THE HIDDEN COST OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH IN OUR TRADE

THE HIDDEN COST OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH IN OUR TRADE

By Rebecca Watt – Technician at Avia Sports Cars

According to research carried out by the World Health Organisation, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Only one in eight of those with a mental health problem are receiving help or treatment. Maybe that’s because they do not know what help is out there, or maybe they think it is not important or serious enough. There are many reasons why someone with an issue such as anxiety or depression may not get the help they need.

The truth is, everyone is affected by mental health at least once in their lives. Although women are more likely to be affected, men are three times as likely to take their own lives. There are about 6,000 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland each year and men make up about three quarters of this figure.

Now you’re probably thinking: what has this got to do with the Motor Industry? In fact, the garage trade is particularly affected by instances of poor mental health. Years of heavy lifting, chasing bills and complaining customers can take their toll, but there are many other reasons why an individual who has previously been fine can change to being ‘not okay’ in a short time.

Stress

Stress can build up and affect things like productivity, quality of work and physical health. Consider a lean management system, like any used in production factories and distributor’s warehouses. If any issue, no matter how slight is detected, the problem will be flagged and managers will work to resolve the issue as efficiently as possible. If a problem with a machine or industrial system is fixed so quickly, why then has a government report found that 300,000 people with mental health problems lose their jobs each year? It makes no sense.

From a business point of view, it is important to ensure employees are aware of the help available to them. People spend most of their time in the workplace, so giving employees the basic need of connection and being cared for will have a greater impact on their lives and will only then benefit the company. Employees will respond to this and work to their full potential. Studies have shown that 12.7 percent of all sickness absence days in the UK can be linked to mental health conditions. The government report showed that better mental health support in the workplace could save UK business up to £8 billion PA.

Flexible working

So what can be done in the workplace to improve mental health? A good start is if employers can embrace flexible working. Allowing staff to work flexible hours or schedules to suit them would give them the self-care time that they require to continue working to the best of their abilities. It is equally critical to allow employees to have their entitled time off, or holiday days away from the work environment so they can return bright eyed and bushy tailed.

People suffering with mental health problems are urged to see their GP, plus there are lots of charities that can help – Samaritans and their excellent confidential helpline for example. Specifically for our industry, there is the charity BEN which also offers a confidential support line and will work with individuals. They also offer a range of workplace awareness and engagement initiatives, training programmes and digital assets to help promote its services within companies. If you look after your employees, they will look after your company. Mental health should never be ignored.

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HOW TO BE A LEADER IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

HOW TO BE A LEADER IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY FORMER ENGLND CRICKETER, JEREMY SNAPE

 

It is a difficult time to be a business leader in the motor trade, and as Brexit uncertainty amplifies, businesses that rely on the EU for supplies and trade, are being tested like never before.

Already we are witnessing suppliers stockpiling parts to avoid the mayhem that chronic uncertainty has caused this vital sector.

Jeremy Snape urges firm leadership in an uncertain age

Imagine you are the boss of an independent garage that sources obscure but vital components for a certain make of van. Your biggest customer has a 50-strong fleet of these vans, and they need to be assured that your garage will keep supplying those vital parts without disruption that Brexit could bring – what do you do?

The UK’s future trading relationship with the EU is just one of the many ongoing concerns facing independent garages and distributors. The sale of diesel cars in freefall following the 2016 emissions scandal, while automated cars are the way of the future with petrol being phased out by 2040.

Even after the Brexit dust settles, they will be no end in sight for the huge environmental issues affecting the motor trade. London, for instance, has introduced a new charging zone for older polluting vehicles that enter the city, something that could be rolled out across the UK.

These fundamental challenges call for leaders who are capable of withstanding intense pressure.

Now is not the time to dither, but instead focus on showing courage, clarity, action and most importantly, leadership.

For lessons in leadership you could do no better than look to the military or elite sport, which operate in environments of intense pressure, constant uncertainty and, in the case of the military, life or death decisions. You might argue that in professional sport, international football and rugby teams operate in environments where some people think the outcome is even more important.

The pressure powerful enough to unnerve even the most experienced players as I have learned from personal experience. Mental preparation is key to success.

Back in 2002, when I was privileged enough to be included in the England Cricket squad tour of India, my game collapsed in front of 120,000 people while I was up against batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.

The crowd roared as the pressure built up inside me that day, I couldn’t hear a thing and I ran Freddie Flintoff out. Right there and then I felt I wasn’t good enough to be there. It was only later when I started exploring psychology that I understood it wasn’t India that beat me that day, but my own mindset.

This started my research quest to find out what neuroscientists, military leaders, and Olympians could teach us all about performing under pressure.

In the last decade I’ve interviewed some of the world’s most impressive and prolific leaders, from Sir Alex Ferguson to military generals and even the Performance Director at the Cirque du Soleil to understand what tactics and strategies they use to mentally prepare for uncertainty.

In doing so I have distilled the secrets of their success into a digital library which helps my clients to maintain a winning mindset when they need it most.

Here are some essential tactics to help you cope with chronic uncertainty.

  1. Stop blaming others; own the situation.

With our current Brexit situation there are plenty of people you might feel like blaming– the electorate; former Prime Minister David Cameron; the EU; MPs in Westminster; our Prime Minister.  But when Brexit is done there will be another fundamental problem in its place. You can’t continue to blame others for everything that is wrong in the world, you need to get over it.

In the world of sport, we see elite coaches stepping up when things have gone wrong, not making excuses.

Ireland Rugby coach Joe Schmidt didn’t hide after his team was beat by Wales in the final Six Nations match in February. It later turned out some of the squad had been hit by a stomach bug in the run up to match, but that wasn’t an excuse for poor play, said Schmidt, they were simply beaten by a better team and would need to work out a strategy for the World Cup in Japan.

As Schmidt shows, great leaders don’t waste time blaming others: it may win you sympathy, but it won’t help you solve the problems.

Uncertainty creates opportunity so start by owning the situation and making a plan that turns the uncertainty into an advantage.  After all, other businesses have the same problems so those that actively tackle the situation will be the ones that succeed.

  1. Pressure is a privilege.

 

Having played in and worked with some of the world’s highest profile sporting teams, I’ve seen how they use pressure as privilege and use this mindset to tackle potential issues head on. Worrying about what might or could happen leads to paralysis, so an effective leader must embrace the challenges ahead.

In the military, the best leaders prepare their teams for Plan A, but they also throw scenarios into the training that get the teams thinking on their feet. I’ve supported several senior leadership sessions at Sandhurst military academy and heard how they create challenging and chaotic scenarios to test the soldiers’ ability to think clearly and adapt under pressure.

In a business context, this could mean equipping teams with the skills to make decisions under extreme pressure and rehearsing with scenarios. By pressure testing various challenges, you will be more familiar with the decision-making sequence that follows when chaos ensues. What if vital parts for your biggest customer was stopped at the border?

  1. Don’t micromanage – enable.

 

An effective leader needs to have confidence that their team so that they are empowered to make crucial decisions when needed.

This may sound good on paper, but, I hear you ask, what does that mean in practice?

Making sure that vital employees are given the right training is essential for building confidence in them. Equipped with the right skills and level of autonomy, team members will feel empowered to make decisions – and this could be the difference between you and your competitors, who are dally without making business choices.

  1. Be fluid not fixed.

 

Rapidly changing situations calls for leaders who can bring together diverse people to fix problems and exploit opportunities, fast.

Leaders must understand that they can’t predict and prevent all problems from arising, they must prepare teams so they can assess and respond quickly.

Understanding your biggest business threats, whether that is Brexit or environmental issues, and how your business will respond if they become reality is important to be able to withstand the pressure that comes from uncertainty.

Confidence comes from preparation, so plan for the unexpected and turn disruption to a commercial advantage.

Very few will have the perfect strategy to deal with the political uncertainty in coming weeks but those who maximise their mindset and culture will have the best chance of winning whatever the position.

 

  • Former England Cricketer Jeremy Snape founded Sporting Edge,  a consultancy that ‘unlocks the Winning Mindset in business’. Stated in 2005, the firm’s approach to corporate learning helps businesses to stay ahead of the game.

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DATA PROTECTION RULES: AVOID BEING FINED

Late last year, a motor industry employee was given a six-month prison sentence for accessing thousands of customer records containing personal data without permission, using his colleagues’ log-in details to access a software system that estimates the cost of vehicle repairs.

 

The UK’s data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), brought the prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Most cases are usually prosecuted by the ICO under the Data Protection Act. However, in some cases, it can prosecute under other legislation—in this case section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act — to reflect the nature and extent of the offending and for the sentencing court to have a wider range of penalties available.

 

In this instance, Mustafa Kasim had accessed the records while employed at Nationwide Accident Repair Services and continued to do so after he started a new job at a different car repair organisation which used the same software system. Kasim pleaded guilty to a charge of securing unauthorised access to personal data between 13 January 2016 and 19 October 2016, at a hearing in September 2018 and was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court.

 

Of course, as is well known, the law in this area changed when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in the UK in May 2018. The GDPR governs how businesses (known as data controllers) handle the personal information of their customers and employees. It significantly strengthens the regulation of data controllers – providing the ICO with powers to impose substantial fines for non-compliance. It also provides individuals with an array of rights which consumers and employees can look to enforce via the courts.

 

The new law is, in part, intended to force a cultural change in how we think about and protect people’s personal information. It is also intended to bring the law up to date with advances in technology as well as the widespread use of internet-based applications and social media.

 

There are huge financial penalties available to the ICO for cases of non-compliance – with fines of up to 4% of a company’s annual global turnover for the preceding financial year or the equivalent of around £18 million – whichever is greater.

 

Some businesses have already adapted their systems and processes for the new law, however, many others will either still be in the process of making the required changes or will not have begun yet. Sadly, some may still be unaware that the law has changed. In any event, it is crucial to ensure that an organisation is compliant with the new law – particularly so that customer and employee data is handled safely and securely – reducing the risk of information being misused and the company’s reputation suffering as a result; the risk of being hit with a substantial fine from the ICO for non-compliance is reduced; and so that the risk of the company being sued by an individual or a group of individuals, who may have been adversely affected by a data breach, is also reduced.

 

On this it’s worth noting, as the BBC has reported, that supermarket Morrisons has been found vicariously liable for a data breach that saw thousands of its employees’ details posted online. Workers brought a claim against the company after an employee stole the data, including salary and bank details, of nearly 100,000 staff. While he was jailed for eight years in 2015 after being found guilty at Bradford Crown Court of fraud, securing unauthorised access to computer material and disclosing personal data, the ICO found that Morrisons had not breached data protection law.

 

 

For many businesses, ensuring full compliance with the law will be a sizeable task, however, taking the following steps should provide a good starting point:

 

Audit data processing activities

Firms should consider where, when and how they process personal data. They should map their processing activities so they can identify all types of data processing that the company carries out. They should then seek to ensure that they have a lawful basisfor each type of processing that they are conducting. The lawful bases for processing are: ‘consent’, ‘performance of a contract’, ‘legal obligation’, ‘vital interests’, ‘public interest/exercise of official authority’and ‘legitimate interests’. Whether one of the above applies to any particular type of processing will depend entirely on the circumstances. Additional conditions also apply to any processing of ‘special categories’of data – such as information about a person’s health – which is prohibited unless further conditions are met.

 

Review contracts/service agreements with ‘data processors’

Data processors are those who process personal data on a someone else’s behalf. A good example of this is where a company outsources its payroll to an external company. In that instance, the external company is a data processor. The law requires data controllers to ensure that they only appoint data processors who have provided sufficient guarantees regarding their GDPR compliance. The law also requires that this relationship be governed by a contract that sets out the parties’ data protection obligations.

 

Review direct marketing activities

Those that market directly to individuals must ensure that they have a lawful basis in order to use personal data for marketing purposes. An example of this is where firms send marketing emails to a person with their consent. It is not always necessary to have consent before marketing directly to people, however, this will depend upon the specific circumstances. Firms must comply with the GDPR and other legislation including the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).

 

Make ‘fair processing information’ is provided

Businesses should ensure that they provide a Privacy Notice to individuals when they first collect their data. The Privacy Notice should explain who the business is, provide its (and the Data Protection Officer’s) contact details, purposes for processing people’s personal data and details of the legal basis upon which the business relies upon for processing the data. It should explain the details of any ‘legitimate interest’that it may rely upon for processing data as well as the details of any third parties that the data may be sent to. Finally, it should also set out the details of any transfer of personal data that might occur to other countries and inform individuals about the rights they have under the GDPR.

 

Register the business as a data controller with the Information Commissioner

If the business processes personal data, then it should register with the Information Commissioner. For more information, see the Information Commissioner’s website: www.ico.org.uk

 

Implement policies and procedures to meet GDPR rights

Individuals have numerous rights under the GDPR such as the right of access, the right to rectificationand the right to erasure. If a firm receives such a request from an individual, it will be important for it to ensure that it responds to the request appropriately and within the one-month time limit. Ensuring that it has policies and procedures in place to facilitate the handling of a request is important in order to ensure that the request is handled correctly and in order to be able to actively demonstrate compliance with the law.

 

Implement appropriate security measures

Businesses should ensure that its systems for processing personal data – both off and on-line are physically secure – utilising appropriate technical and organisational measures. Systems should be tested regularly. It may make sense to use a reputable IT company to test the security and integrity of the firm’s IT systems.

 

Conduct staff training

The vast majority of data breaches are the result of human error. Ensuring that staff are trained in relation to data protection issues and that the business is able to demonstrate this in the event of a data breach are critical steps towards preventing a breach from occurring in the first place. It may also help in avoiding a financial penalty from the ICO in the event of a breach. Businesses should train all staff and conduct annual refresher training.

 

Consider whether it is necessary to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

This is mandatory in some instances – particularly if the business’s core activities consist of regular or systematic large-scale monitoring of individuals. However, even if it is not mandatory, the business may still wish to appoint a DPO in order to ensure that a single person takes responsibility for ensuring compliance. A DPO must be appointed on the basis of professional qualities and, in particular, expert knowledge of data protection law. A DPO must also meet certain minimum tasks and responsibilities set out in the GDPR.

 

Implement an effective system for reporting data breaches

Personal data breaches must be reported to the ICO within 72 hours unless the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals. It is, therefore, important that the firm has an appropriate process in place to promptly analyse a data breach, reach a determination on whether it is mandatory to report the breach, and doing so where it is necessary.

 

Conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment when necessary

If a proposed data processing activity is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals and where a type of processing utilises new technology, the business must conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) before it begins that processing. A DPIA is a risk assessment aimed at identifying potential risks in the proposed processing of personal data in order to enable a data controller to address and minimise those risks if it is appropriate to conduct the proposed processing proposed. A DPIA must be documented.

 

To conclude

The law is quite clear on what it expects and the punishment that it will mete out if the rules aren’t followed. As recent cases have shown, both individuals and companies alike can face action.

 

Carl Johnson

Carl Johnson is a partner and head of regulatory at Stephensons Solici

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OBITUARY: JOHN HAYNES

John Haynes, seen here with his CAT Lifetime Achievement Award, has died aged 80

John Haynes, the entrepreneur and creator of the Haynes Manual, founder of the Haynes Publishing Group PLC and the Haynes International Motor Museum passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on the evening of Friday 8th February, aged 80, after a short illness. John was a kind, generous, loving and devoted husband, brother, father and grandfather, who will be missed enormously.

John Harold Haynes was born on 25th March 1938 to Harold and Violette Haynes in Ceylon, where his father was the manager of a tea plantation.  From an early age John had a passion for cars, and as a child he loved nothing more than riding around the plantation with his father in their Morris 8 saloon.

At the age of 12 he moved to the UK with his brother David, to attend boarding school at Sutton Valence School in Kent.  It was at school that John’s flair for art and his entrepreneurial spirit developed and flourished.  He persuaded his House Master to allow him to miss rugby and instead spend his time converting an Austin 7 into a lightweight sporty Austin 7 ‘Special’.  He eventually sold the car, making a reasonable profit, and owing to the immense interest it received (over 150 replies to the advert) he decided to produce a booklet showing other enthusiasts how he’d made it. He published a booklet entitled “Building A ‘750’ Special’; the first print run of 250 copies sold out in 10 days.

After leaving school John joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) to do his National Service, where he made many lifelong friends.  During his time in the RAF his role in logistics taught him business management skills, while enabling him to pursue his passion for motor racing and publishing in his spare time.  He successfully developed and competitively raced several race cars, including his Elva Courier, which is on display in the Haynes International Motor Museum.

It was whilst in the RAF that ‘Johnny’ met Annette, and he soon realised he had met the woman he wanted to spend his life with.  On his way to their wedding he stopped to buy Annette a second hand IBM Proportional Space Type Writer as her wedding present. Although perhaps not the most romantic of gifts, Annette was delighted with his practical choice, setting the stage for a bright future together.

In 1965, John was posted to Aden and it was there that he created the first Haynes Manual.  An RAF colleague had bought a ‘Frogeye’ Sprite, which was in poor condition and he asked John to help him rebuild it. John agreed, and quickly realised that the official factory manual was not designed to help the average car owner. He bought a camera and captured the process of dismantling and rebuilding the engine. The use of step-by-step photo sequences linked to exploded diagrams became the trusted hallmark of Haynes Manuals. The first Haynes Manual, for the Austin Healey Sprite, was published in 1966, and the first print run of 3,000 sold out in less than 3 months. To date over 200 million Haynes Manuals have been sold around the world.

The success of his publishing business, including expansion into Europe and North America, culminated in the Haynes Publishing Group PLC floating on the London Stock Exchange in 1979.  In 1995 John was awarded an OBE for services to publishing, and in 2005 The Open University presented him with the honorary degree of Master of the University. His contribution to motoring was recognised by The Guild of Motoring Writers in 2014 when he was made a life member.

John’s publishing success meant that he was able to enjoy his passion for cars, and he became a prolific collector. In 1985 he founded the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset as an Educational Charitable Trust, bequeathing his collection of 30 cars to the charity to be held for the benefit of the nation. John continued to support the museum charity throughout his life by donating cars and funding its growth, and thanks to his support the museum has grown and now displays more than 400 vehicles, and is enjoyed by over 125,000 people a year. At the 2014 International Historic Motoring Awards the museum was recognised as The Museum of the Year.

Until 2010 John served as Chairman of the Haynes Publishing Group and then continued to play an active role as Founder Director.  In this role he supported the executive team as they created a world leading content, data and solutions business serving both drivers and professional mechanics. He combined this role with that of Chairman of Trustees of the Haynes International Motor Museum.

John was very much a family man and is survived by his wife Annette, brother David and sister Mary, his two sons; J and Chris, daughters-in-law; Valencia and Femke and his grandchildren; Augusta, Chrissie, Edward, Freya & Nicholas.  His middle son Marc sadly passed away in October 2016.  Annette contributed hugely to the success of the Haynes Publishing Group and she shares John’s lifelong passion for cars. She still serves as a much respected member of the Board of Trustees for the Museum.

A true gentleman, and a kind and considerate man, John will be greatly missed not only by his family, friends and colleagues but also by the many people that use his manuals, and benefit from his reassuring guiding hand as they repair and maintain their cars and motorbikes. The appreciation people felt for his contribution was most visible on an almost daily basis at the Museum’s Café 750. While enjoying lunch John was regularly approached by visitors, who would invariably be greeted with his infectious warmth and engaging, enthusiastic boyish smile.  He was always happy to oblige fellow enthusiasts with photographs, engage in conversation and share his passion for cars.

Obituary written by Haynes Publishing

 

 

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IS AMMONIA THE NEXT DIESELGATE?

Mark Blinston, commercial director of BM Catalysts, examines the potentially harmful effects created by the use of SCR technology in modern day diesels

Talk of emissions is never far away as of late and it seems that the problem isn’t set to go away any time soon. From CO2, particulate matter and the infamous NOx, there is another potential emissions problem looming on the horizon in the form of ammonia pollution.

Whilst Euro emissions standards continue to tighten in response to the ongoing emissions crisis, with the current Euro 6 legislation being the strictest set to date, it is apparent that not everything is quite as it seems.

With tighter emissions requirements comes the need for new vehicles to incorporate technologies designed to combat these emissions. Technologies such as Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) are just one method used today on modern diesel vehicles that aim to help eliminate the harmful NOx gases they emit. However it seems that everything comes with its consequences. Despite the use of SCR technology being hailed as one of the greatest and most effective feats to date in helping to tackle the NOx crisis, it doesn’t come without flaws of its own.

SCR systems work by a process of a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) being injected into the exhaust system. As exhaust gases travel between the Diesel Particulate Filter and the SCR, the DEF (most commonly ‘AdBlue’) that has been added to the mix works by reacting with the base metal coating of the catalyst, converting harmful NOx gases into less harmful by-products, nitrogen and oxygen. The DEF used in this process is comprised of urea and deionised water, otherwise known as a less concentrated form of ammonia. Whilst DEF is a non-hazardous liquid, its gases, under the wrong circumstances, can be extremely harmful.

The function of SCR technology can only be fully utilised under appropriate conditions, such as the optimal operating temperature of around 350-450°C being achieved, by which it can help reduce NOx emissions by as much as 95%. However when placed in conditions such as built-up urban areas comprised of low speeds and heavy traffic, this isn’t always possible, which can lead to further complications aside from NOx pollution. It is possible that under such circumstances of low efficiency, the ammonia which is continually injected into the system may not be used entirely leading to what is known as ‘ammonia slip’. This is where excess ammonia exits the system and is expelled into the atmosphere, thus further adding to pollutant levels.

The rise of ammonia in the atmosphere has already seen an increase of 3.2 per cent between 2015 and 2016 according to UK Government figures, which also coincides with the implementation of the Euro 6 emissions standards. This indicates that, whilst the fight against NOx rages on, the increased use of the technologies required to help combat them, in this case SCR, may be posing further emissions concerns. As SCR technology continues to become the go-to choice in new diesel vehicles for its proven NOx reducing capabilities, it begs the question of what impact the rise in ammonia pollution is going to have on both us and the environment. It is clear that whilst positive changes such as the steadily declining atmospheric NOx levels are taking shape, there are other factors that also need to be taken into consideration before it’s too late.

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PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS

Promoting your business

By Adam Bernstein

Do you really know how valuable your customers are to you? Have you ever stopped to think if they actively promote or harm your reputation?

Of course, it is entirely possible to run a business on a diet of ‘one-hit wonder’ customers, but it’s a wasteful, time consuming and expensive way of generating business. It’s much better to win and keep customers by understanding their lifetime value through studying their loyalty. One way of doing this is to generate what is termed a ‘Net Promoter Score’.

 Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a loyalty tool used to monitor and gauge the loyalty of a business relationship, irrespective of whether it’s business to consumer or business to business. The key benefit of NPS is that it gives insights into elements of a relationship such as customer satisfaction, effectiveness of communications and how well customer service is judged.

For some, it can be a very effective way of measuring customer experiences precisely because it’s possible to see if customers would recommend you to others, with answers based on a zero to 10 scoring method.

Calculations

From a business perspective, understanding how the scoring is calculated is essential as this drives communication with those who might buy from you. Essentially NPS asks a series of “why” and “would” questions which return scores of between zero to 10.

And over time NPS allows firms to regularly canvas customers for their opinions, asking numerous questions via a 20 – 30 second questionnaire which can be answered quickly. Because of the ease of answering NPS questionnaires the response rate can be high.

There is a standard to scoring NPS responses:

Those reporting nine to10 are labelled as a promoter. They are likely to buy again and promote the business to others as a recommendation. They are a great advocate for the business to have and they will be a loyal customer in the future.

A score of seven or eight labels customers as ‘passive’. These people fall in the middle of being a promoter or detractor. They are undecided and do not want to commit and so do not give active responses to the questions and try to remain impartial.

Customers giving a response under six are labelled as detractors. A detractor can be detrimental to a business as they can become negative, give comments that will influence others, and they may not complete business transactions.

The problem for businesses faced with detractors is that the web feeds the subconscious. This is because consumers often look online for comments made about the products and services of a business and this can have a negative or positive effect and may well influence their own buying decisions.

The actual calculation when measuring NPS is a function of the total number of respondents who reply, the total number of promoters and the total number of detractors; the percentage of detractors need to be subtracted from the percentage of promoters. The closer the result to 100, the better it is and anything with a negative should be dealt with quickly.

 Best effect

It should go without saying that NPS needs to be used properly if the right result is truly wanted. Having a score for a product or service will give an insight of how well a job has been done. If the scoring is poor, a business can see the areas that need work and take proactive action to improve them.

NPS can be used generally or specifically, depending on the strategy being deployed. For example, after a customer has purchased a simple automated email can be sent asking for feedback. It’s important to note, however, that for NPS campaigns to work a business-wide strategy needs to be implemented and it needs to take into consideration factors such as making all staff aware of what NPS is, how the measurements work and what they mean; not ignoring or failing to respond to negative comments; and actively seeking to engage with those classified as promoters.

Think also about how you will communicate further with promoters. They have given you a good score but how will you continue to communicate positively with them now that you have their goodwill? And negative scorings should also create the same thought process – think about how you will work with those customers that give a low score? Everyone needs to communicate effectively to customers and the key is to keep monitoring the scoring results and act upon them.

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PROTECTING YOUR POSITION

If you get lost and ask for directions, the suggestion that “you don’t want to start from here” is rarely, if ever, helpful.

So it is with advice about bad debts and customers failing owing significant sums. Provided the debt isn’t going to cause a “domino effect” failure lessons need to be learned from each painful loss. A sale is never a sale until it is paid for and it is wise to ensure that you only reward your team based on sales that are actually paid for. If not, you should at least have a clawback clause in employment contracts.

When a business you have been dealing with fails and you find yourself dealing with the liquidator, administrator, official receiver, or trustee in bankruptcy etc. you need to take active steps to protect your position.

The removal of the Crown’s preferential status and the introduction of “the prescribed part” (a ring-fenced fund that must be made available to unsecured creditors in a liquidation or administration) was an attempt to better apply a fair distribution. Sadly, too many prescribed part payments amount to only fractions of a penny in the pound and serve only to annoy creditors whose fingers have been burned.

Action plan

No list of actionable steps will ever be complete, but avenues to pursue include taking good advice quickly, especially if the sums involved are significant, and checking that the company in insolvency is the one that you supplied and whether you can recover any goods supplied under retention of title. If so, act promptly. Similarly, if you have a ransom/leverage position to secure payment consider using it.

Ask questions about what happened to stock you supplied. Did it go straight to someone else? Has it created a debtor? Where is that balance now showing as due? Were any of your supplies made via inter-group transfers to associated, group or successor companies which have resulted in you being put in a worse position? Are they challengeable?

And then there is what you were told to secure the supply. Was any of this an exaggeration or false? It’s entirely possible that Theft Act or other offences have been committed. Also consider if sales were made on the introduction of a third party. Could there be any recourse to them?

Don’t disregard anything you’ve heard on the grapevine that may be of assistance as contracts may have gone off to a director’s new company or employer for example. Can any of this information assist the insolvency practitioner to prosecute or disqualify the directors and shadow directors? This could aid recovery of funds or go some way to prevent a repeat performance.

Lastly, claim any VAT bad debt relief, and in terms of dealing with the insolvency practitioner, submit your proof of debt and vote for who you want appointed as soon as possible.

Don’t ignore ROT

Retention or Reservation of Title (ROT) clauses are attempts to amend the Sale of Goods Act so that suppliers of goods are able, where they have satisfied all of the legal requirements, to get their goods back when a customer isn’t able to pay them.

ROT clauses are no silver bullet. They are of limited use in certain markets – suppliers of services or perishable goods in particular. Hauliers, for example, claiming ROT over freight they’ve moved will find the process doesn’t work.

The purchaser must still have possession of the goods. Whilst the ROT clause may be effective against the original buyer it will not work against a third party acquiring the goods “in good faith” and without notice of the clause. Trying to trace into sale proceeds is unlikely to succeed. Generally, the goods supplied will have to be in an “as delivered” condition – for example, leather is as it was delivered not how it has become when made into seat covers for a classic car. Where a component has been bolted into an engine and it may be unbolted then it is “economically separable” and recoverable, as might panels that have been bolted into place. But panels welded on or a resprayed panel won’t be. There have been arguments over petrol put into a petrol tank – are you taking out only the petrol you supplied or are you also taking petrol that was already in the tank?

Clearly it is easier to argue over goods that are on a shelf that can be identified as having been supplied by you and have not been paid for. This last point doesn’t matter so much where there is an “all monies clause” as with this anything you’ve supplied may be claimed provided there has always been a debt outstanding. That said, once the balance is cleared to zero title on all previous deliveries is likely to have passed to the customer.

Exercising your rights must be balanced against the costs of collecting your goods, re-stocking them in the warehouse and the probability of being able to re-sell them (especially if they were bespoke/made to order).

When there is an insolvency ROT may give you some leverage – especially if your goods are key to the company finishing work in progress. You should incorporate your ROT clause into your contracts (before the supply of goods and this means going well beyond just having terms and conditions on the back of invoices, referred to elsewhere or on your website).

But when you sell goods on credit you need to keep your ear to the ground, be proactive and act quickly when things start going wrong with one of your debtors. Prevention is always better than cure.

Insolvency and employees

It’s a sad fact that employees also lose out when their employer fails. The Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) provides employees of an insolvent business with the right to make claims against the National Insurance Fund (NIF) through the Redundancy Payments Office. This accelerates payments to employees (usually 6-8 weeks from the date of insolvency) and so negates some of the impact on them. The NIF then claims in the insolvency “standing in the shoes” of employees for sums paid.

Under current rules, an employee will be able to claim for arrears of pay; all accrued holiday pay; unpaid contributions to an occupational pension scheme; any protective award made by an employment tribunal; pay in lieu of notice, damages for wrongful dismissal or unfair dismissal; and redundancy.

The amounts paid out to employees by the NIF are currently limited to £508 (effective from 6 April 2018) per week per employee (for each of the entitlements above). Therefore, if an employee earns above £508 per week, the excess will be treated as an unsecured claim and will only be paid if anything is paid through the insolvency to unsecured creditors.

Sub-contractors are not considered employees which means that they are unable to claim against the NIF. Any amounts due to a sub-contractor for work done will be treated as an unsecured claim in the insolvency.

 In terms of other types of claims, such as expenses for items that include mileage or travelling, these cannot be claimed against the NIF. However, the employee can submit a claim in the insolvency as an unsecured creditor for any of these.

As for directors, the ERA defines an employee as an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of employment. A contract of employment is defined as a contract of service … whether express or implied, and … whether oral or in writing.

It is fair to say that claims by a director as an employee are subject to greater scrutiny than the claim of an employee. Unfortunately, some of the decisions made by directors in order to improve the financial position of a company could adversely affect their ability to make a successful claim to the NIF for any of the entitlements listed earlier.

Some of the more common factors taken into account by the NIF in deciding whether to accept a director’s claim as an employee involve whether the director received a regular monthly/weekly salary; if they’d made any PAYE and Class 1 National Insurance Contributions; whether they had a signed contract of employment (dated prior to the insolvency); and whether the director took holiday.

If the answer to any of the above questions is no then, in an insolvency, a director’s claim as an employee may be rejected by the NIF.

However, case law provides that no single factor is conclusive and that all factors must be weighed up to decide whether a director is also an employee.

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CUSTOMER DETAILS COMPROMISED AFTER SNAP-ON HACK

CUSTOMER DETAILS COMPROMISED AFTER SNAP-ON HACK

Tool and equipment supplier Snap-on has been admitted to having it’s sales website hacked and UK customer data compromised.

Names and email addresses of registered customers were taken from the buy1.snapon site. Credit card or other payment details remain secure as these are processed by a secure third party and are not on Snap-on’s database.

The firm learnt of the breach with the assistance of a cybersecurity company and immediately informed the FBI. Affected customers then received a letter from the company explaining the situation.

Countries affected by the incident include the UK as well as New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Although the company is U.S based, the online platform has not been used domestically since 2013.

At Snap-on, we understand the importance of our customer’s information and we are working continually to strengthen our security systems and protect our customers’ data” the company said in a statement after confirming the facts of the breach.  At the time of writing, the affected site remains offline.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

THE GDPR LOWDOWN

THE GDPR LOWDOWN

In part two of our GDPR guide, Hayley Pells explains how practical steps will help you be ready.

It hasn’t been a good month for the public’s perception of how companies use their data. You may have noticed that during the coverage of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on TV that Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner, would pop up to reassure the public that steps were being taken to regulate how their data was used and stored by companies, which was of course a reference to GDPR. If there was any doubt about how seriously the country is going to take the new legislation, this will be a wake up call.

Last month, we explored the background of GDPR and how it is going to affect your business, this month, we are going to explore a step-by-step guide to show you how you can become legally compliant yourself. If you are unsure of the process there is still time to get some professional help. There are independent consultants all over the country and there are larger organisations who are able to roll out a fast to access service. The average garage owner can do this in-house for themselves, but if you are busy, it could be a more cost effective solution to outsource.

STEP 1
Awareness

Following on from last month’s article, you need to make sure all of your team know about the legislation. In my case, trying to explain it to my father who I work with (and is in his late sixties) is a hoot, but we got there. The key area to get across is the impact this compliance will have on the business and acknowledging the time and cost it will require to implement. Do you have a risk register? It could be useful to have one. Compliance can be difficult if the preparations are left to last minute, especially if you then plan to outsource.

STEP 2 – Current situation

What personal data do you hold about your clients and staff ? Do you really need it? This is a good opportunity to “clean house.” Dispose of the unrequired information responsibly, ensuring that the data is inaccessible at the point of disposal.
What you should be left with is the information that you need. What do you do with it? This is how compliance with the accountability principles of GDPR are achieved. You need to know what information you hold, where it is held and how it
is held. It must be held securely. When sharing data, this needs to be done responsibly. For example, does someone else process your payroll? Now is the time to check that the information you share is being done so in a responsible manner and that your service provider is up to speed with their obligations.

Having assessed your current situation it is a good idea to record it and then outline your strategy for improvement. This is a very similar process to how you would complete a risk assessment.

STEP 3 – Communicating
privacy information
Do you have a privacy notice? Currently, when you collect personal data you need to give people the following information;
– Who you are
– How do you intend to use their information

That information you have probably done without thinking, to continue with the payroll simili “I’m Fred Bloggs, I need your NI number to process your pay.” With the GDPR, this is expanded upon, now there are a couple of extra things you need to tell people;

– Your lawful basis for processing the data
– Data retention periods
– The individual’s right of complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office

So for this I shall use the example of information that I gather for a MOT test. My lawful basis for collecting information about my client is that I have been tasked with performing a MOT test on their vehicle. I keep this data for one year and the ICO’s website can be found at ico.org.uk – they are the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights in the public interest. The GDPR requires that plain language is used, every step should be as clear and concise as possible.

STEP 4 – Individual’s rights

You should check and record your procedures to ensure they cover the following rights of the individual, include how you would erase personal data or provide personal data electronically in a commonly used format;
– The right to be informed
– The right of access
– The right to rectification
– The right to be forgotten
– The right to restrict processing n The right to data portability
– The right to object
– The right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling

Now bear with me, this all probably sounds like something completely new, but before spanners are thrown up into the year and “this modern euro nonsense is just taking over everything, I am but a simple mechanic” is hailed (or was that just my father?). Let us examine what this means practically. A lot of these rights are just basic common sense, you are probably employing them right now – the key areas that are significantly different are mainly within the right of portability, it only applies;

– To personal data an individual has provided to a controller
– Where processing is based on the individual’s consent or for the performance of a contract
– When processing is carried out by automated means With the Data Protection Act, you could, if you so wished, charge a fee for the provision of data to the individual, under the GDPR you cannot and the information provided by the ICO insist that it be provided in a structured commonly used and machine readable form.

STEP 5 – Access Requests
Step four outlined the right the individual has, step five now examines how those rights are handled. It is good practice to have this recorded and share it with everyone in your organisation.
– No charge for information requests
– Information to be given within a month (under the Data Protection Act, this was 40 days)
– You can refuse or charge for requests that are manifestly unfounded or excessive
– If you do refuse a request, you are legally obliged to tell the individual why and that they have the right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a judicial remedy. You must do without undue delay and at the latest, one month.

If you have a large organisation or you handle large numbers of information requests this may be a good time to assess the implications of dealing with requests quickly. It may be worth considering the desirability of systems that allow individuals to access their own information online.

STEP 6 – Lawful basis for processing personal data
As individuals now have a stronger right than under previous legislation to access their personal data in order to achieve compliance with the GDPR, you should document and share your lawful basis for the collection and processing of this data. This is especially important now individuals have the right to deletion of their personal data.

STEP 7 – Consent
Consent cannot be inferred by silence and must not be an “opt out” (no pre-ticked boxes or assumptions). This is quite a broad area and will be explored further next month with detailed guidance. Consent cannot be thrown in with your general terms and conditions as it must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. In my opinion, post 25th May 2018, this is going to be the next big goldmine for all those companies that are currently benefiting from the PPI refunds, it will be an easy area to identify non- compliance if the correct procedures are not in place.

STEP 8 – Children
Before shoulders are shrugged that you don’t deal with children, first understand what is meant by the term “child”, although the consent given by children within this context tends to be more concerned with young children and internet related services such as social networking, it would be a good idea to consider how you handle apprentice’s (or any other employee or client who are under 18) information. Currently the GDPR sets the age at 16, this may be lowered to 13, being mindful of how this age limit may change and implementing into your policy documents for the younger people that you may deal with will be the best method to achieve compliance.

If your organisation does deal with children, you must remember that consent must come from someone with “parental responsibility” and has to be verifiable. Your privacy notice must be written in language that children can understand.

STEP 9 – Data Breaches
What to do if it all goes wrong? The legislation does consider that like locking the door to your home doesn’t stop thieves getting in, you may be subject to a data breach that, in under normal working circumstances, would not happen.

If you have a breach, determining the nature of the breach will direct your next course of action. You only need to notify the ICO if the breach is likely to risk the rights and freedoms of the individual, for example, if it could result in discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality or any other significant economic or social disadvantage. If this breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, you will also have to notify them directly.

In order to achieve compliance with the GDPR you must have procedures in place that detect, report and investigate personal data breaches. Having a good clear out at step two will reduce the risk in this area.

STEP 10 – Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments
Remember when you had to uncheck a prefilled box to opt out of things online? Now you have to check it yourself, this is what that is about. The chances are, if you collect data in this way, this is something that you are already aware of and I am personally at a loss as to why you would have a need to process information in this way within the automotive aftermarket, but I am sure there is someone out there who could enlighten me!

STEP 11- Data Protection Officers If it is everyones’ job, nobody does it. Identifying a person responsible for data protection compliance is now a formal obligation in certain circumstances. You probably won’t be one of them, but it is still good practice to formally appoint someone to oversee your compliance, that person should take proper responsibility for your data protection compliance and has the knowledge, support and authority to carry out their role effectively.

STEP 12 – International
If you are lucky enough to deal internationally with your organisation you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority and document this. The lead authority will be where your central administration is located but only relevant where you carry out cross-border processing. (This step doesn’t apply to my garage. Currently).

Hopefully, this article will be helpful in becoming compliant for yourself. The advantage in doing this yourself will enable your organisation to be familiar with the new legal responsibilities organisations have with respect to personal data. The next article will thoroughly examine the subject of consent and how it is applied in this context.

Posted in CAT Know-How, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (0)

GDPR: WHAT’S THE FUSS?

GDPR: WHAT’S THE FUSS?

Time is running out to get your ship in order for new data regulations

The act of putting one product in the carton of another is something that we all know happens throughout the aftermarket at all levels.

There’s one product in particular that we know is packed in the UK in a dozen or more brand images – and no doubt there are others.

There has been little in the news about the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25 May, so it is hardly surprising that there are many people that either have no idea about it or assume that it has anything to do with them. Put simply, GDPR will give teeth to existing legislation, the Data Protection Act (DPA) and according to consumer polls, over a third of Britons are already anticipating to exercise their rights in accordance with this legislation.

But what does it all mean and more importantly what does it have to do with fixing cars? It is easy to brush off this kind of change, assuming that it only applies to big companies like chain fast-fits and dealerships that obviously have some sort of ivory tower that churns out policies and small print in a factory like manner. They are used to being sued right? They have all the means to support all this bureaucratic nonsense and the small company that only employs a couple of people won’t have to worry about this kind of EU nonsense, plus Brexit and everything else…

Unfortunately this is not the case, this change has happened and it is coming in the next couple of months. On that day and every day after this new responsibility will be handed over to you regardless of your preparedness. A bit like becoming a parent really, only without the panting and sweating that you get to herald this kind of immediate change. So what exactly is it?

THE ACT
To break it down, The Data Protection Act (DPA) was introduced in 1998 to protect the rights of the individual with regards to their personal data and how it is processed. A lot has changed since then, particularly the quantity of data that is collected and the complexity of locations of where it is stored have changed dramatically.

Most of the legislation from DPA will remain the same, GPDR will enforce certain elements of it and although GDPR is an EU directive it will be incorporated into British law post Brexit.

Louder for the people at the back, whether we are in or out we are keeping this.

Before moving on, it is worth clearly defining what we mean when talking about processing data, especially in the context of General Data Protection Regulation.

At its most basic definition this refers to any operation performed using personal data, it does not matter if this is automated, handwritten or typed into a spreadsheet. This includes and is not restricted to collecting it, organising it, structuring it, storing it, retrieving it, sharing it and a whole lot else. The official definition can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

In short, it will now be considered a breach of data if information that is protected by this legislation is not securely stored. This is so serious that even if a breach of data has not occurred, poor management of this data will be treated in the same manner as if the breach has occurred. Dumb luck is not rewarded. If an organisation has been targeted for data theft or even if a suspicion that data has been potentially put at risk there is guidance on the ICO website on how to manage and report such an incidence, and the ICO are keen to push the ‘tell us everything and tell us quickly’ message in the same way you would speak to your insurance company and the police if someone had broke into your premises.

Posted in CAT Features, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (0)

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