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Chichester Chamber Blog

In My View… Staff and business benefits in the New Year?

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, December 27, 2018

Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens’ story ‘A Christmas Carol’, was an inconsiderate, miserly and very demanding boss.  His drive for results is legendary and, unfortunately, this came at the expense of his only employee, Bob Cratchit.

Bob had to work long hours in a cold, dark and lonely office with only basic equipment (a quill pen and ink).  He was required to work overtime at short notice and had little time with his family, including his seriously ill son.  He did, however, have job security and a steady income with a relatively successful firm.

Today, we have nearly full-employment and businesses compete for skilled and experienced staff.  However, we also have the highest ever in-work poverty (for modern times), with many people holding down two or three jobs to make ends meet.  This raises ethical questions about social responsibility.  Do employers have a responsibility to their employees, if so, how far should they go?  How should businesses value people’s labour and people’s lives?  Should we do more to protect people in their jobs? 

Scrooge’s epiphany came when he saw his miserable future laid before him – it was enough for him to change his ways, firstly with a pay-rise for Bob, then extensive family friendly and staff engagement policies (unfortunately, it would be a hundred years before technology would improve the lot of the accounting clerk).

In my view, businesses can (and should) do much more to support and manage their people through change. When faced with a decision that may have a negative effect on your staff, ask yourself this; ‘just because I can, does it mean I should?’  There is nothing wrong in being a very demanding boss; if you combine consideration with your drive for results, then everyone wins.

CCCI members’ meetings and events give businesses the chance to talk about issues that are important to them.  Meeting other business people and getting to know them in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere provides members with their own informal support network – as well as the opportunity to develop good business relationships.

Dianne Lambdin, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub

In My View… Staff and business benefits in the New Year?

Thursday, December 27, 2018
Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens’ story ‘A Christmas Carol’, was an inconsiderate, miserly and very demanding boss. His drive for results is legendary and, unfortunately, this came at the expense of his only employee, Bob Cratchit. Bob had to work long hours in a col ..

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In My View… Why you should join the Board of the local Chamber of Commerce

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, November 29, 2018

Every now and then opportunities arise to become a member of this select group of individuals who work as a team to ensure the ongoing sustainability, growth and strength of the Chamber. I was asked to join the Board of Chichester Chamber of Commerce two years ago and welcomed the opportunity.

Here are my three top reasons for taking on this role:

Giving Back

I have worked in Business Support for about 15 years. Focussing on helping Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) start and grow. Throughout this time, I have helped develop support programmes, bid for funding, deliver this support and manage the various projects. As the Chamber looks at how it can support its members, I can provide expert knowledge into options for business support and business support projects.

Developing Connections

It is important to develop your personal network for a whole range of reasons. If you are looking for a new job, creating growth in your business or sharing expertise. For me, it has given me the opportunity to develop much closer relationships with a range of people, from CEOs and MDs of multi million pound companies to smaller independent businesses.

Learning

Volunteering on the Board of the Chamber has helped to develop a range of personal skills. The Chamber is a not for profit organisation and as such governance is important. I have worked with the team to look at governance and consider governance in a range of decisions, enhancing my knowledge in this area. Furthermore, I’ve learnt about open and fair recruitment practices by working as part of the team recruiting the new CEOs of the Chamber.

There is a lot more I could say about being part of the Board at the Chichester Chamber of Commerce, but the most important thing for me, is the giving back, using my knowledge to support the future sustainability of the Chamber so that it can in turn, effectively support its members.

If you are interested in being part of the Board, do speak to one of the current members.

Gareth Sear, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Business Start Up Manager, University of Chichester

In My View… Why you should join the Board of the local Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Every now and then opportunities arise to become a member of this select group of individuals who work as a team to ensure the ongoing sustainability, growth and strength of the Chamber. I was asked to join the Board of Chichester Chamber of Commerce two years ago and welcomed the opportunity.  ..

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In my view: We can all be a great support to one another!

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, July 19, 2018

We at CCCI held a very interesting and interactive lunch earlier in the year with our MP Gillian Keegan.  One of the discussion points was over the lack of support for people in the first year of business or at the start-up stage of a business.  Although it was acknowledged that there is some support out there with the National Helpline and here in Chichester with our own Enterprise Centre, it was felt that more needed to be done to encourage and connect start-up businesses in their crucial first steps.  This is something that we at CCCI are taking on board and have subsequently started up a working group to help tackle the situation within our own organisation.

That same week I was asked to attend an event at one of our most valued and engaging members “Q Hair & Beauty”. Managing Director Dawn Lawrence has spotted a gap within another part of society, that of loneliness.  Dawn has set up a weekly “Coffee Club” at their hair salon in North Street Chichester, to bring people together who are lonely for whatever reason and would like to chat to likeminded people over a free cup of coffee and croissant.

Our own “Drop in for Drinks” is proving successful too.  We recognise that Chichester can be somewhat quiet on leaving work and we thought it would be good to get everyone together, members and non-members, to have an informal chat and get-together over an afterwork drink.

The message I am receiving is that people want to interact more face to face.  All too often we are stuck behind a computer or involved in social media updates.  We see people with eyes down, looking at their mobiles, not aware of others around them.  Let’s connect with all these groups and ideas and interact with people eye to eye.  In my view, we can all be a great support to one another with our experience, thoughts and often can provide solutions to problems.

Julie Harrison, CEO (Shared Role) of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry


In my view: We can all be a great support to one another!

Thursday, July 19, 2018
We at CCCI held a very interesting and interactive lunch earlier in the year with our MP Gillian Keegan. One of the discussion points was over the lack of support for people in the first year of business or at the start-up stage of a business. Although it was acknowledged that there is some su ..

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In My View: GDPR panic over?

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, June 21, 2018

No doubt you breathed a sigh of relief when you got things done in time.  If you didn’t, don’t panic as it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be pursued by the Information Commissioner if you can show that you’re actively engaging with the new regime.  Many businesses are taking the approach that GDPR is ‘work in progress’ which was always going to extend beyond the deadline.

The lead up to GDPR has been hectic and we all had to prioritise on what to tackle first.  Most of us tailored our GDPR planning to the key areas of risk we face, where enforcement action is more likely in the event of a data breach. 

As a result, HR and employee data has been low priority for many businesses but it’s important to recognise that as with customer data, the way we collect and process employee information will change.

We need to think about how we use personal and sensitive staff data and, probably, tighten up our data security procedures.

In recruitment, if we use automatic profiling to filter CVs, we need to notify candidates and, if they object, use an alternative method with some human intervention. 

Consent clauses in employment contracts will be invalid so we need to establish another legal basis for processing data which may vary for different categories and the reasons for processing it.

It’s essential that we know how to deal with requests for information from employees or ex-employees, how to identify a formal Subject Access Request, and what to do with it.  Timescales and information requirements have changed along with the abolition of SAR fees.  Coupled with the abolition of employment tribunal fees, we could see an increase in SARs as they’re often used by aggrieved individuals to gather information prior to litigation. 

There are still grey areas in the GDPR which will, over time, be interpreted by the Courts when legal challenges are made.  It’s likely that as our understanding of the legislation evolves, so too will our processes.

In my view, if we take a sensible, systematic approach to data protection across all parts of our business, involving our employees and ensure new systems become part of the way we do things, then we can’t go far wrong.

CCCI members’ meetings and events give businesses the chance to talk about issues that are important to them.  Meeting other business people and getting to know them in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere provides members with their own informal support network – as well as the opportunity to develop good business relationships.

Dianne Lambdin, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub

In My View: GDPR panic over?

Thursday, June 21, 2018
No doubt you breathed a sigh of relief when you got things done in time. If you didn’t, don’t panic as it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be pursued by the Information Commissioner if you can show that you’re actively engaging with the new regime. Many businesses ar ..

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'In My View'... Spring Clean your Business

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, April 26, 2018

There’s been some sad news over the last few months with the demise of a few larger businesses nationally, such as Carillion and Toys R Us, due to changing market conditions and buying habits.  Of course, it’s not just the main businesses themselves that go under, it’s also thousands of businesses within their supply chain.  So, what went wrong?  Sometimes businesses can’t keep up with constantly adapting to suit their customers.  That is why it is critical to reflect on how your business operates to ensure it is fresh, current and healthy and that all your eggs aren’t in one basket!

We’re well into Spring now, so perhaps it’s time to Spring Clean your business.    There are a lot of areas to consider revisiting to prepare for the financial year ahead.  It might be worth taking a long look at your existing policies and procedures to ensure that you are ready to be compliant with the new GDPR legislation that comes into force in May, which is just around the corner.  This affects every business, whether you are a sole Trader or a large corporation.  Our training to inform members about this important subject was extremely well attended and the feedback was excellent.

Another hot topic right now is Cyber Security, again applicable to all businesses and we were fortunate to have one of our valued members give an insightful talk on this subject at a recent Big Breakfast a monthly event that is held in partnership between Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chichester College Group.  If you’re looking to network and enjoy a full English Breakfast, this might be the event for you.

On the development side of things, have you considered whether your staff hold the right skills to drive your business forward?  There’s plenty of training, support and business advice available locally and right now it’s free, so why not take advantage of the opportunities on offer?

What about marketing and brand, does this need an overhaul, are you getting your presence known and ‘out there’?

Do you make the time to go and meet new businesses and network, or attend Business Expos?  There are 2 of these coming up, in May and July, so go along and make new contacts!  Personally, I’ve always felt that it is important to make time for these, to forge bonds and relationships with your local business community as ‘People buy People’ – it’s not always about price, it’s about trust and reputation.  Why not make a Spring Resolution to find out more?

As your local thriving and vibrant Chamber, we can help you with all these points, we have a fantastic and diverse membership base who are always willing to help and point you in the right direction. 

If you’d like to meet informally, we hold regular ‘Drop in for Drinks’ evenings – come and join us and say hello!

All the information is on our website.

Sue Garman, CEO (Shared role), Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry

'In My View'... Spring Clean your Business

Thursday, April 26, 2018
There’s been some sad news over the last few months with the demise of a few larger businesses nationally, such as Carillion and Toys R Us, due to changing market conditions and buying habits. Of course, it’s not just the main businesses themselves that go under, it’s also tho ..

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'In My View'... Are small businesses putting themselves at risk?

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, March 29, 2018

I recently read an article reporting that in 2016 there were 5.5 million small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, employing 15.7 million people and generating an annual turnover of more than £1.8 trillion.

This is a huge sector and you would think it would keep business advisors fully employed to the point of demand exceeding supply.  But this isn’t the case.  When I talk to business owners, many say they do most things themselves even when they know someone else far more qualified and experienced who could do it better.  So, it appears there are a lot of businesses running their own books, doing their own accounts, dealing with staff contracts and employment issues while, at the same time, ensuring they meet their legal obligations and hoping they don’t fall foul of the law.

While some people do this very well, others say they just don’t get around to it, some even say they don’t know what they should be doing.

Some of this is down to cost, especially with start-ups, and I accept that businesses won’t want to spend on advice they feel they don’t need.  However, when it comes to some activities (or inactivity) the cost of getting it wrong can be far greater (just look at the current last-minute scramble to get compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations due to be in force in May).

As an HR specialist, I’m increasingly surprised at how many businesses don’t have any real HR provision in place – even if just to help with the basics.  I’m also surprised by how many employees appear to accept what really comes down to unacceptable behaviour, often amounting to inadvertent law-breaking, from their employers.

The argument, I suppose, is that external support is a costly luxury to small businesses – but this isn’t always the case.  There are many ways to engage in affordable expertise and advice before you face the financial consequences of leaving it too late.

CCCI members’ meetings and events give businesses the chance to talk about issues that are important to them.  Meeting other business people and getting to know them in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere provides members with their own informal support network – as well as the opportunity to develop good business relationships and learn about various funding initiatives.

Dianne Lambdin, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub

'In My View'... Are small businesses putting themselves at risk?

Thursday, March 29, 2018
I recently read an article reporting that in 2016 there were 5.5 million small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, employing 15.7 million people and generating an annual turnover of more than £1.8 trillion. This is a huge sector and you would think it would keep business advis ..

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'In My View'... Connectivity is the key to successful businesses

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, March 01, 2018

As the country delves more deeply into the messy business of divorce from the European Union, the importance of building our economy through organic growth is even more vital.  Those of us living in more rural areas appreciate the significance of the small business.  In Chichester, of the 7,300 businesses, 85.7% employ less than 10 people according to West Sussex Life 2017-19.

Good knowledgeable people are essential to successful businesses, as is their ability to build relationships and network effectively.  The Chichester Chamber of Commerce exists to support businesses to prosper and it does this through some really beneficial networking events

Once a month, on the second Monday, the Chamber runs a business meeting.  It moves round to different business and charity venues each time and this gives the host the opportunity to say something about what they do.  It also includes a chance to hear a short talk on a business pertinent subject.  Recently it was the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and was delivered by a lawyer and a practitioner owner of an IT support company.  Together with Chichester College, the Chamber also runs a business breakfast once a month which includes time to network and then a delicious breakfast cooked by College students.  A keynote speech is incorporated and recent speakers have included the Bank of England Agent and the Chief Executive of Fishbourne Roman Palace.

Of course network events are only an effective tool if those attending plan what they want to achieve.  In her excellent short article on six keys to effective networking, Susan Rittscher describes using the ‘hostess principle’, imagining yourself as the hostess, greeting all the guests and ensuring they are comfortable.  This allows you to feel more relaxed and able to deal with the inevitable nervousness in a room of strangers

Chichester Chamber also provides a range of business support activities and training and some fun events too.  If you are not geographically close to Chichester, find your nearest Chamber.  If we are to build a successful local economy, the connectivity of businesses is one of the vital ingredients.  We are more effective as a group than we are as individual companies and together we can work to remove some of the barriers to business growth.

Shelagh Legrave, Vice-Chair of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chief Executive,  Chichester College Group

'In My View'... Connectivity is the key to successful businesses

Thursday, March 01, 2018
As the country delves more deeply into the messy business of divorce from the European Union, the importance of building our economy through organic growth is even more vital. Those of us living in more rural areas appreciate the significance of the small business. In Chichester, of the 7,300  ..

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In My View… Reflecting on Changes

Office Chichester Chamber - Friday, December 15, 2017

Having returned to CCCI in July 2017, where I originally worked from 2004 to 2015, I have found myself reflecting on the many changes during that time.

When changes occur, it is very easy to talk down a city like Chichester and this is something we mustn’t do; otherwise those negative sentences can be self-fulfilling.  Of course, I understand that it’s easy to get into that negative way of thinking when we have the ongoing A27 issue, which is a divisive subject and continues to be discussed at length and will no doubt come to a conclusion in due course (we keep our members as up to date as possible by listing information on our website).

I hear mutterings about how we are losing so many of our independent shops and although there is obviously some truth in this, our modern way of living means that most city high streets have moved in the same direction as ours.  Although we sometimes see empty shopfronts in our streets, these are overall filled quickly or empty whilst negotiations take place for new tenants to appear.

We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have a vibrant and stunning city with so many wonderful attractions, which many other towns and cities look on with envy

We are lucky enough to have a wonderful team at the Chichester Business Improvement District (BID), with whom we share an office.   We see how hard they work and constantly look for new and inspiring ways to support our beautiful city.  They have a fabulous events programme lined up for Christmas 2017 and I urge you to look at this and support as many events in the city as you can this Christmas - www.chichesterbid.co.uk

We are also lucky enough to have a new and enthusiastic MP, Gillian Keegan, representing Chichester.  We have managed to secure Gillian to talk at our MP’s lunch on Friday 13th April, where she will update us on her thoughts and vision for Chichester over a delicious two course lunch.

For information on this and all our events, please visit our website

So, let’s all start talking Chichester up!!  It doesn’t take much to look at the positive side of our lovely city

Julie Harrison, CEO (Shared Role) of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry 

In My View… Reflecting on Changes

Friday, December 15, 2017
Having returned to CCCI in July 2017, where I originally worked from 2004 to 2015, I have found myself reflecting on the many changes during that time. When changes occur, it is very easy to talk down a city like Chichester and this is something we mustn’t do; otherwise those negative  ..

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In My View… Changes at Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, July 20, 2017

It is with great pleasure that I can now share with you the news that Julie Harrison and I have been appointed in a shared role as CEOs of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  We started officially on 3rd July, and Julie came along to our Members’ meeting on 12th June at Chichester Golf Club to re-introduce herself to everyone.

A lot of you will remember Julie, having worked with her in the past when she spent 11 years as a highly effective Business Development Manager of our Chamber, and will appreciate the wealth of experience she is bringing back with her. 

I have been acting as the part-time interim Business Development Director since December 2016, with a background in education and working closely with businesses to create ‘Business Needs Analyses and Solutions’ and I am thrilled that we are now back up to capacity as a team to take our Chamber forward, with the continued support of Gayle Dixon, our Administrator. 

Julie and I have worked together on projects in the past and we are both delighted to be working together again.

Our vision for the future is to grow and retain our membership by ensuring that we remain ‘The Voice’ of Chichester and the surrounding district’s businesses.

We will continue to run quality events alongside our members’ meetings, such as further ‘Behind the Scenes’ offers, and also plan to extend the opportunity for networking with other Chamber members, together with Hampshire, Bognor Regis, Worthing and Adur and Sussex Chambers. 

We continue to work with Coast to Capital’s Business Navigator Hub to refer you to a quality business support service for growing businesses; we know how invaluable this has been to those of you who have taken advantage of their expertise.

Don’t forget, our Chamber has a lot to offer you!  You can host or sponsor events, promote your business, offer up a ‘Business Gem’ or ‘Minute to Win It’, speak at one of our events and of course advertise in our bi-annual magazine and on our website. 

We would love to hear from you, and your views on how we can best support you!

Sue Garman, CEO (shared role) of Chichester Chamber of Commerce 

In My View… Changes at Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Thursday, July 20, 2017
It is with great pleasure that I can now share with you the news that Julie Harrison and I have been appointed in a shared role as CEOs of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We started officially on 3rd July, and Julie came along to our Members’ meeting on 12th June at Chicheste ..

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In My View... The future is flexible working

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, April 27, 2017

Commuters continue to have a raw deal with rail strikes causing delays and, for some, problems getting to work at all.  The decision to drop the Chichester A27 road improvement scheme has also dashed hopes of a solution in the near future and the impact on businesses is immeasurable.

However, the response to these problems by employers and employees is remarkable.  Flexible working and working from home are not new ideas but, borne of necessity, people have been trying out new ways of working and, now they’ve seen the benefits, they’ll most likely continue.

Businesses are re-thinking the way they do things.  With customers and sales a priority, re-organising when, where and how work is done can sometimes be painful, but even simple solutions can contribute to a highly-engaged workforce and improvements in performance and customer service.

Eligible employees have a legal right to request flexible working and savvy employers are taking a positive approach by balancing the needs of the business with those of their staff.  When employees feel they have the trust, freedom and flexibility to work how and where they want, they are likely to be more productive.

Working from home has some obvious benefits.  The first is that you can actually work rather than wasting time travelling (or not travelling if you’re a Southern Rail passenger). People say they are more productive at home, have less distractions and that it’s a less stressful environment.   But even just easing back on the times people need to be in the office can help them plan their work more efficiently.

Flexible working is more than just working at home, it’s about working wherever you need to be.  Technology and social media are clearly important in enabling people to keep in touch and businesses can widen their hiring pool with little or no geographic limits, it’s a great way to find and retain talent.

In conclusion, flexible working makes good business sense and can be a win-win for employers and employees.  It has many benefits, ultimately giving businesses a significant competitive advantage, in a tough economic climate.

Dianne Lambdin, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub

In My View... The future is flexible working

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Commuters continue to have a raw deal with rail strikes causing delays and, for some, problems getting to work at all. The decision to drop the Chichester A27 road improvement scheme has also dashed hopes of a solution in the near future and the impact on businesses is immeasurable. However ..

Read More

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