Who can we really trust?

A 34 year old recruitment consultant has been given a two year sentence, suspended for one year for falsifying eight doctors CV’s in an attempt to secure them jobs. Ross Etherson admitted to 21 counts of fraud and by the end of his swindle had cost the NHS over £37,000. The doctors involved had no idea that their CV’s and references were being altered and were given locum jobs with United Lincolnshire and Western Sussex NHS Trusts. Etherson was fortunate that no incidents of patient harm had been reported as a result of his deceit.

When interviewed, Etherson confirmed this was the very culture from the outset of his employment. His behaviour was seen as normal practice and they would divert problems to a fictitious manager. The doctors’ would send in their true CV’s which would then be embellished so that they appeared more desirable. These doctors were being paid £15 an hour whereas the agency was invoicing the NHS up to £120 per hour. The company is still currently trading but under a different name.

The scam was exposed when a clinical services manager notified the NHS Counter-Fraud Service about his concerns in relation to some of the locum doctors CV’s and references. Some managers carried out the correct checks before appointing the doctors; others employed medics with false documentation.

The fact that these doctors managed to get through the system and work in the hospitals despite lacking the knowledge and experience in itself is a worrying matter. This is why it is crucial that the right background checks are carried out so that such incidents cannot occur. Having a clean systematic approach would mean it leaves minimal opportunity for someone to tamper with documentation and would ensure that the checks are being carried out by official organisations. 

Here at Safe Screening we offer a simple and straightforward method to ensure that the correct background checks are being carried out so you know the person you have employed has the right qualifications. Our system has a full audit trail, date and time stamped, meaning all movements can be traced back to the person who carried them out.

To find out more, visit www.safescreening.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134.


Better to be Safe than to be sorry!


Do you know what the fines are for employing someone who does not have the right to work? If you didn’t already know, those previously hefty fines have doubled. You could end up paying up to £20,000 per illegal worker you employ! It gets worse, if it is found that you knowingly employed an illegal worker you could face a prison sentence – anything up to two years.

A total of seven workers were arrested in an immigration raid in Wednesbury. Officers carried out the raid and questioned staff whether or not they had the right to live and work in the UK. Two of the workers were found working in breach of their visa conditions and the other five had overstayed their visas. The company could be liable for a civil penalty of anything upto £20,000 per illegal worker if the correct right to work checks were not carried out. This could mean a potential fine of £140,000.

Home office immigration officers raided a Leicester based factory on Uppingham Road. They found 29 suspected illegal workers. If they are found to have broken the law they can face up to £20,000 for each illegally employed worker which could lead to a total of £580,000. A total of 16 men and 13 women were found, all Indian nationals. Out of which 20 had overstayed their visa, five were working in breach of their visa conditions and two had obtained entry in the UK illegally.

Consequences of illegal employment are not purely financial. UK visas and immigration are policed by the UK boarder agency, who actively publicise the names of the companies who have been fined, damaging their reputation. Since November 2008, the fines issued amount to over £50million and the single largest fine issued to one company has been £300,000. Why take the risk and become a statistic amongst those who have been fined when this can very easily be avoided by using Safe Screening. We will carry out the necessary checks to ensure that those who you are employing have the right to work in the UK.

To find out more, visit www.safescreening.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk, or call 0844 583 2134.

Know who you are employing!


How often do we hear that someone has been dismissed or has faced fines and potentially a prison sentence due to not being truthful about their background and experience? Existing in the busy surroundings that we do, it is often likely that when screening a candidate aspects will be missed out. If employers are getting smart, then those who manipulate the system are getting smarter! Ensuring that the right checks are carried out is important and should be made mandatory. By not carrying out the relevant checks not only are the wrong people being placed in certain jobs but also the lives of vulnerable individuals are being put at risk. These checks need to be completed to the highest standards and where employers are taking personal responsibility to do this; they need to ensure that no short cuts are being taken.

A care home nurse was sacked after she left an elderly lady with dementia untreated after spilling boiling water on her. The elderly woman had been lying in pain for hours. The scald was a foot wide and the care home nurse failed to call an ambulance depriving the woman of the care she needed.  Ms Hayibor was given a police caution for assault against the vulnerable resident but did not reveal her conviction to the trust she was primarily working for.

A maths teacher has been banned from the classroom for attempting to conceal her criminal past. Samantha Burmis enlisted her daughter to provide fingerprints for her; however this soon came to light as her daughters prints were already on file. Burmis was trying to hide a mortgage fraud which had resulted in a prison sentence back in 1995. Since then Burmis obtained a degree in law and became a qualified teacher. She had several different teaching jobs and in each one she failed to mention her criminal past. Burmis was expecting a pay out of £1.2million for unfair dismissal but was awarded £21,788 due to not declaring previous convictions.

There are several different checks that can be carried out to ensure that we avoid employing the wrong people. These checks go beyond the criminal background checks allowing employers to get an insight on their potential employees.  

Safe Screening is a leading provider in carrying out these checks. Below is a list of the checks we can carry out. Depending on the nature of the role there are variations of checks which can be completed on an individual to ensure that you know who you are employing. By using Safe Screening you can ensure that those who are not suitable, eligible or qualified for the role will not be able to pass the screening process. As an employer not only is this a cost effective facility which can save both time and resources, it also provides you with the peace of mind that those who are working with you are exactly who they claim to be! Safe Screening can provide you with a reliable platform to carry out the necessary checks in a timely and efficient manner.

To find out more, visit www.safescreening.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk, or call 0844 583 2134. 

How can compliance be made easier?

How can compliance be made easier?

In a recent blog, whilst complimenting the financial conduct authority (FCA) on a quality publication, the CEO of the ICM said how two recently issued compliance documents were 40 pages and 646 pages respectively. Philip King went on to add that he did not envy the job of a compliance manager on that basis.

So what about the companies that do not have a compliance manager? Where the financial controller or credit controller has to try and divulge this information whenever it should be drafted or arrive on email from the FCA? Philip’s blog, which can be read in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/rule-thumb-blog-philip-king/ points out and pokes fun at the fact that one of these FCA documents has four pages set aside for abbreviations alone. Whilst the CEO of the ICM says how the writing style is good, plain English, easy to follow to read, the blog highlights that this was issued at the very end of February by the FCA. Guidelines within effective from the 1 April in the same year. Nearly 700 pages of information for a company to read, digest, implement strategies around to change policy and procedure to ensure compliance, in just one short month. No wonder Philipp says he doesn’t envy a compliance manager!

Using the right software can help. Safe Financials and Safe Credit Control software for instance is powered by Safe, kept abreast with the latest regulatory and best practice changes. Those using Safe software are updated with software updates, user manuals, and offered training courses. Having Safe software in your business could really help take the pressure out of financial regulatory compliance. To find out more visit www.safe-financials.co.uk or www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk. You can also call 0844 583 2134 or email info@safecomputing.co.uk.

Green shoots of recovery for UK businesses and the economy


Green shoots of recovery for UK businesses and the economy

In a blog response to budget announcements, ICM CEO Philip King talks of the good news coming out of the UK government for business, and the green shoots of recovery for the UK economy. Philip states how he sees the controversial pension reforms as a positive change, and predicted statistics for the 2014 UK economy as very encouraging.

Quoting the creation of 1.5 million jobs in the next five years and grants for 100,000 more apprenticeships, Philip sounds quite positive about the direction of the economy. You can read his blog in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/calm-seas-fair-wind-blog-philip-king/. It certainly seems to echo the thoughts of many that the UK economy is certainly recovering after a tricky few years. News reports such as this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27047966 only the other day talked of the first signs that wages might finally be increasing disproportionally better than the costs of goods and services for the first time in many years. There seems, however, to be a difference of opinion over whether this is four or six years of history. Either way, essentially, soon the working man or woman, should start to find that impact of the positive echoes of the economy in how far their day to day pay packet stretches. A pay packet that the office of national statistics believes is currently increasing annually by two percent in the private sector. In the same report, the office  states how the figures for unemployment have fallen by 77,000 in the last three months. It certainly would seem to be the beginnings of a much needed boom period for UK businesses.

While growth is key, so is keeping on top of your finances while growing, especially if you’re nurturing the cash flow of an SME. Cash flow can be king, and over stretching funds outwards whilst not getting enough back in, can quickly see a business fall below the agreed overdraft line and into closure. Software tools such as Safe Financials and Safe Credit Control can help business keep the books in order, reduce debtor days, and keep payments processing through the business. To find out more about these products, visit www.safe-financials.co.uk and www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134. 




Credit history, a help or hindrance to budding entrepreneurs?

Credit history, a help or hindrance to budding entrepreneurs?

In his most recent blog, ICM CEO Philip King pulls into question some of the government MP statements on credit history and entrepreneurship in the SME sector, making some valid points.

Philip’s blog can be read in full here: http://www.icm.org.uk/ceoblog/confused-thinking-blog-philip-king-2/. Crux of his argument seems to pull into question seemingly conflicting views voiced by George Osbourne and other MPs at a recent conference in Manchester. On one hand, a proven history of trying and failing in business, could indicate lessons learned and a safer bet for any funding for the future. Equally, some try and repeatedly fail, never attaining a successful enterprise, leaving creditors reeling in their wake.  Essentially the question brought about is should banks transfer history between them or is this counterproductive to business growth? 

It’s been argued that a Californian idea is that no transfer of information occurs. If a business has a bad credit history with one bank, they simply apply to another bank and are assessed afresh. That perhaps by comparison our credit history system in the UK is thus stalling our own country’s growth and entrepreneurship. Indeed as Philip states in his blog, numerous celebrity entrepreneurs did not succeed first time, many of which now have well documented life stories of how they learned from those past failures to become the success they now are. However the argument that we transfer information if good and bury if bad seems impractical logistically. Who decides how good or bad, and where to draw the line? The main question seems to be how reliable the history is for predicting the future. For which a conclusion might be that no one can truly foresee the future, so why not give business a chance? The reality is the risk of lost capital to investors, and the potential domino effect one unsuccessful enterprise may have on others invested in it, supplying to it, awaiting return from it.

Safe Credit Control is a software product that aims to minimise that risk by reducing debtor days with proactive customer relationship management with creditors. As a software solution, Safe Credit Control engages those who owe early for repayment, rather than awaiting the traditional 60 days before beginning the chasing process. Reducing debtor days can improve cash flow which can be make or break for SMEs. To find out more visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk or call 0844 583 2134. 

Auto enrolment, are you ready?

Auto enrolment, are you ready?

Although auto enrolment staging has been happening for around a year and a half we are now moving into the phase affecting companies with 250 employees or fewer.  The impact of this is many more organisations than ever before will find themselves trying to cope with this legislation.  Almost all will need to change operational processes, many will need to change payroll systems, and some may just not have a clue what to do or where to begin!  In their latest blog, one pensions provider states that those who have been through staging are just the tip of the, proverbial, iceberg. The largest employers went first in an attempt to ease in the process.  However the largest employees in schemes to date reportedly only collectively make up 3 million employees from 10,000 companies. Between now and the end of the staging process a further 30,000 organisations need to establish suitable processes to assess, and where appropriate enrol, all their employees.

Managing opt outs is thought to be trickier for smaller operations than larger businesses and, whereas larger employers probably have the staff to deal with the issues or can simply outsource, smaller businesses might be concerned about the additional costs.  When it comes to running the assessments workplace pension auto enrolment isn’t a one off check of all employees, it needs to be a continual process.  Every time payroll runs the eligibility of employees, not already enrolled, needs to be checked.  Every time someone is opted in there has to be a process to deal with their opt out (if chosen).  Opt out communication needs to be worded correctly and be impartial - anything that could be seen as inducing opt out may be deemed something the employer could be fined for.  When an employee opts out that employee has to be re-assessed after three years, in accordance with legislation. It’s a lot for a smaller employer to cope with in house.

What can help is outsourcing payroll to a company like Safe who know how to process employee data correctly for pension auto enrolment.  Safe processes auto enrolment processes within the payroll solution negating any need for third party ‘middleware’ to make the assessment.  Safe offers two service options: - a fully managed payroll provided by Safe Outsourcing or a software as a service (SaaS) model using Safe’s flagship payroll product Safe EMS.  Both of these options are charged on a pay as you go basis, helping smaller businesses budget for and manage costs.  Safe integrate with Now:Pensions and Nest pension providers (and many other providers too), who can help businesses establish a suitable scheme and provide the legally compliant and suitably impartial employee communications necessary.  

Speak to Safe about how they can help your business on 0844 583 2134, email info@safecomputing.co.uk, or visit www.safe-ems.co.uk or www.safeoutsourcing.co.uk to find out more.

Payroll data theft from leading supermarket


Payroll data theft from leading supermarket
A leading supermarket chain hit the headlines in the last couple of weeks, as payroll data for thousands of their employees was stolen.
It’s been widely recently reported by leading news sources that a certain high street supermarket chain has fallen victim to a cyber-crime. The theft in recent weeks has left details of personal information such as addresses, dates of birth, and bank details, at risk, for over one hundred thousand employees who work for this retailer. 
This crime has reportedly meant that the employer had to take steps towards damage limitation, including set up a staff helpline to resolve concerns. This large retailer has reportedly also had to issue press statements to reassure shoppers that their personal information is safe, damaging not only relationships with employees, but with customers too. 

This shows that even some of the largest employers can have systems with security holes. If you are worried your payroll and HR software solution is not robust enough, why not find out more about Safe EMS. To do so, visit www.safe-ems.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk, or call 0844 583 2134. 

Is nowhere safe from illegal workers?

Is nowhere safe from illegal workers?

Fraserburgh is a sleepy town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. With a large golf club and a recorded population of around just twelve and a half thousand, it’s hard to imagine there would be police raids and arrests.

However, just recently the UK border force did raid a retail establishment in Fraserburgh, whilst acting on intelligence. Officers arrested 3 men in their 30s and 40s, who after investigation were found to have had no right to work in the UK.

If the business in question which employed these individuals cannot prove they performed sufficient right to work checks, the employer could be fined up to £30,000. This fine represents the sum of up to £10,000 per illegal worker found during the raid.

A Scotland Immigration Enforcement representative was reportedly quoted as saying these arrests send a ‘clear message’, of essentially ‘no hiding place’ for illegal workers or their employers. This enforcement representative then appealed for further intelligence and vigilance from residents.

Anyone wishing to conduct right to work and other pre-employment and on-going employment checks, can visit www.safescreening.co.uk to find out what’s required and to learn about software tools that can help.

Clean slate for ex-offenders causes recruitment concern

Clean slate for ex-offenders causes recruitment concern

As the justice secretary plans to effectively ‘wipe [the] slate clean’ for ex-offenders, employers may start to wonder who exactly they are employing.

The justice secretary’s plans, as reported recently in a leading national newspaper, could have considerable ramifications for employers if they come to fruition. The idea in motion at the moment is to have a time frame for ‘spent convictions’ in a reform to the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. The plans change short convictions, such as less than six months, to a spent conviction status after two years rather than the 1974 act seven years. For employers, this means the prospective employee need not declare said conviction all the quicker.

Concerns in comments raised in response to the news on the tabloid’s website included one visitor making reference to the case of a shoplifter who stole bread. The tale was accompanied by a question of whether a leading UK high street grocery supermarket would subsequently employ that offender. Food for thought perhaps, if you excuse the pun!

A change in legislation of this kind could impact further in the future and causes confusion on where an employer who would require a CRB check would stand. Could serious crimes become ‘spent convictions’ one day? Could therefore a convicted paedophile who has spent said conviction potentially regain the right to work in a nursery? Could someone convicted under terrorism laws potentially regain the right to work at an airport? What could the consequences be if they do eventually then reoffend? The article quotes the justice secretary and offers some protection in saying that ‘serious crimes’ will always need to be disclosed. However if the 1974 act is changing, so potentially are the proverbial ‘goal posts’ which define serious crimes.

That aspect aside, the shoplifting comment one article reader made online is an example of a crime not seen as serious potentially in light of other crimes, but still not ideal for an employer placing said ex-offender in a shop environment. The idea of the act reform is to assist the rehabilitation of ex-offenders into society. However the impact could be that placing, say a shoplifter to work in a shop, would achieve the exact opposite. It could force the ex-offender to see the scene of their crime on a daily basis and surely heighten the temptation to reoffend. Not exactly ideal for the employer or indeed new employee.

One aspect of this debate is agreed by all who comment on the article. Jobs are in short supply, so employers are very picky over who they choose for a role and as such want to be in full possession of the facts. Safe Screening can help your business be in full possession of the facts regarding your job applicants. To find out more, visit www.safescreening.co.uk.


Safe Screening on YouTube

Watch our latest video: http://youtu.be/XcPZLvAFJ_U

Follow our channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SafeComputingUK

Safe on YouTube

Watch our latest video:




Follow our channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SafeComputingUK

Should employers, agencies, or employees pay for recruitment checks?

Pre-employment background checks are becomingly increasingly compulsory and complex in many industries. Every UK employer needs to check at least that their candidates have the right to work in the UK. Some industries require more processes in line with current legislation.

It has been recently reported that two blue chip name airlines ask potential employees at the point of job offer to pay for their criminal record check to be conducted themselves.

This has caused controversy with a spokesman for a well-known trade union speaking out their opinion that employers should foot the bill for pre-employment checks. The argument posed centred around those who have been faced with unemployment for an extended period of time, for who this process would potentially present a financial bar to returning to work.

Another airline is currently happy to pay for staff security clearance, for which additional background checks are currently compulsory due to anti-terrorism legislation.

Some employers, it seems, adopt a hybrid approach, like an airport ground handling firm who reportedly initially ask potential employees to foot the bill, offering a refund if then successfully hired.

Whoever pays, the price of a manual process can be costly. Software which can manage the checking process can offer per unit price reductions based on total volume transactions over time. One such supplier is Safe Screening. To find out more, visit www.safescreening.co.uk or email info@safecomputing.co.uk.

Did you earn or buy that degree?

Did you earn or buy that degree?

An ever growing problem for those recruiting, is knowing if certificates candidates present, are real, or fake.

With the global recession it has been widely reported that the number of new job opportunities has declined, whilst the number of people looking for work seems ever increasing. The impact of this means there is currently more demand per role than ever before.

Pressure is therefore placed on candidates to stand out from the crowd, so even the most honest of applicants may decide to enhance their CV by supporting this criminal trend. Fraudulent ‘academic institutions’ have been known to sell degrees which are simply a certificate as a result of a financial transaction only and thus representative of no actual formal training process. As fraudulent as this appears, passing off a simply bought qualification as a tangible representation for an actually studied for one, it is hard for law enforcement officials to stop it. The company behind the certificates sold is not in itself, or it’s company name, pretending to be another institution, so there is no copyright infringement to that aspect of their ‘trade’. As an employer recruiting you may try calling up the ‘institution’ to find out if it exists, thinking that could verify the qualification. The ‘institution’ could well dutifully answer the phone to confirm it does indeed exist as an organisation. This too, is not illegal. This does not however guarantee at all that the candidate has studied for the qualification, it could still have come from a simple vendor only organisation and as such be as worthless as the paper it is printed on in terms of the skills set you, as a recruiter, seek to hire.

As an underground process, it is unregulated and fraught with the usual dangers of dealing with less than reprehensible traders. Some job seekers may pay and not even receive their fake certificate. Certain websites have even set up shopping comparison experience forums, calling themselves a sort of unofficial watchdog, to advise  potential shoppers who are the most and least trustworthy of the available certificate purveyors.

Clearly these organisations seek to mislead employers and with the rising competition for available positions business seems to be booming for them. However they are on the fringe of the law. What these organisations are doing is clearly wrong and is only vaguely legal as their activities don’t yet have enough legislation against their operation to effectively police it. Thus outlawing this activity is only a matter of time. With cross boarder communications via the internet too, this type of e-tailer is even harder for the authorities to stop.

The cost of the wrong hire isn’t just potentially a fine for an illegal worker, or the costs of advertising twice over to hire. It’s the human resources involved in interviewing and training. It could also be potentially the damage limitation involved in the wrong person coming into contact with personal information.

So as someone looking to hire, or place a candidate with a client, how can you safeguard against fake qualifications? The resultant fact for the organisation seeking to hire is it is very difficult to know which qualifications are real and which aren’t.  Post hire it could be several months before the candidate shows the tell-tale signs of knowledge gaps. One software solution can verify qualifications against leading UK academic institutions and automate academic referencing. To find out more about it, visit www.safescreening.co.uk.

How to avoid being ‘named and shamed’ by the government

How to avoid being ‘named and shamed’ by the government

No company likes bad press. Building a brand with a noble reputation takes time, good on-going strategy, whilst it can cost a considerable amount in advertising spend.

It has been reported that from February 2012 the UK Boarder Agency will be naming any employer caught employing workers without the proper paperwork and right to work within the UK. As the current fine, per worker, for any illegal employee found is £10,000, the fines can be hard enough for any company in this tough economic climate. Any negative press associated with a brand could damage sales, the impact financially of which could be considerably more.

Statements issued by the agency will be quite specific, leaving nowhere for those who don’t comply to hide. Specified within these ‘name and shame’ communications, accessible to all, will be a breakdown showing the number or illegal workers found in operation in any one employer. Also the agency will state the amount the offending company has been fined, whilst showing a breakdown by geographical location.

Should that not be damaging enough potentially for your brand, the agency also plan to publish names of those who are tardy in paying their fines, giving a company a grace of just 28 days to pay post appeal.

There is only one sensible operating strategy to save your company from the possibility of these issues, which is to check thoroughly those you employ. Manual processes can be costly, time consuming, which can’t guarantee that your teams won’t be duped by falsified documentation. A solution such as Safe Screening can automate a number of checks against key databases and provide a full audit trail to defend your company against any fines or brand devaluing press. See www.safescreening.co.uk, email info@safecomputing.co.uk, or call 0844 583 2134 to find out more.

So many job applicants, so little time…

So many job applicants, so little time…

Yes, there’s been a global recession. Yes, times for many businesses have been and are still hard. However for those lucky or clever enough to have sailed through these troubled times of our economy, life goes on, business goes from strength to strength, which means more people will be needed going forwards.

One double edged sword for those recruiting and bucking the trend is the surge in applicants fighting over their jobs. Before an employer could have expected for example 50 applications before the recession per advertised role, 10 of which stood head and shoulders above the rest. Those same employers  are now faced with over 200 to process, perhaps 50 of these being of a perfectly adequate standard for the job. How else can you make your shortlist?

What about checking all their claims are true? Time consuming? Safe Screening cloud software can help, automating lots of pre-employment checks. The cloud software gives you a portal on the web which means you can set which questions to ask referees and fully brand the site to your business. By entering some simple contact information, emails containing secure links for respondents are generated and sent. So you can check your job applications swiftly in just a few clicks. The site collects the information for your due diligence and audit trails. For anything that can’t be checked automatically against various leading database sources or via referees, the system will alert you. You can then either manually check this, or ask the Safe Screening team to investigate. If you wanted to, you could even outsource the whole process to the Safe Screening team. Call 0844 583 2134 to find out more.


Are you considering outsourcing?

Safe Outsourcing offer payroll, invoicing, credit control, all via an online portal. In these times of economic uncertainty and legislative changes, it can be tricky to always ensure compliance with in-house practices. Outsourcing seems to be falsely feared as a solution within the recruitment marketplace Safe Outsourcing is one of the few that is Safe in name and nature for your career. You retain full control of your payroll processes via our secure web portals. All correspondence is white labelled, so appears to come directly from your in-house resources. By outsourcing to us, you save the physical time calculating, printing, mailing your payroll, allowing you more time to focus on developing your business. By utilising the Safe Outsourcing model, you can rest assured that your payroll will be powered by award winning software made by Safe Computing, the company behind Safe Outsourcing.  

Should your business also be considering funding to bridge the gap between worker payments and client receivables you can even benefit from our preferential rates with our funding partner, Leumi.

Use the links below to register to attend one of our seminars, where you can see our web portals in action and meet our funding partners:

London 27 May

Intellect, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Sq, London, WC1B 5EE



Birmingham 17 June

Novotel Birmingham Centre, 70 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HT



London 8 July - extra London date due to popular demand for this location!

Intellect, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Sq, London, WC1B 5EE



Manchester 14 July

The Swan, Bucklow Hill, Knutsford WA16 6RD




9.30      Coffees and registration

10.00    Manage your pay and bill processes from the golf course - Our web portals allow you full automation and control from anywhere! 


11.00    Coffees

11.15     Funding and how it can help your business - Leumi ABL

12.15    Close and lunch

Or to find out more now, go to www.safeoutsourcing.co.uk.

fair employment monitoring

Fair employment monitoring
The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (FETO), as amended by Fair Employment and Treatment Order (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 , makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief and/or political opinion in the fields of employment, the provision of goods facilities and services, the sale or management of land or property and further and higher education.  We created this solution specifically to serve the above legislative requirements.
This module can be added to track religions of those you employ in Northern  Ireland, and works totally transparently to your employees.
For your HR teams, this module allows for data collection, so your business is able to demonstrate equality in terms of employment.
This allows your business to anonymously track levels of one religion and of another, so you can keep and demonstrate when questioned, a healthy balance.
To find out more about adding our FETO module to your Safe EMS solution, please contact your account manager or visit www.safe-ems.co.uk and use our ‘enquire online’ link. 

Penserver interface

Penserver interface
Our penserver interface solution for Safe EMS assists with calculations of pensions for government agencies employees. This tool provides an interface for files of data relating to pensions, and the interface allows the product user to extract the correct information in the correct file format as requested by law. Laws surrounding government pensions are very specific, and file formats are defined within the law. Our penserver interface automatically populates the Safe EMS solution with pension deductions per employee. Captured information through the interface is sent to pension administrators who are usually external to our customer’s business, in a format easily accessible to all, namely Microsoft Excel files.
Some information will need to be manually inputted, for example spouse contact details, however we do provide you with a form screen to make this data entry easier.
You are able to choose the frequency of reports you can run for pensions administration, so if you pay a financial adviser to check these daily, monthly, or annually, you are able to run reports in time to match this agreement. Similarly, if you wish to run reports based on how often the information is likely to change, for example if you run two major recruitment events each year, you are able to customise report dates to suit.
To find out more about adding our penserver interface to your Safe EMS solution, speak to your account manager or visit www.safe-ems.co.uk and use our ‘enquire online’ link. 


LGPS (Local government pension scheme) module

The software is able to calculate average pension contributions within legislation specific to educational institutions.
Our software can calculate contributions based on any point in the year and salary.
Local governments will usually set bandings as rules for schools to follow, and our software helps you comply with these.
Our LGPS optional extra can calculate employer contributions on a salary basis at any given point during the year, giving you flexibility to hire new staff and start their pensions all year round.
We are also aware that part time workers can be entitled to the same pension contribution as a full time worker in these sectors, and our software is able to calculate contributions on this basis.
To find out more about adding our LGPS functionality to your Safe EMS solution, please contact your account manager or visit www.safe-ems.co.uk and use our ‘enquire online’ link. 

2011 is a tough legislative year for recruiters

2011 is a tough legislative year for recruiters

Hello bloggers, Renata Jones here, lead generation manager for Safe Computing.  I hope you enjoy reading my blogs, and in this most recent instalment I explore why I believe this year seems to be a tough one for recruitment agencies. It is only February and 2011 is shaping up to be a year of moderate discontent, especially for recruitment companies, perhaps their toughest yet.

Well publicised in the world media is the period of austerity we are all experiencing to some degree following the impact of a global recession. Essentially a fancy way of saying we are all watching the pennies and tightening our proverbial belts. The recruitment industry has long experienced increasing regulation as a minority of less ethical companies gave the industry as a whole a bad name. Increases in regulations to travel and subsistence schemes and from the new agency workers regulation that come into effect from October, make 2011 no exception to this rule.

Navigating these macro economic factors and remaining a profitable recruitment business can be an arduous task with limited in-house experience, so why not let some recruitment agency specific software take some of the pressure off your organisation? Recruiting software can for instance manage applications, parsing CV information received automatically from web based portals, also known as cloud computing, for candidates to basically do information inputting for you, without a tedious form for them. Recruitment management software can help your business manage multiple employments of your employees within the same timeframe. Pay and bill software can help you process timesheets, pay accordingly, and manage correctly your national insurance (NI) payments. So what are all these miraculous software tools called? Well actually they all have one name, Safe Tempest. From one basic system specifically engineered for the recruitment agency market, Safe Tempest can be customised with modular optional extras to archive all of the above recruitment management functions of your business, letting you do what you do best, focus on the people. Cut down your administration and interview more candidates, and meet with your customers more, building your relationships and your business. Safe Tempest recruitment software is used by most of the top 50 recruiters in the UK and Ireland, and will scale to the size of your business as it grows. There is even a range of optional extras which can enhance this software, and Safe can create custom built bespoke additional modules on request. Safe also offer software for smaller users numbers and businesses.

To find out more speak to your account manager, or visit www.safe-tempestsuite,co.uk and click on the ‘enquire online’ link. If there is a topic you’d like me to explore in a future blog post, please contact me using info@safecomputing.co.uk.

Proactive rather than reactive credit control?

Eddie StanleyProactive rather than reactive credit control?

An ability to manage cash flow is crucial to business success, and the control and management of debtors is often a painful task, as a result of manual and repetitive processes. Recent external economic factors resulting from the impacts of a long term global recession, only adds to headaches of a credit control team. An introduction of effective tools to improve the collections process, is arguably more important today, than at any time in recent history.

Credit controllers are traditionally regarded as an essential element in business to chase late payments, and respond to customer queries. However, why just be reactive in this field when you can be proactive? Proactive businesses are generally regarded as market leaders, and those who are reactive are more likely to be ‘me too’, or market followers. The traditional style of credit control is a purely reactive process. You wait for non payment, and chase. Just because that is the way it has been done, does not mean that is the way it should work in the future. There is a better way.

Software is available now which can manage credit checking, credit insurance and risk analysis, through to promised payments. There is software which can even produce and automate chase letters and copy invoices. By proactively contacting the customer at various points in their lifecycle, rather than simply awaiting non payment, this software can automate a more proactive customer conversation. Throughout all phases, every event or process is tracked through credit controller’s workflow with in-built escalation procedures, and excellent supporting management reporting. This allows the credit controller to be freed from the everyday, and time to concentrate on really exceptional cases.

A major benefit of this pro-active approach is that the relationship between credit control team and the customer becomes positive. Most credit controllers traditionally ring up only to complain that the account is overdue for payment. By actively managing the account, it becomes possible to see any difficulties in advance, and work them out with the customer before they turn into a problem.

Safe credit control has taken these concepts of customer relationship management (CRM), and applied them to the credit control function, providing a softer, service orientated team of customer service representatives. If your current processes could be improved using our software and outsourcing services, why not get in touch?

Eddie Stanley



Eddie Stanley, Commercial Director for Financials and Credit Control


Go anywhere credit control and spread the word!

Go anywhere credit control and spread the word!

As there is an increasing trend to work from home, so there is a need for more portable and accessible ways of working. Working from home or indeed the local coffee shop, saves company space and resources, and provides employees with a more comfortable working environment.

Additionally in these days of distributed office environments, for example, branch networks either locally or internationally, access to key management information from these disparate locations is crucial to business success.

Furthermore, providing business critical data directly to your clients, will generate a rapid return on investment not to mention empowering your most valuable asset, your clients.

For some reason though, a surprising number of companies seem to keep their credit control function and teams in house, and trapped in a single environment. Current, cost effective and readily available technology means this does not need to be the case. Software is available now which allows credit controllers, branch colleagues and their clients, to work externally to the localised environment. The reach of credit and query management can be extended using web based software via an online portal. Within a web browser, permitted users can check reports, handle enquiries and interact with the internal credit control team.

Trusted colleagues gain access to all their associated clients credit control related data and clients themselves may access a reduced subset of their own data.  Available data includes client turnover, aged debtor profile, balances and outstanding queries, not to mention full access to all current and historical transactions including the ability to download copy documents.  Other documents, chase letters and customer statements may also be viewed and downloaded via the portal.

The option to interact with the credit control team by adding notes or changing the status of a query or outstanding action radically improves the interaction with the team.  This shortens resolution time, hence enabling outstanding debt to be resolved in a much shorter timescale.

To find out more about Safe Credit Control, visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk and complete an online enquiry form.





Eddie Stanley, Safe Computing, Commercial Director, Financials and Credit Control.



Emerge from global recession, increase information, and reduce your manual intervention

Eddie StanleyEmerge from global recession, increase information, and reduce your manual intervention

The recent global recession has produced a turbulent economic environment, affecting individuals and corporations in equal measure. The nonstop growth of the credit culture has had significant impact on individuals, leading to mortgage defaults, reduced spending on the high street and a general tightening of the belt.  Business is no different. Banks are unwilling to provide loans to invest in new opportunities, and also not extending overdrafts.

Credit rating and data providers are set to play an increasing role in helping businesses to stay abreast of their client’s financial health. Activities to do so involve managing their client’s debtor situation, and being aware of any impending customer insolvency.  Many suppliers of such data now provide an ongoing service to alert clients of any activities that are likely to affect the credit worthiness of their customers and suppliers. These could include county court judgements (CCJs) issued, new accounts filed, risk or delinquency scores, and offering recommended credit limits. This supplements the traditional credit check and report process, which still plays a major role in checking process of new or prospective client customers.

Given the recession, you would expect the popularity of credit insurance to have increased, however, the cost of this service has also increased and hence its take up has remained static. In the case of credit rating and insurance solutions, the manual effort involved in acquiring and processing the data is significant. The information gleaned from this process is, more often than not, disparate to the commercial business solutions in place.  By easing the manual processes required and integrating such solutions with the finance systems, there is an opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce costs and drive down poor credit performance. Safe Credit Control reduces these manual processes, and could help your business, so get in touch to find out more.

Eddie Stanley





Eddie Stanley, Commercial Director for Financials and Credit Control



Credit control and CRM, working together?

Credit control and CRM, working together?

Customer relationship management systems are an increasingly hot topic in the IT related press. Organisations are increasingly seeking to automate their ‘front office’ activities where possible, and see credit control as very much a ‘back office’ function. Traditionally, credit control is a reactive exercise, controllers chasing late payment as Rottweilers, not the cuddly teddy bears associated with CRM.

Adopting a softer, CRM based approach to credit control is, as the name suggests, about cultivating a relationship with the customer.  By employing CRM techniques, we give the customer the impression they are special, and that the credit controller has a holistic view of their account and the person they are communicating with. Any software system should therefore be able to provide all relevant customer facing personnel with a comprehensive view of all dealings with the company. An all round, sometimes called ‘three sixty degree’, view.

Creating a relationship on a one to one basis, encourages trust between the parties involved.  A customer promising to pay transactions is far less likely to default, if they feel they are letting a ‘friend’ down rather than the unknown face of a traditional credit controller. One software and service provider has embraced this concept, combining CRM practices into credit control activities which in turn separates them as a thought leader in the market.

This software solution, available today, tracks every single communication between credit controller and customer, each conversation, every letter, all emails, the whole relationship committed to record.  Automated events are diarised to drive a daily workflow for the credit controller.  Typical events include overdue invoices, exceeded credit limits and risk reviews to name but a few. The credit controller is guided towards their daily tasks, with all the related information necessary to complete the task readily available.

To find out more about Safe Credit Control, visit www.safe-creditcontrol.co.uk and complete an online enquiry form.






Eddie Stanley, Commercial Director - Financials and Credit Control, Safe Computing.


Can you afford to wait 61 days to be paid?

It seems acknowledged that typical payment terms are usually 30 days, but according to research average debtor days, in some cases extend to  61 days*. Remarkably many companies appear not to place sufficient focus on such excessive debtor days. However in times of recession, where cash flow is one of the most important things to manage, who can really afford to wait that long?

Waiting two months for payments due is in my humble opinion far too long. Businesses in these tough economic times do not have the borrowing abilities they had previously, as banks become increasingly inflexible, and under closer scrutiny, since the public bailout in the UK. Indeed, the new UK coalition government has just unveiled plans to scrap the financial services authority (FSA) for not keeping banks on a tight enough leash. Control will go to the Bank of England, which will no doubt in the long term mean stricter rules for banks to adhere to, and less borrowing to be had.

So what is the impact on your enterprise? With money you are potentially owed sitting earning interest for your customers rather than you and potentially paying interest on overdrafts, you are losing out big style! Whilst your overdraft facilities could potentially previously handle the deficit in the short term, your bank holds the right to change that. If your bank was to withdraw your overdraft tomorrow, would your cash flow cope? Your company can make a loss more than once, but running out of cash could be the end.

Rather than wait the traditional 30 days before manually chasing, our software tries a softer, earlier, automated approach. The impact for our customers is a vast reduction in debtor days, improved cash flow, and much better customer relations. The impact to you could be the difference between trading today, and gone tomorrow. If you think our software could help your business, get in touch. info@safecomputing.co.uk.

*Source: http://www.findoutinfo.com/direct/CD001?stylesheet=USE315.xsl




By Eddie Stanley


Are you ready for the 'fit note'?

As most of us in the payroll and human resources (HR) business are aware, the traditional ‘sick note’, otherwise known as a Doctors Medical Certificate, was replace in April this year by the ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ (Med 3), also known as the ‘fit note’.


This new certificate gives the doctor the opportunity to advise the employee that they are either:


o   unfit for work

o   may be fit for work


The new option of ‘may be fit for work’ means that fewer employees will be ‘signed off’, when they could possibly do some, or all, of their entire job, with support from their employer.


This will mean the employer discussing with the employee:


o   a phased return to work

o   reduced hours

o   amended duties

o   workplace adaption’s

o   a combination of the above


However, the GP’s advice on the fit note is not binding. If the employee or employer does not agree with the fit note’s reasonable adjustments, the employee can remain off sick until the expiry of the fit note.


Good practice is to discuss the issue of pay, particularly where there is no contractual sick pay. However, the employer’s responsibility for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will not change. SSP will be still payable under the current rules for a sickness absence of four days or more where the employee meets the qualifying conditions.


If doctor has advised that an employee may be fit for work, it does not automatically mean they can return to work. The employee could remain off sick because the employer is unable to provide the necessary support. The employer should consider the advice on the statement in such a case as, ‘not fit for work’.


The employer and employee will need to consider the financial impact where the employee is supported back to work by reducing their hours, and if an enhanced SSP supplement is paid. Any issue related to this should be discussed with HMRC on 08457 143143.

The introduction of the fit note has not been universally welcomed, as there is concern that GP’s are not occupational health specialists. GPs therefore do not have the knowledge of an individual business, to make recommendations about adaptations to the workplace. From an employer’s perspective, there is also an implication under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) of not implementing GP’s advice.

More information can be accessed by logging onto the DWP website http://www.dwp.gov.uk/fitnote/


Your software provider will be best able to offer advice on maintaining any Occupational Sickness Pay schemes you may be operating along with sickness monitoring, which may include workflows, triggers and the Bradford Factor. If you think your current software may not be able to cope with these changes, contact Safe Computing info@safecomputing.co.uk, or visit www.safe-ems.co.uk and www.safe-tempestsuite.co.uk to find out more about our products and services.

By Tamara Pattman and Bonnie Holland

Increasing margins by decreasing processing costs

Eddie Young writes ...’A wise man pointed out to me many years ago that for every pound of unnecessary expenditure, it takes two extra pounds of revenue to return it to profit.

Competition has never been greater than in the staffing world. The fight for margin is a tough one, especially where clients hold the upper hand on billing rates. This situation tends to focus the mind of staffing companies on the ‘coalface’ of sales negotiation. With the hope that volume negotiated there, will offset low unit margin. It is the service industry equivalent of ‘pile them high, and sell them cheap’.

Basic bookkeeping teaches that revenue generation is just one half of the equation. Controlling costs is equally important. Many employment businesses find their processes have grown around ‘necessity’, without regard to cost. Volume business, discounted or not, might improve the gross margin but can severely impact the bottom line. Support systems responsible for the processing of the payroll for workers, and the raising of invoices to clients, and cash collection, can struggle to keep up. The solution is all too often an increase in headcount, or squeezing even more commitment out of staff in the middle or back office.

It is time to take a step backwards and regroup.

Firstly, there should be no ‘sacred cows’. Laissez-faire should  absolutely the last option.

Secondly, how much of the additional strain is there on systems which process data the business collects? Could these strains be eased by thinking a little bit smarter? How much of your data is collected and keyed into computer systems multiple times? The days of duplication should be put firmly behind us. Such duplication is not only inefficient, it breeds error.

Thirdly, can the increased efficiency of such a systematic review only benefit your staffing business? Can efficiency also improve the level of service to stakeholders, such as the clients, workers, and suppliers you interact with?

Fourthly, business systems are already available to address the challenges of the modern staffing world. It is not unchartered territory.

Finally, you can bet your bottom dollar that even if you eschew any consideration of change, your competitors probably won’t. Change can be for the better of your business, and can sometimes even put you ahead of the competition.

Go on. Make the change. Feel the benefits!

Cutting costs, increasing margins

Hi I’m Eddie Young, and this is the second in a series of blog entries I hope to bring you, exploring some of the burning issues faced by our industry today. In this instalment, I’ll be talking about ways you can cut costs and increase efficiency, both important for survival in our difficult current economic climate.

Clients are savvy these days, you can’t get the most money just by charging the clients more! You have to create efficiencies by reducing procedural costs, while increasing business efficiency. We have developed products to try and assist with these aims. These include timesheets which can be sent to a fax server. Or, we can even help with electronic collection of timesheet data via scanning, web portals, and client timesheet data via spreadsheets. The days of one size fits all are over! You don’t have to have one stakeholder doing all the work. Someone could be doing the inputting remotely, and sending it to you electronically, saving you precious time and resources.

Removing a paper trail is vital. Not only is this vital for saving our planets resources in these increasingly greener days, but also to save time, and reduce margin for error. Electronic timesheets eliminate the time lag between a timesheets completion, authorisation, and processing. Debtor days are reduced, as invoicing can be completed days earlier than the paper based equivalent.

I’m not describing the world of science fiction, this is happening today. Even where some of our clients don’t feel ready for electronic authorisation of timesheets, there is a gentle introduction. The ability to deliver to a worker their timesheet for the week, and print it ‘in the old fashioned way’ once completed, can be achieved electronically. This method is regarded by some of our software users as an introduction to the principle.

I’ll be writing a further few blog entries soon, but would be interesting in hearing your thoughts on these matters or anything else relevant to our industry on info@safecomputing.co.uk!

At last! Holiday pay, AWD, and other issues are coming along!

Hi I’m Eddie Young, and thank you for reading my blog. I want this space to be about the burning issues that face our industry, and this is the first of what I hope to be a series of blog posts.

Employment businesses are increasingly reviewing their relations with clients and workers, in the light of further legislation, coming soon. They are considering the impacts of this legislation in this changing market.

Back in 1998, there was a lot of talk about holiday pay, and a lot was around how to minimise its impact on margins! This view was a reflection of an anticipation, that the agencies were worried they might have to make temps move off their books early! One client was worried they might have to finish a temporary worker, on a Friday, only to restart them on a Monday, to avoid any pitfalls and complications around continuous service!

Thankfully temporary workers are a little more savvy these days, and know they are entitled to the same rights as those in comparable roles, but what are comparable roles? There are no official guidelines from the government on this. Agencies have to agree these with clients, and clients need to agree what they will accept after 12 weeks service, as rates may increase.  People seem to currently have their ‘heads in the sand’ over this issue, and we need to find a way forwards.

Ireland have taken advantage of the ambiguity, and can’t give any firm dates yet on the agency workers directive (AWD) current issue. Rather than just revise that aspect, they are looking at their whole legislation in relation to agency workers.

I’ll explore some of these issues more in a further few blog entries, but would be interesting in hearing your thoughts on info@safecomputing.co.uk!

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