Jim Hackett, Chief Executive Officer of Steelcase, Inc., delivered a lecture Monday night about his company’s success as part of the Mendoza College of Business’s 2013 John A. Berges Lecture Series in Business Ethics. Hackett whose global company specializes in furniture and interior architecture, said integrity and career consciousness allowed his company to be successful for over 100 years without a single scandal. He said the 2001 audit failure of the Enron Corporation demonstrates how crucial it is for businesses to ask a fundamental question. “What are the boundaries that you won’t compromise?” he said. “Trust comes with integrity. People won’t work with a business they can’t trust.” Hackett said each employee must evaluate “how [he] sees [himself] in the context of business.” His experience as the leader of Steelcase for 20 years taught him that businesses should follow variable changes which could affect the whole nature and “physics of business,” he said. Hackett also said integrity plays a key part in responding to external changes. “When cheating is easier than playing by the rule, when [they] don’t believe in [themselves], people tend to believe virtues can be given up,” Hackett said. “Do you think everyone in Enron was broke? But, there [was] too much pressure on the goal. “There [was] illiteracy for the rules. And they’ve become a crooked organization. Most people cheat because the idea of not succeeding is too excruciating.” Hackett said unlike Steelcase, Enron did not choose to pursue the ethical way to achieve its goal. He said ethics is the ultimate pillar that keeps businesses going and enables people to trusts the businesses they collaborate with and corporations can remain ethical onnly when every member keeps his or her integrity. “If you make a mistake, don’t double down.” Hackett said. “There’s no softer pillar than career conscience.” Contact Jessica Roh at email@example.com
Vermont Business Magazine Citizens Financial Group, Inc (NYSE: CFG) announced a year-end decision to make additional investments in its colleagues and the communities it serves following the new law on federal tax reform.Specifically, the bank plans to:Grant approximately 12,500 colleagues a one-time $1,000 cash bonus, a cost of $12.5 million. This grant will benefit colleagues below a certain compensation threshold, covering over 70% percent of Citizens’ workforce.Contribute $10 million to the Citizens Charitable Foundation to further the impact it makes on its communities, and to benefit its partners. The Foundation focuses on improving financial literacy, helping to provide affordable housing and fight hunger, and supporting economic development across the Citizens footprint.“Corporate tax reform provides us with an opportunity to recognize the role our colleagues have played in delivering better results for customers and shareholders, and to positively impact the communities where we live, work and play,” said Bruce Van Saun, chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group.More information on Citizens giving programs can be found here. About Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $151.4 billion in assets as of September 30, 2017. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions.In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services, including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest rate products and asset finance.Source: PROVIDENCE, RI — Citizens Financial Group, Inc . More information is available at www.citizensbank.com(link is external) or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine As Governor Scott continues to open up the economy, the weekly unemployment insurance claims have continued to subside. Initial and ongoing claims have now decreased every week since the peak in early April.The weekly claims report indicates that for the week ending May 23, 2020, the Department processed 1,552 Initial Claims, down 647 from the previous week but 1,122 more than the same time last year. Total new and continuing claims are 51,837, a decrease of 5,465 from the previous week and 48,204 more than the same time last year.Since March 1, over 90,000 claims have been filed. The official Vermont March unemployment rate was only 3.1 percent, but the April rate is 15.6 percent. The US April rate is 14.7 percent. Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said he expects the Vermont rate to continue to rise because the unemployment survey was done in the middle of the month. The rate does not include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance filers.The recently-launched Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has added to the ranks of those receiving benefits. The PUA serves the self-employed who previously did not qualify to receive UI benefits.State officials said while UI payments might be late, all money owed will be paid eventually back to the actual start date. Harrington said that some PUA recipients were initially overpaid but that all those claims should be rectified by May 23.This surge during the Great Recession for the entire year in 2009 spiked at 38,081 claims.The claims back in 2009 pushed the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund into deficit and required the state to borrow money from the federal government to cover claims.Right now (see data below), Vermont has $423.6 million in its trust fund and spent $15.2 million on claims last week. Payments lag claims typically by a week.Vermont currently has more than double the Trust Fund it did when the economy started to slide in 2007.The UI Trust Fund would not fall into deficit under these trends, but the governor has acknowledged that they simply cannot predict it given how economic conditions could swing if there is a second surge of COVID-19.The US unemployment rate for April jumped to 14.7 percent in April, the highest rate since its was first calculated in 1948 and the highest unofficially since the Great Depression of about 25 percent. The US and Vermont (15.6 percent in April up from 3.1 percent in March) unemployment rates are expected to surge further.But with Governor Scott’s order to at first close all restaurants March 17 and all non-essential workers have been ordered home. He has slowly started to reopen the economy and is expected to add to that list already this week and expects to announce more on Friday. He also extended his Emergency Order to June 15.See the latest business guidance HERE, and Scott’s $400 million economic recovery plan HERE.The impact on jobs from the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Vermont on weekly unemployment claims is expected to be profound and the federal aid package more than doubles current UI payments to Vermonters.The federal government will add $600 a week to the Vermont benefit. That federal benefit is set to expire July 31(link is external).Nationwide, according to the US Labor Department for the week ending May 23, initial claims for state unemployment benefits were 2.1 million. Economists were expecting 2.05 million. Last week they were 2.7 million, before that it was 2.98 million, from 3.18 million the week before, and 3.85 million and 4.4 million the previous weeks. (The weeks previous to that were 5.2 million and 6.6 million. The weeks before that there were 3.3 million and before that 282,000 claims.)About 40.8 million Americans have filed for claims since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.UI claims by industry last week in Vermont were not calculated.All these numbers of course are expected to take a precipitous turn for the worse over the next few months, especially when the April report is released in May.Stories:Vermont’s unemployment rate increases to 15.6 percent in April General Fund tax revenues fall by more than 50 percentBusinesses to see double-digit rate decrease in workers’ comp insurance in 2020Tax revenues finish year nearly $60 million above targetsUI tax rates for employers fell again on July 1, 2018, as claims continue to be lower than previous projections. Individual employers’ reduced taxable wage rates will vary according to their experience rating; however, the rate reduction will lower the highest UI tax rate from 7.7 percent to 6.5 percent. The lowest UI tax rate will see a reduction from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.Also effective July 1, 2018, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will be indexed upwards to 57% of the average weekly wage. The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $466, which will increase to $498. Both changes are directly tied to the change in the Tax Rate Schedule.Vermont’s minimum wage rose to $10.78 on January 1, 2019.The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) – A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment “by place of work.” Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment.
Supreme Court JNC sends the governor four names The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission February 2 forwarded the names four candidates to the governor to fill the vacancy created by Justice Charles Wells’ retirement.Those recommended for the vacancy are:* Daniel Gerber, an attorney from Orlando.* Alan Lawson, a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal from Daytona Beach.* Debra Nelson, an 18th Judicial Circuit judge from Sanford.* James Perry, an 18th Judicial Circuit judge from Longwood. February 2, 2009 Regular News Supreme Court JNC sends the governor four names
He found out about four months ago that he is suffering from terminal lung cancer.“You can never take it, it’s never easy,” Johnson said of the news. “But you have to do what you have to do… you just got to live with it.”Johnson said the athletes help him stay strong and feel young.“He would always ask us how our day was going,” Williams said, “and anything he could do to help us… equipment-wise or about the upcoming race.”Williams said Johnson’s case has helped the team succeed at a higher level.“Our goal and his goal is to see us win a Big Ten championship at some point,” Williams said. “It’s been kind of an inspiration for our team, probably both indoor and outdoor, to get him that Big Ten championship.”Wilson said the team created “JACK” T-shirts to support Johnson, which they will wear for the remainder of the year.Johnson said he appreciates all that Wilson has done for him and calls him a “brother.”“He takes care of me and has been very helpful with me to fight this,” Johnson said. Johnson honored by event namingThis weekend’s track and field event is now named after former manager Jack Johnson. Robert MewsJanuary 18, 2006Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintHe doesn’t hold any records and his name is not in the ranks with other Minnesota track and field legends.But Jack Johnson’s place on the track and field program is as resounding as that of any other person.Having retired last fall after 29 years as the track and field manager, Johnson is now more of a spiritual leader for the team, especially while coming to grips with the news that he has terminal lung cancer.This weekend’s meet at the University Field House has been renamed the Jack Johnson Classic. Johnson also donated $25,000 to the athletics department to start a scholarship fund for student-athletes.“I feel as though he became extra close to the track program,” junior distance runner Lauren Williams said.“I think the least we can do is name a meet after him, just to kind of show him how much he means to the program.”Coach Gary Wilson has worked with and been a friend of Johnson’s for more than 20 years, and said the money and time he spends with the team means a lot to him and the athletes.“He is just such a tremendous leader by example,” Wilson said. “The kids are just drawn to him because they know that he is out there working for them for very little salary, and yet, he does it as though he is making a million dollars.”The tough part is that Johnson does not have too many days with the team before his number is called.
Pinterest Share on Twitter LinkedIn Share “This study was motivated by a paper published by Carin Perilloux and Rob Kurzban in Psychological Science in 2012. The conclusion of that paper was that men have evolved the tendency to overestimate women’s sexual interest, and women under-estimate that of men’s,” Lee told PsyPost.“My thought on this was that there are a lot of differences between men and women that could explain this bias without appealing to inherent sex differences. For instance, people (regardless of their sex) who are interest in short-term sexual encounters may be more likely to overestimate sexual interest, it just so happens that men tend to be more interested in these types of relationships.”A speed-dating study was conducted among a sample of 1,226 heterosexual young adults with an average age of 19. Each participant met around three to four members of the opposite sex for a total of 3 minutes each, adding up to 3,850 interactions. After each meeting, subjects rated their sexual interest in their partner and the perceived sexual interest of their partner. Subjects also completed the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory which measured their willingness to partake in uncommitted sex by assessing their past experiences, their attitudes towards casual sex, and their desire for sex. Finally, subjects rated their own attractiveness.Results were consistent with previous studies, showing that men, overall, perceived higher levels of sexual attraction from women than women did from men. Effects were also found for each of the three potential mediators. When it came to sociosexual orientation, those with an inclination towards short-term relationships perceived more sexual interest from their partners. As the authors point out, this could indicate that people who are more open to casual sex overperceive other’s interest in them in order to maximize opportunities for mating.Next, those who rated themselves as higher in attractiveness also perceived greater sexual interest from their partners.“If we assume that individuals have some insight into their own attractiveness (indeed, self-rated attractiveness was positively associated with received sexual interest from partners in our sample), this finding could suggest a learning effect in which individuals who have received interest in the past raise their internal representation of their own attractiveness, which in turn influences their perceptions of sexual interest from potential partners in future interactions,” Lee and associates say.The final and largest effect on perceived interest from a partner was the rater’s own sexual interest. In fact, subjects’ perceptions of a partner’s sexual interest were more strongly associated with their own interest in that partner than the partner’s actual sexual interest. This effect is consistent with the idea that people tend to project their sexual interest onto others, and could “reflect a broader tendency for individuals to assume that others think like themselves” rather than an evolutionary adaptation.Importantly, when researchers took the three mediators into account, the effect for sex disappeared. This suggests that sex differences in perception of sexual interest can be completely explained by the factors of sociosexual orientation, self-ratings of attractiveness, and projected sexual interest. This challenges the idea that sex differences in misperceptions of sexual interest have evolved solely to accommodate the different mating strategies of men and women.“There doesn’t appear to be an inherent difference between men and women regarding perceptions of sexual interest, and any misperceptions in sexual interest appear to be more due to more individual differences, such as that in motivation,” Lee said.“While our particular paper identified some individual differences that helped explain differences in misperceptions in sexual interest, we did not investigate an exhaustive list.”The study, “Sex Differences in Misperceptions of Sexual Interest Can Be Explained by Sociosexual Orientation and Men Projecting Their Own Interest Onto Women”, was authored by Anthony J. Lee, Morgan J. Sidari, Sean C. Murphy, James M. Sherlock, and Brendan P. Zietsch. Email Share on Facebook New research suggests that men’s tendency to overestimate women’s sexual interest is more than just an evolutionary adaptation. The study found that differences in sociosexual orientation and the tendency to project one’s interest onto others completely explained sex differences in the misperception of partner’s interest. The study was published in Psychological Science.Previous research has consistently found that when it comes to gauging a partner’s sexual interest, men and women display different biases. Men tend to overestimate women’s sexual interest, while women underestimate men’s sexual interest. Some researchers have speculated that these differences have evolved to serve the mating strategies of each sex. From an evolutionary perspective, men have more to lose by underestimating a partner’s interest and potentially missing a mating opportunity than women do. Women, on the other hand, have more to lose by overestimating a man’s interest and engaging in sex with an uncommitted man.Study author Anthony J. Lee, a lecturer at The University of Stirling, and his team wanted to explore whether there might be other factors involved that can explain men’s and women’s differences in perceptions of sexual interest.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – James McElya, executive chairman of Cooper-Standard Automotive in Novi, Mich., has been elected 2008-2009 chairman of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) Board of Directors. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement McElya served chief executive officer of Cooper-Standard Automotive from December 2004 through June 2008. Prior to this, McElya had been a corporate vice president of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which was the parent company of Cooper-Standard Automotive until 2004. McElya has more than 30 years of automotive experience and was previously president of Siebe Automotive Worldwide, a division of Invensys, PLC. He spent 22 years with Handy & Harman in various executive management positions, including president, Handy & Harman Automotive, and corporate vice president and officer of the parent company. In addition to his involvement with MEMA and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA), McElya has served as a board member of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and an advisor to the National Alliance for Accessible Golf (NAAG). Other MEMA board officers include: • Vice chairman – Terry McCormack, CEO, president and director, Affinia Group • Vice chairman – Gordon Ulsh, president, CEO and director of Exide Technologies • Treasurer – Eugene Ezzell, president, Mikronite Automotive Technologies Charles “Charley” Johnson, president, CEO and director of Proliance International Inc., will remain on the board as immediate past chairman. New members of the board are: • John Corey, president and CEO, Stoneridge Inc. • Dennis Michaels, president and CEO, Link Manufacturing Inc. • Peter Morse, president, Morse Automotive Corp. • Tom Ward, president, Snap-on ToolsAdvertisement Directors continuing to serve on the board include: • Robert Devenney, senior vice president, Danaher Corp., Professional Tool Group • Joseph McAleese, president and CEO, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and HDMA chairman • Robert “Bob” McKenna, president and CEO of MEMA • Alfred “Al” Stecklein, president, Schrader and Plews, Tomkins Plc. • James Orchard, CEO, Dayco Products – Mark IV Auto • Francisco “Frank” Ordonez, president, Delphi Product and Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corp
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National news articles chronicling the recent escape from New York to the Hamptons amid the COVID-19 pandemic have left a wave of emotion in their path. Articles like “Coronavirus Leads To Class Warfare In Hamptons,” “Hamptons Food Stores Ransacked By The Wealthy Amid Coronavirus Pandemic,” and “Wealthy New Yorkers Flee To Hamptons, Hudson Valley To Escape Coronavirus” have been published by the New York Post, Bloomberg, and CNBC. It’s true the East End has seen an influx of residents, with weekenders setting up shop and summer stayers coming back early. And yes, they are buying large quantities of food and other necessities, leaving many locals angry. But to declare class warfare by pitting the rich against the poor — insinuating that every local is poor and all wealthy are greedy — at a time like this is just not helping the situation. As a community, we should be sharing and discussing how our local fishermen are feeding the community rather than falling hook, line, and sinker for the clickbait. The public’s health is what’s important right now. Share a link to a local food pantry. Share a resource for a senior citizen. It’s unrealistic to think that anyone who owns a second home is not going to use it at a time like this. A pandemic could have easily happened in July, and we should be as prepared as possible any time of year. The grocery stores may not have been ready for the inflow of patrons, but none in the country were, and we all can, and will, adapt going forward. If New York City residents want to use their Hamptons home to quarantine, by all means do so, but please also respect the local community. Stay home. Do not congregate in public spaces and do not hoard groceries and supplies. And this should go without saying, but do not, please, under any circumstance hop on public transportation to the East End or anywhere if you’ve been exposed to, or worse, tested positive for COVID-19. A specifically cringe-worthy moment happened when we spotted a sponsored Instagram post from Blade helicopter service Sunday evening advertising “WFH = Work From the Hamptons,” offering a two-night stay at a luxury hotel and a round-trip ride from Manhattan. This is unacceptable. It is a time for everyone to stay home, not head out on vacation. Share
Virtual pipelines deliver LNG by road, rail, and waterways not connected by physical pipelines.“We believe this collaboration with ExxonMobil, a major LNG supplier with a local presence in India, coupled with our ongoing work with IOLC will accelerate India’s ability to offer a cleaner energy solution within the growing cities and networks,” said Jill Evanko, Chart’s President and CEO.“We are excited to offer our cryogenic equipment to support what each party in this collaboration believes will accelerate clean energy progress while doing so with localised equipment manufacturing in India. Source: Chart Industries, Inc.In early 2019, Chart signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IOLC to promote the development of the LNG market in India, focusing on modular liquefaction, regasification applications, LNG bunkering, fuelling stations and alternative LNG mobile transportation.The letter of content announced this week expands the reach and potential scale within a significantly growing country that has committed to clean energy options.Read more like this – subscribe todayEnjoyed this story? Subscribe to gasworld today and take advantage of even more great insights and exclusives in industrial gases.Visit www.gasworld.com/subscribe to access all content and choose the right subscription for you.
The US Coast Guard is, as of July 6, imposing a set of conditions of entry on vessels arriving from the Gambia, as the country was deemed to have deficient port anti-terrorism measures.Any vessel that visited a port in the Republic of the Gambia in its last five port calls prior to calling at any US port will have to implement measures per the vessel’s security plan equivalent to Security Level 2 while in Gambian ports.Ship operators must ensure that each access point to the vessel is guarded and that the guards have total visibility of the exterior (both landside and waterside) of the vessel while the vessel is in Gambian ports.The vessel’s master and the Company Security Officer must also attempt to execute a Declaration of Security while in Gambian ports, as well as log all security actions in the vessel’s security records.The security actions taken must be reported to the cognizant Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) prior to arrival into US waters.The vessel may also be required to ensure that each access point to the vessel is guarded by armed, private security guards and that they have total visibility of the exterior (both landside and waterside) of the vessel while in US ports.
The House of Lords debate on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has featured a procession of eminent lawyers honing their advocacy skills. All of which has made it a formidable place for those without a legal background. Some noble lords have been at pains to find suitably parliamentary language in which to apologise for any shortcomings. Speaking during the debate, Lord Newton of Braintree feared that, as a non-lawyer, he was ‘trespassing with great trepidation into this lawyers’ paradise territory’, while justice minister Lord McNally admitted he had a ‘feeling of foreboding’ whenever he was confronted with the former lord chancellor Lord Mackay (pictured). In a splendid putdown, his Labour counterpart Lord Bach said that McNally had ‘played the role of a non-lawyer with immense skill during the debate’. But not everyone fears to tread on legal toes. Over in the Commons, speaker John Bercow declared in advance of justice questions that ‘I am not a lawyer, and I say that as a matter of some very considerable pride’.
HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMANAlthough the Bridgetown-based Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled (CTAPD) is in dire need of funds, they won’t allow this setback to stop them from doing what they do best – especially since a group of volunteers formed a fund-raising committee to turn this situation around.On Saturday June 5, staff and volunteers participated in the Lollipop Campaign, which was hosted at Vangate Mall. Chief executive officer (CEO), Wilfred Diedricks, said this nine-year-old campaign was initiated by the CTAPD’s umbrella body, the Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities.The project involves selling lollipops for R3 each. He admitted that a lot of lollipops needed to be sold to make an impression on their current financial situation, but he is excited about the prospects. He expressed gratutide to the CTAPD’s fund-raising committee, saying: “I am so appreciative of what they are doing. They are a group of 10 committed people and it is so heartwarming for me to see all the hard work they put in. If it continues like this, we will get back on our feet. However, we still have a lot of work that must be done.”He remembers going to the Reable Centre in Bridgetown, where the CTAPD is based, as a teenager. He was appointed CEO in December last year.“This building was erected in 1972 and it now needs a lot of work. During my first weeks here, the neighbours opposite came knocking here to complain that a building next door, which also belongs to us, has been used as a drug den. The neighbours were upset with us, claiming that we allow it. We dealt with that situation successfully, and since then, our neighbours have come here to help. So many of them have extended a helping hand. Bridgetown is taking ownership of CTAPD now,” he said.Chairperson of the fund-raising committee, Arnold Zietsman, said many people want to contribute positively to their community.“Some of our team members are students from the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town and despite their hectic schedules, they always make themselves available. Over the past four weeks they have also met every Saturday,” Mr Zietsman said.Staff member Fatima Martin said the volunteers’ involvement at the centre brings value to the community. We are so grateful for their positive contribution, and we would like to show them our appreciation, but for that, we have to make an appeal to businesses for sponsorship. “We would like to print T-shirts for them as a token of our appreciation, and hope that we can partner with a business to make this happen. We would also like to thank the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) for sponsoring the cost of the poster to advertise the Lollipop Campaign,” Ms Martin said.For more information, contact the CTAPD at 021 637 1204.
Breakdown recovery and insurance business AA has insisted it is merely ‘keeping its options open’ by applying for an alternative business structure licence. The company today confirmed it has applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority with a view to providing legal services in the future. It is expected AA would look to focus on the personal injury market if and when it does offer legal services. It already provides legal documents to members and has a small panel of national law firms for advice on PI claims. ‘This is all about keeping our options open and giving us the flexibility to progress,’ said a spokesman. ‘The AA is seriously interested in pursuing this route. There are exciting options and ABSs present an excellent opportunity for the AA to develop its offering.’ The company, which has more than 15 million customers in its breakdown cover and insurance business, is the second major brand this week to confirm an ABS application. Saga Legal Solutions yesterday announced it would seek to offer legal services through wills, probate and conveyancing. Saga and AA are both owned by private equity-backed holding company Acromas.
The organisation created to run panels of independent whiplash experts is taking legal advice over concerns that the scheme is anti-competitive.Complaints have been registered that the biggest medical reporting organisations are filing multiple registration applications to give themselves a greater chance of being picked through the MedCo allocation system.Solicitor firms running claims can choose from one national provider and six second-tier organisations to carry out whiplash diagnosis.The Gazette revealed last month that the four biggest MROs have each submitted two applications to be top-tier providers.One of the biggest MROs, Speed Medical, has been reported this week to be registering at least 10 entries for the second tier. The company is reported in some forums to be appearing in some form in 45% of searches, although it is important to note this does not breach any existing rules.A spokesman for Speed Medical said it was one of several MROs to make mutiple applications, which were necessary to maintain the existing business.It is understood several complaints have been made to MedCo about anti-competitiveness, and the organisation has now started auditing registered companies to ensure compliance.There are concerns among some MedCo board members that the regulations as set out by the Ministry of Justice are harming the intention of the panels, which was to ensure financial incentives are taken out of whiplash diagnosis and fraudulent or exaggerated claims are reduced.A MedCo spokesman said: ‘The MedCo board recognises that this is a rapidly evolving market and that some behaviours, while currently permitted under the qualifying criteria as set out by the MoJ, may undermine the original policy intention. Processes may be updated in the future to address these concerns and users will be notified.‘The board is currently seeking urgent legal advice on the scope of its authority, within the legal framework set up by the MoJ, to address these emerging operational concerns. It remains for the MoJ to consider whether there is a case for adapting any aspect of the policy framework.’Dan Chesney, group marketing manager for Speed Medical, said the company faced a drop to 10% of its previous volume of medical reqeusts and it ‘needed to act’ to protect the jobs of its 200 employees.He added: ‘We had many customers and solicitors complaining about the service and actions of the other MROs, with appointments in three months’ time, asking for pre-payment of reports and clients being asked to travel distances to see a GP.’We knew that we could replicate the great service that we provide in other companies and give customers the option to receive that great service.’Any claim notification form for an RTA claim must be commissioned from a medical expert or medical reporting organisations sourced through the MedCo website.Medical experts have been required to pay a £150 annual registration fee, while MROs are split into two categories, paying a £15,000 or £75,000 annual fee accordingly per individual registration.Any company which has applied for tier-one status must show the ability to process at least 40,000 reports a year.Doctors Chambers and sister company Bodycare Clinics have each registered as tier-one MROs, Premex is registered along with its sister company UK Independent Medical, while Speed Medical and its sister company MLA will be high-volume providers.
Rob McIntosh has been appointed Director for Crossrail at Network Rail, responsible for the £2·3bn surface works programme that NR is undertaking for the project. He had joined NR last year as Project Director for ETCS & Traffic Management from Invensys Rail where he was latterly Vice-President, Delivery.