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Association News

With the election in full swing we are all eagerly awaiting the publication of the last few party manifestos. This has spurred on numerous trade associations to publish their own versions.They are thought provoking documents but the question is, are the Parliamentary candidates really listening, or are they too bound up in party politics to take our views on board?

A cynic might say that, with the exception of the CBI and their ilk, most trade association manifestos are more of an exercise in profile building – designed to reassure members that they wield ‘influence’ – than an instrument for meaningful change? Nevertheless, Association News has assembled some for your scrutiny, and you can read the documents in full by clicking the links below each summary.

The Soil Association


The Soil Association calls on all parties to give food and farming a higher priority than ever in their manifestos. Stating that, ‘as the UK prepares to leave the EU, the next Government will have an opportunity to produce an agricultural policy for the first time in decades. This must fully recognise the importance of food and farming to public health, our environment, and the economy. We urge all political parties to put climate change, public health, soil protection and farm animal welfare at the centre of their food and farming vision – and to adopt the eight policies in their 2017 manifestos. Stronger working across departments and with devolved administrations, and better resourcing of DEFRA, is also essential. Our recommendations cover food production (farming and land use) and consumption (public health and diets)’. Read more...

Creative Industries Federation


The Creative Industries Federation, the national membership organisation that brings together all of the UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education, has launched its election manifesto. According to the CIF it is key to driving growth in a post-Brexit Britain. The fastest growing part of the UK’s economy, the sector contributes £87bn in GVA. The UK is the third-largest exporter of cultural goods and services in the world – just behind China and the US. However, the CIF maintains that, as other countries are now prioritising the sector, we cannot take our global pre-eminence for granted.


They have identified 10 priority recommendations that will enable the creative industries, arts and cultural education – and therefore the nation – to thrive. Read more…



The Open Data Institute


The Open Data Institute works to build a strong, fair and sustainable data economy in which data gets to the people who need it. They believe that openness is a vital mechanism to create a data economy that works for everyone, stating, ‘We are a global organisation but our headquarters are in the UK. The UK’s practices – particularly around data – are followed worldwide, so we want to get data to people to help them make informed decisions on who to vote for in the UK general election.’  

They propose a number of data ideas for political manifestos based around two sets of sentences that they would like to see in the party manifestos, including ‘data infrastructure, skills and open innovation’; and ‘ethics, engagement and equity’. Read more…


CONFOR Five Point Plan


Confor – the membership organisation for sustainable forestry and wood-using businesses – has delivered a five-point forestry action plan to create rural jobs, tackle climate change, build homes and protect wildlife in its manifesto for the UK Government election. The document – called Planting The Future – calls on the new government to: plant more trees; take the forestry commission back to its roots; appoint a minister to stand up forestry; cut red tape; and ensure fair treatment for forestry. Read more…

Energy Networks Association


The ENA represents the UK’s gas and electricity grid operators. Parliamentary hopefuls will shortly receive a ‘Know Their Networks’ pledge card with information from ENA about their local gas and electricity network operator, as well as key facts and figures about network infrastructure. The ENA wants candidates to understand the vital service network companies deliver for their customers both nationally and locally, including:  Energy network companies employ 30,000 people across the UK and are responsible for serving 30 million customers. Read more…

AELP Push for More Apprenticeships


Four million quality apprenticeships are a feasible commitment for a new government to adopt during the next Parliament, according to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) whose training provider members deliver the programme. Read more…


The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed


IPSE’s manifesto, ‘A Contract with the Self-Employed’, addresses questions on taxation and potential regulation and offers a full set of practical policies the they say the next government should deliver to support the self-employed. These include:


Defining self-employment in law to stop exploitation and keep self-employment positive

Reviewing the tax system for the self-employed to ensure fairness and efficiency

Providing fair parental benefits for self-employed mothers and fathers

Controlling the damage from IR35 changes in the public sector, and committing to no similar measures in the private sector

Developing a proper pensions solution for the self-employed

Changing the tax treatment of training to encourage development & career progression

Read more…

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Association News

NAJ CEO Jumps Ship


Michael Rawlinson has announced his resignation as the CEO of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) in order to pursue ‘other interests’. Having been in post for just over four years, Rawlinson oversaw the ongoing negotiations to merge the former National Association of Goldsmiths and the British Jewellers Association, to form a group representative of both manufacturers and retailers.


Simon Johnson, NAJ chairman, said, “Michael has done a great job bringing together two organisations and two locations, as well as moving the London office to an ideal site in the heart of creative Clerkenwell. Change of this size is no easy task and he has achieved it with the support and backing of his team and the NAJ National Committee. We wish him well in his next challenge.”


Previous association roles include a two year spell as Director General of UKIE the trade association for UK interactive entertainment. He previously spent nine years as Managing Director of ELSPA Ltd the UK computer games and interactive entertainment software trade association.

New Board Director for Mystery Shoppers


Rena Shaw, Operations Director at mystery shopping and analysis group Storecheckers, has been appointed a Board Director of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. Shaw, who holds a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Hull, and an MSc in Political Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London, has worked with business partner Jeff Caplan since 1989, when they established Storecheckers. They specialise in mystery Shopping, market research and training to improve customer satisfaction and in turn revenue. Clients include well known High Street names including Aldi, Pets at Home, Timpson’ Repair and Virgin Retail, as well as leisure groups such as Campanile Hotels, Madame Tussauds, Hard Rock Cafe, Manchester United Football Club, Carluccios and Pitcher & Piano. 

RIA Needs New Policy Manager


The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association which represents and lobbies for the UK’s railway suppliers, and which campaigns for a flourishing railway sector. They are seeking to recruit a Policy Executive/Manager to support the Policy Director in meeting the needs of our member companies. Applicants must have experience in a fast-moving policy background…Read More?

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Association News

Diary Date: 27th June, 2017 NetXtra Breakfast club ‘Mind The Gap’


Allen Reid from Hart Square provides practical insight on the growing gap between member expectations and the ability of membership bodies to meet them.

Join Hart Square, independent CRM consultants, and other industry specialists on the 27th of June at the NetXtra breakfast club.

NetXtra invite you to join us for
The Breakfast Club on the theme of

‘Mind the Gap’

08:00 – 10:30 on Tuesday 27th June at
The Reading Room, 10 – 11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH


A delicious breakfast, with fantastic learning and networking opportunities


The agenda features:


  • ‘Mind the Digital Gap’
    Allen Reid from HartSquare discusses identifying and bridging the gap between modern member expectations and the ability of membership bodies to meet them.


  • ‘Mind the SEO Gap’
    Tom Bowden, Director of Footprint Digital looks at how SEO techniques can enhance our ability to close the gap, connect with our community and increase our online authority.



  • Round table discussion
    Identifying ‘gaps’ and discussing solutions


Please click here to book your free place before 19th June


Association News

Enhanced features and functionality meet increasing user experience expectations from the market and ProTech clients


Free Upgrade to Pro9 for existing Pro-8 users


Aldridge, West Midlands, UK16 May, 2017: ProTech launched Pro9, the latest software upgrade of its Pan Government ‘OFFICIAL’ security accredited specialist CRM solution, to assembled clients at the ProTech ProInsight Workshop held in London on Wednesday 10 May. Attendees were given a first look at how Pro9’s newly designed UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) will meet increasing demands for a modern, highly intuitive CRM solution.


“Reflecting market demand for the best possible user experience, feedback from existing and prospective clients and our key stakeholders, highlighted that we needed to modernise and simplify ProTech’s UI to enhance the user experience we delivered,” said Jenny Parsons, ProTech’s COO.  


“When our clients tell us what they want, we listen. They were asking for a user experience of the highest level and that is exactly what Pro9 delivers,” added Parsons. “To ensure that our existing clients deploying Pro-8, the previous version of our CRM software, can take full advantage of our improved user experience, we are offering them a free upgrade to Pro9.”


The Pro9 intuitive UI now delivers screen and navigation menus that are easily accessible ensuring that users can quickly get to where they want to be within Pro9 enabling them to complete tasks or actions more productively and efficiently. The new UI has been significantly modernised and now aligns with industry best practice for web applications and also reflects the latest Microsoft user experience.


Enhanced search capability also increases productivity and efficiency by making it very simple and quick for users to find any type of data saved in Pro9. In turn, enhanced integration with Microsoft Outlook now makes it very easy for both inbound and outbound emails to be seamlessly accessed from Pro9.


Another key feature developed in response to user feedback is dashboard functionality. Pro9 now delivers highly sophisticated customisable dashboards to give users access to a real-time graphical overview of the key data they need to see.


Valuable data, such as the results of a recent marketing campaign, the number of new member registrations, how many renewals are pending or performance against sales targets, etc., can be retrieved from Pro9 and displayed within a single screen. The ability to view this critical data helps to drive more informed and faster decision making.


Pro9’s configurable dashboards give users and in turn senior management, a quick and easy way to monitor their NFP and Association’s performance. Users have complete visibility of what is happening across all departments, visibility allows performance to be continually measured – if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.


The new up-to-the-minute look and feel of Pro9 immediately reassures users that they are deploying a proven CRM solution, which takes full advantage of external UI and UX input, developed and designed using ProTech’s expertise, gained from successfully delivering CRM and change management solutions to the NFP for more than 20 years. ProTech’s CRM solution can be deployed on-premise or as Software as a Service (SaaS).


“Initial response to Pro9 has been very favourable and has confirmed that we will be delivering the user experience that our existing and potential clients are now demanding,” said Parsons. “We will continue to seek involvement with and feedback from clients and key stakeholders as we continue to develop Pro9 and will be holding webinars and demonstrations until the full software launch.”


It is anticipated that Pro9 will be available for upgrade by existing clients from July 2017 and for general release from September 2017.


About ProTech

For more than 20 years ProTech has been delivering specialist CRM software and change management services to the Not for Profit (NFP) sector. Its Pro-8 CRM software operates in a Microsoft environment and delivers easily configurable specialist NFP modules with CRM, workflow, process automation and reporting capability at their core: Membership & Subscriptions, Learning & Education, CPD, Event Management, Annual Appeal, Fundraising, Marketing & Campaigns and Sales Ledger.


By adding ProWeb, (secure digital platform) and ProCloud (a fully managed Cloud CRM offering) to its specialist CRM and change management solution portfolio, ProTech delivers a Government ‘OFFICIAL’ security accredited fully integrated web and CRM platform.


ProTech’s Lean3S, change management methodology based on Lean and Systems Thinking, and ensures that NFPs can fully optimise their investment in ProTech’s fully integrated web and CRM technology platform.


For more info visit:

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Association News

“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” Donald Rumsfeld’s famous quote did little to clarify the situation back in 2002. Here is a reader’s personal attempt to unpick the ‘known-unknowns’ for NFPs immediately after the election announcement.


With last week’s ‘shock’ announcement from Theresa May, the main political parties have been rapidly preparing for 8 June’s general election. The question is, what might the general election mean for businesses and the NFP sector and how can we prepare?


As manifestos are yet to be published (should be available mid-May), we can only speculate as to what the impact of the general election outcome might be.


What we can do is educate ourselves to make a decision as to which way to vote, and commit to vote. Voting is what places parties in power, and we’re all empowered to do that! In fact, some would say we have a social and moral obligation to do so.

By way of looking at the facts as they currently stand we’ve put together a summary below based on what we ‘know’ (from recent announcements) and what’s ‘possible’ based on past party form.


To cut to the chase, it would seem from what’s ‘known’ and ‘possible’ that the major players with any current stance of consequence on NFP’s and businesses are the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. This is unless you are based in Scotland, in which case the SNP may have some bearing.


The Conservative Party, although focused on an attractive business environment post-Brexit, quite how they will achieve this, and the actual impact of Brexit remains unclear, although widely speculated about. The benefits or drawbacks to the NFP and business sectors will hinge on the impact of Brexit.


The Labour Party are very much on the side of ‘the people’ ending the pay cap for nurses, midwives and other NHS staff, and repealing the Trade Union Act, which should have positive outcomes for those associated. An increase in minimum wage and allowances should also help pad the public pocket and therefore may have benefits for both businesses and NFP’s.

The Liberal Democrats are working on behalf of UK businesses, which one would assume, would have the knock-on benefit of a more robust economy and therefore a potentially increased pocket from which the NFP sector can be supported. Making a commitment to provide funding specifically for mental health services, should surely mean, with that precedent set, other services may well benefit.


Although telling people which way to vote would be entirely wrong, encouraging people to vote is entirely right. Let’s commit to making the difference to our future and the future of our nation and her people together.


The Conservative Party

Their focus

Ensuring that the post-Brexit British economy is an attractive business environment.


  • The international aid budget will remain at 0.7 per cent of the total government budget.
  • They will cap energy prices.


  • A “long term solution” to the social care crisis
  • Scrapping the HS2 high speed rail link project
  • Cut public spending over major tax increases
  • Reduce levels of immigration to the tens of thousands
  • More grammar schools


The Labour Party

Their focus

Funding public services such as the NHS and education by increasing taxes on earners of over £70,000 a year.


  • Minimum wage would increase to £10 per hour
  • Education – Class sizes will be capped and free school meals will be made available to all primary school children
  • The Carers’ Allowance would be increased to be in line with Jobseekers’ Allowance (+£10 a week)
  • Ending the 1% pay cap for nurses, midwives and other NHS staff
  • Repealing the Trade Union Act
  • Brexit – Have a meaningful vote on the final deal, scrap the Tories’ Brexit White Paper and the Great Repeal Bill and guaranteeing the rights of 3million EU citizens to remain in the UK
  • A £500 billion National Investment Bank to help the economy recover after Brexit
  • A commitment to the review on high street banks and the drive to push people to internet banking with a focus on maintaining accessibility for those without digital access.



  • Reversing Tory cuts to inheritance tax, corporation tax and inheritance tax
  • Increase in the top rate of tax
  • A law to stop banks closing down high street branches
  • ‘Re-nationalising the NHS’ by repealing the Health and Social Care Act
  • Cutting student fees
  • Building a million new homes – half of them council homes
  • Banning zero hour contracts
  • Re-nationalising the railways and Royal Mail


The Liberal Democrats

Their focus

As pro-free trade and pro-business, their focus is to stop Brexit. Through a second referendum retaining Britain as a member of the single market.


  • A second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal



  • A pledged tax to pay for the NHS and social care
  • Greater funding for mental health services
  • Introduce a regulated market for cannabis in the UK.
  • Bolster the UK’s welfare system
  • An increase in the threshold at which students pay back tuition fee loans
  • Campaign for proportional representation Introduce a regulated market for cannabis in the UK.


The Green Party

Their focus



  • Free education – scrapping tuition fees and bringing back maintenance grants
  • Continuing the Erasmus student exchange programme after Brexit
  • Pledging to maintain equivalent funding for Universities losing cash from the EU
  • Against leaving the EU



  • Lowering the voting age to 16
  • Higher living wage.
  • Increased investment in mental health services



Their focus

Making sure Brexit happens quickly and efficiently.


  • A ban on full face coverings
  • An explicit ban on the practice of Sharia Law
  • Abolition of postal voting for most electors
  • Making a difference in race an aggravating factor in grooming offences
  • A moratorium on new Islamic faith schools
  • Mandatory reporting of Female Genital Mutilation
  • Mandatory annual medical checks for girls “at risk” of Female Genital Mutilation
  • ‘Presumption of prosecution’ of any parent whose daughter has suffered FGM, which is already the law
  • A £10 billion a year cut in the foreign aid budget



  • Progressive taxation and the maintenance of the welfare state



Their focus

Independence from the UK, dependence on the EU.


  • A pledge to fight a second referendum on Scottish independence
  • The removal of the Bedroom Tax
  • Changes to Child Tax Credits policy to remove the ‘rape clause’



  • Higher living wages
  • Progressive taxation
  • The universality of disability payments and the removal of the “Bedroom Tax.”


Melissa Wiggins




Introduction: I used to run a Trade Association. Opening up the office after the Christmas shut down a few years ago I discovered to my horror that a small electrical explosion caused by a power surge had burnt out the main fuse box and deprived us of heat, light, switchboard, and computers. It already felt like a disaster! But the argument about liability between the electricity board, energy supplier, and contractor would take days to resolve, and result in no power for a week.


Packing the staff off for what we thought would be an extra day`s holiday, and thanking our lucky stars the whole place hadn`t burnt down, a colleague and I settled down in the cold to manage the recovery as best we could; literally working in the dark to resolve the problem. With year-end accounts and membership renewals in full swing it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. But a lucky break came with the chance discovery of one top floor power socket that was unaffected. As – being an old building – it was probably connected to next door`s supply! So, with the aid of a long extension cable, we powered up the servers and key colleagues were able to use remote access connections (the one thing we had planned for) to return us to some semblance of normality – at least to the outside world!


Now, how likely it is that we could have anticipated the catalogue of other people`s errors that led to this incident is a moot point. But it shows just the kind of risks that lurk around every corner. And it was illustrative of Dr Sandra Bell’s presentation on ‘Building Organisational Resilience’ at the recent ProInsight Spring Workshop.


Dr Sandra Bell: Dr Bell, with an impressive CV as a defence scientist, former Chairman of the British Standards Institute’s committee on Societal Security Management, and advisor to UK Governments on the creation of the National Security Strategy and the National Information Assurance Strategy, urged her audience of ProTech clients to be pragmatic.

Resilience is the capability to absorb the impacts of a disaster, maintain as much function as possible, and make certain that failures occur in a controlled way.  This permits as rapid as possible reestablishment of optimized business function. Damage is minimal – disruption may be huge.

While 72% of companies maintain resilience policies at corporate level, and the likelihood of getting guidance from above in an emergency is limited, it is vital for trusted people on the ground to have the ability (having been thoroughly drilled) to adapt in response to a stimulus. Her mantra – learned the hard way from mistakes, mishaps and the occasional stroke of luck – is keep it real, in terms of relationships and resources; don’t be a victim (making decisions is easier when your values are clear); and innovate what matters and control the rest.


Jenny Parsons: In her session Jenny Parsons, chief operating officer for ProTech, introduced the group to Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a discipline that encompasses the three most influential components involved in human experience: neurology, language and programming. It offers numerous models, theorises how people make sense of the world around them, and how their language patterns can suggest clues to the internal representations people are making.

Its value, for proponents, is in recognising when people are having a positive or a negative response to change, and how they can be supported in adapting. ProTech utilises NLP in our Lean3S business transformation methodology.


Kris Watkins: Conceding that the launch of Pro9 may come as an unexpected surprise – as Pro10 has already been discussed – Kris Watkins, Development Manager, outlined its new features. Designed, in part, to consolidate functionality, reorganise search criteria, and standardise the design across the piece, Pro9 is a transitional step towards Pro10. It will be provided free of charge for existing clients from mid-July, and features a new vertical menu layout, and a new dashboard style opening screen to consolidate data in one place. There is no intention of withdrawing support for Pro8, but new features will now be added to Pro9 not 8, although that will continue to be bug-fixed for the foreseeable future.

Pro10 on the other hand will conform to the software as a service (SAAS) model, will be cloud based, scalable, secure, and high performance. The concept is very much ‘pay-as-you-go’ with use measurement and metering, and ProTech clients will evolve into tenants. Whilst going cloud based will give access anywhere, provide scope for remote deployment, and make it scale-able in line with growth.

Security is another big issue and, whilst there will be some resources shared between clients, their data will be kept in isolation. The pre-requisite of high performance will be easier to achieve because it is being built in at the design stage. As is enhanced user satisfaction brought about by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.

Michael Hoare

©2017 M J Hoare


Introduction: Uber is the world’s largest taxi company but owns no cabs. One of the largest accommodation providers – Airbnb – doesn’t have a hotel room to call its own. Whilst SKYPE and WECHAT have no wires or exchanges, and ALIBABA, the world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory. The list goes on!  In fact, they have become so disruptive that some are asking why collaborative economy platforms are growing so quickly; what are their implications for employment law and health and safety regulation; and how does consumer protection law apply. Who is regulating them? Is it the EU, the Member State or even the local authority?


Those are all good questions for associations to ponder too! But don’t let’s be fooled into thinking that disruptive technology is only about market dominance via digital platforms. Genomics, 3D printing, advanced materials, advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery, and renewable electricity are also on the top twelve list of developments poised to dislocate us.


So what, if the world’s most popular media owner – Facebook – not only creates no content, but also brings special interest groups together in a way associations previously regarded as their forte? That LinkedIn has already knocked the dynamics of recruitment off kilter, and Amazon has dealt an almost mortal blow to traditional booksellers? Clearly there is no going back, and hankering after the past is no help.


Industry sectors atomized by disruptive technologies will adapt, but they will require a very different set of benefits from their associations. And they in turn will require different skills, finance, and governance to match their members’ needs. Are associations up to the task? Or even thinking that far ahead?


Expectations from members have increased dramatically in recent years, putting pressure on Membership Bodies to ‘compete or get left behind’. Facing demands for personalised content, more online self-service and mobile access, membership bodies are asking, “How do I compete without incurring sky-high costs and project risk?”


Allen Reid: According to Allen Reid of Hart Square, the benefits of modern member engagement systems are clear: Improved relevance to members, increasing retention and revenue; better understanding of member needs, leading to targeted services, cross-sell and up-sell; streamlined services, saving time and money. Plus, of course, improved flexibility to bring new offerings to market, and better business insight – allowing proper strategic management!

The challenge is that many membership bodies are working with systems that are not ‘joined up’ and which create barriers to staying competitive. So, the objective of the workshop ‘Busting the Myth of Modern Member Engagement’, hosted by Hart Square, was to examine those issues with the help of case studies introduced by ASI’s Andy Sherwin and Gordon Brewster.


Andy Sherwin: According to Andy Sherwin, MD of ASI, membership bodies in the US and the UK share common goals. Not unexpectedly they are around increasing member retention, engagement, acquisition, and increasing revenue. In general, these goals are challenged by measurement, reporting, and costs. But the UK suffers from the additional problems of silos, weak integration of databases, websites, and social media, plus inadequate self-service measures.

Moreover, whilst many measure ‘transactions’ such as financial activity and participation, few take account of ‘sentiment’, i.e. are clients satisfied, happy, dissatisfied? Add transactional data to measures of sentiment in the form of an Engagement Management System (EMS) and, so the argument goes, you have a powerful predictive tool.


Gordon Brewster: ASI performance improvement leader, Gordon Brewster, described the ways in which the British Association of Snow-sport Instructors faced the problems of availability of members who wish to spend their time on the top of mountains; contacting and allocating trainers to courses relevant to their skills; and getting feedback – including sentiment – from students.

Meanwhile, The Law Society of Scotland overcame inertia, and limited income streams from the grudge purchase of practice certificates, by throwing open its membership to other than practicing solicitors. Now 90% of revenue comes from ‘non-practice’ fees and CPD.

Michael Hoare

©2017 M J Hoare



Millions of pounds in EU funding dedicated to supporting small firms in Wales must be replaced to avoid the risk of an economic slowdown post-Brexit, according to the latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) report.


In recent funding rounds, the devolved governments of the UK have received some of the highest allocations of ESIF (European Structural and Investment Funds). Wales receives five times more in per capita terms than England does. This has consequently provided a vital part of regional policy in helping local economies and businesses across Wales. Given the importance of this funding to Wales, it is FSB Wales’ view that we retain a similar funding distribution to that received in previous rounds.


As a net contributor to existing EU budgets, the UK should eventually receive a budgetary dividend once we leave the EU. We therefore believe that the UK Government should, at the very least, aspire to maintain the level of funding currently on offer to support small businesses.


The new report: ‘Reformed Business Funding: What small firms want from Brexit’ found that the majority of businesses in Wales that have used EU funded schemes, believe EU funding has had a positive impact on their business (68%) and local area (68%). The research indicates that the benefits of EU funding are even broader, with many other businesses indirectly gaining from wider economic growth.

The research uncovers a clear relationship between the likelihood of applying for business support and growth ambitions among small firms across the UK. Those looking to grow by 20 per cent or more (89%) are far more likely to apply for support than those that aspire to remain the same size (65%).


Successful applicants for EU-funded schemes in Wales express various frustrations with the application process. The most common being the amount of information required to make an application (76%), the length of the application process (38%) and the need to meet excessive reporting requirements after funds are granted (23%). As a result, FSB Wales proposes a reduction in bureaucracy as part of a reformed business support landscape.


Janet Jones, FSB Wales Policy Unit Chair, said:


“This research demonstrates how vital it is for funding for Wales to be protected post-Brexit, and for the Welsh Government to have oversight of this.


“However, there are opportunities to do this differently, with member businesses in Wales wanting to see spend concentrated on things such as transport infrastructure (20%), extended tax relief for small businesses (21%) and business support (20%).


“Should EU funding fail to be replaced in 2020 then it is clear that as a net beneficiary, Wales will be worse off than much of the UK as a result. We are clear that this funding must be protected to ensure the continuity of business support. However, we need a new conversation with businesses to reinforce the benefit of this funding and bring them closer to what is an important public investment. Brexit offers the opportunity to improve upon how and where we use this money. We have called on the next UK Government to ensure that it is replaced and will take forward a conversation with Welsh Government as to how it is used.”


Tony Sage, of Safety Sage Ltd, a small business that has been in receipt of EU funding, said: “The React 2 funding allowed me to broaden my skill base in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The Level 3 teaching qualification (EAT) has indeed enhanced my training courses that I deliver. It has opened other doors too; such as the fact that others have approached me to deliver training knowing I have this EAT qualification. The 3rd course I was able to attend was Behavioural Safety, a key course that I apply in training and consulting. This is now the recommended approach form the HSE to use interpersonal understanding of safety to help businesses.”


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Association News is published twice a month with an early edition scheduled for the ninth and a late edition on the twenty-third. The exception being December and January when only the early and late versions respectively are broadcast. Therefore there are twenty-two opportunities to reach our audience of 1500 membership professionals every year.

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It can’t have escaped your notice that an election is again in full swing and we are all eagerly awaiting the publication of the party manifestos. This has spurred numerous trade associations to publish their own versions, and we have already highlighted two – from the Soil Association, and the Creative Industries Federation – in this edition of Association News. Both are thought provoking documents, and no doubt we will feature more in subsequent editions. But, the question is, are the candidates really listening, or are they too bound up in party politics to take our views on board? A cynic might say that, with the exception of the CBI and their ilk, most trade association manifestos are unlikely to influence government, and are more an exercise in profile building – designed to reassure members that they wield ‘influence’- than an instrument for meaningful change? What is your experience?

Are you inclined to rational and evidence based government and legislation?

The Open Data Institute works to build a strong, fair and sustainable data economy in which data gets to the people who need it. They believe that openness is a vital mechanism to create a data economy that works for everyone, stating, ‘We are a global organisation but our headquarters are in the UK. The UK’s practices – particularly around data – are followed worldwide, so we want to get data to people to help them make informed decisions on who to vote for in the UK general election.’  

They propose a number of data ideas for political manifestos based around sentences that they would like to see in the party manifestos.  What do you think?

Michael Hoare

©2017 M J Hoare