills or for those who have just embarked on their first non-executive position and are keen to prepare themselves for a non-executive portfolio career.

This practical, comprehensive and highly interactive course is delivered by globally recognised Corporate Governance expert; David Doughty, who currently holds or has held Chair and Non-Executive Director positions on private, public and not-for-profit sector boards in the UK, US and EU.

A Chartered Director with over 30 years experience as a board member, David will share his insights with you to help you with improving board effectiveness and increasing your contribution to the board.

The effective Non-Executive Director

The course covers essential knowledge about roles, responsibilities, strategy and corporate governance that are key foundations for a Non-Executive board role. It also considers up to date thinking on corporate governance and the responsibilities of owners, the board and employees.

Attendance counts as 6 CPD hours of structured learning.

The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge.

This course identifies the various ways and circumstances in which non-executive directors can make an effective contribution to a board’s work.

Who should attend?

Individuals who are serving or newly appointed   non-executive directors.

What to expect?

  • Clarifies how and why non-executive directors can strengthen a board
  • Provides practical guidance on how to be effective as a non-executive director

Course objectives
Participation on this course will provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Clarify the board’s role, purpose and key tasks
  • Appreciate the contributions that non-executive directors can make to the board in different types of company and situations
  • Recognise the qualities and experience needed to fulfil a non-executive director appointment

Course Leader: David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered DirectorThe course is delivered by David Doughty, a Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private, public and not-for-profit sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. See his LinkedIn profile here: 

Key Details
Duration: 1 day
Location:
Institute of Directors
116 Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5ED
Price
£330.00 (ex VAT)
Payment with Booking Price
£300.00 (ex VAT)
Partner Discount Price
£280.00 (ex VAT)*

Book Now

To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:
Course Registration
The fee includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of the course handbook
Courses can be delivered ‘in-house’ to a group of Non-Executive Directors – to find out more contact courses@excellencia.co.uk or call 01173 827 820

*Discounts on Excellencia course fees are available for:

Sep 132016
 

Essential information on Social Media for Company Directors and Business Owners

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The Social Media Essentials half-day interactive courses will provide you with the tools and techniques you need to develop, execute and evaluate a successful social media strategy for yourself and your business.

Social Media for Beginners – Half-day Workshop 09:00 to 12:30

  • Are you making the most of Social Media?
  • Is your LinkedIn profile up to date?
  • Are you using Facebook and Twitter to position yourself or your business on-line?

social media dd croppedIf not then the Social Media for Beginners Half-day Workshop is an essential next step in establishing your Social Media presence.

Social Media has dramatically changed the face of career development – it is no longer about simply keeping your CV up to date. If you are employed or running your own business Social Media tools should be at the heart of your career development strategy.

Whether you are embarking on a Portfolio Career or a new full-time role you can increase your chances of success by using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media apps.

Learn what to do and what not to do.

Packed with powerful practical tips and techniques this workshop will unveil the mysteries of Social Media and equip you with all you need to enable you to establish an on-line presence.

Everything you have ever wanted to know about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter but were afraid to ask

  • How to gain 1,000 Twitter followers in just 3 weeks
  • How to make your LinkedIn profile work for you
  • Facebook really can be used for Business

Social Media for Business – Half-day Workshop 13:00 to 16:30

Social Media for Business

Proven, practical tips and techniques to help you win business via social media

  • Gain a greater understanding of how Social Media can be used to win business.
  • Learn useful tips and techniques that you can use in your own business to boost sales and increase growth

Social Media has dramatically changed the way businesses engage with their customers – it is no longer about having a web-site and an e-mail address. No matter what type of business you are running,Social Media tools should be at the heart of your sales and marketing strategy.

Course Content

  • Choose your channels – how do you know which social media channels to use and how should you use them?
  • Build relationships – just like face-to-face networking, how do you build successful business relationships using social media?
  • “It’s Marketing”, Jim, “but not as we know it” – or is it? What’s different about social media marketing and what’s the same
  • 10 Myths about Social Media for Business – don’t believe everything you read about Social Media
  • Putting it all together – how to develop a Social Media Marketing strategy that works for you

“I came away with 2 pages of things to do, which I got started on when I got home.”
Inge Dowden Business Growth & Happiness Coach

Getting to grips with Social Media may appear daunting at first but it can make the difference between success and failure for your business – and in a lot of cases the only cost to your business is the.time you need to put in to make it work.

Packed with powerful practical tips and techniques this workshop will unveil the mysteries of Social Media and equip you with all you need to enable you to win business via Social Media.

Book Now

The fee for each ½-day workshop is:

  • £99.00 (+ VAT) for invoiced payment
  • £89.00 (+ VAT) payment with booking by BACs or PayPal
  • £79.00 (+ VAT) for excellencia partners*

Book a place on Social Media for Beginners and Social Media for Business on the same day and you will get a 10% discount and a free lunch! 

Places are limited so book on-line today!

*Discounts on Excellencia course fees are available for:

 

Aug 222016
 

As a director how comfortable are you with company finance?

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Are you confident in your ability to understand the three core elements of Management Accounts:

  • Cash Flow?
  • Profit and Loss (or Income and Expenditure)?
  • Balance Sheet?

Do you understand Forecast/Budget, Actuals and Variance reports?

Do you know how to use Key Ratios to evaluate your company’s performance?

Do you know if you are trading whilst insolvent?

This half-day course will provide the essential knowledge of those key financial issues and concepts that are needed by successful Executive and Non-Executive Directors in order to discharge their duties and responsibilities as a company director. The completion of this course will provide a good grasp of the key elements of Management Accounts and Statutory Financial Accounts. It will also provide a sound theoretical financial knowledge base upon which to build and acquire new and more advanced financial skills.

Who should attend?

Executive and Non-Executive Directors, senior executives or aspiring directors looking to understand more about company finance.

Course Content

  • The Three Key Financial Statements
    • Cash Flow Statements: Importance of cash flow and Impact of credit and credit control, Problems affecting cash flow, Dealing with Debtors and Creditors
    • Profit & Loss Account, Types of profit, and Layout & use of the profit & loss account
    • Balance Sheets: Assets; Liabilities; Net current assets, capital employed and how to interpret the information;
  • Revenue and Capital Expenditure
    • What are Capital and Revenue Expenditure
    • Phasing of capital spend and its Implications for budget holders
  • Depreciation; Assets and liabilities
    • What is Depreciation?
    • The Different types and uses
  • Forecasts and Budgets
    • The purpose of forecasts for the business
    • Budget objectives
    • Budgetary Control as a management tool
    • Variance analysis
  • Using Ratios to Support Investment Decisions
    • Return on Capital Employed (ROCE); Payback; Internal Rate of Return (IRR); Net Present Value of assets (NPV)
    • Investment decisions and Return on Investment (ROI); Cost of capital
    • Gearing, is the level of borrowing too risky?
    • Liquidity, could the company hit cash flow problems?
    • Profitability, how well is the company doing?

Learning Objectives

This half-day course enables participants to understand better, the key attributes and approaches that underpin a strategic and tactical financial approach to management and help to develop the key skills and styles that will allow participants to be more effective when adopting and applying a decision making approach to management.

By the end of this training course participants will be better able to:

  • Read, analyse and interpret any set of Financial Statements, including the Balance Sheet, the Profit & Loss Account and the Cash Flow statements
  • Understand and quantify the impact of the fundamental accounting concepts and the chosen policies upon any set of accounts
  • Recognise and understand the underlying impact of the generally accepted accounting principles and policies on any Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Account
  • Understand the key differences between statutory published accounts and the internal monthly management accounts
  • Identify and discuss the key financial issues facing an organisation
  • Understand the wider commercial impact of any business decision and its interaction with non-financial aspects of the organisation, enabling you to make a better contribution to key discussions and decision making amongst managers and within the organisation
  • Understand the basics of budgets and the implementation of budgeting processes
  • Value any business using commonly used and widely accepted valuation techniques such as Net Asset Value, Enterprise Value and EBITDA
  • Communicate more effectively and easily with Finance Directors, and other Finance professionals; through an in depth understanding of financial terminology, management and evaluation techniques.

Course Leader:
David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered DirectorThe course is delivered by David Doughty, a Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private and public sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. See his LinkedIn profile here:

Key Details

Duration: 1/2 day
13:00 – 16:30
Location:
Orchard Street Business Centre
14 Orchard Street
Bristol BS1 5EH

Price
£170.00 (ex VAT)
Payment with Booking Price £160.00 (ex
VAT)
Partner Discount Price £150.00 (ex VAT)*

Book Now

To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:
Course Registration

The fee includes refreshments and a copy of the course handbook

Attendance counts as 3 verifiable CPD hours of structured learning which count towards the requirements of most business focussed institutes, including the Institute of Directors, the Institute of Consulting, the Chartered Management Institute, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and many others.  After successful completion of the course, you will receive an electronic Certificate confirming that you have successfully completed the course, detailing the outcomes and results.

*Discounts on Excellencia course fees are available for:

Director Essentials

Jan 282016
 

health & safetyFor many years it’s been almost a tradition for companies to treat the subject of health & safety management as something of a joke; as the poor relation in the management world; as something of an afterthought or optional extra.

Well, in the UK things are about to change (and change radically) with the introduction of the new Sentencing Guidelines for health & safety offences which come into effect on 1st February 2016.

Make no mistake: these are not just technical changes as to how offenders will be punished but are instead a fundamental overhaul of current sentencing policy. Of course, health & safety law has always had teeth – but now these teeth have been dramatically sharpened!

Let’s look at some of these changes in a little more detail, and those of you who wish to consider the guidelines in their entirety can download a copy from the Sentencing Council using the link:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/HS-offences-definitive-guideline-FINAL-web.pdf

The first, and most obvious, change is that the range of financial penalties available to the courts has been increased, and this is especially true in the case of magistrates’ courts. Up to 1st February 2016 the maximum fine available to the Bench will remain at £20,000 per offence, but from 1st February this will increase to “unlimited”, which means that magistrates will be authorised to levy the same magnitude of fine as the Crown Court.

In order to ensure as much uniformity in sentencing as possible the Guidelines also suggest ranges of fines applicable dependent upon the seriousness of the offence and the turnover of the company. (And note that the criterion being used is “turnover” and not “profit” – a significant detail).

For a “micro” company (i.e. defined as one with a turnover less than £2 million) the range for the most serious breach is £150,000 – £450,000, but for a “large” company (turnover of £50 million or more) the range for the most serious breach is £2.6M – £10M.

However, note that this upper figure of £10M is not the maximum fine which a court has the power to impose. The figures quoted in the Guidelines are only asuggested range, and courts can use their discretion to increase fines should they feel the increase to be appropriate in the interests of justice.

This approach is supported by the Guidelines which state clearly that:

“Where an offending organisation’s turnover or equivalent very greatly exceeds the threshold for large organisations, it may be necessary to move outside the suggested range to achieve a proportionate sentence”

The overarching principle behind the levy of fines is also clarified in the Guidelines as follows:

“The fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with health & safety legislation”

Well, offenders can’t say they weren’t warned!

In addition to substantially increasing the magnitude of available fines the Guidelines also include an important change in how the seriousness of offences should be assessed by the court. Currently the seriousness is based on how much harm was actually caused, but from February the courts will look instead at therisks involved in the breach – i.e. they will look at what could have happened rather than what actually happened. To quote the Guidelines:

“Health & safety offences are concerned with failures to manage risks to health & safety and do not require proof that the offence caused any actual harm. The offence is creating a risk of harm

To put this new approach into context, consider the case of a company which has allowed the use of machinery on which the protective guards have been disabled (and, unfortunately, such management stupidity is not an uncommon occurrence!)

From February it will be irrelevant whether somebody was actually injured by this practice. The fine will be based upon the risk involved, upon the possibility that somebody could have received a life-changing (crippling) injury, and this consideration of foreseeable risk pushes the offence towards the higher end of the sentencing spectrum.

So far we’ve only looked at the potential effects of the Guidelines on organisations, but what about people? The maximum prison terms that can be imposed remain unchanged at 6 months for offenders sentenced in the magistrates’’ court and two years for persons sentenced in the Crown Court, but the change in philosophy regarding the potential harm which could have been caused by the offence will affect the likelihood of a custodial sentence being imposed.

In the example given above, that of a company failing to guard machinery effectively, it is quite probable that the senior manager/ director responsible for company operations will face an individual charge under s37 Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 for allowing the organisation to breach health & safety legislation.

Basing his sentence on the risk of serious (i.e. life changing) harm being caused by his failure will mean that he is in peril of receiving an immediate custodial sentence of between 6 and 18 months. He may not be sent down, of course, but unless there are suitable mitigating factors the Judge would certainly be acting within the Guidelines by imposing such a penalty.

Space is limited, and so I have been unable to do more than look at just a few highlights contained within the Guidelines. Nevertheless, even this quick overview should have made abundantly clear to senior managers and directors the need to take their health & safety management duties very seriously from now on.

Remember that unambiguous statement contained within the Guidelines:“Health & safety offences are concerned with failures to manage risks to health & safety”. Could they have made their warning any clearer?

Nov 102015
 

“Reasons why I don’t …”

by Andy Farrall

Andy Farrall Health and SafetyHealth & Safety specialists never cease to be amazed by the “reasons” given by senior managers as to why they don’t see the need for effective Health & Safety management systems, and some of these “reasons” are analysed below.

What is rather worrying, is that the people advocating these “reasons” are otherwise astute business people who presumably understand the ways of the world!

  1. We don’t need a system – it’s only common sense:

Ah yes, but unfortunately this “common sense” that people talk about really isn’t very sensible! If you don’t believe it then how do you explain those drivers on the motorways who think it’s fine to sit six inches off the preceding car’s tail lights while still doing 70mph in heavy rain? Would common sense have not told them that they haven’t got a snowball’s chance of stopping safely in an emergency? Have they never seen news reports about multi-vehicle accidents on motorways in bad weather?

  1. We don’t need a system – we’ve done it this way for years:

There are two possible explanations for why you haven’t had a problem yet. Either you’re doing things correctly (which is always good news) or you’re actually making mistakes which haven’t caught up with you just yet (which is always bad news). There is a philosophy underpinning Health & Safety theory which says that every time you commit an unsafe act, or allow an unsafe condition, you are rolling the dice. And that one day the dice will go against you with possibly catastrophic results! Having an effective management system in place means that you can rest assured you’re doing things properly and aren’t gambling with somebody else’s safety.

  1. We don’t need a system – it’s too expensive:

If you think health & safety management is too expensive to set up and run then try looking at the real cost of having an accident! Think about the cost of fines (possibly in six or seven figures); compensation claims; increased insurance premiums (assuming anybody is still willing to give you insurance!); damage to the firm’s reputation; amount of management time involved in investigating/ defending legal actions; and so on. Unsurprisingly, some companies never survive the financial aftermath of a serious accident.

We could go on, but we think you get the point.

To conclude, Health and Safety experts would argue that advocating such flawed – yet damaging – criticisms of proper Health & Safety practice should be seen as the hallmark of a poor director, one who is either incapable of doing his job properly or who is ignorant of his legal responsibilities.

We say this because surely a director who encouraged ignoring taxation law on the basis that it was complicated wouldn’t last long in the boardroom, and rightly so, so why should a director who advocates ignoring Health & Safety law be treated any more leniently?

Failing to pay taxes only costs money, whereas failing to provide effective health & safety management can cost lives!

About the author:

Andy has his own health & safety practice, Management & Safety Training Ltd, which in turn has its own specialist industrial accident investigation division, iNDAXCON. He is a highly experienced and internationally qualified investigator, consultant and trainer, qualified in both the health & safety and training sectors.

A Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, a chartered safety & health practitioner (chartered both with IOSH in the UK and SIA in Australia) and a member of the UK Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), he has a proven track record in fields as diverse as accident investigation, lone worker safety, construction safety, and health & safety training.

Previously a specialist investigator with two élite UK law enforcement agencies (including responsibility for the management of complex international fraud enquiries) he became an accredited security trainer and assessor with the City of Bristol College. His move into the health & safety sector has included a wide range of training/ consultancy projects.

Oct 022015
 

“Plan for an accident? Why ever should I do that?”

by Andy Farrall

Andy Farrall Health & SafetyIn my previous article, “Health & Safety law just ain’t fair!” , I pointed out that UK health & safety law is sometimes biased against employers, and so it’s vital that companies have an accident management strategy in place before the accident happens.

In this article I want to look at some of the topics which I believe should be considered when companies are developing this strategy.

There are many issues which management will need to consider when investigating serious accidents, and these include – in no particular order of importance – questions such as:

Who will actually run the investigation?

 The obvious answer would seem to be “the manager” but is that really the best solution? What will happen, for example, if the accident was actually due to that manager’s incompetence? Is he (or she) going to conduct an unbiased investigation and then put himself on the gallows with a brave smile – or is he more likely to lie through his teeth and blame somebody else?

And even when the manager is innocent, are you not putting him in an impossible situation? Whatever the outcome, no matter how scrupulous and diligent he is, he still leaves himself open to malicious gossip implying that he manipulated the investigation to protect himself. He just can’t win!

How will you control the investigation budget?

The initial response to this question may well be: “Why do we need a budget?” so let me pose a hypothetical question.

Assume that the accident involved a forklift truck which had just been serviced by the dealer, and assume also that the driver alleged that the brakes failed.

Who will you ask to conduct an independent inspection of the braking system?

You can’t ask the dealer because they have a vested interest in finding the brakes to be perfect. Furthermore, no matter how honest their inspection is in practice, they may still have left themselves open to allegations that they distorted their findings. It’s the same argument as that regarding the use of internal managers which I outlined above.

Can the company use its own maintenance people to check the forklift? No, of course not, because they will also be perceived to have a vested interest in the findings.

The solution is to employ an external consultant engineer to check the brakes. He’ll give an honest answer but his services will come at a cost, a potential expense which must be considered beforehand as part of the accident management budget.

The above are just samples of the many topics which need to be considered. Such planning may seem at first to be a little over the top, but, then again, you already plan for unlikely events such as fire evacuations and computer failure don’t you? Well, don’t you??

About the author:

Andy has his own health & safety practice, Management & Safety Training Ltd, which in turn has its own specialist industrial accident investigation division, iNDAXCON. He is a highly experienced and internationally qualified investigator, consultant and trainer, qualified in both the health & safety and training sectors.

A Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, a chartered safety & health practitioner (chartered both with IOSH in the UK and SIA in Australia) and a member of the UK Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), he has a proven track record in fields as diverse as accident investigation, lone worker safety, construction safety, and health & safety training.

Previously a specialist investigator with two élite UK law enforcement agencies (including responsibility for the management of complex international fraud enquiries) he became an accredited security trainer and assessor with the City of Bristol College. His move into the health & safety sector has included a wide range of training/ consultancy projects.

 

Sep 212015
 

“Health & Safety law just ain’t fair!”

by Andy Farrall

Andy Farrall Health & SafetyNot the most grammatical of headlines, I grant you, but the sentiment is one that many directors and managers might feel is well justified – especially if they’ve been on the receiving end of a Health & Safety prosecution.

Is their sentiment reasonable, or is it just a case of directors and managers expressing their resentment at having been caught out? Let’s look at the facts (and, just to be clear, I’m speaking here as a chartered safety practitioner and not as a lawyer).

The first thing to bear in mind is that the law treats breaches of Health & Safety legislation as criminal matters, as issues which are so serious as to justify punishment by either a fine or imprisonment (and sometimes both). Providing effective health & safety management is a clear legal requirement – not an optional extra.

UK criminal law normally works on the basis that the accused party must be assumed innocent until the prosecution proves beyond all reasonable doubt that they are guilty. Unfortunately for business directors and managers this situation doesn’t always apply in Health & Safety cases – even though these offences can be punished severely.

The problem lies with the wording of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, which is the underpinning legislation supporting health & safety in the UK.

The Act requires employers to do all “so far as reasonably practicable” to ensure the safety of their employees in the workplace. Note that this obligation represents a strict legal requirement in that the Act says that “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure …“

The Act also says that, should there be a dispute over whether the employer did all that was reasonably practicable to keep their employees safe, it will fall to the employer to prove that he had done all that he could. It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that he fell short of the mark.

These may seem arcane points of boring law, but when taken together they form an explosive mixture.

Put simply, if there is an accident in the workplace resulting in an employee being injured then there is a clear case for saying that the employer has failed to take care of that employee’s safety. In order to defend himself against this charge the employer must actually prove his own innocence – he cannot just rely on challenging the prosecution case.

With all the above in mind it quickly becomes clear just why it’s so important for employers to plan in detail the management of their competent accident investigations – and draw up these plans before the accident happens.

Leave it all to chance, rely on a strategy of “it’ll be alright on the night”, and life could get both unpleasant and expensive!

About the author:

Andy has his own health & safety practice, Management & Safety Training Ltd, which in turn has its own specialist industrial accident investigation division, iNDAXCON. He is a highly experienced and internationally qualified investigator, consultant and trainer, qualified in both the health & safety and training sectors.

A Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, a chartered safety & health practitioner (chartered both with IOSH in the UK and SIA in Australia) and a member of the UK Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), he has a proven track record in fields as diverse as accident investigation, lone worker safety, construction safety, and health & safety training.

Previously a specialist investigator with two élite UK law enforcement agencies (including responsibility for the management of complex international fraud enquiries) he became an accredited security trainer and assessor with the City of Bristol College. His move into the health & safety sector has included a wide range of training/ consultancy projects.

 

Jun 252015
 

directors duties roles responsibilitiesThe Director’s duties, roles and responsibilities course provides an essential overview of what is required of a company director together with practical steps that can be taken to ensure that the demands are complied with.

This half-day course is aimed at aspiring or newly appointed directors and covers key knowledge about legal duties, roles, responsibilities, strategy and corporate governance that are key foundations for an effective board appointment. It also considers up to date thinking on corporate governance and the responsibilities of owners, the board and employees.

Who should attend?

Aspiring, newly appointed or current directors of companies including owner-managed companies or family businesses in the private, public and voluntary sector.

What to expect?

  • An in-depth view of the key duties, roles and legal responsibilities of directors, corporate governance and the role of the board
  • An appreciation of the crucial differences between management, direction and ownership
  • Practical guidance on avoiding or dealing with conflicts of interest

Course objectives

Participation on this course will provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Clarify the board’s role, purpose and key tasks
  • Understand the legal status of a company
  • Understand the roles directors play and key director relationships in different types of company and context
  • Examine the board’s corporate governance role
  • Define the legal duties and liabilities of individual directors and the board

Course Leader:
David Doughty CDir FIoD

David Doughty - Chartered DirectorThe course is delivered by David Doughty, a Chartered Director and highly experienced Non-Executive, Chief Executive, Chair, Entrepreneur and Business Mentor. David has extensive executive and non-executive experience in small and medium enterprises in private and public sectors. He is also a board level consultant to multi-national organisations and a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors. See his LinkedIn profile here:

Key Details

Duration: 1/2 day
9:00am to 12:30pm
Location:
Orchard Street Business Centre
14 Orchard Street
Bristol BS1 5EH

Price
£165.00 (ex VAT)
Payment with Booking Price £150.00 (ex
VAT)
Partner Discount Price £140.00 (ex VAT)*

Book Now

To see course dates and to book your place now follow this link:
Course Registration

The fee includes refreshments and a copy of the course handbook

Attendance counts as 3 verifiable CPD hours of structured learning

*Discounts on Excellencia course fees are available for:

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