Category Archives: COVID-19

Businesses urged to be prepared for furlough inspections

Despite Covid restrictions and support schemes being wound down across the country, leading independent accountancy firm Kilsby Williams is urging businesses to continue to ensure that their records are in order, in preparation for potential furlough inspections being carried out by HMRC.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, commonly referred to as furlough, protected nearly 12 million jobs across the UK during the pandemic with the government subsidising up to 80% of employees’ wages.

While the scheme prevented mass unemployment and supported businesses through an unpredictable financial period, it is reported that furlough has cost the government £70 billion and, in some instances, been open to fraud. It is estimated that nearly £6bn has been lost to fraud and error across the government’s Covid-19 support schemes including furlough.

Now, HMRC has created a well-funded Taxpayer Protection Taskforce with over 1000 inspectors to investigate fraudulent claims and issue penalties where non-compliance has occurred.

Mary McDonagh, Partner at Kilsby Williams, said: “Furlough was a lifeline for many businesses in Wales at the height of the pandemic. However, the ever-changing rules regarding employee eligibility and earning periods meant that calculations became more complex and companies may have reported inaccurate claims.”

HMRC is using Real Time Information submissions to check claims and the taskforce is likely to investigate instances of non-compliance such as employers claiming for fictitious employees, employees working during the furlough period and grants not being paid to employees within a reasonable period.

Mary McDonagh added: “The taskforce is predicted to audit thousands of SMEs to ensure furlough claims were legitimate. If an inspection is requested by HMRC, employers will need to provide up to date records and documents. We recommend that any claims made are reviewed now and if any erroneous amounts are found, these should be reported to help mitigate any penalties.”

Kilsby Williams’ payroll team can provide comprehensive compliance checks of any claims made to identify any areas where non-compliance may have occurred and can help in the procedure to resolve this with HMRC.

Established in 1991, Kilsby Williams works with clients from across South Wales, the Midlands and London, ranging from sole traders to companies in international quoted groups.

Leaders and managers rose to the challenges of COVID-19, according to LRN

66% of U.K. respondents reported that senior leaders integrated E&C considerations into their decision-making during the pandemic.

As we enter another year of the pandemic, more business leaders had to upgrade their ethics and compliance initiatives. Leaders say that their ethical culture is more potent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest annual Ethics and Compliance Program Effectiveness Report from LRN.

But, while values and ethics helped sustain companies during the pandemic, new areas of concern have emerged. And, there is a significant gap between companies with high-impact ethics and compliance (E&C) programs and those with low-impact ones. The top-ranked programs were proactive, utilised available resources, and made their programmes more accessible to employees.

The report, titled “The 2022 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report: Rising to the challenges of the new normal” comes from a survey of nearly 1,200 ethics, compliance, and legal executives and other professionals at companies from around the world. Most of the participants are from organisations with more than 1,000 employees. The annual report provides a benchmark to evaluate E&C programs.

Here are some of the key takeaways specifically from the U.K. market:

  • 91% of UK E&C programs reported that their organisations’ ethical culture emerged stronger as a result of coping with the COVID-19 crisis. This is  11%-points higher than US  programs and 9%-points higher than the global average. This is a striking and significant finding demonstrating the strength of  UK programs.
  • 83% reported making significant changes to meet the needs of employees working remotely.  This is 10%-points more than US programs and 8%-points  more than the global average.
  • 71% reported that their middle managers increased engagement with employees to help them meet the challenges of remote work— 10%-points more than US  programs and 12%-points more than the global average.

The research revealed that the top three areas of E&C programmes that improved in 2021 were: training delivery (45%), employee surveys (45%) and training content (33%). However, training delivery (32%), training content (30%) were also in the top three in need of further improvement as well as code of conduct (26%).

Although there were significant improvements in UK E&C programmes as noted above, the UK is behind the curve when it comes to assessing ethical culture. Global regulators increasingly highlight the importance of measuring a company’s “culture of compliance” and the example set by leadership, yet the majority of UK E&C programmes (58%) are still relying on employee engagement surveys with only a few E&C-related questions as their primary measurement of culture.

UK respondents reported significantly less frequent use of key metrics in evaluating their programmes’ effectiveness in comparison to global data and US data. Specifically, UK programmes were less likely to use or measure the following indicators to gauge programme impact and identify areas for improvement: employee engagement with ethics and compliance resources; root cause analysis for compliance lapses; misconduct trends and patterns; speaking out data and hotline complaints.

LRN’s research shows that an organisation dedicated to sustainable human values will exhibit superior performance across operations and be significantly more successful at integrating ethics and compliance into its day-to-day operations. Values-based governance is also a foundational part of ESG (environmental, social, and governance objectives), an area of increasing importance for organisations.

This key insight has been validated again and again during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and racial and political unrest of the past two years. The pandemic, in particular, has challenged organisations to respond, adapt, and pivot to meet unprecedented challenges to their operations, the health and safety of their employees, and financial viability in a manner consistent with their values and culture.

In sum, UK E&C programmes weathered the COVID-19 crisis effectively, continued to strengthen their programmes, and helped employees cope with the consequences. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, UK programmes would benefit even further by bringing a greater focus on using data, drawn from a wide variety of sources, to guide continued programme attention and enhancement


Ty Francis MBE, Chief Advisory Officer, LRN Corporation said, “I think what’s important to note here is that out of all of the countries we’ve surveyed, the UK led the pack in taking an employee-centric approach in key elements of E&C programme design, delivery, and implementation.”


The 2022 Performance Effectiveness  Report leverages LRN’s Performance  Effectiveness Index. PEI is a proprietary framework for analysing the impact of  E&C programmes to gain insight into ethical culture and how the programme works “in practice.” The report methodology differs from most surveys of E&C programs, as the majority focus on measuring activities rather than impact and ethical culture.



About LRN

LRN’s mission and purpose is to inspire principled performance and help people around the world do the right thing. Since 1994, LRN has worked to propel organizations forward with the partnership, knowledge, and tools to build an ethical culture. More than 1,000 companies and 30 million learners worldwide utilize LRN services and take LRN e-learning courses to help navigate complex regulatory environments and foster ethical, responsible, and inclusive cultures. In partnership with LRN, companies translate their values into concrete corporate practices and leadership behaviors that create a sustainable competitive advantage. By acting upon shared values, companies and their people find the means to outbehave and outperform. Learn more at and follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. For more insights from LRN on ethics, compliance, corporate culture, and reputation subscribe to our newsletter and look for the Principled Podcast by LRN wherever you get your podcasts.


The Welsh HR Consultant Helping Businesses from her Garden Shed

Julie Grabham, Director and Owner of JG HR Solutions has taken remote working to a new level, as she moved her business to her garden shed during lockdown, where she has been helping her delighted clients across the UK with HR advice.


With over 20 years of HR experience, Julie’s passion for fairness in the workplace led her to set up her own HR consultancy in 2015. The business has gone from strength to strength, with a 300% growth of clients and over 800% growth in revenue since year 1.


The impact of Covid-19 has brought so much uncertainty for many businesses. In 2020, Julie set up an office in her garden shed at her home in Lampeter to ensure that she was readily available to help her clients with confidential and difficult conversations throughout the course of the pandemic.


Speaking of setting up what is now known as #HRFromMyShed, Julie said: “The thought of me conducting professional and confidential phone calls, surrounded by pots and tools in my shed was ludicrous. I sent my daughters a photo of me working in the shed and they texted back with “#HRFromMyShed”. I knew that there was an idea there and started filming videos of me giving business advice from my shed.”


Thanks to #HRFromMyShed, Julie has significantly grown her social media following, with over 50 videos created since the start of the pandemic.


Speaking on JG HR’s services, Adam Culley, Crunch Digital Media said: “Julie’s advice and support during the coronavirus pandemic has been crucial in understanding the sometimes-conflicting advice and guidance issued. Through her regular #HRFromMyShed videos and contact with our team, we’ve felt that we’re in a much stronger and knowledgeable position having her at the forefront of our discussions around Covid action plans, risk assessments as well as the regular HR catch ups.”


Working with clients of all sectors and sizes, Julie has a strong Welsh client base, as well as national businesses across the UK.


Recognised as an expert in her field, Julie has received much critical acclaim, including winning ‘Independent HR Consultant of the Year’ at the 2019 Wales HR Awards and being named in the Top 100 Business Women in Wales.


Julie has also been shortlisted for numerous awards this year, including the 2021 CIPD Wales Awards and both the UK and Wales Women in Business Awards 2021.


Julie concluded: “Over the next 12 months, there are plans to grow steadily, with an aim to continue to practice a healthy work-life balance. I have many plans to help my clients to grow strategically, as well as continuing to share HR expertise and updates via #HRFromMyShed.”

Nick Gold: Freedom Day: but what to do about isolation?

 July 19th has seen England become free from lockdown restrictions as the summer holidays begin. Businesses are planning to bring their staff back together. Event organisers are looking towards in-person events dominating Q3 and Q4.

But the issue of employee isolation, as a result of track and trace, is still to be resolved. What level of risk do businesses take bringing their staff back? How close should close contact be in the context of an event, a restaurant, a building?

Nick Gold, MD of Speakers Corner, a leading UK & International Speaker Bureau, discusses how business leaders can go about delivering a ‘new-normal’ while still bringing employees back together again.


Looking back to Spring 2020, the switch from our office-based work culture to remote working was as seamless as any societal behavioural change could ever be.

Whether we want to congratulate ourselves for our ability to adapt to change or whether we say this was inevitable anyway and it merely sped up the change lifecycle, the switch to remote working as a society is something that happened with minimal relative fuss.

Ever since then, there has been a continuous conversation about the return to the office, with differing opinions on what this will look like, what the future of work looks like, and the impact this will have on all of us.

Finally on 19th July 2021, the lifting of remote working happened and businesses could start looking forward to what the future of their working environment was going to be.  But even then, the ‘big bang’ was replaced with the ‘mild message’ as guidance was tweaked and massaged to utilise words such as gradual and other less imposing terms.

Businesses are now examining what they perceive to be is best for their company, for their employees, and for their culture.  Leadership teams are taking a leap into  the unknown, trying to determine, and control, the next steps.  But they only need to cast their minds back to the first lockdown to draw breath and question how they are approaching this situation.   We, as individuals and as a society, have demonstrated we can adapt, embrace change, and work through the consequences.

But now we are experiencing emotion led responses to the business (and social) environment. Every person has a different perception, a different reality and a different set of experiences which they are drawing on as they take their steps in to the next phase.

Business leaders need to do something which is inherently against how they like to operate.  They need to embrace the uncertainty, rejoice in the differences, and they need to let their employees show their ability to embrace the next steps as they work through the return to the office.

After all, there is no rush.  We have spent the last sixteen months working remotely, so what is the urgency for a business to determine the future?  How can anyone be clear of the benefits (or otherwise) of imposing determined behaviours on individuals?

There is some stuff we do know.  From the beginning, with virtual team meetings and social get togethers.  we have all recognised that we enjoy each other’s company more than we realised.  As we have passed through lockdowns and society has opened up to any extent, there has been a speedy response by the majority to to experience face to face contact.  There is an appreciation that while the virtual environment has created somewhere for us to congregate, it is a very linear, restrictive communication tool We have missed the tangential discussions that occur in a room of people, that the magic of creativity and ideas come from different minds discussing a subject with no set pattern.   We have craved human interactivity and being able to hear words and experience body language.

There has been a lot of conversation through the pandemic about emotional intelligence and its role and importance for current and future leaders.  We have entered an era where this comes to the forefront, leaders want their teams to gather, but they need to respect the individual’s attitude.  We want to meet, to share ideas, to share experiences, but we need to respect different people’s feelings and perception of the virus.  We want to bond, to feel alive, to rejoice being together but this means different things for different people.  Leaders need to understand this without trying to control it.  They need to allow individuals to be just that, individuals, to embrace that we are comfortable with virtual but for those comfortable in person, this can be celebrated and enjoyed too.  They need to ensure that no-one, however they are dealing with the circumstances, feel left out or side-lined but are part of the whole.

The comfort for the leader is that this is, that in the bigger picture, this is short term.   We will navigate our way through this, we will understand the boundaries and the comfort levels as a collective and we will find a balance that suits all, both the business and the individuals.

The leaders and the business itself rather than seeing the next phase as a chance to demonstrate leadership as control, they can use this as a chance to demonstrate their emotional intelligence and ensure the goodwill that has been generated over the last year with the seamless switch to remote working is not lost as we look towards whatever the future of work might look like.

DAM Health launches in Wales

DAM Health is incredibly proud to announce its first clinic is opening in Cardiff Bay.

One of the UK’s leading Covid testing services offers rapid testing with Fit To Fly and Fit To work results back within 24 hours. They also feature rapid antibody and antigen testing. All of this will now be available to the people of Cardiff, around the city region and beyond.

With over 35 clinics already in operation across England, opening up in Wales is another huge step forward for the innovative company. The new clinic opens at Cardiff Bay’s leisure and entertainment hub, The Red Dragon Centre, on Monday 19th July.

Professor Frank Joseph, DAM Health’s medical director, says: “We are thrilled to be bringing DAM Health to Wales as we continue to develop and invest in our service. With the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and testing affecting our daily lives, at DAM Health we work hard to be the leaders in our field with results back in 24 hours. Our in-clinic testing remains an important choice for those wanting the extra security and peace of mind from our trained clinicians conducting the tests rather than DIY kits at home.”

Emma Constantinou, Marketing and Tenant Liaison Manager at the Red Dragon Centre, adds: “We’re thrilled that DAM Health has chosen the Red Dragon Centre as its first location in Wales, especially at this critical time. We look forward to working closely with the DAM team to support them with their Welsh launch and helping to make their first outlet here a huge success.”

DAM Health continues to support as range of charities and good causes, including The Hope Foundation and their incredible work in India to ongoing work with sports, events and travel sectors. Going abroad in particular is still an aim for many families and travellers this summer.

Kids Go Free effectively halves the cost of testing for families and their children. Each child aged 17 years or under can be tested for free with a paying adult in one of DAM Health’s clinics, with trained professionals, with the government-approved results safe and accurate for everyone. For any international travel, DAM Health recommends checking all requirements and FCDO travel advice before they book any foreign travel, ensuring the correct certification to fly is in place.

DAM Health started with one clinic in Liverpool in November and has expanded rapidly across the UK, investing heavily with its staff and locations to expand to meet the rising demand.

They have also launched clinics and labs in Spain with other countries in development too, including France, Portugal, Mexico and Holland.

DAM Health is based at The Red Dragon Centre, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff, CF10 4JY and online at

Independent Sage warn of ‘reckless disregard for public health’ as Delta variant cases continue to surge across the UK

Independent Sage has today warned that Case rates and hospitalisations linked to the Delta variant are increasing at an alarming rate across the UK, repeating their calls for the Government to expand the vaccine rollout.

In the last seven days 146,360 people have tested positive – an increase of 71.8% on the previous week, and the group are concerned both at the risk of initial infection and also at the burden that increasing the number of Long COVID sufferers could place on the economy.

The latest report from the ONS on the prevalence of Long COVID shows that an estimated 962,000 people are already suffering from symptoms which have persisted for more than four weeks after infection.

Research published in April reveals that a significant proportion of COVID-19 with severe illness experience ongoing symptoms of breathlessness, fatigue, pain, reduced mobility, depression and reduced quality of life at 4-7 months from disease-onset.  The long term prognosis remains unknown.

Independent Sage warns that at the current rate we will see over 40,000 new cases per day by the 19th of July.   A spokesman said:

“As concerning data on the impact of  Long COVID continues to emerge, it is a reckless disregard for public health to allow millions of unvaccinated children and teenagers to become infected.”

Independent Sage repeated its call for the UK Government to expand the vaccine rollout effort to children aged 12-17.  The latest group briefing will take place today at 1.30, and anyone can view live here:

About Independent Sage

Independent SAGE is a group of scientists who are working together to provide independent scientific advice to the UK government and public on how to minimise deaths and support Britain’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Sir David King, the former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, chairs the group and oversees its reports. 

Seven-minute Triple Antibody Test Launches to General Public in Exeter

Attomarker, a spin-out company from the University of Exeter, has launched its new COVID-19 seven-minute Triple Antibody test to the general public at Holmedale Health in the city. The test, which is unique in the market, will tell patients whether they have antibodies against the virus either from a previous infection or from the vaccine.

The launch in its home city follows positive results from an initial patient study at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London. It delivers laboratory quality, quantitative results in seven minutes, with a 95% sensitivity and 96% specificity, providing accuracy at point of care.

A small amount of blood is taken from the patient’s arm before being passed through a special filter to separate out the cells. This is then diluted and run through its LiScAR 6 before the device produces levels of multiple COVID-19 antibodies and C-reactive protein in the patient’s blood. Individuals can see the test generating data on screen. Results are shown in just seven minutes compared with up to 72 hours for tests that require to be sent away for laboratory analysis.

Dr Jonathan Snicker, who lives in Exeter, has been one of the first to use the service, with life changing results. “I started having extremely painful headaches over Christmas. By Boxing Day, I was unable to function. The pain was excruciating. My doctor diagnosed Cluster Headaches.

“I also felt so fatigued; like I was walking through thick soup. My antibody test indicated a previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 around the same time. I was flabbergasted at the result which explained my long-Covid symptoms. Luckily, I isolated anyway because of the Cluster Headaches, but I never even thought I had the virus as I’d not had the classic symptoms, no breathlessness nor cough. In that sense I was lucky, like everyone I considered the severity of what contracting full-Covid could mean and how hard it has been for sufferers and their families.

“The results of my test have provided vital information and honestly changed my life. Understanding what has happened to me and finding strategies to deal with Cluster Headaches and long-Covid has helped me and my family on what has been such a worrying health journey.

Jonathan’s results showed he had antibodies to the main part of the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is indicative of past infection. The results went further to show due to the antibody levels it would place the infection in December. It also showed that he had antibodies to the Spike protein of the virus, his first AstraZeneca (AZ) shot had worked.

Jonathan continued: “It was great to see Spike antibodies above the protective threshold after my first shot. I am due my second shot on 15 June; this is vital because a follow-up test a few days ago showed that my antibodies to the Spike had dropped below the threshold whilst my Nucleocapsid antibodies remain stable.”

CEO & Founder of Attomarker and Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Exeter, Professor Andrew Shaw, says: “We were delighted to be able to help Dr Snicker; it seems fitting because he was directly involved in the fundraising for my research. In my own case I have not generated sufficient levels of protective antibodies despite being double vaccinated with AZ; so, I will discuss this with my GP. I tested three nurses; all double vaccinated with AZ.  Like me, two of them had not reached the protective threshold. A doctor, double vaccinated with Pfizer by January, has antibody levels below the threshold. This is vital information, for individuals and the NHS.

“Vaccination does not provide full protection for society. I believe this next generation of antibody tests, giving rapid laboratory level results on three classes of antibody in seven minutes and all at point of care, is vital for tackling this dangerous and persistent virus.

“The technology has been developed for over a decade and it’s another success story for British universities and British science in the global battle against COVID-19,” continued Professor Shaw.

“We were proud to have worked alongside St Thomas’ Hospital at the beginning of the pandemic and now to be offering the service in our home city before its roll-out nationally. The test will give people real clarity on if they have antibodies against the virus, and most importantly if these are above or below the recommended threshold. Also, whether they have contracted the virus previously and if their vaccine has worked.”

The test costs £125 – NHS workers get a 50% discount – and individuals can now book their appointment by using the online site:

Flexible appointment slots are available to ensure anyone over the age of 16 years can book the test.

The service comes with results shown on a screen as well as patients being able to download Attomarker’s Biomark iOS app which will allow them to access their result data. Its functionalities will allow individuals to carry their results around with them in a personalised format and share with others.

Holmedale Health is first clinic to offer the service, but Attomarker are keen to foster relationships across the UK with other clinical facilities and medical teams ahead of launching its national service.


Half of employers may need to extend Employee Benefits provision to support their Covid-secure policies

As employers across the United Kingdom continue with their return to the physical workplace, a survey of more than 200 HR professionals has found that nearly 1 in every 2 employers (49%) will need to improve their employee benefits provision to support workers and build a policy that is resilient to more health threats than just COVID-19 alone.

The survey, which took place at the Howden Employment Webinar in March, looked at the future risks of a resurgence of COVID-19 and/or an as yet unknown new infectious health threat to the world.

Steve Herbert, Head of Benefits Strategy, at Howden said;

“Despite the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the UK, the truth is that the virus is now globally widespread and possibly endemic in the world’s population too.  The reality therefore is that there will be a continued threat of new waves of the mutated COVID-19 virus for many months or even years to come, so we would encourage employers to prepare a robust wellbeing strategy for the future.” 

Howden also highlight that there are many other new infectious diseases that have occurred since the start of the current century alone.  In the last 20 years the world has faced health threats such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, Avian Influenza and (of course) COVID-19.  And the occurrence of such new illnesses appears to be increasing too.

Herbert continued;

“It only took one infectious disease to bring the UK and the world to an almost complete standstill.  It follows that we should all now recognise just how fragile our lives, our businesses, and the wider economy can be in the face of such unforeseen threats.” 

Howden are encouraging employers to build on the government’s suggested minimum Covid-secure framework to provide a more robust policy that can be deployed quickly to protect employer and employees alike should a resurgence of COVID-19 or another health threat occur in the future.

In addition to the measures suggested by the government Howden encourage employers to provide a positive framework which encourages employees to do the right thing in areas such as sick-pay, testing, and vaccinations.  Howden also believe that many employee benefits and wellbeing tools can play a huge part in a robust infection-secure policy, with remote GP appointments, Employee Assistance Plans, Group Life Assurance, Group Income Protection, and access to private healthcare all increasingly important.

Howden’s survey also demonstrated an overwhelming acceptance from employers of this approach.  Almost all (98%) employers represented believed that there would be more pressure on employers to provide an “infection-secure” workplace in the future in all sectors of the economy (83%), or at least in some sectors (15%).

Matthew Gregson, Head of Corporate, at Howden added;

“It’s great to see the response from UK businesses in terms of ensuring continuity of business and support for their employees.  And this will clearly be the key to future planning, to ensure both businesses and their employee population have the resilience in the face of a continued or new health threat.”

Howden stress that there is a clear link between business risk (the ability to operate and deliver to clients) and people risk (the ability of individuals to perform at their best).  Gregson concluded:

“A robust benefits and wellbeing strategy has never been more important in supporting good outcomes in both business and people risks, especially with a focus on mental wellbeing and access to virtual and digital services wherever employees may be based.”

Study finds inefficient COVID tracing cost £660,000+ per UK business

84% of large businesses and organisations in the UK have lost working days due to a lack of effective contact tracing[1], according to a new study commissioned by Contact Harald, a pioneering contact tracing tool. The resulting lost productivity is estimated to have cost the country’s economy over £11bn[2] in the last 12 months, equivalent to 4.3 million working days[3].

The study, which looked at 500 UK companies employing over 100 staff, found an average cost of £660,193 per business due to absent workers isolating and waiting for test results, following potential contact with COVID-19. This includes time off for those who thought they might have been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for the virus.

Contact Harald was born out of Australia’s booming tech sector in response to the COVID crisis, using wearable Bluetooth technology to provide optimal contact tracing support across any industry, protecting employees and their private data whilst safeguarding the day-to-day productivity of businesses. According to its research, businesses have on average lost the equivalent of nearly 255 working days due to possible COVID contact, in addition to the average 142 days caused by absent staff with confirmed coronavirus cases.

Amid reports of an estimated 600,000 jobs lost according to UKHospitality, and 14,800 retail store closures because of the pandemic, the research puts into sharp focus the need for efficient, accurate contact tracing if businesses are to remain profitable. However, over a third of businesses (37%) in Britain claim to have found tracking potential contact cases difficult, or very difficult, suggesting more support is required in order to protect companies – and employees – as the world start operating again post the COVID-19 era. Unsurprisingly, 93% of businesses surveyed said that a tech solution would have prevented days lost to potential COVID contact.

Nick O’Halloran, founder of Contact Harald, commented: “More than 80% of businesses lost working days which is cause for concern to any industry expecting to re-open its doors in the coming months. Since our launch in Australia, we have worked with numerous businesses, organisations and governments to help them overcome the operational challenges inherent in lack of adequate tracing solutions. It’s poignant to note similarities between the two countries and use such insights to help UK businesses make a seamless return without hindering productivity. Our aim is to offer a solution which guarantees a peace of mind by easily identifying and isolating only those at risk, enabling businesses to remain open and operational.”

“Our research found that businesses could have reduced the amount of days lost as result of potential COVID by a third (33.5%) – if they had their affairs in order through contact tracking technology. Tech solutions could therefore have saved businesses at least 1,451,170 lost working days[4],” continues Contact Harald’s Founder and Head of Product, Matt Denton. “Contact Harald is a really simple, effective way to keep workers in any industry safe, whatever size or location, while still preserving privacy. Employees are given a card to keep on their person, and if a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 occurs, an authorised user within the business anonymously notifies anyone potentially affected to isolate.”

New BBI Solutions Novarum™️ feature to support Covid certificates

BBI Solutions today announced it has developed a new mobile feature to facilitate the creation and sharing of digital Covid test certificates, supporting employers, travel providers and the safe reopening of venues and events globally.

The Crumlin-based manufacturer’s patented Novarum™️ technology transforms a smartphone into a diagnostics test reader, empowering users to read, share and store their results from the point of care.

The advanced technology will enable individuals to store a digital version of their Covid test on their own phone in a form that can be verified by anyone via a QR code.

Based on the Apple and Google approach for boarding passes, users will not need to install any new apps thanks to the new feature being built using a trusted existing interface compatible with all smartphones. The QR code will be stored in the wallet feature of the smartphone, allowing the individual to control access to their personal results.

BBI’s Novarum™️ technology is used to read diagnostic tests around the world, and a version of the product has just been certified with a CE (Conformité Européenne / European Conformity) mark, meaning it can be legally sold within the EU and is available for commercial distribution, to record the results of Sars-Cov-2 antibody tests and enabling independent verification of vaccination.

The additional feature will play a supporting role in the loosening of restrictions and reopening of the economy, with employers, venues and organisations able to scan QR codes and check an individual’s test or vaccination status.

Dr Mario Gualano, Chief Executive of BBI Group, said: “This is an exciting development which will prove beneficial to both individuals and businesses as the country gradually reopens after this latest lockdown. We are incredibly pleased to have achieved a CE mark for our innovative application; this will be a real confidence boost for global governments and private sector businesses looking to embrace the technology.”

Dr Neil Polwart, Head of Mobile at BBI Solutions, said: “Using our expertise and experience in the development and delivery of next generation diagnostic technologies within mobile health, we have created this Novarum™️ feature to be simple, secure and shareable and with the readiness to deploy at scale within weeks. With its functionality for both antigen and antibody testing, the easy-to-use application will support test providers and users through the whole process.”

The new test certification capability developed by BBI Solutions complements its existing Novarum™️ offerings to the diagnostics industry, supporting the taking, reading and communication of test results.

BBI’s Novarum™️ pioneering technology can be used by anyone, anywhere, with minimal training, connecting patients and doctors, field workers, lab researchers and primary care clinicians to specialist practices as part of a mobile eco-system.

Used across a wide range of different assay formats and applications, including lateral flow and ELISA tests, the platform’s accuracy, connectivity and ease of use has been invaluable for the medical, veterinary, defence, agricultural and environmental sectors.

Novarum holds patents in Europe, the US, China, Japan and Russia and BBI is also ISO 13485:2016 certified for Medical Device Quality Management Systems.