MemberWise launched their Digital Excellence 2017 report, in conjunction with Advanced Solutions International, in London yesterday (22nd February). There will be an analysis of the report, conducted by Research by Design, in edition 253 of Association News, published on 9th March.
The very essence of any membership organisation is communication. Be it oral, written, or via social media, the CEO – especially in a small organisation – is generally the communicator in chief. Engaging, communicating, empathising, should be in their DNA. But don’t mistake this for broadcasting! Communication is a two-way street, with ideas flowing in and out. Thought leader you may be, dictator you are not! Sometimes you’re an agony aunt listening, analysing, and resolving professional and personal issues with board members, officers and staff. And only occasionally will you get to unleash you inner Henry V!
Politician, ambassador, and diplomat are also within the remit of the successful CEO. The ‘conduct of relations between nations by peaceful means’ is how the dictionary puts it. But the ability to communicate and negotiate at all levels with people from different backgrounds and organisations and cultures is probably closer to the mark. So, it goes without saying that you must be a people person, able to connect, and be approachable.
A lot of hot air is expended on the subject of leadership. Quite whether leaders are bred or nurtured isn’t clear. But whichever it is, you won’t go far as an association CEO without this quality. Motivating and managing Boards, volunteers, officers, staff, and members, is an uphill battle unless you have natural leadership qualities. Brushing up your skills can’t hurt, but personally I don’t put much faith in self-help books, mantras, and seven point plans. Leadership is a complex formula that mixes head and heart in different quantities according to the situation. Ticking boxes just isn’t enough!
Entrepreneurship is frequently required to devise and exploit money-making schemes. Unless you are very fortunate there is generally a gap between the income from membership subscriptions and out-goings. In most cases it will be down to you to fill it, and this is where your innate business acumen comes in. The business person in you will always be switched on. Identifying, developing and implementing events, training, publications, sponsorship, and other income generators.
To quote George Orwell’s “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past” or, Winston Churchill’s, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”, in the same sentence may be to stretch an analogy to breaking point. But it neatly illustrates what politicians and historians have always known; that control of the written record confers power on the author. So, in the association context, the person who signs off the Minutes, or writes the business-plans, reports, and memoranda, wields considerable authority. If they in turn translate the decisions of the Board and sub-committees into actions, they influence the speed and direction of travel. And if they can also write meaningful articles they control the narrative that influences internal and external observers.
So, armed with the skills of a planner, guiding strategic direction of the association and developing appropriate plans; a project manager, planning, directing and implementing major projects and events; and a lawyer, familiar with company and/or charity law and appropriate regulations, you will be almost fully equipped. But not quite. Because the ability to understand budgeting, accounts and reporting, and have a firm grasp on governance are also essentials in the CEO’s tool kit.
Finally, and not to be underestimated, are the physical and mental resilience needed to withstand a punishing schedule. A thick skin, the capacity to act alone, and brush off occasional assaults on your reasoning, integrity, and goodwill are a must! And a robust constitution is a blessing! Early mornings, late nights, travel – in the UK and abroad – all take a physical toll. As do the demands of ‘socialising’, which may involve excess eating – and other temptations – and maybe even loss of sleep! Add that to the need to always be well turned out, bright-eyed and receptive, and you’ve cracked it!
©2017 M J Hoare
Power of CSAS Without the Powers
Stop a cop in the street and ask them what they know about CSAS? Chances are the majority won’t have the foggiest! CSAS – Community Safety Accreditation Scheme – came into force with the Police Reform Act 2002, essentially providing chief officers of police the opportunity to endow certain basic policing powers upon individuals drawn from the ‘extended police family’. Indeed, climb the police hierarchy and the knowledge of CSAS will be vague too.
In a previous life my introduction to the notion of the extended police family was as a community inspector circa 2002. I acknowledged the need to collaborate with the other emergency services and the local authority although, if totally honest, got a little twitchy if the net was cast further. The private security industry? What did I know about that? And how reliable was this sector? I had met door-staff (colloquially known as ‘bouncers’) outside of the numerous drinking establishments in Slough, Berkshire but other than being thankful that I didn’t have to perform their role what did I really know and was my limited knowledge tinged with a degree of suspicion?
Historically, I could trace the term bouncer back to the early 1980s when I joined as a naive 19-year old. Carlton Leach, an ex-convict and doorman, graphically describes the early 1980s burgeoning London nightclub scene which saw many criminal enterprises recruit ‘hired muscle’ to protect their business interests, many from the then notorious West Ham United hooligan fraternity nicknamed the ‘Inter City Firm’, owing to their regular use of the national railway networks (rather than supporters’ coaches) to ply their violence across the country. The unregulated application of physical intervention (hands on) was often brutal, excessive and wholly illegal. The expression ‘bouncer’ was synonymous with door security and such was the success of this deployment that the subsequent ‘rave’ scene and associated drugs culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s was protected by this criminality, especially across the capital and parts of Essex. That was until the gangland killings of Tony Tucker, Craig Rolfe and Pat Tate in the notorious Rettendon Murders on December 6, 1995 resulted in a more proactive stance by the police and latterly the Government in terms of legislation and the incorporation of the Security Industry Authority (SIA). So, forgive me again if I felt somewhat inclined, at that moment in my life, to keep the private security industry at arm’s length! And perhaps, understandably, that thinking may still permeate the dizzy heights of some senior police officers today.
The SIA (https://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk) has, whatever the doom-mongers say, cleaned up the industry and provided a qualification framework. However, prejudice or healthy scepticism remains and CSAS may, unintentionally, feed into this notion. The list of prescribed powers including, among others, the right to issue fixed penalty notices, remove abandoned motor vehicles and directing traffic are quintessentially the preserve of the police. And letting go has never been that easy for this section of the domestic criminal justice system! However, letting go can mean freeing up precious police resources, at a time when the squeeze on operational policing has never been so fraught. I have been involved in several high-profile projects where ‘letting go’ and trusting in CSAS has led to significant opportunities for the police.
For instance, the taxi compliance team at Transport for London (TfL) had, prior to the accreditation of appropriate powers, to rely on a uniformed team of Met Police officers to stop vehicles in order that compliance checks could be conducted. Fast forward and today the TfL operatives, following accredited training, do the same job resulting in an agile deployment of staff whilst freeing up the Met officers to tend to other pressing issues within the capital. Ultimate Security now effectively provides community enforcement and a uniformed presence at the London Bridge Quarter thanks to the vision of Julian Roche and Hazel Cole, whilst also managing the free flow of traffic around the busy transport hub at Victoria. On a national basis CSAS-accredited traffic management companies effectively manage the road network at many of the blue-ribbon events taking the heat off many local constabularies. Perhaps many years ago I could have been more effectively deployed in my ill-fitting helmet and reflective jacket than at the horse crossing at Royal Ascot!
Best in class examples of local authority CSAS projects can be found in the London Borough of Croydon, and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. In the former, under the first-class stewardship of Paul Ratcliffe and Dermot Linehan, enforcement officers have significantly reduced the burden on the local police for over eight years in relation to numerous examples of anti-social behaviour. Similarly, in Hampshire, under the consistent direction of Samantha Charlton, matters relating to littering, abandoned vehicles and fly-tipping are now the remit of the community safety patrol officers. In both cases resilience has been enhanced significantly to create, arguably, the real fourth emergency service, with well-trained bronze commanders where they matter; at the heart of the local community.
For those senior officers who may still be less than compelled to see CSAS as an effective cost-saving enterprise then rest assured that the checks and balances, as to suitability and capacity, are carried out by the astute Ken Meanwell who heads the compliance and company vetting process on behalf of Police CPI Limited. The checks are intrusive and do not always result in a recommendation. Furthermore, the Achilles heel of training is resolutely confronted by Ken who will only authorise a finite list of approved training companies that meet both the rigours of the standards set by the College of Policing and the requirement for individual forces to maintain the final say and rightly identifies the need to assess accredited persons via demanding, and often videoed, simulations where knowledge and application can be rigorously tested. After all, once deployed CSAS operatives need to protect the reputation of the host police area. So, if there is a risk it is substantially reduced and more so with the vetting of staff the preserve of the chief officer of police and mandatory reviews of training and capability are built in too. As TS Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”.
But how about if the risk is reduced even more? Many organisations, both public and private, have procured CSAS training from TFS, benefiting from the unique, flexible learning pathways, only to decide that the need for powers is somewhat irrelevant. The power of CSAS without the powers? How can that be?
According to the Home Office the ‘concept of the extended police family has great potential to enhance performance, community safety and engagement, improve service delivery and to introduce new ways of working’. Enforcement forms only a small proportion of what CSAS can achieve. Indeed, the eight core mandatory training units don’t even touch prosecution! Decision-making, diversity, interpersonal skills, recording evidence, risk assessment, incident management and managing conflict are the headline outcomes. In many operational circumstances the ‘eyes and ears’ are individuals working both within local government and private security.
First at the scene at a community emergency will often be the same. Wouldn’t it be far more reassuring for the local police chief to know that such incidents will be better managed and protected in the short-term by those trained within the key CSAS disciplines? Intelligence driven policing requires healthy community engagement. ‘Odd incidents’ often remain within the consciousness of those public servants who patrol our streets on a more regular basis than beat officers. I recall vividly during field research with the London Borough of Hounslow the crew of a refuse truck pointing out that a resident who regularly greeted them had failed to appear. Following closer scrutiny an ambulance was called and the injured party was taken to hospital.
In July 2005 the capital came under terrorist attack. In the Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on July 7, 2005 it concluded that no great expertise was required to assemble the deadly devices that were manufactured at 18 Alexandra Grove, Leeds a modern ground floor flat in a two-storey block next to the Leeds Grand Mosque. The chemical mixtures would have smelt badly enough to make the room very difficult to work in and a pungent odour would have been a likely outcome. There were additional signs that the bombs were made including the fact that the windows were open but the net curtains had been taped to the walls to avoid the occupants being seen. The fumes had also killed off the tops of plants just outside the windows. The mixtures would also have had a strong bleaching effect. The families of two of the bombers had noticed that their hair had become lighter over the weeks before the attacks. They explained this as the effect of chlorine from swimming pools. There were shower caps at premises which may have been used during the manufacturing process to try to disguise this.
What if these ‘odd’ aspects had been considered by a CSAS operative trained and cognisant to community intelligence gathering? I firmly believe that CSAS has a more important role to play within the collection of community intelligence and the freeing up of valuable police resources. Sure some powers are helpful in certain circumstances albeit the CSAS badge would be better used and judged as a quality mark in terms of enhanced operational capacity and capability.
Author: Ian Kirke LLB (Hons), MSc., Cert Ed, PGDip Adv. Prof. Res. Managing Director, TFS.
Chairman for NewTA
New TA, the proposed new trade body that will replace the Council of Mortgage Lenders and five other such associations, has appointed Bob Wigley as chairman.
Wigley, who was previously Merrill Lynch EMEA chairman, takes up his new role on 1st March 2017, and will oversee the appointment of the chief executive and the integration of the existing trade associations later in 2017.
Consist of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, British Bankers Association, Payments UK, Financial Fraud Action UK, the Asset Based Finance Association and the UK Cards Association, the new body is also working on picking a new name, setting up IT systems, human resources functions and finding a headquarters.
The merger was first suggested in an independent review in 2015 after pressure from nine major UK retail banks and a building society: Barclays, Clydesdale Bank & Yorkshire, Bank, Co-operative Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS, Santander, TSB and Virgin Money. The Building Societies Association and the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association have ruled themselves out of the merger.
Wigley says: “I am honoured to be taking on this key role at such a critical time for the industry. Financial services make a considerable contribution to the UK economy and currently face a challenging environment. I aim to build a strong and effective body capable of speaking for the industry with one voice and working constructively with consumers, regulators and stakeholders.”
The Chairs of the CML, BBA, and FFA have all welcomed Wigley’s appointment.
Real-Time Continuous Speech Recognition
Speechmatics, a Cambridge-based speech technology company, has launched a real-time, fully embeddable, continuous speech recognition system. It claims levels of accuracy and speed usually only found on cloud-based services, and in many languages.
The technology will help businesses overcome fundamental speech recognition challenges associated with existing large vocabulary, continuous systems. Typically, the faster the system, the lower the accuracy. Speech recognition technology has been limited to post-processing after an interaction, or to the use of short phrases. It was near impossible for large, continuous systems to process fast, accurate transcriptions at scale and over long time-periods.
Speechmatics continuous real-time system has a large 250,000-word vocabulary for each language, optimised for speed and accuracy when deployed on any device. This novel application of RNN’s (a form of deep neural network) allows for it to scale up for any application, for any use case, in any language, from running on a mobile phone to large server farms.
With users becoming increasingly anxious about data security, the system enables the data to be held and processed by the user, running natively on a device, rather than by the cloud. The offline capability takes it one step closer to using speech recognition technology anywhere, at any time, by anyone.
Having already successfully created several speech-tech companies, this technology builds on Dr Tony Robinson’s 30 years of experience in developing speech technologies and writing multiple decoders. The continuous real-time speech recognition system, opens up a number of use-cases in multiple markets; from instant actionable intelligence in call centres or compliance settings to live sub-titling; from offline email dictation on mobile phones; or extending home entertainments from voice commands to true voice interaction.
Dr Hermann Hauser, of investors Amadeus Capital Partners, says, “We are seeing a shift in the tech industry as we move away from touchpad technology towards speech as the main form of communication. This shift is creating a need for businesses to gain immediate, actionable intelligence through highly accurate speech recognition technology, in many languages. There is strong demand in the market for Speechmatics, as it will allow businesses that work on an international scale to not only ensure speech is transcribed correctly, but also to improve everyday user experiences.”
Digital Excellence (2017) Research Summary Report VIP Launch Event, February 22nd
Conducted with the assistance of 275 membership bodies, this new report reveals strategies for digital member base growth; increasing value, and optimising member engagement in 2017. Hurry free places limited!
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour – has made great inroads into the automotive, aviation, and other highly technical manufacturing industries in the last few decades. However, those that rely on human dexterity, such as clothing manufacture have remained relatively unchanged; mostly because their response to price pressure has been squeezing labour costs. Investment in new machines and processes has taken second place to offshoring; moving manufacture to lower priced economies where human labour is cheap.
The Institution of Lighting Professionals seeks Assistant CEO. Initial 18 month contract at £35K with possible permanency. Experience of association management/membership organisation required. Based at Rugby HQ with UK travel. Key required attributes include good communicator, “political skills”, project management, meetings management, business acumen.
Assistant Chief Executive
Main purpose and scope
To provide support and assistance to the ILP Chief Executive including deputising on occasion and encompassing all the policy, operational and promotional activities of the organisation.
The Chief Executive
Key duties and responsibilities
Contributing to policy formulation via liaison with the Executive Board, Vice Presidents and Council.
Supporting and developing the individual remits of the ILP Vice Presidential Team.
Managing, coordinating and developing the Institution’s Premier Membership scheme.
Developing and maintaining communication systems within the various component parts of the Institution including the national and regional structures.
Contributing to the development and deployment of membership recruitment and retention strategies.
To assist with the development and implementation of existing and innovative commercial products and services.
To oversee the day to day operations of the ILP IT systems and website.
To input to the ILPs budgetary systems at both national and regional level.
To oversee the various awards schemes associated with the Institution.
To draft the Institution’s Annual Report in conjunction with Officers and staff.
To liaise with press, other media and to contribute to the ILP’s social media presence.
To engage with the Institution’s Young Lighting Professionals group to ensure its continued growth and development.
Skills and abilities
Good oral and written communication skills.
Ability to communicate and negotiate at all levels.
Plan and implement projects and events.
Minute, manage and follow up actions from meetings.
Ability to understand budgets, accounts and reporting.
Identify, develop and implement business opportunities.
Ideally experience within a professional association or other membership body.
Experience of meetings management and knowledge of financial, membership and events programmes.
A sufficiently broad background in order to deal with several complex and demanding projects areas at the same time.
Ability to connect with people from different organisations and communicate effectively.
Ability to listen, analyse and develop policies, strategies and project plans.
Willingness to work unsocial hours and to travel within the UK, Ireland and abroad.
A “people person”, well able to network and work effectively within small teams.
How to apply
Please give details of your experience and aptitude for the job by applying by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for receipt of applications is 10 March 2017.
Institution of Lighting Professionals T: 01788 576492
Regent House, Regent Place, email@example.com Registered in England no: 227499
Rugby. CV21 2PN www.theilp.org.uk Registered Charity no: 268547
In response to the IFS’ critical report on the Apprenticeships Levy, Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), calls for employers to support the Apprenticeship Levy, as investment in skills development for the next generation of managers will boost productivity for organisations.