Barclays Bank Computer theft

This is one post what I am going to revise as the story unfolds, so keep an eye on it. The interesting part to me is how do you track people on your sites and places of work? BBC article here

Monitoring People on Site

It is so common to visit a workplace (other than as a customer) and follow someone through a pass-protected door, or sign in yet leave by another entrance and drive away with a visitors pass still in your pocket. So although security is a specialism in its own right I though I would jot down a few questions we all need to consider, then act on if we suspect that our answers are weak.

Visitor Security self-assessment

  • in an emergency am I sure that anyone could know who was left in the building?
  • what help can neighbouring businesses be to each other?
  • how important do people really think visitor books and passes are?
  • can all your colleagues challenge a visitor about their identity confidently and politely? How well would they be supported if their challenge was not well-received?
  • what impression does a visitor get from all the areas they might visit?
  • how well do visitors have to be known before scrutiny is relaxed?
  • if my insurance company tested the system with a visit, how would they rate us as a risk?
  • do you use technology effectively and unobtrusively?

Next Actions

I made this post to gather my thoughts and perhaps help a few people with some searching questions. To me, the points above tell me about your approach to business or project planning, safety, theft, sabotage, intellectual property, branding, leadership and employee relations.

If you want someone who can pose those questions in confidence then help you improve your answers, call me.

Arts Project Earth Grant Funding

The Arts Project Earth grant

This is a grant for charitable organisations working on projects that are directly related to climate change mitigation, adaptation or awareness-raising from all over the world.

Notes about the grant funding

The size of grants given by APE depend on the total funding available, the number of applications and the strength of the project. To date, grants have been in the range of £500 to £20,000.

The Artists Project Earth Grant is provided and administered by The Artists Project Earth (APE) and is available for Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) active in the UK.

The scheme is intended to support charitable originations undertaking projects and awareness raising initiatives to combat climate change and raise funds for natural disaster relief.

The scheme aims to create a better world by bringing the power of music and the arts to 21st century challenges.

Application Deadline: 31 March 2013 (midnight), or on receipt of the first 100 applications, whichever is first.

Key Funding Criteria

The scheme is open to organisations such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), registered charities and academic institutions.

Organisations should be working:

  • To prevent the causes of climate change.
  • To defend communities and ecosystems against the impacts of climate change.
  • To support and build resilience for communities affected by natural disasters.

These are broad topics and may include, among other things, projects that:

  • Create awareness of the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change.
  • Create political and social awareness of the need for rapid change and preparation.
  • Lead to the adoption of low carbon technologies and lifestyles.
  • Prepare vulnerable communities and ecosystems for climate impacts.
  • Protect ecosystems at risk from climate change.

APE has created a new category for funding called ‘Inspiring Change’. APE is looking for projects that can make a real difference in the world; projects that show how artistic creativity can come to the aid of our beleaguered planet. Priority will be given to applications that:

  • Combine creative ideas such as art/theatre/music and activism.
  • Ideas for new methods of public participation in creating a more just and sustainable world.
  • Projects that inspire positive changes in people, organisations, businesses and policy-makers.
  • Projects that provide solutions to environmental problems.
  • Projects that create green jobs for young people.

Match Funding Restrictions

APE may partially fund projects and applicants are advised to approach other grant-making organisations. However, applications should not be match funded by any organisation or corporation working for or on behalf of the nuclear, oil, coal or gas industries.

Funding is not available for individuals unless they are working in close partnership with a recognised and accountable organisation.

Applications will not be accepted from previously-funded organisations. Organisations that applied for a project that was not funded may reapply but not for the same project.
Application Procedure

Application forms are available to download from APE’s website. This should be returned by email, along with references from two referees.

Applicants can also send a link to a two minute video to tell APE about the project and enable them to better convey their depth, commitment and passion for the project. Applicants that do not send a video link will not be penalised.

Contact the Artists Project Earth for further information.

Contact details:
Artists Project Earth
P.O. Box 627
OX16 6EZ

Capacity Building for the Environmental Volunteering Sector

Information from Funding Central Website
Open to applications
Application Deadline:
15 March 2013

Contact me to discuss the subject of applying for grant funding in General


One-off grant available for the development and delivery of volunteer management training to boost environmental volunteering.


Maximum Value:
£ 200,000

Value Notes

Defra intend to award a single grant and the maximum funding available is £200,000 split into £100,000 per year over a two year period from April 2013 to March 2015.

Extended Description

The scheme is focused on enabling environmental volunteering organisations to build capacity to create more volunteering opportunities and also to support local community volunteering for environmental action.

The overarching aims of the grant are:

  • To build the capacity of the environmental volunteering sector in England in order to increase the volunteering opportunities the sector is able to provide and thereby ultimately increase the numbers of people volunteering for the benefit of the environment.
  • That this work should benefit the environmental volunteering sector in England as widely as possible (ie rather than just the organisation awarded the funding), in terms of the outputs being widely accessible and used, the contribution to building the sector’s capacity to increase volunteering and providing a positive and tangible legacy.
  • That this work should also support local community volunteering, tapping into the potential power of people wanting to look after and improve their own local environment. The work should therefore contribute to helping enable and empower communities to get involved, take responsibility and make a real difference to local people and wildlife.

The specific objective of the grant is to:

  •  Enable development of a common resource for the sector, comprising development and delivery of training modules on environmental volunteer management designed to enable volunteering organisations to train staff and others (including volunteers) to manage volunteers. This will assist the sector in increasing its capacity to manage and deploy greater numbers of volunteers.
  • Include an element of ‘training the trainer’ to create a cadre of trained individuals within environmental volunteering organisations able to sustain provision of the training beyond the period of this grant.
  • Improve and expand the infrastructure of support from environmental volunteering organisations for local community action.

Latest Information

The application closing date is 12pm on 15 March 2013.

Key Criteria

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be UK based.
  • Be run on a not-for-profit basis.
  • Have expertise in the field of environmental volunteering and the organisation(s) involved must be engaged and influential in this field.

Eligible Expenditure

Costs associated with eligible projects.

Match Funding Restrictions

Up to 100% of the agreed eligible costs for a project may be funded. However, contributions from other organisations and eligible funding sources are encouraged.

Application Procedure

Grant applications will only be accepted via the Bravo, Defra’s e-Application portal. Interested organisations must be registered on Bravo to access this opportunity.

The document ‘Applicant Instructions: How to Register on the Defra e-Application Portal – Open Process’ gives infomration on how to register and apply.

Applicants are required to submit a detailed Project Plan setting out information including the milestones within the project, the timescales for delivery of the project and the spend profile throughout the project period. This Plan will be submitted to the Authority for assessment and will be inserted into any resulting Grant Agreement for signature by the successful applicant and Defra before the project commences.

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this funding opportunity locally, please contact the following:

Contact details:
David Morley Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Procurement & Commercial Function – Grants, Room 401,
Foss House,
Kings Pool
1-2 Peasholme Green,
01904 45 4516
Email contact

Workshop – your next business plan

I have just returned from a very useful workshop held by the Fieldfare LEADER group, which included great advice on keeping records for a grant-funded project and also gave information about future RDPE LEADER grants.

Workshop – Making plans for your future

I am able to work in conjunction with the Fieldfare team and offer a 3-hour workshop for businesses or community organisations to make plans and clarify your ideas for the future. The workshop will be useful for anyone, not just those who have a grant in mind. Here are the key points:

  • housekeeping
    • to take place before the end of March 2013
    • cost approx £20 (plus VAT) per person
    • duration 3 hours, probably to take place on a weekend
    • venue – Winchester
  • content
    • your main goals
    • gathering your ideas
    • what information and resources do you need
    • what about the money

You will leave knowing more about what  you want and what steps will help you to get it. We will decide on follow-up workshops as necessary.

Complete the form below now if you are interested – we can only run with enough applicants.

[contact-form-7 id=”577″ title=”Workshop interest”]

How to Pay for an Apprentice

Cash Fund to get an Apprentice is Extended

For those who missed the announcement after the New Year break, a cash payment of £1,500 to get an apprentice is extended to the end of 2013.

This quick guide will explain how to benefit from an apprentice. By the end of the page you will appreciate where they save time, and then make you money.

How to Pay for an Apprentice

All you need to do is earn more each month than the apprentice costs you.

Currently these are the principles of apprenticeships:

  • they are your employees*, drawing a regular wage
  • you commit to improving their skills on the job
  • they undergo some formal training, for example at a college, usually at your cost
  • your business gets more work done, so in time the apprentice should earn you more than they cost

Whilst skilled employees and subcontractors need briefing on the task and expected standards, apprentices also need some demonstration or instruction. The key is to build up a mixture of simple tasks that save money by supporting skilled workers, and others where the apprentice takes time to learn but soon becomes competent.

Consider the straightforward jobs that hoover up skilled workers’ time, and resist the desire to get your money back every single day!

* Some schemes do the employment administration, but you still commit to providing work and experience for a regular fee.

Myths about Apprentices

  1. They cost money. True – you have to pay the wages and training costs. But, like any other employee, they will only cost you money overall if you don’t make good use of their skills
  2. They leave when they are trained. Again, like any employee, your apprentice will be loyal to you if you are worth staying with. Employees don’t leave when they are happy and valued
  3. They are a liability and slow the work down. For the first few days, possibly. As with any person you employ or subcontract, you should line up tasks which are within their skills. Training someone takes time initially but soon they become more independent. Frankly, if you can’t delegate you do not yet have the skill to grow your business, but you can learn to gain from an apprentice
  4. Apprentices are slave labour. True – if you only give them basic tasks in order to be ‘useful’ from day 1. But you will be saving a few pounds per day rather than profiting from a skilled employee. And of course myth 2 will kick in – why should they stay with you?

What now?

You grow a business by getting more income, not saving costs.

Firstly decide what manpower you need (whatever the skill level) to help you do more business.

Secondly, calculate what type of manpower will work best for you (e.g. recruiting, sub-contracting, apprenticeship).

Contact me to discuss expansion and assess your options. My job is to help you make business decisions, not sell you an apprentice.