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Associations call for urgent measures to minimise airport disruption in Europe.

The European Regions Airline Association1 (ERA) and other leading industry associations are expressing significant concern regarding delays at airports related to the enhanced border control since Regulation EU458/2017 entered into force.

Together, the associations urge member states to take the necessary measures to minimise the adverse impact on EU citizens and connectivity at EU hub airports. Between April 2017 and June 2017, and after Regulation EU458/2017 entered into force, the number of delayed flights due to border control issues increased by 97 per cent compared to 2016. Furthermore, in June 2017, the contribution to the average delay time per delayed flight due to border control issues increased by 30 per cent2 compared to 2016. With the new requirements imposed on border authorities, it is essential that adequate human resources are allocated and processes implemented by member states to minimise the impact. ERA, together with other industry associations IATA, AIRE, A4E and ACI, are calling for member states to urgently adopt the following measures:

In accordance with Article 15 of the Schengen Border Code, all member states should deploy the necessary number of border officers and consider further deployment of automated border control gates, including at secondary airports where non-Schengen traffic is significant.

Member states such as Spain and France which are collecting Advance Passenger Information (API) should make use of the provisions set out in Article 8 paragraph 2e which were specifically added to allow for more efficient checks. The advance verification on the basis of API data could also speed up controls for EU passengers on inbound flights.

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UK Finance: Contactless Changing the Way We Pay

Contactless spending in the first half of 2017 was £23.23 billion, compared to £9.27 billion in the first half of 2016. So, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the UK’s launch of contactless technology, UK Finance published the latest usage figures on Monday, 4 September.

The first contactless cards in the UK were launched in September 2007, increasing by 26% in 2016, with 111 million contactless cards in issue as of June 2017. Contactless usage is expected to increase four-fold by 2026. During the first half of this year the amount spent using contactless technology (£23.23 billion) almost matched the amount spent in 2016 (£25 billion).

The most popular places for using contactless cards are supermarkets, off-licences and other food and drink retailers, accounting for 45% of contactless spending. Restaurants, fast food establishments, pubs and coffee shops were also popular with consumers paying with contactless. New uses for contactless include donation points to be used by charities and ongoing rollouts of contactless ticketing on public transport across the country.

Richard Koch, Head of Cards at UK Finance, said:

“Contactless has revolutionised the way consumers pay, and is increasingly being used instead of cash for transactions under £30.

“With a generation of customers now used to the convenience of paying with contactless we are confident that the places you can use it will continue to grow, with usage predicted to increase four-fold in the next 10 years.”

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London, said:

 “Contactless payments have completely transformed how people pay for travel in London.  We’ve now seen more than one billion journeys made using contactless payment cards and on average two million journeys are made every day. Transport has led the way on contactless and become the catalyst for the use of this new payment method. The benefits to customers have been immeasurable and many world cities are now looking to adopt similar payment systems on their transport network.”

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned the new Government not to overlook the domestic agenda as it starts the negotiations over withdrawing from the EU. 

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “Brexit is clearly the most urgent focus for the new Government but it will only be successful if the Government fully backs small businesses, the backbone of the economy, whose ambitions will need to be harnessed to make use of any new trade deals.

“UK negotiators must have their interests in mind, including easy access to the single market and the ability to hire workers with the skills they need.”

The organisation also warned the Government not to revisit plans to raise National Insurance on the self-employed. 

“Many self-employed strivers were frightened during the recent election by the threat of a tax grab on them in the form of higher National Insurance Contributions,” said Mr Cherry. “I call on the new minority Government to rule that out once and for, to reassure entrepreneurs seeking to help our economy grow that they will not have extra obstacles thrown in their way.”

He also called for reform of the outdated business rates system and the need to tackle the poor treatment of many small firms by big business customers: “We look forward to working constructively with the new Government on all of these issues.”



NCC Education is an awarding organisation and provider of British education, claiming to offer a complete education solution to a global network of fifty Accredited Partner Centres in more than 50 countries.

Originally a division of the National Computing Centre – first established as a government IT initiative in 1966 – it initially offered IT qualifications. Gradually expanding its higher education portfolio to include Business, English Language, and Foundation level qualifications. In 1997, they incorporated as an awarding organisation of British qualifications recognised by universities, professional bodies and employers worldwide.

ProTech, on the other hand, has been delivering specialist CRM software and change management services to the Not for Profit (NFP) sector for more than 20 years. Its Pro-9 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/Professional Qualifications, CPD, Event Management, Annual Appeal, Fundraising, Marketing & Campaigns and Sales Ledger.

NCC Education and ProTech have now teamed up, with the latter’s digital platform, ProWeb, and its specialist CRM software Pro9, providing a secure, integrated web and CRM solution hosted in ProTech’s ProCloud. In choosing the ProTech solution NCC Education hopes to significantly improve its levels of customer service, reduce its operating costs, and support its strategy of giving  its customers, employee users, and learners, a web based communications channel.

“Our current Awarding Body Management System, developed around ten years ago, is now constrained by physical and technological limitations,” said Emma Dawkins, Director of Qualifications and Academic Delivery for NCC Education.

“As our Awarding Body Management System is now out dated it does not integrate fully or in some areas at all, with other systems we deploy. This has resulted in our inability to take advantage of modern technology and its application in innovative teaching delivery and assessment activity which are at the core of an awarding organisation.” 

NCC Education will move away from its existing ‘on premise’ system to a cloud-based Awarding Body Management System, thereby removing the need to manage, support, and host infrastructure. This was one of the key criteria in the selection of ProTech and its integrated web and CRM solution hosted in ProCloud, a secure, always available, fully serviced Cloud infrastructure.

This digital platform should ensure that NCC Education’s system will be scalable, flexible and adaptable to meet its current and future business requirements, and provide integration with other major systems it uses. A new Centre Portal for NCC Education is envisaged, that will initially provide an online interface for its Accredited Partner Centres.   This will allow them to perform additional online activities including: registering students, and their specific qualification journeys; scheduling exams, conducting online exam assessments, and receive qualification results; and monitoring and tracking students’ progress. 

ProTech’s cloud-based solution will compliment NCC Education’s existing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), ensuring that it offers learner-led and customised features in line with and exceeding those of other VLE’s currently on the market.

Business benefits to be delivered will include: user accounts fully integrated with NCC Education’s main student and Centre Portal database; automated workflow; and integrated document management across the organisation. Importantly, NCC Education’s financial processes and data will now be integrated with its accounting system. Integrated web and CRM is a key element of NCC Education’s overall business strategy. The objective being support of operational management and delivery of NCC Education’s core teaching and assessments business.

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