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Jobs at Risk with Carillion

January 19, 2018 | By | No Comments

Good afternoon,

How has everyone’s week been? Apparently it was ‘Blue Monday’ earlier this week, which is known as the ‘most depressing day of the year’ due to money, weather, time since the festive period, and failing new year’s resolutions. To be honest, does Blue Monday actually exist? Or was it just a publicity stunt? Moving onto the blog topic for this week, we will be looking at the news with regards to Carillion.

Carillion is the UK’s second largest construction firm in the UK, employing 43,000 members of staff globally with 20,000 of them being in the UK. They specialise in construction, facilities management, and ongoing maintenance who employ construction workers, hospital cleaners, prison maintenance workers, port staff, and workers in the energy and utilities sector. Earlier this week Carillion announced that the company was going into liquidation due to being under the weight of £1.5bn of debt, including a £587m pension shortfall. The problems seemed to arise from risky contracts in the Middle East where payments were delayed and the contracts proved to be unprofitable.

There are thousands of jobs currently at risk, with some people having already been made redundant, particularly from the smaller suppliers as they are owed a lot of money by Carillion. There are companies who have had to withdraw staff due to the fear that they can’t pay the staff for their work, along with employees that have just been sent home with no explanation. At present, it is unclear what will happen with the contracts. If the contracts are taken back into the public sector, the government, health authorities, or local governments may employ directly or may be taken over by another outsourced service provider. But there are no clear paths with what will happen with the private sector contracts.

If the path chosen is for the contracts to be taken back into the public sector and through the UK government, we may see new positions arise through our framework and help anyone whose job is at risk get back into a reliable and stable role. We will await to see how it turns out in the near future.

That’s it for our blog this week, check back next Friday as some changes will have been made in the office over the next week, which we will be discussing in next week’s blog.

Happy Friday!

Warm Regards,

Sheree

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42680590

 

IR35 in the Private Sector

November 24, 2017 | By | No Comments

Good afternoon,

How has everyone’s week been? It has been a miserable week for weather here in South Wales, raining every day but at least today was slightly brighter. How has the weather been for everyone else?

Earlier this year we saw changes being made to IR35 in the public sector. It was previously the contractor’s responsibility to work out their IR35 status for each of their contracts in the private and public sector, although since April 2017 the government announced that changes would be made to the public sector and the end client would be carrying out the assessments instead.

We’ve seen a mixture of feedback since this change has taken place. Some of our contractors refused to take any contracts that were classed as ‘Inside IR35’ and moved into the private sector. We have had other contractors who when the change was first put in place would not consider contracts deemed Inside IR35 but have slowly made their way back into the public sector. There are also contractors who took in mind the change and had no issues and continued to work in the public sector on contracts deemed Inside IR35.

There have been rumours going around that the off-payroll working rules that we saw implemented in the public sector would be extended to the private sector. Earlier this week the ‘Autumn Budget 2017’ report was released and it was announced that the government will carefully consult on how to tackle non-compliance in the private sector and the result will be published in 2018. Below is a statement taken from the Budget report:

3.7 Off-payroll working in the private sector – The government reformed the off-payroll working rules (known as IR35) for engagements in the public sector in April 2017. Early indications are that public sector compliance is increasing as a result, and therefore a possible next step would be to extend the reforms to the private sector, to ensure individuals who effectively work as employees are taxed as employees even if they choose to structure their work through a company. It is right that the government take account of the needs of businesses and individuals who would implement any change. Therefore the government will carefully consult on how to tackle non-compliance in the private sector, drawing on the experience of the public sector reforms, including through external research already commissioned by the government and due to be published in 2018.

EGB deal mainly with Government contracts in the public sector, therefore if this change is implemented into the Private Sector next year, it could potentially be good news for us and bring back contractors who decided that they would be moving away from the public sector earlier this year due to the change. Although contractors working in the private sector may not see the same side. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Have a great weekend.

Warm Regards,

Sheree

 

Sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661480/autumn_budget_2017_web.pdf

BAE Systems to cut 2,000 jobs

October 13, 2017 | By | No Comments

Good afternoon,

Friday again already, where are the weeks going? Christmas will be here before we know it. As it is Friday it means it is time for another blog post. This week we are looking at a news headline which was released earlier this week, that BAE Systems are cutting a large number of jobs across the UK.

It was announced earlier this week that BAE Systems are planning to cut almost 2,000 jobs in the military, maritime and intelligence services, with its air business being mostly affected. The positions will be cut from a number of locations throughout the UK, including 400 in Brough, 230 at RAF Marham, 15 at RAF Leeming, 340 in the Portsmouth and Solent region, and 180 in London, Guildford and other locations. 750 positions will also be cut where parts of the Eurofighter Typhoon are manufactured in Lancashire. The Typhoon jet orders have slowed down due to the competition from the new F-35 and the US F-16, and the Typhoon jet has attracted less orders than the rival Rafale which was built by Dassault Aviation, striking deals with Egypt and Qatar. Positions such as support roles at Marham and Leeming will be affected as the RAF Tornado comes to an end and the squadrons will be retiring by 2019.

Steve Turner, the Unite assistant general secretary stated: “These planned job cuts will not only undermine Britain’s sovereign defence capability, but devastate communities across the UK who rely on these skilled jobs and the hope of a decent future they give to future generations”. BAE Systems employs a total of 34,600 people in the UK, therefore cutting 2,000 jobs is almost 6% of employees, which will affect a large amount of people across the whole of the UK including current employees and potential future employees training up to work in this area.

There have been questions, whether the cuts have been down to the UK Defence spending decisions and Unions have criticised the government for buying more military equipment from the US. The MoD will face a large budget hole after it was reported they miscalculated the cost of the Trident nuclear programme and the purchase of F-35s from the US. Claire Perry, the minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy when speaking in parliament said: “BAE’s changes were ‘not related to any UK defence spending decisions’ but a result of internal restructuring and normal business practice”.  She has said the government is working with BAE to minimise the compulsory redundancies and to help secure more orders from abroad. The newly appointed CEO of BAE Systems, Charles Woodburn, stated: “The organisational changes we announced accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology”.

What do you think of the situation? Do you think the cuts will be worthwhile? Or have they made an error? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Warm regards,

Sheree

 

Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41566841

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/10/bae-systems-job-cuts-eurofighter-typhoon-orders

 

New ship to support the aircraft carriers arrives in UK

September 29, 2017 | By | No Comments

Good Afternoon,

I hope the weather hasn’t effected anyone too badly so far today, as there is heavy rain and strong winds expected throughout some parts of the UK this weekend (being British, you always have to bring up the weather in a conversation). Has anyone got plans this weekend? Or have you had to cancel because of the rain?

This week we have seen in the news that the new ship which will support the aircraft carriers has arrived in Cornwall. This is the second Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class support ship to arrive in the UK with the first ship arriving earlier this year, being designed to support the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. It offers improvements like double hulls and has greater environmental protection measures and it has a flight deck large enough to hold the Chinook helicopter.

The ship will enter service next year after 4 months of customisation work which will be carried out in Falmouth. The work will bring in 300 jobs as armour, self-defence weaponry, and communication systems will be installed. The MOD is working within their budget of £150 million and this will also sustain further jobs at other companies.

With the new ship arriving in the UK, it is bringing in good news that 300 local jobs will be produced and further jobs at other organisations will be sustained.  Keep an eye out on our new roles being released, as we may see new roles opening associated with the customisation being carried out on the new Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class support ship.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and manages to keep out of the rain.

Warm regards,

Sheree

 

Sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-ship-to-support-the-aircraft-carriers-arrives-in-uk

 

Employment Statistics

September 22, 2017 | By | No Comments

Another week done which means it is time for another blog. It is interesting writing the blog each week as I get to learn new facts, or improve my knowledge on previous topics. Hopefully it is the same for you reading the blog every week. I thought this week we would look into UK employment statistics and see how stats have changed in recent years, as the Office of National Statistics have released their September updates with figures from May – July 2017.

UK employment has been up and down but recently we have seen 2017 being the highest employment rate since the comparable records began back in 1971. The stats are based on people aged between 16 and 64 and it shows that the employment rate has risen 4.2% in 5 years. In 2012 the employment rate was at 71.1%, whereas 5 years later in 2017 it is currently at 75.3%.

Between May – July 2017, 32.14 million people were in work which is 181,000 more people than earlier in the year between February – April 2017, and 379,000 more than in 2016. It’s great to see that the number of people in employment is rising and with these numbers increasing, it means that unemployment rates will have dropped. The unemployment rate is currently at 4.3% which is the lowest it has been since 1975.

As we deal with a lot of public sector work, I thought it would be interesting to look at public sector employment stats. In June 2017, public sector employment was at 5.440 million which is 14,000 higher than 2016. Although out of every person in work, only 16.9% were public sector employees, which is the lowest percentage since 1999 when the comparable records began. Public Sector employment may have a low employment percentage but private sector employment reached a record high of 26.696 million in June 2017 which is 365,000 higher than 2016. It is very interesting looking into these figures and seeing how a year can make a difference.

We like to mix up the blog each week and write about different topics, such as sharing updates that have happened within EGB, helpful blogs on the recruitment process, frequently asked questions, updates that have been in the news, and more. What blog topics do you enjoy seeing from us? Or what topics would you want to see more of? Let us know in the comments.

Have a great weekend,

Sheree

 

Sources: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/september2017#unemployment

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/bulletins/publicsectoremployment/latest

 

 

Public Sector Pay Cap to be lifted

September 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

Good afternoon,

I hope you have had a good week and that this horrible weather doesn’t hang around too much longer. There was excitement this week as the new iPhone specs were released. What do you think of the new iPhone X? Do you think it is worth the money? Moving onto the blog, this week we are going to be looking at the Public Sector Pay Cap update that has been in the news recently.

Back in 2010, Public Sector pay was frozen for two years and since 2013 pay rises have been capped at 1%. In the news earlier this week we have seen that the cap on public sector pay rises in England and Wales will be lifted. Police and Prison Officers are the first to see a pay rise, the Police will receive a 1% pay rise along with a 1% bonus and Prison Officers are being given a 1.7% rise. The rises that have been offered are still below the rate of inflation which has risen to 2.9%.

On Wednesday this week Firefighters were offered a 2% pay rise, but declined as the Fire Brigades Union stated that “the offer included a whole host of strings and failed to clearly address the pain our members have experienced as a result of years of falling real wages”. Also on Wednesday the DUP showed their support for Labour’s motions for the pay cap being removed for NHS workers and it passed without having to go to a vote. The next day, unions that represent NHS workers wrote to the chancellor to demand a 3.9% pay rise along with an additional £800 to make up for previous years.

Currently there hasn’t been any updates on whether the NHS workers will be awarded the 3.9% pay rise, but it will cost a total of £2.5 billion if the pay rise is implemented and that is without bringing into consideration any other public sector pay rises. What are your thoughts on the situation? Are the pay rises enough/too much? Let us know in the comments below.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Warm regards,

Sheree

 

Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41274088

http://news.sky.com/story/labour-motion-on-nhs-pay-rise-passes-without-opposition-11033935

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservatives-suffer-defeat-on-labour-motion-calling-for-higher-pay-for-nhs-staff-a7945241.html

 

UK Government cut down on Legacy Tech Contracts

August 18, 2017 | By | No Comments

The weeks seem to be moving so quickly this year, it feels that as soon as I put out the blog I am writing the next one. Well that only means we are working hard and getting things done at EGB and look forward to even further success. Maybe the reason it feels so fast is that there are two birthdays close together, last week mine, this week our Operations Manager Sheree. She loved the gifts and the Beauty and the Beast themed birthday cake that the office gave her.

Onto this week’s blog, it is taking a look into the Public Sector disaggregation of contracts which have started to affect some large businesses. A recently published report by TechMarketView has shown that certain business that handle contracts for the Public Sector are getting hit by the Government’s contract disaggregation. Simply put, the government wanted to remove the Oligopoly that certain business had gained over the IT contacts that the government were offering. To name a couple of the businesses that were affected are: BT and DXC (Merger of Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Computer Sciences Corporation). This would be down to the fact that these two companies held a large share of government contracts.

The hit hasn’t been insignificant either, with DXC’s revenue (Based on TechMarketView’s UK Public Sector Software, IT & Business Process Services (SITS) top 20 ranking) dropping 11% for the year of 2016 to $1.2bn. The BT group saw a drop of 20% in its sales through the public sector coming to £513m, with Serco suffering the worst drop of 45% down to £194m. “It was those that had a large legacy footprint in central government, that continued to suffer heavy declines: most notable are DXC and BT,” said the report.

This could spell out good news for contractors as with these IT contracts being split up maybe some requirements will trickle down to be handled internally rather than outsourced to a company. Or perhaps with small organisations taking on the contracts there will be more chance for Contractors to be assigned. It will take time to tell if there is a benefit, though it may not be realised at all with Brexit on the horizon.

There are some comments that suggest the disaggregation of contracts will come to a pause as Brexit throws too many spanners into the works. The mind set being that it would be far easier to renew current contracts rather than to retender them for different businesses which would be a far more complex process.

It wasn’t all bad news, at least based on the figures, for companies who are part of SITS list. Capita who are on the top of the list had a 3% increase of its Public Sector Sales taking it to 1.8bn, this accounts for roughly 47% of their total sales. Though the report emphasises that this gain is not a true one as “Capita acquired Trustmarque, the software reseller and services arm of Liberata Group in June 2016.” If balanced out would infer reduced revenue rather than growth, so we take that with a little bit of salt.

What are your views on the disaggregation of contracts by the government; do you think it is a waste of time or do you think this will end up providing better services? Whatever your view let us know in the comments below, as always, we are happy to hear from you. I am not too sure where I stand on it, just hope that it means there are more opportunities to help you all get some contracts.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Sources:  https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/15/big_legacy_tech_companies_in_gov_start_to_feel_pinch_report/

Dress code Discrimination

August 11, 2017 | By | No Comments

Welcome back to the EGB Blog and this one happens to land on my Birthday, Happy Birthday to me! We like to celebrate the birthdays of our colleagues in the office and do so with a gift and some cake, can’t ask for more than that! So, while I am kept in suspense, lets head towards the more typical contents of the blog. This week we are taking a look at discrimination in the workplace, specifically aimed at the way dress codes can seem far more specific for women than they do for men.

These issues first came to the lime light when receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home without pay because she decided against wearing high heels. Unfortunately, her employer’s dress code made it a requirement within the dress code for her role, this prompted Nicola Thorp to create a petition for the ban of such a practice. This petition garnered a lot of attention and ended with 150 thousand signatures when it came to an end. This prompted investigations by the Petition Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee into the allegations.

The two committees asked for those who had felt that they had been discriminated against to send their accounts of situations they had gone through. The committee received responses showing that female employees throughout the country had been told to dye and straighten their hair, wear revealing clothes, and constantly re-apply makeup. This prompted the committees to make recommendations to government to update the existing laws.

The Government has since responded to the petition, they rejected the calls for new laws stating that the current ones were adequate to cover these issues. While this seems all well and good, it seems that many businesses and organisations simply don’t have full understanding of the law or simply disregard it. To combat the former, the government intends to introduce a set of guidelines for employers, this will help them create Dress Codes which are not discriminatory.

Do you agree with the findings that enforcing a dress code policy that contains items like High Heels is discriminatory? Perhaps there have been times that you have been on the receiving end of such dress codes (hopefully you haven’t), but let us know your stories and thoughts below. I personally believe there should be equal requirements for whoever is fulfilling the role, which we fortunately have at EGB (and Causal Fridays!).

Thank you for reading,

Dan

Sources: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/health/women-ban-high-heels-work-office/

http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/discriminatory-dress-codes/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39667912

GDPR: The big digital changes that are on the horizon

August 4, 2017 | By | No Comments

A busy week at EGB is coming to an end and we are all relieved that we have managed to get everything done. “Why are you so busy?” I hear you ask, I can’t really say too much yet but all will be revealed in an upcoming blog. Unfortunately, you will have to wait a few weeks to find out, but I will give you a small hint, change is on the horizon. On the topic of change (I am sure you could see that segue coming) there is far bigger and more wide-reaching change coming in 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming into force in the UK on the 25th of May and it will completely change the way that data is kept.

One of the major changes for organisations is how consent is given for the processing of information. When consent is being requested, it must be made clear what information is being stored and the reason for storing it. Consent has to be given in a positive manner, which means that a specific action needs to be taken to give consent. This means that consent cannot be based on Silence, Inactivity and pre-ticked boxes, which can be caused by consumers missing the option to opt out. Consent has to be verifiable, so if proof was requested it could be provided to show that consent was received. There also needs to be a system in place that allows consumer’s whose data has been stored, to revoke consent in an easy manner.

The GDPR will give a lot of control to the consumer in regards to the data which is being stored about them by an organisation. This control comes in a list of rights that the individual has over the data. To name a few; the right to access the information that has been stored, the right to be informed about the information that is stored, and the right to have the information erased. There are instances where these may not have to be abided by but that is very circumstantial compared to the existing rules in place.

The changes that the GDPR bring are wide spanning and complex, so much so that it is suggested that it would take around 15 months to properly prepare an organisation. There is a high chance that many businesses and organisations are going to need data protection specialists to help them prepare for the new rules. This is especially so as there is a requirement for certain organisations to have a Data Protection Officer to oversee the data handling processes and ensure compliance is kept.

The punishments for failing to meet the GDPR can be significantly more severe than the current punishments under the Data Protection act. Initially a warning would be sent to the organisation but if there are repeated or intentional infractions it can rise to a 20 million Euro fine or 4% of Annual Worldwide turnover, whichever is greater. So, we hope and expect to see some roles for data protection come in as organisations which will want to stay clear of these lofty penalties.

While the GDPR is an EU regulation it will apply to any and all businesses that deal with EU Citizens. This means that even after Brexit these rules would still apply to many business and organisations in the UK. What are your thoughts on the new regulations, Bureaucratic Nightmare, a safeguard for consumers or maybe it is somewhere in the middle instead? Whatever your thoughts, let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading,

Dan

Sources: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation

Parliament Launches Enquiry into the Future of AI

July 28, 2017 | By | No Comments

The poor weather is back and what a surprise that is when we live in Britain, well at least it has cooled off enough to remove the muggy feeling that had been lingering. Looking back at the previous blogs we have been quite focussed on the defence sector so we are going to try and spread it out. To remedy this, we are going to look at including more expansive array of topics for the blog, with the hope to better suit the interests of the wide range of sectors we deal with. We hope that you enjoy the topics that we will be looking at and if there is anything you would like us to look at specifically, just drop us a comment.

Today’s topic is based on the news that the House of Lords has launched an enquiry into Artificial Intelligence (AI) and what it holds for the future. They are giving the chance for experts to offer their opinions on the effects that emerging AI will have on all walks of life. The enquiry will consider the implications that AI has from Ethical, Economic and Social stand points. They will try to achieve this by examining the state that AI is in at the moment and looking into how it could develop in the future. The committee is already taking submissions of evidence for the enquiry and will be looking to finish their report by the end of March 2018.

The Chairman of the Committee, Lord Clement-Jones, said “This inquiry comes at a time when artificial intelligence is increasingly seizing the attention of industry, policymakers and the general public. The Committee wants to use this inquiry to understand what opportunities exist for society in the development and use of artificial intelligence, as well as what risks there might be.”

“We are looking to be pragmatic in our approach, and want to make sure our recommendations to government and others will be practical and sensible. There are significant questions to address relevant to both the present and the future, and we want to help inform the answers to them. To do this, we need the help of the widest range of people and organisations,”

Obviously one of the larger concerns with the development in AI is that certain larger companies are ahead of the curve like Google. These companies are also large enough with powerful enough resources that they may be able to create a monopoly. This has already become apparent with Google creating a deal with the NHS to gain access to Sensitive Data Sets because in return they are developing a Clinical System. This is something that smaller companies would not be able to do which gives larger AI an advantage with the data they have access to.

Another of the concerns which I am sure you have heard before, is the replacement of certain jobs with robotics and AI. We have already seen a few areas (especially in manual labour and production) jobs being replaced by robots and we could certainly see service based industry affected in the same way by AI development. An insurance firm in Japan has already begun with replacing 34 of its staff with AI to calculate insurance pay-outs. The 200m yen AI system is estimated to be 30% more productive while saving the company 140m yen a year on salaries. While there would be a 15m yen maintenance cost per year it would be profitable in two years versus keeping the employees.

It will be these sort of issues as well as many other issues and benefits that the committee will have to consider when they create their report for the Government. What are your thoughts on the development of AI and robotics? Do you think that this is a good thing or perhaps you think that in the long run it would be negative? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Sources: http://www.ukauthority.com/news/7358/house-of-lords-launches-artificial-intelligence-enquiry

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2017/july/uk-parliamentary-committee-opens-inquiry-into-ai-/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38521403