Did you miss Back to Church Sunday?

I have previously explained that Back to Church Sunday, the 27th September, this year, was created by the Church of England in the North West, to make it easy for you to come along if you have not been for a long time.  You know how hard it is to get back in touch with someone you have not spoken to or written to for a long time.  Breaking the invisible ice.  This is supposed to help you get over that.

If you did try it, I hope you enjoyed it and got something out of it.  If not, I hope you will give your vicar, or someone in the leadership of your local church, some feedback.  Nowadays churcches recognise, as much as businesses do, that even negative criticism is helpful.  It is something to learn from.

If you wanted to try it but somehow missed the boat, do not dispair!  They are making Harvest Festivals into something similar.  These are not all on the same Sunday, but most churches make them known locally.  So there you are.  A second chance.  What more could you ask for?

And don’t forget to think about other areas of life where the same thing applies.  Are you putting off having a risk review?  Or an audit?  Or a visit to the dentist?

Let me know if I can help (not with your teeth!)

Don’t give away money inadvertently!

Over the next few weeks I am going to look at various different types of fraud I have had personal knowledge of.  Not as a perpetrator!  I also suggest some simple measures that could prevent them or at least make them less likely to succeed.

Cyber Fraud.

There are too many kinds to go into here, but I will mention something I have been encountering a lot recently: Phishing.  People send me e-mails with links or attachments that contain viruses or malware.  Some of the e-mails are in themselves fraudulent, such as phoney invoices, or begging letters, but even those appearing to be receipts or messages from your bank are dangerous.

If in any doubt, just delete them.  If necessary ‘phone you bank or whoever in case they really were trying to contact you.

When are you at work?

Most of us know we are “in work” when we arrive at the office, depot or wherever.  For some however, it is less straightforward.  If you do not have a fixed place of work but are on the road or otherwise always working in different places.  This is true if you are a salesman, a domestic carer, or possibly a maintenance person working for a landlord with lots of properties.

Until now, nearly everyone regarded work as beginning when you got to your first client or knocked on your first door.

A recent decision by the European Court of Justice has changed all that.  It has ruled that you are “working” from when you leave home to when you get back.  This means that the time you are travelling to and from work counts as work and should be paid.

What is not certain is how employers are supposed to know what time their employees left home to come to work or got home after work.

The British Government has expressed concern that it may be difficult and not necessarily desirable to control the amount of time employees spend doing other things on the way to and from work.

How does this affect Risk?

If one of your employees has an accident on the way to work it becomes an accident “at work”.

If one of your employees is responsible for causing an accident on the way to or from work, you could be held vicariously liable.  That means that the alleged victim could hold you responsible.

How does it affect insurance?

You may find your Employers’ Liability and/or Public Liability policies do not cover you for claims occurring in this way.  It is worth checking.

What can you do about the Risk?

  • You might consider requiring all employees to report to a central office or other place at the start and finish of each day, so you can control things better.
  • You might introduce some system of checking on employees activities before and after work to ensure they are not wasting the firm’s time.
  • You might give your employees some training in minimising the risks they could incur during travel to and from work.

I know that none of these suggestions are cost-free and that some may damage relations with your employees.  It is up to you to weigh the costs against the risks and make a decision.  But make it consciously, not by default.

What have the Scots got to celebrate in 2015? Here are ten things to consider.

2015 has been quite a year for commemorations and celebrations.  We have had the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, the centenary of the Dardanelles  Campaign, and the seventieth anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day.  It is also the first anniversary of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

So far, not much has been said about the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715.  Let us not miss that out!

Many people think of it as a Scottish rebellion against the oppression of the English, especially if they have seen Braveheart.  (That was about events in another century, but who cares?) The tragic hero was Prince James Edward Stewart, the so-called James III, also known as the Old Pretender.  He was the son of James II who had been deposed in 1688.  After the death of Queen Anne, daughter of James II, in 1714, the British Parliament proclaimed George of Hanover as King George I of Great Britain.   Within a year the supporters of Anne’s half-brother James, known as Jacobites, rebelled, trying to make him King.  They failed.  Some think of that event as an attempt at gaining freedom and independence for Scotland.  Others see it as all about religion because James was a Roman Catholic.

Here are a ten facts about the 1715 rebellion you might not know and you might find interesting.  Some of them contradict certain popular myths.

  1. Not all James’ supporters were Scottish. Several English M.P.s and noblemen were arrested during and afterwards for their involvement.
  2. There were risings or attempts, in the West of England, Oxford, Wales, the North East and Lancashire, as well as Scotland.
  3. Many Scots supported King George, especially in the cities and the Lowlands.
  4. Many Jacobites were Protestants, including some of the English leaders of the rebellion.
  5. James claimed the throne of Great Britain (and Ireland, the Channel Islands and various overseas territories) not just Scotland.
  6. James was born in London. He was the great-grandson of James VI of Scots and I of Great Britain (etc.) but his mother was Mary of Modena, an Italian.
  7. James had been offered the crown if he would become a Protestant and agree to ruling with and through Parliament. He refused.  George was already a Protestant and was happy to rule through Parliament.
  8. The following century saw Britain (including Scotland) move forwards in civil and religious liberties and democratic government. It is most unlikely that this would have occurred under Stewart kings.
  9. The death toll was in the hundreds. Most of the casualties were soldiers in the British Army.
  10. King George used his influence to moderate the reprisals demanded by the British Government, desiring peace and reconciliation.

Perhaps the Scots (and the English) should be celebrating this year as the bicentenary of the defeat of the Pretender.






Motor Insurance Scam.

Here is another example of a fraud I have come across and some comments on how to reduce the risk of similar things happening in your business.

An insurance broker added elements to genuine claims as he forwarded them to the insurers.  These included injuries, additional passengers, and car hire.  He always had the cheques or other payments made to him, from which he paid the claimants, keeping large profits for himself.  He colluded with:

  • A car-hire firm.
  • A solicitor.
  • A doctor, producing phoney medical reports on demand.

He was aware that different insurers had different practices regarding investigating claims.  He always ensured he kept his claims just below the threshold.  He was caught when a claimant contacted his insurers direct and was amazed to learn of all the payments they had made to him for his minor accident.  He and they went to the police.

Even if you are not in the insurance business, think how this could apply to you.

These are some controls you could apply.

  • Avoid letting one person channel all payments through himself.
  • Do not have a rigid policy for investigating anything.
  • Be suspicious if someone always uses the same subcontractors, e.g. the car-hire firm and the doctor.
  • At least sometimes, insist on bypassing the middle-man and speak to the end client.

Why Should You Be Interested in “Back to Church Sunday”, and What Has It Got To Do With Risk Management?

The Church of England is inviting people who have not been for a long time, to give it another try.  They are making Sunday the 27th of September the day to go for.  You may think this has nothing to do with you and absolutely nothing to do with Risk Management.  Well, you might be wrong.  At best you could be half right.  This article explains why.

Are you someone who used to go to church or Sunday School or something similar and stopped going for some reason that you may still regard as valid, or now, with hindsight, you may think was a poor reason?  You might have toyed with the idea of trying again.  Perhaps at a different church.  But it was never the right time.  Yet the longer you leave it the harder it will be, from your point of view, to come back.  You think you will look stupid.  Anyway you are not sure you would know what to do.  You don’t know your way round the Prayer Book or the Hymn Book.  You don’t know anyone there, nowadays.  Or worse still, you do!  What will they think?

If you can identify with any of the thoughts and feelings I have just mentioned, Back to Church Sunday is for you!  It has been going for a number of years now in the Church of England in the North West.  I do not know about other denominations or other areas.  Churches will be inviting people to come along and see how they get on.  They will be making their services easy to join in.  Explaining things.  Using modern language.  Hopefully you will not be the only newcomer, or semi-newcomer, there.  Even if you are, nobody will think the worse of you for seeming (or being) a little lost.

It will be on the last Sunday in September, the 27th.  This year they will be doing something similar for their Harvest Festivals and for Remembrance Sunday too.

Of course if you have never been, you will still be welcome and might find this a good day to see what it is all about, but if you have no intention of going, ever, then it is obviously not for you. But…

How can there be a but?

But… what other areas of life, and especially business, do you think my earlier comments relate to?  What else are you putting off or unsure how or when to do anything about them?  Reviewing your business?  Having a Health and Safety Audit?  Having a financial audit?  Reviewing your Risk Register?  Creating one?  What has changed in your business recently?  Are the controls that have worked up to now going to be appropriate for the future?

Should we have a Back to Risk Management Day or something like it?

Seminar Cancelled!

The seminar I was to present on Thursday at St. Helens Chamber has been cancelled due to lack of people signing up.

If there are signs of interest in future it may be put on again, so do’t give up hope!

If you were one of those who would have liked to attend please let me know,

  • so we can consider offering it another time
  • so I can arrange a one-to-one with you to discuss your particular questions.

Watch this space!

Seminar Next Thursday 17th September 2015

In case you have not had my e-newsletter, please remember that I am delivering a seminar on Risk Management called Beat the Odds at St Helens Chamber, in their offices in Salisbury Street, St Helens, WA10 1AU on Thursday 17th September, that is one week from today, from 9.30  a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

It will be fun, informative and great value!

The cost is £49 for members or £99 for others.  If you join now you can get the discount and have all the other benefits of membership.  Why not?

Go to www.sthelenschamber.com/events/2508