Archive for November, 2013

HSE updates ACOP for employee health and safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a revised employers Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) on safeguarding employee health, safety and welfare. The ACOP was one of several specified for review in Professor Ragnar Löfstedt’s report ‘Reclaiming Health and Safety for All’. The updated ACOP defines the responsibilities of employers, improves guidance and withdraws out-of-date duties and requirements that are superseded by recent legislation. HSE spokesman Chris Rowe stated “it will help employers understand the regulatory requirements on key issues such as temperature, cleanliness, workstations and seating, toilets and washing facilities.”
Read more about the revised ACOP at:
http://press.hse.gov.uk/2013/revised-guidance-to-protect-the-health-safety-and-welfare-of-workers/

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Small firms warned about mass malware campaign

The National Crime Agency’s (NCA’s) National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) has circulated a warning about a new large-scale e-mail malware campaign. The e-mails, which are  targeted particularly at smaller companies and consumers, appear to be from financial establishments, but contain a malicious attachment that encrypts files on the contaminated computer and any local network it is attached to. A £500 ransom demand in bitcoins is then made to unlock the files. The NCCU is urging companies not to open any suspicious-looking attachments, to constantly back up files to a location off the network and update antivirus software. Anyone whose device is contaminated by this malware should report it via ActionFraud (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk).
Read more about the warning at:
http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240209198/UK-police-warn-of-malware-campaign-targeting-mainly-SMEs

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Business Budget Consultation

We are working on our budget for next year and we are asking local businesses for their view on where we should be investing and saving money.

It is important to us, that decisions made on how the budget is spent are informed by the views and priorities of our many stakeholder groups.

We are continuing to look at ways that we can work more efficiently and improve our services to you whilst boosting the local economy.

Please take a few minutes to fill in this important  Budget Consultation  specifically aimed at businesses. Please cut and paste the following into your browser at www.dacorum.gov.uk/consultation.

We are also seeking the views of our residents.  If you live in the Borough and would like to participate in the residents’ budget consultation, please go to www.dacorum.gov.uk/consultation.

Both surveys close at midnight on Tuesday, 10 December.

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FSA surveys firms’ food legislation knowledge

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is conducting a survey of small businesses in the UK to inquire how they find out about food regulation, for example, via a trade association or their local authority environmental health department. The information received from survey respondents will be used to develop FSA guidance for companies, the type and amount of information provided, and methods of updating them about changes to legislation and processes, such as online, or via e-mail or text message. The FSA is particularly keen to hear from micro-business owners that have less than ten employees to inquire how they learn about food-related legislation and where they go for guidance.
Read more about the research and take the survey at:
http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2013/nov/business-survey

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Firms should act now to comply with data protection reforms

Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith has described several ways that companies can prepare for forthcoming reforms to EU data protection rules. The draft General Data Protection Regulation was approved by a European Parliamentary committee last week. Although the final account of the Regulation is still subject to change, Mr Smith said business owners should begin reviewing their current procedures for processing personal information to make sure that  individuals give ‘explicit’ consent. He also stated that companies should anticipate new laws to be launched obliging them to have systems in place to ensure personal information is deleted upon request from an individual. The reforms are not expected to commence fully until 2017.
There is more about the recommendations at:
http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2013/november/businesses-can-take-steps-now-
to-ease-move-to-new-compliance-standards-under-data-protection-reforms-says-ico/

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Treasury plans new online alternative to self-assessment

Nearly two million taxpayers could be permitted to manage their tax utilising a new online system in favour of annual self-assessment, as part of plans issued by the Treasury.  Online tax accounts, comparable with those used for Internet banking, could be advantageous to almost 1.7 million individuals with fairly simple tax affairs, the Treasury estimates. Treasury Minister David Gauke said: “We want every taxpayer to have the option of an online tax account and the steps we are taking will lead to taxpayers being able to opt out of self-assessment. Embracing digital and moving to an online tax system will greatly simplify how the public interacts with HMRC.”
Read more about the plans at:
http://www.contractoruk.com/news/0011303taxman_offer_opt_out_self_assessment.html

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Engineering skills shortages to be addressed

Government funding of nearly £49 million is to be made available to deal with engineering skills shortages following an industry study by Professor John Perkins. The Government has also asked that employers  inspire the next generation of engineers.   The publication of the study coincided with ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers Week’, an initiative to transform perceptions about engineering among young people, teachers and parents. The funding includes £30 million that employers can bid for to address skills deficiencies in sectors that have specific needs, and the investment of £18 million in a new elite training facility in Coventry. Smaller quantities of money have been allocated to two other projects, one encouraging school children to consider engineering careers, and another assisting people returning to engineering after a career break.
Read more about the funding at:
http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/Employers-educators-and-engineering-
professionals-called-on-to-encourage-more-people-into-engineeri-6956b.aspx

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Government support for small firms announced

A cross-Government small business support scheme will be published in December and a drive to encourage small companies to develop has also been launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable. The new scheme includes a £1 million Sector Mentoring Challenge Fund delivering tailored mentoring programmes, which will be open for applications until 11th December 2013, and a £10 million synthetic biology inception  fund to give seed funding for tech start ups. Also, Mr Cable  announced the first allocation of funding from the British Business Bank’s £300 million investment programme. Praesidian Capital Europe and BMS Finance have been allocated £45 million to provide debt finance for small companies through two new funds that will be available from early 2014.
Read more about the announcements at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/investment-and-campaign-to-help-small-firms-grow

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Business Budget Consultation

We are working on our budget for next year and we are asking local businesses for their view on where we should be investing and saving money.

It is important to us, that decisions made on how the budget is spent are informed by the views and priorities of our many stakeholder groups.

We are continuing to look at ways that we can work more efficiently and improve our services to you whilst boosting the local economy.

Please take a few minutes to fill in this important  Budget Consultation  specifically aimed at businesses. at www.dacorum.gov.uk/consultation.

We are also seeking the views of our residents.  If you live in the Borough and would like to participate in the residents’ budget consultation, please go to www.dacorum.gov.uk/consultation.

Both surveys close at midnight on Tuesday, 10 December.

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