All posts by NTSI Publishing Team

Travel to and from Slam Dunk Festival with Veezu

VEEZU, Leeds’ leading private hire operator, is the official ride partner for the Slam Dunk Festival North this bank holiday weekend.

Formerly known as Amber Cars, Veezu will provide festival goers with safe and reliable travel to and from the festival at Temple Newsam Park. Veezu driver-partners will be based at the dedicated Veezu area at Slam Dunk North which will have a booking hub for passengers to secure a ride instantly.

Jasmine Hussain at Slam Dunk Festival said: “We are delighted to be working with Veezu for the Slam Dunk Festival this weekend. For many festival goers, travel is the last thing on their mind and the question of how to get home can lead to dangerous decisions. With the dedicated booking office and pick up area, guests can rest assured that they can get home safely after what is set to be a weekend to remember.”

Donna Coombs, Hyperlocal Marketing Manager at Veezu, said: “We’re very excited to be working with Slam Dunk Festival this year as official ride partner. We will be on hand to help festival goers get home safely after a fun-filled day of music and hopefully sunshine this bank holiday.

“There will be a dedicated Veezu booking office on site for those who have not pre-booked their ride home, and those that have booked through our app can find their ride easily at our dedicated pick-up point. Our mission is to provide safe and convenient travel to as many passengers as possible, and with the excitement of a festival, transport can often go forgotten. With our dedicated booking office, we hope that festival goers can relax and enjoy their weekend, knowing that they can get home safely.”

The Slam Dunk Festival North is an annual rock music festival in Leeds and this year will be taking place on Sunday 26 May. This year’s lineup includes headliners I Prevail and You Me at Six, playing their final UK festival performance.

To pre book your ride with the Veezu app click here.

Over 50% of SMEs say resisting bribery and corruption results in lost business opportunities

  • New research shows 59% of SMEs believe that standing up to bribery and corruption will result in lost business opportunities.
  • However, 67% of UK respondents agree a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence.
  • 68% of UK respondents say stringent anti-corruption guidelines increase the likelihood of large contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

 

A new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Bribery and corruption: The hidden social evil on your doorstep, delves into the true extent of how bribery and corruption impact small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the world, highlighting the pressing need for enhanced transparency and robust regulatory frameworks.

 

The research shows a high prevalence and deep concern about the damaging impact of bribery and corruption on SMEs, with more than half (59%) of SMEs and their advisers believing that standing up to bribery and corruption will cost them business trade or opportunities. The UK appeared more relaxed, with 46% thinking taking a stand would cost them.

 

Yet the survey also reveals a strong understanding of the benefits of standing up to bribery and corruption. 77% of global respondents, and 67% of UK respondents, agree that having a strong anti-bribery policy boosts customer confidence in their business. Furthermore, 68% globally and 68% in the UK say it increases their chances of getting lucrative contracts with big businesses and public sector bodies.

 

Jason Piper, ACCA’s head of tax and business law, said: “Corruption is a poison; it distorts markets, stunts economic growth, and deters investment.

 

“Many very small businesses don’t have the bargaining power to refuse when small bribes are demanded of them. Entrepreneurs have to choose between paying the bribe or losing the business – and often that is no choice at all for someone trying to support a family.

 

“Our report aims to arm businesses and regulators with the necessary insights and tools to root out corruption and foster an environment of transparency and trust. This could include the use of the latest digital tools. Just as technology is being used by criminals, so regulators and enforcement agencies should embrace it in the battle to detect, prevent and respond to them.”

 

Drawing from a broad spectrum of global data, expert opinions, and real-world case studies, the report explores the multifaceted impacts of corrupt practices on SMEs and economic development. It highlights the severe consequences that businesses can face, including legal penalties and damage to their reputations.

 

The report also considers the effectiveness of current anti-corruption laws and policies across different countries, suggesting that while some progress has been made, much remains to be done to align international efforts.

 

Piper added: “As global markets become increasingly interconnected, the imperative for accountability and ethical business practices becomes more pronounced.”

 

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, added: “The threat of bribery and corruption is something that businesses across Wales face on a daily basis. The fact our members are reporting improved prosperity through having anti-corruption policies in place is a good start, but there is more we can do to help them moving forward. How best to address modern-day corruption can be confusing, but we hope our latest report will provide some clear advice on how members can identify and prevent such activity.”

 

ACCA hopes this report will serve as a catalyst for change, encouraging entities across all sectors to evaluate their practices and align with the best standards of business conduct. The report is recommended for business leaders, policymakers, and regulatory bodies worldwide committed to uprooting corruption and fostering a fairer business environment.

 

The full report can be accessed here.

 

Visit ACCA’s website for more information.

His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC calls for criminal justice system ‘health check’ in Cardiff Business Club address

His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC, formerly Recorder of Cardiff and a Judge who sat in the Old Bailey and the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) addressed Cardiff Business Club at a dinner event sponsored by Knight Frank, on 20 May at the Parkgate Hotel.

The topic of his lecture was how the current criminal justice system needs a comprehensive health check. He opened with stating how this field of law has changed since he began studying in 1973, becoming more micromanaged and less subjectively determined by judges.

His Honour discussed miscarriages of justice and how they have always happened, the emperor’s clothes mentality surrounding them and how legislation has responded effectively to them, albeit following some pushing. He referenced the post office scandal in depth, describing it as the worst miscarriage of justice in Europe, and read an excerpt from his letter in The Guardian on the topic.

He also used the post office scandal to talk about trends and how they affect, or rather don’t affect, Crown Court judges. It has been said that Crown Court judges act independently and don’t need to take note of trend, but he disagreed and stated that if a judge becomes aware of a trend, he or she should note and respond to it. If the judges involved in the post office scandal had acted in response to trends, perhaps the miscarriage of justice wouldn’t have been so large.

His Honour then discussed a need for a more locally focussed criminal justice system and how one has the potential to reduce crime in specific areas, such as gang violence in London. With a local criminal justice system that reflects local needs, the whole system should work better. He questioned whether the British criminal justice system is the fairest in the world as many still believe but retains the hope we can make it so.

Delving into many of his past cases, cases that haunt him, His Honour then discussed how the current criminal justice system fails to deal with fatal violence against women. He called upon a need to change the starting points for setting minimum terms in murder, by referencing the weapon used, before speaking of Kirsty Treloar and Rebecca Sessacar’s cases, showing photos of the two women to emphasise how they were real people to be remembered. The cases involved “a catalogue of appalling failures” with previous warning signs ignored and other shocking errors.

His Honour used these strong stories to emphasise the need for a review of the entire criminal justice system, before delving into some questions posed by the room.

The next Cardiff Business Club lunch event will see speaker Anne Jessopp CBE, CEO of the Royal Mint, address the club on 27 June at the Hilton Hotel.

Howden returns as key supporter of popular west Wales beer festival

 HOWDEN, the global insurance intermediary group, is raising a glass as a key supporter of one of west Wales’ most popular events.

The international firm is a deluxe sponsor of The Big Beer Festival, the annual festival of food, beverages and live music organised by Milford Haven Round Table.

The festival, said to be Pembrokeshire’s premier beer festival, will take place on Saturday May 25 at Milford Waterfront. The event will feature a selection of beverages, street food, and live entertainment with headline act 4th Street, as well as raise money for local charities.

Milford Haven Round Table is the UK’s largest Round Table, with 30 active members who come together to give back to their local community. All money raised by the Round Table is used to support local charities, groups and individuals, including some of Pembrokeshire’s most popular free entry events, such as the town’s annual carnival, fireworks display and Santa’s tour.

As a deluxe sponsor, Howden will be donating £500 towards the event. The insurance giant has been expanding its presence in South Wales with the launch of a Cardiff and Swansea office at the beginning of this year, led by Regional Managing Director Gary Stevens.

Speaking on the sponsorship, Gary said: “We are delighted to be returning to The Big Beer Festival, and to be supporting the Milford Haven Round Table once again. This event is always one to remember and is a fantastic day out for the bank holiday weekend.

“After two successful office openings this year, I hope to further cement our position as a leader in the south and west Wales commercial broking sector, and in doing so, support our local community and groups wherever we can.”

Britannia Taxis supports disadvantaged youth with latest community donations

BRITANNIA Taxis, Liverpool’s leading private hire operator, is stepping up to support disadvantaged youth in the local community through the Funded by Veezu programme.

Britannia is a regional hub of the UK’s fastest growing private hire technology platform, Veezu, and is supporting Tribe Dance School and Brins Gym to empower disadvantaged youth.

Tribe Dance School, founded in September 2023 by Becky Middleton, hosts acro, ballet, tap and commercial dance classes for children aged 2-11 alongside an adult’s dance class in Roby Community Centre, a Big Help building.

Britannia Taxis has donated £800 to fund dance classes for children from low-income households who otherwise cannot afford to attend, and sponsors one young dancer in particular to progress and attend free classes.

Becky said: “We’re so grateful to Britannia for their support, allowing children from all backgrounds to be able to participate in dance.

“I set up this school after running another class with a friend for over 10 years, before her passing last year. Lots of people reached out with fond memories and great experiences of the class, so I set up Tribe in honour of her and with the hope to help more children grow and develop. Britannia’s kind donation will ensure that nobody is left out.”

Britannia Taxis has also donated £1000 to Brins Gym, a local boxing club that works with young people at risk of antisocial behaviour. The donation will go towards the purchase of a new kit for the gym’s 50th anniversary.

In addition to its donation, Britannia sponsored the Gym’s anniversary boxing show at Rainhill Ex-Services Club which took place on April 19 and welcomed young people from across the Northwest to box against each other.

Andrew Robinson, Coach at Brins Gym and Veezu driver-partner, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Veezu for its ongoing support at such an exciting time for us. Our gym is an important place for so many people as our number one priority is to empower disadvantaged children and keep them on track.

“The best part of running the gym is witnessing how many people we have been able to welcome over the last 50 years, and the difference it has made in the community. With Veezu’s support, our event was a huge success, and the future for Brins Gym looks very bright.”

Rosanna Hynes, Hyperlocal Marketing Manager for Britannia Taxis, said: “Being a local provider, supporting our local community is at the heart of what we do. Both groups do life-changing work in supporting disadvantaged young people and have incredible stories to tell; it’s a privilege to lend our support wherever we can. We are very much looking forward to what the future holds for both these organisations.”

Aqua Cars helps combat holiday hunger with charity donation

 Aqua Cars, Portsmouth’s leading private hire operator, has donated £500 to the local arm of Cash for Kids for its Cash for Kids Day on 2 May.

Acquired by Veezu earlier this year, Aqua Cars stepped in to donated through the Funded by Veezu initiative, where local residents, charities and sports teams can apply for funding and grants, set up to improve the communities in which Veezu operates.

Cash for Kids supports children and young people affected by poverty, abuse, neglect, life-limiting illness and those with additional needs. Based across 22 areas in the UK, Cash for Kids is a grant giving charity that helps community groups, charitable organisations, schools and individual cases. The latest figures from the End Child Poverty Coalition show that 1 in 3 local children are living in poverty and, in some areas, it is as high as 36%.

2 May marked Cash for Kids Day, where organisations came together to raise as much as possible for the cause, with a particular focus on combating holiday hunger to make sure all children have access to a hot meal during the holidays.

Veezu has donated £500 from its regional areas of Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Portsmouth, bringing the total donation to £3000. According to statistics given by Cash for Kids, it’s predicted that £3000 will help 60 children in need.

Sally Aitchison MBE, Managing Director at Cash for Kids, said: “We are so grateful to Veezu for supporting us across the UK in six regions for Cash for Kids Day. For the passengers of Veezu, they can feel confident in their choice, as they will be helping disadvantaged children access activities and food during the school holidays. For many children it will be their only daily meal. The generosity of companies like Veezu, as well as donations from the general public, help us help children that need it the most.”

Bruce Hall at Veezu, said: “We are delighted to be giving back and supporting our local community with our first donation through the Funded by Veezu scheme. The work that Cash for Kids do makes an incredible difference to children across the UK, and it’s a joy to know that our donation will go toward providing a hot meal for those who need it the most.”

For more information on Cash for Kids Day, and how you can get involved, visit: https://cashforkids.org.uk/cfkday

Veezu supports local cricket team in new sponsorship

VEEZU, the Midlands’ fastest growing private hire operator, is sponsoring Tipton Tigers Cricket Club to mark the second year of their partnership.

As the club’s official sponsor this season, Veezu, formerly known as A2B Radio Cars, will provide a new kit for the team.

The sponsorship continues Veezu’s support of local community groups through its Funded by Veezu programme. Funded by Veezu is an initiative in which local residents, charities and sports teams can apply for funding and grants, set up to improve the communities in which Veezu operates.

Zukky Shabir, Tipton Tigers Team Member and driver-partner with Veezu, said: “We are very appreciative to Veezu for their generous donation last year as it helped set up our team and has provided a solid foundation going into our second year.

“With our team being a group of local players, and some of us working with Veezu, its ongoing support for the local community is all the more valued. Our hopes are to win the title this year in the Wolverhampton League, and we are proud to have Veezu by our side throughout this.”

Graham Hoof, Regional Operations Director for Veezu, said: “We are delighted to be supporting another local team in the Midlands. Our Funded by Veezu programme has been an incredible success already in giving local groups the opportunity to access funds and resources they may not have had before.

“With our growing presence in the Midlands, supporting our local communities and forming positive connections is one of our top priorities.”

Welsh business success celebrated at awards

The winners of the Wales Business Awards 2024 were announced by Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid last night (16 May) at a ceremony at the Vale Hotel & Resort in Hensol.

Businesses and organisations from across Wales came together to celebrate business success, innovation and best practice at the ceremony which was saw broadcaster Andrea Byrne return as host.

11 winners were crowned across 11 categories, with one of the lucky winners also receiving the Wales Business of the Year award which was presented by headline sponsor Jardine Norton.

St Athan firm Metrology Engineering Services scooped the top prize in addition to winning Innovative Business of the Year.

A leading service provider in reverse engineering, 3D laser scanning, damage assessment and quality inspection, the firm was recognised for its use of cutting-edge technology to advance the field of repair engineering to meet the evolving needs of the aerospace industry.

Steve Beasley, CEO of Metrology Engineering Services, said: “We are delighted to have won two awards including the overall prize: Wales Business of the Year. We’d like to thank Welsh Government and Aerospace Wales for helping us get started in this dynamic industry. Over the last year we have secured contracts all over the world and expanded our team to 20 highly specialised engineers who share our innovative vision.  I’d like to dedicate these awards to our brilliant team.”

Other winners on the night included Arian Care, Dulas Ltd, Dylan’s Restaurants, Genesis Biosciences, Ogi, Peter Jones ILG, Route Media, Watkins & Gunn Limited, Welsh Refugee Council and Dorian Payne of Castell Group, who took home the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Paul Butterworth, CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “The Wales Business Awards showcased the best of Welsh business, recognising firms who play a fundamental role in driving the economy forward, implementing innovative initiatives and supporting their teams.

“We’d like to offer our congratulations to our worthy winners, as well as those who were shortlisted.”

Cardiff Capital Region at UKREiiF 2024

Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is attending UKREiiF in Leeds from 21 to 23 May to showcase £15 billion of investment opportunities and spotlight the Region as one of 12 Investment Zones selected by UK and Welsh Government last year.

UKREiiF, the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum, is a three-day conference that aims to connect people, places and businesses including the key players and decision makers within the public sector, built environment, investment and real estate markets to drive significant sustainable investment.

This year Cardiff Capital Region will be attending as one of the two sponsors of exhibitor Western Gateway, the pan-regional partnership for South Wales and Western England. The other sponsor attending is Bristol and Bath. CCR will use Western Gateway’s pavilion as a base for meetings and networking.

Attending the event for CCR is Anthony Hunt, Leader of Torfaen County Borough Council and Chair of CCR’s Committee and he said: “UKREiiF is an excellent opportunity for us to sell our Region’s competitive strengths, ambitious investment and development opportunities to key decision makers, future investors and partners. This annual event is now firmly on the calendar for investment opportunities within the UK and complements our international activities at expos such as MIPIM.”

CCR Chief Executive Kellie Beirne is speaking at several events during UKREiiF and is very positive about CCR’s participation: “Our proposition is strong and compelling with unique offers such as Aberthaw Power Station attracting more interest, I’m confident that our economic potential will continue to grow.”

Find out more about UKREiiF: https://www.ukreiif.com/

Two thirds of UK finance professionals optimistic about AI in accountancy

  • 66% of UK finance professionals believe that AI will allow them to add more value in their roles
  • 42% are concerned about the potential impact of AI on their roles in the future – but this is lower than the global average of 51%
  • 71% of finance professionals are keen for more training on AI to better understand it and integrate it into work

 

Recent research conducted by ACCA, the leading global accountancy body, takes a look at the current state of the UK workplace for finance professionals. Analysing key areas such as remuneration, staff retention, employee wellbeing, AI and diversity and inclusion, the study highlights the state of affairs for the finance profession across the UK.

 

AI has been dominating the conversation for UK finance professionals, but the response has been positive on the whole. Two thirds of survey respondents reported feeling positive about AI, seeing it as a tool to add more value to their roles and reduce data-heavy tasks. The fact that almost three quarters (71%) are keen for more training on how to best use AI demonstrates that the UK’s finance professionals want to understand and utilise AI effectively. Using AI to reduce time-intensive but low value work tasks means more time is freed up for high value work.

 

The pace of change in technology at work was a concern for one fifth (22%) of respondents, who felt overwhelmed by the rapid rate at which technology was advancing and changing.  However, the global average for this was 37%, indicating that UK finance professionals feel more prepared and resilient in the face of change than their global peers.

 

Concerns raised by respondents around AI included job displacement, qualifications taking longer, and the risks of AI such as privacy, security and ethical use of data, as well as potential issues of over-reliance on AI.

 

Alongside AI, ACCA’s survey revealed that finance and accounting employees in the UK are still very much embracing a hybrid work model, with 64% reporting this was their working pattern, almost a third higher than the global average of 41%. Only 21% of those surveyed are working full-time in the office in the UK – globally, that figure jumps to 52%. In the UK, Wales has the highest percentage of workers full-time in the office, at 38%. Only 52% of Wales’ finance professionals work in a hybrid pattern, the lowest of the UK nations surveyed.

 

However, there is a trade-off between productivity and team collaboration highlighted by the survey, with 68% saying working remotely improves their productivity, and 49% saying it makes team collaboration harder. Respondents did cite benefits of being in the office (in addition to improved collaboration) including workplace cultural reinforcement and adoption, particularly for new hires, organic learning and networking opportunities.

 

Joe Fitzsimons, senior manager, Policy & Insights, ACCA UK, and author of the report said: “The responses from UK finance professionals in this survey around AI reflects a growing conversation about how technology will change the future of work. It is positive to see that two third of respondents are optimistic about the role of AI and even more are keen to understand it more through training and upskilling. While UK finance professionals are more optimistic than their global peers, there is still a long way to go in full rollout of AI in organisations, and ACCA will continue to provide insight, research and support for a smooth transition.”

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, added: “Wales offers a diverse range of opportunities for those working in accountancy roles.

“We know from the many employers that we work with across Wales that attracting and retaining accounting and finance talent is a key focus, and that offering training, professional development and other employee benefits is something they are implementing in a competitive job market. The higher than UK average percentage of workers in the office full-time in Wales is interesting, and we’ll continue to monitor this from an employee and employer perspective.”

Read the full report here.