Disability Plan to Help a Million into Work

Disability Plan to Help a Million into Work
The BBC are reporting that the government plans to get one million more disabled people in work over the next 10 years have been set out by the government. Ministers say the new strategy will help those with disabilities keep their jobs and progress in their careers.

The new measures include widening the number of people who can issue fitness-to-work notices and additional training for mental health professionals. Labour’s Debbie Abrahams said benefit cuts had already pushed more disabled people towards poverty.

The pledge comes after ONS figures from June 2017 suggested that disabled people were twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. About 80% of non-disabled people are in work compared with just under 50% of disabled people.

Prime Minister Theresa May said a person’s life and career “should not be dictated by their disability or health condition”.

“Everyone deserves the chance to find a job that’s right for them,” she added. “I am committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people who want to work, so that everyone can go as far as their talents will take them.”

The government says in the past four years 600,000 disabled people have found work. However, the disability charity Scope says progress is too slow. The new strategy includes:

  • Measures to provide access to personalised support for those with mental health issue
  • Extending “fit note” certification – which details how a condition affects someone’s ability to work – beyond GPs to a wider group of healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, psychiatrists and senior nurses
  • Reform statutory sick pay

The 10-year plan builds on a green paper published last year which pledged to halve the so-called disability employment gap. The government hopes the changes to the fit note system will improve the identification of health conditions and treatments to help workers get back to work quickly.

But some disability activists say the problem lies in employers’ attitudes. Mik Scarlet, an inclusion specialist, says he chose to be self-employed after some “disastrous attempts” at getting work.

“Employers have little idea of how beneficial disabled employees can be to a workforce,” he said. “They also don’t understand that creating flexible inclusive work systems improves the working environment for all.”

BBC disability correspondent Nikki Fox said it was not the first time the government had pledged to get more disabled people into work. However, she said “the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people has not significantly changed for some years”.

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Ms Abrahams, warned the government’s plans “hinted at” further cuts. “The Tories’ cuts to social security support are pushing more and more disabled people into poverty,” she said.

“The Tories have already hit disabled people who are not fit for work but who may be in the future in the work related activity group. “I hope they are not going to now target the most disabled people in the support group, as their green paper hinted at.”

Google Faces Mass Legal Action in UK

Google Faces Mass Legal Action in UK
Google is being taken to court, accused of collecting the personal data of millions of users, in the first mass legal action of its kind in the UK. It focuses on allegations that Google unlawfully harvested information from 5.4 million UK users by bypassing privacy settings on their iPhones.

The group taking action – Google You Owe Us – is led by ex-Which director Richard Lloyd. He estimates the users could get as much as “several hundred pounds each”.

The case centres on how Google used cookies – small pieces of computer text that are used to collect information from devices in order to deliver targeted ads. The complaint is that for several months in 2011 and 2012 Google placed ad-tracking cookies on the devices of Safari users which is set by default to block such cookies.

The Safari workaround, as it became known, affected a variety of devices but the UK case will focus on iPhone users.

Mr Lloyd said: “In all my years speaking up for consumers, I’ve rarely seen such a massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own.” He added: “Through this action, we will send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we’re not afraid to fight back.”

Mr Lloyd said Google had told him that he must “come to California” if he wanted to pursue legal action against the firm. “It is disappointing that they are trying to hide behind procedural and jurisdictional issues rather than being held to account for their actions,” he said.

Google told the BBC: “This is not new – we have defended similar cases before. We don’t believe it has any merit and we will contest it.”

Those affected do not have to pay any legal fees or contact any lawyers as they will automatically be part of the claim, unless they wish to opt out.

The case is being supported by law firm Mishcon de Reya, which specialises in large-scale litigation.

Although there is no precedent for such a mass legal action in the UK, there is in the US. Google agreed to pay a record $22.5m (£16.8m) in a case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the same issue in 2012. The firm also settled out of court with a small number of British consumers.

The case will be heard in the High Court, likely in spring 2018.

Google & Website Security

Google & Website Security
Because of website hacking and personal data theft in recent years, most Internet users are aware that their sensitive information is at risk every time they surf the web. And yet, although the personal data of their visitors and customers is at risk, many businesses still aren’t making website security a priority. Enter Google.

The folks over at Google are known for paving the way for Internet behaviour. Last month, they took a monumental step forward in helping protect people from getting their personal data hacked. The update they released to their popular Chrome browser now warns users if a website is not secure – right inside that user’s browser. While this change is meant to help protect users’ personal data, it’s also a big kick in the pants for businesses to get moving on making their websites more secure.

Google’s Chrome update
On October 17, 2017, Google’s latest Chrome update (version 62) began flagging websites and webpages that contain a form but don’t have a basic security feature called SSL. SSL, which stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” is the standard technology that ensures all the data that passes between a web server and a browser – passwords, credit card information, and other personal data – stays private and ensures protection against hackers. In Chrome, sites lacking SSL are now marked with the warning “Not Secure” in eye-catching red, right inside the URL bar!

What’s the impact on businesses?
Because Chrome has 47% of market share, this change is likely noticed by millions of people using Chrome. And get this: 82% of respondents to a recent consumer survey said they would leave a site that is not secure, according to HubSpot Research.

In other words, if your business’ website isn’t secured with SSL, then more than 8 out of 10 Chrome users said they would leave your website.

What’s more, Google has publically stated that SSL is now a ranking signal in Google’s search algorithm. This means that a website with SSL enabled may outrank another site without SSL.

Cash Converters Reveals Customer Data Breach

Cash Converters Reveals Customer Data Breach
High Street pawnbroker Cash Converters has warned customers about a data breach on its website. The company said customer usernames, passwords and addresses had potentially been accessed by a third party. The data breach exposed accounts on the company’s old UK website, which was replaced in September 2017.

The company told the BBC it was taking the breach “extremely seriously” and had reported it to the information commissioner.

Cash Converters lets people trade in items such as jewellery and electronics for cash, and then sells the items on to others. It operates an online store that lets people buy items traded in at Cash Converters shops around the UK.

The online store was relaunched in September 2017, and the data breach affected only people with an account on the old website.

Cash Converters said no credit card information had been breached, and people who visited its stores but did not use the website had not been affected. “Our customers truly are at the heart of everything we do, and we are disappointed that they may have been affected,” the company said in a statement. “We apologise for this situation and are taking immediate action to address it.”

CPG Sector Needs to Embrace Digital Transformation

CPG Sector Needs to Embrace Digital Transformation

Leading CPG players have responded to digital disruption with huge investment in eCommerce. But if they are to truly realise the massive potential growth through the channel they need to embrace an end-to-end digital transformation programme encompassing their entire business process.

New entrants using plug and play e-commerce technology and other distribution solutions to sell directly to consumers have been increasingly disrupting the traditional CPG model with the retailer acting as middleman.

With no legacy systems designed for bulk distribution to retail partners, the new CPG players serving today’s ‘little and often’ consumer have been able to steal a march on the established sector leaders for D2C online sales.

A good example would be Dollar Shave Club. Founded in 2011, it was able to solve an industry problem: razor blades are too expensive. Established products have to do a lot of heavy lifting (marketing, R&D, supply chain costs, sustainable procurement, industry competition) that doesn’t have a positive impact on the consumer’s wallet. Dollar Shave Club spotted an opportunity to differentiate but also wasn’t restricted by wider costs. It was a true disruptor…until it was sold to Unilever in 2016 for $1bn. Warby Parker is another example.

Saddled with the disadvantages of huge cost and complexity in changing traditional business practices, global CPG giants were initially slow to react to the digital transformation agenda. But the sector has latterly been investing huge resources into eCommerce.

So far this has largely been restricted to front end activity including digital marketing, although there have been some notable examples of true digital interaction with consumers. They include UK multinational alcoholic beverages firm Diageo, which launched a smart bottle in 2015 for its iconic Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky enabling personalised communication to consumers reading the tags with their smartphones and tracking of stock.

But for CPG leaders to capitalise on the huge potential growth in direct online sales to consumers, they need to go a lot further and invest in digital transformation throughout the whole ecosystem of their business.

This means fully digitising back office business processes like finance, hr, supply chain and logistics.

In 2013 eCommerce accounted for under 1 per cent of sales in packaged food and 3 per cent in non-food but by 2020 it is predicted this could rise to 5 per cent of food sales and 10 per cent of non-food sales – accounting for up to 30 per cent of total CPG industry sales growth between 2015 and 2020.*

However, a KPMG survey of 175 global retail and consumer goods CEOs published in September revealed a third were concerned they were “not leveraging digital means to connect with their customers as effectively as possible”. **

Customer-centric strategies being pursued to tackle this include digitisation through technology transformation, greater speed to market, and stronger marketing, branding and communications, the survey found.

D2C sales enable CPG firms to collect significant volumes of customer data, providing invaluable intelligence on consumer purchasing preferences which can help shape product development and targeted sales.

Recognising the benefits, the sector is now starting to examine the digital technologies which can help throughout all areas of the business.

In its report How digital reinventors are pulling away from the pack published last month, global management consultants McKinsey&Company conclude: “The reinventors are investing at scale in technology, analytics, and digital talent – not just playing on the margins – and investing much more aggressively in business-model innovations or entirely new business models.”

The report, based on a global survey of more than 1,600 executives, continued: “To find success and sustain growth, incumbents must do two things at once: digitize their core businesses while also innovating with new digital ones. Making small changes to the edges of your business model is insufficient in an increasingly digital world.” ***

HW Global Talent Partner has been helping clients transform their global digital capabilities for the past five years.

We recently completed an executive search assignment for a Sales Director for a tier one courier and logistics firm. One of his key targets is nailing last mile delivery, which has been a significant customer service issue. The company will achieve this by investing in digital technology, making it a more attractive proposition for partners and clients alike.

Other recent assignments include a global CIO search for a tier one food business. With an $18bn P&L they will ensure the organisation has the systems and MI that make it fit for purpose for the next ten years across the entire value chain. In addition, a recently placed VP for Data & Analytics for the same client will translate consumer behaviour and trends into actionable business strategy across marketing, sales, supply chain and logistics.

As an international executive search and professional interim business, HW Global Talent Partner advises many of the world’s most recognised and respected brands, among them the leaders in consumer products and services, and retail operations of all shapes and sizes.

For a confidential discussion about how we can assist you with digital transformation contact Stuart Richards, Consultant in the Global Consumer Practice, at stuartr@hwglobalpartner.com or on +44 (0) 7787 254 600.

* The digital future of CPG companies: McKinsey&Company article – Oct 2015
** U.S. Consumer Goods & Retail CEOs More Optimistic Than Global Peers About Growth: KPMG Survey – Sept 2017
*** How digital reinventors are pulling away from the pack: McKinsey&Company survey report – Oct 2017

The CPG Sector Needs to Embrace Digital Transformation

The CPG Sector Needs to Embrace Digital Transformation

 Leading CPG players have responded to digital disruption with huge investment in eCommerce. But if they are to truly realise the massive potential growth through the channel they need to embrace an end-to-end digital transformation programme encompassing their entire business process.

New entrants using plug and play e-commerce technology and other distribution solutions to sell directly to consumers have been increasingly disrupting the traditional CPG model with the retailer acting as middleman.

With no legacy systems designed for bulk distribution to retail partners, the new CPG players serving today’s ‘little and often’ consumer have been able to steal a march on the established sector leaders for D2C online sales.

A good example would be Dollar Shave Club. Founded in 2011, it was able to solve an industry problem: razor blades are too expensive. Established products have to do a lot of heavy lifting (marketing, R&D, supply chain costs, sustainable procurement, industry competition) that doesn’t have a positive impact on the consumer’s wallet. Dollar Shave Club spotted an opportunity to differentiate but also wasn’t restricted by wider costs. It was a true disruptor…until it was sold to Unilever in 2016 for $1bn. Warby Parker is another example.

Saddled with the disadvantages of huge cost and complexity in changing traditional business practices, global CPG giants were initially slow to react to the digital transformation agenda. But the sector has latterly been investing huge resources into eCommerce.

So far this has largely been restricted to front end activity including digital marketing, although there have been some notable examples of true digital interaction with consumers. They include UK multinational alcoholic beverages firm Diageo, which launched a smart bottle in 2015 for its iconic Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky enabling personalised communication to consumers reading the tags with their smartphones and tracking of stock.

But for CPG leaders to capitalise on the huge potential growth in direct online sales to consumers, they need to go a lot further and invest in digital transformation throughout the whole ecosystem of their business.

This means fully digitising back office business processes like finance, hr, supply chain and logistics.

In 2013 eCommerce accounted for under 1% of sales in packaged food and 3% in non-food but by 2020 it is predicted this could rise to 5% of food sales and 10% of non-food sales – accounting for up to 30% of total CPG industry sales growth between 2015 and 2020.*

However,But a KPMG survey of 175 global retail and consumer goods CEOs published in September revealed a third were concerned they were “not leveraging digital means to connect with their customers as effectively as possible”. **

Customer-centric strategies being pursued to tackle this include digitisation through technology transformation, greater speed to market, and stronger marketing, branding and communications, the survey found.

D2C sales enable CPG firms to collect significant volumes of customer data, providing invaluable intelligence on consumer purchasing preferences which can help shape product development and targeted sales.

Recognising the benefits, the sector is now starting to examine the digital technologies which can help throughout all areas of the business.

In its report How digital reinventors are pulling away from the pack published last month, global management consultants McKinsey&Company conclude: “The reinventors are investing at scale in technology, analytics, and digital talent – not just playing on the margins – and investing much more aggressively in business-model innovations or entirely new business models.”

The report, based on a global survey of more than 1,600 executives, continued: “To find success and sustain growth, incumbents must do two things at once: digitize their core businesses while also innovating with new digital ones. Making small changes to the edges of your business model is insufficient in an increasingly digital world.” ***

HW Global Talent Partner has been helping clients transform their global digital capabilities for the past five years.

We recently completed an executive search assignment for a Sales Director for a tier one courier and logistics firm. One of his key targets is nailing last mile delivery, which has been a significant customer service issue. The company will achieve this by investing in digital technology, making it a more attractive proposition for partners and clients alike.

Other recent assignments include a global CIO search for a tier one food business. With an $18bn P&L they will ensure the organisation has the systems and MI that make it fit for purpose for the next ten years across the entire value chain. In addition, a recently placed VP for Data & Analytics for the same client will translate consumer behaviour and trends into actionable business strategy across marketing, sales, supply chain and logistics.

As an international executive search and professional interim business, HW Global Talent Partner advises many of the world’s most recognised and respected brands, among them the leaders in consumer products and services, and retail operations of all shapes and sizes.

For a confidential discussion about how we can assist you with digital transformation contact Stuart Richards, Consultant in the Global Consumer Practice, at stuartr@hwglobalpartner.com or on +44 (0) 7787 254 600.

* The digital future of CPG companies: McKinsey&Company article – Oct 2015
** U.S. Consumer Goods & Retail CEOs More Optimistic Than Global Peers About Growth: KPMG Survey – Sept 2017
*** How digital reinventors are pulling away from the pack: McKinsey&Company survey report – Oct 2017

Public Fails to Report Investment Scams

Public Fails to Report Investment Scams
The BBC News website is reporting that more than a fifth of those approached by investment fraudsters fail to report it, according to a survey conducted for the Financial Conduct Authority. Amongst a group of over-55s surveyed, only 63% said they would tell the authorities if they thought they had been targeted by scammers. Significantly more – 81% – said they would report fly-tipping.

The FCA is urging the public to speak up if they are contacted by people offering fraudulent investments. “By reporting suspicious investment schemes to the FCA people are having a direct impact in helping to stop fraudsters exploiting others,” said Mark Steward, director of enforcement at the FCA.

The FCA said reporting such approaches informed what steps, including legal action, the regulator would pursue.

Research conducted by Yougov on behalf of the FCA consulted more than 1,000 over 55-year-olds with household incomes of at least £30,000, a group the FCA said received a higher number of unsolicited approaches from fraudsters.

Of those surveyed and who thought they had been approached by scammers, 22% said they had not reported it, with the most common reason given that they did not know who to report it to.

The FCA said last year it received over 8,000 reports of potential scams, with Londoners filing the highest number of complaints, followed by Birmingham, Belfast and Guildford.

A warning list is published on the FCA website identifying firms that operate without authorisation. There are currently 4,000 firms on the list the FCA advises should be avoided.

UK Economy Grows by 0.4%

UK Economy Grows by 0.4%
The UK’s economy grew more than expected in the three months to September – increasing the chances of a rise in interest rates in November. Gross domestic product (GDP) for the quarter rose by 0.4%, compared with 0.3% in each of the first two quarters of the year, latest figures show.

The services industry was behind most of the rise but manufacturing, helped by car production, also helped.

Industrial production rose in July and August but construction output fell.

Amazon Receives 200 Plus Headquarters Proposals

Amazon Receives 200 Plus Headquarters Proposals
Amazon says it has now received 238 proposals from places vying to be the home of its next employment hub. The bids come after the e-commerce giant said it was looking to build a “second headquarters” in North America, where it would invest $5bn (£3.8bn) and hire as many as 50,000 people.

The locations are vying on factors such as workforce talent, tax breaks, and proximity to an international airport.

Amazon said it will decide on a location next year. Amazon has seen major growth. The firm had nearly $136bn in sales last year and employs about 380,000 people globally – adding about 39,000 since the start of 2017 alone.

Politicians are eager to attract the economic engine to their home towns.

The proposals come from all but seven US states, most southern provinces in Canada and three states in Mexico, as well as Washington DC and the territory of Puerto Rico, according to a map published by the company. The places competing include sites in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Newark and Toronto.

UK Service Sector Recovers

UK Service Sector Recovers
Activity in the UK’s service sector picked up slightly in September, according to a closely-watched survey. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for services rose to 53.6, up from an 11-month low of 53.2 in August. Above 50 indicates growth. However, the UK still lags behind the eurozone, where services PMI grew strongly to 55.8 last month.

IHS Markit said rising costs meant average prices in the UK were at their highest since April. The “price pressures will pour further fuel on expectations” that the Bank of England will raise interest rates soon, said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. But it was likely to be a “difficult decision”, because the economy was not growing that strongly, he said.

Modest services activity, combined with a decline in construction and “robust” manufacturing, leaves the UK on course for “subdued” growth of 0.3% in the third quarter, according to IHS Markit.

Analysts were split on what the health check for the service sector, which covers a wide range of businesses from restaurants to law firms, meant for the UK’s economic prospects.

“The services PMI indicates that the sector is still stuck in a rut, casting doubt over whether the Monetary Policy Committee will press ahead with a rate rise ‘over the coming months,'” said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

But another economist, Paul Hollingsworth of Capital Economics, said the rise in September’s services sector PMI would help to “assuage fears that the economy is losing momentum”.

The Bank has forecast economic growth of 0.3% in the third quarter, so the IHS Markit findings should not prevent the Bank from “pressing ahead and raising interest rates in November”, Mr Hollingsworth said. It comes after ratings agency Standard & Poor’s this week said it was “a bit sceptical” the UK economy needed an interest rate rise.

S&P said hints from the Bank that it would raise rates soon seemed designed to push up sterling and cool inflation. “Overall, we believe the Bank and Mark Carney’s recent statements are primarily aimed at propping up sterling to reduce imported inflation pressures,” S&P analysts said in a report.

They expect interest rates to rise from 0.25% to 0.5% next month, but for there to be no further rate rises in 2018.