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Category Archives for Member’s Blog

Need some ‘me-time’?

If you’re busy, busy promoting your business and would like/need some ‘me-time’, I’d love you to join our charity walk this Saturday morning. It’s a civilised start time and it’ll really make a difference to the lives of some seriously under-privileged children. To sign up or just donate go to NB NO sponsorship required!

Posted by on 07/06/2011 14:56:49

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Bribery and corruption …..

The Bribery Act comes into force on 1st July 2011. And, as is typical when a new piece of legislation affecting business is in prospect, your email box starts to fill up. You get offers for any number of courses that will provide, for “just” a few hundred pounds and a day of your life — an explanation of this “important new legislation”.


The Bribery Act does NOT – despite what people are saying – set up anything complicated or difficult that you have to do … provided you have already been running your operation with a modicum of sense, and a reasonable employment contract. Normal business hospitality is not going to be made illegal! But ‘facilitation payments’, or completely disproportionate hospitality, will be a problem under the new law in exactly the same way that they were under the old law.

If you have taken no steps at all to protect your operation from corrupt practices, then the nudge that the new Act may give you to sort this out will not go amiss. But if you have nothing in place, don’t just ‘fix’ the bribery issue — look at how corruption of any form might affect your activities, and how to guard against it. As always, let your business needs drive what you do … don’t let legal changes distort your business priorities.

The Ministry of Justice has issued straightforward guidance about how the new Act will operate. [But do remember, “guidance” is not the law – so take it with a bit of a pinch of salt – check out our earlier blog.]

In a nutshell:

– your organisation can be liable for failing to prevent a person from bribing on your behalf
– solution: consider whether there is actually a risk that this will happen, and where these risks may arise
– if a bribe is made on your behalf, you will have a defence to a prosecution if you can show you had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery
– solution: once you have identified actual risk areas in your operation, consider how you can best put procedures in place to prevent bribery occurring.
– if you do need to put procedures in place, they should be proportionate to the risk
– solution: for most businesses, you will not need extensive written policies or special processes.

For many organisations, all that will be needed is a short addition to the employment contract or employee handbook. For any organisation that already has an effective “ethics” policy in place, it is quite likely that nothing additional will be needed at all.

But the trick is to do the job in the right order.

Start with the risk assessment – which, as always, is best committed to paper so that you can prove later on that you did it.

Then, if (and only if) the risk assessment shows you that it’s necessary, put in place relevant and appropriate new prevention procedures and documentation.

Many companies will need to add precisely nothing to what they already have in place at the moment!

Christopher Head is a barrister and director of employment law specialists Irenicon Ltd.
Irenicon Limited, Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon, CR0 OXZ
Tel : 08452 303050 Fax : 08452 303060
Email :
Website :

Posted by on 26/05/2011 11:46:06

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A Strategy Against Stalking & Harassment – Tony Lambell

A huge “thank you” to today’s Guest Speaker Tony Lambell of Secose Ltd for helping us get to grips with the statistics and details of stalking and harassment as well as providing us with a Strategy Against Stalking & Harassment. If you missed today’s enlightening talk, be sure to watch for details of Tony’s next visit.

Posted by on 18/05/2011 15:44:01

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A Strategy Against Stalking & Harassment – Tony Lambell

A huge “thank you” to today’s Guest Speaker Tony Lambell of Secose Ltd for helping us get to grips with the statistics and details of stalking and harassment as well as providing us with a Strategy Against Stalking & Harassment. If you missed today’s enlightening talk, be sure to watch for details of Tony’s next visit.

Posted by on 18/05/2011 15:44:01

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Wisewolf Talking Leadership and Change


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Balancing the bump – Preparing for maternity leave/birth – childcare issues

Annabel: There is no doubt about it that having a baby is a very big event in a woman’s life. From an employer’s point of view though, it is can be just another thing they need to work around and deal with. Some employers find this really difficult to deal with on a practical level and uncertainty about whether a woman will really return from leave a year later can make some bosses withdraw from the relationship. This can make the woman feel she is not welcome to return and set off a spiral of ‘disengagement’ that can make it hard for both parties.

Laura: Having a good handover and return to work plan can really help. Discuss this with your boss and showing that you are planning to make things as easy for them as you can.. Keep talking – even when you are on leave. If you don’t get on with your boss get someone in your office that you trust to keep you up to speed with changes and projects.

Annabel: Your boss is not the only person you may find yourself liaising with at this point. Whenever your baby is due your partner is entitled to up to two weeks’ paternity leave. They can take this to coincide with the birth or within the next eight weeks. They need to sort this out with their boss and make the appropriate requests. If your baby is due after 3 April 2011, your partner may also take up to six months additional paternity leave if you return from maternity leave early. In a nutshell, he can take the rest of your leave (to a maximum of six months) when you go back to work … and if you go back to work before your statutory maternity pay is finished, he will also get paid (at the same rate and for the same period as your outstanding statutory maternity pay). Your partner has to give at least eight weeks notice to their employer before they can start the leave, and there are other processes to go through and conditions that he must meet. You have to give at least eight weeks notice if you want to come back before your year is up. Although you don’t have to do this before the baby is born, you need to start talking about what you want to do, how it will affect you financially and emotionally. If you really are planning for your partner to take the final six months of leave, then it would be a good idea to mention this informally to your boss so they know that you may want to come back early and make suitable cover arrangements.

Laura: I have one client in particular who is waiting for the Paternity leave to be extended in order to start a family. They cannot wait to start a family and it makes far more financial sense for him to be the main caregiver. However without the new paternity rights it would have been difficult for him to take the extra leave and return to his job. I am excited by the changes which I feel will really benefit family units. Both partners get to experience the highs and lows of being a parent and will be far more supportive of their partner knowing the full story. More families are having to adapt to a new way of working and roles are no longer clearly defined in the home. Even feeding breast milk can be continued (although in a bottle) when Mum is away as companies become even better at providing facilities to express milk for nursing mothers.

Do you have a query that you’d like Laura or Annabel to answer? Follow this link and post your question for them –

Posted by on 12/04/2011 12:10:19

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Did you Follow today’s #1230KISS Twitterview with Mindy Gibbins-Klein?

Karren Brady and Mindy Gibbins-Klein

One question I posed to Mindy was – Yesterday evening I had the great pleasure of hearing Karren Brady speak at the Kent2020 Dinner. One of her six key points to successful business is “Direction” Karren said “The whole world steps aside for a man who knows where he’s going”. I asked Mindy if she agreed/would like to add to that.

Quick as a flash came back “A MAN who knows where he is going?! Surely women on fire make people JUMP aside!”

Posted by on 08/04/2011 14:39:54

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Looking to give someone a hot lead…

I’ve just had an American client of mine ask me if I know someone who could do some work of a type that I personally don’t do. Perhaps at the 1230 Blackeath event tomorrow I could really make someone’s day by passing this lead on! If you are going to be there….I look forward to meeting you!

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Balancing the Bump – Working whilst pregnant, sickness and absence issues

Annabel: Pregnant women are protected from discrimination, so you should not be treated worse than a male colleague on sick leave if you are off with a pregnancy-related sickness. Even if your employer’s sick pay scheme is ‘discretionary’, this does not entitle them to exercise their discretion in an unlawfully discriminatory way. You should take advice if you feel you are being treated differently to other sick colleagues.

Laura: A condition which affects mobility is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) which causes pain in the pubic area. This can be debilitating and you may find it hard to walk, so the commute becomes impossible . If appropriate, you could work from home or see if your employer would stretch to a taxi in and out of work. You could also see if your role could change, for example working on a different project or in a different department until you go on leave. Your GP may issue you a fit note, which is a sick note listing what you are fit for, and what adjustments are needed to get you back to work.

Annabel: Employers are not obliged to adjust your role in line with “fit note” recommendations. Many employers will make adjustments for you, but if they can’t then you will be off sick until you are fit to return to normal duties, at whatever rate of sick pay you are entitled to. If you work with lead, radioactive substances or hazardous chemicals that potentially put your unborn child at risk (your job’s risk assessment should show this), then your employer has a duty to adjust your role, offer you alternative employment (at the same rate of pay) or even suspend you on pay in order to protect you and your unborn child. This is extremely rare and does not cover any general worries you might have – for example being exposed to coughs and colds during the winter etc. If you unreasonably refuse an alternative role, you may not be paid. Take advice if you find yourself in this situation.

Laura: Your employer is able to start your maternity leave early if you take time off in your last 4 weeks before your due date because of a pregnancy related illness.

Annabel: This is because maternity leave is triggered by pregnancy related absence (including illness) during the last four weeks. A common reason for this is the baby coming early. If you do start maternity leave earlier than planned, remember you need to come back earlier than planned!

There is no reason why pregnancy needs to be a problem for employers if they support their team in the right way and communicate effectively.

Do you have a query that you’d like Laura or Annabel to answer? Follow this link and post your question for them –


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New Photography Boudoir Site

Please check out my new boudoir website,
If you like what you see, please tell your friends about it.

Posted by on 31/03/2011 21:54:14

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