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  • Celebrating The Best Of British Family Firms

    The family business community came together once more in London in the delightful surrounds of the beautiful medicine garden in the grounds of the Royal College of Physicians to celebrate the contribution that family firms make to the national economy and to crown the winners of the Family Business of the Year Awards 2024. What a night and what a fabulous celebration of the contribution of family businesses to the national economy. Thank you to everyone involved, the judges, the sponsors and above all the business that entered, our fabulous finalists and of course congratulations to the winners. Events like these are special and the evening had a palpable mix of excitement, anticipation and community – the essence of being part of a bigger community, the collective sense of pride in being a family business and recognition for some families of their endeavours over numerous generations. It was a great night and the fact that the sun shone as the day drew to a close helped to create a fantastic atmosphere too. Family businesses are the engine room of the UK economy and with 5 million family firms employing around 12 million people in all corners of the country they make a massive impact each and every day. Incomes are generated, jobs provided and wealth created but as one of the family members said to me last night, “That is just the tip of the iceberg. Family businesses care and want to be seen as doing the right thing, doing business the right way. It has been a pleasure to be involved with these awards. The atmosphere in the room was amazing, a real vibrancy, sense of belonging and comradery with plenty of pride, passion and emotion too." That is undoubtedly true and reflected in may of the submissions as well as the conversations taking place throughout the evening with family business members meeting like minded peers from a community steeped in history, heritage, purpose, values and integrity. The audience assembled and the winners were announced and celebrated. Photos taken. Speeches delivered, honest, simple but poignant and certainly heartfelt – celebrating not only those in the room but as representatives of family firms across the UK, recognising that it is the broader family engagement and the teams of people that work in the businesses that help to make the business magic too. "These awards were created to make families in business appreciate the significant impact they have, whether they are large or small, first generation or multigenerational and to recognise the collective importance they have to the economy and communities the length and breadth of the nation," adds Paul Andrews, Founder and CEO of Family Business United. "Doing business the right way is what they do. And do so well. Crowning the winners was great and it remains a pleasure and a privilege to run an organisation that has these businesses at our core, businesses that make a difference and have a real sense of purpose, community, a narrative and real authenticity. We have been delighted and somewhat overwhelmed, once more, by the response and impact that these awards have had and whilst celebrating the conclusion of the 2024 campaign, are already excited about what the future and 2025 Family Business of the Year Awards have in store," he concludes. Our Regional Winners For 2024: Yorkshire – Bagnalls North of England & Northern Ireland – Arden Dies East & East Anglia – KFE Midlands & Central – Landermeads London & South East – Furniture Village Scotland – Scot JCB South, South West & Wales – The George Bence Group Our Sector Winners For 2024: Manufacturing – Arden Dies Food & Drink – Dina Foods Professional Services – Matthew Douglas Limited Property & Construction – Bagnalls Transport & Logistics – Challenger Site Services Hospitality, Hotel & Leisure – Cedarbarn Farm Shop & Cafe Homes & Gardens – Brewers Decorator Centres Retail – Furniture Village Health & Welfare – Landermeads Our People’s Choice Winners For 2024: Yorkshire People’s Choice – Heck Food East & East Anglia People’s Choice – Source One Consulting Midlands & Central People’s Choice – Cleenol London & South East People’s Choice – Allan Reeder Ltd North & Northern Ireland People’s Choice – Dunsters Farm Scotland People’s Choice – Hattie's Autobody South, South West & Wales People’s Choice – Healthcare Matters National People’s Choice – Allan Reeder Ltd Our National Winners For 2024: Innovation - The Wilkins Group Sustainability – The John Good Group Entrepreneurship – The Pantry UK Ltd Positive Societal Impact - Quality Life UK Community Support & Involvement – Regal Food Products Group Plc Essence of Family Business – Dunsters Farm Ones to Watch – Lemongrove Productions and The Pizza Post Small Family Business of the Year – Gibsons SUPREME CHAMPIONS – BAGNALLS A great night that was capped off with the announcement of the Supreme Champion Family Business of the Year 2024, an accolade that was accepted on behalf of Bagnalls by Stephen Bagnall. As Paul continues, "Bagnalls is a fantastic business that deserves all the accolades that come with winning this title. They are an inspirational business, founded back in 1875 and will be celebrating 150 years as a family business in 2025." "Bagnalls is an incredible family business that have already done so much, in their sector doing what they do, for the communities in which they operate, and more broadly for the family business community as a whole." "In the words of the judges Bagnalls are deserving winners of the Supreme Champion award as they are: A family business with a rich heritage packed with incredible stories that demonstrate their success over the years A family firm with strong credentials, governance and family values at their core A brilliant business using their culture and scale to commit to supporting next generations A business with a fantastic culture and a great example of stewardship through the generations A family that cares and wants to do business the right way A truly great family business that is brilliant in what it does "They are without exception, a shining example of a great British family business with all the positive attributes in place. Proud of its heritage, committed to its values and its people with family members leading by example, not to mention the quality of their craftsmanship." "With a passion for painting since 1875 and a fifth generation leader who is immensely proud to be the current custodian of this family business, committed to working hard to provide an ongoing legacy befitting of his forefathers, Bagnalls are worthy winners of this accolade," adds James Trigg of headline sponsors and presenter of the award from Brooks Macdonald. As Stephen Bagnall, fifth generation Managing Director of Bagnalls adds: "I am immensely proud to receive this award, which is testament to the five generations of the Bagnalls family and its employees who have contributed so much to the company's past 149 years of success." "We continue to make great strides in becoming a company that people want to work for and customers want to do business with." "Bagnalls celebrates 150 years as a specialist painting and decorating company in 2025 and this award will be shared by each and every one of my colleagues as a thank you for their hard work, dedication and commitment to Bagnalls." "As we move 'together towards 150' I continue to be immensely proud to be the current custodian of this splendid family business and I will continue to work hard to provide a legacy befitting of my forefathers." These awards were established back in 2012 to celebrate family businesses and the contribution they make. Last night was certainly a great celebration and recognition of firms that are great ambassadors for the sector too. Family businesses are at the heart of what we do here at Family Business United. Congratulations go to all the finalists and of course the winners. Enjoy the celebrations! And finally a massive thank you to all of our judges, presenters and the FBU team for making it happen and to our award sponsors Western Pension Solutions, Birketts, Buckles, Forsters, Turcan Connell, TWYD & Co, Goodman Jones and Brooks Macdonald. We cannot wait to follow the next steps in the journey of your businesses and of course, return next year to announce the winners of the 2025 Family Business of the Year Awards too! If you want to find out more and be notified about the 2025 awards or want to find out more about becoming a judge or an award sponsor we would love to hear from you. Simply complete the contact us form at the bottom of the home page on our website here and we will be in touch. Check out the full gallery of images from a fabulous evening here:

  • GAP Hire Solutions Celebrates 55 Years Of Excellence!

    In 2024, GAP Hire Solutions proudly marks 55 years of unwavering dedication, innovation, and excellence in the industry. Since our inception in 1969, we have continuously set the standard for superior service and reliability in the hire solutions industry. Built on Trust For over five decades, we've stood as a pillar of support for construction projects and industries across the nation, earning their trust every step of the way. Our commitment to providing top-quality equipment and personalised service has been the cornerstone of our success. Innovation at Every Turn From modest beginnings to becoming a leader in the hire solutions industry, we've embraced innovation at every turn. From day one, innovation has driven our success. We've embraced new technologies and approaches to meet the evolving needs of our customers with precision and efficiency, ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed. Gratitude & Growth As we celebrate this milestone, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been a part of our journey. To our loyal customers, dedicated team members, and valued stakeholders, thank you for your unwavering support. Since our 50th celebrations in 2019, we have grown our turnover by 49% in just 5 years. This remarkable growth is a testament to the incredible work and dedication of everyone at GAP Hire Solutions. Here's to the Next 55 Years! Join us as we celebrate 55 years of excellence and toast to the many more ahead. Thank you for your support, partnership, and trust. Here's to the next chapter!

  • Shepherd Neame Sets Sail Sponsoring 'Little Ship'

    Independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame is proud to announce that it is supporting historic 80ft Thames sailing barge Greta for another year. Built in 1892, Greta was charted by the Ministry of Supply during World War II and is one of the few surviving – and oldest still sailing – ‘Little Ships’ that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, bringing Allied soldiers back across the Channel. Shepherd Neame has sponsored Greta, which is based at Hollowshore Moorings in Faversham, near the home of its historic brewery, since 2005. The barge’s 1,500 sq ft red ochre mainsail features the logo of Shepherd Neame’s award-winning Whitstable Bay collection of beers. Greta has been operating as a private charter barge for over two decades, sailing throughout the summer season offering trips to the Red Sands Forts or into the Swale Estuary to see rare wildlife including local seal colonies. She spends her winter in Faversham for essential maintenance and repairs, and then is moored in South Quay Whitstable Harbour from April until October. Skipper Steve Norris, 65, who lives in Faversham, has been sole owner of Greta since 1990. The father-of-two said: “Shepherd Neame has been supporting our ‘Little Ship’ for almost two decades now, and we are incredibly grateful to have its sponsorship for another season. The funds will ensure that we can keep her on the water and allow more people to enjoy a truly unique sailing experience with us.” Shepherd Neame’s Brands Marketing Manager Rose Davis said: “We are thrilled to be able to support Greta for another season, and help preserve this iconic part of marine history.” To find out more about Greta and book a trip, visit here.

  • Furniture Village To Open New Lincoln Store

    The UK’s largest independently owned furniture retailer, Furniture Village, is set to open an exciting new store in Lincoln’s Valentine Retail Park on 28th June 2024. The new store will offer customers a total of 17,957 sq ft of home inspiration set across two thoughtfully styled floors. The store merchandise has been tailored to the needs of the Lincolnshire clientele, taking into consideration the best-selling styles and ranges from nearby stores in Nottingham and Sheffield. Additionally, the store will offer creative home inspiration, Furniture Village’s latest collections and an unrivalled customer shopping experience including the business’ new beds and bedroom studio. The configuration of the store has been designed to maximise the space available and incorporate a wide range of unique furniture and accessories, from rugs to lighting and storage to sofas – everything you need to make a house a home. Charlie Harrison, Managing Director at Furniture Village, comments: “We are incredibly excited to open the doors to our newest store in Lincoln. Valentine Retail Park is a popular shopping destination for furniture and homeware and so it was the ideal choice for Furniture Village. Our new store will showcase our beautiful and unique furniture and accessories for every room in the home, with each piece hand-picked by our expert team of buyers and sourced from across the globe.’’ "It's fantastic to continue our geographic expansion and bring Furniture Village to yet another part of the country. Our Lincoln store will boast an immersive layout and a variety of creative room sets making it the perfect destination for those seeking home inspiration and expert advice.” Featuring dedicated spaces from leading brands such as Nicoletti, G-Plan, Harrison Spinks and Vispring, along with exclusive collections, quick delivery lines and a lowest price guarantee, the new retail space promises to inspire and delight with expert advice from the knowledgeable and friendly team. Charlie Harrison added, “We have recruited a wonderful team of nine people for our Lincoln store and we all look forward to welcoming customers through the doors on 28th June.’’ The new Lincoln store will open on Friday 28th June at 9am. Opening offers include sale prices storewide and £50 off every £500 spent until 18th August 2024. There will also be a competition to win £1000 to spend at the local store and complimentary coffee and freshly baked cookies will be served.

  • America’s Next Nuclear Power Plant Begins Construction

    Bechtel will build Natrium Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project in Wyoming. Bechtel celebrates the official groundbreaking of the Natrium Demonstration Project. Bechtel is TerraPower's engineering, procurement, and construction partner on this first-of-a-kind project in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The project is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Natrium is an advanced nuclear reactor that uses a sodium-based technology to cool the reactor instead of water. This unique technology developed by TerraPower can provide clean, baseload operation at 345 megawatts with the capability to flex as high as 500 megawatts, generating enough energy to power 400,000 homes. Reflecting on the significance of its milestone, Craig Albert, Bechtel President and COO, shared the following: “The Natrium reactor’s innovative design will launch a new approach to nuclear plant construction that is designed to be safer, cleaner, faster, and more efficient than many energy source alternatives.” “Working together, the combination of advanced technology and streamlined constructability has the potential to diversify the U.S. power generation industry. The option of deploying smaller advanced nuclear plants that can work in concert with other clean energy sources will help speed our progress toward net-zero emissions.” Albert commended TerraPower on their approach and the significance of our partnership: “TerraPower extended their visionary approach to the building of the plant itself. Their involvement of Bechtel from the very beginning means the entire project lifecycle, including construction, has been optimized at every stage, making the entire process cost-effective, fast, and repeatable.” “Natrium will be the first nuclear project where the execution of those plans will benefit from Bechtel’s suite of digital tools and systems, which have been proven to deliver exceptional results on other large energy facilities.” Craig Albert’s complete comments are available in a post here . As the nexus of TerraPower and GE Hitachi technology, the Natrium design represents a leap forward in clean, sustainable power generation. The project will bring a commercial, advanced nuclear reactor online that will deliver carbon-free, reliable power to the electrical grid and provide jobs in Wyoming for decades to come. For 70 years, Bechtel has helped customers deliver clean energy through nuclear. In that time, Bechtel has designed, built, or provided construction services on 150 nuclear plants worldwide, bringing more than 76,000 megawatts of new nuclear generation capacity to the world. Bechtel is proud to bring this trusted expertise to the Natrium Demonstration Project.

  • Hospitality Professional Is Appointed By Coopers Brewery

    One of Australia’s most experienced hospitality professionals, Peter Morelli, has been appointed as venue manager at Coopers Brewery. He will be responsible for the visitor experience at Coopers’ new $70 million development currently under construction at Regency Park in South Australia. Inducted into the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2015 for his contribution and commitment to the hospitality and tourism industries, Peter brings a wealth of expertise and an impressive record at the helm of iconic venues. The highly awarded hospitality professional has built, grown and led teams, and established catering operations at major venues, hotels, restaurants, cafés and cellar doors for more than 30 years. Most recently, Peter steered the world-renowned visitor food and wine experiences at the d’Arenberg Cube (McLaren Vale) and Penfolds Cellar Doors (Magill Estate and Barossa Valley). He has also overseen hospitality and functions at SkyCity, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide Festival Centre and the historic Lion Hotel.  Peter said: “I’ve enjoyed a close association with Coopers throughout my career and have always thought if the right position came along I would love to join this great family business.” “I’m excited to develop an immersive destination that connects visitors with Coopers’ proud history, provides insight into the brewing process and allows the opportunity to taste the best of Australian beer.” Having commenced his role at Australia’s largest independent family-owned brewery in May, Peter’s first task is assembling a team that will deliver a world-class hospitality and visitor experience. “Visitors will certainly notice the wow factor when they arrive here,” Peter said. “The unforgettable experience will focus on ice-cold beers, top-quality food, an enjoyable atmosphere and fantastic service. We want guests to tell their friends and family about it and make it the place they bring visitors from interstate and overseas.” Coopers Brewery Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said Peter’s expertise in curating some of the country’s most respected cellar door offerings aligned with Coopers’ bold vision for its new development. “Peter impressed us with his passion for exceptional customer service and dedication to creating iconic hospitality offerings,” Dr Cooper said. “We’re delighted to have Peter on board to help us deliver a truly world-class and welcoming experience for all our guests.”

  • The LEGO Group Announces Opening In Belgium

    The LEGO Group today officially opened its newest regional distribution centre (RDC) in Tessenderlo, Belgium. The opening marks an important milestone in the company’s strategy to expand its supply and distribution network to support long-term growth in the market. Its location in Belgium will service the company’s omnichannel customers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Ireland and northern France, as well as LEGO® Brand Retail Stores. LEGO factories in Nyíregyháza, Hungary and Kladno, Czech Republic will supply products to the centre, which will be operated by Kuehne+Nagel. Carsten Rasmussen, Chief Operations Officer of the LEGO Group, said: “We’re thrilled to celebrate the opening of our Belgium distribution centre. Expanding our supply and distribution network will ensure that we can continue to meet customer demand and bring learning through play to millions of children for years to come." "We’re grateful for the continued partnership we’ve had with Kuehne+Nagel and are happy to have them on board to operate the site.” Gianfranco Sgro, Executive Vice President Contract Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel said: “Today we celebrate the extension of a partnership that has continued for more than 12 years. Together with LEGO we live and embody values such as innovation, infinite possibilities of imagination and creation, continuous attention to the customer and the planet we live on." "We are particularly proud as from today we complete our range of offers with all our products (sea, air, road, B2C and B2B fulfillment centres) to guarantee an exceptional online and in-store experience.” Greater flexibility to reduce customer lead times, accommodate growth The distribution centre is the second in the company’s European distribution network, joining an existing centre in Jirny, Czech Republic. The centre is equipped to store up to 44,000 pallets and has an expected throughput of approximately 32,000 orders annually. It is co-located on the same campus as the company’s LEGO.com fulfilment centre, which will be stocked with product from the RDC. This increased capacity and agility will result in an average customer lead time reduction of up to two days for customers in scope. Operations have been designed with sustainability in mind as the distribution centre shares the same sustainability commitment as all LEGO operations to reduce the company’s absolute global carbon emissions by 37 percent by 2032. It has been built to BREEAM Excellent environmental standards, a third-party certification system that measures the sustainability performance of buildings. On-site solar panels and a wind turbine will generate significant direct renewable energy, while all heating will be provided through geo-thermal energy as part of the company’s efforts to minimise its environmental impact. The company will utilise the European Cargo Rail network to transport LEGO products from its factories, bringing an estimated savings of 2,000t CO2 per year compared with today’s standard use of road and truck Tessenderlo is one of many investments in the company’s manufacturing footprint. The opening of the Tessenderlo RDC is a meaningful milestone in the company’s strategy to increase flexibility and agility in its operations. The LEGO Group has also invested more than US $1B in two new state-of-the-art factories in Binh Duong, Vietnam and Virginia, U.S., on track to open in 2025 and 2027 respectively. Both of these factories will run on renewable energy and contribute to the local community though the creation of highly skilled jobs. The LEGO Group is additionally expanding four of its existing factories in Nyíregyháza, Hungary, Billund, Denmark, Jiaxing, China and Monterrey, Mexico to meet future demand and drive long-term growth. All expansions are currently in progress and on track to be completed within the coming years.

  • The Intricacies Of Succession Planning In Family Businesses

    Succession planning is the linchpin for the longevity and continuity of family businesses, yet it remains a daunting challenge for many. This process, essential for the seamless transfer of leadership and ownership from one generation to the next, involves much more than just naming a successor. It requires a strategic and emotionally intelligent approach, addressing both the business’s future and the intricate web of family dynamics.   The Building Blocks Of Succession Planning Successful succession planning starts with identifying potential successors. This involves evaluating family members or key employees to discern who possesses the requisite skills, experience, and genuine interest in leading the business. Once potential successors are identified, training and development become paramount. Providing the necessary education and mentorship is crucial for preparing future leaders to navigate the complexities of the business world.   A clear and realistic timeline for the transition is another cornerstone of effective succession planning. This timeline helps prevent abrupt changes that could destabilise the business. Additionally, defining roles and responsibilities for both current and future leaders ensures a smooth transition, minimising confusion and overlap in duties, as well as ensuring that future leaders are developing the right skills to meet the future needs of the business too.   Addressing the legal and financial aspects of the transition, such as ownership transfer, tax implications, and estate planning, is essential to avoid future legal entanglements and financial complications. Throughout this process, maintaining open and transparent communication with all family members and stakeholders is critical. Clear communication helps manage expectations and reduces the risk of conflicts.   Lastly, contingency planning for unexpected events, like the sudden illness or death of the current leader, ensures that the business can continue operating smoothly regardless of unforeseen circumstances.   The Challenges: An Emotional And Complex Endeavor Despite its importance, succession planning in family businesses is notoriously difficult. One major hurdle is the emotional factors at play. Family dynamics and personal relationships often cloud objective decision-making. The process can stir up deep-seated emotions, leading to conflicts and disagreements.   Founders and current leaders frequently struggle with a reluctance to let go. Their emotional attachment to the business, combined with fears about retirement and doubts about their successors' capabilities, can hinder the transition process.   Another significant challenge is the lack of qualified successors. Not all family members may have the interest or aptitude to take over the business, creating a potential leadership vacuum. Furthermore, ensuring fairness and equity among family members, especially when some are involved in the business and others are not, can be a delicate balancing act. It’s crucial to avoid disputes over inheritance and ensure that all parties feel they are being treated fairly.   Complex family relationships further complicate succession planning. Differing visions, values, and interests among family members can lead to serious disagreements. Resistance to change from employees and stakeholders, who may be loyal to the current leader, can also impact morale and performance during the transition.   Lastly, many family businesses suffer from inadequate planning. A lack of formal succession strategies can lead to a crisis if a sudden transition is required, jeopardising the business’s future.   A Way Forward Succession planning is indispensable for the sustainability of family businesses. Addressing its inherent challenges requires meticulous planning, clear communication, and often, the guidance of external professionals to navigate the emotional and operational complexities involved. By prioritising these aspects, family businesses can ensure a smooth transition and continue to thrive across generations, preserving their legacy for years to come.

  • 'On-The-Go' Greek Yogurt Pouch Launches

    Sourcing the perfect ‘on-the-go’ Greek yogurt product is no longer a Herculean task thanks to the latest product range from Scotland’s largest independent dairy. Graham’s Family Dairy has launched Scotland's first Greek yogurt pouches in three flavours; natural, strawberry and honey. The product range, which is sweetener free and naturally high in protein, hits shelves as new data highlights the rise in popularity, with the value of pouch sales growing 12% in the past year [NIQ 52 w/e 25 February 2024]. The pouches will be produced in Nairn, with the family business investing more than £2m into its Highland production facility to produce the new pouches and key products within its protein range. The brand new product marks the dairy’s first foray into Greek yogurt, launching in stores from mid-June, with an initial rollout taking place across over 100 Lidl stores in Scotland this weekend, with a wider roll out across Sainsbury’s Scottish stores in late August. The 150g pouches contain up to 14g of natural protein and were designed to be the perfect snack for on-the-go families and health conscious shoppers looking for an indulgent snack. The demand for healthy and high protein alternatives continues to grow as reports show that two out of five consumers are interested in yogurts to replace traditional desserts*, with Greek yogurt widely recognised in the industry as being the biggest sub category within healthy yogurt. Robert Graham, Managing Director at Graham’s Family Dairy said: “We take pride in our family legacy and heritage, which from the offset has been driven by innovation. Our new Greek yogurt pouches have been specifically designed to appeal to the market after the huge success of our Protein 25 pouches, which fly off the shelves." "Alongside being a convenient and delicious natural dairy snack, our Greek pouches are naturally high in protein and sweetener free which sets them aside from many similar products on the market." “More and more, our consumers are looking for easy to ‘grab and go’, healthy, protein packed products - we’ve designed our Greek pouch and protein ranges to lend themselves to do just that. Regardless of convenience, one thing no one wants to compromise on is taste, and we’re really proud to have created a healthy, practical product without impacting on its flavour and rich and creamy texture.” Graham’s Family Dairy products rely on natural dairy goodness for great taste, using the finest ingredients and milk specially selected from family run Scottish farms in its Greek yogurt pouches and across its ranges. The family run business has grown through three generations and today 70% of households in Scotland and 30% of the UK’s households buy their home-grown products, making them Scotland’s No.1 dairy brand.

  • Arco Wins Prestigious Gold Medal

    Arco, the UK’s leading safety provider, has once again been awarded a gold medal for sustainability by the world’s largest and most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings. After thorough examination of its sustainability performance by independent experts at EcoVadis, Arco has retained its “Gold” status for 2024, improving on its overall score since the company’s last assessment. The gold rating means Arco is ranked in the top 5 per cent of more than 120,000 companies assessed by EcoVadis. EcoVadis singled out Arco's leadership on environmental sustainability as 'outstanding' in comparison with its peers. Arco’s sustainability initiatives over the past year include the launch of a new Responsible hi-visibility clothing range, as well as the installation of more than 2,300 solar panels on the roof of the company’s National Distribution Centre in Hull. Jim Harbidge, head of sustainability at Arco, said: “At Arco, we continually review and improve practices across the business to ensure we deliver best practice in sustainability." “We are extremely proud of this award and what it means for our products, those who make them and our customers who share our aims and values. We still aspire to achieve the ‘Platinum’ award and will continue to find new ways to differentiate ourselves as a responsible choice of safety partner.” EcoVadis measures sustainability performance across the four themes of environment, labour and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. Its rating methodology measures the quality of a company’s sustainability management system through three management pillars of policies, actions, and results.  A team of international sustainability experts analyse and cross-check companies’ data in order to create reliable ratings, considering each company’s industry, size and geographic location. EcoVadis reviews its performance rating approach each year in support of best practice in sustainability. Find out how Arco is taking action for a safer tomorrow .

  • Choosing The Right Business Structure For Family Enterprises

    In order to protect the continuity of a family enterprise for the benefit of future generations, there are three key areas that need to be addressed upon the business’ formation, namely family and corporate governance, ownership structuring, and succession planning. Here, we'll explore the structural considerations and processes that all family-run businesses must adhere to promote long-term growth, security and longevity. Governance Structures There are important questions that must be answered at the outset of any new enterprise, such as ‘How will the business be run?’  ‘Who will be responsible for making the important decisions?’ and ‘Who within the family will have a say, and what kind of gravity will their opinion have?’ Having robust governance structures in place determines the boundaries for family member involvement and formalises the areas of responsibility.  There are two distinct areas to consider when it comes to governance – namely governance of the business, and governance within the family itself. Family governance establishes a shared decision-making system based on a family's history, values, and purpose, drawing inspiration from corporate governance while prioritising communication over the day-to-day formalities. It enables structured discussions to take place on complex issues whilst facilitating family members' integration into the family and business network. Regular family governance meetings promote communication, decision-making, and understanding of the family's narrative and vision, often incorporating educational aspects about unity, wealth expectations, and business involvement. Equally, the formation of a Family Council acts as a liaison for family members outside the immediate business operation, ensuring diverse representation and involvement in the family's commercial interests. Business governance, on the other hand, is pivotal in reducing internal conflicts, delineating authority and decision-making processes within the business. Depending on the business's size, governance may involve a board of directors overseeing direction and control, or an executive board managing day-to-day operations and strategy. The ‘four-room’ model is recommended for clarity, dividing responsibilities among the owner’s room (board management and strategy), the boardroom (supervision and hiring), the management room (business strategy and operations), and the family room (shared goals and legacy). This will only be effective, however, if there is a clear ownership and role structure in place which is representative of the business’ goals. Ownership Selecting the appropriate structure for a family business in the UK requires careful consideration of various factors including legal and tax implications, desired control levels, the extent of business involvement, and estate planning objectives. Corporate structures, for example, can offer liability protection but require more in terms of compliance and organisational costs. However, for some family businesses, especially larger ones, the separation of management and ownership without compromising professional governance may be more beneficial. Considering what is best for the continued growth of the business, and protecting the prospects of those invested in it, is essential in determining the most fitting business structure. There are numerous options available, but not all will suit the business’ needs. Sole Ownership: Sole ownership is prevalent in the UK, especially among small businesses, due to its simplicity and low start-up costs. The main advantages include complete control over decision-making, ease of setup, and retaining after-tax profits. However, this business structure faces challenges such as a limited succession pool and the burden of unlimited personal liability, which may hinder funding opportunities due to perceived financial risk. Partnerships: Starting a family business as a partnership, as defined by the Partnership Act 1980, involves individuals working together with the aim of making a profit. While establishing a partnership can occur unintentionally and without a formal agreement, it's crucial, especially in family businesses, to have clear terms outlined to avoid complications. A family business structured as a partnership typically limits ownership to actively involved family members, fostering resilience and innovation through diverse perspectives. However, this model can also introduce competitive tensions among family members vying for specific roles, underscoring the necessity for clear governance. To mitigate potential disputes and articulate the allocation of profits, losses, and decision-making processes, instituting a formal partnership agreement is advisable. Partners should be aware that they bear unlimited liability for the business's debts and obligations, similar to sole traders. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP): An LLP is a distinct legal entity offering its members liability limited to their investment and any personal guarantees. Unlike traditional partnerships, an LLP's structure requires adherence to an agreement detailing its operation, profit distribution, member responsibilities, and termination protocols. Members are taxed based on their income share from the LLP. However, an LLP entails more administrative tasks, including maintaining a members' register, preparing annual accounts, and public filing with Companies House, leading to higher administrative costs compared to traditional partnerships with fewer formalities. A private company limited by shares or guarantee: In the UK, most private companies are limited by shares or guarantee, meaning they exist as separate legal entities. The limited by shares structure limits shareholder liability to the value of their shares and allows for the sale of shares to raise capital, whereas limited by guarantee doesn’t involve shares and instead the company is owned by guarantors (members) with limited liability. The latter is often more suitable for non-profit organisations and management companies. Changes to membership are made easier with a company limited by guarantee as no share transfers are required. These structures involve more administration, including filing annual accounts and tax returns, but offer tax benefits and protection of personal assets in case of insolvency. Estate and Succession Planning Without the necessary structure in place to determine what happens when the business owner departs or dies, all of the above may be rendered redundant, and the business may struggle to emerge intact from the ensuing chaos as family members scramble for control. This is why estate planning and succession planning are crucial to a family business’ long-term prospects. Having a structure and process in place for both is vital. Succession planning in a family business focuses on ensuring the continuous management and operation of the business across generations, unlike estate planning which is mainly about transferring ownership. Both are necessary for the seamless transfer of roles and responsibilities to future generations in family businesses. When numerous family members are competing for top ownership positions in a family business, succession becomes difficult. In addition, it is challenging for the following generation to assume leadership when there is no succession plan in place. Businesses generally utilise succession planning as a means of streamlining the transition of ownership or leadership. It entails identifying the individuals who should be trained to take on new positions inside the business in order to accommodate future, inevitable, changes (such as death ore retirement). Succession planning acts as an ongoing contingency plan that should be annually reviewed and updated according to company changes, and any comings or goings of family or senior staff members. It involves assessing leader skills, identifying replacement candidates, and developing their understanding of the business and its operations to ensure they can take over roles effectively. This process is significant for both large and small businesses, with the latter focusing on preparing the next generation for leadership. The planning process requires considerable time and effort, with an emphasis on making sure that the right individuals with the appropriate future leadership potential are earmarked for succession, not just those who are oldest, or feel they have a familial right to take over. Its about considering what is best for the business, not satisfying egos, and if that means considering those who are not members of the family for senior roles, so be it. Remember, if the business thrives, the family will ultimately benefit in the long run. Planning for succession should begin early enough to prevent unpleasant and impromptu talks or dramas because succession is a journey rather than a standalone event. Strategic planning and the ability to adjust to changing conditions are made possible by a continual dialogue – remove any nasty surprises, and family members will be less likely to become upset. Conversely, estate planning is crucial for ensuring smooth ownership transferral. It involves creating a detailed transition plan that covers the regulation of ownership, asset distribution, and responsibilities for future generations. While families may rely on their business governance frameworks to handle these matters, unforeseen life events can complicate situations, making formal shareholder agreements and estate planning essential. These plans must consider a range of potential issues, including inheritance taxes, income distribution, financial treatment of non-contributing family members, spousal benefits, decision-making processes, crisis management, and liquidation scenarios. Addressing these uncomfortable topics early on is vital to avoid unexpected consequences and ensure business continuity across generations. Should you require any advice or support on how best to preserve the legacy of your family business, please contact the specialist family business team at Buckles  for a confidential, impartial consultation.

  • TL Dallas, Has Bolstered Its London Team

    Following several significant new client wins, independent insurance broking and risk management specialist, TL Dallas, has bolstered its London team with the appointment of two corporate account executives. Michael Jobson and Ross Bullard are seasoned insurance professionals with 36 years combined industry experience and both are certified with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Michael said: “After working across loss recovery, personal lines, commercial account handling and working with high net-worth clients for almost 18 years, I then became a specialist in the health and care sector, which faces unique challenges and has very individual requirements when it comes to insurance." “Throughout my 24-year career I always preferred working for independent insurance brokers, and that was one of the main reasons for my move to TL Dallas. I had heard great things about the family and employee-owned firm, and as TL Dallas had recently set up a dedicated health and care division, it made it the ideal move." “With complete freedom of thought and action, which is not always the case at some of the corporates, I can focus on delivering the very best service for clients. To be working with a dedicated team of professionals who all have the same goal of providing the best cover for the best possible price, and always responding swiftly and effectively to claims via the in-house team at TL Dallas, made the role hugely appealing.” Ross said: “I started out in the insurance industry 12 years ago in motor insurance, working for a broker in Southampton, before moving to another broker to specialise in insurance for parish and town councils. I spent eight years as an account executive in the local government sector at this firm, which was sold twice during that period." “Joining a stable firm like TL Dallas is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I plan to build on my network of contacts in my home county of Norfolk and beyond to introduce the array of services that TL Dallas has to offer. Being a broker is a varied and interesting job and I particularly like working with different insurers on complex cases. Every client is unique and supporting them with their insurance and risk management needs is extremely satisfying.” Polly Staveley, managing director at TL Dallas, said: “This double appointment reflects the significant growth the team is delivering in our city office. As we continue to build on our client base in the South of England, we also plan to recruit at least two more team members with the right ethos and experience over the next year or two to support our growth plans.” The TL Dallas London office is located the heart of the city at 14 Devonshire Square. With a 15-strong team in the city supplying commercial insurance products to businesses operating in every industry sector, TL Dallas also offers a variety of specialist polices, including books, collectables and demolition insurance, as well as having access to the wider group for private clients, trade credit insurance and independent financial services. About TL Dallas TL Dallas was founded in 1919 and is one of the UK's leading independent insurance broking and risk management companies providing a full range of commercial and personal insurance services. The fourth-generation family firm is owned by its management and team. Group managing director, Polly Staveley, and group director, Mackenzie Dallas, are both great grandchildren of the company’s founder, Thomas Lessels Dallas OBE. TL Dallas currently employs more than 165 people in its Bradford headquarters and across offices in Belfast, Cumbria, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Holmfirth, Skipton, Lincoln, London, Shetland and Stockport. The company is one of the founding members of UNA – the National Alliance of Independent Brokers.

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