A Poem written for the inaugural national ‘love a lawyer’ day.

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A poem crafted by Simon Lee, Associate at Hempsons

 

Some say solicitors are selfish, money-grabbing swine.
I say “We’re not like that!” (all the time).
Some say we use Latin and obscure-sounding words,
But to label lawyers vexatious verbalists is an assertion quite absurd
And I must refute it.
Though it’s true that some need no second invitation
To draft clauses without punctuation
For the sake of clarity
And legality.
Some lawyers love to litigate; some lawyers love to fight.
You may not know it, but a lawyer’s always right
-ing letters and bills,
Seeking legal-eagle thrills;
Soliciting statutory serendipity
Whilst also drafting wills.
So please remember that today is the inaugural national
‘Love A Lawyer’ day:
Lawyers, love a lawyer for lawyers need loving too;
Please don’t hurt a lawyer for we have feelings too.
Lawyers:
We’re not just toys you can play with, then discard.
Lawyers, love a lawyer. Is it really that hard?
We are human, it’s true.
If you cut us, we bleed
You
Need us.
Please please us.
Don’t leave us.
Lawyers, love a lawyer for lawyers need loving too.
Please just love a lawyer – just see what we can do
With a friendly wave and a friendly smile,
Always running the extra mile,
We come in different shapes and sizes
Full of fun and nice surprises
Please love a lawyer ‘cos that’s what I…

… is.

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Beware of bogus job applicants and serial litigants!

Guest blog by Sonia Tse, Employment Law Adviser, Ellis Whittam

There have been reports of public sector organisations and charities receiving job applications from people whose only aim is to pursue discrimination claims when they are rejected.

Employers have reported applicants applying for a job, despite the fact they do not meet the requirements of the vacancy and are clearly unsuitable for the position, or demanding high levels of reasonable adjustments, such as the provision of paid-for overnight accommodation and a carer to attend the interview with an applicant. They inform the employer that they have particular needs due to their disability.

When they are not selected for interview, they claim that employers are breaking discrimination laws and demand compensation.

Whilst there has been a recent surge in such cases, this is actually quite an old trick.

In some cases, employers are confronted with bogus job applicants – those individuals who apply for roles with the aim of pursuing compensation claims against employers, rather than to obtain employment. In others, they will have to contend with serial litigants – a person who brings numerous claims in employment tribunals.

It can be extremely vexing for employers, who can feel they need to agree to a settlement before it goes to employment tribunal proceedings.

Don’t get caught out! Understand the law and what you can do to avoid falling victim to these demands.

What do the courts say?

  • European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently considered a job applicant who was a lawyer and a former manager and had been rejected for a legal trainee position. The applicant claimed that he was discriminated due to his age and demanded compensation. The employer asserted that the rejection had been automatically generated in error. They asked him to interview, but the applicant refused. He claimed further compensation, arguing that he had also suffered sex discrimination. He discovered that although there had been over 60 job applications for the vacancies and the applications were equally submitted between men and women, all four posts had been given to women.

The ECJ clearly stated that an individual who is not seeking to obtain the role they are applying for is not covered by legal protection. If a person is only applying for a role in order to bring a claim of discrimination against an employer, they have not suffered any loss or personal injury and cannot be considered a victim. Individuals cannot use EU law to commit fraud or an abuse of rights.

  • Employment Appeal Tribunal 

In a similar case, an experienced accountant applied for over 20 jobs which were appropriate for someone who did not have much experience. When she was not offered an interview, she claimed age discrimination. Some of the companies settled with her, but others proceeded to an Employment Tribunal.

The Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the applicant had not been discriminated against. It was clear to the tribunal that her job applications were not genuine – she did not tailor her applications; she submitted complaints before knowing whether her application had succeeded and she could not explain why she was applying for such junior roles. She was ordered to pay the employer’s costs.

What can we do to protect ourselves?

Spotting such applications or serial job applicants is not always easy. Understanding an applicant’s motivations is even harder. However, if you are suspicious, or need advice on what kind of reasonable adjustments are required for a disabled applicant, you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

In any case, to avoid discrimination claims, remember to follow a fair recruitment process:

  • Ensure that the phrasing and terminology used in job advertisements do not discriminate on the basis of any of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act. This includes age, disability, race, religion, sex, etc.
  • Avoid making assumptions when sifting through the applications. Focus on who best matches the job and person specifications. If possible, two or more people should be involved to ensure the sifting process does not reflect one individual’s prejudice.
  • Take care that the questions you ask in interviews are not discriminatory.
  • All recruitment decisions must be clearly reasoned and documented.
  • If you are using automated selection criteria to screen job applications, please be aware discrimination may still happen.
  • Train staff so that they understand equality laws.
  • Ensure that reasonable adjustments are made for attending interview.

 

If you have any questions about your job advertisements, please give us a free initial advice call. Members, please contact 0845 226 8393, ask for the Partnerships Legal Team and quote your ACEVO membership number.

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Disaster. Is it all bad?

Rachael Romasanta from Endsleigh on why every organisation needs to consider disaster recovery planning

Disaster.  Is it all bad?

With no preparation at all then the answer is a resounding “yes”.  But by gritting the teeth and tackling a practical plan to recover from disaster before it strikes, organisations can even benefit from the process of preparedness itself.  A classic win-win. Disasters come in many forms, including major IT outage, failure from a third party supplier, product failure and even reputational damage caused by the people in your organisation.  So if you haven’t seriously considered facing your fears and done some planning, here’s Endsleigh’s top five things to consider to support your business in such times of need.

  1. Review risks. A Business Impact Analysis is a thorough piece of work which identifies and measures the risks your organisation faces, and their impact.  It looks at the chance of occurrence and what effects each risk will have. It should include major loss and smaller interruptions.  You might even decide to change some things to reduce risk now.  Why wait for a disaster?
  2. Think through what you would actually do. Clarify the organisation’s priorities, the business-critical processes and key people it relies on. Think through the options and services available in the event of critical services failures.  Look at costs, and the practicality of deploying solutions, such as alternative premises and back-up IT services.  Senior management must take direct charge of leading the recovery plan.  Tough calls will be required supported by fast decision-making.  This may help reveal better processes which can be rolled out to business-as-usual.
  3. Plan it. Write down who does what, how and when. Make it both tangible and explicit in order to avoid delays at the time of need.  Include communications plans which are so often the key between success and failure.  It needs to be a living document, subject to review as your business changes, and available constantly.
  4. Rehearse and test. One of the most crucial parts of a Disaster Recovery Plan is a series of rehearsal exercises. This will enable you to make improvements as well as identify who is best placed to deal with what.   Desk-based exercises, practising the “call-out” process or full-blown disaster exercises can really help develop your organisation’s capability to work in crisis.
  5. Keep it living. Monitor the results of rehearsals, update the plan, promote it internally, train for it and test it again. In short, build disaster recovery into your routine business operations and your organisation can strengthen its protection against disaster.

No-one wants to deploy the plan for real.  The development of disaster mitigation strategies makes sense to reduce the chances of needing disaster recovery.  Insurance exists too which can fund some of the contingency plans, so perhaps a combination of planning, risk mitigation and insurance might be effective.

Rachael Romasanta

Account Manager Niche Commercial Markets Team

Endsleigh Insurances (Brokers) Limited

Telephone: 01242 866852

Mobile: 07841 496839

rachael.romasanta@endsleigh.co.uk

https://www.endsleigh.co.uk/media/1334059/Content-Disclaimer.pdf

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Reflecting on Risk

A guest blog by Radojka Miljevic and Alice Smith from Campbell Tickell

Campbell Tickell’s work in governance over the last decade has underlined the responsibility of every board for risk management.  In our experience, most organisational failures are ultimately governance failures. Whenever we’ve been called in to help with ‘problem cases’, it’s common to find a board that has ignored important warning signs heralding problems. Or we find a Board that has been overwhelmingly passive, simply responding to information rather than actively requesting information and asking challenging questions of itself and others. Managing risk well demands that a board looks forward, as well as learns lessons from the past.

Owning risk

One important principle is for the board to take full ownership of risk. In practice, we’ve seen many boards execute this responsibility through simply looking at the ‘red’ bits or isolated rows of the risk register. Boards sometimes get into the weeds by focusing too much on an overly operational risk register prepared by the executive. Whilst registers have their role to play, they can have a soporific effect on the best of trustees, as they struggle with huge sheets of paper and tiny font.

Discussions about risk should be dynamic. Risks tend not to crystallise in isolation, and the domino effect can sometimes move with velocity, as the organisation tries to catch up with emerging issues. We encourage boards to sometimes push the risk register to one side to first have a conversation exploring any new risks or concerns about the organisation, and to look at a register only after this reflective conversation has taken place. Boards need to understand the warning signs and the potential compound impact when risks converge –  for larger organisations we would expect to see some tools in use for anticipating the dynamic nature of risk, whether scenario planning, stress testing or other forms of modelling.

The positives of risk

Taking risks can be positive, and in some areas a board may decide that it wants to take more risk. It’s not enough to sit on ample reserves in times of uncertainty – boards have a responsibility to put their resources to use to meet their objects. Working through the board’s risk appetite across a range of activities can help everyone to understand where the scope is to be entrepreneurial (with whatever controls are needed) and where aversion to risk is necessary to protect the organisation. And risk appetite is not static – the Board will want to revisit it when circumstances change, externally or internally.

Any reflection on risk isn’t complete without a word about the Audit and Risk Committee. In any larger charity, we’d expect to see such a committee in place providing assurance to the board about the adequacy and robustness of internal controls and risk mitigations. This doesn’t remove or diminish the Board’s ultimate ownership of risk, but rather informs and responds to it.

Radojka Miljevic and Alice Smith, Campbell Tickell

Campbell Tickell is an established multidisciplinary management consultancy focusing principally on housing, regeneration, charities and social care, and with a growing involvement in sports and leisure. Our services extend across: strategic and business planning; governance and regulation; performance management; procurement; asset management and development; growth and new business; regeneration and stock transfer; customer services; communications and public relations; human resources and recruitment.

http://www.campbelltickell.com/

 

Talk charity insurance, and be in with a chance to WIN a day’s free leadership workshop for five of your managers in the 2016 Endsleigh Prize Draw.

 

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As ACEVO’s insurance partner, Endsleigh Insurance Brokers will be exhibiting at the annual conference in London this year. We’re looking forward to it and hope to meet as many of you as possible.  You’ll find us in the exhibitors’ area so come over to meet us for two very good reasons.

Firstly, insurance – it’s what we do and what we know, so it’s no surprise that we love talking about it too.  It’s getting ever more complex in the charity and NFP sector so we’ll be more than happy to talk with you about what’s changing and how the right insurance can be crucial to your organisation.  We’ll be on the stand for the whole day so there should be time to talk.

Secondly, we always run a competition at the conference.  This year we’ve aligned the competition with ACEVO’s aims to support leadership development.  It’s open to all and if you are the lucky winner you can choose your prize from one of four practical and engaging workshops:

  • First steps to leadership
  • Influencing through presentation skills
  • Coaching
  • HR themes and practices for 2017

Your workshop will be delivered at your location by Endsleigh’s Learning and Development Team.  All feature practical, hands-on training to help your teams bring new skills into your organisation.

Entry is easy.  Just visit our stand at the ACEVO Conference 2016, pop your  business card into the box and the lucky winner will be drawn that day.  More information will be available on the stand.

The winner will be chosen and notified on Monday 21st November 2016.  For full terms and conditions visit www.endsleigh.co.uk/acevo-competition

As your dedicated account manager, I look forward to meeting you at the Endsleigh stand.

Rachael Romasanta

Account manager

Endsleigh Insurance Brokers