Management Buyout at Paramount Interiors

By Raspberry Jim,

Untitled design-19Paramount Office Interiors Ltd, one of the UK’s leading workplace design, fit out and furniture specialists has today announced that the business has been acquired by its Management Team in a deal orchestrated by lead advisors Verde Corporate Finance and Greenaway Scott.

The transaction was backed with funding from ABN AMRO Commercial Finance and also follow-in investment from GS Ventures.

Award-winning Paramount Interiors, whose client list includes the Office for National Statistics, ITV, GoCompare, S4C, KPMG, The Royal Mint and the Welsh Rugby Union amongst others, is now aiming to build on the company’s success and explore future expansion plans and new markets.

Managing Director Richard Jones led the management team on the buy-out, having been appointed as MD at the end of 2017 with a vision of ensuring Paramount Interiors fulfils its potential by continuing to achieve year on year growth.

Previous owner Nigel Roberts will remain involved as the non-executive Chairman of Paramount Interiors in addition to his role as Director of Cardiff Parkway Developments Ltd, which earlier this year received the green-light from the Department of Transport for the development of a new business park and railway station at St Mellons in Cardiff.

Dealmakers

The deal was put together by Verde Corporate Finance (finance) and Greenaway Scott (legal). Both advisory businesses are part of the multi-discipline Greenaway Scott Group which also includes GS Ventures who provided follow-in equity investment for the management buyout.

Greenaway Scott Group is the only multi-discipline professional services group in Wales that operates with a law firm and corporate finance lead advisory business within the same office and acting as one team. This multi-discipline approach enables it to provide a full service on transactions covering both the financial and legal elements as a combined and consistent approach.

Managing Director Mr Jones said: “I am very excited about what the future will hold for Paramount, myself and the Management Team as a result of the MBO. We have an exceptional team of people, strengthened by our recent investment in new young talent within our Sales and Design teams, who take a huge amount of pride in working together with our clients to ensure we achieve the highest possible standards.
“The MBO allows us to invest further in our people, our facilities and the service that we provide to our clients to ensure that we continue to be one of the best in our field.

“The support and advice that both Verde Corporate Finance and Greenway Scott have provided throughout the MBO process has been outstanding and I would personally like to thank all involved.”

On the successful MBO of the industry-leading interiors firm, Verde Corporate Finance director Craig Blackmore said it was a “privilege” to assist Richard and his team.

He said: “Paramount Interiors has developed a UK-wide reputation for creating innovative workspaces that transform businesses, so we were delighted to be able to support them as they embark on the next phase of their journey.
“Just like Paramount’s interiors projects, the MBO was well-planned and executed smoothly and efficiently, and will no doubt enable Richard and his team to build on the fantastic work that Paramount Interiors is renowned for. It was a privilege to work
alongside them and we wish them every success.”

He went on to say: “We would also like to put on record our huge thanks to ABN Amro, who have worked swiftly, flexibly and with huge desire to make the project a success. ABN Amro are a great example of what we look for in a funding partner on this type of project.”

Kelvin Thomas, Director, Wales & West Deal Team at ABN AMRO said: “It was a pleasure to work with such a committed management team with a clear strategic vision for moving the business forward. Equally, we were pleased to play our part in such a collaborative team of experts – all of whom put Paramount’s needs at the heart of our delivery.”

Nigel Greenaway, director of Greenaway Scott, echoed  Mr Blackmore’s sentiments.

He said: “We were delighted to assist Richard and the Management Team at Paramount, and also have shown our belief in the exciting future of the business by making a follow-in equity investment via GS Ventures into Paramount as part of the management buyout process.”

Welsh UN criminal expert ‘honoured’ to be made CBE in Queen’s Honours

By Raspberry Jim,

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A Cardiff investigator who has fought international war crimes, genocide and digital piracy for over 45 years has been made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list.

Alun Howard Tucker received the honour thanks to his lengthy career investing high-profile crimes both in the UK and overseas for the police service and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (UN ICTY).

The specialist consultant for CJCH Solicitors in Cardiff said he was “incredibly honoured” to be named among the five Welsh CBE recipients, with a total of 1,350 people across the UK being recognised for the Queen’s 92nd birthday.

CEO of CJCH Solicitors Stephen Clark said the firm was delighted that Mr Tucker’s illustrious career has received recognition.

He said: “We are incredibly proud of Howard’s CBE recognition which we feel is strongly deserved after his 45 years’ of dedication to the criminal justice system both here and overseas.

“For him to have been awarded alongside some of the most courageous, dedicated, and inspirational people in the UK, is testament to his hard work.

“Over the decades Howard and his colleagues, both in the police service and UN ICTY, have worked tirelessly to enhance the justice and policing systems, and to challenge human rights abuses internationally.

“This honour recognises not just his role in fighting injustices, but the collaborative effort of the teams he has worked with during his career.”

Mr Tucker, who now acts as a specialist anti-piracy consultant to the Cardiff-based firm, was recognised after starting his career as a policeman with South Wales Police, and gaining extensive experience across the South of Wales including 24 years as a Criminal Detective.

 He then moved to the UN ICTY where he used his expertise to investigate allegations of war crimes and genocide.

This progressed into several roles within the UN investigations team to represent the UN prosecution, with Mr Tucker eventually being appointed as head of mission for the UN ICTY overseeing the Bosnia and Herzegovina offices.

After being named as the prosecutor of the ICTY he provided specialist training on all aspects of the international investigative process and supported EU and UK training initiatives of local police agencies.

In recent years he has shifted his focus to fighting international anti-piracy through his consultant role at CJCH Consulting, a leading firm working to tackle international theft of intellectual property and software infringement.

He said: “Criminal undertakings have changed dramatically during my career, with crime having migrated online in the past decade to pose new and sophisticated threats.

“This new era of digital criminals puts businesses and individuals at a greater risk than ever before of falling victim to a crime.

“Online theft and digital piracy has emerged as one of the greatest online threats, whether this is identity theft, intellectual property theft or fraud.

“With this new era of online criminals only increasing, it is essential that we concentrate our efforts in trying to eradicate this highly sophisticated and growing network of digital crime.”

Royal Wedding singer on the line up for Cowbridge Music Festival

By Raspberry Jim,

A Welsh soprano who is set to serenade guests at this month’s highly anticipated Royal Wedding will soon be taking to the stage in Cowbridge.

Hot on the heels of being chosen to perform at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Elin Manahan Thomas has been announced as one of the headline artists on the Cowbridge Music Festival line-up for 2018.

One of Wales’ top classical singing stars, the Gorseinon-born singer, who performed at the 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony in London, has performed at concert halls around the world.

In her ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ concert planned for the festival in September, Elin will celebrate the anniversaries of Morfydd Owen and Dilys Elwyn Edwards, both hugely influential composers of Welsh song, with a special centenary programme, accompanied by Welsh pianist Jocelyn Freeman.

Now in its 9th year, the Cowbridge Music Festival will take place 7th-22nd September with a vibrant programme consisting of more than twenty events.

This year’s artists include one of the world’s most exciting classical guitarists, Miloš Karadaglić, and one of the UK’s most highly regarded jazz vocalists Jacqui Dankworth, as well as many established names and rising stars of the classical, jazz and folk worlds.

As well as the main evening concerts, the festival includes an annual Chamber Music Seminar, the celebrated Family Concert, several concerts in local care homes and five full days of workshops and concerts in schools.

On this year’s lineup, Artistic Director Mary said: “We’re really excited about this year’s lineup. We’ve got some of Europe’s most celebrated musicians, festival favourites and rising stars from the classical, jazz and folk worlds in our programme.”

“Elin will be joining us following her performance at the Royal Wedding so we can’t wait to hear all about it. She’s a great supporter of the festival and this will be her second time performing.”

“And we are very proud to present our very own trustee Eluned Pierce, Principal Harpist of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, who will be performing at the festival for the first time.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming music fans in September for what is shaping up to be our biggest programme yet.”

Tickets for this year’s festival go on sale July 2nd. For more information visit: https://cowbridgemusicfestival.co.uk/

Cowbridge communications agency named amongst the best in the UK

By Raspberry Jim,

 

Jamjar inside

Creative communications agency jamjar has been crowned a ‘stand-out winner’ in the PR industry’s most prestigious awards.

The only Welsh representative in the national awards, jamjar won the ‘Best Use of Digital’ category at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)’s annual Excellence Awards.

Beating off strong competition from big name brands, including Facebook, jamjar’s #JoinCwmTaf campaign for Cwm Taf University Health Board was deemed the best in UK.

With recruitment of NHS staff a UK-wide problem with health boards competing to attract a limited workforce, jamjar developed an innovative digital campaign to attract doctors to work in the Valleys.

The campaign used Cwm Taf’s greatest ambassadors, its staff, to feature in a series of videos, as well as a 360-degree video to give potential new recruits the chance to get a glimpse of what the health board has to offer.

Judges praised the campaign for its research and outcomes, deeming it ‘best practice’, a ‘textbook example’ and a ‘stand-out winner’.

Jason MacKenzie, CIPR President, said: “Public Relations makes a remarkable contribution to UK plc. The Excellence Awards are a celebration of the outstanding work delivered across the country. Winning one of these puts you amongst the UK’s very best. Nothing evidences your credentials to future clients like an Excellence Award.”

Cowbridge-based jamjar was established in 2012 by Lyndsey Jenkins. The agency provides PR, digital, social, marketing and design support to a range of organisations including Techniquest, British Council Wales, Mrs Bucket, Sony UK Technology Centre and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. It has won over 20 awards for its work in the last six years from the CIPR, Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Welsh Business Awards.

On its latest win, managing director of jamjar Lyndsey Jenkins, said: “This is a campaign that we’re particularly proud of at jamjar so to get national recognition from our industry peers is all the more pleasing. We’re really proud to be flying the flag for Wales amongst some of the biggest brands and best agencies in the UK and we’re delighted to be putting the great work of Cwm Taf University Health Board on the map.”

Joanna Davies, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “Our staff are at the forefront of our campaigns and, as always they have been wonderful ambassadors for Cwm Taf University Health Board and NHS Wales. They show every day that ‘Cwm Taf Cares’ and we hope that our latest recruitment initiative #JoinCwmTaf will encourage others to come and work with us. We are absolutely delighted to win this award.”

 

Bus diversions planned as march marks 100 years’ of women’s suffrage

By Raspberry Jim,

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Buses across Cardiff are set to be diverted on Sunday as thousands of women march through the capital to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

Cardiff Bus is alerting passengers to service alterations as the women’s Procession event takes place across the city centre.

During the day thousands of women and girls will march from Leckwith to Bute Park, via the city centre, to celebrate 100 years since women achieved voting equality.

The Cardiff event, organised by art producers NOW and Artichoke, is one of four taking place across the UK on Sunday.

During the event, roads in Leckwith will be closed to traffic from midday, while city centre roads will be closed from 2pm, with all routes set to reopen at 4.30pm.

Cardiff Bus passengers are also being alerted to a number of service diversions during the day. These include the 13, 17, 18, and 96A, which will start and end at Home Bargains, Canton and will not serve any city centre stops.  The 1.40pm (18) and 1.50pm (17) buses from Ely, will run their normal route to The Pendine, then will divert to the city centre along Cowbridge Road West, A4232 Ely Link Road, Hadfield Road, Penarth Road and Clare Road, not serving any stops from The Pendine, through Canton to the city centre.

The 61 will not run across the city centre, but instead will split with buses to Pentrebane departing from Canton Home Bargains; and buses to Pengam Green leaving Churchill Way.

The 28B, 30, 35, 54 (to Cyncoed), 21, 23, 24 and 27 services will leave from Greyfriars Road, the Baycar 6 service will depart from Customhouse Street and rear of Central Station Buses 8, 9A, and X45 to Cardiff Bay & Sports Village will leave from Station Terrace (outside Queen Street Station), Philharmonic (Lower St Mary Street) and Tudor Street.

The 44, 45, 49, and 50, and the 52, 57 and 58 will all leave from the Royal Hotel, while the 25, 63, and 64 services will depart from Sophia Gardens Coach Station.

The 95 service will divert via Clare Road, Penarth Road and Hadfield Road to Leckwith, in both directions.

Finally, services 8 & 9A (towards Heath Hospital) X45 (towards St. Mellons) and 92 & 94 will run as normal and are not affected by the road closures.

Cardiff Bus commercial manager Gareth Stevens said: “With women across Cardiff set to march through the capital on Sunday, we would like to remind all travellers of the planned road closures coming into effect.

“We have put a number of diversions in place to ensure our passengers are not adversely affected by this, with many of our services also running from alternative terminals.

“We hope everyone taking part in this historic celebration has an enjoyable day and we would like to remind them that all Cardiff Bus travel information can be found at our website  www.cardiffbus.com or via our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.”

Expert advice on fighting corporate manslaughter in the construction sector

By Raspberry Jim,

 

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Corporate manslaughter has become a nationwide talking point once again ahead of the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

One year on from the devastating incident on June 14, 2017, an official inquiry is now underway to determine who was responsible for the harrowing events which claimed the lives of 72 people.

Following the fire last year many were quick to attribute blame to the local council and the tenant management organisation. The Metropolitan Police investigated both the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which owned the tower, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenancy Management Organisation which managed it, on suspicion of corporate manslaughter.

A BBC Panorama investigation claimed that the insulation used in renovations of the tower, from manufacturer Celotex, never actually passed required safety tests. But with the official inquiry into the incident still underway, culpability for the tragedy has yet to be established.

Recent media coverage has generated renewed discussion around corporate manslaughter in the construction industry.

With everyone from housing associations, to electricians involved, the duty of care in this sector is vast – and a failure to follow correct procedures could quickly prove fatal.

But when it comes to construction, when are companies culpable of corporate manslaughter? And what should they do if accused?

Here, director at leading defence firm Blackfords LLP Phillip Williams offers his advice on this divisive matter.

What is corporate manslaughter?

Corporate manslaughter is a criminal offence through which a company or corporation is found to be responsible for a person’s death.

The offence came into law in 2008 when the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into being.

Companies can be found guilty of this offence if their serious management failures led to a gross breach of duty of care.

If found guilty companies could face an unlimited fine of up to £20 million, depending on the severity of the offence, or the court could order them to overhaul their health and safety procedures.

When is a construction company accountable?

As part of the 2007 Act there are specific ways to determine if an incident falls under the offence of corporate manslaughter.

Following a fatality, the business’s internal processes which led up to the death will be examined, including any health and safety procedures, to determine if there were systematic failures which led to negligence.

In the construction industry, the implementation of health and safety procedures is even more vital due to the highly hazardous working conditions and proximity to heavy machinery. As such it is crucial that any safety measures are not just sent out to staff, but followed strictly.

Mr Williams said that in order for a company to be accused of corporate manslaughter, it must be proved that there was a gross breach of procedure, which left workers or members of the public at a significant risk.

“This breach must be major, and be identified as a significant departure from expected standards,” the legal expert added.

In 2015, Master Construction Products became the 26th company to be convicted of corporate manslaughter after a worker was crushed to death by a machine used to sort waste materials.

The company was fined £255,000 and a subsequent HSE investigation uncovered that there was no safe system of work outlined for the machinery.

A significant part of the failure must also have occurred at a senior level, among those with decision-making powers, Mr Williams added. He said: “Construction managers are under extreme pressure to ensure their firm follows procedure and adheres to regulations to prevent any serious incidents on-site.

“And while every care is undoubtedly taken, sometimes things can go wrong. Anyone with concerns that they may be liable under this Act should seek legal representation immediately.”

Not only should site managers safeguard the wellbeing of their workers, but they are also responsible for preventing injury to the public, Mr Williams said.

Monavon Construction Ltd became the first company to be sentenced under the Act, and received a fine of £550,000 after pleading guilty to two counts of corporate manslaughter, when two men suffered fatal injuries after falling into a well in 2013.

As we have witnessed through the official Grenfell Tower Inquiry, this public responsibility also extends to the safety of building materials used in a construction project. A BBC investigation has recently raised questions around whether Celotex had misled buyers about the safety of its product before the installation at Grenfell Tower.

Mr Williams said: “This underlines the importance of obtaining up to date records and documents relating to the safety testing of any product used in a construction build. As managers it is not just vital that you ensure your workers follow procedures, but that your third-party suppliers do too.”

What next if you’re facing a corporate manslaughter charge?

It is likely that an investigation will be undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)  to ascertain blame for the fatality and could also include a criminal prosecution for health and safety offences.

Mr Williams said: “Managers or companies accused of corporate manslaughter could easily become overwhelmed due to the scope of the investigation.

“Once the fatality occurs, there are likely to be investigations into company health and safety procedures, police visits to the site, and interviews with HSE among many other steps. It is imperative that you speak with a fully trained solicitor who is well versed in dealing with corporate manslaughter cases to guide you through this process.

“At Blackfords LLP we have extensive experience of defending clients in some of the most complex corporate manslaughter cases in the UK.”

Mr Williams advises that construction companies and managers could also receive publicity orders, requesting the business to provide details of previous convictions and fines. He said they could also receive a remedial act instructing them to overhaul procedures which resulted in the death.

Barry Island to get fired up with new summer season of events

By Raspberry Jim,

With scorching fire shows, street dance, DJ showcases and an open-air cinema, the Barry Island Weekenders are set to make a huge comeback this summer, following record success last year.

After attracting 43,000 visitors last summer, a line-up of exciting entertainment is preparing to take place over at Barry Island, beginning with the Isle of Fire Weekender on July 21-22.

The Isle of Fire will once again see Barry Island transformed into a blazing spectacle, where the Lantern Parade, Viking Ship and live music will take over the gardens, along with live fire dance shows.

This year’s Isle of Fire will also feature the mesmerising Mechanical Heart, a beating heart with light and music created by blacksmith Felicity Jones.

The following weekend, it will welcome the Cinemor Weekender, a new event in collaboration with BAFTA Cymru.

Joining other film fanatics in this limited capacity event, guests will enjoy the best of Welsh film and television with workshops and screenings of celebrated films such as Tiger Bay, The Edge of Love and Very Annie Mary.

In the weeks following, people will be able to get moving with the Sports Weekender (August 4-5), be spellbound by the Magic and Street Theatre Weekender (August 11-12) and dance it out with Breakout Barry Weekender (August 18-19).

On the final weekend of August, the Cinema by the Sea will be making a return to the gardens with open-air screenings of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982) on August 25, and The Greatest Showman (2017) on August 26 taking place. During the screenings, visitors are free to bring along their own picnics and wind down their summer holiday before the new school term begins.

For those keen to get a head start on their summer activities, the tourist hotspot will also play host to the Barry Island Sprint Triathlon (June 3), Barry Island Transport Festival (June 10), and Welsh language music festival Gwyl Fach y Fro (June 16).

The final weekend in June will be a foodie favourite, with Beats, Eats and Treats (June 30-July 1) taking over the island, which will boast a prosecco bar, farmer’s market and artisan foods.

Nia Hollins, Principle Marketing and Tourism Officer at Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “After record success last year, Barry Island is all set for a bumper summer, and the Weekenders really gives our visitors something extra to look forward to.

“While our visitors will still be able to make the most of the beautiful coastal surroundings, and enjoy the beach huts and activities, this will add a little bit of excitement to their visit!

“We can’t wait to see people share their photos and videos with us on Twitter and Facebook during the Weekenders, it’s great to see people enjoying themselves.”

For more information on the Barry Island Weekenders and other events over the summer, please visit visitthevale.com