Archive for October, 2014

Small companies urged to protect against cybercrime

A panel of cybercrime experts, comprising of  delegates from Microsoft, Sophos and the UK Cyber Security Forum, has recommended that small companies  protect themselves against online threats, as part of the ‘Cyber Streetwise’ online safety campaign. The panel of experts has suggested that  small companies should train staff to recognize online threats, install software updates promptly, use anti-virus software and select complex passwords. The experts have also suggested that improving cyber security could help companies to attract more customers. Research has shown that 59% of consumers are disinclined to shop with small companies online, but 82% would be more likely to buy if companies demonstrate cyber security. Companies can emphasize their security credentials by joining the Home Office’s Cyber Essentials scheme, which certifies companies operating at required standards.
Read more about the cyber security advice for small companies at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-firms-urged-to-take-steps-to-combat-cyber-crime

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Concerns raised about local authorities managing food safety

Local authorities could struggle to continue food safety services during ongoing budget cuts, according to Chief Policy Advisor for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Jenny Morris. Ms Morris stated that the number of environmental health officers (EHOs) had decreased by 20% between 1999 and 2009, with the majority lost being highly experienced EHO’s. According to a survey carried out recently  by the CIEH, half of local authority environmental health departments have seen a reduction in staff numbers, and nearly a quarter are proposing to reduce the number of staff in the future.
For more details about the survey results, go to:
http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Food-Safety/Local-authority-funding-cuts-cause-concern

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Innovation voucher eligibility extended

Following the extension of eligibility for the Innovation Voucher Programme by Innovate UK, small and medium-sized companies, including new business start ups, will be able to apply for funding for consultancy support from 10th November 2014. Innovation vouchers contribute up to £5,000 towards the cost of specialist advice to stimulate business growth, and formerly were only accessible to companies in specific technology sectors. The vouchers are now available to any small company that requires  specialist support to meet a business challenge, as long as the company has not already had support from their chosen specialist adviser. The type of support that can be funded includes advice about making the most of intellectual property, guidance when developing innovative ideas, and help to learn about using design in business.
Read more about Innovation Vouchers at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/innovation-vouchers-for-all

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HMRC consulting on draft CASC (Community Amateur Sports Clubs) legislation

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has launched a consultation on draft legislation establishing new qualifying conditions for community amateur sports clubs (CASCs), after a previous consultation that showed some clubs find the existing rules confusing. If the draft regulations become law, a number of existing CASCs will need to alter their structure in order to keep CASC status. HMRC claims the new rules will provide more certainty for existing CASCs about their continuing eligibility, and may encourage more clubs to apply for CASC status. The consultation closes on 5th November 2014.
Read more about the consultation at:
http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/hmrc-consults-rules-community-amateur-sports
-clubs/finance/article/1317104
The consultation documents are available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-legislation-community-amateur
-sports-clubs-technical-consultation

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Overseas buyers pay a premium for ‘Made in Britain’ products

According to research commissioned by Barclays Corporate Banking, exported goods with a ‘Made in Britain’ label attract a higher premium than goods with no label of origin. The research also revealed that 31% of consumers in new and expanding markets have knowingly paid a premium for ‘Made in Britain’ products, compared to just 14% of consumers in developed markets. Rebecca McNeil, Head of Business Lending at Barclays Corporate Banking, stated: “While British businesses are currently reliant on the EU and the USA for the majority of their exports, they are well placed to expand into new and emerging markets. The report shows that the biggest premiums for British branded goods will be paid in these markets, not the developed markets.”
For more information about the research, go to:
http://www.newsroom.barclays.com/Press-releases/New-research-shows-huge-export
-value-of-Brand-Britain-to-British-business-bc4.aspx

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Businesses should check software licensing agreements

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Businesses that permit staff to use personal devices for work purposes should check whether the use of software purchased by the company is allowed on these devices, according to guidance developed by the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. The guidance also reminds companies that they, rather than their staff, are responsible for ensuring data is protected, and supports the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recommendation that every company should have a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policy that explains exactly when staff are permitted to share data from their personal devices.
The guidance is available in full at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bring-your-own-device-guidance

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Food labelling system under investigation by EU

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The European Union (EU) has instructed authorities in the UK to address complaints about the British ‘traffic light’ food classification system. The ‘traffic light’ system, which is optional for producers of  food, labels products with red, yellow or green symbols to indicate fat, salt and sugar content to consumers. However, complaints have been  received from countries including France, Spain and Italy about the system being too simplistic, and failing to distinguish between junk food and traditional Mediterranean products with naturally high levels of fat. The European Commission (EC) began an infringement procedure in February 2014, to determine whether the system complies with EU regulations on free movement of goods. Miguel Sagredo, an EC spokesman on industry and entrepreneurship, stated: “The concern that we have is that the system is likely to make the marketing of some products more difficult and therefore hinder or impede trade between EU countries.”
For more details about the investigation, go to:
http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/food-agriculture.y1l

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E-commerce workshop at Maylands Business Centre

REMINDER!

Workshop at Maylands Business Centre on Wednesday 15th October £45.00

E-Commerce – Is it right for your business? – Course Outline

Duration: 3.5 Hours

Course Description: Are you thinking of taking your business online? Are you looking for support and guidance to see if you are ready and what is involved?.

This fast paced interactive session will be an overview of the practical, technical, personal and marketing aspects of taking your business online. We’ll look at the process from establishing if your business is right for e-commerce to getting yourself set up for it and sustaining growth.

Who should attend?
Business owners, managers, team leaders or other staff who are thinking of moving to or adding an additional online ecombusiness.

What will it cover?

Will my business model support ecommerce?
Building an ecom website, what you’ll need and considerations, to make your site build as effective as possible
The practicalities of running an ecom business
Promoting your business
What’s going to make you different from the competition
Building your ecom reputation for success in the future

Contact Christine 01442 531002 or email christine.cowlard@dacorum.gov.uk for more details

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Failure to prevent financial crime may be criminalised

Companies that fail to prevent financial crime, including fraud and money laundering, could be prosecuted in the future, according to Attorney General Jeremy Wright. Describing the proposed new violation at a Cambridge symposium, Mr Wright advised the audience that it would be based on the Bribery Act 2010 offence of failing to prevent bribery. A company would be liable for failures of employees, agents, subsidiaries and business partners, although it would be a defence to show that the company had sufficient procedures in place to prevent the crime occurring.
Read more about the proposed offence at:
http://www.cipd.co.uk/pm/peoplemanagement/b/weblog/archive/2014/
10/02/possible-new-offence-of-failure-to-prevent-financial-crime.aspx

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Small firms lack awareness of their credit scores

Experian’s SME Reputation Index has disclosed that the majority of decision-makers in smaller companies are unaware of what factors can influence the credit rating of their business. The survey of more than 500 financial decision-makers in small and medium-sized companies suggested that only 13% are aware of all the key factors that affect credit scores. It also revealed that only 41% have ever examined their business credit score, with 44% of those doing so more than six months ago. Two main factors that have a negative effect on credit scores are a history of bankruptcy and numerous applications for credit accounts over a short period of time. However, only 46% of small business owners were aware of the impact of these factors on their business credit rating. The survey also suggested that smaller companies in the UK were not aware of factors that can have a positive effect on the credit rating of a business, such as paying suppliers promptly.
For more information about the survey results, go to:
http://press.experian.com/United-Kingdom/Press-Release/over-19-
million-sme-have-limited-awareness-of-how-to-safeguard.aspx

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