A question of accountability

A question of accountability
Marsh is sponsoring a conference on corporate governance and social, ethical and environmental accountability at the Kelvin Gallery, University of Glasgow, on Thursday May 10.
The morning session will discuss the linking of accountability, governance and performance, while the afternoon will offer a number of workshops on the issue.

Mistakes out in the open
NHS hospitals in England will have to report any medical errors to a new agency which will investigate mistakes and publish them in air accident-style bulletins.
The new body, the National Patient Safety Agency, will begin work in July and has been modelled on the way the Aviation Accidents Investigation Branch examines pilot errors.
The published details will include advice by the agency on how to avoid the same errors in future.

Give the dog a job
Direct insurer Churchill is creating 90 new jobs in sales and operations at its Ipswich office.
Churchill said the posts had been created because of its partnership deal with Lloyds TSB and its own continuing expansion.
Churchill began operations in the area in 1998 and moved into its Crown Street office in October last year. Around 460 of the company's total workforce of 2,700 are now based in Ipswich.

No yo-yo in insurance
Insurers will take on more staff in the second quarter of 2001 despite talk of a downturn, a Manpower survey has shown.
Manpower managing director Iain Herbertson said: “Insurance employers in the UK appear to be sending out a message that a winded US economy, yo-yoing stocks and talk of a cut in interest rates is not dragging the insurance sector down yet.”
The Manpower Quarterly Survey of Employment Prospects is considered one of the most accurate predictors of employment trends.
It has run for more than 30 years and is used by the Bank of England's monetary policy committee as evidence of labour market activity.

Well worth it
Increasing the amount invested in staff training can significantly boost profits for small businesses, according to a survey by the Learning and Skills Council.
It found those firms spending an extra £50 a week on training increased their profits almost twice as fast as those who decided against an increase.
Companies that raised their annual training budget increased profits by 11.4%, while those that did not saw a 6.3% rise in profits.

Disastercare mulls options
The UK's second biggest independent restorer, Disastercare UK, may decentralise, in a bid to cope with the business that global warming may bring.
Managing director Stuart Richardson said the firm was considering five depots in separate geographical areas. Another option was a European partnership.
He said he anticipated there to be a natural expansion in the UK disaster recovery market because of the changes in weather patterns.

Softly, softly
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has been given a boost in the UK by the government's adoption of the practice in its departments and agencies. Litigation will now become a last resort.
ADR uses mediation, independent assessments and similar techniques to try to avoid formal legal proceedings.

St Paul, Markel
Last week we incorrectly stated that Moodys Investors Service ratings were reviewing St Paul and Markel syndicate managements.
We have since been informed that only St Paul's syndicate 227 has been downgraded and Markel syndicate 1009 may be given a new rating.

Ark sails into London
Disaster recovery company Ark & General has opened a new London branch for material damage claims
in the south east of England.
Managing director Doug Banks
said the company had increased its market share and was carrying out significantly more work in the region around the capital.

Skiving off for charity
AGENCY Underwriting Limited (AUL) has signed up to the government's Active Communities Challenge to allow staff time off for charity work.
The insurance scheme specialists are encouraging workers to become involved in the community following Prime Minister Tony Blair's initiative
last year.
Since then, AUL has offered all staff a paid day away from the office to work for a charity or other community-based organisation. The company has now been added to the home office's website (corpcommunityinvestment.org.uk) as part of the challenge.

IIP award for Healthsure
Cash plan provider Healthsure Group has achieved the Investors in People (IIP) award for its strong commitment to staff development.
Staff were described as being “extremely well focused in understanding the objectives of the company” by the IIP award independent assessor.
Healthsure was formed from a merger of three cash plan providers in 1999: Manchester & Salford Hospital Saturday Fund, Hospitals Guild of Northampton and Anglia Healthcare.

Security is top at Simba
Security supplies company Simba has received the Institute of Transport Management's (ITM) award for fleet and heavy goods vehicles security.
ITM executive director said the
institute was impressed by the professionalism displayed by Simba.
The company is also fully qualified to supply and fit any type of Thatcham-approved vehicle security device.

Don't waste your money
MANY companies spend a fortune on computer aids without assessing if they are benefiting their users, claims a computer risk consultancy.
Workwise believes an individual one-to-one risk assessment carried out by a professional can ensure existing equipment is used correctly.
A spokesman said additional accessories should only be provided when essential to the health and safety of an individual.
“For example, an average footrest costs £40 and may be unnecessary in many cases,” he said. “An average risk assessment costs £30. You don't have to be Einstein to work out the maths,” he said.