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ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has raised concerns about the complexity of proposals to track the progress of legitimate tobacco products through the supply chain.  

New draft regulations from the EU Commission would require UK retailers and wholesalers to register and pay to receive unique ‘identifier codes’ in order to sell tobacco products.

Despite the directive referencing that only the ‘last economic operator before the retailer’ would be affected, the regulations require retailers to register to buy tobacco products and to track each purchase of tobacco from a wholesaler.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “It is important that we tackle the illicit tobacco market throughout the supply chain but these regulations would place a significant cost and time burden on retailers, requiring them to register and pay for identifier codes for both their overall business and each individual store, and produce them each time they purchase tobacco.  We will be working with the UK Government and EU commission to amend the regulations.”

The EU Commission consultation runs until 2 October for all stakeholders to provide feedback and ACS will be responding to the consultation.  EU member states, including the UK Government, will have opportunities to amend and block the regulations.


ACS has welcomed Local Government Minister Marcus Jones’ intervention to speed up the process of rebilling businesses that are waiting for rate relief.

In a Commons statement, he said: “The Government has been consistently clear that it expects local authorities to make rapid progress in helping business by implementing these relief schemes. 

“Overall, however, despite various examples of good practice, the pace of providing relief to ratepayers has not been acceptable. I have written today to those authorities that have not fully implemented all three schemes asking them to rebill businesses that are set to benefit from relief as soon as possible.” 

Mr Jones added that he will be publishing a list of authorities that have rebilled businesses who have been affected by each of the three relief schemes next month.

The schemes include a £300m fund for local authorities to give to hard-pressed businesses facing higher bills and funds that limit annual increases to £600 for those losing either small business or rural rate relief.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Business rates are one of the biggest fixed costs for thousands of local shops and other small businesses, with one in three convenience stores forced to deal with an increase in their rates bills as a result of the revaluation. We welcome the Minister’s intervention on this issue, and hope that it can be resolved swiftly so that businesses can receive the relief that they’re entitled to.”

The Government had previously set a deadline of September this year to have new bills with business that had been affected. 

The full written statement from Marcus Jones MP is available here:


The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) the trade association covering the UK educational suppliers sector has unveiled its updated Code of Practice. It is the result of a year-long consultation with industry and schools to understand what assurances schools want when buying products and services.

As a mandatory membership commitment given by members to BESA – which represents over 300 of the UK’s world-leading education suppliers – each member is expected, as a condition of membership, to meet the ethical standards provided for in the Code. Only companies who sign up to the Code of Practice, updated to include issues such as safeguarding and data security, can use the BESA “tick” logo on their marketing materials and websites.

Caroline Wright, Director General of BESA, said: “Schools have long looked for the BESA logo when deciding which companies to procure from, as it is a clear indication that they are providing quality products and services that they can trust.”

“The updated Code of Practice reflects BESA members’ desire to ensure they are always at the forefront of offering the highest quality of products and services to schools around the world, and providing a world-class customer experience.”

The BESA Code of Practice offers schools assurance in five key areas: Quality and Standards, Transparency and Openness, Integrity, Safeguarding and Data Security and Discriminatory Conduct. It is available to view in full here.


Confidence in small business in Wales falters but small businesses continue to drive Wales’ economy forwards.

A new report from FSB Wales shows that small business confidence has dropped from a three year high of +31 in Q2 to +22 in Q3, however, the Welsh Business Index shows that Wales is still significantly outperforming the rest of the UK, which saw the index fall from +15 last quarter to +1.1 in Q3.

The index shows that small business confidence is still higher than it was a year ago. The UK Small Business Index stands above the -2.9 level seen in Q3 2016, but has fallen over the past two quarters.

Janet Jones, FSB Wales Policy Unit Chair, said:

“This new SBI report shows that small business confidence has wavered in Wales, although confidence in Wales is still higher than that in the rest of the UK.

“Despite faltering business confidence, 19.7% of business reported that they had increased their employee headcount in the third quarter of 2017. This serves as an important reminder that Wales is built on a small business economy, and that any plans from the Welsh Government to develop the national economy must be aimed at improving circumstances for small businesses.”

Over the third quarter a net balance of 52% of small businesses in Wales reported export growth – much higher than the 19.5% reported by small businesses across the UK. Growth is largely driven by strength in key export markets such as the EU. The EU accounts for over two thirds of Welsh exports, compared to just less than half of the UK’s exports. In the year to March 2017, the value of exports to the EU from Wales increased by 13%, whilst exports to countries outside the EU increased by 10%.

Janet Jones commented: “Small businesses in Wales are exporting more than ever before, and it is important that the UK and Welsh Governments are supporting this growing trend. We recently called for Welsh Government to develop a Trade and Investment Strategy and a key part of that would be supporting small businesses who seek to trade abroad.”


Meet the Experts and Make Valuable Connections at Our Events in October

Win 2 free tickets for Techsmart NFP on November 28th at County Hall valued at over £200


Our calendar of events offers a variety of formats to learn and are all designed to provide:

Real-life client case studies from your peers;

practical help, expertise and take-aways;

opportunity to make valuable connections;

technology experts sharing their insights and years of experience.

“Making CRM and web projects work in the NFP sector”

Afternoon event, including networking over wine and beer

Wednesday, October 11, 4:00-6:30pm

Location: The fantastic Montcalm at The Brewery, 52 Chiswell St, London EC1Y 4SA

View full programme and register

“Finding the right digital solution for educating, accrediting and regulatory bodies”

Intimate roundtable discussion over hot breakfast

Thursday, October 19, 8:30-10:30am

Location: Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Place, London, Kings Cross WC1H 9SN

View full programme and register here

“How to choose the right partner and system while avoiding the pitfalls?”

Morning event over hot breakfast

Tuesday, October 24, 8:30–10:30am

Location: Hush Mayfair, Lancashire Court, 8 Brook St, London W1S 1EY

View full programme and register  

Click here to see our full calendar of events


And don’t forget, at each event, we will be giving away two free tickets worth over £200 for our TechSmart NFP event on November 28th at County Hall – the perfect place to research the marketplace and make new contacts.

Hart Square are independent consultants, with in-depth knowledge of the non-profit sector and the technology marketplace.

We hope you can join us,

Glenda Parker


The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) have welcomed the UK Government’s latest Brexit position paper on ‘Collaboration on science and innovation’.

​​​​The UK Government’s position​ follows a prolonged effort from the life sciences industry to establish Government consensus on key Brexit issues.

The sector first outlined in September 2016 that securing “alignment and commonality with the EU for the regulation of medicines“, “long-term, predictable funding for scientific research, and continued ability to collaborate at scale” and “an agreement with the EU that facilitates the ease of movement for highly-skilled talent“, were top level priorities for maintaining and growing the industry as Britain leaves the EU.

This position paper also follows a recent recommendation (3 July 2017) of the European Commission appointed High Level Group on ‘Maximising the impact of EU Research and Innovation Programmes‘, which stated that “full and continued engagement with the UK within the post-2020 EU R&I programme remains an obvious win-win for the UK and the EU. The UK has one of the strongest science bases of all European countries.

Mike Thompson, ABPI CEO and Steve Bates, BIA CEO said:

“Continuing their pragmatic approach to secure the future of the UK’s life science sector, this latest position paper features many very positive ambitions for the future.

As the Commission’s own research has recognised, citizens across the whole of Europe benefit from the way UK and European scientists and researchers collaborate; helping find new ways to tackle health challenges we all face.

Continued cooperation in research, a smooth transition for the regulation of medicines, and practical solutions for trade and talent will be essential to delivering the best outcome for patients in both the UK and the EU.

Talent drives the strength, depth and quality of UK science, so, securing the continued mobility of UK and EU scientists would be the next logical and crucial step. These scientists have an important role to play in the future health, well-being and economic prosperity of Europe.

As the paper recognises, “drug development is a global business” and with timeframes getting tighter by the day, it’s essential that progress is delivered through negotiations with the EU to give industry confidence that UK and Europe will continue to be one of the best places in the word for developing and delivering the very best breakthroughs in medicine.”

The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, in an industry that is a major contributor to the economy of the UK. Member companies supply more than 80 per cent of all branded medicines used by the NHS and those who are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline. Globally the industry is researching and developing more than 7,000 new medicines. 

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. ​​


At smartimpact we’ve recently been talking about member engagement and how focusing on improving engagement is the key to success for membership organisations. Talking about it is all well and good but how does this translate into practical action?

Here’s five tips on gaining an understanding and improving your membership engagement rates.


#1 Understand what engagement looks like to your organisation

Engagement will look slightly different for every professional body so the first step is to work out what it looks like to yours. What do you consider important ‘engagement moments’? These could include:

  • Email opens/click-throughs
  • Event attendance (online of face-to-face)
  • Involvement in committees & groups
  • Volunteering/mentoring
  • Recommending your organisation to others
  • Connecting on social media
  • Continuous membership renewal
  • Use of benefits


Brainstorm, ask colleagues and refer to your overall business objectives to define a full list of your member ‘engagement moments’.


#2 Define metrics and KPIs that reflect these ‘engagement moments’

Once you know what ‘engagement moments’ are important to your organisation, you need to be able to measure them effectively so you can see where you need to focus improvements. You need to define metrics and KPIs that reflect these moments.


Some example metrics include:

  • Member retention rates – by types of grade/level
  • Email ‘click to open’ (CTO) rates – this compares the percentage of opens an email gets with the click-throughs it gets. This tells you if your members are engaged with your email communications. Measure different types of email separately to understand which are most effective
  • Increase in active group members – do your committees and groups lack members or is there a high turnover? Measure and track this
  • Use Net Promoter Score (NPS) – this is a well-known way of measuring advocacy. You will have seen the question ‘Would you recommend us to colleagues?’ – that’s NPS in action. Ask this question in all your surveys. Find out more about NPS»
  • Social media activity increase – sharing/liking/commenting/Klout score
  • website metrics


With regard to KPIs, remember to take initial ‘base’ measurements; these will help you define KPIs that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based). For example, if your member retention rate at present is 40% you could set a KPI target of 75% within 2 years.


Regularly monitoring your defined set of KPIs will then allow you to see how well your activities and improvements are working (or not) and alter your actions accordingly.


#3 Understand what benefits are valued…and which aren’t

So, you’ve got your list of ‘engagement moments’ and monitor those through a defined set of KPIs. But that doesn’t address whether the member benefits you offer actually meet the needs of your members. What your members needed ten years’ ago may well have changed, but has your organisation kept up with this need for change?


Ask them. Through an annual survey, focus groups and regular satisfaction surveys throughout the year.


#4 Translate your findings into an improvement action plan

The most important thing about asking your members what they would like from your organisation is to then make the changes required! Adjust the benefits offered to meet needs and wants of today’s (and tomorrow’s) member, not yesterday’s.


Also, make sure you communicate your improvements and changes to the membership. In the way members want.



#5 Don’t confuse loyalty with engagement

It might sound silly but loyal members aren’t necessarily engaged members. They’re very valuable members to have but it’s important to note the difference. A loyal member might continue renewing their membership for years in return for the support shown to them by the organisation in previous years. That doesn’t mean they read your emails, attend your events or use the benefits available. But it would be good to understand what would make them engage still.


We hope these tips have given you some food for thought. If you’d like to know more about engagement and how to measure those ‘engagement moments’ read our new ebook or call us on 0845 544 2043.


In a response to the current economic environment – and as reported in edition 245 of ASSOCIATION NEWS – the National Association of Jewellers has announced a partnership with Made in Britain. The organisation claims to represent more than 1000 UK makers across 40 product sectors with one universal manufacturer’s marque. The affiliate agreement will give NAJ members the opportunity to use the Made in Britain marque at a preferential rate in 2018.

Members manufacturing in the UK who sign up to scheme will benefit from publicity on both the NAJ and the Made in Britain websites and the right to use a proposed optional mark on the jewellery itself. An initial outline terms of licence was signed at International Jewellery London on Monday 4th of September, and manufacturers, designers and retailers can now register their interest.

Hallmarking is one of the oldest pieces of consumer protection legislation in the UK, and is designed to provide consumers with a clear indication of the quality of gold and other precious metal items.

Until 1998, a Hallmark consisted of four compulsory marks.  Since 1998 a date letter has become optional but the other three symbols remain compulsory, and indicate: who made the article; its guaranteed standard of fineness; and the year and Assay Office, at which the article was tested and marked.

The NAJ’s plan is to introduce a ‘Made in Britain mark’ for jewellery manufactured in the UK in the hope that a country of origin mark on British-made goods will help boost sales.  The clothing sector has long realised the cache of promoting its British made products – particularly in the luxury sector – and NAJ hopes that British named jewellery will carry similar kudos in overseas markets.

Hallmarking in the UK is performed by four government approved assay offices. Whilst some have made positive noises in support of the initiative, a concern would be that there would be a confusion with Hallmarking. Uncertainty also hangs over the precise definition of what qualifies as ‘British’, and how the use of the mark would be policed overseas.


There has never been a more challenging time to be an association Board member.  There always were challenges. But with the increased availability of affordable technology; increased member expectations; more onerous and additional legislation and regulation; and the drive for better governance and accountability, the pace of change has exceeded what most us could ever have imagined even 10 years ago.

Therefore, with exponentially Increasing expectations of members, increased burdens in areas such as external reporting requirements, and increased risk of legal actions, Board members need to be clearer about their obligations and responsibilities in the face of the potential for prosecution. They also have skills and knowledge gaps, especially in fast moving ICT areas.

Quite simply, board members don’t have the time, relevant experience or capacity to assimilate all the appropriate background material.   Lots of help is available to identify these areas of risk and how to navigate them, but most of it is poorly targeted, expensive and some not necessarily relevant to Board members of associations.

So, IofAM have teamed up with an expert lawyer, and devised a bespoke training course for association Boards and Directors. The course goes back to basics, explaining the vital elements of good governance and then unpacks the complex legislative and regulatory framework association Boards and Directors must comply with. This is supported by a take-away delegate pack including the presentation – and additional information on specific subject areas.

Core subjects include: Corporate Structures and the Role of the Board, Committees and their Chairs; Board meetings: Structure, Agenda, Minutes, Conduct; Directors’ Duties and Responsibilities and Persons with Significant Control; The role and duty of the Company Secretary; Conflicts of Interest and Collective Decision Making; and, Constitution and Memorandum and Articles of Association and Regulation.

Additional topics which may be touched upon include: Basics of Good Governance, communication methods including e-communication; Delegation of Powers by Officers to Board members in between meetings; Board agility: flexing roles and the role of staff members in supporting the Board; and, Learning to take a strategic view: what are Directors there to deliver: linking operational activities back to strategic objectives.

More detailed training on these topics will be provided in future sessions.

Rachel Gwynne provides specialist corporate and governance advice and support to Registered Providers, charities and not-for-profit organisations. She has a particular focus on large projects including corporate and group restructuring, governance reviews, collaborations, joint ventures, stock transfers and charitable conversions.

Rachel also has significant experience in advising on governance issues, regulatory matters and charity law requirements and provides strategic and operational support to Boards and Executive Teams.

Date: Wednesday 18th October 2017

Venue: Shakespeare Martineau, 60 Gracechurch St, London EC3V 0HR

Time:  2.00 pm – 4.45 pm.  Registration from 1.30 pm

Register here

Or Contact: or  to register or for further information.


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.”

Download the report here