Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Staff could be breaking the law

Staff who step in to drive a company vehicle may be driving illegally according to one of our solicitors.

Tina Chander said driving licence rules had changed and company bosses and their staff needed to be aware of the latest guidelines.

"Over the years, changes have been made to the vehicle classes a car driving licence covers and the rules have become increasingly restrictive.

"The kind of vehicles you're covered to drive with a car licence depends not only on how old your employee is but also when they passed their test."

Tina said the latest changes affected drivers who passed their test after January 1, 1997, and more restrictions will come into force from January next year, although current licences will keep their existing rights.

"If you ask an employee to step in and drive a company vehicle on business, or even the company minibus on an outing, you need to be sure they are actually eligible. Anyone who passed their test after 1997 is restricted to just cars and cars with trailers, so driving a delivery van would not be allowed.

"And even if the employee agrees to drive your van, you must take care as encouraging someone to drive a vehicle for which they don't have a licence is actually a criminal offence."

Tina said company bosses should check with each member of staff and keep a record of what classes and categories of vehicle they were licensed to drive.

"You should also keep a note of who would be prepared to step in as a driver if needed, and make sure they are insured if they do have to drive on company business."

Tina also urged companies to check the DVLA website for details on the new changes due at the start of next year.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Fly-tippers could put your business at risk

Business owners have been warned that fly-tippers could land them in jail if company waste is dumped illegally.

The Environment Agency has stepped up its campaign in the last few months to track down anyone who breaks waste management rules.

And now, our senior partner, Graham Davies, says a court case against a Wirral-based firm which disposed of hazardous waste in Shropshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, has brought the rules into sharp focus.

"When it comes to disposing of your company's waste, the law is very strict and the consequences of breaking it are extremely tough. In the court case involving the waste dumped in Shropshire, the managing director of the firm admitted eight offences and was sent to prison for 18 months."

And Graham said directors of companies must also take care that anyone who handles their business waste is properly licensed.

"As a director, you have a duty of care to ensure waste taken away from your company premises is collected and disposed of properly by a legitimate waste contractor. If you allow just anyone to take it away, particularly if it is hazardous waste, you could be held liable and face fines of up to £20,000."

Graham said not only must directors check how their company waste was being handled, they must also keep full records of anything taken away.

"Don't think you can take the easy option either of just setting up your own disposal area in a corner of your company yard and pile up the rubbish there. You'll need a licence from the Environment Agency which will include rules on setting up and running a site, including how much and what types of waste you can deal with.

"This court case is a clear warning that company directors must be fully aware of just how the waste their business produces is handled, and that they will be held personally responsible if things are not dealt with properly."

Friday, 13 July 2012

New listing for law firm

Property experts at Martin-Kaye LLP Solicitors are among the first in the region to be recognised under a new quality scheme.

Our property team has been accredited by the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme which is designed to give customers peace of mind that they are dealing with a law firm that meets very high standards.

We have always been proud of the excellent level of customer service delivered by our property team, and to be recognised by the Law Society is great news. It reinforces the message that our property experts will provide an effective and professional conveyancing service that will meet our clients' needs.

The Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme was developed with specialist knowledge from the insurance and lender industries.

It provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices and accredited firms receive a level of credibility, with clients being reassured they are dealing with practices they can rely on.

Firms are only accredited for one year and the Martin-Kaye team will then have to be re-assessed to ensure we continue to comply with the extremely strict criteria.

Our property team will also take part in ongoing training schemes to help staff boost their skills and maintain standards.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

New face at the TBP helm

A Telford business organisation has a new chairman who has ambitious plans to see the group grow even further.

Robin Melley, from Matrix Capital, is now at the helm of Telford Business Partnership and takes over from outgoing chairman, Graham Davies, who is our senior partner.

The handover took place at the partnership's quarterly breakfast meeting at The Holiday Inn, in Telford, and Robin said he was looking forward to the challenge.

"I'd like to acknowledge and thank Graham for the work he has done over the last 18 months as chairman - everyone on the board knows just how much effort he has put into the role," said Robin. "I hope I can follow on from what he's put together and continue to help move Telford Business Partnership forwards."

Graham said he'd enjoyed his time as chairman and wished Robin the very best in his new position.

"It's been a very interesting and challenging time for me as TBP chairman, particularly with the local economy going through such difficult times. But it's clear that businesses in Telford and Shropshire are committed to working together to build a strong future for the area, and I know our members will continue to support Robin and TBP as we plan our ongoing strategies."

Pic: Outgoing TBP chairman, Graham Davies, receives a gift from the new chairman, Robin Melley

Peter takes the top award

A commercial director has received a prestigious award for his contribution to the Telford business community.

Peter Ralten, of Reflex Flexible Packaging in Telford, has been named as this year's top Telford Young Professional and received the award at the quarterly breakfast meeting of Telford Business Partnership.

"I just can't believe that I've won the award, it's a real shock," said Peter. "To be shortlisted as a finalist was great news in itself, but to actually be chosen as the winner is amazing."

TBP outgoing chairman, Graham Davies, who is our senior partner, said Peter's efforts had been recognised thanks to the commitment and dedication he had shown.

"We're very proud of the young professionals in Telford and Shropshire, and their success shows there is a strong future for business in the local area. Peter is an excellent ambassador for the business community and it's clear there are exciting times ahead."

The Telford Young Professional award was open to anyone aged between 18 and 35 who was either an employee of a local company or self-employed in the Telford area.

Telford Business Partnership established the Telford Young Professionals organisation in 2006 to represent employees and business owners under 35 years old in Telford and Shropshire. The group provides its members with the opportunity to network, create business relationships and develop professional skills. Find out more at www.telfordbusiness.org 

Pic: Peter Ralten receives his award from Geoff Parkes, Shropshire Star business editor Thom Kennedy and Kathryn Holloway from Promofix

Friday, 6 July 2012

Inspiration strikes in Telford

Business leaders in Telford say they have been truly inspired by one of the most motivational guest speakers they've ever had.

Telford Business Partnership welcomed Blind Dave Heeley and his guide dog, Seamus, to its quarterly breakfast meeting at The Holiday Inn, Telford.

Dave is renowned for his phenomenal charity efforts and is the only blind person (and only the fourth man in the world) to complete the Ultimate Endurance Challenge - seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

He told TBP members he would never have completed the challenge without the support of his family and his back-up team.

Outgoing chairman, Graham Davies, who is our senior partner, said: "It was really humbling to hear just how dedicated Dave is to making the most of every day, and there were some incredible stories which I'm sure our members will take away and learn from."

Pic: At the TBP event are, from left, Robin Melley, Graham Davies, Dave Heeley (with Seamus) and Geoff Parkes