The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have produced a flyer on Transition Readiness from the Business Secretary. It provides some general advice on what businesses must do after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

All business representatives organisations are asked to circulate this widely to their membership to ensure that as many businesses as possible are aware of what they need to do in order to prepare for the UK Leaving the EU from 1 January 2021.

For more information on the transition, click here.

In the second of our series of articles looking at the impact the Coronavirus has had on our industry, Gordon Glenister, CEO of Membership World and consultant advisor takes a look at the effect this has had on our communications by discussing some of the highlights and anecdotes from his Covid-19 Impact Report.

Marketing and PR teams within associations have had their work cut out during the Pandemic. Due to the sheer amount of news and Government policy changes around the Pandemic, there has been a constant need to keep members informed of these developments, distilling the information into industry relevant content in the process. Many trade bodies immediately created Covid-19 sections on their websites, which allowed their members quick and easy access to this and at the outset of the Panedemic, a number of associations also ran online weekly webinars at set times and some undertook daily briefings to to both staff and members in the earlier stages of the first lockdown.

According to the Covid-19 Membership Impact report, associations used the home page of their website to signpost this coronavirus-related – some 93% of those surveyed said that the website has been the main channel for content of this kind, with 88% also using social media channels to get the messages out. In fact, 82% of respondents said that social media engagement has improved, and this was seen as vital to their wider communications strategy. However, direct e-mail still provides the main source of communication for the vast majority (more than 95%) of surveyed organisations. The British Dietetic Association said they had seen a 400% increase in their web traffic.

Despite the relevance and importance of external communications, only 26% of respondents said they would spend more on this in the next six months. Some organisations have created and shared a strategic message, such as Badminton England’s ‘Protect, Prepare and Play’ slogan, with a specific focus on the safety of the sport.

Faced with a looming crisis in the advertising industry, the Advertising Association went into overdrive as soon as lockdown was announced, sending a planned message to all their members – SURVIVE, THRIVE and REVIVE. CEO Stephen Woodford said: “We were frantically busy with daily meetings and our initial plan was to survey members and feed back into the Government.”

Robin Osterley, COE of the Charity Retail Association, said: “We ran a couple of re-opening meetings in May. More than 200 attended our Zoom meetings, and overall 1,600 attended this which is a huge increase and great exposure for the association.”

Debbie Hunter, Director of Commercial Affairs from the Cosmetic Perfume and Toiletries Association, said that it had in excess of 12,000 hits on one of its news items on the website. In addition to the Government advice, CPTA provided counter guidance for members involved in the beauty sector, which is, of course, a close-contact industry which can be problematic. In addition, it provided a matching service for those members and companies wishing to make hand sanitiser, even receiving requests from breweries which was very successful to the extent that one prospective member CTPA had been trying to persuade to join for over a decade converted following the specialist advice from the association.

The National Association of Estate Agents’ Property Mark represents some 17,500 members. Their CEO, Mark Hayward, reports that he was regularly in touch with the housing minister as the property market ground to a temporary halt. He said: “We needed to communicate on a daily basis given the impact to the sector. One webinar was viewed by 20,000 live and a further 11,000 watched the recorded version.

“There has never been a better a time to review your business. We are going to have good people at the front and probably greater technology at the back, which will no doubt involve a reduction in the industry workforce. There won’t be a brand on every high street, but more hubs instead, and London is no longer the main commuter destination

“We have been able to prove the worth of membership. The organisation campaigned hard for a stamp duty reduction to kick-start the economy and won it.”

What have we learnt?

The increased level of communication to members has clearly had a positive impact on engagement levels, with associations over 89% seeing a positive shift on member engagement. Zoom was seen as the most used medium according to the survey, with over 60% of respondents using this for communicating with their members, followed by Microsoft Teams at a much lower 25%. Associations have also extended their community reach using tools like Slack and Whatsapp for special interest groups. Associations have certainly learnt the importance of their communications throughout the Pandemic, especially when industry bodies are the ‘go to’ source of news, guidance and of course reassurance for members in such a difficult business landscape.

Associations want to re-engage with live events as soon as possible, but only when its safe to do so. However, there have been some really positive upsides for many in how associations communicate from a strategic point of view. Here are my closing thoughts:

• Online meetings are very cost effective, with further potential for special interest group separation in smaller numbers, using toolls like Zoom Rooms.
• AGMs and Board meetings can more easily be done online, and most have reported higher attendance levels for this type of meeting due to the online facility.
• Connecting with global members means that real consideration should be made for time zones, e.g. late afternoon.
• Restricted areas of websites for specialist interests can be very effective.
• Online forums only really work well they are properly managed and constantly stimulated with content and commentary. This is challenging for those with little time resource.
• Having a specific strategy to promote the industry with key pillar words like those of Badminton England’s ‘Protect, Promote, Play’ can really help bring members with you on the journey.
• Online presence will be an important area for associations to focus on in the future, so if you haven’t got the social media skills internally, consider outsourcing them. People are following individuals too, so CEOs should also have a strong online persona alongside the corporate.

To get access to the full Covid-19 impact report, please click here.

There’s nothing better than being able to offer extra benefits to the members of your Trade Association.

Choosing the right IBG provider to partner with can benefit your organisation as well as offering great perks for your membership. Plus, working with an IBG provider that uses a UK based, PRA authorised insurer demonstrates your commitment to promoting best practice in the market, as well as reinforcing a strong emphasis on consumer protection.

By working closely with trade bodies and organisations such as Competent Persons Schemes, QANW understands how the right IBG offering can help to boost membership numbers and in turn help members with great business benefits too.

IBG schemes can be set-up to work in conjunction with Competent Persons Schemes, so member contractors only have to register jobs once and there are additional options such as Deposit Protection Insurance also available.

If IBGs are part of your membership criteria, talk to QANW about providing an IBG facility that can benefit everyone.

Find out more at www.qanw.co.uk or contact Gemma Swankie on 01292 268020.

Earlier this month, the Government announced modifications to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) as from 1st November, and they have extended the scheme now until 31st March 2021. The original CJRS was due to end on 31st October, with the introduction of the Job Support Scheme from 1st November. Since the announcement of the extension, the government have released guidance for the new terms of the CJRS.

The Extended CJRS (furlough scheme) is more generous than it was in October and the level of grant mirrors the level available in August 2020 where the Government paid 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.

Under the new CJRS, employees may now be placed on full furlough or flexible furlough (where employees work part time hours) and employers can agree working arrangements with the employees as previously. Employees can be on any type of employment contract.

Longstanding TAF partners Quest Partnerships have produced a handy FAQ’s document here to help you with navigating the changes to the scheme should you need to use it.

At least one in six workers experiences common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Research from mental health charity Mind shows that work is the biggest cause of stress in people’s lives, even more so than debt or financial problems.

This research also confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is very costly to employers:

  • More than one in five (21 per cent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
  • 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
  • 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the above statement, saying ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’.
  • 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.

Mind have a number of free resources and training courses available to you which are designed to help you take this problem. Download a free Wellness Action Plan or click here to purchase Mind’s wellbeing booklets for the workplace.

Mental health charity, Mind, have a Workplace Wellbeing Index, which is a benchmark of best practice for the important topic of mental health in the workplace.

Every employer depends on having healthy and productive employees – we all know that valued and supported staff are far more likely to deliver the best outcomes for the business.

And so, if you want to attract and retain committed employees, prioritising the mental health of your staff should be at the core of your organisation.

Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index will help you find out where you are doing well and where you could improve your approach to mental health in the workplace. Although the index for 2019/20 has now closed, the next Index cycle is just around the corner and will start in January 2021.

Registration is now open to indicate your interest, so why not take part?

Taking part in the Index will enable you to:

  • Gain public recognition of your organisation’s commitment to workplace wellbeing.
  • Share and access best practice learning from other employers participating in the Index.
  • Find out what your employees really feel about how you support their mental health.
  • Hear from current participants on why taking part in the Workplace Wellbeing Index is important to them.

How does it work?

You’ll take part in staff and employer surveys to help Mind assess where the gaps lie between your approach to workplace wellbeing and staff perceptions.

Mind will provide you with an assessment report with analysis of the survey results, highlighting what you are doing well and recommendations of where you can improve. You’ll be supported throughout the process with the tools and resources you need and depending on your participation level, you’ll have access to a dedicated Account Manager.

The final step is to get your Index ranking and celebrate the good work that all participants are doing to promote workplace wellbeing.

Download the brochure here for more information.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all.

The UK will host the UN climate change conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action.

But each of us has a part to play. That’s why, in the run up to the summit, the Government will be working closely with businesses, civil society groups, schools and people across the UK as part of our conversation on tackling climate change.

Many people from all over the UK are already doing their bit on climate change, from the engineers working on the offshore wind farms now powering our homes and businesses, to local initiatives encouraging children and parents to walk to school. We should celebrate them and inspire more to join them.

How can I get involved?

Race to Zero: Businesses from every corner of the UK are invited to join the #RacetoZero. Race To Zero is a global initiative, backed by science-based targets, to commit businesses, cities, regions, investors and universities to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.

Find out more information here.

Share your action: Make your action count and inspire others to do their bit by sharing what you are doing using #TogetherForOurPlanet on all social media platforms and joining others through the Count Us In campaign.

Partner with us: Are you already making a difference to your community and our planet? Does your organisation have plans to encourage people to take climate action? We want to hear from you and discuss how we could work together.

Get in touch by email: TogetherForOurPlanet@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Newsletter: Keep up to date on the latest from COP26 on our website and sign up for the newsletter here.

More information about the Climate Change Conference can be found here.

The Prime Minister has this morning set out his Ten Point Plan, covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies. This ambitious strategy will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs; and allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050.

The ten points are:

  1. Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we produce to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.
  2. Hydrogen: Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, developing the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade.
  3. Nuclear: Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large scale nuclear and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.
  4. Electric vehicles: Backing our world-leading car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.
  5. Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport of the future.
  6. Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.
  7. Homes and public buildings: Making our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, whilst creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.
  8. Carbon capture: Becoming a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, with a target to remove 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber today.
  9. Nature: Protecting and restoring our natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs.
  10. Innovation and finance: Developing the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach these new energy ambitions and make the City of London the global centre of green finance.

For full details of what is included in the ten points, please refer to the press notice here.

The insurance industry is run on cycles of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ markets, both of which can impact your members’ businesses in different ways.

Currently, the insurance market is hardening, and this means that the demand for insurance exceeds the supply available by insurers. Characteristics of a hard market include low competition among insurers, increased premiums, reduced coverage, charges for cover extensions, harsher interpretation of claims and in some cases, there will be no cover available for clients. In short, a hard market can make it extremely difficult for your members to obtain commercial insurance cover at an affordable rate.

This is not the first time the UK has experienced a hard market however, this is the first hard market we have experienced since
the early 2000s, a significant period of time.

TAF Partner, the Specialist Risk Group, have put together a guidance note exploring the reasons why we are experiencing this, and to help you find out more about how this affects your members’ insurance.

If your members move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Trader Support Service (TSS) is available to provide them with guidance on any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Institute of Export and International Trade is part of the Consortium delivering the TSS as a free-to-use service for traders and intermediaries (carriers and customs brokers).

Why TSS is needed

The UK will leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

From 1 January 2021, the ‘Northern Ireland Protocol’ will take effect, at which point customs declarations as well as safety and security declarations will be needed for goods moving from GB to NI to ensure:
• tariffs are not paid on trade within the UK
• Northern Ireland can benefit from UK Free Trade Agreements
• goods destined for Ireland (ie the EU) pay tariffs when they should.

Benefits to your members

If firms in your member associations move goods from GB to NI, then the TSS is available to them to ensure that the smooth flow of goods continues.

By encouraging your members to register for TSS, you will secure expert advice that guides firms through all these changes – at no cost to them:

• The TSS can complete declarations on their behalf, as well as safety and security declarations, if they choose
• Your members can attend free short training courses on key new processes that come into effect from 1 January 2021.

With less than two months to go until these new rules come into effect, please do encourage you member firms trading between GB and NI to register for the TSS here to help ensure that trade continues to operate seamlessly post-transition.