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Wednesday 22nd March from 8am to 10.30am
The Reading Room, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

 ‘Making the Connection’ by Simon Palmer, NetXtra, ‘The Challenge of Connecting’ by Allen Reid, HartSquare, and ‘Connecting your Brand with your Community’ by Robin Bryant, Mobas.

Read a full report in Edition 255 of Association News on 10th April 2017.


Public Affairs Adviser


The Royal College of Nursing is looking for a new Public Affairs Adviser to work at its UK headquarters in London.


As the largest trade union of nursing staff and students in the UK – with around 435,000 members – and number 15 in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not for Profit Organisations to work for, the RCN are accredited with Investors in People Gold Standard.


The post holder will be expected to use their skills, knowledge and experience of influencing to deliver positive change for nursing staff. They will also be expected to develop and implement strategies for building and maintaining relationships with key influencers and lead public affairs activity on cross-organisational projects. In-depth parliamentary knowledge would also be useful in identifying opportunities to influence stakeholders to achieve RCN priorities and objectives.


So, whilst lobbying on behalf of members will be the primary role, the new Public Policy Adviser will also contribute to integrated communications, policy and industrial relations campaigns; leading on the organisation’s response to legislation, seeking to influence and amend where appropriate. They will also influence critical decisions about political engagement, as well as supporting members to become more politically active.


New Chairman for BPA


Dr Nick Webborn has been named as the new chairman of the British Paralympic Association.


The 60-year-old sports medicine specialist has been working with Paralympic athletes since 1992. He suffered a spinal cord injury playing rugby as a 24-year-old whilst serving as a doctor in the Royal Air Force. After an initial complete paralysis he made a partial recovery. He was awarded an OBE in last year’s Queen’s birthday honours list. He was chief medical officer for the London 2012 Paralympics and is part of the International Paralympic Committee’s Medical Committee.


He beat blind footballer Dave Clarke to the role and succeeds former Paralympic swimmer Tim Reddish.

With only 25 employees the BPA is a small organisation led by CEO, Tim Hollingsworth, and supported by a team of five directors: Director of Sport, Penny Briscoe MBE; Finance and Corporate Services Director, Elaine Battson; Director of Communications, Anna Scott-Marshall; Commercial Director, Karl Reynolds; and Director of Operational Delivery, David Courell.

New Trustee for EPI


Sir Michael Wilshaw has joined the board of trustees at the Education Policy Institute. This follows his role as Chief Inspector at Ofsted from 2012-2016, and over four decades of teaching experience.


Sir Michael joins existing EPI Trustees Sir Theodore Agnew, Charles Brand, Baroness Sally Morgan, and the Chair of Trustees, Sir Paul Marshall. Commenting on Sir Michael joining the EPI Board, David Laws, Executive Chairman, said: “I’m delighted that Sir Michael has agreed to join EPI’s Board of Trustees. He comes with decades of experience both as a successful teacher and as Chief Inspector at Ofsted. His contribution, along with that of our other trustees, will support the EPI in its mission to improve education policy through independent, data-driven analysis and research”.


Wilshaw grew up in south London in the 1950s, and went to Clapham College, a south London grammar school, and then St Mary’s teacher training college in Twickenham. He took a part-time History degree at Birkbeck College while teaching in various London schools; was appointed head teacher of St Bonaventure’s Catholic School in Forest Gate, London; and whilst there was knighted in the New Year Honours for 2000 for services to education. In November 2011, he was announced as the successor to Christine Gilbert as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and took up his five-year term from 1 January 2012.


The Education Policy Institute is an independent, impartial and evidence-based research institute that aims to promote high quality education outcomes for all children and young people, regardless of social backgrounds.


CMI Welcomes Budget Cash


Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy and External Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), responding to the Chancellor’s Spring budget announcement of a £500m investment in young people’s technical education said,


“For the UK economy to punch above its weight post-Brexit we need to start ramping-up the number of young people entering the labour force with work-ready higher skills. That’s why CMI welcomes the Chancellor earmarking £500m a year to support 16-19-year olds in technical education.


“According to our research, one-third of 16-21-year olds in the UK aren’t confident of finding a job in the next few years. Alongside championing the Government’s apprenticeship agenda, we support this transformation of technical education that will lay clearer career paths for those leaving school. But to deliver the highly skilled workers we’ll need to compete post-Brexit, these technical routes must be developed with employers and aligned with the new breed of apprenticeships.”


The CMI has recently claimed Gold at the App4England Awards, its first award for its work in the apprenticeship sector. It was named in the ‘Support Organisation to the Apprenticeship Sector (Charity/Not-For-Profit)’ category at the App4England Awards ceremony held on Tuesday 7 March at London’s Grange Tower Hotel. More than 60 employers and organisations were shortlisted in the awards programme. 


CMI was recognised just 16 months after the launch of Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship in November 2015. The trailblazer degree-level apprenticeship was developed by a group of more than 30 leading employers, including Serco, Nestle and Barclays, and supported by CMI. UK Universities has already tipped Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship to become the most subscribed of the new breed of degree-level apprenticeships to be created under the Government’s Trailblazer scheme.


CMI has also supported the development of other management apprenticeships to provide new pathways for employers to invest in their managers at all levels. This includes the introduction of the Team Leader and Operational Manager apprenticeships in June 2016, and the anticipated launch this summer of the Master’s level senior leader’s apprenticeship.


REC Responds to Labour Market Statistics

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) is the professional body for UK recruitment businesses. Established since 1930, it claims to represent 82% of the recruitment market place by value.


Commenting on the recent publication of labour market statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which includes data for November 2016 – January 2017, REC chief executive Kevin Green says:


“The UK jobs market has broken records again, with the employment rate reaching 74.6 per cent. The number of people entering work has accelerated, with 92,000 more jobs created between November and January. Unemployment is at the lowest since the mid-seventies. Despite pay growth slowing to 2.2 per cent, REC data shows that starting salaries have risen in the first quarter of 2017. Employers are boosting pay offers to compete for the limited talent available. “


“Whilst this is good news for individuals looking to move jobs, hirers are concerned about how they can sustain higher starting salaries – there’s only so much they can do to find people to fill jobs. We urge the government to be mindful of the skills shortage during the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Securing the rights of EU workers in the UK should be the number one priority. Employers in healthcare, construction, and agriculture especially are heavily reliant on EU nationals – we must reassure these people about their future in the UK.” 


The Implications of The National Funding Formula for Schools


The Education Policy Institute is an independent, impartial and evidence-based research institute that aims to promote high quality education outcomes, regardless of social background. According to its new analysis all schools in England face real terms cuts in funding per pupil, even after the introduction of a new national funding formula. On 17th March, Jon Andrews, Natalie Perera and Peter Sellen wrote:


The report, The implications of the National Funding Formula for schools, also finds that half of primary and secondary schools face large real terms, per pupil, cuts in funding of between 6-11 per cent by 2019-20. The Government consultation on the introduction of a new national funding formula (NFF) for schools closes on the 22nd March. To inform this important consultation, EPI has considered what the impact of the NFF will be, who the winners and losers are, and its analysis puts the NFF into the context of wider financial pressures on the schools system.


Key findings: There are clear disparities within the existing school funding system in England, meaning the Government is right to proceed with its plan to introduce a new national funding formula (NFF).


The Government’s proposals are unlikely to satisfy many local areas which have been relatively lower funded and have campaigned vocally for a new formula. The Government’s plans to allocate relatively more funding to disadvantaged and low attaining pupils mean those lower funded authorities are unlikely to see the increases that they have hoped for. However these decisions made by the Department for Education are rational for a government which wants to reduce the significant attainment gaps which limit social mobility.


Even though a greater share of funding is proposed to be allocated to disadvantaged pupils, EPI research finds that the overall impact of redistributing the schools budget results in shifting funding away from the most disadvantaged pupils towards what is considered the ‘just about managing’ group.


We find that: The most deprived primary and secondary schools (those with more than 30 per cent of pupils on free school meals) experience a small net gain of £5.6m, overall, but the most deprived secondary schools will actually see falls.

Other primary and secondary schools (those with less than 30 per cent of pupils on free school meals) gain an additional £275m overall. Many of these schools have very low levels of disadvantage.


Pupils who live in the least deprived areas (as measured by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) experience the highest relative gains.


Additional funding for low prior attainment means that the lowest performing schools in the country are set to gain £78.5m more, overall, than the top performing schools. This is particularly acute in London, where we find a net loss to the highest performing primary schools of around £16.6m overall.

We also consider the impact of inflationary pressures (highlighted by the National Audit Office) and the removal of the Education Services Grant, when assessing overall changes to school finances between 2016-17 and 2019-20.


We estimate that by 2019-20: There are unlikely to be any schools in England which will avoid a real terms cut in per pupil funding by 2019-20, even in areas benefiting from the new formula;

Indeed, up to half of primary schools and around half of secondary schools will be faced with significant real cuts in funding per pupil of between 6 and 11 per cent by 2019-20; This amounts to an average real terms loss of £74,000 per primary school and £291,000 per secondary school. This equates to, on average, the loss of almost 2 teachers across all primary schools and 6 teachers across all secondary schools.


Without additional funding beyond 2020, there is a risk of further budget losses for around 5,000 schools, including around 880 schools that would lose more than 10 per cent of their budget if the Government decides to remove the NFF transitional protections beyond 2020.


Hackers Compromise ABTA


The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is the UK’s largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators that sell £32 billion of holidays and other travel arrangements each year. Having been in existence for more than 65 years they offer authoritative advice and guidance to the travelling public, and lead the travel industry in attaining high service standards; working with their members on health and safety, and promoting responsible tourism at home and abroad.


Now, however, it is feared that an attack on their website could have affected about 43,000 people, including 1,000 holidaymakers. In a statement ( posted recently ABTA  said hackers broke into web servers hosting the organisation’s website on 27 February and stole data related to customers of its members, which include tour operators, and information pertaining to the members themselves.


It is believed that the vast majority of the 43,000 are people who have registered on – with email addresses and encrypted passwords – which are types of data at “a very low exposure risk to identity theft or online fraud”.


ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, gave a personal apology for the anxiety that the incident would cause to customers and members saying, “It is extremely disappointing that our web server, managed for ABTA through a third party web developer and hosting company, was compromised, and we are taking every step we can to help those affected.”


At the time of writing the association wasn’t aware of hackers passing the stolen data on but was warning both customers of ABTA members and ABTA members with the potential to be affected as a precautionary measure, and have alerted the data watchdog, the information commissioner, and the police.


Sound Waves Used to Hack Data


University of Michigan researchers have shown that sound waves can be used to hack into devices that use a commonly deployed piece of silicon called a MEMS accelerometer. Fitbits, smartphones, and a variety of medical devices and GPS locators all rely on accelerometers. The bad news is that the sound-wave hack can be used to control an emerging class of autonomous devices such as drones, self-driving cars, and anything attached to the Internet of Things. The good news: The hack requires physical proximity, expertise in both mechanical and electrical engineering, and above-average programming skills, according to researchers.


They also admit the actual threat is slight. “We’re not saying the sky is falling,” says Tim Trippel, one of the researchers and a PhD candidate in the computer science and engineering department at the University of Michigan. “But we need to think about software security and how the hardware can be stimulated environmentally with sound waves and [electromagnetic interference]. If attackers can craft the right type of vibration, they can make a device behave the way they way want it to.”


Source: Dark Reading


Can we rely on virtual meetings in this virtual age? I don’t mean ones where virtually no-one shows up, but ones where everyone is participating at the same time, by teleconference or video conference!


Finding a date when most of your Directors can be in the same place at the one time is always a pain. And even when you’ve agreed a date there’s the venue, the travel, and the catering to be thought of. Plus, once you’ve got the Board together, If you’re unwise enough to give them a glass of wine with their buffet lunch you can pretty much kiss goodbye to a half-days’ productive time, if a couple of verbose windbags get into their stride.


So, banishing Directors to the confines of a small screen on the edge of your desk sounds pretty attractive. Not least because it has the potential to unlock heaps of time but it can also save a whole pile of money to boot! In the right circumstances virtual meetings can work admirably, but beware, there may be pitfalls.


Thanks to email it’s easy to get agreement to do something between meetings by simply asking committee members to reply signifying their consent. That’s fine, until one or two people don’t agree, raise major objections, or make counterproposals. Face to face this would get argued through and the majority view would probably prevail. But, if your discussion is solely by email, how – and who – determines whether a decision has been reached and what happens next? Clear ground rules should help.

A policy that requires over 50% of those responding to agree, or a minimum number of objections before something can be stopped, would do the trick. But what next? Wait until a subsequent meeting – virtual or real – to ratify that decision? Not much help if a rapid resolution is required! And what about keeping records? Electronic? Not much good if they’re only accessible from one person’s inbox! Better to make it a policy that such decisions are reported like Minutes?


For a couple of years I was on the Board of an international body whose Directors were scattered to the four corners of the globe (not physically possible, but you know what I mean!). Getting them together for more than one or two meetings a year would have been prohibitively expensive and massively time consuming, so most Board meetings were held by teleconference. With the CEO in Australia, the Chairman in America, and Directors in England, South Africa, India etc., meetings had be held at odd hours to allow for time differences. Occasionally a Director answered the phone in their pyjamas (funny place to have a phone), but it worked!


The key was planning, preparation, and active participation.  The Officers having already deliberated, the Chairman and CEO set out and distributed an advance agenda that progressed in logical sequence; notes and supporting papers were circulated in advance, with all options explained; and all participants were expected to state their view clearly, with votes counted against the attendee list.


It worked because the group was tight, well known to each other, committed to attendance, and anxious to make progress. It would have failed if the Chairman had permitted subsequent backtracking on preceding decisions, let dominant personalities take over the discussion, or allowed the meeting to stray into subjects that were off beam. Their particular skill being to inspire input from those who never normally express an opinion on anything, or wrong-foot those who switched to speakerphone while they nipped off to fetch a coffee. Face to face, these same skills would be used to prompt those individuals whose ‘lights are on’ but where there’s ‘nobody home’!


Of course ‘actual’ meetings are better when it’s a large diverse gathering – like an AGM – or when there is a lot of business to cover on numerous issues. Slide decks and Power Point presentations can work in a virtual environment, but when you need 100% attention a live event is always best! But the major downside to virtual meetings is that they severely limit the chances of an after-meeting drink! Not the ‘done thing’ these days I know but, speaking personally, I learned an enormous amount about running trade associations, fellow directors’ true feelings, and the groundswell of member opinions, with a glass in my hand! Before the term got high-jacked, we used to call it ‘engagement’!

Michael Hoare

©2017 M J Hoare


If you’ve ever felt disadvantaged by imperfect knowledge of the events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century; ever been party to a conversation where people of a certain age make knowing reference to mysterious characters and events like the Blake spy case, Profumo, or Keeler; or your shaky grasp of recent history and literature has ever been exposed. Don’t worry, it happens to us all! Right now, earnest pundits who’ve never even cracked the spine of 1984 are referencing doublethink, newspeak, and the Ministry of Truth, in support of their opinions about fake news!  But all is not lost. Here is your chance – through one man’s career – to join up the dots of modern social history.


Jeremy Hutchinson was one of the greatest criminal barristers of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. His cases of the period changed society and provide an enthralling exploration of Britain’s post-war social, political and cultural history. From the sex and spying scandals that hastened Harold Macmillan’s resignation in 1963, to the struggle against the secret state and literary censorship through his defence of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Fanny Hill, and Last Tango in Paris, Hutchinson was involved in many of the great trials of the times. He also defended George Blake, Christine Keeler, Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson, art faker Tom Keating and Howard Marks.


Younger readers may find it hard to believe, but this was a period of revolutionary change in British society. The undermining of what was then regarded as the ‘establishment’, and re-alignment of social and moral conventions was well under way, even if the ‘old guard’ failed to recognise it. And the divisions in society can hardly be better illustrated than when the prosecutor in the Lady Chatterley case invited the jury to “ask yourselves … would you approve of your young sons, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book? Is it a book you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?” Remember, the year was 1960, not – as you might suppose – 1860!


For those of us who lived through these formative decades – and either didn’t know, or didn’t care, that society was shifting all around us – it is fascinating to see those relatively recent events through the lens of history. But the joy of this book is that in describing Hutchinson’s career, his biographer, Thomas Grant, strips away the hyperbole and gives arm-chair historians the facts and context of each case with clarity and wit. It is also a beautiful examination of the power of language and words. As Hutchinson puts it, “Words are the ammunition of the advocate; simple but telling words placed in the right order. It is remarkable how powerful words can be.”


Advocacy is the stock in trade of trade association professional. This excellent book can provide some examples for all of us!

Michael Hoare

©2017 M J Hoare

Published by John Murray (Publishers) ISBN 978-1-444-79975-0


Every trade association or membership organisation should have a social media presence, right? Yes, but think hard before leaping in! It’s not something to be tackled half-heartedly, so be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and have the right resources – human and financial – at your disposal.


If my inbox is anything to go by, some of the most hyped training courses are about getting the most out of social networking. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t get an invitation to attend a course where I will learn about the effective use of the Internet and social media to drive business growth. The idea being to harness Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and others to drive sales, and harness engagement.


There is anecdotal evidence that it works. Contrary to tradition, and In a reversal of their usual approach of shouting about the unique benefits of their product in the hope of snagging customers who are ready to buy, some companies are trying to build a community of interest around their activities and employing engagement marketing to bring customers to them. It is one stage on from transactional marketing and it clearly works for those companies that have employed it to best advantage.


But will it work for membership organisations? The key words, of course, are ‘community of interest’; or the people who buy into the ideas, brand, or lifestyle that is being promulgated, or share the same beliefs as those doing the talking. It’s the basis on which all membership bodies work, so the concept is not new, it’s just the method used to achieve your objective. For instance, back in the olden days, retailers had local high street shops, and they developed a community of interest by talking to their customers and understanding their lives and needs. Membership bodies did the same using print media, social events, and meetings. But now, because we enjoy less personal contact, and a businesses’ ‘community’ may be flung far and wide, we need to use new tools to achieve the same ends, so social media appears ideal.


But beware! What might seem at first glance to be a cheap and cheerful marketing tool – beloved of trade associations – may swiftly become an albatross around your neck if you don’t have the resources to see it through? And by that I don’t just mean money! Before membership bodies take the leap they should be mindful of some of the pitfalls.  Because, once committed, there is no going back! Feeding the social media beast can become a full-time job. And only about thirty percent of member organisations have someone dedicated to the task. 


The Internet is not the sole preserve of the young, but it’s a fact that having been brought up in a computer based environment they take more readily to the medium. The age of your target ‘community’ will influence your tone and how you communicate, but don’t imagine you can just hire a ‘youngster’ and let them get on with it! Plus, social media sites aren’t a broadcast medium. The traffic isn’t all one way and they rely on action and reaction; developing a conversation over time. So, ask yourself, can you develop an enduring narrative; are you comfortable writing persuasive informal text; and can you keep it up day after day and night after night. Considering the websites I’ve seen that haven’t been updated since the year dot, and the lamentable rubbish I’ve read online, the evidence isn’t looking too good!


Consider the amount of precious time consumed just reacting to your email inbox, and the time commitment is pretty clear! And have you, personally, got heaps of sparkling ideas with which to entice your eager waiting community? Describing your breakfast every day simply won’t cut it – unless you own a café – and what happens when you want to take a break? Going silent for a fortnight isn’t an option, so without help you can wave goodbye to uninterrupted holidays, your life will never be your own again.


So, the tools may be free but the content isn’t. It takes resources – both human and financial – to develop engaging content, and there can be reputational risks too! It’s all well and good when your community loves you, your ideas, service and product. What happens when they don’t? Or, more likely, when a vocal minority, or a disgruntled customer doesn’t! An old customer service mantra used to run something like, ‘a happy customer will tell his best friend and an unhappy one will tell everyone’. That was in the days of neighbourhood gossip, today the Internet has given rumour an exponential boost. Just look at current world events to see the power of social networks and the inherent risk if they disseminate unfettered and un-moderated comments.



But these aren’t reasons not to proceed, just why you mustn’t assume social media is a cheap option that can be easily delegated. It requires, clear objectives, defined resources, excellent content, measurement and management. And, once you commit to the process, you’d you better get your running shoes on to keep up with the ‘next big thing’. Because as surely as night follows day, when the pioneers and acolytes of social networking realise that their chosen medium has been debased by cynics, they will move on faster than you can say Twitter.


So, get out your KPIs and measuring tools – opens, visits, click through, and event attendance – and start racking up your analytics!

Michael Hoare

©2017 M J Hoare