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Councils ‘must improve’ to help local businesses

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DESPITE recent changes to local government, many businesspeople feel that their regional authority does not understand their

Charles Tilley FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive, CIMA

Charles Tilley FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive, CIMA

firm or industry, according to results of a survey by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

The report, Transformation and Transparency: Managing local government performance* conducted in association with the American Institute of CPAs, found that half (48 per cent) of UK business leaders feel their local government doesn’t understand their needs, while three-fifths (60 per cent) do not consider that recent local government transformation has made life better for their firm. Less than two-fifths (38 per cent) feel that their regional authority is committed to working in partnership with local business.

Charles Tilley FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive, CIMA, said: “Businesses are important stakeholders for local governments – but the two do not always see eye to eye. However, the report’s findings are clear in highlighting what needs to be done: local governments should ensure that their finance functions are as strong as possible so they can collaborate with the private sector in a clear and functional way.”

The report argues that to deliver sustainable public services and respond to business needs, local governments must address four key areas, dubbed “the four Ts”:

  • Transformation of public services
  • Technology structure – data and IT must be used intelligently
  • Transparency
  • Talent retention and development – ensuring key skill sets are put to best use

To underpin all four Ts, an organisation needs a strong finance function that can lead in capturing and communicating relevant data, analysis and insight to ensure services are delivered to a good standard.

The report also highlights how essential transparency is to local government’s ability to meet companies’ basic needs. Although 70% of local governments believe they operate with high levels of transparency, 31% admit struggling to manage data and share insight, leading to 57% of business respondents feeling they are not seeing any benefits of increased transparency efforts.

Charles Tilley FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive, CIMA told The Herald: “It has become routine to respond to constrained budgets by cutting costs but, this strategy alone does not promote sustainable improvement. Instead, an approach centred on transformation, technology, transparency and talent retention is vital for local government excellence and essential to providing value for taxpayers’ money. Local governments should also aim to continually improve levels of transparency as this builds trust and is good for business and public engagement.

“In order to repair the disconnect local governments have to change the way they view their finance function, they must be viewed not merely as administrators but, as expert partners. Each local government should concentrate on sourcing the best staff, galvanizing its finance teams and using them as ambassadors to bridge the gap between business and government as it is these professionals who speak the language of business.”

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Port of Milford Haven confirms compliance with National Marine Safety Code

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has confirmed its compliance with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC).

The confirmation comes following an audit by leading maritime consultants ABPmer.

The Port Marine Safety Code is a national standard that applies to all harbour authorities. The Code and its accompanying guidance provide an essential toolbox to ensure the control of risk and the maintenance of safety in ports and in the marine environment.

Port of Milford Haven’s Harbourmaster and Marine Director Mike Ryan is proud of the Port’s continued compliance with the Code.

“This is further endorsement and confirmation of everyone’s commitment here at the Port of Milford Haven to providing a safe operation for all port users,” said Mike.

Monty Smedley, ABPmer’s Lead PMSC Auditor, who conducted the audit, said: “I am very pleased to confirm to the Port of Milford Haven’s Board that their harbour operations demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the Code, with many examples that we considered to be industry best practice.”

The MCA’s Ports and VTS Policy Manager, James Hannon, who leads PMSC compliance for the UK government said: “The Code is recognised across the industry and has been developed in partnership by the UK government and industry over the last two decades. The resources set out how ports can assess risks, design safety management systems, and also install governance processes to ensure that a Designated Person is able to evaluate controls and report directly to port duty holders and boards.”

The Port of Milford Haven’s Board formally declares its compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code to the MCA every three years.

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Pembrokeshire business encourages others to take advantage of free courses

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IN LIGHT of the recent Welsh Government announcement on the re-opening of the Welsh tourism sector, Wales. A Food Destination is running a number of masterclass sessions tailored for the hospitality sector.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project which specialises in supporting retail and hospitality businesses to source, serve and sell Welsh food and drink through cafes, restaurants, shops, farmers markets, food festivals, B&B’s and tourist attractions.

Throughout April virtual workshop sessions will take place, covering a variety of areas such as local food and drink pairing, breakfast menu inspiration, how to offer the best customer experience possible, through to creating an authentic local eating experience, with a particular focus on sourcing local ingredients.

According to Laura Alexander, co-coordinator for Wales. A Food Destination, the aim is to give a helping hand to those in the sector looking to source, serve and sell Welsh food in a post Covid world,

“It is great that we are able to offer such a diverse range of training opportunities to hospitality businesses in Wales as the sector prepares to re-open. We know that a lot of businesses have been closed for a long time now, and are looking forward to re-opening and refreshing what they have to offer. We are keen to support them with opportunities for learning.

“The masterclass sessions will hopefully assist businesses in recognising how our first rate produce can make their offer even more attractive and help in boosting the sector at such a crucial time.”

One business who have benefitted from attending one of the recent workshops is Melin Tregwynt, based in Haverfordwest.

“It was great to take the time to look at what we can do to prepare for whatever re-opening throws our way this year. Also to be able to access such a brilliant resource of recipes, information and ideas. Thank you to all involved in delivering these courses.”

The good news is that all courses are delivered virtually and are fully funded for any business who sources, serves and sells Welsh food.

For a full list of courses available, please visit https://www.foodskills.cymru/wales-a-food-destination/events/

Wales. A Food Destination project offers fully funded one-to-one consultations, so if you are a retail and hospitality business and are looking for support or advice then please contact Laura Alexander at wales@lantra.co.uk.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project funded by the Welsh Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Its aim is to support businesses source, serve and sell Welsh Food & Drink.

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Marketing agency and PR specialist appointed for Visit Pembrokeshire

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Visit Pembrokeshire, Wales’ first Destination Management Organisation (DMO), which launched on 16th November 2020, said in a statement that it is delighted to announce that it has appointed both a marketing agency and a PR specialist.

In a statement, Visit Pembrokeshire said: “This is to help bring to life the county’s 2020-25 Destination Management Plan and to deliver a tourism campaign over the next 12 months.

“Following competitive pitches for both positions, Visit Pembrokeshire confirms that mr.h has been appointed as the marketing agency to develop a new brand identity and shared narrative for Pembrokeshire. The company specialises in the travel and lifestyle sectors and has been tasked with raising the profile of Pembrokeshire, including the destination’s year-round offering, dispersing visitors across the county and driving growth in the visitor economy.”

Also appointed is the experienced public relations specialist Travel PR, which will work in partnership with mr.h and the in-house team at Visit Pembrokeshire.

The shared aim of the agencies is to build awareness of Pembrokeshire’s many wonderful attributes, its ease of access and its year-round offerings – from its stunning coastline to its incredible range of authentic experiences. Growing tourism in a responsible and sustainable way is seen as vital.

The marketing campaign is being funded in part through the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, a scheme which raises funds via second-home council tax premiums. Visit Pembrokeshire was awarded funds to launch an integrated 12-month marketing and PR campaign to grow the value of tourism in the county. Says Emma Thornton, Chief Executive, Visit Pembrokeshire: “This is an exciting step forward for Visit Pembrokeshire. These appointments come at an important time and will support destination recovery. Local businesses and the wider community will benefit from the investment, particularly given the challenges that the tourism industry has faced over the past year.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, says: “I’m delighted that Visit Pembrokeshire has made these high-quality appointments which will help to take Pembrokeshire to the next level, ensuring it is rightly seen as a world-class destination. I’m determined to support this industry which is so vital to jobs and our economic vitality, whilst ensuring that we manage the destination in a sustainable way to protect what makes it so special.”

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