FFIT Cymru: five lives changed forever, with a staggering 13 stone total weight loss

By Raspberry Jim,

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Delighted leaders of S4C series FFIT Cymru are celebrating after losing a “life-changing” 13 stone between them in just eight weeks.

Staggering results were revealed about the five leaders’ improved health and fitness levels as they took to the scales for the last time in the S4C series finale, which is now available to watch along with the rest of the series online at s4c.cymru and other platforms.

Over the past two months viewers have tuned in as leaders Nic Davies, from Penygroes, Carmarthenshire; Mathew Thomas from Gaerwen; Catherine Lewis, from Caernarfon; Judith Owen, from Llanwnda; and Leon Welsby from Bridgend, have overhauled their health and fitness routines in a bid to transform their lives.

During that time, the leaders have received expert support from fitness trainer Rae Carpenter, psychologist Dr Ioan Rees, and nutritionist Sioned Quirke; with detailed plans shared online for everyone to follow.

Nic, Penygroes, Carmarthenshire

Nic, who works at Glangwili Hospital, has seen his weight plummet from 18 stone 4lbs to 15 stone 0.5lbs. His cholesterol levels have halved since the beginning of the series, and the fantastic news is he no longer needs to take tablets to combat high blood pressure. After enjoying the 5k parkrun challenge in week 7 of the challenge, he has now started training for this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon.

Leon, Bridgend

Meanwhile, Urdd youth worker Leon, from Bridgend, has lost a phenomenal 48% of his fat mass: a result which saw his weight plummet 3 stone 11.5lbs. Now weighing 17 stone 10.5 pounds, he has a much lower risk of having a heart attack, a very real threat due to family history. And he has completed what he set out to achieve, and will now be able to ride on the rollercoaster which he was previously turned away from because of his size.

Judith, Llanwnda, near Caernarfon

After years of health problems, former head teacher Judith was determined not to let Crohn’s disease hold her back any longer; it was time to get in shape. Not only has she shed the pounds – shrinking from 13 stone 1lb to 11 stone 8.5lbs – she also no longer needs to undergo an operation for a hernia. She has joined a weekly running club and her fitness age is now 10 years younger that at the beginning of the series… and is actually younger that her current age!

Catherine, Caernarfon

Young mother, and bride-to-be, Catherine had a crippling lack of self-confidence caused by her weight. She has lost a total of 2 stones and 2.5lbs, and over 12 inches from her hips, which has seen her grow in confidence, becoming more outgoing and active, which has seen massive benefits for her and her young daughter. This is a journey she vows to continue; with a wedding to plan, nothing will hold her back now!

Mathew, Gaerwen, Anglesey

The series saw proud dad-of-three Mathew return to the rugby field and training with boxing legend Joe Calzaghe! That certainly did the trick, and Mathew has caught the fitness bug once again. His fitness age is now 20 years younger than at the beginning of the series, with a total loss of 2 stones and 10 pounds and an impressive 10 inches off his waist. He’s also quit smoking, and the fresh air has reduced the age of his lungs by 10 years too!

FFIT Cymru presenter Lisa Gwilym, who also vowed to get active as part of the series, said: “I’d like to congratulate our fantastic five on their amazing weight loss results which are very well deserved.

“Their dedication and hard work has been absolutely inspirational to witness during the show’s run, and they’ve really thrown themselves into every aspect of the FFIT Cymru journey.

“We are thrilled to have spurred them on in their life changing weight loss transformation and we wish them every success for the future as they embark on happier, healthier lifestyles.”

The benefits to their health have been assessed during a series of tests at Bangor University’s School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, which were undertaken by the leaders at the start and at the end of the eight weeks.

Tomos Jones, PhD Researcher in Cardiovascular Physiology, who conducted the tests with the five leaders, said: “It is clear to see that the leaders have worked extremely hard over the last eight weeks. As well as completing a 5k run, the tests that they have undergone here at the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, show an improved standard of fitness and an improvement in the state of their health.

“The leaders deserve a lot of credit for the success that they have achieved in their transformation and for inspiring others to do it for themselves.”

The entire FFIT Cymru series can be watched again as a box set, on demand, at s4c.cymru and other platforms.

FFIT Cymru will return for a second series in 2019, and if you’re interested in taking part, follow @ffitcymru on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch.

To follow FFIT Cymru’s nutrition and exercise plans, visit s4c.cymru/ffitcymru

Before and after weight and inches loss for each leader

 Nic

Start End
Weight 18st 4lb 15st 0.5lb

(-3st 3.5lb)

Waist 49″ 39”
Chest 54″ 42”
Right Arm 17.5” 14.5”
Left Arm 18” 14”
Right leg 27.5” 24”
Left leg 28” 25”
Hips 47” 39”

 

Leon

Start End
Weight 21st 8lb 17st 10.5lb

(-3st 11.5lb)

Waist 51 “ 40
Chest 51.5″ 43
Right Arm 16″ 14
Left Arm 15.5″ 13
Right leg 30″ 26.5
Left leg 30″ 26
Hips 49.5 41

 

Judith

Start End
Weight 13st 1lb 11st 8.5lb

(-1st 6.5lb)

Waist 41” 33.5”
Chest 44” 42”
Right Arm 14” 12.5”
Left Arm 14” 12”
Right leg 24.5” 22”
Left leg 24” 21.5”
Hips 43.5” 35”

 

Catherine

Start End
Weight 17st 5lb 15st 2.5lb

(-2st 2.5lb)

Waist 43.5″ 36”
Chest 47.5” 43”
Right Arm 16.5” 14.5”
Left Arm 16” 14”
Right leg 32” 27”
Left leg 34” 27.5”
Hips 53.6” 41”

 

Mathew

Start End
Weight 21st 2lb 18st 6lb
(-3st 8lb)
Waist 51.5” 42”
Chest 52.5” 47”
Right Arm 19.5” 17”
Left Arm 19.5” 17”
Right leg 31” 27”
Left leg 31” 28”
Hips 14.5” 41”

Cardiff Bus supports 6th national Catch the Bus Week

By Raspberry Jim,

Untitled design-6People across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are being urged to swap their car for the bus to celebrate the 6th annual Catch the Bus Week.

The bus operator is taking part in the UK-wide initiative, which aims to promote the ease, comfort and environmental benefits of choosing sustainable bus travel.

The week, which runs from July 2nd to July 8th, will see operators across the country hosting public information sessions and events to help promote bus travel to non-bus users.

During the initiative Cardiff Bus will be taking part in the Your Bus Matters event, at Barry King Square, on Tuesday 3rd July from 10am to 2pm.The event, hosted by Bus Users Cymru, provides the chance to discuss timetables and services.

Then on Wednesday 4th July from 10am to 4pm the bus operator will be hosting a Cardiff Bus Roadshow, on Queen Street, to enable people to learn about the benefits of bus travel and receive a free goodie bag.

Commercial manager at Cardiff Bus Gareth Stevens said the initiative was a “fantastic way” to highlight the various benefits of bus travel.

He said: “We at Cardiff Bus are pleased to be supporting the 6th annual Catch the Bus Week.

“This event is vital in highlighting the numerous benefits of bus travel, so we would encourage people to come along and find out more.

“We look forward to getting out and speaking with our valued customers and getting feedback on our services.

“Come along, say hello and take a look at our latest vehicles which are modern, comfortable and WiFi enabled, helping you get the most out of your journey with us.”

The bus operator will also be giving away daily prizes via its Twitter and Facebook channels, including weekly and monthly bus tickets.

To find out more information about Catch the Bus Week and Cardiff Bus visit its website https://www.cardiffbus.com/

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.”

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.”

 

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.

Leading medical technology firm appoints Greenaway Scott

By Raspberry Jim,

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A Whitland-based cutting-edge medical technology company, which develops nerve stimulation and monitoring equipment, has appointed business advisory firm Greenaway Scott as it sets its sights on success in America.

Magstim, a world leader in developing neurostimulation equipment, has instructed the award-winning firm’s Swansea office to provide legal support as it looks to expand sales overseas.

Greenaway Scott, which specialises in the life science and healthcare industries, will support Magstim by providing commercial contract advice as the company expands its operations and enters into new business partnerships to continue to develop its technology.

Gareth Davies, Group CFO, said they were delighted to be working with Greenaway Scott.

He said: “Greenway Scott was a natural choice – as a global business we needed a firm that is responsive, knowledgeable and that understands the healthcare sector. The team at Greenaway Scott deliver on all three.

“They take time to understand your business and work flexibly to ensure your needs are met.”

When the company was founded in 1990, its devices were primarily used as a research tool by neuroscientists seeking to understand how the brain’s pathways are connected. Their work has yielded important insights into the diagnosis and treatment of conditions including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and spinal injury. Now, the company has its devices cleared by the FDA for treatment of major depressive disorder and is seeing significant demand in the US healthcare market.

Commercial director at Greenaway Scott, Rhian Osborne, said it was a privilege to be working with a company which has the potential to make such a significant impact on the lives of people globally.

She said: “Magstim are recognised as leaders in the medical technology industry and we are thrilled to be able to assist them as they develop their revolutionary TMS device.

“Their technology has the potential to change the lives of millions of people suffering with disorders including Depression, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease.

“As such it is our privilege to work with Magstim to help achieve its commercial aims and expand its sales across the UK and America.”

IP experts support Welsh tech leaders at annual awards

By Raspberry Jim,

wjip

Intellectual property experts in Cardiff are supporting the next generation of technology leaders through this year’s Wales Technology Awards.

Leading firm Wynne Jones IP is among the sponsors at this year’s event, which will be taking place in Cardiff City Hall in May.

The awards celebrate the invaluable contributions of over 3,000 businesses and over 40,000 people who are driving success and innovation across the Welsh technology sector.

The event has been organised by ESTnet, a network of technology organisations whose members design, develop, manufacture or integrate electronic and software technologies.

Last year over 370 ESTnet members attended the annual awards at the Wales Millennium Centre, with internationally renowned manufacturing facility Sony UK Technology Centre, based in Pencoed, named as headline sponsor. This year the headline partner for the event will be Welsh fintech company GoCompare.

Sponsoring the Product Innovation category this year will be Wynne Jones IP, which advises on all aspects of IP rights, strategy and renewals.

Jayne Nation, commercial director at the firm with offices in Cardiff, London, Cheltenham and Telford, said it was a pleasure to be supporting the growth of Wales’s flourishing technology sector.

She said: “As an intellectual property firm which prides itself on working with businesses across Wales, we are delighted to be supporting this year’s Wales Technology Awards.

“These awards showcase the inspirational and progressive work that businesses and individuals across Wales are undertaking in a bid to further technological understanding and drive progress across the industry.

“Through our role at this year’s awards, we hope to highlight the essential function that intellectual property plays in supporting product development, ensuring that businesses and individuals can continue to be innovative across Wales

“We’d like to wish all those entering this year’s awards the very best of luck.”

The Wales Technology Awards is set to take place at Cardiff City Hall on May 3, with nominations now open.

Wynne-Jones IP is a UK firm of intellectual property specialists, with offices in Cardiff, London, Cheltenham and Telford. Trading for over fifty years, the firm advises businesses and inventors in a wide range of sectors worldwide on all aspects of IP rights, strategy and renewals.

Maesteg Garage set to welcome rugby heroes

By Raspberry Jim,

O4w2 (004) final

Rugby fans in Maesteg are getting a chance to meet Six Nations heroes including Gareth Davies and Ken Owens at a special event organised by Oil 4 Wales.

The national oil distributor is holding a meet the players event at its Maesteg 24/7 petrol garage on April 4 from 2pm.

During the day players including Rob Evans, Jonathan Davies, Dan Lydiate, Gareth Davies, and Ken Owens, who are ambassadors for the oil distributor, will be on hand to sign autographs and take photos with their fans.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy all the facilities at the garage, which underwent a major £200,000 refurbishment in 2017 thanks to Oil 4 Wales.

The relaunched garage includes a full deli and bakery serving home made cakes, pies and freshly baked breads, along with its modern and spacious new café serving a wide range of hot and cold food and drinks.

Oil 4 Wales, which supplies over 65,000 commercial and domestic customers across Wales, chose to invest in the garage last year in order to provide enhanced facilities for the local community.

Managing director Colin Owens said: “Come along and meet our Six Nations heroes and Oil 4 Wales ambassadors at this special event! We’re delighted to be welcoming them and supporting the local community. Don’t miss out!”

Maesteg Garage is based on Llwydarth Road, Maesteg, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How business leaders can spot McMafia-style warning signs

By Raspberry Jim,

Phil 5

How easy is it for legitimate businesses to succumb to the temptation of financial crime?

That is the focus of the BBC’s latest drama McMafia, which is shining a vital spotlight on the often- overlooked world of financial and business crime.

The drama explores the illegal dealings of main protagonist Alex Godman, who runs his own London-based investment fund, which he abuses to further his professional and personal ambitions.

But as viewers have seen throughout its five-week run, his increasingly questionable decisions have drawn him further into the maze of murky underworld activity, with Mr Godman now left in a precarious position.

The drama’s success has sparked debate around the wide-spread nature of financial crime, with many questioning whether the events depicted could actually take place in UK businesses.

The weekly show could also be leaving business leaders considering what action they are entitled to take if they spot suspicious behaviour, and how to eradicate illegal temptations before they develop into criminal activity.

Leading serious fraud expert Phil Williams, at Cardiff-based defence firm Blackfords LLP, said McMafia’s rapid descent into crime is not as far fetched as it may appear.

He said: “Obviously in the case of this show, the events and storyline have been exaggerated for dramatic effect, however it does demonstrate just how quickly criminal activity can spiral into other illegal areas.”

However, Mr Williams, who specialises in complex criminal investigations, regulatory and disciplinary matters, is attempting to alleviate fears among business leaders, by offering expert advice on identification of activity and what action to take.

He said managers, team leaders, and directors were well positioned to eradicate financial and business crime before it has wide-spread consequences.

Types of financial and business crime

Financial and business crime can fall into a variety of different types of crimes.

These includes money laundering, fraud, theft, scams, tax evasion, embezzlement, counterfeiting, and forgery.

Mr Williams said managers could protect their firm by identifying the different legal areas and remaining vigilant.

What are the signs

As many of these types of business and financial crime differ, it can be difficult to spot a correlation between the signals.

However, Mr Williams has outlined common signals here:

Secrecy

An employee or colleague’s refusal to divulge information about a client, financial information relating to an account, or even their identity, could also spell trouble, Mr Williams said.

He added: “Business managers should be provided with full information on dealings taking place within a company, as such, an employee’s unwillingness to share information may indicate that something is wrong.

“This is particularly the case if they refuse to name the client or share financial information relating to this account.”

Monopoly over accounts

Tying into the theme of secrecy, if one person has total control over an account and is unwilling to share details, this could lead to criminal temptation.

Mr Williams advised managers to ensure responsibility was shared equally to prevent any potential criminal activity developing.

False information

Mr Williams said another warning sign which could identify criminal intent is incomplete records and forms.

This could involve suspicious documents, the origin or legitimacy of which cannot be traced; a refusal to name business partners in documents; numerous questionable tax IDs; and other information which may appear to be at odds with the client and account. Equally photocopied documents, rather than originals, and missing documentation could suggest documents have been altered.

Mr Williams said: “Documentation provides a legal record of any transactions which take place in relation to your business. But it can also be a quick indicator of any discrepancies surrounding a client or deal too. If information appears to be incomplete or inaccurate this could suggest something is wrong.”

Unusual transactions

The frequency, amount, and location to which money is transferred can reveal a substantial amount, Mr Williams said.

Transactions being made at unusual times of the day, to locations which seemingly bare no relevance to the client or company, and also at irregular frequencies could be warning signs.

Mr Williams added: “Another clear indicator of potential illegality is money being transferred to high risk jurisdiction countries. More information on these can be found on the FATF website.”

 

What steps do you take next?

Once these warning signs are identified, what steps can business leaders take next?

Mr Williams advised anyone with suspicious to begin recording and monitoring the behaviour of those suspected. Where there is financial irregularity he advised evaluating the company’s accounts with the support of an accountant, or impartial financial adviser to offer an unbiased opinion.

He said: “If you feel there are financial discrepancies, it is imperative you outline these to key players within the business and where possible keep a record of any ongoing losses or irregularities.

“Evaluate all the finances together and evaluate where the issue has arisen. Keep accurate and up to date information, as this will demonstrate provide all the necessary support should the case reach court. It also demonstrates that you gathered sufficient evidence to support your claim,  and have taken every consideration before escalating the issue.

“It is also essential that you seek legal advice at your earliest opportunity.”

Where to report suspicions

Action Fraud – Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime. To report fraudulent activity ring 0300 123 2040.

The National Crime Agency – which aims to eradicate organised and serious crime across the UK, can be contacted on 0800 555 111.

The Home Office is working with professional services firms through its Flag It Up! campaign to help honest enterprises avoid becoming enablers of crime. Visit tgr.ph/homeoffice for more information.

Financial Conduct Authority – A financial regulatory body in the UK which can be contacted on 0800 111 6768.

 

 

What is Open Innovation and what does it mean for businesses?

By Raspberry Jim,

WJIP-2-640x240 NEW

Recently, growing attention has been devoted to the concept of Open Innovation, both in academia as well as in industry. Here, Matthew Veale, Senior Trainee Patent Attorney at Wynne-Jones IP covers what Open Innovation is and what it means for you and your intellectual property rights.

What is Open Innovation?
Open Innovation is the development of innovative solutions made on the basis of collaboration between a number of parties. It has the advantages of shortening the time to innovate, sharing risks, and reducing costs.

Open Innovation offers a different model to the historical closed model where the entire innovative process is carried out internally by companies, often in secret.

There have been misconceptions that Open Innovation and owning Intellectual Property Rights are mutually exclusive, when in reality they positively complement each other. Open Innovation is a term used to promote innovating with collaborators by ‘sharing risk and sharing reward’ – the problem is caused by what the term ‘sharing’ means.

An example of headline Open Innovation initiatives is when Tesla decided to open up their patent portfolio to the world – the move has been subject of much debate. It can be argued that they have given away their greatest competitive advantage or alternatively, it can be argued that they have shortened their innovation cycle by removing the disclosure stage of discussions with potential collaborators; the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Comparison of Open and Closed Innovation

IP and Open Innovation
In the context of Open Innovation, intellectual property plays a new role, which no longer reflects the historical defensive mechanism adopted by companies.

For example, to date, companies have been using their patents to block competitors and operate on the market based on the notion of a patent as a negative right to exclude others rather than to enable innovation. Yet, on the contrary, patent protection assists companies to commercialise their solutions and safely enter into Open Innovation agreements, with limited risks of seeing their assets appropriated by their collaborators.

Indeed, patents are extremely important for the innovative process since they protect and disclose at the same time.

Open Innovation is facilitated by effective intellectual property protection. Clear ownership helps in sharing of knowledge, as collaborators are more willing to enter into transactions and agreements to exchange their inventions.

Strong intellectual property strategies are of utmost importance for small entities with very specific R&D capabilities and which require larger entities to commercialise their products. They would fail to attract collaborators and investors if lacking a robust intellectual property strategy.

Because of the nature of Open Innovation, efficient intellectual property management is essential for the success of the project. Sharing knowledge, technology and expertise between collaborators is an enormous benefit that could nevertheless entail a risk of loss of such assets and free-riding, if not managed effectively.

Accordingly, a co-development of activities carried out in an Open Innovation environment requires a clear agreement on ownership of any resultant IP, particularly where parties to the development have no previously registered IP in the relevant activity.

Are you considering entering into Open Innovation?

Questions you should ask yourself:

  • What will happen to my concept?
  • How can I protect my products if I do not fully own the IP rights?
  • How can I protect my trade secrets and know-how from being lost within such a process?
  • What is happening to my position in the long run by sharing or licencing my IP rights?

If you are considering engaging in Open Innovation, you will need to assess the impact of your decisions now and in the future. Such arrangements can be very rewarding, but you should also remember to protect yourself.

To speak to Wynne-Jones IP about Open Innovation, or any other IP-related issue, email Victor Caddy at victor.caddy@wynne-jones.com or call 01242 267600.

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