Public Liability Insurance is one of the most important forms of cover that your organisation may ever have, and policies are held by a wide variety of businesses across a large number of industries.

To find out more about the long list of risks and loss factors which need to be managed, click here for Miles Smith Insurance Group’s handy guide on this.

An updated guide to competition rules has now been issued to help managers, directors and their advisers to stay on the right side of the law.

The latest guide from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), together with the Institute of Risk Management, features up-to-date case studies that draw out lessons learned, and provides examples of best practice.

It also shines a light on accountability, highlighting that it is the responsibility of directors to ensure their companies comply with competition law – and that risk professionals advising them must make sure they are aware of this.

It comes as the CMA secures its 20th disqualification of a company director in the past 4 years. One of the most recent examples involved the director of an estate agent who has been prevented by court order from being a director of any UK company for 7 years. This was due to his contribution to an illegal arrangement in which 6 estate agents in Somerset agreed to fix a minimum commission rate of 1.5% for residential estate agency services.

As well as imposing fines on companies for breaking competition law, the CMA is increasingly using its power to seek the disqualification of directors. This reflects a toughening of the CMA’s approach to competition law enforcement over the past year.

Alongside the new risk guide, the CMA has a ‘Cheating or Competing?’ campaign page which includes advice for businesses and their advisors to help them recognise, mitigate and report anti-competitive business practices.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive, says: “Business leaders must be alive to competition law risk. They should take an active role in ensuring compliance. And the public rightly expects there to be personal responsibility for very serious wrongdoing in firms.

“It’s in the interests of business leaders – as well as their customers – that competition law compliance is clearly on the radar, and that’s what this Guide is about.

“For its part, the CMA is improving its investigation methods, and encouraging witnesses to report illegal activity through an awareness campaign and an improved online reporting form.”

Iain Wright, Chair of the Institute of Risk Management, says: “This guide recommends that organisations should have a zero-risk appetite for breaking the law. Yet to achieve this requires not just that the right policies, processes and procedures are in place. It is also vital that an organisation’s culture, from boardroom to shop floor, positively supports ethical and legal behaviour. The IRM’s suite of training and qualifications helps to arm risk managers with the knowledge and skills to protect organisations.

“The challenge is to recognise and address this risk beyond the boundaries of the immediate organisation out into the extended enterprise including the network of customers, suppliers and partners. Having a clear understanding of these risks is a necessary first step, and one which this guide aims to support.”

A full copy of the guidance can be found here.

On July 8th the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set out a “Plan for Jobs 2020” as the government response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. The Plan for Jobs contains a number of measures and incentives aimed at encouraging employers to take advantage of the skills development opportunities available from the ESFA and other government departments. The measures also support young people and those whose employment opportunities have been negatively impacted by the outbreak.

A webinar for Trade Association Forum Members with the National Apprenticeship Service took place on the morning of 10th of September to talk about the totality of the ‘new skills’ in effort to assist employers benefit from the support available in these difficult times.

During the webinar the topics covered were:
• Apprenticeship recruitment incentives
• Traineeships
• Other elements of ‘Plan for Jobs’; Job Retention Bonus, Kickstart
• T Levels
• Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (Version 6) 2020/21 apprenticeships funding policy and rules.

To download the slides from the webinar please click here.

For further information about apprenticeships including financial support, please click here.

Employers can now apply for incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice. Lots of organisations have already expressed an interest in this support, so please share our guidance with your members or networks to help them make the most of it. They can get the payment in 3 steps:

  1. Hire new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021.
  2. Apply for the payment after they’ve added new apprentices to their apprenticeship service account.
  3. They’ll be eligible for 2 equal instalments after the apprentice completes 90 and 365 days of their apprenticeship.

Payments made are up to £2,000 for each new apprentice. For apprentices aged:

• 16 to 24, they’ll receive £2,000 in total
• 25 and over, they’ll receive £1,500 in total

The payment can be spent on anything to support their organisation’s costs, from facilities and travel to uniforms and salaries. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment already given to help employers meet the needs of some groups of apprentices in the workplace.

More information on applying for these incentive payments can be found here.

Homeowners and landlords can now see for themselves how the government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme can help make their homes warmer and more energy efficient.

Business and Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma, has unveiled a new opportunity for consumers to get tips for making their homes more energy efficient, and details of how the Green Homes Grant scheme can make installations cheaper. These will be available on a revamped Simple Energy Advice website.

The site offers a quick energy survey for consumers to see how energy efficient their homes already are, and where improvements can be made. Taking as little as 5 minutes, once completed homeowners and landlords can receive a personalised energy plan.

The Green Home Grants scheme, due to open by the end of September, will allow consumers to obtain funding for up to two-thirds of the cost of the energy saving measures identified – up to £5000 – in the form of new vouchers. Lower income households could be entitled to have as much as £10,000 of the costs covered.

The scheme will cover green home improvements including insulation of walls, floors and roofs, the installation of double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating. These measures could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.

The Simple Energy Advice website then offers people access to fully accredited tradespeople in their area able to carry out the work needed, so they can get quotes ready for when the vouchers become available.

Business and Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “Green Homes Grants are a key part of our plans to build back greener, helping make 600,000 homes more energy efficient with government vouchers, while supporting 100,000 skilled jobs and supporting our transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“From today people will have the chance to see how this scheme could help save money on their energy bills and connect to trusted local tradespeople across the country, so they are ready for the scheme’s launch in September.”

Announced in August, the Green Homes Grant scheme will see the government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements up to £10,000 to make over 600,000 homes across the country more energy efficient and support over 100,000 jobs in green construction.

Energy Savings Trust Chief Executive, Mike Thornton, said: “The Green Homes Grant scheme is a great opportunity to get a grant to cut energy bills. Now the website is live, we urge people to go online to create a personalised plan for energy efficiency in their home as a first step to getting their grant.”

Any organisation wishing to be accredited to complete work under the Green Homes Grant scheme can simply register with TrustMark via their website, with registration taking as few as 5 working days for those who already have membership of a recognised trade body, such as the Federation of Master Builders, the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency and Building Engineering Services Association, or who are already certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

Further guidance for both consumers and tradespeople to give them more in-depth information on the scheme is now available.

The Railway Industry Association is looking to move into bigger, more modern offices in October this year, and have found an excellent option in the heart of Westminster (subject to completion of legals). We are looking for potential sub tenants who may want their own office space (anything from 10-20 desks plus standard office facilities) and who may want to share meeting/event rooms and facilities with us, including a Board Room, and meeting rooms which can flex from 10 to 80+ people. These rooms will be made video-conferencing and streaming compliant, so those who don’t want to attend physical meetings can still participate remotely.

Whilst Coronavirus is of course affecting face-to-face at the moment, we anticipate our association members, clients and various industry stakeholders, will increasingly want London-based hot-desking and meeting room hire capability in the future. Also due to the current situation, we have secured an excellent financial deal for the space we’re moving in to, which will be reflected in the sub tenancy agreement.

If you’d be interested to discuss this confidentially, please call the Chief Executive, Darren Caplan on 07956 820145, or by email darren.caplan@riagb.org.uk.

The Stakeholder Engagement Team at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy have asked for your assistance via the following open letter:

“Dear Trade Association Forum Member

As you may be aware, the Government is currently running a White Paper consultation on the UK Internal Market which closes on 13th August.

The consultation is seeking views on proposals for maintaining the UK Internal Market in its current form following the end of the Transition Period, so avoiding barriers to internal trade across the four UK nations. The proposals are for a Market Access Guarantee that would enshrine:

Mutual recognition: ensuring that goods and services that are lawfully bought, sold and made use of in one part of the UK may be bought, sold, and made use of in any other part
Non-discrimination: whereby regulations in one part of the Internal Market cannot discriminate against goods and services from other parts of the UK

The Internal Market is likely to have implications for your member companies, and their supply chains. Please participate in this important consultation by sharing your views at GOV.UK.

If you would like more information or have questions please contact ukinternalmarket@beis.gov.uk

Thank you.

BEIS Internal Market Team”

The Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced £20 million of new funding to help businesses across England get back on track. Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track after the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes on top of an unprecedented package of Government support to help businesses to recover, including the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme which will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country, as well as £1.6 billion invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP said: “We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic. This new funding does exactly that.

“Businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to adapt, recover and rebuild.

“Small and medium sized businesses are the beating heart of communities; they provide employment and contribute significantly to local economies and we are determined to give them the support they need to continue to thrive.”

The announcement builds on a £10 million package announced by the Minister in July to help to kickstart the tourism industry and support the visitor economy.

The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.

Phishing is when attackers attempt to trick users into doing ‘the wrong thing’, such as clicking a bad link that will download malware, or direct them to a dodgy website. This can be conducted via a text message, social media, or by phone, but the term ‘phishing’ is mainly used to describe attacks that arrive by email. Phishing emails can reach millions of users directly, and hide amongst the huge number of benign emails that busy users receive. Attacks can install malware (such as ransomware), sabotage systems, or steal intellectual property and money.

These Phishing emails can hit an organisation of any size and type. You might get caught up in a mass campaign (where the attacker is just looking to collect some new passwords or make some easy money), or it could be the first step in a targeted attack against your company, where the aim could be something much more specific, like the theft of sensitive data. In a targeted campaign, the attacker may use information about your employees or company to make their messages even more persuasive and realistic. This is usually referred to as spear phishing.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has excellent guidance aimed at technology, operations or security staff responsible for designing and implementing defences for medium to large organisations. This includes staff responsible for phishing training. The mitigations included in the guidance require a combination of technological, process and people-based approaches which must be considered as a whole in order for defences to be at their most effective.

Though staff within smaller organisations may also find the guidance useful, they should refer to the NCSC’s Small Business Guide beforehand.

The guidance also concludes with a real-world example that illustrates how a multi-layered approach prevented a phishing attack from damaging a major financial-sector organisation.

ote: The mitigations included in this guidance require a combination of technological, process, and people-based approaches. They must be considered as a whole for your defences to be really effective. For example, if you want to encourage people to report suspicious emails, then you need to back that up with a technical means of doing so, and a process behind it that will provide timely feedback on the email they submitted.

The full guidance, together with an infographic on phishing and a case study can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre Website here.

The Queens Awards have announced that that the new refocused Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility) category of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is now live. The Promoting Opportunity category recognises organisations that have supported people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds in improving their job skills and their chances of finding work.

This year, the category has been refocused to give applicants a better understanding of the application process, enabling those whose organisations’ core aim is to provide opportunities for others, and also those with a social mobility intervention or programme, to be recognised and celebrated. It is also now easier for organisations to demonstrate how they have supported socially disadvantaged individuals in improving their job skills and their chances of finding work and provide evidence on the impacts and benefits of their interventions.

There is also a list to help guide applicants about who we define as socially disadvantaged for the purpose of the application and this is below :

• People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, including Gypsy and Traveller people;
• Asylum seekers and refugees or children of refugees;
• Young people (over 16 years old) with English as a second language;
• Long-term unemployed or people who grew up in workless households;
• People on low incomes;
• Lone parents – single adult heads of a household who are responsible for at least one dependent child, who normally lives with them;
• People who received free school meals or if there are children in the person’s current household who receive free school meals;
• Homeless and insecurely housed, including those at risk of becoming homeless and those in overcrowded or substandard housing;
• Care leavers – people who spent time in care before the age of 18. Such care could be in foster care, children’s homes, or other arrangements outside the immediate or extended family;
• Young people (over 16 years old) who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or are at risk of that;
• People who attended schools with lower than average attainment or if there are children in the person’s current household who attend school with lower than average attainment;
• People whose parents’ or guardians’ highest level of qualifications by the time the person was 18 was secondary school;
• People with a physical or mental disability that has a substantial and adverse longterm effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities;
• People recovering or who have recovered from addiction;
• Survivors of domestic violence;
• Military veterans;
• Ex-offenders;
• Families of prisoners.

Please note to be eligible for the award, the participants have to be based in the UK and be over 16 years old at the start of the engagement.

Further information on the Queens Awards along with details on how you can enter can be found here.