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Managing mental health in the workplace is key to unlocking talent, says MSB boss

Liverpool law firm MSB is leading the way in supporting people in the workplace facing challenges with mental wellbeing, and unlocking their full potential.

Mental health is estimated to cost British business up to £100bn in absences and lower productivity and a survey of Liverpool professionals by recruitment company CV-Library found than 40% of workers had considered quitting their jobs due to a lack of support around mental health.

Woefully inadequate

However, the approach of too many firms remains woefully inadequate. MSB managing partner Emma Carey says the key to being a progressive business is recognising that the people who help drive your organisation forward are imperfect human beings who all face their own struggles and challenges. 

MSB prides itself on being one of the most progressive professional firms in the North West across the board, including gender and LGBT equality – and in its pro-active approach to mental health. 

Emma says: “Supporting your employees through their own worst times will enable them to continue to make a substantive contribution to the growth of your business. Employee wellbeing is not only a moral responsibility for employers, but it makes good business sense too.”

History of depression

Joe is a legal assistant at MSB and has a history of depression going back around to around 2011. He battled with mental health throughout his 20s and finally, with the support of medical professionals and his colleagues at MSB, he is accessing the help he needs. 

Joe’s issues traced back to the death of his sister when he was just seven and his subsequent struggle to come to terms with the trauma. Explaining how his problems manifested, he said: “The easiest way to describe it is a total lack of self-esteem and worth, restlessness, tiredness and a feeling of being disconnected to my peers. 

“This year, family issues finally brought it to the surface and I experienced a panic attack, which prompted me to go back to my GP.” 

Joe then returned to work too soon but with the full support of MSB, he was signed off work again and referred to a number of different mental health professionals. Two months later, after spending time away with his partner and family, Joe returned to his job.

Fully supported

He added: “MSB showed me nothing but understanding and compassion throughout the entire process. “They fully supported my need to take time away from work and helped transition my return, offering flexible working and phased hours to help me find my feet again. And in all the time of I’ve been unwell, I’ve received nothing but support, from senior management through to my peers and colleagues.” 

Emma said: “ Joe’s individual talents, can do attitude and work ethic means his value to MSB is huge. The problems he has experienced with mental wellbeing do not take those things away, and by offering our support we only continue to benefit from his contribution to our business.”

Changing how they communicate with parents could save schools in Merseyside millions each year

Liverpool city region schools could save more than £2.5m a year simply by changing the way they communicate with parents, according to Speke-based apps developer Kevin Clayton of Parent Apps. 

Both primary and secondary schools across the country are eating into their tight budgets by continuing to send out paper letters to parents and paying for SMS text messaging. Figures calculated by Liverpool-based digital venture Parentapps show that by using an app based communications system, primary and secondary schools could save £4,000 and £8,000 respectively every year. Across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton there are 375 primary schools and 126 secondary schools. Across the UK there are 20,925 primary schools and 4,168 secondary schools – adding up to potentials savings of more than £200m.

Bespoke apps

Backed by former Tesco chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, fast-growing Parentapps is already providing bespoke apps for 350 schools across the country and predicts it will have passed the 500 mark over the next six months. 

The venture as founded in 2015 by Kevin Clayton, chief executive of the business, along with his wife Hailey Clayton, who is the fi rm’s sales director. The couple have two young daughters and were well aware of the haphazard nature by which schools communicate with parents. 

Not only are the most currently-used methods of communication between schools and parents costly, they are also inefficient. Important letters are given to children to pass to their parents but they can often end up scrunched up and forgotten at the bottom of a school bag. 

Mr Clayton said: “Too many of our schools are spending 30 hours a week on parental communication, between preparing and sending newsletters and texts, to answering and making phone calls regarding specific students. “Savings can be made by doing away with expensive text messaging services, as well as going paperless. Additionally, the time saved using the app can be reinvested into more important things, such as teaching.”

Ignoring CDM construction regulations will cost money and lives, expert warns

Confusion and ignorance around CDM (construction, design and management) regulations has the potential to cost lives in the UK building industry, a Liverpool expert is warning. 

Alan Robson, co-founder of CDM consultancy Project Four, has spoken out after the director of a construction company in Yorkshire was fi ned £30,000 by a court following the partial collapse of a roof during work on a new apartment block. It was found that the roof structure had been poorly designed and was not able to withstand the loads placed on it. Three workers on site at the time luckily escaped injury when it collapsed. 

According to Alan, who runs Project Four from Avenue HQ in Liverpool with fellow director Max Meadows, it is not uncommon for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to target building contractors, saying: “Even on the best-run sites, a contravention of CDM regulations is not difficult to find.” 

But he adds the HSE is also increasingly focusing on other professionals in the supply chain, including designers, principal designers and clients. He has witnessed HSE inspectors attending design team meetings and requesting evidence from designers and clients to demonstrate their compliance with CDM 2015. 

The Yorkshire development was taking place on land previously occupied by a public house and Alan said that it is on brownfield developments such as this where the risks are greatest and a lack of understanding of CDM regulations is creating the potential for serious injuries and even deaths among construction workers. 

Current CDM regulations were introduced in 2015 and created the role of ‘principal designer’. This is a statutory appointment to be made by the client, usually the architect or the main contractor. If the client fails to appoint a principal designer then ultimate responsibility for CDM compliance falls on them. 

Project Four is working on projects in the North West and across the UK including a scheme to build a hotel next to Liverpool’s new Cruise Line Terminal.

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Emma Carey

Emma Carey

Emma Carey is managing partner at fast-growing Liverpool law firm MSB. Previously head of the firm’s family department, Emma has played a prominent role in MSB’s growth since it was established 30 years ago.

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