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Bell Pottinger North - Client News
Friday, June 30, 2006
REAL DEAL IN LIQUIDATION

Heywood-based employment agency, Real Deal, has gone into voluntary liquidation.

Don Bailey of corporate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor, Manchester, has been appointed liquidator.

The not-for-profit organisation, set up six years ago, and has experienced severe cash flow problems for over the last 18 months.  The directors embarked on a cost cutting and recovery programme in March of this year in an attempt to trade out of the problems, to no avail.

Don Bailey comments:  Despite the hard work carried out by the remaining management team and staff under very difficult conditions, and there is no way for the company to remain a financial viability.    

The company’s funders and stakeholders, particularly the New Heart for Heywood NDC Partnership and Rochdale MBC, have been highly supportive during the difficulties and have continued to fund project activities.  However, it has not been possible to generate sufficient additional income for the company to service its debts.

Real Deal director, Janet Lawrence, said: “It is a very sad day for all of us.  Real Deal has done a lot of good work in Middleton and Heywood and could have continued this for many years. But the level of debt - much of which was incurred without the knowledge of the board - leaves us with no choice.”

Ends


Press contact:
Joanne Fletcher-Wall
Bell Pottinger North
01625 506425

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc

The Group specializes in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 


The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.


The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

 
The Office Network

The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities

The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.




 
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
MANCHESTER HOSPITAL PAYS FOR FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE DEADLY HEART CONDITION

North Manchester General Hospital has paid out a significant sum for failing to diagnose the leaking aortic artery, which killed 59 year-old William Farmer of Blackley.

His widow, Florence, described the treatment her husband received as ‘scandalous’.

“My husband was a healthy 59 year-old family-man who never needed to go to the doctor. He became ill very suddenly but the attention he received at hospital was very abrupt and I thought it was scandalous. If they had made the right diagnosis sooner he would still be here today enjoying his two grandchildren. I miss him more than I can say.”

On 20th March 2002 Mr Farmer, who worked as a security guard, had acute back pain and a distended abdomen. He felt so ill he called for an ambulance to take him to A & E at North Manchester General Hospital where, just 12 minutes later, he was sent home with painkillers having been told there was nothing ‘of significance’ wrong. The next day, still in pain, a locum GP told him he had a prolapsed disc in his back and prescribed more painkillers. However, two days later on the 24th March, after collapsing at home, he went by ambulance to A & E once again, where this time he was told he had constipation, but was kept in hospital under observation.

On 26th March his wife received a call from the hospital at 9pm to tell her that her husband was in a coma. He was prepared for surgery at North Manchester General Hospital and was transferred to Oldham Royal Hospital for surgery. He died on 27th March after surgeons tried, but failed, to repair a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Now, after a four-year struggle, during which time the hospital has consistently denied they were responsible for Mr Farmer’s death, the hospital has agreed to pay an out of court undisclosed sum in compensation.

Personal injury lawyer Mr Stephen Maguire of Donns LLP, who represented the family, described this as a tragic case.

“Mr Farmer’s death could have been prevented if a proper diagnosis had been made when he first attended A & E. What makes it worse is that on his second visit they still failed to find out what was wrong. We have always maintained that there was negligence in the failure to make the correct diagnosis although full liability has never been admitted. The payout is hardly adequate compensation for the loss of a loving husband, father and grandfather but the payment indicates that the hospital rightly recognises they must take the blame for this death.”

Ends

Press contacts:
Vicki Baxter, Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall at Bell Pottinger North (01625) 506444 vbaxter@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:vbaxter@bellpottingernorth.co.uk> or jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk> or ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>

Notes to Editors:

Stephen Maguire
Stephen Maguire joined the serious litigation team at Donns in 2005 bringing with him over 14 years experience in serious personal injury and clinical negligence law. Stephen has been involved in some very high value cases across a wide range of areas ranging from neurological/spinal injuries through to gynaecology and brain surgery negligence. Stephen is well know for handling such serious litigation and is familiar with the effect that such life changing events may have on clients.  As a result of this he has created a strong team of specialists that ensure all clients receive a high level of service, support and assistance with as little stress and inconvenience as possible.

In addition to handling individual serious cases Stephen has been involved in a number of large class actions, sometimes in the position of lead solicitor. These cases have involved large numbers of claimants pursuing an individual organisation for loss and damages running into many millions.

Stephen is a Solicitor High Court Advocate and is therefore specialised in handling court cases as well as day-to-day litigation. Unlike most Solicitors, Stephen is qualified to represent clients at all levels of the court system in trials and any other related court appearance. This enables him to provide his clients with consistent support and representation throughout the case. Stephen is a member of the governing committee of the Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates.


Donns LLP
Donns LLP is recognised as one of the leading specialist personal injury law firms in the UK, at the forefront of personal injury litigation dealing with claims both in the UK and abroad.

They provide expert legal advice in all areas of personal injury, accident and clinical negligence cases to ensure that they secure the maximum compensation in the shortest possible time. The firm delivers exceptional levels of client service through their highly trained and experienced legal professionals and cost effective approach.

With over 35 years experience in the personal injury marketplace they have an enviable reputation for providing quality legal services. They have attained and held both the Investors in People (IIP) standard in 1999 and the Lexcel quality mark in 2001.

Donns LLP has been awarded a personal injury and clinical negligence legal aid franchise and has also been granted the BSI Kitemark for quality.

Visit their website at www.donnslaw.co.uk <http://www.donnslaw.co.uk>



 
Monday, June 26, 2006
NEWS: Adsteam Board Congratulates UK On Safety Performance

PR141
26th June 2006

Adsteam Board Congratulates UK On Safety Performance

The UK's leading towage company, Adsteam, is celebrating the World Cup with two goals of its own this month - both for first-class safety performance. The company's Thames team successfully recorded 12 months without any lost-time injuries, while its Medway staff and crews continue to lead the field, with over 2 years' injury-free working.

Board members from the Australian parent company, Adsteam Marine, celebrated the achievement with a short presentation ceremony on board the Adsteam Victory on the Medway last week.

Chairman and non-executive director, Bruce Corlett made the presentation to safety representatives from both locations and congratulated all members of the team on their achievements. He reiterated the company's worldwide commitment to 'putting safety first' and confirmed the importance of maintaining high performance standards across the fleet.

As a former Chairman of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Bruce has been one of the driving forces behind placing safety at the forefront of Adsteam's agenda. During the presentation ceremony, he applauded recent moves by the UK management team to benchmark and incentivise improvements in safety performance in all areas of the business.

"This is an excellent performance by our Thames and Medway teams," he said, "and we look forward to hearing about similar successes at our other UK ports in the year ahead." Liverpool has also just achieved 12 months without a Lost Time Injury (LTI).

Adsteam in the UK introduced a safety incentive scheme at the beginning of the year, which rewards local crews and staff for injury-free working. Under the terms of the scheme, teams nominate a pet charity or local 'good cause' which receives a donation from the company on the basis of the number of LTI-free days achieved. In addition, the company has recently completed the first round of a new comprehensive safety training programme introduced for tug masters.

- ends -

For further information, please contact:

Stephen Eastwood Deborah Garritty
Chief Executive Europe Director
Adsteam (UK) Ltd Bell Pottinger North
tel 01482 337 650 tel 01625 506 444

 
Thursday, June 22, 2006
DEBT LEVELS AFFECT HEALTH OF THE NATION

The misery of debt is affecting the nation’s health, according to a survey* commissioned by a leading UK debt advisory company.

The Debt Advisor Limited, based in the North West, saw a massive 40 per cent of respondents agree that their levels of debt were affecting their health.  This was closely followed by the affects on their relationship with their nearest and dearest at 34 per cent.

Of those surveyed, 31 per cent were concerned with their levels of debt, and just over 2 per cent of those taking part owed a staggering £30,000 plus in unsecured debt.

The Debt Advisor has been instrumental in a campaign to recognise the wider issues of debt and for organisations and the public alike to take a more holistic approach to debt.

This week, the London School of Economics (LSE) called for increased amounts of psychotherapy to be made available on the NHS to help people suffering from depression or chronic anxiety.  The scale has reached epidemic proportions in the UK, with an estimated one in six adults suffering at some stage throughout their lives.

A course of cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps people think more positively, costs around £750 the LSE suggests it would pay for itself in money saved on incapacity benefits and lost tax receipts.

Bev Budsworth, managing director of The Debt Advisor Limited comments: ”The results of the survey speak for themselves, it gives us a real insight into the issues caused by financial problems.  Depression and anxiety prevents people working, it’s a slippery slope, and I’ve seen many cases where someone’s health has caused the break-up of a family unit. 

“At one end of the scale, we have people who owe significant sums, around the £100,000 mark, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a large sum to cause ructions in a family.  Most of the misery goes untreated and that’s why we launched our campaign. 

“We saw a direct correlation between debt and depression and to tackle the problem we linked up with a psychologist to offer lifestyle counselling with sound financial advice.  We’re still in the early stages, but tangible benefits are being reaped and debtors are turning their lives around.”

Lifestyle aspirations scored highly in the survey as the biggest spending influence (82 per cent), far and above any other area including TV, media, and peer pressure.

Ends

* Total respondents taking part in the survey = 116

Press contacts:

The Debt Advisor
Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall  
Bell Pottinger North                                   
01625 506444                                   

Notes to editors
The Debt Advisor is licensed by the Insolvency Practitioners Association to offer skilled and specialist advice on personal debt. Formed in 1999, the Debt Advisor works closely with those in debt to find solutions, which can protect assets from creditors, freeze interest and charges to repay debt in five years or less. At its website - www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk <http://www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk/> - there is useful information including an online debt calculator to assist with budgeting.

BEV BUDSWORTH
Bev Budsworth is an insolvency practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with debt issues. 

A regular media commentator, Bev has spoken on a wide-range of issues including divorce, self-certificated mortgages, DIY, mature debt and online gambling. She has been regularly quoted in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Observer, Daily and Sunday Express as well as women’s magazines including Woman and Red. In the last 12 months she has offered advice on regional television news programmes and BBC local radio phone-ins.

In June 2000 she established The Debt Advisor, one of the first firms to offer comprehensive advice on all debt issues.  She had previously spent 17 years with an international firm of chartered accountants where she specialised in personal and business insolvency.

Her experience of dealing with personal debt issues led in 2005 to her being asked to join a government-led working party to look at ways of simplifying the formal procedures of helping people out of debt.

Since then she has led the way in calling for a professional personal debt/insolvency study course to be set up for all people involved in debt advice to individuals. 

She works together with a psychologist and they have developed strategies to help motivate clients to change their lifestyle.  As a busy married mother of three teenage children she understands the pressures that families face.  She believes that with a positive outlook there is always a sensible way to deal with financial difficulties and turn lives around.

Bev recently launched a campaign to bring about a greater understanding of debt and its links to depression giving debtors in the UK access to a two-pronged approach to relieve the misery caused by debt.  She is the first in the UK to offer debt advice and personal counselling under one roof.  The campaign is geared to help those who are seriously struggling with the wider effects including depression, relationship breakdown, poor work performance and associated health problems.



 
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
NEW DIRECTOR FOR RSM ROBSON RHODES' EMPLOYER TAX CONSULTANCY

RSM Robson Rhodes has boosted its Manchester tax team with the appointment of director, Tom Jones.

He joins the firm from Ernst and Young in Manchester where he was director of human capital.

In his new role, Tom will lead the employer tax consultancy practice in the North and enhance the provision of planning and compliance advice on employer tax and social security issues.

Tom comments: “I’m looking forward to working with the team at RSM Robson Rhodes. They have a wealth of talent to deliver top quality, forward thinking advice.  As a firm, they are ideally placed to react instantly to what is happening in the business world and these opportunities were what drew me to the role.  I relish the opportunity to building the business further.”

Ends

Press contact:  Joanne Fletcher-Wall at Bell Pottinger North (01625) 506425
jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk> or Alex Henshall (01625) 506414 ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk> 

Notes to editor
RSM Robson Rhodes LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership. The firm practices from nine offices in the UK and Ireland, offering a full range of services to the public and private sectors. As the UK member of the world's sixth largest accounting and consultancy organisation, it is able to call upon the skills and experience of more than 20,000 professionals in over 70 countries. RSM Robson Rhodes is registered to carry on audit work by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Authority for investment business.



 
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
NEWS: Beachcroft research contributes to new risk assessment framework for FSA: ARROW II

PR160M
Press Release: 20th June 2006

Beachcroft research contributes to new risk assessment framework for FSA: ARROW II

Following its 2005 survey of financial services firms across the UK, Beachcroft LLP's findings have now been incorporated into the Financial Services Authority (FSA)'s revised risk assessment framework: ARROW II.

ARROW is the FSA's acronym for its 'Advanced Risk Responsive Operating Framework' - a system of assessing risks posed by regulated firms to the Authority's four key objectives:

* Maintain confidence in the UK financial system
* Promote public understanding of the financial system
* Secure appropriate protection for the consumer
* Reduce scope for financial crime.

All regulated UK firms must comply with the framework - and demonstrate compliance during an ARROW visit. But independent research commissioned by Beachcroft LLP in September 2005 suggested widespread dissatisfaction with the way in which these visits were being carried out.

As a result, the FSA has now reviewed ARROW, making changes to the framework itself and to the way in which the risk assessment is carried out. This has included retraining 750 supervisory staff to improve skills, increase knowledge and encourage better communication. The revised model, ARROW II, will be implemented by the end of September 2006.

Financial services partner Mark Broadhead, who is based at the firm's Manchester office, said: "The research we carried out last year was the first time anyone had really looked at ARROW in any depth. It immediately highlighted frustrations with the reality of the visits and the way in which they were carried out and we were pleased to pass these comments directly back to the FSA.

"The Authority has tried hard to address many of these concerns and we expect the majority of firms to welcome the revised framework. However, they must also do their bit and prepare adequately in advance of an ARROW visit in order to guarantee a successful outcome."

/more
In its 2006/7 business plan, the FSA's Chief Executive John Tiner reiterated the importance of the ARROW framework to the regulator: "Our risk-based approach (ARROW) is the engine room of our business and we have invested heavily in the last two years in updating and improving our approach."

To help firms fully understand, prepare for and manage ARROW II visits, Beachcroft's specialist financial services team is running a conference at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Manchester on 7th July 2006.

For further information about the event, please contact Kerry Atkinson on 0161 934 3090.

-Ends-

For more information, please contact:
Debbie Garritty/Emily Goehler, Bell Pottinger North
dgarritty@bellpottingernorth.co.uk / egoehler@bellpottingernorth.co.uk
Tel: 01625 506444

Notes to Editor:
Beachcroft LLP (formerly Beachcroft Wansbroughs) is one of the largest national commercial law firms in the UK. With over 1,400 employees, it provides legal advice and litigation services from seven locations in the UK (two in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Winchester) and also in Brussels. From routine insurance claims management to 'trusted adviser' work for major national and international organisations, the firm delivers integrated legal services to clients in four main industry groups: health and public sector; real estate and construction; financial services (including the insurance industry); and technology, media and telecommunications.

The firm received 20 new entries in Legal 500 2005, a guide to the top 500 lawyers in the UK; in Legal Week's client satisfaction survey, the firm came second amongst all law firms in the UK; and Beachcroft is one of the largest law firms in the country to obtain the 'Investors in People' award across all of its offices.

The Manchester team currently includes 19 partners and 198 staff. Its partners have particular expertise and experience in commercial litigation, commercial property, injury/risk, professional indemnity, corporate/commercial and employment law.

For further information, please visit: www.beachcroft.co.uk
Arrow Research

In September 2005, Beachcroft conducted research amongst 136 firms from all segments of the financial services industry which looked at FSA ARROW visits. This demonstrated that the FSA scored highly in a number of areas:

* 85% of firms stated that the notice period they received from the FSA about an impending visit was sufficient
* 80% of firms confirmed that the FSA provided them with a preliminary briefing at the end of their visit
* 77% of firms received their Risk Mitigation Programme (RMP) within 3 months of the visit and 67% considered the isues raised in the RMP to be accurate
* 75% of firms stated that the FSA appeared to have relevant experience of the firm's market sector.

However, when asked for feedback on the conduct of the FSA and the impact of the visit, more than half of respondents were highly critical. Firms felt they were unable to take a proactive approach to managing the visit and some felt interviews were an interrogatory and confrontational process.

 
PETER CLARKE LEADS MBO AT HEAVEN & HELL GROUP OF COMPANIES

The Heaven & Hell Group of Companies has been placed into formal insolvency, following what can only be described as difficult times in the late night industry.

Andrew Dick and Steven Williams of Begbies Traynor, Preston have been appointed to deal with the group’s affairs.

Peter Clarke, supported by Scottish & Newcastle Brewery has agreed a deal in excess of £2.5million to buy back some of the former Heaven & Hell sites and will operate the units under the new company name, Shelrick Ltd.

Peter Clarke had successfully disposed of Heaven & Hell in Leeds and Blackpool before the insolvency and will be taking Heaven & Hell in Blackburn, Barnsley and Hull into the new company.  Peter Clarke had made considerable progress towards restructuring the business, but with the changes in licensing in November, coupled with the changing patterns within the late night sector he was unable to secure the business in its current state.

The company was launched in 1998 with the first Heaven & Hell venue in Blackpool, closely followed by Leeds, Stockport, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Hull and Blackburn.

Although trading has been difficult over the last few years, the company has seen a breakthrough with its latest brand ‘Terminal 1’, which Shelrick now intend to roll out throughout the acquired sites, again with the support of the brewery.

Peter Clarke commented: "This has been a very difficult time for me both personally and professionally as I have so much emotional attachment to the Heaven & Hell brand. But, I have to look to the future and there are some exciting times ahead.

“I have a very talented and capable team who, over the past 12 months, have demonstrated commitment and loyalty to both myself and the company and with their proven skills and understanding of the industry Shelrick Ltd has an exciting future ahead."

Shelrick Ltd senior management team includes Peter Clarke CEO; Angela Watt, company secretary and PA to Peter Clarke; Steve Ramsdale, financial controller and Bev Naughton operations and marketing manager.

All staff currently employed within Barnsley, Blackburn and Hull will be transferring to the new business. Shelrick Ltd will continue to trade from the current head office in Blackpool.

Ends

Enquiries, please contact:

Joanne Fletcher-Wall
Bell Pottinger North
01625 506 444

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com <http://www.begbies-traynor.com>

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc
The Group specialises in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 


The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.


The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

 
The Office Network
The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities
The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.



 
LEISURE ENTREPRENEUR SELLS SOUTH LAKELAND CARAVANS LIMITED IN MAJOR MARKET DEAL

North West based entrepreneur John Morphet, who started his leisure business with a caravan site on his parents’ farm near Carnforth, has sold nine of his UK leisure parks to Legal & General Ventures, a leading private equity firm.

The disposal will enable Mr Morphet to focus on his international interests and building on his most recent UK acquisition, Billing Aquadrome.

John Morphet, founder of South Lakeland Caravans Limited, commented:  “Having built the South Lakeland Caravan brand from scratch I had taken it as far as I could by driving up the quality of all the leisure parks to the highest standard possible. My focus now is to develop my upmarket business interests in the Caribbean and Europe as well as developing some more imaginative concepts for leisure parks elsewhere under the Pure Leisure brand.”

Nick Dodd, Pure Leisure’s Group finance director, added:   “The divestment of the more mature parks in the portfolio presents the Group with a real opportunity to build on its recently established presence in the Midlands through further acquisition, as well as focussing on delivering the significant value offered by its overseas investments. We wish Legal & General Ventures, Graham and the team the very best of luck in taking the South Lakeland Caravan business forward.”

In March, Pure Leisure acquired Billing Aquadrome in Northampton, in a multi-million pound deal. The 235-acre parkland site, which provides pitches for 2,000 static and touring caravans, is one of the largest independently owned parks in the UK. It offers an extensive range of leisure facilities, including a jet ski lake, fishing, licensed bars and a variety of entertainments. As part of the deal, Pure Leisure has also retained South Lakeland Leisure Village - a complete leisure resort located near Carnforth, close to the Southern Lake District.

The Group’s international leisure interests include the prestigious Royal Westmoreland resort on the west coast of Barbados where Mr Morphet has already built 23 new luxury villas to add to the 150 homes set in beautifully landscaped gardens around a championship golf course. Sporting celebrities, including Gary Lineker, Ian Woosnam, Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and Rio Ferdinand, have homes on the complex, where prices range from US $1.5 million to over US $10 million.

As well as property development opportunities, the villa rental business at Royal Westmoreland is also proving to be a Barbados leader, providing exclusive accommodation to predominantly UK holidaymakers at the luxury end of the market. Oscar nominee Keira Knightley and pop icon Jamelia are amongst visitors to this holiday paradise.

The Group also has leisure parks in Marbella and Cyprus.

John Morphet was advised on the disposal by a team from the Manchester office of KPMG Corporate Finance led by Christian Mayo, with legal advice being provided by a team from the Manchester office of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, led by Stephen Devlin and Michael Harcom.

Commenting on the deal, Christian Mayo, KPMG Corporate Finance said:  “We are delighted to have been involved in such a high profile North West deal. I am confident that this is an excellent result which offers John an exciting platform to further develop his other business interests.”

Stephen Devlin, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary added: “We have worked with John on several transactions over the last few years and are delighted to have advised him on this major project.”

Commenting on the investment, Bill Priestley, Managing Director at LGV, said:
"We are delighted to have acquired South Lakeland Caravans which continues LGV’s focus on the leisure industry, one of our core sectors.  We have had a successful experience with caravan parks in the past, having invested in Bourne Leisure, and are looking forward to working with Graham, and the management team to develop the business further.  The parks are unique assets, in some of the most picturesque areas of the country.”

Ends

For further information please contact Vicki Baxter or Joanne Fletcher-Wall at Bell Pottinger North on 01625 506444 or by e-mail:

Vbaxter@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:Vbaxter@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>
Jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:Jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>



 
Monday, June 19, 2006
NEW FORENSICS DEPARTMENT TO OPEN IN MANCHESTER OFFICE

Manchester based RSM Robson Rhodes have appointed David Sowden as director of the forensics service department to head its forensics division in Manchester and the North West.

David joined the firm over 20 years ago and qualified as a chartered accountant in their audit department before transferring to the forensics department 15 years ago to investigate the Maxwell Pension Schemes collapse. 

He has worked at the firm’s Leeds and London offices and has considerable experience in audit negligence, fraud and money laundering investigations. Previous work includes assignments for the Serious Fraud Office, The Attorney General of Jersey, National Crime Squad and local and national governmental bodies.

Further building upon his success at RSM Robson Rhodes, his new role will include work on both national and international cases, management of the new forensics team and developing a presence in Manchester.

David comments: “I am very much looking forward to establishing a Manchester based team in forensics. We really want to show our commitment to being in the North West by setting up a dedicated and permanent team in this region.”

Ends

Press contact: Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall at Bell Pottinger North (01625 617611) jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk or ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk

Notes to editors

RSM Robson Rhodes LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership. The firm
practices from nine offices in the UK and Ireland, offering a full range of services to the public and private sectors. As the UK member of the world's sixth largest accounting and consultancy organisation, it is able to call upon the skills and experience of more than 20,000 professionals in over 70 countries. RSM Robson Rhodes is registered to carry on audit work by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Authority for investment business.


 
TEChINVEST'S 'CREATIVE' APPROACH TO BUSINESS FINANCE WINS NATIONAL ACCLAIM

PR251
19th June 2006

TEChINVEST'S 'CREATIVE' APPROACH TO BUSINESS FINANCE WINS NATIONAL ACCLAIM

It's been another excellent year for TEChINVEST, the Northwest Regional Development Agency's (NWDA) own equivalent of 'Dragons' Den', with recognition of its achievements from the British Business Angels Association at its 2006 Conference.

Shortlisted under almost every category - including Business Angel of the Year Award for the second consecutive year - TEChINVEST scooped the award for Most Creative Deal of the Year. The deal in question was £1 million raised to support North West bio-technology start-up Plant Impact and sourced from a combination of venture funds and business angels.
Originally formed in 2003 with backing from the founders and a business angel, Plant Impact's first contact with TEChINVEST was in 2004 when RisingStars Growth Fund (RSGF) also invested £50,000 as initial seed capital. RSGF is a fund specifically set up by the NWDA with private sector investors to assist seed and early stage companies with the potential for rapid growth. Formed in March 2002, by 2004 RSGF was the third most active venture capital investor in the UK.
RSGF followed its initial investment in Plant Impact alongside business angels. In late 2005, a working capital requirement of £1m was identified to fund the business through to 2007/8 with proposals for an AIM flotation during 2006.

Working together, TEChINVEST advisers, fund managers and private investors ensured the £1m was raised, using a highly creative deal which was structured as a discounted convertible loan secured against intellectual property. This not only provided a flexible structure, by providing the conversion price to the future IPO value, it also removed the requirement for a valuation of the company at that early stage.

Commenting on the deal structure, TEChINVEST founder/manager Vivienne Upcott-Gill said: "The use of £50,000 units made this deal particularly attractive to new 'angels' and more experienced investors with a broad portfolio. In addition, the sliding scale redemption premium on the loan and the conversion value incentivises the company to achieve the proposed AIM listing, while both are potential exit routes for investors when they wish to cash in on their investments. TEChINVEST investors were quick to join the deal, in which six angels invested £400,000 alongside three venture funds.

"The North West is particularly fortunate in the range of business finance options available to it through the Agency, and this is a clear demonstration of TEChINVEST's role as a route to business angel finance as well as to regional funds.
...
"We hope that this deal structure may provide a model to other technology companies looking for funding to finance rapid growth. We are delighted that both the Northwest's strong record of innovative financing and one of our fast growing innovative companies have been recognised with this award."

TEChINVEST is one of the UK's longest running and most successful business angel networks. Since it was set up in 1993, it has helped to raise more than £19 million in direct funding and unlocked a further £38m from traditional sources of finance. No fewer than 550 North West companies have benefited from the service's expert advice, guidance and introductions to appropriate sources of seed, risk, loan and equity funding. For further information, visit our website www.techinvest.org.

- ends -

Press contact: Deborah Garritty at Bell Pottinger North (01625 506444)
dgarritty@bellpottingernorth.co.uk

 
NEWS: Whitehaven regeneration plans set to entice investors

PR114
June 16th 2006

Whitehaven regeneration plans set to entice investors

Canny property investors should be considering the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven as a new property hotspot, according to property investment expert Urban Logic.

Whitehaven is one of the latest in a long line of northern England locations to get much needed regeneration funding, which is well-established bait for those investors with an eye on long term return on investment. West Lakes Renaissance and Copeland Borough Council are working closely with regeneration consultant Wayne Hemingway in a move which could change the face of this coastal town, where the wheels of the property market are now beginning to spin into action.

Manchester-based Urban Logic, part of Northern Lynx plc and renowned for its high level of due diligence, has moved quickly to take a slice of the investment opportunity, hitting the market on behalf of its clients by securing a selection of new build apartments and town house properties on the site of a former laundry mill in the town.

Guy Davis, operations director for Urban Logic said: "The go ahead for any sort of regeneration activity in an area is like holding a winning ticket as it means money is being allocated to improve the locale and make it a desirable place to live, with more and better local amenities and a face lift to the landscape. This attracts new blood over time and builds a stronger community that people want to live as part of. This, of course, has the knock-on effect of pushing up the house prices and rental yields. The sensible investors who buy now will be the main beneficiaries."

Whitehaven has a steady history of heritage tourism which is expected to grow as the regeneration plans come to fruition. It is also within an hour's drive of the Lake District and retains many of its original historical features.

Urban Logic identifies and offers discounted residential properties in hotspots across the UK, though the company is mainly focused on up and coming locations
on the outskirts of northern towns and cities.

For further information on Urban Logic and its Whitehaven development opportunities, please visit -www.urbanlogic.co.uk or call 0800 916 8659.

- ends -

Editor's note
Urban Logic, part of AIM-listed Northern Lynx plc, offers its client base a selection of well researched investment opportunities across the north of England and Scotland, with added value service options to provide a 'one-stop shop' solution.

For more press information contact Elizabeth Swain or John Butters at Bell Pottinger North on (01625) 506444 or email eswain@bellpottingernorth.co.uk / jbutters@bellpottingernorth.co.uk

 
CAN YOU DIG IT?

Children at a local primary school have thrown down the challenge to a Leeds-based business to create a sensory garden from their own designs.

It seems the gardening bug has bitten the children of Cobden Primary School, Leeds. The children wanted to create their own special sensory garden at the school, with a helping hand from Leeds-based accountants and business advisers, RSM Robson Rhodes.

Ten volunteers from RSM Robson Rhodes took up the challenge, which included heavy landscaping and painting work, the children themselves helped out on the final day.

The team was be led by Luke Stableford, of the firm’s corporate advisory services team.  He commented: "We're really excited about this project, there was a high level of interest from everyone in the firm. We started by asking the kids what they wanted for their garden and taking into account all the different elements, the common theme was "sensory".

"Kids of all ages enjoy plants and gardening, and they wanted to be heavily involved from the design stage through to the actual planting. I think they have a lot more imagination than most adults."

He continued: "Lavender and rosemary, wind chimes and mobiles give the garden a calming fragrant feel. Grow-your-own also featured in the designs provided by the kids. I'm not sure if it's the influence of TV programmes like Gardeners’ World or the

likes of Diarmuid Gavin, but gardening appears to be ‘cool’, and their enthusiasm for growing vegetables was fantastic. Although I doubt there will be a place for sprouts!

We planned to encourage wildlife into the garden too. A bird bath came out top in many of the designs.

“The team has been leading a fundraising initiative in the office to buy the plants over the last few weeks and we've had some fantastic donations.”

The challenge was arranged through the ‘Leeds Cares’ Business in Community initiative, the leading programme for engaging business support in Leeds communities.

Ends
Press contacts: Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall at Bell Pottinger North (01625) 506 444 - jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk> or ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>

Notes for editors:
RSM Robson Rhodes LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership. The firm practices from nine offices in the UK and Ireland, offering a full range of services to the public and private sectors. As the UK member of the world’s sixth-largest accounting and consultancy organisation, it is able to call upon the skills and experience of more than 20,000 professionals in over 70 countries.

RSM Robson Rhodes LLP is registered to carry out audit work by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Authority.




 
BOSSES RELY TOO MUCH ON THEIR 'WAYNE ROONEYS' AS MUCH AS THE ENGLAND FOOTBALL TEAM DOES ON THE REAL THING

Like the England football team, the majority of smaller-to-medium-sized companies rely too heavily on a single star performer.  This is the finding of new research by corporate insolvency and restructuring specialists Begbies Traynor.

Begbies asked how the heads of 129 SMEs would cope if they lost their ‘star’ performer like Wayne Rooney.  A shocking 53% said it would be ‘devastating’ to their operation.

However, 78% of the SME chiefs actually claimed that they were the ‘Wayne Rooney’ of their own outfit. 

And while 97% agreed that team work is far more important than star talent, only 22% preferred flair and creativity in their company’s culture over solid dependability. 

Interestingly, it seems most SME chiefs have less faith in youth than the England coach. Sven-Göran Eriksson has added 17-year-old Arsenal prospect Theo Walcott to his World Cup squad, and many of us forget that Wayne Rooney is still only 20-years-old. 

But 91% of the polled SME heads said their ideal workforce should be dominated by older, experienced staff rather than raw, young talent.

That said, 56% of the SME chiefs polled by Begbies Traynor admitted they would consider stumping up a Premier League-style wage if it could attract a ‘Wayne Rooney’ to their business.

It’s not all bad news for young people looking for their first job at an SME.  Sixty-nine per cent of SME chiefs think star-talent is made, rather than born, so it’s possible some SMEs have a number of ‘Wayne Rooneys’ that just haven’t made the first team yet.

Peter Sargent, partner of Begbies Traynor, Halifax, commented:

“SMEs bosses can learn a lot from what’s happened to Wayne Rooney and the England team.  It’s never a good idea to be overly dependent on one brilliant star player. Teamwork and effective delegation are normally as, if not more, important to a successful business.

“What worries me most is bosses seem to want to muck in so much at the coal-face of their operations. While an ability to lead from the front is admirable at times of crisis, there is a risk that SME chiefs are too involved in the day-to-day running of the business and are losing sight of the bigger picture and where the business should be going.”

Ends

Enquiries, please contact:

Peter Sargent                                           Joanne Fletcher-Wall
Begbies Traynor Group plc                               Bell Pottinger North
01422 348448                                    01625 506 444

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com <http://www.begbies-traynor.com>

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc

The Group specializes in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 


The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.


The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

 

The Office Network


The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities


The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.

 
STATEMENT - COMPASS FINANCE COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF BUDSWORTH & CO

Compass Finance plc, a leading mortgage and loan broker group, today completed the acquisition of Manchester-based personal and business recovery practice,  Budsworth & Co.

Budsworth & Co was founded by Bev Budsworth in 1999, and was quickly followed by the launch of ‘The Debt Advisor’ and ‘The Business Debt Advisor’ - both brands were included in the deal.  Bev Budsworth will now take on the role of managing director of the Debt Advisory Division at Compass Finance.

Bev says “I have always believed in taking a practical and holistic approach to debt.  This move means that as part of Compass Finance Group Plc we are the first in the UK to offer a range of in-house debt advisory solutions individuals and businesses struggling with debt.”

More information can be found on the Web at www.compassfinance.co.uk <http://www.compassfinance.co.uk> or www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk <http://www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk> and www.thebusinessdebtadvisor.co.uk

Ends
 
Press contacts:

The Debt Adviser
Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall  
Bell Pottinger North                                   
01625 506444                                   

Compass Finance plc
Brian Coleman-Smith
Cubitt Consulting
020 7367 5102

Notes to editors
The Debt Advisor is licensed by the Insolvency Practitioners Association to offer skilled and specialist advice on personal debt. Formed in 1999, the Debt Advisor works closely with those in debt to find solutions, which can protect assets from creditors, freeze interest and charges to repay debt in five years or less. At its website - www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk <http://www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk/> - there is useful information including an online debt calculator to assist with budgeting.

BEV BUDSWORTH
Bev Budsworth is an insolvency practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with debt issues. 

A regular media commentator, Bev has spoken on a wide-range of issues including divorce, self-certificated mortgages, DIY, mature debt and online gambling. She has been regularly quoted in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Observer, Daily and Sunday Express as well as women’s magazines including Woman and Red. In the last 12 months she has offered advice on regional television news programmes and BBC local radio phone-ins.

In June 2000 she established The Debt Advisor, one of the first firms to offer comprehensive advice on all debt issues.  She had previously spent 17 years with an international firm of chartered accountants where she specialised in personal and business insolvency.

Her experience of dealing with personal debt issues led in 2005 to her being asked to join a government-led working party to look at ways of simplifying the formal procedures of helping people out of debt.

Since then she has led the way in calling for a professional personal debt/insolvency study course to be set up for all people involved in debt advice to individuals. 

She works together with a psychologist and they have developed strategies to help motivate clients to change their lifestyle.  As a busy married mother of three teenage children she understands the pressures that families face.  She believes that with a positive outlook there is always a sensible way to deal with financial difficulties and turn lives around.

Bev recently launched a campaign to bring about a greater understanding of debt and its links to depression giving debtors in the UK access to a two-pronged approach to relieve the misery caused by debt.  She is the first in the UK to offer debt advice and personal counselling under one roof.  The campaign is geared to help those who are seriously struggling with the wider effects including depression, relationship breakdown, poor work performance and associated health problems.




 
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
NEWS: EIC NAMED AS ONE OF BIRMINGHAM'S TOP TEN

PR171
14th June 2006

EIC NAMED AS ONE OF BIRMINGHAM'S TOP TEN

Mechanical and electrical specialist, EIC has been appointed by the Birmingham Construction Partnership (BCP) to be included as one of ten key mechanical and electrical contractors in its supply chain. It is estimated that, during this five - seven year framework agreement, the BCP will spend approximately £350 million on projects using 61 suppliers, including the ten mechanical and electrical experts.

The initial list of 200 was reduced to a successful 61 after the BCP established certain criteria including that sub-contractors had a proven track record in delivering across a variety of sectors such as education, health, leisure and housing and that all parties would embrace working collaboratively demonstrating continuous improvement and innovation.

The aim of the framework agreement is to develop long term opportunities for sub contractors who have a strong presence in the Birmingham area and to maximise potential for value engineering.

Nigel Le Marechal, joint managing director of EIC, is delighted that the company has been identified as having such a strong regional and local presence: "We are long-established as a national player but our head office is in Stratford and we have built a solid foundation and good relations in the Midlands - for many of us, this is home.

"We are greatly looking forward to working with both the BCP and the other contractors to deliver improvement and to share new ideas that will have a positive impact on how we work and the results that we produce. This is a most significant and welcome development for us."

- ends -

Editor's note
EIC provides project management, design, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and maintenance of electrical, mechanical control and data management systems to a wide range of blue chip clients. The company has a successful track record of partnering with major contractors such as AMEC, HBG, Taylor Woodrow, Carillion and Willmott Dixon, as well as carrying out a broad range of services for many High Street names and leisure groups including Debenhams, John Lewis Partnership, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Virgin, Primark, Littlewoods, Gap, Bhs, Co-op, ATS, Mitchells & Butler, Firmdale Hotels and the Hilton Group. EIC also works extensively throughout the health, education and commercial sectors working collaboratively with all members of a project team, providing innovative, sustainable solutions and best whole life value. For further information log on to www.eicltd.com or call 01789 269408.

Press contact: Elizabeth Swain @ Bell Pottinger North,
eswain@bellpottingernorth.co.uk
(01625 506404)

 
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
P RUDDIMAN LIMITED - IN ADMINISTRATION

Furniture distributor and importer, P Ruddiman Limited was placed in administration on 8 June 2006.

Mike Saville and Neil Brackenbury of corporate recovery specialists, Begbies Traynor, Leeds, have been appointed joint administrators on behalf of the company.

The company which employs 20 people, was originally incorporated in 1984, and has for many years traded from premises in Huddersfield, distributing imported furniture to the independent retail and mail order markets.

The business has been sold and all of the employees have been transferred to Ruddiman Furniture Limited.

Mr Saville comments that the need of administration had arisen because of a combination of factors.  He comments: “The UK furniture market continues to be very competitive and the company was burdened by the finance taken on as a result of the management buyout in 2001.”  He went on to say that whilst it was disappointing to see any business become insolvent with the consequent losses for stakeholders it was nonetheless encouraging to see local jobs preserved as part of the solution.

Ends

Press contact:

Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Sarah Hooley at Bell Pottinger North -
01625 506425

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com <http://www.begbies-traynor.com>

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc

The Group specializes in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 


The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.


The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

 
The Office Network

The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities

The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.

 

 
Monday, June 12, 2006
News: LANDMARK TEST RESULTS ENDORSE THE QUALITY OF KORAMIC CLAY ROOF TILES

PR006

Press Information

12 June 2006

LANDMARK TEST RESULTS ENDORSE THE QUALITY OF KORAMIC CLAY ROOF TILES

The quality of European clay roof tiles has been given a ringing endorsement with the release of landmark test results from Koramic. The independent findings prove that all of Koramic's products surpass the very latest UK durability standards, strengthening the company's position as a leading specialist clay tile manufacturer.

Following a rigorous, independent testing process at Ceram - a leading international centre of technical excellence for the ceramics industry - all of Koramic's clay roof tiles have passed the UK frost resistance test, meeting the critical performance criteria required under the European standard BS EN 1304:2005.

The tests also confirmed that the clay tiles meet the UK requirements for regularity of shape, dimensions, impermeability, and flexural strength. With 15 manufacturing plants across six different European countries, Koramic offers nine different types of tiles in the UK.

"These test results give our customers the extra assurance that our products do meet the UK performance criteria and that their durability is second to none," says David Simpson, national sales director at Wienerberger Ltd. "They also confirm the effectiveness of our own strict quality control procedures at our European manufacturing plants.

"Koramic was established over 120 years ago and we have always been committed to manufacturing clay products of the highest standard. In fact, our products were first tested in the UK back in 1924 by David Kirkaldy and Son - David Kirkaldy pioneered the standardised testing of materials and developed the first rigorous quality control techniques.

"They passed muster then and are still in use over 80 years later. They've now sailed through an exhaustive set of independently monitored technical tests, so we can certainly guarantee the quality, aesthetic appeal and durability of the Koramic range distributed here in the UK."

Koramic is the roofing tile brand of specialist clay manufacturer Wienerberger, which also owns the well-known Terca brand of clay facing bricks. As clay specialists, the company firmly believes in the technical excellence of this natural raw material and has a strong environmental ethos which informs all areas of the business.

With a 120-year pedigree to their name, Koramic clay tiles are currently available through specialist distribution centres, roofing merchants and selected builders' merchants across the UK.
-ends-

For more information, please contact:
Debbie Garritty/Emily Goehler, Bell Pottinger North
dgarritty@bellpottingernorth.co.uk / egoehler@bellpottingernorth.co.uk
Tel: 01625 506444

Notes to Editors:
Ceram is an internationally renowned centre of technical excellence for the ceramics and other materials-based industries. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Ceram has over 50 years' experience and is UKAS accredited, enabling it to offer independent and unbiased testing services.

Wienerberger AG is the world's largest producer of bricks and number two in the European roofing market. With 575 employees, Wienerberger Ltd is the group's UK operation, offering clay facing bricks under the Terca brand and clay roofing tiles under the Koramic brand.

The UK Koramic range of clay roof tiles currently includes nine profiles, which can be used to reflect traditional design, carry out refurbishments or produce contemporary architecture.

Established in 1883, Koramic was acquired by Wienerberger in 2004 and has around 1900 employees across the UK and Europe.

Koramic believes in using natural clay products to provide a sustainable environment, which is attractive and harmonious with the local surroundings. Through all stages of production, from extraction through to the final tile, the company places the highest value on sparing resources and minimising environment impact.

For further information please visit: www.koramic.co.uk

 
Friday, June 09, 2006
WORLD CUP COULD DAMAGE THE ECONOMY - STAFF PLAN MASSES "SICKIES" TO WATCH ENGLAND TEAM PLAY

As many as three out of five people are shamelessly planning to bunk off work to cheer on the England football squad during the World Cup.

New research by corporate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor finds approximately 60 per cent out of nearly 140 male and female employees working for smaller companies intending, or knowing someone who intends, to pull a sickie to watch the England team play.

This is significantly more people who are planning to skip work than during Euro 2004.  Begbies ran a similar survey for that tournament, and found that two years ago only 43 per cent of SME workers planned to slope off from their duties during England fixtures.

What does this say about our workforce?   Well, given that small businesses account for 99 per cent of Britain’s private sector, this could present employers with a problem, especially when Begbies found that 70 per cent of respondents to this year’s survey say they feel no shame about skiving.   Their justification:  the economy can cope, despite the highest unemployment rate in three years with 1.59 million jobless and the UK facing stiff competition for jobs from countries such as China and India.

And the bosses’ reaction?  Sadly, they might not be planning to do enough to keep their staff happy.  Begbies’ research found only 23 per cent of bosses intending to let staff watch England’s games at work, compared to 33 per cent during Euro 2004.

Employees say bosses should let them enjoy the World Cup. Sixty per cent think bosses should allow paid holidays for England’s matches, and 36 per cent want their bosses to provide TVs to screen the games. And if all this wasn’t enough, a very cheeky minority - 7 per cent - thinks companies should lay on drinks and snacks too!

But not everyone’s football crazy.  Ninety-three per cent of those surveyed think football fans get too much preferential treatment. And 20 per cent want their bosses to monitor employee absences closely during the World Cup.

David Moore, partner of Begbies Traynor, Liverpool commented:

“SMEs could suffer during the World Cup if so many staff plan to go missing during work hours. Given the nation’s interest in football and the likelihood that staff will be as good as their word and slope off, we think bosses are best off trying to strike a compromise and make sure there is a TV in the workplace during the World Cup.

“Or they might be a bit more imaginative and offer staff the chance to make up lost time later on.  But most importantly, they must be consistent and fair - if one person gets to watch the football, everyone should.  This way no-one will feel hard done by.”

Ends

Press contact:

David Moore                                     Joanne Fletcher-Wall
Begbies Traynor Group plc                       Bell Pottinger North
0151 227 4010                           01625 506425

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com <http://www.begbies-traynor.com>

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc

The Group specializes in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 


The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.


The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

 
The Office Network

The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities

The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.


 
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
CRAWLEY TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB CALLS IN ADMINISTRATORS

Crawley Town Football Club has been placed in administration and called in a team of business rescue specialists to put together a financial rescue package. 

The joint administrators, Rob Sadler and Mike Saville of Begbies Traynor’s specialist football finance unit based in Leeds are taking every possible measure to salvage the club’s finances. 

Rob Sadler comments: “We are familiar with the club’s heritage and understand its importance to the people of Crawley. We would echo the directors’ request for positive support during this period, which we believe is essential in demonstrating in financial terms that Crawley has a viable future.” 

Ends

Press contact:

Joanne Fletcher-Wall
Bell Pottinger North
01625 506425

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com <http://www.begbies-traynor.com>

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc

The Group specializes in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 


The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.


The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

 
The Office Network

The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities

The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.

 



 
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
UNIVERSITIES WARNED - KEEP AHEAD OF THE GAME

The release of the Times Good University Guide 2007* pits university against university in a league table measuring performance in a number of key areas. 

This year’s table includes a measure of student satisfaction for the first time and RSM Robson Rhodes’ director of marketing consultancy, Sandra Malone believes the complacency of some presents an opportunity for others.  Those that act now could set themselves apart from the competition. 

She suggests that the consistency of satisfaction scores seen in the new league table means that a huge opportunity exists for further differentiation in the market.

“The clustering of universities and their satisfaction scores threatens those who are complacent with their positioning - they will need to place a much stronger focus on the holistic student experience, taking into consideration student needs and demands, when allocating future resources.  For example they will need to consider facilities such as sports, careers services, health and counselling to offer a greater all round experience.

“In the future it is more likely that a university's brand will be directly linked to student satisfaction, therefore it is critical to prepare the ground now.”

Ends

*The Times Good University Guide, published by The Times, 5/6/06

Press contact: 

Joanne Fletcher-Wall                                    Sandra Malone
Bell Pottinger North                                    RSM Robson Rhodes
01625 506425                                            0207 865 2441
jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>               

Notes to editor
RSM Robson Rhodes LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership. The firm
practices from nine offices in the UK and Ireland, offering a full range of services to the public and private sectors. As the UK member of the world's sixth largest accounting and consultancy organisation, it is able to call upon the skills and experience of more than 20,000 professionals in over 70 countries. RSM Robson Rhodes is registered to carry on audit work by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Authority for investment business.



 
SUPER CASINOS 'WILL INCREASE CONSUMER DEBT PROBLEM'

As the super-casino war is played out across the UK, an insolvency specialist has warned of the dangers of the growing popularity of gambling.

Bev Budsworth of The Debt Advisor says the company is already seeing victims of the recent trend for online gambling, some of whom have run up debts of over £100,000 playing online poker or in internet casinos. 

Having spent three years as a croupier in Sun City in her earlier days, she knows first hand how people get caught up with the thrill of gambling in beautifully opulent surroundings.  Also, with the relaxation of the previous restriction of consuming alcohol at the tables, it is too easy to get carried away and gamble more than you can afford.

The proposed creation of a new super-casino will no doubt bring exciting employment opportunities as well as additional leisure pursuits.  Having a small flutter can be fun but be cautious, adds Bev:

Her comments come as the race to secure the sole super-casino continues, with eight operators on the regulator’s shortlist including two from London and bids from Blackpool, Cardiff, Manchester and Sheffield.

Ms Budsworth says: “There has always been a certain proportion of debt problems due to gambling and traditionally there is very much a cash culture.  The lure of the super-casino may be too much for gambling addicts, with unlimited slot machine jackpots. Ten years ago, few people, especially women, would venture into a betting shop, but with the rise of on-line and large Vegas-style casinos, it’s more socially acceptable and on-line gambling can be funded on your credit cards.  This should carry a serious health warning.”

The Casino Advisory Panel, an independent body appointed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to choose the location, is offering licences for one super-casino, eight large casinos and eight small casinos. 

The main variation between the three is the size of the customer area allowed.  The super-casino will have a minimum customer area of 5,000 sq m and 1,250 unlimited-jackpot slot machines.  The large and smaller casinos will be able to offer a maximum jackpot of £4,000.

GamCare, the gambling charity helpline, found the number of people using the charity for counselling had increased by 41.3% - to 6,563 people - between 2004 and 2005.  It said more than a quarter of gambling addicts using the charity's service were women.

Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, said she did not think the casinos would increase problem gambling, but she would be prepared to close them down if they did.

Ms Budsworth says many gamblers follow the traditional pattern of trying to ‘chase their debts’, betting more and more heavily in an increasingly desperate attempt to win back the money to pay them off.  As they do so, they resort to using multiple credit cards and running each to the limit. Friends and family may be unaware of their problems.

Ms Budsworth adds: “As well as the proliferation of internet sites, it’s worrying that gambling appears to be getting a more glamorous image, with poker in particular being presented as a celebrity pastime and television programmes devoted to the game. The increasing amount of money spent on gambling could lead to a rise in consumer debt nationwide and debt misery for many more households.”


Ends

For further information please contact Joanne Fletcher-Wall or Alex Henshall at Bell Pottinger North on 01625 506444 or email:

jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:jfletcher-wall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>
ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk <mailto:ahenshall@bellpottingernorth.co.uk>


Notes to editors
The Debt Advisor is licensed by the Insolvency Practitioners Association to offer skilled and specialist advice on personal debt. Formed in 1999, the Debt Advisor works closely with those in debt to find solutions, which can protect assets from creditors, freeze interest and charges to repay debt in five years or less. At its website - www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk <http://www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk/> - there is useful information including an online debt calculator to assist with budgeting.

BEV BUDSWORTH
Bev Budsworth is an insolvency practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with debt issues. 

A regular media commentator, Bev has spoken on a wide-range of issues including divorce, self-certificated mortgages, DIY, mature debt and online gambling. She has been regularly quoted in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Observer, Daily and Sunday Express as well as women’s magazines including Woman and Red. In the last 12 months she has offered advice on regional television news programmes and BBC local radio phone-ins.

In June 2000 she established The Debt Advisor, one of the first firms to offer comprehensive advice on all debt issues.  She had previously spent 17 years with an international firm of chartered accountants where she specialised in personal and business insolvency.

Her experience of dealing with personal debt issues led in 2005 to her being asked to join a government-led working party to look at ways of simplifying the formal procedures of helping people out of debt.

Since then she has led the way in calling for a professional personal debt/insolvency study course to be set up for all people involved in debt advice to individuals. 

She works together with a psychologist and they have developed strategies to help motivate clients to change their lifestyle.  As a busy married mother of three teenage children she understands the pressures that families face.  She believes that with a positive outlook there is always a sensible way to deal with financial difficulties and turn lives around.

Bev recently launched a campaign to bring about a greater understanding of debt and its links to depression giving debtors in the UK access to a two-pronged approach to relieve the misery caused by debt.  She is the first in the UK to offer debt advice and personal counselling under one roof.  The campaign is geared to help those who are seriously struggling with the wider effects including depression, relationship breakdown, poor work performance and associated health problems.



 
News: Beachcroft launches online employment law training

PR109Bm

Press Release: 6 June 2006

Beachcroft launches online employment law training for business managers

Beachcroft LLP, the national commercial law firm, is launching a range of online employment law courses designed for business managers and staff across the Midlands. The comprehensive suite of courses has been designed in response to a raft of new legislation, and an increasing demand by employers for legal training - as part of their people development programmes and also to help defend claims, such as sex and (from October) age discrimination.

The training was developed in partnership with internet training specialist Absolutely Training and is designed to promote confidence in dealing with those aspects of employment law that affect day-to-day working life and most frequently give rise to uncertainty and legal liabilities, such as discrimination, managing stress and handling grievances.

As the training is web-based, it offers employers the ability to train large numbers of staff consistently and cost-effectively across multiple locations. The short courses are undertaken by staff at their desks or from home via the Beachcroft elearning website. They take the user through a series of interactive exercises and illustrations, providing managers with practical guidance on a range of employment issues. At the end of the course, the user can take a patented, randomised course test to check their understanding.

Martin Cannon, Beachcroft's regional senior partner in Birmingham commented: "An employer can be sued for compensation if one of its employees, for example, harasses another, but a defence is available to employers who can show that they have taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

The effective training of managers and staff in equal opportunities and acceptable standards of behaviour in the workplace will assist employers wishing to establish a "reasonable steps" defence to discrimination claims. Our elearning packages ensure that an organisation achieves full staff coverage in its training and also includes a reporting function that means it can prove what actions have been taken to educate the workforce."

Modules available from 5 June include 'Age Discrimination' and 'Equal Opportunities in the Workplace'. The elearning modules add to the range of other employment training services Beachcroft currently offers, such as in-house workshops and web-cast seminars.

-ends-

For more information, please contact:
Debbie Garritty/Emily Goehler, Bell Pottinger North
dgarritty@bellpottingernorth.co.uk / egoehler@bellpottingernorth.co.uk
Tel: 01625 506444

Notes to Editor
Beachcroft LLP (formerly Beachcroft Wansbroughs) is one of the largest national commercial law firms in the UK. With over 1,400 employees, it provides legal advice and litigation services from seven locations in the UK (two in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Winchester) and also in Brussels. From routine insurance claims management to 'trusted adviser' work for major national and international organisations, the firm delivers integrated legal services to clients in four main industry groups: health and public sector; real estate and construction; financial services (including the insurance industry); and technology, media and telecommunications.

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession, recognised 56 Beachcroft partners as leading lawyers, taking the firm into the top 20 of all UK law firms; the firm received 20 new entries in Legal 500 2005, a guide to the top 500 lawyers in the UK; in Legal Week's client satisfaction survey, the firm came second amongst all law firms in the UK; and Beachcroft is one of the largest law firms in the country to obtain the 'Investors in People' award across all of its offices.

The Birmingham office currently includes 11 partners and 174 staff. Its partners have particular expertise in construction and engineering, injury risk, PFI/ projects, procurement, and professional negligence. The firm also has a specialist claims validation team which deals with all aspects of fraud work, including motor, employer liability and public liability.

For further information, please visit: www.beachcroft.co.uk

Absolutely Training (www.absolutelytraining.com )
Absolutely is at the forefront of the training industry. Developing cutting edge e-training programmes and training software. Their courses can be backed up with classroom training and relevant online and offline training materials. Over 150,000 employees from the UK's leading companies take their courses each year.

Absolutely Training currently partners with many of the UK's best known trade bodies such as the BBA, CML and ifs.

 

This feed contains news releases issued by the clients of Bell Pottinger North

www.bellpottingernorth.co.uk





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