NHS Test and Trace - What that means for employers

NHS Test and Trace - What that means for employers

With effect from 28th May the new NHS test and trace scheme took effect, meaning that contact tracers will actively contact people that are reported to have come in close contact with a person that has tested positive for Covid-19 - they will then be advised to self isolate for 14 days. Is this done on an app like I have seen in the news? Not currently, the app is being trialled and it is thought this may be ready to roll out next month but this has not yet been confirmed. Currently, anyone displaying...

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Furloughing done - what's next???

Furloughing done - what's next???

As many businesses have utilised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough employees that they are unable to provide any work for during this pandemic, the next question we are asked is ‘how do I manage employees returning from furlough?’ As of today (28th April) the Government advice regarding lockdown remains unchanged and so the guidance is still to stay at home and where possible work from home, factors that have to be considered when reviewing the situation for your business...

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My Covid-19 experience by Kizzie Robbins

My Covid-19 experience by Kizzie Robbins

Having never even heard of the term ‘furlough’ before, realisation started to set in at the possibilities my new career could be coming to an end. As having only started my journey with Quest 6 weeks prior to the lockdown, uncertainty and fear was present, questions started to arise: Would I still have a job? How will I retain the knowledge I’ve picked up in my early weeks with Quest? Will I still be part of the team when things go back to normal? These are questions I suppose...

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My Covid-19 experience by Amy Sharpe

My Covid-19 experience by Amy Sharpe

For me, the coronavirus epidemic came at the worst time for my family, not that there would have ever been a good time! Just two weeks before the country got put into lockdown my Grandad became very poorly after having a stroke – and I know I won’t be the only one with family members in the same position as unfortunately the world doesn’t stop for anyone. As the virus continued to spread, it became harder to be able to visit him in hospital This was very difficult as we knew he...

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My Covid-19 experience by Helen Lamb

My Covid-19 experience by Helen Lamb

When we first started to see the impact of the virus outbreak, initially this seemed to be just happening elsewhere until we heard the announcement to enter lockdown and we all had to reassess our professional and personal situations. The decision was made that from Thursday 26th March we would be working from home and at first it was an exciting thought but then the realization set in, where had my support network gone? We are so used to in the office sharing experience, talking through cases and...

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My Covid-19 experience by Sarah Birkenshaw

My Covid-19 experience by Sarah Birkenshaw

What strange times we seem to be living and working through right now! I wanted to share my experience not only as a business owner but as a HR professional and to some degree to put pen to paper to record what has been an unbelievable time. I had to admit that as we first started to hear information on Covid-19 I did not for one second anticipate the scale of disruption and devastation this virus would wreak on the world. I managed to enjoy a great weekend away at the end of February for my Husbands...

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor announced on 20th March the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which is a grant available to employers to help reduce redundancies or unpaid layoffs during the current crisis. Details on how this will be delivered to employers is sparse at the moment but here are the key facts you need to be aware of. Eligibility All businesses within the UK that employ staff. How to Access the Scheme The Government guidance sets out 2 steps but let me explain what this means in real terms. 1)...

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What Is the Disciplinary Process and When Should This Be Used?

What Is the Disciplinary Process and When Should This Be Used?

What Is the Disciplinary Process and When Should This Be Used?   When an employer is having troubles with an employee, it can be hard to know what to do. It is vital to follow the correct course of action to resolve situations that could be damaging to a business. The best way to do this is to have a disciplinary process that can be followed in the event of an incident that requires corrective action. The disciplinary process is a procedure set by an employer which provides guidance throughout...

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The Good Work Plan - What changes will I have to make?

The Good Work Plan - What changes will I have to make?

The Good Work Plan was a review conducted by Matthew Taylor for the Government which was reviewed in 2018 so that workers rights in the UK would not take a step backwards when we left the EU. Part of the review reflected that we have a very flexible approach for workers in the UK, however there are a minority of employers that use the current system to transfer too much risk to the individual which can jeopardise the wellbeing and financial security of the individual and this gives a very one sided...

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Do I Need to Provide PPE Like Safety Boots, Safety Glasses & Gloves Free of Charge, Even If I Think an Employee Won’t Stay?

Do I Need to Provide PPE Like Safety Boots, Safety Glasses & Gloves Free of Charge, Even If I Think an Employee Won’t Stay?

Do I Need to Provide PPE Like Safety Boots, Safety Glasses & Gloves Free of Charge, Even If I Think an Employee Won’t Stay?   As an employer, you are obliged to take the health and safety of your employees into account as they carry out their duties. This means that, for employees working in hazardous areas, you must provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE), regardless of how long you think an employee may stay within your organisation. However, any equipment you supply...

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How Many Fire Extinguishers Should I Have and What Types?

How Many Fire Extinguishers Should I Have and What Types?

How Many Fire Extinguishers Should I Have and What Types?   As a general rule, it is advised that you have at least one water-based fire extinguisher per 2000 square feet per floor. In addition to this, because most workplaces now have electrical equipment which cannot be extinguished with water-based extinguishers if it catches fire, you should also pair each water-based extinguisher with a CO2 one. Powder extinguishers used to be the go-to fire extinguisher for many businesses as they are...

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What is Mental Health Awareness?

What is Mental Health Awareness?

The Health & Safety Executive report that one in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point. However, some people will suffer in silence. Home life events such as money worries, family issues, bereavements, etc. are often a catalyst for mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression but can also be caused by events at work. It is in an employer’s interest to encourage employees to be open and speak up if they believe they are at risk. Mental health...

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How should I record disciplinary action

How should I record disciplinary action

How should I record disciplinary action?   It is important that If and when any formal disciplinary action is taken with employees, that a clear audit trail is kept in relation to the process followed, meetings held, and action taken. This is important for a number of reasons: You have clear records should there be issues in the future with the employee. You can demonstrate you have followed a fair and consistent approach. Any evidence is retained to show how and why a decision was made,...

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What safety training is needed in my business

What safety training is needed in my business

What safety training is needed in my business?   The HSE publication ‘Health and safety made simple - The basics for your business’ states that ‘Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions and information, and adequate training, for your employees.’ To begin with, all employees should be given an induction which includes familiarisation of the workplace. Ideally, it should at least cover...

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Having a great work space improves efficiency plus so much more…

Having a great work space improves efficiency plus so much more…

Having a great workspace improves efficiency plus so much more…   Do you want your employees to feel like they are looking forward to showing up for another day at work or simply accept that they show up because they have to? If your answer is the former, then a good hard look at your workspace may reveal more than you think. There have been a variety of studies that consider the connection between a more engaged and productive workforce and their surroundings such as Gensler’s...

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What is acceptable practice to monitor staff in the workplace

What is acceptable practice to monitor staff in the workplace

What is acceptable practice to monitor staff in the workplace?   The national survey of more than 1,200 UK workers, conducted by the TUC in May this year, found 56 per cent of people felt monitoring was going on in the workplace, through methods including CCTV, vehicle trackers, browsing history and phone logs. There are may legitimate reasons that you may monitor your employees in the workplace, but it is essential that they are fully aware of these measures and how any information resulting...

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There Are Different Accreditation Bodies. Which Accreditation Is Best for My Trade?

There Are Different Accreditation Bodies. Which Accreditation Is Best for My Trade?

There Are Different Accreditation Bodies. Which Accreditation Is Best for My Trade?   Of the many different accreditation bodies, it can be difficult to decide on which one you want for your trade. Here’s our golden rule to help your choice: Go for whichever body you get asked for the most. Different bodies are more desirable to different sectors, so you may want to get a number of accreditations so that you have wider coverage, but, ultimately, the best course of action is to get an...

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How Often Should You Do Fire Drills?

How Often Should You Do Fire Drills?

How Often Should You Do Fire Drills?   All workplaces need fire safety provisions and procedures so that, in the event of a fire, employees know what to do to safely exit the building and alert the relevant emergency services. But how often should you be doing fire drills? Are there any other checks you should be doing? Read on to find out. As a general rule of thumb, all employees should run through a fire drill at least once a year. However, because it isn’t guaranteed that your entire...

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How Often Do I Need to Check Machinery?

How Often Do I Need to Check Machinery?

How Often Do I Need to Check Machinery?   In order to maintain the safety of machine operators, machinery must be checked regularly, but there can be some confusion as to how often.  First off, the term ‘machinery’ can refer to a great number of devices, from lathes to forklifts to cars to photocopiers, ranging widely in size, complexity and the danger they pose to users. The frequency of checks is dependant on the risk assessments carried out for each individual piece of...

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How can we have a healthier workforce?

How can we have a healthier workforce?

How can we have a healthier workforce?   It’s a fact that healthier employees take less unplanned time off work but how can you help employees be healthier? As an employer you already have a legal responsibility to consult with employees about their risks at work so why not take this opportunity to ask how you, as an employer, can help the same people be healthier. What would they like putting in place? Are there initiates they can suggest that are easy to implement? Do they have interests...

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Why do health and safety inductions?

Why do health and safety inductions?

Why do health and safety inductions? As an employer you have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees. Besides the usual information that new employees are given such as hours of work, pay and holidays, company policies, etc. they should also be given some important health, safety and welfare information on the day they start. This health, safety and welfare information should include the following: Company emergency evacuation procedures (ideally there should be a fire...

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Do I Need to Report Accidents?

Do I Need to Report Accidents?

Do I Need to Report Accidents?   It depends on the seriousness of the accident. Some accidents and ill health at work are classed as ‘reportable’. Reporting these is a legal requirement under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) and must be reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) via the HSE website. RIDDOR places a legal duty on employers, self-employed people and people in control of premises (known as ‘responsible...

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What information can I ask for on an application form?

What information can I ask for on an application form?

What information can I ask for on an application form?   When advertising for a vacancy within your business, you’re naturally going to want to gather as much information as possible about your applicants; you need to know who’s applying so you can make an informed choice. However, there are some topics you have to avoid by law to prevent discrimination. Read on to find out what you can and can’t ask job applicants on their application forms. Firstly, you need to know who...

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How your Managers can improve wellbeing

How your Managers can improve wellbeing

The latest Health & Wellbeing at Work Survey shows that work is good for us! Where we enjoy quality, good work then this benefits our wellbeing overall. So, what happens when it goes wrong? The research shows that the biggest reported causes of stress at work are 62% of workers citing unmanageable workloads and 43% citing poor management style. Your Line Managers really do play a crucial role in the wellbeing and effectiveness of your staff yet: Less than 50% of businesses train their Managers...

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What Is the Disciplinary Process and When Should This Be Used?

What Is the Disciplinary Process and When Should This Be Used?

What Is the Disciplinary Process and When Should This Be Used?   When an employer is having troubles with an employee, it can be hard to know what to do. It is vital to follow the correct course of action to resolve situations that could be damaging to a business. The best way to do this is to have a disciplinary process that can be followed in the event of an incident that requires corrective action. The disciplinary process is a procedure set by an employer which provides guidance...

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I Haven’t Any Health & Safety Documents. What Do I Need to Get an Accreditation?

I Haven’t Any Health & Safety Documents. What Do I Need to Get an Accreditation?

I Haven’t Any Health & Safety Documents. What Do I Need to Get an Accreditation?   For many businesses, getting a recognised accreditation can mean opening the gateway to a much wider pool of potential customers. But, if you have no experience or documentation, how do you go about getting one? First off, certain information about your business is required, as it determines what you will need in order to gain accreditation. You will need to know how many people are in your business,...

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I Have an Employee That Takes a Lot of Odd Days Off Sick. How Can I Manage This?

I Have an Employee That Takes a Lot of Odd Days Off Sick. How Can I Manage This?

I Have an Employee That Takes a Lot of Odd Days Off Sick. How Can I Manage This?   All employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) when they are too ill to work. However, when an employee takes frequent short spells of sick leave, they can cause much more disruption than an employee on long term sick leave. But how do you identify where this is happening and manage it as an employer? The best way to identify where frequent absences are occurring is to use the Bradford Scoring system,...

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Why Would Having an Accreditation Help My Business?

Why Would Having an Accreditation Help My Business?

Why Would Having an Accreditation Help My Business?   The benefits of having your trade accredited are numerous, but we are still often asked why people should bother getting an accreditation, so we have compiled our top 4 benefits of having an accredited business: An accreditation improves your professional image. Potential customers will know that you take safety seriously and therefore that you can be trusted to protect anyone on their property, as well as the property itself, giving them...

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How Often Do You Need to Review Your H&S Documents?

How Often Do You Need to Review Your H&S Documents?

How Often Do You Need to Review Your H&S Documents?   Having up-to-date documents is vital to keeping up with ever-changing Health & Safety law and remaining compliant. However, re-drafting risk assessments every week will take up a lot of your time, so how often should you review your documents? Let our Health & Safety consultant Steve fill you in: You should review your Health & Safety policy at least once a year, or when there is a change in legislation that is relevant...

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Are Contracts of Employment really necessary?

Are Contracts of Employment really necessary?

Are Contracts of Employment really necessary?   A Contract of Employment is an agreement between an employer and an employee that states the terms and conditions of employment across a number of different fields. It sets out the hours an employee works, how much they are paid for their work, how many days’ holiday per year they are entitled to and the employee’s main place of work, among other things. It also gives certain rights to employers and employees to protect both parties...

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Do We Need a Trained First Aider?

Do We Need a Trained First Aider?

Do We Need a Trained First Aider?   Injuries can and do occur in all types of workplace, be it a huge industrial manufacturing plant with an equally huge workforce, or a small office filled by just a few employees. Though every attempt should be made to prevent injuries from occurring, businesses should also be prepared to deal with any incidents that may slip through the cracks. The Health and Safety First Aid Regulations of 1981 requires businesses to provide adequate and appropriate first...

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Risk Assessments - Lone Workers

Risk Assessments - Lone Workers

Lone workers   There will be lone workers in most companies at some time or another. They could be working in a remote area of the premises, a driver, a representative visiting clients’ homes, or just opening or locking up a workplace. It is often safe to work alone but employers must assess the risks before allowing lone working. So, what can be done? Consider what the worker is doing, where they are working and what could happen to them. Do they have any pre?existing medical...

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Risk Assessments - People with Disabilities

Risk Assessments - People with Disabilities

Risk Assessments - People with Disabilities   All employees need to know how to work safely without risk to their health. As mentioned in previous blogs, employers have a legal duty to provide the appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision. This also includes employees with disabilities and a duty under the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace for them. If there are 5 or more employees, regardless of ability, employers should...

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How should I record disciplinary action?

How should I record disciplinary action?

How should I record disciplinary action?   It is important that If and when any formal disciplinary action is taken with employees, that a clear audit trail is kept in relation to the process followed, meetings held, and action taken. This is important for a number of reasons: You have clear records should there be issues in the future with the employee. You can demonstrate you have followed a fair and consistent approach. Any evidence is retained to show how and why a decision was made,...

Read more »

Do We Need a Trained First Aider?

Do We Need a Trained First Aider?

Do We Need a Trained First Aider?   Injuries can and do occur in all types of workplace, be it a huge industrial manufacturing plant with an equally huge workforce, or a small office filled by just a few employees. Though every attempt should be made to prevent injuries from occurring, businesses should also be prepared to deal with any incidents that may slip through the cracks. The Health and Safety First Aid Regulations of 1981 requires businesses to provide adequate and appropriate first...

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What should Induction Training cover?

What should Induction Training cover?

What should Induction Training cover?   So, you have hired your next employee and their first day is fast approaching – how do you settle them into your business quickly and what on earth should an induction programme look like? Every business is very different to the structure and length of an induction, but these are some top tips to help you put together a programme that will help your new employee feel part of the team quickly. Health & Safety On their first day there will...

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How to change Culture

How to change Culture

How to change Culture   I have seen time and time again, great businesses that have failed because they have allowed a poor culture to take hold and it has destroyed what could have been an amazingly successful organisation. So how do businesses get this so wrong and end up with a bad culture that drives away great staff and customers? If I consider some examples where I have witnessed this first hand, then these may be some of the warning signs. No vision Where business owners have failed...

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Why are Vision & Values still important?

Why are Vision & Values still important?

Why are Vision & Values still important?   As an expert working with Small – Medium businesses I am constantly banging the drum to encourage business owners to actually take the time to establish their Vision, Mission and Values as this forms such an important foundation to build their whole people strategy on. Much as trends come and go, this isn’t one of them – why? Your Vision is where the business is heading, what do you want to be famous for in your world. If...

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How do I conduct a Toolbox Talk?

How do I conduct a Toolbox Talk?

How do I conduct a Toolbox Talk?   A toolbox talk is a valuable safety tool whereby important health and safety issues can be communicated to the workforce and they can give their feedback - such as safety concerns or improvements. It therefore needs to be well prepared and engaging.   First of all, explain why you are having a toolbox talk on a particular topic. Perhaps a recent near miss or observation highlighted a safety issue. Ensure you prepare what you are going to talk about....

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Who can do a Risk Assessment?

Who can do a Risk Assessment?

Who can do a Risk Assessment?   I often get asked this question and the simple answer is ‘anyone confident that they understand what's involved can do a risk assessment.’   If you are not enlisting the help of an expert, then the starting point is understanding what should be included in a risk assessment. In this event then the person responsible should speak to others in the workplace to get their input. Those working in a particular location, doing a particular process...

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Do I Need to Report Accidents?

Do I Need to Report Accidents?

It depends on the seriousness of the accident. Some accidents and ill health at work are classed as ‘reportable’. Reporting these is a legal requirement under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) and must be reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) via the HSE website. RIDDOR places a legal duty on employers, self employed people and people in control of premises (known as ‘responsible persons’) to record and report...

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I need to take on my first staff member but don’t know where to start

I need to take on my first staff member but don’t know where to start

I need to take on my first staff member but don’t know where to start  Growing  your  business  means  you  have  too  much  work  to  take  on  yourself,  so  it’s  finally  time  to  take  on  your  first  staff  member.    But where  do  you  start?  Let us  give  you  a  few  tips.   First, ...

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Testimonials

Dragonfly Grounds Care Ltd

You are all doing a fantastic job guys and I just want to let you all know we would be in a real panic had it not been for the support and advice you have given us so far. I really don't know if we would have been in business at the end of this. But with your exceptional effort I feel much more confident that we can ride this storm and come out the other end. The decision we made as a business to procure your services has paid massive dividends.

Thank you from all at Dragonfly.

Dragonfly Grounds Care Ltd

Northern Accountants

Sarah and the team at Quest have provided us HR support since January 2013.

Quest Consulting Services provided us with a comprehensive employment structure with contacts and a handbook and have been on hand to help me deal with the occasional issue I have faced with team members through their telephone support service.

As our personal Consultant, Sarah provides a quality, professional and complete service which is great value for money.

Northern Accountants

Off Limits Corporate Events

Sarah has transformed our HR and has introduced systems that have taken lots of hassle away from staffing issues within our company.

We have worked with Sarah and her team for 5 years and in this time our business has grown considerably. With telephone support available for all our Managers as they need it plus Sarah and her team proactively keeping us updated on changes in legislation we are reassured that we are in safe hands.

The HR software that Quest implemented also helps us keep on top of the routine aspects of HR such as holiday bookings, recording absence, holding personnel records which then allows Sarah and her team easy access to give us relevant advice.

Our Managers have also benefited from workshops run by Sarah to help develop their skills on handling issues such as disciplinary, appraisals, recruitment etc….

The support of Quest is invaluable and provides a much more cost effective solution than employing a HR Manager in house.

Off Limits Corporate Events

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With effect from 28th May the new NHS test and trace scheme took effect, meaning that contact tracers will actively contact people that are reported...

Read more >