News: Sector news

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Secretary of State for Transport visits Social Firm RBLI

The Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, was treated to a guided tour of Royal British Legion Industries’ new, high-tech road and rail signs printing and graphics area this week. The picture shows him with Tracey Crouch MP for Chatham and Aylesford and Neil Roberts, RBLI's Graphics Team Leader.

The visit to Aylesford marks the completion of the first phase of a modernisation programme and an investment of over £350,000 in new, leading-edge printer technology and a fully climate-controlled printing and graphics room.

The visit enabled Mr McLoughlin to see first-hand where new, state-of-the-art heritage and tourism signs are made. The vibrant and colourful signs, which are slowly replacing existing brown ones, often depict iconic images associated with their area, such as the historic Chatham Dockyard. RBLI is one of only four organisations in the country with the advanced technology able to produce the new style of sign.

Social Economy now on the EU Labour Ministers’ Agenda

ENSIE, the European Network for Social Integration Enterprises reports that EU Ministers for employment and social affairs have now started to see the importance of social economy. Discussions on social economy took place for the first time in July at an informal meeting in Milan of the EPSCO Council, under the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Council, the European Commission, Member States representatives, social partners and the Social Platform shared their points of view on the social economy, the opportunities it offers and how it needs to be developed.

Social Incubator East Social Venture Weekend Open for Bookings

The next Social Incubator East Social Venture Weekend is open for bookings.

The Weekend is two and half days of training at Cambridge Judge Business School for people with an ambition to set up or grow a venture that is solving a social problem.

The Weekend provides, tools, knowledge and networks to grow social ventures.

Participants can also apply to join Social Incubator East’s 12 month programme which provides further training, business advice, access to loan finance and workspace. We provide support across the Eastern region.

Thanks to Cabinet Office funding the cost is just £50. Bookings are now open and places are limited! .


Connect with social entrepreneurs across the Euro-Med region

Social Entrepreneur Exchange and Development for the Euro-Mediterranean Region plans to strengthen social entrepreneurship in Northern Africa and develop links between the UK, France, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria to support social enterprises in all countries

They are looking for experienced social entrepreneurs in the UK to host an aspiring social entrepreneur from the southern neighbourhood for a one-to-one exchange of ideas, skills and experiences. For a placement of between one and three months, you and the aspiring entrepreneur would work together in your organisation to develop their business idea, share your experiences and provide them with the skills necessary to set up their business back home.

Host entrepreneurs will:

Social Investment Awards Deadline

This week sees the deadline (30th September) for nomination for the first ever UK-wide social investment awards, recognising the excellence and energy of the country’s social investment sector. 

There are five categories that will showcase the impact of social investment in the UK:

  • Investor Access Award
  • Global Impact Award
  • Community Impact Award
  • Investment Readiness Award
  • New Markets Award

Click for the application form which is very quick and easy to fill in. Self-nominations are encouraged.

Four Employment Law Changes October 2014

1. Antenatal rights for fathers and partners to take time off work

 Under the new shared parental leave it is proposed to allow the husband, civil partner or partner of the pregnant women the right to unpaid time off to attend up to 2 ante-natal appointments.

 2. Employment tribunals must order equal pay audits

Where an equal pay claim is submitted on or after 1 October 2010, and the employment tribunal finds that there has been an equal pay breach, it must order the employer to carry out an equal pay audit unless an exception applies.

3. National minimum wage increases to:
  • £6.50 for workers 21 and over
  • £5.13 18 - 20 yrs
  • £3.79 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.73 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

These rates apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after 1st October 2014

Recruit for Good

Good Moves is a job listing website that was set up to make recruitment cheaper for not-for-profit organisations. It's the only specialist third sector jobs site that's actually run by a social enterprise.

They offer simple, professional online job advertising at a flat cost of £120 per vacancy anywhere in England, with over 100,000 visitors (not hits!) per month. Not an agency, they provide an effective way to connect directly with people who want to work in the third sector.

To book an advert, or for more information, just email Bob on or ring 0800 019 2149. Don't forget to mention you heard about them through Social Firms UK!

Social Economy Alliance Launches Manifesto Campaign

For those who may have been around Westminster recently, you will have seen the new Social Economy Alliance Campaign which includes billboards, posters and wraps on tube-station ticket gates, featuring the merged faces of high profile political figures, past and present. These include Boris Johnson and Karl Marx, Ronald Reagan and Fidel Castro and Angela Merkel and John Prescott. Click here to view all the images

What you need to know about Cyber Security

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has brought out a new booklet for small businesses to inform small businesses about cyber security.

Cyber security is about protecting your computer-based equipment and information from unintended or unauthorised access, change or destruction.

The internet brings huge opportunities and benefits. But it also brings risks.

But most online attacks can be prevented or detected with basic security practices for your people, processes and IT systems.

This guidance provides you with a good practice foundation. You don’t need to be an IT expert to improve your security. Taking some simple steps can help make all the difference.

Click here to download the booklet.

Have you heard about Growth Vouchers?

 Some social firms may be eligible to recieve Growth Vouchers from BIS. Growth Vouchers cover half the cost of getting professional advice.

The vouchers are only available for this financial year so don’t miss out. Click here to apply.

  • Growth Vouchers is a government scheme to help small businesses get strategic business advice.
  • Businesses can get a grant of up to £2,000 towards the cost of this advice.
  • It will take you only a few minutes to register.

The vouchers can be used for strategic business advice in areas from finance and cash flow to management skills, to even making the most of digital technology. Click here to find out more and apply.