Diagnostics pioneer gears up for expansion and launches training academy to meet EV demand

A LEADER in vehicle diagnostic tools and automotive training is gearing up for expansion after unveiling a new skills centre.

Wrexham-based Maverick Diagnostics has been a pioneer in the sector for more than two decades.

During the pandemic, Managing Director Andy Brooke refocused the business, from sales to service solutions, accelerating growth and winning new customers at home and overseas.

Following the launch of their Automotive Training Academy – delivering a suite of IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) courses from levels one to four – and the exclusive aftermarket Tesla tool, which is causing a big stir in the sector, he revealed plans to more than double their workforce and remain at the forefront of advances in technology as demand grows for technicians to work on EV and hybrid engines.

“According to the IMI there is a massive need for more TechSafe technicians by 2030, around 90,000 in the UK alone,” said Andy.

“We identified pre-pandemic this would be the trend and were already running online training programmes which continue to be very popular.

“The safety aspect is pivotal because if you’re not properly educated in how to work on EV and hybrid vehicles then you can’t go near them, and the majority of garages are nowhere near ready to do so.

“We’re getting more and more calls on the education side as a result, and will need to roll out more courses, so the coming years are going to continue to be incredibly busy from that side, including upcoming sessions on first responder and emergency services EV and hybrid training.”

Maverick Diagnostics also has a strong reputation for dealer diagnostics, delivering a wide range of services from equipment sales and technical support to live and remote training and research and development.

Reflecting on Brexit and the challenges of Covid-19, Andy says they used lockdown to realign the company’s direction and pivot to fill a gap in the market.

“From an IT and training perspective it’s important to remember how different vehicles are now, they are more technological, completely unlike cars of the past,” he said.

“We are doing things differently, we have more than 100 contractors working with us in the UK and in Europe and that will continue to increase.

“There are also plans for expansion here in North Wales which will see us take on another 10 staff in the Wrexham area, but they are at their earliest stages.

“Our number one priority is remaining at the forefront of advances in the industry, notably from a technology and software perspective, and continuing to push the envelope.”

Andy added: “We will be the first centre to deliver the IMI Level 4 courses – vital for anyone working on electric vehicles – and building on the aftermarket diagnostic services we provide, from professional technicians to smaller workshops wanting our support.

“Ultimately, it’s about making that switch from the traditional diagnostic offering to what is now a rapidly evolving arena where you cannot afford to stand still.

“We are here to help, and from the feedback received from across the UK and beyond there is a burgeoning appetite to get on board and embrace the electric and hybrid revolution.”

For more information, visit the website www.maverickdiagnostics.com and follow @maverickdiagnostics on social media. Alternatively, call 01978 856190.

How has technology made health diagnostics more accessible in the last years?

How is Healthcare Becoming More Accessible with the Latest Technological Advancements?

In the past two decades, technology has fundamentally changed the way people communicate and consume media. It has also impacted us in a more intimate way by changing our outlook on health and well-being. You will surely not deny that technology has made healthcare more accessible by making it cheaper, simpler to reach, and easier to understand. Living in a time when people continue to face problems with having access to healthcare, services such as Cignpost Diagnostics strive to explore the various ways in which people can receive better healthcare with the help of technology.

Some of the Latest Technological Advancements in Healthcare Systems

Millions of people lack consistent access to healthcare across the world for various reasons. While we enjoy free care on the NHS, outside the UK many people rely on insurance – and many people under the age of 65 have no health insurance. In fact, having health insurance or not isn’t the only issue that determines whether you have access to quality medical care. Other factors, such as the region you belong to, the language you speak, and the amount of money you can afford, can limit your access to proper healthcare.

It is where technology made one of the biggest breakthroughs. Advancements in technology have improved communication, enhanced efficiency, and brought more access to patients in the form of smart diagnostic systems, drug containers with motion detectors, and many more. The implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) in the past few years has revolutionised the way of handling patient records in healthcare systems. EMRs have made healthcare more efficient, less expensive, and more streamlined.


If you are still wondering how, then have a look at the latest healthcare facilities below that clearly show how technology has revolutionised healthcare.

 

Mobile Clinics in Smartphones

In today’s world, having a smartphone is like having a sophisticated handheld computer in your pocket. Taking advantage of this, IT companies are increasingly developing apps and mobile gadgets that can convert your phone into a portable medical device.

Apps like Tissue Analytics, which aids in wound monitoring by allowing you to photograph and send pictures of your wounds to the doctor for assessment, AliveCor, which turns your phone into a mobile ECG machine and can measure your heart’s electrical activity, or NetraLabs, which allows you to perform eye testing at home, are some of the widely recognized apps which are making healthcare more affordable and cheaper. Such apps were a great help during the time of the Covid-19 outbreak when hospitals had a significant rush for treatment and check-ups.

 

Telemedicine Facilities

A decade ago, could you have imagined consulting your doctor over the phone via call, let alone video? Surely not. But you will be surprised to hear that millions of patients have used telemedicine services in the last year.

People living in remote locations or from rural backgrounds can now talk virtually with their physicians, which spares them the cost of travel and other expenses. In fact, during the Covid pandemic, when people had to stay isolated or were unable to step out of their homes unless it was an emergency, they used telemedicine services to consult with doctors and report their daily well-being.

 

Chatbot Doctors

Do we always need a doctor to advise us about our health practices? Not really, when you have medical advice-powered artificial intelligence facilities right around the corner. Patients now only have to enter the information regarding their health activities and test reports. The AI-based systems will analyse them and reply to the patients about the probable course of action they should take or any further tests they should conduct.

These medical chatbot systems are built using AI. They will ‘learn’ over time by gathering data from various customers and patients and using it to form their knowledge base and refine their diagnoses. Such systems have enabled patients to seek medical advice with a few touches of their fingertips.

 

Language Translating Apps

Often, people who do not have very good proficiency in English face difficulty in understanding the various medical terms. Language barriers seriously affect people’s access to medical care, health services, and communication with doctors.

There are several apps in the market that are designed specifically to solve this language barrier. These apps translate the medical terms from one language to another and provide additional information that helps the patients understand them in their native tongue.

 

Conclusion

 The increasing applications of technology in the field of healthcare are not only making health services and other medical facilities – from basic check-ups to in-depth consultations with specialist doctors – easily accessible but also more affordable and flexible for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are PCs Making the Life of Investors Easier?

Before the creation of personal computers and smartphones, online foreign exchange trading platforms and investing apps did not exist. Investments were mostly around real estate and physical commodities like gold and precious metals.

Investors had a new investment channel to explore when stock exchanges were created to provide the liquidity necessary to support industry growth. However, they had to travel several miles to process their investments.

Things are much different today, and investors can leverage PCs and other tech gadgets to trade and invest easily and safely. In this article, we explore the impact of personal computers in the lives of investors.

How are PCs Impacting how Investors Trade and Invest Today?

Technology has brought several advances to our lives, including the tools for work. Investors cannot underestimate the impact of tech in the provision of financial services globally. Personal computers and smart devices are making investors’ lives easier. Here are five benefits of leveraging PCs for work.

Ease

Trading forex or investing in various financial instruments was a cumbersome process before PCs and smartphones were invented. In previous years, you could only trade or invest in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at the physical location to complete all the necessary paperwork. Today, with your digital devices, you can trade the foreign exchange markets and open a brokerage account online to invest in stocks or other investments.

Education

Learning to trade forex or invest from the comfort of your home is easier with your PC or smartphone. You can engage in remote learning using your PC to take online courses. One advantage of a smart device is access to simulators you can use to practice your trading and investing skills. You can open a demo account to trade different financial assets before using real money in actual trade.

Wide Range Of Features

Online trading and investment sites offer a variety of features to guide your trading and investing decisions. For example, you can use several technical indicators to get insights into an asset’s current market price or trading volume.

Accessibility to Global Markets

Digital devices enable traders and investors to explore opportunities in the global space. You can trade currencies of different countries and invest in different companies on stock exchanges worldwide. With a smart device, you can access most financial markets globally.

Information and News

News updates represent one of the defining factors in the volatility of any financial market. Information about the performance of a company or an executive can lead to a response causing the price of stocks to fall. Global events and economic effects directly affect the foreign exchange market. A smart device like your PC or smartphone helps you stay informed about events worldwide.

Tips on Using Your PC for Investing Activities

 

While smart devices are necessary for the majority of the work done, they also expose many to security challenges and health risks. Here are tips on how to use your PC for trading and investing activities.

Security Measures

As a trader or investor, chances are that you’re dealing with huge funds, making you a suitable target for scammers. Here are five security measures to keep you safe when using your PC

 

  • Do not open attachments in an email without double-checking the source. Organizations rarely send attachments, and opening a phishing email can give hackers access to your account details.
  • Beware of websites simulating the original site by using the same site name but different domain names.
  • Enable 2-factor authentication on your accounts to prevent fraudulent attacks by hackers.
  • Don’t leave your PC or digital devices unlocked while you’re away. Ensure you set up a lock with a strong password to prevent unauthorized access to your private files.
  • Make sure you’re trading on a site with proper security protocols and keep track of all your transactions.

Health Measures

Sometimes, users can spend several hours sitting in front of their PC while navigating a trading platform or browsing the internet. Here are three tips to avoid the health risks associated with the long-term use of digital devices.

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  • Sit on a chair with proper back support to maintain good posture while working with your device.
  • Excessive blue light exposure can cause insomnia and is avoidable by reducing your screen brightness and positioning your monitor to eliminate excessive glare from lightning.
  • Prolonged sitting can cause muscle aches and nerve pain, but you can prevent them by taking breaks sessionally. Move around and engage in a completely different activity to get refreshed.

Maintenance Measures

Investing in a PC with advanced functionality can be costly. Hence, keeping your smart devices in good condition is important to preserve their lifespan. Here are five tips on how to maintain your PC:

  • Protect your device with padding to safeguard it from accidents when you’re on the go.
  • Update your operating system for improved performance and optimization.
  • Unplug your device when fully charged to maintain battery life and eliminate junk files to free up space for better RAM performance.
  • Safeguard your system from malware attacks by installing an antivirus program to scan and combat possible threats.
  • Back up important files to forestall unexpected glitches and loss of files.
  • Keep your device clean and free from dust and contaminants by following a regular cleaning schedule.

The Bottom Line

Personal computers, smartphones, and other digital devices are a major advantage today. They make it easier for traders and investors to carry out various transactions in different financial markets. Investors can use their devices to connect to the internet and get timely information and news to guide their trading decisions.

Although, sitting in front of a computer for long hours can lead to muscle pain, eye problems, and nerve issues. You minimize the risk of developing these health issues by taking proactive measures to optimize your health. Overall, PCs and other smart devices make investors’ lives easier by providing a portal to explore the internet and experience the digital age.

How mobile phones have become an everyday essential

It’s safe to say that most of us love our mobile phones. Now acting as a fifth limb, we’re attached to our phones from morning until night. Whether we’re scrolling through social media or working on the move, phones are a gadget we can’t live without.

But why are phones part of our daily life? We’ll explore some of the reasons below.

The rise of the mobile phone

It’s anticipated we’ll own a staggering 18.2 billion mobile devices by 2025. But where did it all begin?

Well, mobile phones date back to the 1980s. Technology rapidly advanced, and prices dropped, making mobile phone ownership much more popular.

But the models of the time didn’t have the functionality they have today. Most were only capable of making calls and sending texts. This is very different from our mobiles today. Modern smartphones have microprocessors, making them minicomputers in their own right.

How do we use our phones daily?

Humans are sociable animals. Phones meet one of our most basic needs: human connection. Just some of the ways we use our mobile phones include:

  • Communicating – We use our phones as a primary method of communication. From creating group chats to sending a text to loved ones abroad, we always use our phones.
  • Social media – Whether you prefer to scroll through Instagram or TikTok, social media has boomed because of mobile phones.
  • Online banking – Rather than popping into your local bank, most of us now use online banking. Many people use an open bank like Monzo or make payments online. We don’t have to nip to the bank to conduct our financial affairs anymore.
  • Online dating – Forget going to a bar to meet your soulmate! We can now find love from the comfort of our homes.
  • Browsing the internet – Our phones are now the primary device used for surfing the web, not laptops or PCs.

How to stay safe when using your mobile

According to the 2022 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 39% of businesses in the UK experienced a cyberattack in the prior 12 months. So, it’s never been more important to stay safe using your mobile.

Using our phones for a multitude of different tasks means our personal data is at risk. That’s why it’s important not to overlook security. Downloading a VPN for your iPhone or Android can help protect you and your data from criminals.

Final thoughts…

If you can’t live without your phone, don’t panic! It’s completely normal to become attached to your smartphone. As long as you’re protected online, keep scrolling as long as you like!

Flotek acquires longstanding Swansea IT provider

Ambitious IT & Managed Service Provider Flotek has acquired Gower Business Systems, a Swansea-based IT Provider specialising in the legal and professional services sector.

 

The acquisition comes as part of Flotek’s plan for growth through acquisition, along with a vision of supporting SMEs in South Wales and beyond to be prepared for digital transformation. The acquisition adds £1.2m in revenue to Flotek’s turnover, as the business accelerates toward its ambitious growth target.

 

Founded by a trio of experienced entrepreneurs, Flotek’s core aim is of helping regional businesses access and embrace new technologies to enhance their operations and service offerings.

 

Jay Ball, CEO of Flotek, said: “We are delighted that Gower Business Systems is joining Flotek. The team there has developed an incredible reputation over the last 30 years, being a certified Microsoft partner and working proactively to provide tailored IT and tech solutions to clients.

 

“By integrating with Flotek, this enhances our delivery of dedicated care and support to SMEs, helping them adopt next generation technologies and delivering cost savings, scalability and growth.”

 

One of Wales’ most established MSPs, Gower Business Systems was founded by Mark Wyatt, former Wales Rugby Union player, and Mark Bowling and specialises in trusted service for the legal and professional services sector.

 

The pair and their team will continue on with roles at Flotek, adding 10 more members of staff to the Flotek team as the MSP embarks on its impressive growth plan centred around a buy and build acquisition strategy.

 

Mark Wyatt, Director of Gower Business Systems, said: “Having developed the business’ success during the past three decades, joining with Flotek is an exciting next step for the Gower Business team.

 

“We very much share Flotek’s ethos of helping regional SMEs utilise complete IT support and technologies to reach their full potential and are excited to be a part of the business’ growth.”

 

With a base at The Maltings, in Cardiff and now a second based in Swansea to extend coverage further with engineers closer to customers, Flotek is helping clients across South Wales to embrace cloud technology, with a well-structured management team and robust strategy for organic and acquisition growth.

 

Jay continued: “Our ambitious growth is centered around our fundamental values, to make sure we deliver services with expertise and passion. With people at our core, we have a clear vision of an employee-led, customer-focused business with a trusted name in the sector.”

 

The deal was advised on by dealmaking group GS Verde, who are actively working on acquisition opportunities for Flotek to support the ambitious growth plans set out by the founders.

 

To learn more about Flotek visit www.flotek.io.

SentinelOne partners with Armis for unparalleled asset intelligence

Integration unifies risk reduction across IoT, OT, and IT devices

SentinelOne, an autonomous cybersecurity platform company, has announced a new integration with Armis, the leading unified asset intelligence platform. The collaboration helps protect organisations from modern threats and provides unified and unparalleled visibility across endpoints, cloud, mobile, IoT, OT devices, and more.

Visibility is essential for security and operations teams, but as networks become more complex, maintaining visibility and reducing the attack surface becomes increasingly challenging. IoT and OT environments present unique complexities, limiting asset visibility and control, particularly in healthcare, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure verticals. These diverse environments introduce new ransomware and malware risks in the context of today’s evolving threat landscape.

“Unmanaged devices present an extremely attractive attack surface for threat actors. Armis provides unparalleled asset intelligence and visibility into both managed and unmanaged devices, allowing customers to rapidly reduce attack surfaces in order to protect their organisations from malicious intruders,” said Ed Barry, VP Strategic Alliances, Armis. “SentinelOne’s autonomous approach to prevention and remediation coupled with Armis’s comprehensive visibility takes attack assessment and mitigation to new levels.”

SentinelOne and Armis jointly deliver three best-of-breed solutions:

  • SentinelOne Singularity XDR app for Armis– provides additional context and enrichment to accelerate the triage and investigation of threats to managed and unmanaged endpoints, IoT, and OT devices.
  • Armis integration for SentinelOne Singularity XDR– offers unified visibility of devices with broad coverage for user endpoints, IoT, and OT devices. It also integrates device health, asset metadata, and application inventory into risk models to improve vulnerability prioritisation and remediation.
  • SentinelOne Singularity Ranger app for Armis– delivers network visibility and control with real-time device metadata from Armis. Organisations are enabled to automatically isolate suspicious devices or block user endpoints from communication with IoT and OT devices.

“With every piece of new technology, the challenge of IT orchestration grows, particularly from a security perspective,” said Yonni Shelmerdine, Vice President of Product Management, SentinelOne. “It’s hard enough to keep track of all the devices on the network, let alone what these devices are doing. SentinelOne and Armis are coming together to solve this problem, providing unified solutions that address comprehensive asset visibility and risk reduction.”

SentinelOne and Armis will present at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas:

– August 10, 2022: Booth 1120 at 2PM PT and Convention Center Lobby Lounge at 3PM PT

– August 11, 2022: Convention Center Lobby Lounge at 2PM PT

For additional information on SentinelOne and Armis, visit www.s1.ai/marketplace and www.armis.com/sentinelone.

About SentinelOne

SentinelOne’s cybersecurity solution encompasses AI-powered prevention, detection, response and hunting across endpoints, containers, cloud workloads, and IoT devices in a single autonomous XDR platform.

Cluttons Boosts Northern Hub Further With Partner Hire As Chris Severs Joins Manchester Office

Cluttons has added another partner to its Manchester office as Chris Severs joins bringing over 20 years of experience and expertise in business rates consultancy to the team.

Cluttons launched its northern hub, based on King Street in Manchester, in November 2021 as part of its corporate expansion to grow in the right locations to serve client needs, bucking the trend of many practices who cut back during the pandemic. In the last three months alone, the strategic property advisor has added four hires as it seeks to scale up the team across all disciplines.

As part of the team at Cluttons, Chris will advise clients in relation to all business rate matters with a focus on Rateable Value appeal work and more specialist savings initiatives including empty rates mitigation.

Chris joins from Avison Young and prior to that was at Altus Group. Chris works with both landlord and occupier clients across a range of sectors nationwide, but with a particular emphasis on logistics and office assets to reduce occupied and vacant property holding costs.

Chris has represented as an expert or assisted a variety of clients on business rates matters at the Court of Appeal, Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and Valuation Tribunal. He is also a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and member of the Rating Surveyors Association.

Chris said: “I am excited by the opportunity to join a practice that has a commitment to grow its services and expertise in the North, I look forward to working with market leading experts in providing business rates and commercial consulting services advice.”

Ryan Jones, partner and head of business rates in the north, said: “The last 13 years have  seen only two valuation cycles and a global pandemic that has accelerated structural changes for businesses. This means there are huge dislocations in what business rates should be paid, coupled with new changes to the system that occupiers and landlords are not familiar with and an online sales tax consultation that has the potential to bring further complexities to the process. Our team are experts in mitigation, future planning, appeals and guidance. Chris’s appointment is thus a strategic move that will give our broad range of clients further support in navigating these changes and challenges without which they would face more business risks.”

Charlie Ardern, head of the Manchester office, added: “SInce our office launched last autumn we have grown steadily, increasing our client base and coverage across the north with investment and support from the Cluttons’ leadership team. We will continue to expand with talented experts across a range of disciplines and are delighted to welcome Chris and his invaluable experience to the team.”

 

Property litigation expert steps in to support buyers over property faults

With the housing market continuing its strong performance, a leading property litigation lawyer has taken steps to reassure buyers that all is not lost if their dream purchase turns into a nightmare.

Having handled a variety of cases, Kirsten Bridgewater, a partner at Midlands law firm mfg Solicitors, has reassured homebuyers that if they were sold a property with faults, then there are options available to them.

She said: “Purchasing a property is exciting. However, unforeseen and unexpected disputes relating to the property can arise and can be incredibly stressful.

“If you believe the property purchased does not reflect the property originally advertised then there are still things you can do to improve the situation. 

“Although the buyer has a duty to complete due diligence prior to completion of a house purchase, a seller must also disclose any issues on their Seller Property Information Form.

“If the seller has been honest then they cannot normally be held liable.

“However, if a buyer can argue the seller made a false statement which induced the buyer into purchasing the property causing a financial loss, intentional or not, then the compensation route may be an option.

“Issues can include structural damage, damp or local planning developments which could affect the value, much the same way as major road plans or the thorny issue of neighbourly disputes.

“If buyers have experienced any of these issues, it is worth considering whether a claim should be made.”

To make a claim, a buyer will need to prove the issue was present at the time of completion and the property has been significantly impacted. Buyers have six years to bring a claim against the seller and, if successful, would seek compensation, for example for the loss in value of the property or the expense of solving the problem where it can be remedied.

As well as claiming against the seller, homeowners may be able to seek compensation from professionals hired in the house buying process including solicitors or conveyancers.

Ms Bridgewater added: “If incorrect advice was given, the client will need to consider whether they would have gone ahead with the purchase if they had received the correct advice.

“The last year has seen the property market make up for lost time during the pandemic which has led to homes being bought and sold in record time, which can lead to mistakes happening and some buyers realising they have bought in haste, but all is not lost if problems do arise.”

Readers can contact Ms Bridgewater through [email protected]

Applied Driving Techniques Appoints Head Of Training And Education

Applied Driving Techniques (ADT), the global provider of driver and fleet safety management, has appointed Orlando Collesso as Head of Training and Education. In his new role, he will be responsible for the company’s training proposition, developing blended learning solutions that take advantage of the latest advances in driver behaviour monitoring, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Collesso will also be tasked with coordinating and growing ADT’s network of fleet driver trainers.

“This is an exciting opportunity, which will enable me to build on ADT’s success within the fleet marketplace and deliver industry-leading driver engagement and learning,” explains Orlando Collesso. “I will use my training experience, combined with a passion for road safety, to create managed solutions across all online, workshop and behind the wheel requirements.”

Collesso possesses almost 20 years of driver training experience and has been an independent fleet safety and efficiency consultant since 2005. He has provided support to some of the largest fleets in the UK on behalf of multiple national and international driver safety organisations. He has also spent the past eight years as Lead Trainer for ADT in Scotland, producing and presenting virtual-and classroom-based workshops.

Andy Phillips, Global Managing Partner at Applied Driving Techniques (Global Solutions) Ltd commented: “We are rapidly expanding our blended learning proposition, both in the UK and internationally, so Orlando has a huge role to play in our growth strategy moving forward. We will be tapping into his extensive expertise to ensure we are best-placed to meet the changing needs of our fleet customers and deliver best-practice driver education.”

Collaborative working made simple – the benefits of joint approach by charities

Ross Palmer, Senior Tax Manager, Sayer Vincent, considers the benefits of collaborative working for charities

Given the challenging economic environment, it is good practice for charities to regularly question the status quo and discuss alternative structures.

One option increasingly on the boardroom agenda is collaborative working – how to do it well, what it might entail, and the key considerations, benefits and risks involved.

Given the fact The Charity Commission encourages charities to consider and imagine what more they can achieve for beneficiaries by working with others, one of our latest webinars was on this hot topic.

Some of the benefits of working more closely with others or through joint ventures are the ability to deliver greater impact and the potential cost and resources savings and economies of scale that can be achieved through sharing management and support functions.

But charities need to think carefully before they embark on any collaboration. There are some key challenges including operational, reputational, and financial which must be addressed.

Our webinar provided a flavour of these, looking at some of the structural options commonly used and the issues charities need to think about from a VAT and trading perspective.

 

Why collaborate?

For many charities, collaboration helps to increase the reach of their services or improve the quality of their support services. In some cases, lower costs and overheads.

Collaboration can take place at many different levels, with a low level of engagement at one end of the spectrum (e.g., sharing information) to a lasting commitment to delivering services together.

To work well, the financial arrangements need to be clear, and charities need to decide what structure is the most appropriate, what the VAT consequences are and whether to treat the income as trading income.

 

Ways to collaborate

There are several ways to collaborate which vary in complexity and in terms of their pros and cons.

Secondment of staff – this is one of the simplest ways to work with another organisation. Generally, the supply of staff is subject to VAT, but there are some situations where VAT may not be chargeable. These include the supply of staff between two charities where they are engaged only in non-business activities and the secondment is not carried out for financial gain or where the secondment meets HMRC’s requirements as set out in VAT Notice 700/34. In particular, to qualify as a secondment, the recipient must be responsible for playing the employee’s remuneration directly as well as the PAYE, NI, pension contributions and other similar payments directly.

Consortium bids – this is one of the most common structures for collaborative working. A grant or contract is given to a lead organisation and sub-contracted or sub-granted down to other organisations. This is often done if a funder only wants to deal with one organisation, but it can be complex depending on the nature of the funding when it comes to VAT.  It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever way the funding was given (grant or contract), it should ideally be the way it’s distributed to partner organisations to avoid additional complications and costs.

Joint activities – Where activities are organised jointly but not through a separate entity they are commonly referred to as a JANE (Joint Activity Not an Entity). This is another popular way for charities to work together, and it can be organised in several ways, including contracts for goods and services, grant transfers and profit shares and joint supplies.

There is no legal basis behind a JANE as it’s not an entity and the VAT treatment can vary depending on the specific arrangement between the collaborating partners. As there can be uncertainty with this structure each the activities undertaken in each JANE should be looked at on its own basis and it may be necessary to agree with HMRC the VAT treatment proposed to ensure that this is acceptable.

Joint Venture Company – this is a more formal, longer lasting relationship than a JANE where a formal company is created to carry out a service.  As it is a separate legal entity it will need to register for VAT if it sells services that will attract VAT.

Sales and purchases between members and the joint venture will follow normal VAT rules. If it is not a charity, then any profits can be gift aided to member charities to avoid a corporation tax charge in the company.

Partnerships – If a joint venture amounts to a partnership, then for VAT purposes the partnership is a separate entity and must register if it exceeds the VAT threshold. Sales and purchases between partnership and the partner organisation are subject to VAT as the two are separate entities. However, determining if a partnership exists is a very complex area of law, so it’s usually best to try and avoid partnerships. Often collaboration agreements will include a declaration that there is no intention to create a partnership to avoid any ambiguity on this subject.

Sharing back-office functions- there is scope to share back-office functions, which can vary from executing tasks (payroll) to whole functions (finance/HR). This is common in local voluntary sector organisations where they often provide a range of services to small/micro charities.

The organisation sharing should consider whether it is within their charitable objects to provide services to other organisations as if not then this will qualify as trading income within the charity and have potential corporation tax consequences. One of the main issues with sharing back-office functions is that any charge is often subject to VAT which may be irrecoverable for the recipient. This irrecoverable VAT can mean a charity is paying more than if they carried out the function themselves.

 

Conclusion

Collaboration can bring many benefits in helping charities achieve their objects and reach more beneficiaries more effectively. However, for it to be successful it requires good planning and a willingness to put in the required effort to make it work.

To find out more about the different collaboration options from a tax and trading position listen to our webinar by clicking here. We also have a Collaborative Working Made Simple Guide.

 

 

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