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					business news from across the region

                                                                         SEPTEMBER 2007 • £2.50
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Business travel
Do business travellers really care about CO2 emissions?
page 31

               Enjoy Christmas-Tyne
                                                   Duke’s team triumph
                                                   page 25
               page 13
foreword: president’s column                                                                   north
Looking forward to the dinner season
September, the month when it all ratchets       Anderson, and BBC radio and television
back up to full speed again. Gone are the       presenter John Humphrys, which reinforce
hazy days of summer (or the wind and            their position as must-attend events in a
rain swept days that we endured!), the          hectic calendar.
kids are back to school and the minds of           I am delighted to see that Emirates
business people are firmly focussed back        Airlines flights take off from Newcastle
on the task ahead.                              International Airport to Dubai. NECC
   September also brings the start of the       last year forged new links with Abu
dinner season. A thoroughly enjoyable, if       Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, links
a little hard on the waistline, period of the   that we believe will be extremely useful
business calendar, which brings you back        for companies in the North East who
in contact with friends, acquaintances and      will benefit from the direct route now
potential business partners from all areas      available on the doorstep. It is telling to
and sectors of industry and from all the        see how swiftly the seats have sold on this
four corners of the North East.                 service. And, it is not just the United Arab
   NECC’s upcoming showcase events              Emirates that this flight opens the door to
include the inaugural Enterprise Dinner         as Dubai has expansive plans to become
at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on             the key hub for that part of the world and
September 13, the Tees Valley and County        it will be great to have that direct link.
Durham Dinner at Hardwick Hall Hotel               All in all, September is shaping up to be
                                                                                                            Maggie Pavlou, NECC President
on October 11, and the Annual Dinner at         a very busy month – I do hope that you can
Newcastle’s prestigious Civic Centre on         attend one of the NECC dinners over the
November 9.                                     coming weeks in which case I look forward
   We have a star-studded line up for each,     to seeing you there!
including Simon Woodroffe, founder of
YO! Sushi and star of TV’s Dragons’ Den,
television and radio broadcaster Clive            Maggie

u in the news 4
u in my view necc chief executive 10

                       feature                                                                 update
       12-23 corporate christmas
          11                                                                  35-50            NECC members supplement

u feature charity review 24                                            u legal transport 51-55
u feature career development 26
                                                                       u Q&A marie difolco 56
                                                                       u in the news 57
                                                                       u necc events diary 58
      30-33            business travel

North East Chamber of Commerce, Head Office, Aykley Heads, Durham, DH1 5TS. Tel: 0191 386 1133 Fax: 0191 396 1144 Website:
With offices in Newcastle and Middlesbrough

                     NECC Key Sponsors
                                                                                                                                     page 3
September 07
  is the official publication of the
  North East Chamber of Commerce.             news in the region: a business round up

                                              Wansbeck looks to future
                                                                                             Projects might include studies exploring
                                                                                             unfulfilled enterprise opportunities in
                                                                                             Wansbeck, or research and development
                                                                                             of a business plan for a community
                                                                                             originated social enterprise.
                                                                                               Applicants will need to demonstrate
                                                                                             the project can contribute directly to one
  Front cover:                                                                               or more of the three LEGI targets - raise
  Business travel                                                                            enterprise and new business starts, increase
                                                                                             the competitiveness of existing businesses
                                                                                             and attract new businesses to Wansbeck.
  Editorial                                                                                    Brian Smith (pictured), chair of the                                                                     Go Wansbeck board - which will have
                                                                                             the final say on grant awards – and
                                                                                             managing director of Bedlington-based
  Design & Production                                                                        LDR Squared, said: “Often some of the
                                                                                             most creative enterprise ideas are outside
  Vince Towns (NECC)
                                                                                             the normal range of business support.
  Tel. 0191 386 1133                                                                         We want this fund to act as a catalyst                                                                     for change. We’ll be looking carefully
                                                                                             at the proposals to make sure they do
                                                                                             make business sense, but we want to be
  Peter Foley (Imprint Publishing)                                                           able to harness that creative thinking
  Tel. 0161 443 5057                          Go Wansbeck - the Local Enterprise             to boost enterprise in Wansbeck.”
                                              Growth Initiative – has launched its latest      Grants of around £25,000 are available,
                                              fund to promote enterprise in the area.        but in exceptional circumstances an
                                                The Enterprise Opportunity Fund is open      increased amount may be considered.
  Advertising                                 to community and voluntary organisations,      Grants could meet 100 per cent of
                                              educational establishments and groups of       the costs of the project if it can be
  Caroline Ackroyd
                                              businesses working together who want to        demonstrated there are no other funds
  Tel: 0161 443 5066                          get an enterprise project off the ground.      available. If groups can identify matched                     Grants can be awarded to fund                funding this maximises the number
                                              feasibility studies or pilot schemes.          of groups who can receive a share.
  UK Business Media

                                              Take a break!
  Kathie Griffith
  Tel: 0161 443 5095

  North East Contact is produced on           High-flying 80s yuppies believed that          taking time out in the working day can, in
  behalf of North East Chamber by             lunch breaks were for wimps – but two          the long-term, also affect their health and
  Imprint Publishing, Ground Floor            decades on, almost one in five North East      their ability to do the job.
                                              employees are still subscribing to the same       “In some cases there might well be very
  Houldsworth Mill
                                              idea, according to a new survey.               good reasons for missing out on a lunch
  South Mill, Reddish
                                                The survey, carried out by YouGov on         break, such as meeting an impending
  Stockport SK5 6DA.                          behalf of Croner, found that 19 per cent       deadline or leaving work early for a
                                              of working adults across the region – and      doctor’s appointment, but employers
  A division of Excel Publishing Co Ltd.      the nation as a whole – do not take any        have to make sure that workers are
  Although every effort is made to            time out in the middle of the day. And         having a rest break under the Working
                                              whilst this might appear to be a bonus         Time Regulations, so if it’s an every day
  ensure the accuracy of material
                                              for Britain’s bosses, employers are advised    occurrence, employers need to be looking
  contained in this publication, the          to make sure that they’re monitoring all       into the reasons why and addressing the
  publishers and NECC can accept no           members of their workforce to prevent any      situation.
  responsibility for the veracity of claims   workplace problems arising.                       “It’s impossible for anyone to maintain
  made by contributors in either                Gillian Dowling, employment technical        concentration levels over protracted
                                              consultant at Croner, said: “We all know       lengths of time. In our experience when
  advertising or editorial content.
                                              that working long hours affects our ability    talking to employers we find that in some
  The views expressed in this publication
                                              to cope with our day to day roles, and as      instances although the employee doesn’t
  may not necessarily be those of the         such we are starting to see more people        appear to be taking a regular ‘lunch’
  NECC.                                       question their work life balance and taking    break, they may in fact be taking other
                                              appropriate action. However, what some         little breaks during the day even if it’s a
                                              employees are failing to realise is that not   quick chat whilst the kettle boils.”
page 4
news in the region: a business round up                                                            north

Vision for a Software City
                                                                           sharing knowledge with the             “We are committed to
                                                                           software companies, enhancing       working with the university,
                                                                           high level skills and the           One NorthEast and the
                                                                           knowledge base, and adding          private sector to create the
                                                                           real value to the industry.”        right environment for a
                                                                              Public sector involvement will   more diverse, dynamic and
                                                                           focus on creating the support       modern industrial base.”
                                                                           and physical infrastructure            Sunderland Software City has
                                                                           required to underpin a              the backing of One NorthEast
                                                                           growing software sector.            and the concept is a key
                                                                              Cllr Bob Symonds, Leader of      component within the Regional
                                                                           Sunderland City Council, said:      Economic Strategy for the
                                                                           “The council has, in partnership    North East, ‘Leading the Way’.
                                                                           with the private sector, been          The North East now boasts
                                                                           working hard to develop a           three ‘City’ initiatives which
                                                                           world-class infrastructure          aim to create location focused
                                                                           of telecommunications and           infrastructure for businesses in
                                                                           business premises. This has         a certain sector. DigitalCity is
        Lord Puttnam officially launches Sunderland Software City          already attracted business.         an ambitious initiative driving
                                                                              “New buildings like the          the economy in Tees Valley
Sunderland Software City has          high quality sites and premises,     e-volve Business Centre at          while Newcastle has developed
been launched in an ambitious         excellent telecommunications         Rainton Bridge demonstrate          Science City status to reinforce
bid to attract millions of pounds     connectivity and the                 why the city has been voted         strengths in science research;
of business investment, employ        commitment of Sunderland             one of the top seven global         Sunderland Software City is
thousands of people and               University’s nationally              ‘intelligent communities’ by the    expected to link with these
generate wealth for the city.         renowned School of                   Intelligent Communities Forum.      two other ‘City’ initiatives.
   Business, academia and the         Technology and Computing.
public sector are combining              Sunderland Software City

                                                                               Plan for the future
forces to create and deliver an       will be a city wide initiative
exciting vision for Sunderland        and not intended to be a
as a leading 21st century city.       location specific ‘business
   Lord Puttnam was the               park’. However, the university                          ... upskill your staff today
keynote speaker in an                 will be a key hub of activity
announcement to unveil                and a major driver for                   You can with Pitman Training
plans to further diversify            innovation and change.
the city’s industrial base and           It is widely recognised,              Pitman Training in Newcastle can give your staff
establish a vibrant software          within Sunderland and also               new skills, in everything from secretarial to book-
industry in Sunderland.               the international software               keeping, computing to business.
   International businesses and       industry, that access to a skilled
potential investors within the        workforce and graduates will             Your staff will learn at their own pace and gain
IT and telecommunications             be critical in the development           recognised qualifications. Start dates and study
industries have already given         of a Software City.                      times are flexible, fitting around your business
their backing to the idea                Prof John MacIntyre,                  needs. Enrol your staff with Pitman Training and
and preliminary discussions           University of Sunderland, said:
                                                                               discover the benefits.
have taken place regarding            “The University of Sunderland is
future inward investment              delighted to be taking a leading
and partnership work.                 role in the Sunderland Software          Call today on 0191 241 1122
   Key regional partners in           City initiative. We are aligning
the exciting concept include          our academic programmes so
Leighton Group, the University        that our graduates will not
of Sunderland, Sunderland             only have the skills in software
City Council, the North East          development and IT, which
Business and Innovation Centre        the new software industry in
and regional development              Sunderland will need, but will
agency One NorthEast.                 also be helped and encouraged
   While the vision is long-term,     to become the new software
there is already real activity at a   entrepreneurs – following
ground-level that demonstrates        the example of others in the
the potential to develop              region like Sage and Leighton.
Sunderland as a software city.           “The university will play a
Assets that already exist include     key role in developing and
                                                                                                                                         page 5
  news in the region: a business round up

New scheme
is a first
A pioneering scheme is being                 a goldmine without knowing it.
                                                                                                 Bright sparks – (from left) Alex Shiel of
                                                                                                    Ward Hadaway and Stuart English of
                                                                                                Northumbria University launch Ideas-lab
                                                                                                 at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.

                                                                                           way they develop new products and what
launched to unlock the multi-million            “Ideas-lab will look to identify the       intellectual property they currently have.
pound potential of the North-                potential of companies’ technology and          A report is then produced outlining
East’s hidden business treasures.            then examine ways to make the most            the lab’s findings, offering new
  Newcastle-based law firm Ward              from that, whether by patenting a process,    ideas on how to boost revenue and
Hadaway and the University of                trademarking a design or changing             suggesting ways of developing and
Northumbria are joining forces to            the way they make their products.             protecting their intellectual property.
create a service designed to help               “This is the first scheme of its kind in     Stuart English said: “Most companies
companies in the region make the most        the country. The North East has been          are too busy thinking about the day
of their technology and processes.           renowned as a centre for invention and        to day running of their businesses
  Ideas-lab will aim to uncover the          innovation for centuries – and we believe     to consider new ways of making
hidden value and potential that              that there is a lot more out there.”          money from their technology.
businesses may not realise they                 Alex and other key members of the            “They could be just one step away
possess and then maximise the                ideas-lab team – experienced inventor         from transforming their business and
returns from those discoveries.              and industrial design consultant Tim          we hope that ideas-lab can act as
  This could come from new ways for          Moor and University of Northumbria            that missing piece in the puzzle.”
companies to make more money from            School of Design principal lecturer             Tim Moor, whose latest invention of
their existing technology, from ways of      Stuart English – have proven track            a new-style baby bottle has recently
producing their products in a more cost-     records in helping businesses develop,        been launched in eight countries,
effective way or from getting returns        protect and exploit their intellectual        added: “This is a great opportunity
from technology they are unaware of.         property and technology to the full.          for businesses to make more of what
  Alex Shiel, partner and head of               Under the scheme, ideas-lab will visit     they’ve got and for the North East
intellectual property at Ward Hadaway,       businesses to look at how they carry out      to show the rest of the world what a
said: “Companies could be sitting on         their work, what processes they use, the      dynamic and innovative place it is.”

Calm before                                    Ian Brown, Partner and Head of
                                             Reorganisation Services at Deloitte
                                             Newcastle, commented that these figures
                                                                                           increasing momentum. Also, the banks
                                                                                           are getting more nervous about lending
                                                                                           money with interest rate rises beginning

the storm?                                   should be treated with caution: “Over
                                             the last couple of years we have seen
                                             so much liquidity chasing a scarcity of
                                                                                           to bite, we have seen a marked increase
                                                                                           in the rate of business reviews we
                                                                                           are being asked to undertake.”
Latest analysis of administration figures    quality deals. This is now changing, and         On the industry sectors most affected,
by Deloitte, the business advisory firm,     with interest rates rising we will see an     Brown added: “We have recently seen a
has shown that in the first half of this     acceleration in the rate of companies         spate of suppliers to the food industry
year there has been a 15 per cent decrease   going into administration as more             going into administration. These
of administrations compared with the         marginal investments begin to buckle.         companies have been squeezed by both
same period in 2006, with the North East       “ We should not be misled by the            rising costs of raw materials and on their
experiencing the second largest decrease     current figures, as at Deloitte we are        margins, as their customers (food retailers)
in administrations, at 22 per cent. In       seeing more work dealing with troubled        struggle to maintain their own profits in
the first half of 2007, there were 1,205     companies, which were acquired from           a deflationary environment. Non-food
administrations nationwide compared          earlier failed enterprises and which          wholesalers supplying the major retailers
to 1,419 in the first half of 2006.          are now beginning to fail again with          are suffering a similar squeeze on margins
page 6
  news in the region: a business round up                                                            north

  Gold rush for retail skills
   A skills initiative encouraging
   Tyneside’s youngsters to choose
   retail as a career is making waves
   nationally just two years after its
      Retail Gold is the brainchild
   of the Newcastle Education
   Business Partnership (EBP) and
   Capital Shopping Centres (CSC),
   joint owners with Newcastle City
   Council of Eldon Square Shopping
      Working with Gosforth High
   School, Kenton Technology
   College, West Gate Community
   College and Eldon Square, they
   have developed and delivered
   a programme of BTEC First
   qualifications in retail.
      Piloted with the support of
   retailers in Newcastle, word of
   the successful project has spread,
   and CSC is extending the scheme       follow across the country.          Square recruited the retailers,      roll Retail Gold out in our other
   to Gateshead’s MetroCentre and           “Our sponsor CSC has been        including John Lewis, Superdrug,     shopping centres.
   seeking to introduce it at malls in   impressed by our approach           Collectables, Whittard of               “The students felt the work
   Cardiff and Manchester.               in supporting the sector            Chelsea, Park Lane Cards, Eden       placements were beneficial in
      In 2005, a dozen or so Tyneside    and preparing school pupils         and Perfume Point.                   preparing them for life after
   retailers from Eldon Square           with retail skills,” explained         “The programme is a big           school and in completing
   clubbed together to work with         Newcastle EBP general manager       commitment,” explains Dawn           course work for their BTEC
   its management team to provide        Gillian Bulman.                     Jones from John Lewis, “the          qualifications. It’s an exciting
   18 extended work placements for          “Retail can be fast moving,      equivalent of 8,000 hours on         project which we want to
   Year 12 students, with each pupil     fun, high achieving and provide     the shop floor where students        grow.”
   spending 60 hours with a business     a satisfying career, but that is    buddy up with our welcome               As part of its sponsorship,
   over the course of the academic       not always the perception in        coaches and administrative           CSC funded the production of a
   year.                                 schools. What we’ve done in         staff. But if we identify talent     CD Rom of classroom resources
      The project’s success and          the last two years is open up an    early, we’ll encourage them to       for schools. The students also
   popularity snowballed, with John      educational route into the sector   consider working for us or in the    produced a funded newspaper
   Lewis Partnership alone offering      so that schools and pupils have     retail sector.”                      dedicated to the project and
   48 placements to Tyneside schools     a much clearer understanding           The BTEC qualifications           circulated to 4,000 homes.
   in 2006. Now there are nearly         of career opportunities, benefits   contain a substantial industry-         The programme is being
   100 retail skills placements in       and skills.”                        based element. Students              extended to the MetroCentre,
   operation, and others are set to         Newcastle EBP and Eldon          take part in a series of day         with enthusiastic retailers
                                                                             placements to develop front          supporting the programme and
                                                                             line skills such as customer         hosting short visits for students
imposed by their customers,            • Mining, Energy and Agriculture      care, sales, listening and           in Debenhams, Starbucks and
many of whom are choosing to           saw a decrease of 34 per cent         communication, together with         Carphone Warehouse.
purchase directly from suppliers       • Printing and publishing saw a       the wider aspects of retailing          Newcastle EBP works as a
in the emerging economies.             decrease of nearly 29 per cent        such as merchandising.               catalyst to bring the needs
Some highly leveraged                  On the regional numbers,                 They tap into employers’          of industry and education
businesses in the property and      Brown said: “Most regions saw            training materials and               together, helping to develop an
construction industries may also    a decrease in administrations            undertake role play activities to    enterprising edge to the school
soon be suffering as interest       compared to the same period              test skills development.             curriculum. Its work with local
rate rises put a squeeze on         last year, the largest decrease             “Retail is one of the country’s   schools and businesses gives
growth in property values.          of 39 per cent was in East               major industries and provides        youngsters a taste of the real
   The three sectors that           Anglia, followed by the North            excellent career prospects for       working world, working as team
saw dramatic decreases in           East at 22 per cent. Whereas,            well trained staff,” said CSC        and on a level with adults. This
administration levels from          in Wales there was a 10 per              director Peter Badcock.              helps businesses influence the
2007 to 2006 were:                  cent increase and a 5 per                   “We’ve had such positive          curriculum and young people to
   • Recruitment and                cent increase in Scotland                feedback from both students          develop employability skills and
   business services saw a          compared to the half year                and our retailers, so we’re          give practical thought to their
   decrease of 58 per cent          administration figures in 2006.”         looking for opportunities to         potential careers.
                                                                                                                                             page 7
  news in the region: a business round up

                                               Clive Matthews (right) Commodities Manager of Airbus, is pictured with CAV’s Chief Executive
                                                                         Owen McFarlane (left) and Mike Eggleston, Head of Manufacturing.

Consett firm flying high
Consett-based CAV Aerospace is               since 1999 and is now a key supplier.           expertise - aerostructures, ice
investing an initial £4.5m in new            The components include stringers for            protection and aeroproducts.
manufacturing facilities and creating        the wings of various versions in the               “Achieving this Centre of Excellence
44 new jobs after winning an                 Airbus range, including the A380,               status will secure work packages for the
additional contract, worth £100m over        and every Airbus now contains a                 Airbus A320 and A380 for the remaining
the next five years, from Airbus.            component made in the North East.               life of the programme and this could be
   The project is the start of a planned        CAV is also expanding thanks to strong       for up to 20 or 25 years,” he added.
£14.8m investment across the company’s       demand for its ice protection systems              The new jobs created at Consett
three divisions over the next five years     used on smaller aircraft, up to private
as CAV Aerospace continues on the
road to becoming a global force in the
                                             jet size, with a 200 per cent growth over
                                             the last three years. It also operates
                                                                                             “This latest move
aerospace industry. The company now          successfully in the defence sector working      strengthens our position as
has manufacturing centres in Consett,        on unmanned aerial vehicles, the C17
Leicester, Wales and Poland and turnover     transport plane and the Eurofighter.
                                                                                             a major supplier to Airbus
is expected to reach £43m this year.            “This latest move strengthens our            considerably”
   The latest Airbus contract is to supply   position as a major supplier to Airbus
wing components and establishes the          considerably,” says Chief Executive
company as the Centre of Excellence in       Owen McFarlane. “The major airframe             will range from machinists and CNC
the UK for the design and manufacture        manufacturers are increasingly looking          operators to inspectors and engineers. An
of spars and stringers. The contract         for suppliers to become partners for            additional CNC longbed machine with its
was previously placed in the USA.            long term business and they need                associated plant and equipment, capable
   CAV currently employs 467 people          to have the capability to supply                of dealing with the size of the spars and
world-wide with 325 at Consett,              everything from a small, simple bracket         stringers, will be installed at CAV’s HQ on
where this initial investment will           to major structural sub-assemblies.             Consett’s Number One Industrial Estate.
not only create 44 new jobs but                 “We have positioned ourselves                   Support for the initial investment
also safeguard a further 22.                 to support this customer strategy               project has come from One
   The company has been designing and        with the formation of three business            NorthEast with a Regional Selective
manufacturing components for Airbus          units each with its own focus of                Assistance grant of £249,000.
page 8

              The Bridges shopping centre          The Onyx Group, the North East’s
              in Sunderland now has                leading technology solutions
              announced a new letting to           company, has opened the region’s
              high end furniture retailer          largest Workplace Continuity
              Woodbridge Fine Furnishings.         Centre at Team Valley, Gateshead.

              North East engineering               Durham Business School has
              company, Jordan Engineering,         cemented a special relationship
              has invested £100,000 on             with the Government of Gibraltar
              manufacturing management             which has seen 27 employees
              training for ten members of          from Gibraltar’s public and
              staff as part of an initiative to    private sector graduate with
              increase company efficiency.         a Durham Business School MA
                                                   in Enterprise Management.
              A green transport plan has
              been created for the opening of      Local advisers from Deloitte
              Gateshead College’s £37 million      Corporate Finance and law firm
              Baltic Campus next year. The         Dickinson Dees have agreed the
in brief...

              plan will help staff and students    sale of Newcastle based Attends
              find eco-friendly ways to get to     Healthcare Holdings for €93.5m.
              work and study, by promoting
              car sharing and public transport
              as a cleaner alternative.
                                                                                            FTC is dedicated to helping organisations with
              Newcastle-based Xsite Architecture                                            occupational drivers achieve peace of mind with
                                                                                            regard to litigation and rising costs associated
              has been appointed to design                                                  with fleet management.
              and project manage Salmon Trail,                                              We achieve this by providing Risk Assessment,
                                                                                            Training, Development and Support for the fleet
              a series of artistic installations                                            driver.
              stretching from Tynemouth
              to the Kielder Reservoir.

                                                                                 FTC 130x88.indd 1                                             20/8/07 10:35:00 am

                                                                                                                                                   page 9
  necc: chief executive’s column

                                               IN MY

                                               James Ramsbotham

One of the greatest issues to vex              Spatial Strategy. The economic blueprint     play a full and active part in the future
businesses is the plethora of public           and the planning blueprint for the           economic development of the North East
bodies, agencies and authorities that          region were totally at odds in their         they had to be united under one body.
exist to support and assist our daily lives.   assessment of the North East’s growth           Businesses will be the greatest winners
  The annoyance comes when                     potential and yet both are supposed          from this change and that means that
support crosses over to control and            to dovetail to help the region grow.         ordinary people in the North East will
assistance morphs into obstruction.               The Sub-National Review has removed       also benefit enormously. Business success
  More often than not, this change             this uncertainty. The Government             equates to personal prosperity. One of
comes not out of intent but out of             has placed the body responsible for          the greatest mistakes the Government
ignorance or, particularly in recent           economic growth at the heart of this         made in re-wording the RSS was to
times, the collision and overlap of            new streamlining initiative. It indicates    suggest that one of the selling points of
myriad bodies with similar but different       a willingness to encourage greater           the North East as a location for inward
aims, objectives and methods of                prosperity in the region. It is incumbent    investment was its low wage base.
interacting with people and businesses.        on the new body to now fight for the         Business success will rubbish this notion.
  This is not to denigrate the many            key priorities that will truly unlock jobs      When it comes to the Sub-National
accomplished individuals working               and business growth in the North East.       Review and the local government review,
in the interest of the region. But it             Another important step in the             it is clear that less is most definitely more.
highlights an issue that has needed            streamlining of this region’s bodies again   I hope the transition on both counts
to be addressed for too long.                  came from Central Government. The local      will be as smooth a process as possible.
  I am delighted to see that the               government review will see the tapestry
Government has finally taken heed              of local councils in County Durham and       James Ramsbotham is Chief Executive
of these concerns and, via the Sub-            Northumberland replaced by one, single       of North East Chamber of Commerce
National Review, has streamlined               unitary authority for each county.
economic delivery in the North East.              This has been a tremendously
This is a fundamentally important              divisive issue.

 “Sub-National Review, has streamlined economic
 delivery in the North East”

move and one that I hope will                    NECC came out firmly in favour of
build further on this region’s recent          the eventual outcome. This was not
impressive economic growth story.              an easy decision to make, considering
  Never was the problem of public              the ramifications of such a change.
sector congestion more apparent than             But, it was the right decision. For
in the recent debacle over the Regional        County Durham and Northumberland to

page 10
Company profile                                                         north

 The weakest link
By Mark Joynson

You only had to open a               with real peace of mind as
newspaper or listen to               they know they have a partner
the radio in the past few            at the other end that can fix
months, to realise the               possible problems before they
extensive disruption caused          affect the business. It monitors
by recent Internet access            the whole network in real
problems experienced by              time, giving the customer
some Internet providers.             information about the
For many people, Internet            network, making them aware
access was “the weakest              of potential problems before
link” that day.                      they can affect any parts of the
   And as those users                business.
discovered, with our reliance           Imagine what difference an
on IT, even a small interruption     even more reliable IT system
in Internet service can create       would make to your business...
havoc, bringing parts of                • Better system performance
the network to a halt and               allowing you to work
a resulting drop in staff               smarter and quicker
productivity and customer               • Improved peace of mind
service.                                because you know it will
   For most businesses, the             work when you need it to
smooth running of their IT is           • Less hassle because it
crucial to the operation of their       is always working taking
business, and it only takes one         away the headache of
service component such as               maintenance
Internet access to fail and the         • Reduced waste because
consequences are unpleasant.            your people are working and
   Because every network                not standing around while
consists of literally hundreds          the systems restart
of potential points of failure, it      When businesses face a
is important to have a service       variety of pressures every
which provides a regular IT          day, it’s important that your IT
network health check in order        doesn’t become your weakest
to pin point potential problems      link, as it has the power to
– before they happen.                bring down your business in an
   Such a network health             instant.
check can give customers an
overall network health score,
which looks at disk space,           Mark Joynson is Regional
back up success, licensing, the      Managing Director of IT
operating systems being used         specialists Technology
as well as e-mail and Internet       Services Group. TSG provides
security. All elements can be        consultancy, computer
potential points of failure.         networks, software, training
   TSG has such a service called     and service to over 1,000
System Care which is a “health       businesses across the North
check” for the whole IT system.      East. Tel:0845 15 50 180 or
This service provides customers      visit:

                                                                                        page 11
  feature christmas

Book your venue and
get ready for the
party of the year!
There are several important dates
ringed on every business’s calendar
– each VAT quarter, the company year
end, the day the auditors pop in to
finalise accounts... All dates to put
fear into owner managers, but none
to compare with the panic that sets
in on September 1 – the day staff
return from their summer holiday
and start thinking about Christmas.
   “When do we finish for Christmas?”
“Is there a bonus in the offing?”
and, most worryingly of all, “Where’s
this year’s Christmas do?”
   Staff do look forward to the company
Christmas parties – but few organisers
do! How on earth do you put together
a night out when you are trying to cater
for an entire workforce – which has to
cover for everyone from the club-happy
18-year-old secretary through to the
time-served old hand who has been                  plan earlier than you did last year!
keeping the machines running since 1965.              We think we’ve got all the
   The answer is, you won’t unless                 bases covered in this special
you do your homework. If you have a                edition of Corporate Christmas,
mixed-age team of 50, and you want                 with something for everyone.
to make sure there’s something for                    So whether you’re looking for a
everyone, it can look like an impossible           fun night out with a great party
job if looked at in November.                      atmosphere, a sophisticated
   However, if you are reading this you            meal that will whet the appetite
have three major advantages: first, if             for the culinary joys to come
you are based in the North East, you               over the Christmas period, a
are within easy reach of a wealth of               fun action-packed day with a
possibilities to thank your staff for              difference or simply want help
their efforts throughout the year                  finding the other key ingredients
and make sure everyone has a fun                   for the period, you’ll find it here.
time this Christmas; second, most of
the best options are waiting to grab
your attention in this special feature.
And three, if you’re reading this in
September, you’re probably starting to             Have a great time this Christmas.

   stando                     ut
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                                            d cr                                          pr & corporate communications t: 0191 233 1300

page 12

Enjoy Christmas-Tyne afloat!
A NORTH EAST cruise company            “Not only does this offer
is offering businesses the chance   a smart solution to finding a
to host their annual Christmas      venue at a difficult time of year,
parties in style this winter on     but we go further by making
board a fleet of luxury vessels.    bespoke party packages where
   Tyne-based cruise operator       the client can decide on the
River Escapes plans to create a     layout, theme and design of
unique festive experience that      their party. With 15 years of
goes beyond the expectations        experience organising a variety
of a traditional ‘office do’ with   of events we know how to
tailor made, bespoke party          throw a party.
packages.                              “We have three luxury vessels
   A scenic cruise, live            that have all recently been
entertainment , disco,              refurbished with comfortable
champagne and a buffet are just     lounges, bar, disco and catering
a few of the benefits passengers    facilities that can accommodate
can expect to receive that          for up to 180 people.
will guarantee an evening to           “The party can spill out on
remember.                           top deck or the lower deck
   Managing Director David          offers all the comfort and style
Fozard said: “It’s a well known     of a quayside bar.”                  runs smoothly from the initial   tickle the taste buds of a hungry
fact that businesses struggle to       To take away the unnecessary      stages up to the actual event.   workforce.

                                        t venue
find a good venue that is both      added stress of the Christmas           Despite having a number          For Christmas parties with 15
available and affordable during     period River Escapes offers a        of quality menus on offer,       or more guests a special offer is
the Christmas period to organise    team of experienced event            caterers are more than happy     available where the organiser
their staff parties.                managers to ensure everything        to create bespoke menus to       will sail free of charge.

                                                                           To exceed your expect ions

                                                                          When you’ve decided on an event...
                                                                                      come and speak to us, we listen...

                                                                                        Auckland                    Castle
                                                                          Bishop Auckland County Durham DL14 7NR T: 01388 601627
                                                                          E: W:

                                                                                                                                    page 13
  corporate christmas

Make it Xmas all year round
                        By Jack Matthew

                        All businesses wants to keep        offers style, tradition and a slice
                        their clients happy and at          of history.
                        Christmas time it’s not just           It can be used as a venue for
                        about giving them good service      your own function or there’s
                        but about appreciating the          the option to book a number
                        work they’ve given you and          of tables for your guests at an
                        wanting to consolidate your         organised event such as murder
                        relationship.                       mystery evening or a jazz night.
                           Holding a seasonal event or         Venues such as Newcastle
                        party is a great idea in theory,    Civic Centre are equally as
                        but in practice it can become a     popular for a really grand scale
                        nightmare if it’s not organised     evening, with a capacity for
                        properly and doesn’t take into      hundreds of guests in one of
                        account the kind of guests you      the most imposing banqueting
                        are entertaining – and what         suites in the region.
                        their likes and dislikes may be.       The region’s leading hotels
                           A Christmas party night at       have their own dedicated party
                        a venue which is offering a         nights but they again offer the
                        traditional dinner, crackers and    opportunity for private dinners
                        entertainment by the 1000th         or special events tailored to
Redworth Hall           reincarnation of a little-known     your particular needs.
                        80s group has its place – but not      Country hotels such as
                        necessarily for your clients.       Paramount Redworth Hall,
                           And if you don’t get it right    Beamish Hall, Linden Hall,
                        then it can do more damage          Matfen Hall and Slaley Hall are
                        than good, having firmly            great places to take your guests
                        implanted in your customers’        to for an evening or for an
                        heads the thought that if you       overnight stay where they can
                        get it this wrong about how         relax and be highly appreciative
                        they like to have a good time,      of your efforts.
                        how can you understand their           At the same time most of
                        organisation?                       these top hotels have their own
                           Entertainment can be a           spas so build in a spa day as part
                        nightmare and if you’re not         of your event to really impress.
                        taking the turkey dinner option,       Themed events can also be
                        there’s at least some more          a great choice, providing you
                        imaginative choices that might      know that the clients you are
                        appeal.                             entertaining are happy to let
                           Forward planning is definitely   their hair down and enjoy
                        a must here as at a traditionally   themselves.
                        busy time of year, you are             Harrogate-based company
                        unlikely to be able to get a        Laughlines can organise
                        decent venue at the 11th hour.      everything from a Fawlty
                           Decide what you want to do       Towers night (complete with
                        and then start taking a look at     guitar playing Manuel) to a
                        where you can do it.                tribute to Father Ted which
                           Top options for anyone           includes Mrs Doyle’s Riverdance
                        wanting to show a bit of class      class and Father Dougal’s
                        include Newcastle’s Mansion         attempt at an exorcism – great
                        House, the Lord Mayor’s official    fun for fans of these tv series’.
                        residence which is available for       Successful business people
                        private functions and which         are usually competitive, so

                         “Let your hair down at a themed event”
page 14

                       Garden Pavilion Ballroom
                    Garden Pavilion Ballroom new for 2007
                            250 person capacity
                    Beautifully furnished and fully heated
                     Separate bar and executive toilets
                    A unique location for the right reasons

                            Traders Restaurant
                               120 person capacity
                     A traditional location for a great night

                  Christmas Party Night Packages
                           Thursdays - £22.00 per person
                      Fridays / Saturdays - £25.00 per person
 Ticket price includes dinner and musical entertainment from our resident disco
                    Accommodation rate - £30.00 per person
                          (sharing in twin / double room)

                    For further details, please contact:
               Karen Whittaker, Conference & Banqueting,
     Holiday Inn, Emerson District, Washington, Tyne & Wear NE37 1LB
Tel: 0870 400 9084 E-mail: Web:

                                                                                  page 15
  corporate christmas

organising a day of challenges      miniature seasonal snacks or        Paramount Redworth Hall Hotel   Beamish Hall – 01207 233733
is always appealing and offers      champagne cocktails will really     – 01388 770 600                 Slaley Hall –01434 673350
a welcome break from the            get the ball rolling.               Matfen Hall – 01661 - 886500    Ferry bookings or inquiries
traditional seasonal parties.          A choir singing carols or a      Linden Hall – 01670 500000      – 0191 454 8183
   A number of locations across     string quartet playing Christmas
the North East have links with      songs give the event a certain
team building companies which       grandeur or even that old
offer activities ranging from       favourite karaoke can make the
blind driving to bomb disposal      most stiff-lipped businessman or
– guaranteed to put your wits       woman let down their hair.
to the test.                           The key to any event is
   If you don’t mind the vagaries   giving your self time to plan
of the region’s weather, then       your event and not being over
the option of hiring a boat – or    ambitious – a modest event
rather a ferry – for a three hour   which goes like clockwork is
river cruise can be great fun.      preferable to an expensive,
   With a bar on board              under-organised party which
and a number of food and            leaves you and your guests
entertainment options available     disappointed.
it’s an unusual way of keeping a       Start planning now –or hire
captive audience entertained.       an experienced company to do
   If no particular venue appeals   it for you – and the results will
and you have the room,              make it feel like Christmas all
erecting a marquee and holding      year round!
your own party is also becoming
increasingly popular.               CONTACT INFORMATION
   Again choosing at theme is an    Newcastle’s Mansion House
option or just make it a seasonal   – 0191 281 0863
wonderland – glittering star        Newcastle Civic Centre
cloth curtains, hot toddys,         – 0191 211 6951

             Who?                                                              Who? – You could promote both you and
                                                                               your business to the Largest network of
                                                                               businesses in the North East of England

                                                                               Why? – With over 18,0000 readers from

                                                                               more than 6000 local companies in over
                                                                               a 1000 different business catagories your
                                                                               advert will reach your target market for
                                                                               as little £275

                                                                               When? – Only 10 weeks remaining
                                                                               to ensure your appearance in the
                                                                               2008 OFFICIAL North East Chamber of
                                                                               Commerce Regional Business Directory

     The North East                                                            Please note this year, the who’s who
     Regional Directory                                                        sections is open to all, if you wish to
                                                                               appear in the Who’s who or any other
                                                                               section in the Directory, please call
                                                                               Caroline on 0161 443 5066 or email:

page 16

Top ten corporate gifts
       1. A basket of goodies custom-           4. Good as a gift at any time of year
       made for your clients. Include           – why not buy the people you’re
       everything from stilton and wine to      trying to impress a Name A Rose
       the ultimate breakfast collection.       kit? The kit includes a packet of
       Available at             unique and unnamed rose seeds, a
                                                registration card, a growing guide,
           2. Drive people crackers             and a Name a Rose certificate to
               – in a good way. A box of        make your new rose official. This
                   seasonal crackers which      and a hundred other great ideas
                      include your company      from
                         logo on the front
                             and wrapped
                              fudge inside.
                              You can include
                             your own items
                          at no additional
                       cost. www.

                     3. Ensure your clients
                    are toasting their
                 relationship with you.
       Personalised wine or champagne
       with your company details on from

                                                                               page 17
  corporate christmas

5. And if you’re in the mood for a     8. A miniature whisky and a crystal   10. Show you’re doing your bit for
gift where the sky’s the limit, name   glass engraved with your logo, one    the planet – dedicate a tree in your
a star after one of your clients at    of a range of fabulous gift ideas     client’s name.                 from

6. A box of delicious chocolate
truffles complete with a chocolate     9. A seasonal
business card and your own             gift worth
branded box                            celebrating
–               with
                                       – a branded
7. Guaranteed to brighten the          Christmas
office and not requiring any           pudding and
watering or looking after, send        bottle of
your clients an airplant. They’re      champagne
fuss-free and foolproof and draw       which arrives in
all their nutrients from the air.      its own wicker hamper.      

          Future features – October issue
          The next issue of Contact is full                       We welcome press releases and news
          of news and views of the business                       items about your business.
          community in the North East.                            Please send them to:
          October issue features:
                                                                  For sales information contact:
          • Business Crime & Security
                                                                  Caroline Ackroyd: 0161 443 5066
          • Finance
          • ICT
                                                                  Imprint Publishing
          • Focus on Teeside
                                                                  T: 0161 442 2576 F: 0161 443 5099
          • Transport Logistics
                                                                  Houldsworth Mill, South Mill, Reddish,
          • Scotland – Business Opportunities
                                                                  Stockport SK5 6DA

page 18

Organising that festive spirit
By Jack Samuels

If it’s your job to organise the office        Fixing a date
Christmas party, September is likely to be        Decide early – and stick to a date.
a time of brochures, bookings and blind        There will inevitably be people who can’t
panic, as you try and organise an evening      make it on whatever data you choose,
that appeals to everyone from the 18           but indecisiveness is the path to disaster.
year old office trainee to the bloke in        Take a quick poll of when people are
accounts who only leaves the house once        available, pick one, and don’t let anyone
a year, but has dangerous tendencies           change your mind – that way madness
after too much mulled wine, and still          lies.
make sure there’s a gluten-free option
for Linda in HR.                               Clients or not
   So what have you got to take into              Some office parties are strictly             invited some of most important accounts,
account when you sit down to plan for          off limits, but they can be a perfect           the shareholders, and some directors who
the yuletide celebrations?                     opportunity to get clients along, relax         very rarely make it into the office came
                                               and get some valuable networking done.          along specially.
Budget                                            If you do bring clients, stick with             “We had a full sit down, silver-service
  It’s no good having the ‘best ever idea’     them. Make sure they get introduced to          meal organised at a local hotel. When we
for the office Christmas party if you can’t    everyone, so people can put a face to the       turned up, we found a stand up buffet on
afford it. And if apathy sets in at an early   name, and make sure they have enough            a couple of tables. Apparently they had
stage, nobody else is going to get excited     to eat and drink.                               not had enough bookings for the rest of
about the party. So sit down before you           But if you’re going to invite your           the event, so they cancelled the dinner
start, and decide how much money you           clients, beware of the pitfalls that can        without even letting us know.
can afford to blow on the annual blow-         occur. An old client, recounts: “We had            “They called us up table by table,
out, and move on from there.                   one Christmas party where we had                like schoolboys with trays waiting for

                                                                        Situated in the heart of the City,
                                                                        Thistle Newcastle is licensed to hold
                                                                        Civil Ceremonies or Partnerships and offers
                                                                        an elegant alternative to the Registry Office,
                                                                        giving you the opportunity to personalise
                                                                        your perfect day.

                                                                        For further information on making your
                                                                        Wedding Day, the Perfect Day contact our
                                                                        Wedding Specialists on 0870 333 9142.

                                                                        Thistle Hotel Newcastle, Neville Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5DF
                                                                        T: 0870 333 9142 F: 0870 333 9242 E:
                                                                                                                                      page 19
  corporate christmas

pudding. It was a complete disaster.             when we arrived they were waiting for        Do’s and Don’ts
   “We managed to laugh it off, and              us, but the other half of the office were
fortunately the clients saw the funny            split all over town, in quite a variety of   Don’t skip the party. If you don’t want
side of it, but we certainly heard about it      states. It took quite a while to round       to stop around, at least make sure you’re
from the directors, and behind the scenes        everyone up.”                                there early, do your mingling, say your
there were a lot of complaints.                    And one final story about the perils       thanks and disappear quietly.
   “We didn’t lose any business from it,         of mixing a slightly more adventurous
but every Christmas we hear about it             event with too much alcohol, comes           Mingle first, consume later. The
from the clients – and this happened six         from my longstanding client.                 Christmas party is always a good
years ago.”                                        “We had one Christmas event where          opportunity to socialise, so make sure
                                                 the company booked us all on a river         you’re fully compos mentis when you’re
Getting there… and getting out                   Tyne cruise, with a meal, disco and then     doing it.
   Once you’ve managed to organise the           taxis home at the end of the night.
whole affair, it’s vital to make sure that         “All was going well, but as the night      Take the time to say thanks. Whether
everyone actually makes it to the venue.         progressed, people got more and more         it’s co-workers, staff or bosses, always
So meeting up in the pub – while very            drunk, and somewhat raucous.                 finish off the year by letting people know
convivial – is not necessarily the best idea.      “Once the disco started, one of            how much they are valued. Be specific as
   And if the event is after work, you may       the girls from accounts got a trifle         well: it shows you’ve been thinking about
find different departments disappearing          enthusiastic and started pole dancing        people, and will be valued.
off together in search of pre-event drinks       – an idea which was seized on by quite
can be an added problem. One colleague           a few members of staff, and taken a bit      Dress sensibly. Yes, it’s a chance to get
told me.                                         too far.                                     a new outfit and dazzle onlookers, but
   “One year half the department were              “Unfortunately for those of us who         always remember you’ve got to face up to
right on deadline with getting a job to          had imbibed slightly less, there was         people in more sedate circumstances later.
the printers, and the other half were free       absolutely nowhere to go, short of
and easy. So they had disappeared off to         jumping overboard – and it nearly            Don’t drink too much. Obvious really,
the pub some hours earlier, and we were          came to that.                                but everything seems more sensible after
stuck at our desks working to the very             “I always made sure that at any            that last vodka. It’s not big, and it’s not
last minute.                                     event after that, I knew my escape           clever… even if we’ve all done it at least
   “Because the dinner started early,            route before I turned up.”                   once.
         pe er 2 ery
              er 7
           r p 00

       25 ob st

    - £ ct My
  m O er
1p 7th urd
   2 M

                                                          BRING YOUR

                                                    TO LIFE
                        From traditional festive lunches and entertaining tribute bands, to nights on the dance floor
                            or skating the night away we’ve put together a variety of packages to choose from.
                                          PACKAGES RANGE FROM £12.50 TO £31.00 PER PERSON

                                         T (0191) 243 8216 or E


page 20
   CfL 130x180.indd 1                                                                                                     20/8/07 2:32:47 pm

   Put your message in a bottle

   It’s the season to be merry, and      “Among the more popular
   an imaginative alcohol-based       gift ranges are beautifully-
   gift is always appreciated. But    crafted wooden cases which
   which gift?                        come with complimenting
      Peter Mitchell of Lanchester    stainless steel wine and
   Gifts explains: “It’s always       Champagne accessories with
   difficult to choose gifts for      polished wooden handles. We
   clients and staff at Christmas     also sell a lot of aluminum
   and it’s important to              cases which are slightly more
   understand that whatever gift      contemporary and are ideal
   you choose has to send out         for modern, forward-thinking
   the right message about your       clients.
   company.                              “The aluminum cases contain
      “But whether you are hoping     polished wood and stainless
   to spend £5 or £500, if you look   steel wine accessories and
   around there is a wide selection   customers can choose from
   of options.                        quirky personal gift sets such
                                      as the indoor golf putting set
“If you’re not sure, opt              with accessories and St Andrews
                                      whiskey, which is perfect
for something simple”                 for executive stress relief at
                                      Christmas!                        Audio-Visual & Conference Services
                                         “Once you have chosen which
                                                                                     ...not just an audio-visual hire company
     “For those companies who         gift to give to which client,
   are hoping to reach clients        the next step is to choose the                                   T: 0191 256 6000
   with something a little more       alcohol product to go with your
                                                                                                       F: 0191 256 6056
   personal, companies will design    selection. If you are hoping to
                                                                                           Click on us @
   and print company brand            make a splash with your more
   labelling to offer a unique gift   discerning clients, why not try
   from your business.                premium vintage Champagne
                                                                                                                           page 21
  corporate days

                   from Maxim’s vineyards on           as the vintage 96/97 Fonseca
                   the hillsides of Chigny les         Quinta de Panascal.
                   Roases? The amber and gold             “If you’re not sure what
                   tinted Champagne has a fruity       the recipient would like, then
                   and perfumed nuance which           opt for something simple and
                   is guaranteed to satisfy the        classic, such as a set of crystal
                   most discerning Champagne           glasses such as the range of Da
                   connoisseur. A popular item         Vinci Crystal glasses, which are
                   this year is the Vintage MAXIM      the perfect gifts for a discerning
                   champagne, which comes in a         client. Correctly-shaped glasses
                   wooden presentation box with        help to accentuate the flavour
                   champagne accessories, and is       and bouquet of fine wine, so
                   priced around £50.                  the Brunello Wine Consortium
                      “The key to successful gift-     and Da Vinci Crystal approached
                   giving is the personal touch. The   a selection of wine producers
                   pink faux-leather Champagne         and oenologists to advise
                   gift box with accessories is        on specific glass designs to
                   a particular favourite with         match each individual type
                   female clients especially when      of Montalcino wine. This has
                   they contain a bottle of Grand      resulted in a new range of
                   Sendrée Vintage Rose from           Brunello glasses which represent
                   Andre Drappier, whose family        the pinnacle of Da Vinci crystal
                   has been making premium             manufacturing and design
                   quality Champagne since 1830.       achievement.
                      “If you know that a particular       “If you are planning on
                   client is a food lover, they        giving gifts to a lot of people,
                   would especially appreciate a       it is not practical to select
                   well thought out gift such as       individual gifts for each
                   the unique cheese knife box, a      recipient. In this instance it
                   stylish black leather-look box      might be better to have a
                   with four stainless steel cheese    company branded label printed
                   knives, which can be teamed         onto a quantity of wine and
                   with a high quality port such       team these with a gift box.”
page 22
                                         page 23
Lancastrian 267x180.indd 1   24/7/07 10:09:52 am
  charity review

 An increase in unauthorised fraudulent donations

 Watch out for charity
 donations on your card
Researchers have warned debit and                      card activity, so I would urge all                   card details to a third party.
credit card accountholders to be on the                company card account holders to be on                The Payment Card
look-out for small, but unauthorised,                  the look-out for all small transactions,             Industry DSS
charitable donations on their statements,              especially innocuous looking charitable              guidelines
as they could be a pre-cursor to                       donations, andcheck with the cardholder              should be
serious fraud on the account.                          as to their validity,” he said.                      applied
  According to Symantec, its researchers                  “The problem with these small, but                diligently by
have identified a shift infraudster `valid             unauthorised, transactions, is that                  any organisation
stolen card’ checking activity, with                   they almost always lead to larger                    that accepts
fraudsters`testing’ stolen card details                unauthorised transactions coming                     payment cards,
for ongoing validity by making a small                 through and these can be a major                     regardless of
donation via a charitable Web site.                    headache to resolve,” he added.                      whether or not
  Calum Macleod, European director for                    Macleod added that companies need                 they are obliged to
Cyber-Ark, the data vaulting specialist,               to be extra-careful when it comes to                 do so” he said.
said the shift in cybercrime activity is               storing and transmitting card details.
especially worrying for business debit                    “They should use a secure and
and credit card account holders, as                    encrypted system for storing details on
they tend to have less control over card               the company IT systems, and always use
usage than their personal counterparts.                encryption on the rare occasions when
  “It’s always difficult to vet business               it becomes necessary to transmit the

                                                The Great North Air
                                                      Ambulance Service
                                     The Great North    three times in the second half hour if invasive      your own event or by signing up to our 50p a
                                   Air Ambulance        medical action is not immediately available.         week campaign.
                                Service    (GNAAS)      Grahame Pickering Chief Executive for GNAAS
                            is a registered Charity                                                          For more details on any of these,
                                                        said, ‘GNAAS offers a life saving service,
                        which provides emergency        which we all hope will we will never need.           call us on 01325 487263 or vist
                  air ambulance provision in            Unfortunalty this isn’t always the case as we
          Northumberland, Tyneside, Durham,             see on a daily bais. It’s inperivite that we keep
   Wearside, Cleveland, North Yorkshire and             these helicopters in the sky.’
   Cumbria. These areas are covered by three
   helicopters, flying out of Durham Tees Valley        There are a number of ways you help,
   Airport, Police Headquarters in Penrith and          such as joining our inhouse
   Otterburn army camp in Northumberland.               lottery, donating
                                                        clothes, organizing
   GNAAS is a registered charity and does not
   qualify for Government or Lottery funding,
   the entire operation solely depends on public
   fundraising to find the necessary money. To
   keep the helicopters in the air, the charity
   needs to raise £175,000 per month, this does
   not include fuel or paramedic fees.
   GNAAS is one of the only Air Ambulances
   Services outside of London to man its aircraft
   with specialist Doctors and it employs its
   own highly experienced paramedics who
   are trained to support the doctors’ skills.
   Research has shown the key to the level
   of recovery of an accident victim or
   even their survival is the ‘Golden
   Hour’. In this crucial hour after
   an accident, the mortality of a
   severely injured victim increases
   by a factor of three times in
   the first half hour; and another
page 24

Charity trophy
is launched
THE biggest charity sporting         planned to happen at St            at the official launch at St
event to be launched in the          James’ Park.                       James’ Park where the Duke
North East since the Great              The Challenge Trophy            of Northumberland threw
North Run, has been announced        will see North and South of        down the gauntlet to Lord
by The Prince’s Trust.               the region go head-to-head         Durham who in true sporting
   The Prince’s Trust is setting     under the colours of the           tradition accepted the
the target of raising enough         team presidents, the Duke          challenge.
money in the North East to help      of Northumberland and                 Two world class athletes
5,000 local unemployed young         the Earl of Durham, Lord           have been confirmed as
people by the end of 2008. The       Durham.                            team coaches, Jonathan
youth charity will meet this            The four events are a           Edwards CBE for “The Duke’s
ambitious goal by holding a          celebrity golf tournament,         Team” and Steve Cram MBE
series of high-profile sporting      an all-star 20Twenty cricket       for “The Earl of Durham’s
events to be known as The            match at Durham County             Team”. Following Jonathan         Steve Cram and Jonathan Edwards
Prince’s Trust Challenge Trophy.     Cricket Club, a celebrity          and Steve’s lead a whole raft
   The celebrity-packed series       amateur clay pigeon                of celebrities have already      Brown, and actor Tim Healy.
of events will see two teams         shoot at Mitford Hall,             pledged their support            Many more are expected to be
of sports personalities, stars of    Northumberland, and an             including Peter Beardsley,       revealed in the coming weeks
stage and screen do battle in        all-star football match at St      Kevin Ball, pro-golfers Ken      as they take up the posts of
top sporting arenas across the       James’ Park.                       Ferrie and Graeme Storm,         team captains, football team
region - including one being            Full details were released      BBC sports presenter Jeff        managers, scouts and players.

Duke’s team triumph
The inaugural Prince’s Trust
Challenge Trophy, a prestigious
celebrity packed charity golf
tournament, went to the Duke
of Northumberland’s team.
   The tournament, held at
Slaley Hall in Northumberland,
was the first of a series of                                                           Deaf customers? Deaf staff?
sporting events which will see                                                             We offer the following services:
teams of sports personalities,
stars of stage and screen battle
                                                                                   • British Sign Language/English interpreters
in top sporting arenas across
the region.
                                                                                   • Lipspeakers, speech-to-text reporters, notetakers
   Sporting legends such as Alan                                                     and all other communication support needs
Shearer, Rob Lee and Steve                                                         • Deaf awareness and equality training
Harmison, who was the acting                                                       • British Sign Language (BSL) classes
Duke’s captain on the day,                                                         • Advice on DDA issues, Access to Work,
went head-to-head under the                                                          conference access, DVDs and the Internet
colours of the team presidents,
The Duke of Northumberland                                                                 For bookings or information contact:
and the Earl of Durham, Lord                                                                Becoming Visible Communication,
Durham. It involved players          delighted to be available at the                   Newcastle Deaf Centre, 2 Summerhill Grove,
                                                                                              Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6EE
for either the Duke or the Earl      last minute to play in today’s
                                                                                      Voice: 0191 233 0999 | Fax: 0191 233 1334
- including a celebrity captain in   event and show my support               Minicom: 0191 233 1335 |
each of the 20 fourball matches      for the Princes Trust Challenge
over 18 holes of the Hunting         Trophy. It was a great day of
Course.                              golfing action and the first of
   Alan Shearer (pictured)           a series of four fantastic local
unexpectedly turned up on the        sporting events, to help raise
day to play for the winning          money for disadvantaged young
Duke’s team . He said: “I am         people in the North East.”
                                                                                                                                  page 25
  career development

 NLA to develop key skills to encourage the cream of northern leadership

 Skills are the key to
 success, says Deirdre
Social entrepreneur Deirdre Bounds,             School. Its partners are the three            Deirdre said the North had to do more
founder of ethical travel specialist i-to-i,    northern regional development              to promote the “wonderful” business
has aunched the Northern Leadership             agencies, including One Northast,          leaders that it already boasts and to use
Academy by urging the North’s business          and the Government’s Northern Way          that initiative to encourage the next
leaders to develop skills to compete at         initiative.                                generation of leaders.
home and abroad.                                  It is working with the private,             She attributed her success at i-to-i
   Deirdre (pictured right), who grew           public and voluntary sectors to            to gut instinct, grim determination,
i-to-i into the global market leader            develop and support more and better        understanding her staff and customers
in ethical travel and recently sold             business leaders, create a stronger        and, most importantly, learning quickly
the company to First Choice for some            entrepreneurial culture, promote           from her mistakes.
£20m, was keynote speaker at the NLA’s          leadership best practice and attract,         Deirdre said: “There is already great
official launch. She addressed more than        retain and develop leadership talent.      dynamism in the North but leadership
200 guests from the private, public,              As a proven entrepreneur who began       in the 21st century is particularly
voluntary and community sectors.                her business in a bedsit, Deirdre shares   challenging and it’s the most dangerous
   The NLA is a partnership of Lancaster        the NLA’s ambition of developing           time for any leader to be complacent.
University Management School, Leeds             leaders to help to close a £30bn              “Values are as important as business
University Business School, and the             productivity gap between the North and     vision. Values are about behaviour and
University of Liverpool Management              the average for the rest of England.       leadership is about aligning your own

     Release your untapped business
     potential with vocational
     qualifications from JHP Training.
     Naturally, you want the very best people working for you - the
     sort of people that will keep your business running like a well-
     oiled machine. Perhaps you already have such a team, but
     statistics show that investing in staff training can prove central
     to building an efficient, effective and contented workforce, as
     well as having a significant effect on profit.
     Apprenticeships and NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications)
     are an ideal way of balancing exceptional training with the
     realities of today’s workplace. They offer the perfect balance
     of practical experience, theoretical knowledge and one-to-
     one support. Integrating into your employee’s job role, these
     qualifications offer maximum results with minimum interruption
     to your business.
     JHP Training offer Apprenticeships and NVQs in the following:

          • Contact Centre • Customer Service • Administration
             • Information Technology • Management • Retail
                     • Distribution and Warehousing
                                                                                                          JHP Training
     For further details on how we can improve the
                                                                                            JHP Training is a trading name of JHP Group Limited
     effectiveness of your workforce please contact us on:

                      0870 478 0919

page 26

  values with the company. Develop values
  and a style and be true to yourself
  – great leaders always show their
     “There are no perfect leaders, and
  there will always be the debate about
  entrepreneurs being born not made.”
     The launch event featured speeches
  by leading members of the NLA and
  its partners including NLA Director
  Andrew Brocklehurst and Professor
  Sue Cox, Dean of Lancaster University
  Management School.

“It’s a dangerous time
to be complacent”
    Andrew Brocklehurst said: “Deirdre’s
  speech was an inspiration to us all. She
  epitomises the very entrepreneurial
  qualities we need to encourage in the
  region’s existing and emerging business
  leaders to help us compete more
  effectively at home and abroad.
    “We aim to confine this £30bn
  productivity gap to the dustbin of
  history by creating more and better
  leaders in the North.”

                                                             page 27
   career development

Media starts to shine
Traditionally the media industry has         that 71 per cent of candidates place          to the most senior, in their company
suffered a deservedly poor reputation        career development before money as a          decision-making. They also understand
for its employee management. Long            top priority when selecting a new job         that whilst money isn’t the main attraction
hours, low pay in comparison with other      and 82 per cent value a great working         for employees, it is important. To get the
industries and a lack of training and        environment. Therefore, failing to            best staff on the market they need to offer
development was often the norm.              provide clear training and development        competitive industry salaries and benefits;
  Yet, however bad it was, graduates still   opportunities for new staff will mean that    they regularly consult annual salary surveys
came in their droves because what the        increasingly, media companies will find       to ensure the wages they offer are in line
media industry lacked in HR policies, it     it difficult to attract and retain the best   with market rates.
made up for in terms of offering creative    people for their businesses.                     However, they also realise that it doesn’t
people a chance to develop, as well as a        Pathfinders Recruitment has for the past   end there. Motivating staff and ensuring
colourful and fun working environment.       eight years held an annual award which        they are happy and engaged in the long
  Now things are changing. Some              recognises media companies who have           term is vital. Key to this is having regular
companies are offering new exciting staff    invested in their people. Media Employer      appraisals, a budget for training and
development programmes which are             of the Year rewards employers who stand       plenty of new initiatives and projects
helping raise the standards of employment    out for their people development, training    to challenge staff and enable them to
practices in the media industry.             programmes and commitment to their            learn new skills. Rewarding them for
  The reason for this is that the market     staff.                                        their work is also critical, both in terms of
has shifted. Whilst the media is still          So what makes a company excel in its       providing regular feedback and praise, as
the top choice for graduates today,          employee management and what qualities        well as financial incentives. Lastly, there
companies have realised that to attract      do all the finalists share? Firstly, they     is no substitute for open communication,
the best candidates, they need to offer      believe that their people are their best      which must sit at the heart of any people
genuine career opportunities. Research       commodity. Many of the companies who          development initiative.
from Angela Mortimer’s annual ‘blue          were short-listed as finalists involved all      One of the judges of Media Employer
book’ salary survey 2007 highlighted         their employees, from the most junior         of the Year and previous winner Tina

             Invest in your team                                                      today!
                                                                                           - Team Development Events

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                                                                                                    - Assessment Centres
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                                                          University of Teesside


  Learn Together                              Succeed Together                                       Be Together
page 28
  TeamSmart_130x180.indd 1                                                                                            27/7/07 11:01:10 am

Brazil, People Director of Profero Digital       employees are encouraged to take
Marketing comments, “A growing number            time off to perform charitable
of media companies are becoming                  work. Staff with children can join a
‘investors in people’, realising the benefits    special online club for parents and
of a strong recruitment and retention            share information, baby sitters, child
strategy. The industry is recognising that       care advice, etc. This is proving an
its people, with their ideas and brainpower      excellent way of retaining skilled
are a media employer’s most valuable             employees.
commodity and that they need to be                 “Our goal is to keep each of our
supported and nurtured.”                         500 team members inspired and
   Last year’s winner ZenithOptimedia, a         engaged in their work, feeling
leading media services company revamped          individually valued as a key
its company environment when they                contributor to ZenithOptimedia’s
moved offices.                                   success,” said Rudi Symons,
   It re-examined its employment practices       ZenithOptimedia’s People
and created a new company culture                Development Executive.
placing people at its core. In addition to its
robust training, appraisal and employee
feedback processes, the company placed a
strong emphasis on work-life balance and
launched a club card for employees to get
discounts for restaurants, bars and shops in
the area.
   Corporate social responsibility is also
highly important to the company and

                                                                                                          page 29
page 30
legal: company profile                                                                                north

Winn Assist – saving you money
                                        of the driver at fault. This           Service brokers will be aware       physiotherapy would recover
                                        enhances the broker/dealership         that your claims will be            in 6 months whereas she
                                        service to its customers.              managed efficiently and thus        would never have made a full
                                           Winn Assist are proud to            your insurance claims rate will     recovery had she not been
                                        announce that this service             reduce. On that basis we can        treated early. If it is a fault
                                        is now available directly to           refer you to specialist insurance   accident reduced rates can be
                                        companies. The benefits                brokers who will obtain a           obtained. If it’s a non fault
                                        include the following:-                better rate for your business       costs can be recovered from
                                           • 24/7 service.                     for so long as you are using our    the other side’s insurers.
                                           • Professional advice on            service.                               Why not get your company
                                           whether to make a claim or not.                                         onto Winns Accident
                                           • Full non fault service:-          Effectiveness of                    Management Service.
                                           • Replacement like for like         Physiotherapy on Accident              It is different to the usual
                                           vehicle.                            Victims                             accident management
 By Jeff Winn
                                           • Medical treatment and               We can refer your staff           services out there and has the
                                           physiotherapy.                      immediately for physiotherapy       added benefits of savings on
Winns provide an Accident                  • Manufacturers parts on            on receipt of notification.         insurance premiums.
Management Service for                     repairs.                            Many consultants have
many of the country’s top                  • Reduction in value claims.        indicated that early
independent brokers and                    • Compensation claims.              physiotherapy can prevent           For a free assessment and report
dealerships. They ensure                                                       long term injuries occurring.       please contact Chris Birkett or
that fault claims are reported          Saving on Insurance                    On one case the consultant          Jeff Winn on 0191 276 1000.
quickly and efficiently whilst          Premiums                               indicated that a lady who
non fault claims are made                 Once you have signed up              had been treated within a           Jeff Winn is Managing Director
directly against the insurer            for our Accident Management            few days of the accident with       of Winn Solicitors

Partners for life?
By Toby Gibson

There is a rumour in                         new business. If parties
lawyers’ circles that it                      do then fall out, all is not
is only the Rank Xerox                          lost. A good commercial
joint venture                                              litigator will
which has stood                                              help you to
the test of time;                                            negotiate
all other joint                                            your exit
ventures have                                           strategy and
had a finite                                               reach an
shelf life.                                                  agreement for
   This is a                                                 the division of
point worth                                                  spoils.
bearing                                                         Mediation is
in mind. If you are going               an ideal tool here. The Courts
into business with somebody             are a relatively blunt instrument
(whether as a joint venture or          for severing business ties. For
as a partnership) it is statistically   example, an undocumented
likely that you will part               partnership will be divided up
company (even if on amicable            according to the provisions
terms) after the business has           of Victorian legislation.
been running for some years.            Mediation, however offers a
   The counsel of perfection is         flexible tool allowing for a
to plan ahead and provide at            creative and personal resolution
the outset for your exit strategy.      to the issues raised.
   In the real world, however,
this is often not top of the list       Toby Gibson is a partner with
of priorities in setting up a           Gibson & Co Solicitors
                                                                                                                                             page 53

     You deserve to get paid!
                                                   Deliver your bill promptly after you have    cases where court action is issued, the
                                                finished the work, or even beforehand if        interest and compensation recovered will
                                                this is appropriate. A grateful customer        exceed any fees incurred.
                                                may pay willingly immediately but if you           So, rather than chasing debt costing your
                                                delay in sending your bill then the chances     business, you may actually make money.
                                                of non-payment increase.                           If the debt is undisputed, then no one
                                                   Next, you need to have an agreed policy      should be wary of pursuing it; for some
                                                in your organisation for chasing payment.       businesses, it may be that you can’t afford
                               By Tom Lisgo     Polite but firm requests for payment            not to.
                                                should be made, but when payment is not            The only additional charge is £5 for
  In business, it doesn’t matter if you do      forthcoming you need to take action.            a letter issued automatically on non-
  the best job in the world – if you don’t         Do not be deterred by the prospect of        payment from BHP to the debtor prior to
  get paid for the work you do, then your       having to sue. Remember, a client who           court action.
  organisation will not succeed.                fails to pay is a client not worth having.         With all costs being recoverable with
     Receiving prompt payment for the           The sooner you take action, the better the      the exception of the initial £5 charge,
  goods or services you provide is of huge      chance you have of recovering what they         businesses across the region can benefit
  importance to your cashflow.                  owe you.                                        from a cost effective and efficient debt
     Bad debt can be an enormous problem           It is right to be cautious when choosing     recovery service. This will appeal to most
  and credit management is vital to the         a collection agent to support you in            businesses but particularly those who are
  success of your business, big or small.       recovering debt – not all are transparent       investing a lot of time and effort in chasing
  Before taking on any work, there are three    about the fees they charge. Concerns            debtors themselves.
  crucial questions:                            about hidden costs associated with taking          Not only can we improve the chances of
     • Who am I dealing with?                   debtors to court can put off companies          recovery but indirect benefits can also be
     • What are the terms of my contract?       from trying to recover money they are           gained by a reduction in lost management
     • How and when will be I paid?             owed.                                           and administration time which ultimately
                                                   It’s perhaps not surprising therefore that   makes a business more efficient.
     If you don’t know exactly who your         the fear of losing more than can be gained         BHP provides a fixed fee review of any
  customer is, there can be trouble. When       by chasing unpaid debts is a major obstacle     trading terms and conditions as part of the
  a customer fails to pay, you need to know     for businesses. Many often ask ‘is it worth     service. While our debt recovery service
  who to pursue.                                it?’                                            caters for the recovery of undisputed debt,
     Was the person who ordered from you           However, there are some very cost            we often find that when contested and
                                                effective solutions out there. Taking court     further legal action is required, the client’s
“A client who doesn’t pay                       action for debt recovery using a solicitor      terms and conditions require modification.
                                                need not be expensive.                             If terms are not incorporated correctly
isn’t worth having”                                Within the debt recovery unit of Blackett    then you leave yourself open to further
                                                Hart & Pratt LLP we have launched a new         dispute. Our review service provides a
  a sole trader, a director of a company, a     solution that reduces the cost of debt          report relating to the terms and what
  partner in a business or an employee? Did     recovery by charging only fixed fees and        remedial action may be required as a result
  he have authority to deal with you?           also sets out what the charges are from the     to put them right.
     Without accurate customer details you      outset in a totally transparent service.           Remember, doing a good job is not
  may not receive payment at all. You and          We have put together a fee structure         enough – you deserve to be paid for all
  your staff need to be aware of the need       that details the court fees and the firm’s      that hard work.
  for accuracy in recording customer details.   fixed costs, both of which vary depending
     It is also important to ensure that        on the amount of debt to be recovered.          Tom Lisgo, is a partner and debt recovery
  payment terms and delivery times are             For example, on a debt of up to £300         specialist at Blackett Hart & Pratt
  clearly set out, preferably in writing and    the court fee fixed by the Lord Chancellor’s    Solicitors
  signed by the customer.                       office is £30 while the legal cost fixed by
     Your solicitor can assist in preparing     BHP is £50. Both charges are recoverable
  suitable written terms and conditions for     from the debtor.
  your business and in advising you on how         The fees for recovering debt of £5,000
  best to ensure that your terms apply and      are £120 to the court and £80 for the
  not those terms on a customer’s order         professional legal work involved, with the
  form.                                         £200 total charge also recoverable.
     Taking a few moments at the outset to         Where the debtor is a business then
  record the job can save time and money        you are entitled to claim statutory
  later. Your solicitor can offer advice        compensation for late payment of up to
  on putting in place a suitable credit         £100, as well as interest on the debt at
  management system for your business.          eight per cent above the base rate. In most
 page 54
legal company profile                                                                     north
 The emphasis is now on using technology effectively to reduce your business risks

 “Credit where it’s due”
BACK inContact Limited (www.                  recognised that retaining customers and     arena with a full background checking and Watson & Brown         turning them round is more valuable         service for HR Managers where they can
Law Firm’s (           than just court action and we address       get a candidate or contractor’s CV checked
new Tyneside based national claims team       that need unlike most law firms.”           for a 10 year verifiable history including
is continuing to grow and this month             BACK inContact this month                employment history, educational and
has seen the addition of four more            announced a strategic partnership deal      background.
team members to their expanding bulk          with a major credit information provider       The revolution seems set to continue
processing team.                              to be able to offer low cost pay as you     with the recent announcement that
   Under the guidance of experts Andrew       go credit reports for just £4.99 at www.    Watson & Brown and BACK inContact are
Charlton and Barry Kemp of BACK      . Director Barry Kemp     launching further online legal products
inContact, the team has had over 100 sign     commented “The emphasis is now on           in the second half of the year as well as
ups and 10,000 new visitors a month to        using technology effectively to reduce      BACK inContact’s recently announced
their website in the        your business risks and combined with a     expansion into Ireland and Scotland.
first month of their new low cost legal       customer centric service we’re delivering
products and services operation.              at price points that make our service an    For more information log on to
   Managing Partner Karon Brown               irresistible offer.                or call 0845 257
commented “We’ve found a unique blend            September see’s the launch of BACK       0232 or email for a
of technology and staff to offer low cost     inContact’s first new product in the HR     free information pack.
legal services to the business community.
We have applied a no-nonsense approach
and we give our clients an outstanding
service at incredibly low prices by doing
many of the things that other law firms
don’t seem to have got round to.”
   Brown expanded by adding “We’ve
joined up all of the technology and
partners in a single consortium that
delivers the legal expertise, over 500 call
centre seats by September and cutting
edge web technology. This allows us to
make our highly talented claims team
available to give advice when they’re
needed, because they aren’t doing
unnecessary tasks that technology can
   This low cost revolution is making an
impact in the regional SME sector as well
as gaining traction in the construction
industry and particularly the private
healthcare and financial services sectors.
Charlton said “We’ve also begun
providing back office support to a number
of debt recovery agencies and law
firms who don’t have the infrastructure
required in this new age and a number of
companies in sectors facing deregulation
have joined with us as they try to reduce
their overheads and increase their
margins to attract investment or remain
   “The heart of our product is that we
offer a cost effective solution and a rapid
response with exceptional customer care.
Some of our charging models allow clients
to have their pre-legal collections work
done at no cost to them and we focus
on rehabilitating accounts and not just
litigation. Most smart companies have
                                                                                                                               page 55
  members: an insight into your business world

                                Marie Difolco

  Who are you?                                  What do you always carry with you for     What single piece of advice would you
                                                work?                                     give to someone getting started in your
  Marie Difolco – Managing Director of Stupid                                             business?
  Bags Ltd and Not So Stupid Ltd                A note book, pen, sketchpad
                                                and my laptop.                            Just get on with it – you can spend forever
  What was your last job?                                                                 writing business plans and trying to raise
                                                What car do you drive?                    the funds you think you need. Make the
  Before I set up my own business I                                                       first move and it all begins to fall in to
  worked in the telecoms industry as            A mini cooper with my Stupid Bags         place. You have to be flexible with your
  a technical project manager.                  logo plastered all over it – the best     goals though and enjoy the journey.
                                                £100 I’ve ever spent on advertising.      Network – you can never do enough of it.
  What is your ideal job?
                                                Is there anything you regret about your
  The one I have now – being your               business career?
  own boss is not the easy option but
  it’s by far the most fulfilling.              Nothing – there’s no point in having
                                                regrets. I believe in looking at
  If you could hire anyone from the world       everything as a lesson learned.
  of business, who would it be?
                                                What would you say was your best
  Sir Philip Green or Sir Alan Sugar. To        quality as a business person?
  rise from nowhere like they have has
  to be the greatest achievement.               Honesty (although in business
                                                today it’s a shame that’s not always
  What has been your best moment in             advantageous or reciprocated).
                                                And your worst?
  Receiving my first order from one of
  the top four UK supermarkets.                 Impatience – I’m not good at
                                                waiting for results and I like
  What was your worst business mistake?         everything done by yesterday.

  Generally my worst mistakes have
  been trusting people to readily. Sadly        What was your first paid employment?
  in business as in many walks of life
  there’s no such thing as a free lunch.        When I was 16 I had a Saturday job
                                                as a sales assistant in the children’s
  Which piece of red tape annoys you the        department at Clark’s shoe shop. I
  most?                                         left after a toddler threw up on me.

  The one most financial institutions choose
  to stick around you. From experience
  they won’t look at individual cases, they
  have a ‘one rule fits all’ policy which
  isn’t helpful to most small businesses.

page 56
news in the region: a business round up                                                         north

Act before it’s too late
An impending skills shortage within the          Speaking to representatives from
general insurance industry is becoming        Norwich Union, NIG and Zurich insurance
a problem according to one leading            at the event in Newcastle, Karen said:
broker in the field, who is urging            “The main focus for the Insurance Institute
insurance companies to embrace a new          of Newcastle upon Tyne and indeed the
apprenticeship scheme before it’s too late.   entire industry is to raise the awareness
   Karen Weir, deputy president and           of the professional qualifications to
education secretary of the Insurance          young people already working within
Institute of Newcastle upon Tyne, is          our industry locally, and to try and attract
director of Weir Insurance in Blyth, one      young, talented and keen individuals to
of the North East’s biggest independent       join this profession.
insurance brokers.                               “We are developing a long term strategy
   She is urging her industry to take         to tackle the issue, the first part of which is
advantage of a new Apprenticeship             to start up the Apprenticeship programme
scheme and solve the industry’s succession    within the North East, as a similar scheme
problems.                                     has been a success in Yorkshire and the
   Speaking at an Insurance Institute of      North West.
Newcastle upon Tyne gathering, Karen             “The framework for the Apprenticeship
spoke of adopting the framework of the        in Insurance including the Certificate in
‘Apprenticeship in Insurance’ which has       Insurance has finally been agreed, and is
just been agreed by the CII, and which has    available to all of us, and the best news
financial support from the Learning and       is that there is government funding to
Skills Council and the support of the CII     support it and also to support recruitment
President nationally.                         of young people.”

Partnership means jobs
A North East ‘fingerprint entry’ specialist   three way partnership with long term              development and distribution of
has announced plans to create 20              Korean partner Keico Hightech Inc,                ‘Second Generation’ robust biometric
new jobs in Newcastle and 25 more             manufacturers of high quality security            readers with extremely low error rates.
throughout the UK following a deal with       terminals and Lumidigm Inc, the New               Lumidigm’s multispectral imaging
Korea’s leading manufacturer of security      Mexico-based worldwide patent holder              technology simultaneously reads the
terminals and the American producer of        of multispectral imaging for use in               surface and subsurface of fingerprints to
biometric imaging technology.                 biometrics.                                       capture clear, clean images every time,
  UK Biometrics Ltd has entered into a          The deal will allow for the                     even when surface features are absent or
                                                                                                hard to distinguish.
                                                                                                   UK Biometrics Managing Director
                                                                                                Matthew James said: “The combination
                                                                                                of Keico terminals, Lumidigm imaging
                                                                                                technology, our systems and software
                                                                                                development capability mean we have
                                                                                                a truly world beating product to further
                                                                                                fuel our expansion. Lumidigm readers
                                                                                                are in use at major American tourist
                                                                                                attractions and have proven their ability
                                                                                                to deal with millions of individual
                                                                                                fingerprints; they are impervious to bad
                                                                                                weather and can recognise a fingerprint
                                                                                                through latex gloves or dirt. This
                                                                                                partnership will open up new markets in
                                                                                                hostile industrial environments, hospitals
                                                                                                and extremely high volume locations.”
                                                                                                   Lumidigm biometric readers reduce
                                                                                                error rates to less than one percent
                                                                                                making them suitable for high security
                                                                                                applications. The readers are so robust
                                                                                                they will operate in any weather
                                                                                                conditions, can be power-hosed and even
                                                                                                operate underwater.
                                                                                                                                   page 57 57
           ENGAGE                                                                     NECC Events Dairy
                                                                  Prices apply to NECC members. Non-member prices and availability on request

 Sept 19    Networking Lunch                        11-2pm                Sporting Lodge, Thornaby                                FREE
 Sept 26    After Hours                             5.30-7pm              The Apartment, Newcastle                                FREE
 Oct 17     Networking Lunch                        11-2pm                Stadium of Light, Sunderland                            FREE
 Oct 31     Breakfast                               8-10am                Lancastrian Suite, Gateshead                            FREE

 Sept 4     Webinar - Share Schemes                 10-11am               Online seminar                                          FREE
 Sept 20    Seminar - Sustainable Future            8-10am                Northumbria House, Aykley Heads                         FREE
 Oct 2      Webinar - Employment Hot Topics         10-11am               Online seminar                                          FREE
 Oct 3      Seminar - WorkWise                      8-10.30am             Beamish Hall Hotel                                      FREE

 Sept 13    Enterprise Dinner                       6.30-late             Stadium of Light, Sunderland                       £62+VAT
 Oct 11     Tees Valley & Co Durham Dinner          6.30-late             Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield                    £65+VAT
 Nov 9      Annual Dinner                           6.30-late             Civic Centre, Newcastle                            £75+VAT

 Sept 4     North Tyneside                          4.30pm                North Tyneside                                          FREE
 Sept 5     Hartlepool                              4pm                   Hartlepool Power Station                                FREE
 Sept 11    Middlesbrough                           8.30am                Centre for Enterprise, Middlesbrough                    FREE
 Sept 11    County Durham                           8.30am                NECC Head Office, Durham                                FREE
 Sept 11    Stockton                                4.30pm                Swallow Hotel, Stockton                                 FREE
 Sept 18    Darlington                              8.15am                Clive Owen & Co, Darlington                             FREE
 Sept 19    Northumberland                          4pm                   Berwick upon Tweed                                      FREE
 Oct 26     Redcar & Cleveland                      11am                  Kirkleatham Hall, Redcar                                FREE

 Sept 10    Train the Trainer                                             NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195
 Sept 13    Professional Selling I                                        NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195
 Sept 17    First Aid (Appointed Person)                                  NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195
 Sept 18    IOSH Working Safely                                           NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195
 Sept 19    Develop Yourself                                              NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195

              PLUS - Ask the Skills Team about the NECC Foundation Degree in Leadership and Management

 Sept 6     Basic Exporting                                               NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195
 Sept 27    Export Procedures and Documentation                           NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195
 Oct 9      Basic Importing                                               NECC, Aykley Heads, Durham                              £195

               Call 0191 375 3348 or email: for all your international enquiries

To reserve your place(s) contact the Events Team on 0191 386 1133 or e-mail:

                  NECC Key Sponsors:

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