Monday, 22 October 2012

Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve appointed as chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Leading academic Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve has today been appointed Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Baroness O’Neill, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and Honorary Professor at the University of Cambridge, will lead the organisation through a period of change as it is streamlined to provide better value for money and a stronger focus on core functions.

Culture Secretary and Equalities Minister Maria Miller made the appointment following a competitive recruitment process and a pre-appointment scrutiny hearing by Parliament's Joint Committee of Human Rights earlier this week which concluded she was a suitable candidate.

“Baroness O’Neill is an inspiring woman with the skills needed to provide the strong leadership necessary to steer the EHRC through this crucial period,” Ms Miller said.“I look forward to seeing her progress as the EHRC is transformed into a valued and respected national institution that will continue to help deliver a free and fair society for everyone.”

Baroness O’Neill said she was “delighted” to take up the role. “The work of the commission is vital to our society and it is important it continues to promote fairness, challenge unacceptable inequalities and monitor progress in reducing them,” she added. “I intend to ensure the EHRC continues to strive towards excellence.”

The Government announced a number of reforms to the EHRC earlier this year, including the appointment of a new chair and a smaller board with stronger business and governance skills.

The EHRC said"The Equality and Human Rights Commission today welcomed the appointment of Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve as the Commission’s new Chair."

Mark Hammond, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“This is a challenging but very exciting time for the Commission and Baroness O’Neill’s appointment is a crucial step in the next phase of the Commission’s life. The Commission has been responsible for a significant number of achievements including ground breaking legal cases and inquiries and we are all looking forward to working with Baroness O’Neill to build on these successes.

“Her knowledge of human rights and equality coupled with her experience as Chair of other organisations will help the Commission continue the improvements we have made to the way we work and the positive impact we have on equality and human rights for everyone.”

Baroness Onora O’Neill said:

“I am delighted to be appointed as the new Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and am looking forward to starting work.

“The work of the Commission is vital to our society and it is important it continues to promote fairness, challenge unacceptable inequalities and monitor progress in reducing them. I intend to ensure the EHRC continues to strive towards excellence as an effective and trusted source of expertise that delivers real value.” Source: Department Culture & Sport & Equalities & Human Rights Commission.    Are you compliant withThe Equality Act 2010? Need more information on Equalities?,Visit our specialist section on the jml Training website Here

Law Society says Removing provisions from the Equality Act will not help employers

The Law Society issued a press release last week - "Removing provisions from the Equality Act will not help employers"

They warned that removing certain provisions from the Equality Act will not help employers. The warning comes after the government published a series of amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill this week.

The amendments, to be considered in the report stage of the bill, abolish the Equality Act provisions on third party harassment (which make an employer liable for failing to act where their employee has been harassed by a third party) and the use of claimant questionnaires in discrimination claims.

The Law Society has highlighted the fact that these provisions can in fact be beneficial to employers as well as employees.

Under section 40 of the Equality Act an employer is not held responsible for the third party's actions in themselves, but for failing to act where they have been told of the harassment; when it has happened on at least two previous occasions; and where the employer has not taken such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the harassment.

'Harassment is unacceptable in any workplace,' says chair of the Law Society Employment Law Committee Angharad Harris. 'The benefit of the third party harassment provision was that it has encouraged best practice amongst employers and this in turn helps to reduce potential incidents of harassment at work.'

'The questionnaire procedure can also help employers because it encourages an employee to ask all of their questions at once, rather than through a series of informal questions which make it harder for an employer than if they had been raised all at once.

'Questionnaires also discourage those cases that have no merit.'

The Law Society says that business concerns could have been addressed through better guidance on how to deal with third party harassment and how to answer questionnaires.

Angharad Harris then added: 'Most employers want to do the right thing, and want clear advice to understand how employment law affects them.'

When in doubt, the Law Society advises employers to get in touch with their local solicitor.

Notes about this Law Society News Release:

Earlier this year, the government consulted on the removal of section 40 (third party harassment provision) recommendations and section 138 (the obtaining information provision) of the Equality Act 2010.
The purpose of section 40 is to make an employer liable for failing to act when an employee has been harassed by a third party.

Questionnaire procedures allow an employee to question someone they feel has been discriminating against them before deciding whether or not to launch proceedings. If the person being questioned refuses to answer or answers in a tricky way, an employment tribunal is able to exercise a wide discretion in deciding, ‘as a matter of evidence, what to make of the way in which the respondent has or has not replied to the questionnaire.'

Are you compliant withThe Equality Act 2010? Need more information then visit our specialist section on the jml Training website Here

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Latest jml Training Newsletter is now out

The latest jml Training newsletter is now out.

The October 2012 newsletter entitled Developing Powerful Teams will Give You a  Competitive Edge - Reap the benefits of a positive work culture as teams increase their creativity, learning and productivity.

It’s tough for leaders and managers right now as the economic constraints continue to bite and companies and organisations need to get a greater return from every person in their teams. Now more than ever, companies and organisations need to invest in team capability.

Read on by following this link

Association for Coaching launches new website

Just recieved an email informing us that AC Launches its new website!

The new site, found on the existing url at, offers a number of enhanced features and benefits which include:

Much richer content, including ACTV with a number of high quality films, podcasts, and video footage.

Keep updated through the News Flash and In the Press sections.

Member log in, where members can access and update their own information and directory profile.

Easier navigation and enhanced search functionality, including searching on first, last and both names, location and double criteria.

'Member Spotlight', 'Coaching Tips & Insights', and links to the AC's twitter, linked-in and facebook social media pages.

An updated Publications section, which includes archives of both new and past coaching related Articles and Research.

Content rich articles and research specifically focused around buyers of coaching, and coaching within organisations.

Improved 'AC Directory', to more readily Find a Coach, Organisational Member, AC Accredited Coach, Coach Supervisor, or AC Recognised Course.

jml Training and Consultancy are Organisational Members of the Association for Coaching

If you are looking for coaching services Contact us here

18th October 2012 - New release from jml Training - Constant Changes in Organisations having Negative Impact on Performance

Employees are feeling vulnerable and demotivated as organisational changes continue to bite.

Low morale and job uncertainty amongst employees is more and more evident, and a review of recent findings indicates that organisational changes are frequently leaving teams and individuals feeling bruised, less trusting of their managers and less engaged.

Find out all by following the link below

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Coaching is highly important in today’s business market

Last week the International Coach Federation (ICF)Conference held their annual conference in London.

According to their press release it was sold out with nearly 1,000 coaches gathering for the coaching industry’s premier Annual International Conference.

These Professional coaches from more than 55 countries were there for three days of accredited education, networking, collaboration, and celebration during the International Coach Federation’s 17th Annual International Conference.

Speakers from more than a dozen countries were scheduled including three diverse Mega Catalysts (keynotes): an inspirational businesswoman who’s known as Britain’s “most colorful charity leader” Camila Batmanghelidjh; renowned vulnerability researcher and accomplished author Brené Brown; and poet and organizational development expert David Whyte.

Unfortunately, Gráinne Suter Director of jml Training and Consultancy who is a very experienced coach and a member of the International Coaching Federation was unable to attend the conference due to work commitments. jml Training & Consultancy are also an Organisational Member of The Association for Coaching

Increasingly more and more people are seeking one to one coaching at different stages in their careers. Some people use coaching to help them address challenges in their work. Others because they feel they are not accomplishing all they are capable of, or wish to feel more confident in their work role.

jml Training has been offering coaching to organizations and individual now many years now.

Recently a client emailed us with some feedback on coaching which was part of a Leadership Development Programme that this person had been undertaking. “Just wanted to say thanks for today and the rest of the course. Whilst at times throughout the course I think I've not been in the "right place" to fully engage with it, today brought home to me some of the fantastic things I've learnt and developed over the course of the training. It has also made me realise that I'm actually pretty good at doing this job, despite it being a "tough gig"!!
Still think that the stuff we discussed in my last coaching might be a future direction for me at some point, but I've come away today feeling a lot more enthusiastic about my current role and some things I'm going to try with my seniors, team and line manager to try to continue to improve things here”

Apart from providing coaching services to organisations, jml Training also offers “Interview Coaching”. This is ideal for “First job, students interviewing for university places or just want to brush up on rusty interview skills to get a new job”
Comment from client in 2011 "Hi Grainne I thought you would like to know that I was successful in my interview for .......I wanted to say thank you so much for the support that you gave me during our sessions. I absolutely know it contributed to my success. take care"

To find out more about Coaching services from jml Training Follow this link

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Stress-related absence appears to be on the increase according to survey

The CIPD  / Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development issue a press release this morning saying that   Fall in absence levels could be masking deeper problems in the workplace.

As average employee absence falls by almost a day, levels of presenteeism, stress and mental health problems in the workplace rise, finds CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence survey.

The average level of employee absence has fallen compared with last year from 7.7 days to 6.8 per employee per year, according to this year's Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey.

However, the fall in absence levels coincides with almost a third of employers reporting an increase in the number of people going into work ill. The threat of redundancies and concerns over job security are shown to contribute to such 'presenteeism', with organisations that are expecting to make redundancies in the next six months more likely to report an increase in employees going into work when unwell, than employers that are not expecting to cut jobs.

Stress-related absence also appears to be on the increase, with two-fifths of employers (40%) reporting a rise over the past year and only one in ten (10%) reporting that the problem had decreased. Stress continues to feature as the most common cause of long-term absence, for the second year running. The level of reported mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, among employees is also on the increase. More than twice the number of employers reported an increase in mental health problems in 2012 than did in 2009 (2012: 44%; 2011: 39%; 2010: 38%; 2009: 21%).

According to the survey, organisations who have noted an increase in presenteeism over the past year are more likely to report an increase in stress-related absence over the same period (52% compared with 38% of those who did not report an increase in people coming in to work ill). Similarly, they are more likely to report an increase in mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression (62% compared with 35% of those who did not report an increase in people coming into work ill). The suggested link between presenteeism and both stress and mental health problems underlines the need for organisations to take pre-emptive action to address employees' concerns in times of challenge, uncertainty and change.

Commenting on the survey findings, Dr Jill Miller, Research Adviser at CIPD says: "On the face of it, the findings from this year's survey present some positive news. But we must air caution before celebrating lower absence levels because they may be masking deeper problems in the workplace. This year sees a continued increase in presenteeism which can have a damaging effect on organisations' productivity. Not only can illnesses be passed on to other colleagues, but ill employees are likely to work less effectively than usual, may be more prone to making costly mistakes and take longer to recover from their illnesses.

"Continuing economic uncertainty and fears over job security appears to be taking its toll on employees. We are seeing employees struggling into work to demonstrate their commitment, suggesting presenteeism can be a sign of anxiety. Failing to address employees' concerns is likely to confound the issue, impact on morale and commitment and may cause or exacerbate stress or mental health problems.

"We urge employers to examine whether lower absence levels within their own organisations are as a result of more effective absence management or if they reflect the negative impact of presenteeism. Overall a proactive approach to supporting employee wellbeing and managing absence, which includes training managers in how to manage people effectively and early access to occupational health services, remains critical for success."

Helen Dickinson, People Director, Simplyhealth, says: "It's fair to say that the double dip recession is having an impact on business health as well as employee wellbeing, with this years survey showing a clear rise in presenteeism. The link between presenteeism and job insecurity is unsurprising. Increasing workloads coupled with worries about job security and financial challenges could be a contributory factor to stress and mental health issues being highlighted as two of the most common causes of long term absence in the workplace.

"Last year saw stress become the number one cause of workplace absence for the first time, and that trend has continued this year. In contrast, it's good to see well-being strategies increasing amongst businesses, with the survey showing 55% of organisations now have one in place compared to only 30% in 2008. This means that there is focus on doing what's best for employees and improving business health. The vital role of line managers within wellbeing strategies cannot be disputed. Early detection of health issues and ensuring the correct support is in place helps people with health problems stay in or return to work."

Other findings of the survey include:

Decreases in absence levels are most stark in public sector services, falling to their lowest level in ten years, with a figure of 7.9 days per employee per year. This compares to 5.7 days for workers in the private services industry, where absence levels have also fallen since 2011.

Stress is currently the most common cause of long-term absence for non-manual workers (30%) and the joint top cause for manual workers (21%).

Identifying the main causes of stress at-work, the survey revealed that workload is an increasing problem, with 57% of organisations listing it in the top three most common causes, compared to 48% in 2011. Employers also listed considerable organisational change/restructuring (31%) and management style (36%) as top causes for stress, suggesting that employers could be doing more to reduce stress in the workplace.

The survey also found that despite the increasing problem of stress, almost of a third (31%) of respondents report that their organisations are not doing anything to reduce it.

The proportion of organisations with an employee well-being strategy (or similar) has continued to increase with 55% of respondents reporting one was in place, compared to 46% in 2010 and 2011 and 33% in 2009.

Organisations that evaluate their well-being spend are significantly more likely to have increased their spend this year (44% compared with 16%) and are more likely to predict it will increase in 2013. This confirms findings from previous years and appears to imply that evaluations of well-being spend generally conclude that investing in employees' well-being is worthwhile.  Source CIPD Press Department

At jml Training and Consultancy we appreciate that pressure is a part of everyday life. This can be positive when the pressure is a source of stimulation and creativity or negative when it becomes a source of worry or tension. If people experience an inappropriate amount of negative pressures over a period of time they will become stressed.

We can help you to manage stress in your organisation. We offer a range of practical interventions that will help you achieve a culture in your organisation that embraces the work-life balance.

Stress Audits - We can help you to assess the current causes of stress, problem areas and who might be at risk.

Stress Policy - We can advise on the development of a stress policy tailored to your organisation's needs.

Implementing a Stress Policy - We can identify ways to help you implement the changes, identified in the stress policy, to achieve successful work-life balance.

For more information take a look at our specialist "Managing Stress in Your Organisation" page at the jml Training Website Here