first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article TrainingOn 18 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. This week’s training newsBattle areas reopenThe armed forces haveresumed routine military training at 21 specially selected areas across the UKafter closing sites to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. Allmilitary training areas have been closed since 23 February, with only essentialcoaching continuing during this time. The decision to resume training cameafter discussion between MAFF/SERAD and local farmers. The reopened sites arenot located in infected areas and are not grazed.  www.mod.ukCanon jobs go globalCanon is running aglobal training programme for its senior managers in July. The two-week coursefor the 18 senior executives will focus on developing marketing and peopleskills, the camera and office equipment manufacturer said. The course is beingrun in conjunction with IMD Business School in Lausanne, extends coachingStandard Chartered Bankis rolling out an online training programme to its 18,000 staff, based in HongKong and the UK, over the next four to six weeks. There will be a mixture ofclassroom-based and online training covering subjects such as financialcompliance and IT. Training provider Saba will monitor the effectiveness andthe cost implications for the bank. www.sbc.comlast_img read more

High-flying partnership offers future model

first_img Comments are closed. Xchanging’s sophisticated partnership deal with BAE Systems has enabled theaerospace and electronics giant’s UK HR operation to concentrate on itsstrategic role while transferring professional and administration services to aseparate entity. Nic Paton reportsOne of the more innovative of a spate of HR outsourcing deals is the ongoingpartnership between defence, aerospace and electronics giant BAE Systems andXchanging a “pure play” outsourcing provider characterised by its 100percent BPO focus. BAE System’s outsourcing journey began back in November 1999, when the thenBritish Aerospace merged with Marconi Electronic Systems, the defence arm ofthe former GEC, to form the current company. That merger created a company with some 120,000 employees worldwide, withabout 70,000 in the UK dotted around 70 sites. Inevitably, the City, with itsfocus on improving shareholder value, wanted to see substantial cost savingsand synergy benefits arising from the merger. A target of £275m was set,equating to approximately 15 per cent savings across the company. Suddenly, the group’s merged HR department found itself struggling to copenot only with the complexities of combining its own function, but managing asubstantial cost-saving and headcount reduction programme. Compounding this wasthe fact that there were very few common HR processes in place across theorganisation. “There was a lot of duplication. There was a ratio of about one HRmember of staff to 70 employees, whereas the benchmark was around one to200-plus,” says Alan Bailey, head of business development at Xchanging. Problems included different departments not talking to each other enough andinsufficient investment in enabling technology. “It was focused onfragmented and reactive administration support. There was also a plethora ofdifferent HR systems that were not integrated,” he adds. In starting to try to tackle the HR issues thrown up by the merger, BAESystems drew up a model of shared services that would act as a commonfunctional template, explains BAE Systems HR director Tony McCarthy. Around 70per cent of the 700-strong HR team would have worked on providing sharedservices, 5 per cent in expert strategic roles and 25 per cent in client facingroles. However, resistance from the local HR teams to this pooling of resourcesmeant it quickly became clear that the 15 per cent cost saving was not going tobe met through this route. It would also have meant the need for heavyinvestment in HR – including a major investment in IT. This was not attractiveto the company which was interested in investing elsewhere. An alternative was therefore needed. BAE Systems had already outsourced itsIT services and so it was not a huge leap to look at the idea of outsourcingsome of its HR capability. The difficulty was that with morale among staff lowbecause of the changes being pushed through by the integration process,management was reluctant to simply hive off its HR function. A moresophisticated partnership approach was needed. “We basically felt there was a lot of growth in this market and if wecould get a partnership with an organisation that was prepared to share thebenefits of HR provision then there would be a business benefit too,” saysMcCarthy. It was at this point that Xchanging came into the picture. Talks beganshortly after the time of the merger, with the two sides mapping out apartnership agreement during 2000, and finally going live from May 2001. In a deal worth £250m over 10 years, some 500 HR staff were transferred intwo batches to a separate enterprise partnership called Togethr HR Services.Although Togethr is a subsidiary of Xchanging, BAE Systems has a 50 per centstake. Xchanging offers BAE Systems a range of services, including compensation andbenefits, development, recruitment and graduate recruitment, pensionsadministration, international assignments and all the HR data administration. BAE Systems has retained ownership of HR policy and strategy and maintainsthe HR business partner role for its main business units. Issues still dealtwith in-house include matters such as group policies on pay and relationshipswith trade unions. Unusually for an outsourcing agreement, and further evidence of theinnovative nature of this deal, Xchanging agreed to invest $20m in creating abrand new e-HR capability IT system for BAE Systems. Innovations have includedtechnology that allows employees to access their personnel records from theirdesktop. “We have thrust IT into the hands of all our employees,” saysMcCarthy. He cites the company’s senior management development programme as agood example of this policy in action. The programme includes a personaldevelopment plan, a peer recognition system and 360-degree appraisal – all ofwhich have been linked into the office IT system. “It forces all our 600senior line managers from North America, Australia and Europe to use thesystem.” Through the partnership, BAE Systems is guaranteed ‘substantial’ costreductions for the first five years across the different HR functions, meaningmanagement can factor actual reductions into their business plans, adds Bailey.However, neither side was prepared to reveal the exact extent of savings made. Beyond the benefits to the bottom line, the partnership initiative has ledto streamlining of the HR process and freed the in-house team to think morestrategically without having to worry about the day-to-day function. In such a big organisation, it was also vital to have a partner that couldunderstand the complexities and different demands of the business, saysMcCarthy. “We needed an HR organisation that could be very quick on itsfeet. One that could react and push for changes in our different organisationsbut without massive bureaucracy,” he explains. Looking to the future, Togethr is currently purely a UK operation. ButMcCarthy says: “We are now looking to offer this approach to BAESystems inAustralia and North America.” Other elements, as yet unspecified, could also be bolted onto thepartnership. “It could be that within 12 months we will review theposition and see whether there are other things that we may wish totransfer,” says McCarthy. And the fact Togethr is a partnership, rather than a simple outsourcingcontract, means the arrangement is extremely flexible. For instance, a further50/50 partnership with Xchanging on HR procurement was signed in October. The £800m deal, one of the biggest outsourcing agreements ever signed in theUK is evidence, if more were needed, of BAE System’s commitment to the conceptof outsourcing, and its belief that taking such a route can benefit thebusiness in more ways than just reducing bureaucracy or saving money. The deal will see a raft of issues related to procurement bundled togetherunder one roof rather than the responsibility for buying in HR services beingsplit between the various business units. The 10-year contract will see Pro-cur managing the entire supply chain forBAE System’s UK subsidiaries in HR-related services such as car fleet hire,non-technical contract labour, recruitment, training programmes, hiring ofconsultants and healthcare. It was very important to BAE Systems to ensure aseamless delivery of services across the entire supply chain. For McCarthy, the key to effective outsourcing is much more than simplyensuring functions are taken off an organisation’s hands and cost savings made,vital though these two benefits are. By thinking beyond a straightforwardoutsourcing deal, BAE Systems has successfully created an innovativepartnership that can expand and grow with the organisation, and add value tothe business. “You have to make sure that it lines up with your strategicimperatives,” he says. How outsourcing has helped BAE systems cut costs and invest– Worldwide, BAE Systems employs some120,000 people. In the UK, there are 70,000 employees, 50,000 of whom workwithin the wholly owned company and 20,000 within joint ventures. It has 70sites around the country– The HR department is made up of 700 staff, about 500 of whomwere transferred to the Togethr partnership under the outsourcing agreementwith Xchanging– The key main benefit to BAE Systems has been the guaranteedcost savings for the first five years of the contract– On top of this, BAE Systems has been free to focus onstrategy and business partnership, leaving Togethr handling the day-to-day HRfunction, including data administration, compensation and benefits, pensionsadministration, development and recruitment– Other benefits include a $20m investment by Xchanging on anew e-HR capability IT system and the potential for expansion, particularly tothe US and Australian and operations– Further developments include a recently signed 10-yearpartnership on HR procurement, one of the largest ever signed in the UK High-flying partnership offers future modelOn 5 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. 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Survey attacks HR’s lack of academic knowledge

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Survey attacks HR’s lack of academic knowledgeOn 12 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. HR professionals have come under fire for their lack of knowledge in areport by a professor from University College London. The study An HR Survey by Professor Adrian Furnham, criticises HR managers fordoing little academic reading beyond the trade press and for their lack ofknowledge about academic models and psychometric tests. The research, commissioned by London-based recruitment company StrategicDimensions, took 18 months to complete and is based on a three-pagequestionnaire given out to 120 HR professionals. Respondents were asked what they read, what academic models they followedand which psychometric tests they are aware of. Furnham concludes that HR professionals are not confident about theirknowledge of models on corporate change or corporate culture. The study shows that although respondents had some knowledge of certainpsychometric tests they were not aware of evidence on psychometric validity. Most of the 84 HR professionals who responded reveal that when they needadvice they ask their peer group, a major HR consultancy, the CIPD or thecompany solicitor. “Friends and lawyers seem to be the first port of call for these HRspecialists. It says a lot about what they do,” said Furnham. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe HR directors should haveoperational experience in another function before appointment. A similarproportion think the HR profession is low paid compared to other businessfunctions. Furnham commented: “One could be forgiven as an outsider for thinkingthat HR managers are, or should be, depressed by the [pay] situation and areeager to leave the speciality, but this is clearly not the case. “Some would see this self-centred stance as both realistic and helpfulas it motivates this group to change their reputation.” – Three-quarters of the HR professionals surveyed rely on Personnel Todayto remain up to date with the profession. By Quentin Reade last_img read more

UK tackles skills shortages with refugee programme

first_imgManaged migration is the key to meeting skills shortages and developing aneffective asylum system in the UK, Home Secretary David Blunkett has announced.The UK government launched its Highly Skilled Migrant programme on 28January, which will increase the number of well-qualified staff permitted towork in the UK. Blunkett said: “We must have managed migration and inward migrationpolicies to make sure those seeking work here or escaping persecution elsewhereare manageable within the social cohesion of the UK.” He added: “Offering alternative routes [to claiming political asylum]seems to me a prerequisite to getting the rest of the programme right.” Other economic migration initiatives include changing work permit proceduresto make extension easier, and increasing the period of validity of the permitsfrom four to five years. A new scheme will allow seasonal and less skilled workers to secure permits,and overseas graduates will now be able to apply for a work permit directlyfollowing their studies. UK tackles skills shortages with refugee programmeOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Drug abusing soldiers could be given rehab

first_img Previous Article Next Article Drug abusing soldiers could be given rehabOn 16 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. The Ministry of Defence is considering introducing rehabilitation coursesfor soldiers testing positive for drug use. MoD spokeswoman Sarah Hayward stressed that the scheme is only a proposal atthis stage and if adopted would only be used in exceptional circumstances. She said it was not currently the role of the forces to providerehabilitation and that having regular drug users in the army is unacceptable.”We are not a rehabilitation unit,” she added. Last year 668 soldiers tested positive for drug use – up from 540 in 2000,but the MoD claims one of the reasons for the increase is that the number oftests carried out has increased. Testing is compulsory but units are not aware of when they are to be tested.Hayward said current soldiers who test positive for drugs can be retained inthe services, providing it is their first such offence and they are supportedby their commanding officer. The offending soldier must also be young, new totheir career, under the rank of Lance Corporal and the substance being abusedmust not be a Class A drug. Hayward said because of these strict controls only 7 per cent of soldiers whotest positive for the first time are retained. Comments are closed. last_img read more

HR brings out the beast in our Guru

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. This week’s guruHR brings out the beast in our GuruIn the 3 December issue, Guru waxed lyrical about a new BBC training videocalled Corporate Animals, which uses behaviours from the animal kingdom as ametaphor for how humans can be successful in the office. Lions, for example, represent the office strategist, while bees are the teamplayers and squirrels are the problem solvers. However, Guru was at a loss to identify a creature that summed up themysterious cocktail of animal instincts that makes him so special and askedreaders for suggestions. He was a little taken aback by some of the responses. Stuart Atchison pickeda duck-billed platypus – “It looks odd, no-one knows what it is for andno-one can be sure what it does.” While Martin Harvey opted for a chameleon – “Big eyes that missnothing, ability to blend in with your surroundings, fast moving…whenrequired – and that tongue !”. Other suggestions included snake (in the grass), giraffe (not afraid tostick its neck out) squirrel (extremely careful with its nuts?) and the dodo(extinct and of little use to anyone). However, Guru’s favourite was from Judith Hewitt, who suggested a dungbeetle, for its tenacity, determination and creativity, despite the subjectmatter. Embarrassing work party ghosts of Christmas pastGuru was not alone in making aspectacle of himself at the office Christmas party. Research reveals that morethan 20 per cent of workers have admitted to doing something embarrassing attheir office festive bash.Just under half admitted to dancing inappropriately, 31 percent snogged a colleague and 23 per cent have been sick in public.More than one in five people were rude to a manager and thesame number admitted to flashing a part of their anatomy. The survey of 1,225 adults by Taylor Nelson Sofre on behalf ofMomentum Financial Services also reveals 17 per cent have broken something intheir workplace due to drunken behaviour.Guru can’t remember much about his office party but thephotocopied image of a rather chunky pair of buttocks discovered pinned on thestaff notice board the following day looked worryingly familiar.Teaching top dogs new tricksDuring his teenage years, Guru wasfascinated by the obscure BBC2 television programme One Man and His Dog, whichinvolved shepherds putting their dogs and flocks through their paces.He marvelled at the incredible rapport between man and dog andtheir combined ability to control a dozen ewes through a series of gates.Fantastic!So he was delighted to learn that the Mainline Border CollieCentre is holding team-building exercises for senior executives where they willbe able to learn some of these skills.Guru looks forward to hearing determined cries of “come byboy/girl” ringing throughout the offices of the UK.German posties hounded out of jobsTalking of dogs, German postmen andwomen have been given training courses on how to psycho-analyse hairy mutts.Apparently, managers are concerned over the number of dog bitestheir staff are suffering from – 20 postal staff quit in one month after beingmistaken for tasty frankfurters. Animal experts are teaching the posties how to judge a dog’smood. Trainer Stefan Biegier commented: “We will show them dog expressionsand teach them to watch out for the danger signs.”Guru wishes that he had graduated from such a course before hisoffice Christmas party. HR brings out the beast in our GuruOn 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Poor practice in HR to blame for skills shortages

first_imgPoor practice in HR to blame for skills shortagesOn 18 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Poor internal HR practices are to blame for a dramatic increase in staffskills shortages, according to a Learning and Skills Council report. The study concludes that a lack of training and HR development is a majorfactor in the rise in the proportion of firms reporting skills shortages from16 per cent in 2001 to 23 per cent. Large employers are the most affected with a third of companies employingmore than 500 staff reporting skills shortages. Three out of 10 firms from the wholesale, retail and hospitality sectorsreport skills gaps followed by a fifth of manufacturing organisations. The Skills in England 2002 research claims that HR practices are inflexibleand employers have been slow to embrace work-life balance. last_img read more

Managing Covid-19 ‘clusters’ set to be a key challenge for occupational health

first_imgRelated posts: Managing Covid-19 ‘clusters’ set to be a key challenge for occupational healthBy Nic Paton on 2 Oct 2020 in Shielding, Stress, Mental health conditions, Coronavirus, Health surveillance, OH service delivery, Return to work and rehabilitation, Occupational Health, Personnel Today Shutterstock A recent SOM/Royal College of Nursing webinar offered occupational health practitioners valuable advice on how to manage Covid-19 outbreaks as we head through the autumn and into the winter and how, despite all the added pressures it is bringing, the pandemic could actually be an opportunity for the profession. Nic Paton listened in.As we head into the autumn there is a lot still that we don’t know or understand about Covid-19. One issue increasing becoming clear, however, is that the government’s so-called ‘whack-a-mole’ strategy for dealing with local flare-ups – implementing temporary local lockdowns or restrictions – is likely to cause challenges for occupational health as well as, potentially, community tensions on the ground.Especially where an outbreak is centred on a specific employer or premises, it stands to reason that how that employer responds will be in the media and public spotlight, with the occupational health team, if there is one, also potentially likely to be centre-stage.That was very much the case, for example, with the cluster of cases that emerged at food manufacturer Greencore in August, where occupational health provision is led by the highly regarded head of occupational health Julie Routledge.Over the summer we also saw clusters emerging at, to pick out just a few, a Tesco Extra in Swindon, a food processing plant in Scotland, and a bar in Aberdeen. Indeed, a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in August calculated that there had been 1,376 clusters of Covid-19 in occupational settings within the UK and 15 European Union/European Economic Area countries between March and early July, with the health sector, food processing and packaging, manufacturing and office settings all highlighted.The role of occupational health practitioners in providing advice, guidance and leadership to employers and individuals in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak or cluster was at the heart of a recent webinar on OH and Covid-19 run by SOM, the Society of Occupational Medicine, and the Royal College of Nursing.Chaired by SOM’s president, Professor Anne Harriss, the webinar brought together Susie Singleton, consultant nurse, health protection, and national lead for Integrated Personal Commissioning, Centres and Regions, at Public Health England, and Dr Shriti Pattani, chair of the NHS Health at Work Network and clinical director at London North West University Hospitals NHS Trust.Defining an ‘outbreak’Singleton began the event by recapping how the pandemic had unfolded since the beginning of the year and where we are now. As she conceded: “This is unprecedented. I have been involved in previous epidemics, pandemics, big outbreaks – but nothing of this scale. And I think that everybody is really trying to work hard to get the best information out to everybody as quickly as possible.”When managing an outbreak, it was important, first, to recognise what was even meant by the term ‘outbreak’, she emphasised. “Within this country we have very defined terminology and, within epidemiology, it is normally defined as more than two cases related in place and time,” she said.“But I must also stress that you can have an ‘outbreak’ with one case. If we have an unusual disease that is not normally associated with this country, or it has been imported; something like polio, then one case would constitute an outbreak, and we would then instigate outbreak control measures. So the definitions will change depending on what it is we are looking at,” she added.It was also important to try to gauge whether what you are dealing with is a workplace outbreak or a workforce outbreak, she advised.“We are seeing asymptomatic carriage within the community coming into the workplace. And then it can be transferred on to other colleagues at work. Some of the high-profile ones that have hit the news are some of the food manufacturing plants. So there is a lot of work undergoing and being underpinned in identifying what is happening within the regions and within the workplaces, and there are health protection teams and contact tracing teams up and down the country now.“In some of the high-prevalence areas local authorities are also undertaking contact tracing when people are not responding to digital platforms or being contacted by email or telephone. Some of the local authorities are now contact tracing and going door to door. So there is a lot of work, and a lot of very tired staff out there,” Singleton said.“It is really, really important to try and understand what we know, what we don’t know, what we actually think is happening; developing a sort of hypothesis, and then going on to test it to see if we can understand what is going on. This in public health terms also includes what I like to call ‘shoe leather epidemiology’.“You can’t manage an outbreak from an office; you can’t manage an outbreak without physically going and seeing what is going on. Because a lot of the information we pick up is ‘soft’ intelligence. It might be about the environment, the ventilation, the airflows. It might be about waste control. It may be about human behaviours. So it is very, very important to talk to the people on the ground, and they are often the ones who will have the information that best helps to control the outbreaks,” Singleton added.Key steps of effective risk assessmentSingleton also recapped on some of the key steps of effective risk assessment. “If you suspect an outbreak, then we need to investigate; it needs to be reported on suspicion and not wait until it is actually confirmed. We need to ensure that we have identified the hazard. We need to decide who might be harmed. We need to assess the risks and what action to take. We need to make a recording of the findings. We need to review the risk assessments. And we need to learn the lessons and cascade the lessons.”The second speaker, Dr Shriti Pattani, focused on risk assessment for Covid-19 and the issue of protecting vulnerable staff within the workplace. She emphasised that, of course, risk assessment by itself is not enough. “It needs to be followed through with appropriate control measures and monitoring.”Within this, it was important not just to look at how an individual might get Covid-19 but also the extent of harm that could occur if they became infected. “As OH practitioners, we need to make an assessment on the likelihood of that harm occurring to the individual health of the worker,” she pointed out.This had led not only to an increase in workload for many within OH but also the need to be working with managers in a different way. “We [occupational health] promote the idea that they [managers] look at functional capacity, not individual health. I personally don’t know of any other risk assessments over my years of practising as an OH physician under health and safety law that has required this level of input from occupational health. In my department over the last month we have received 1,350 risk assessments that we personally needed to get involved with,” she said.At her trust, the OH service had created a risk assessment tool with an appendix of all the health conditions outlined by Public Health England as making an individual vulnerable to Covid-19. “We asked managers to simply ask their member of staff, ‘do you have one of these conditions?’, and not to actually to go into the detail of the condition or what it is or any of the treatments. And that actually produced a very efficient way of dealing with this particular issue around managers having access to health information,” said Dr Pattani.Along with the ongoing and updated guidance from the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England (at least until is replaced by the government’s proposed new National Institute for Health Protection), Dr Pattani highlighted the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 risk assessment tool as being valuable, along with the ‘Covid age’ medical risk assessment tool developed by ALAMA (the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors) and SOM’s suite of return-to-work guidance and toolkits.New national clinical assessment toolkitDr Pattani also pointed to the development of a new national clinical assessment toolkit by the government that would be available for clinicians, including occupational health practitioners, “later in the year”.As she outlined: “The idea is that we can actually give our patients, our workers, a consistent approach to assessing their clinical vulnerability. And, as healthcare practitioners – GPs, specialists and OH practitioners – we can all sing from the same hymn sheet and give our patients and our workers the same clinical risk advice.”For all the challenges Covid-19 was posing for occupational health practitioners, and all the added pressure and workload it was creating, the pandemic was, arguably, also an opportunity for the profession to show its worth to employers and the wider public, Dr Pattani argued.“I think there has never been a better opportunity for us to demonstrate the value that a well-resourced occupational health service can bring, and our special skills in actually managing and supporting and assessing the fitness to work of our workforce,” she said.“Certainly, I know that in the NHS occupational health has had a very high profile and we’ve had many staff who have been redeployed in my service. We went from 12 staff to 36 within two weeks to deal with Covid hotlines, swabbing, antibody testing, risk assessment, now track and trace and the big asymptomatic staff testing programme that is starting,” she said.“Nationally, certainly, there is more of a focus on investing in occupational health. So, I hope this might be a real opportunity for occupational health to be recognised as an important speciality [sic] in its own right, and an investment made in occupational health services,” she added.Possibility of a Covid-19 vaccineDuring the webinar’s question and answer session, Dr Pattani was asked to offer her advice on how OH should best be managing and supporting workers who are anxious or fearful about returning to physical workspaces. She emphasised it was vital to understand their anxieties – it could be, for example, it was more about travelling on public transport than actually being in the work environment – and whether the fears were more perception than reality.In her trust, all workers who had been shielding had been sent individual letters outlining the trust’s risk mitigation actions, managers had arranged personal calls to run through a Covid risk assessment and, where appropriate or necessary, workers had been referred to the trust’s employee assistance programme. “For those who were extremely anxious, within occupational health we have been running Covid hotlines; so we actually called them to have an independent conversation with them as well,” she pointed out.Susie Singleton was then asked for her view on the chances of a viable vaccine becoming available by the end of this year. “The rule of thumb has always been that, if we identify a new vaccine, it normally takes 10 years from lab to shelf or patient or client or whoever we are giving it to,” she pointed out.“In reality, yes there are a couple of vaccines currently in the human trials aspect, and the UK is one of the leading lights in this. To have it one the shelf and ready by December I would doubt very much. It is the safety mechanism – there is a vaccine out there that is looking very, very promising – but in reality I would say, if everything goes to plan, we are probably looking at spring 2021 or after. I hope I’m wrong!” she added.The webinar concluded with the results of a poll of participants asking how they felt OH professionals would be involved, and where they would most add value, if there was a second wave of Covid-19 this autumn.The majority (90%) said return to work would be the key area, along with case management and managing sickness absence (84%), managing and supporting mental ill health (79%) and leading on risk assessment (78%).As well as contributing to the webinar, Dr Pattani has written about her experiences as an NHS occupational health physician during Covid-19 in the August edition of the journal Occupational Medicine. This has included how the trust set up a call centre-style hotline, a drive-through and community testing programme, and a seven-day OH and testing service. The article can be found at“Coronavirus: Prime minister says ‘we’ll be doing whack-a-mole’ on local flare-ups”, Sky News, May 2020,“Greencore’s Covid 19-positive workers ‘huge disaster’ says council leader”, BBC News, August 2020,; Statement Regarding COVID-19 Outbreak in Northampton, Greencore, August 2020,“Coupar Angus food processing plant closed after coronavirus cluster”, BBC News, August 2020,“Coronavirus: Outbreak among staff at Tesco Extra supermarket in Swindon”, Sky News, August 2020,“‘We are truly sorry’ Aberdeen bar at centre of coronavirus cluster apologises and says it is not ‘rushing to reopen’”, Daily Record, August 2020, clusters and outbreaks in occupational settings in the EU/EEA and the UK, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, August 2020,“Government creates new National Institute for Health Protection”, Department of Health and Social Care, August 2020, workforce risk assessment tool,, Covid-age, August 2020, to the workplace after the Covid-19 lockdown – toolkits, SOM, No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Talking toolkits: unpicking Covid-19 return-to-work advice for occupational healthWith the UK now gradually reopening for business, organisations across the workplace health spectrum have been developing toolkits and resources…center_img Previous Article Next Article Coronavirus: lockdown ‘phase two’ may bring added headaches for occupational healthNiggles, aches, pains and anxieties stored up during lockdown need to be nipped in the bud before they become long-term… Coronavirus, anxiety and return to work – how occupational health can make a differenceWith both the government and employers now firmly focused on encouraging workers out of home-working and back into physical workplaces,…last_img read more

Gowanus rezoning on hold — for now

first_imgDirector of the New York City Department of City Planning and chair of the City Planning Commission Marisa Lago. (NYC gov, Getty)A state Supreme Court judge has temporarily halted the Gowanus rezoning proposal.The City Planning Commission can’t certify the rezoning application until after a hearing is held on Jan. 27, according to an order signed by Judge Donald Kurtz on Friday. The order was in response to a lawsuit filed last week by a coalition of neighborhood groups seeking to block City Planning from certifying the application, which would kick off the city’s seven-month land use review.“This is a huge relief to our clients and many other community members, who have serious concerns about the lack of equity, access and transparency around the project, and want a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” attorney Jason Zakai, who represents one of the groups in the coalition, Voice of Gowanus.The city is seeking to rezone 80 blocks in the Brooklyn neighborhood, which would pave the way for the construction of an estimated 8,200 residential units, of which 3,000 would be affordable. Though the city is keen to complete the rezoning before the end of the de Blasio administration, it has yet to commit to including capital funding for two local New York City Housing Authority developments as part of its proposal. Support from Brooklyn Council members Brad Lander and Steve Levin hinges on this funding, and the rezoning hinges on their backing.The lawsuit claims that it is unlawful for the city to move forward with the Gowanus rezoning because it would need to hold hearings virtually rather than in-person. Doing so as part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure would wrongfully “deprive” community members “the opportunity to physically attend public hearings alongside like-minded attendees and show solidarity in support of a certain position with respect to the Massive Rezoning.”The complaint also alleges that City Planning failed to send application materials to local community boards and the Brooklyn borough president in a timely fashion, as required under Ulurp.Despite its failure to adequately notify the public, City Planning expected to certify the Gowanus rezoning application on Jan. 19, according to the lawsuit.In response to the judge’s order, a representative for the mayor’s office said the city is looking forward to “winning this case, beginning certification, and delivering a rezoning proposal New York City can be proud of.”“If it were easy to bring affordable housing to Gowanus and clean up the canal, then someone would’ve done it already,” Mitch Schwartz, a spokesperson for the city said in a statement. “Virtual meetings aren’t just legal and obviously appropriate in a pandemic – they have increased participation and opened the process to those unable to attend in person.”Throughout the pandemic, various government bodies, including the City Council, have held public meetings remotely. Last year, concerns were raised about the city’s Rent Guidelines Board going virtual with its meetings. The board’s tenant representatives had called for the hearings to be delayed, saying virtual proceedings would prevent crucial interactions between tenants and board members. Those hearings, however, ultimately moved forward.“Look, this is a pandemic. [The Gowanus coalition’s case] sounds like the arguments that you can only vote in person, that you can’t vote by mail,” said Gary Tarnoff, co-chair of Kramer Levin’s land use department. “People who are opposed to this are just grasping for straws, in my view.”Contact Kathryn Brenzel Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* TagsGowanusRezonings Email Address* Message* Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

The changing face of late Precambrian and early Palaeozoic reconstructions

first_imgThe SWEAT hypothesis, linking the Southwest US and East Antarctica as conjugate rift margins of a Neoproterozoic continent has lead to major revisions of late Precambrian and early Cambrian reconstructions. Geological evidence summarized here supports separation of Antarctica from Laurentia c. 750 Ma ago. A possible link between the break-up of a Neoproterozoic supercontinent and amalgamation of Gondwana during Pan-African times suggests that the Neoproterozoic was a time of rapid tectonic change. This conflicts with those theories that predict regular supercontinental cycles of 500 Ma from the time of disintegration of one supercontinent to its eventual reassembly.last_img