Care homes have rarely been out of the news in 2020.
When the pandemic began, it didn’t take long for scientists to work out that the elderly were more vulnerable to Covid-19.
This meant that care homes had to suddenly take action to prevent residents contracting the virus and becoming seriously unwell.
The effect on those people has been tremendous and we may find ourselves dealing with the consequences for years to come.
When it became clear that Covid-19 was a huge threat to people’s health, care homes shut their doors and suspended normal life. They have been under strict lockdowns, with residents unable to see family members for months.
One of the major problems at the start of the pandemic was that people returning to care homes from hospital were discharged without being tested for the virus. This resulted in some care homes being exposed to the virus for the first time, which led to both residents and staff members contracting the disease.
Along with the dangers of the former group suffering from the virus, the latter group would be forced to stay off work if they were infected. This leads to more work for their colleagues.
It means that in many cases, even if a resident avoids the virus, they may suffer from health problems – both physical and mental – as a direct result of its presence.
When it comes to the mental and emotional impact of the virus on care home residents, there’s potentially even less clarity around what the best options are.
Government guidance to allow visitation during lockdown have received criticism. When some care homes lack the ability to put in place the necessary measures to allow residents to receive visitors in a safe manner, it means that these residents are still unable to see their loved ones.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, roughly three-quarters of care home residents are living with dementia. That can cause a huge amount of challenges for staff. The Society points out that these people may not always understand why they are unable to see their loved ones.
This level of confusion and occasionally fear can result in these residents suffering knocks to their wellbeing and confidence. This added stress can cause negative effects to their health.
It also has a mammoth effect on the loved ones of these residents – the very people they’re prevented from seeing. And this isn’t just something that can be overcome in a matter of weeks.
The impact of Covid on care homes has been devastating. There may be long-lasting consequences for care home residents and their loved ones, which we may only discover in the coming months and years.
There’s no avoiding it: Covid-19 has transformed the country’s legal system. From virtual civil proceedings to the rapidly growing backlog of live court cases, the past six months have forced the industry through an intense period of adjustment. On top of the practical issues the virus has created, firms throughout the UK are buckling under the weight of financial pressure, with solicitors of all persuasians struggling to sustain themselves.
Madaline Dunn, a legal journalist for The Legal Journal, described the situation as “troubling”. Discussing the impact of the virus in a recent article for the site, she says: “A decade of austerity measures has already forced criminal solicitor firms into a financially troubling situation. Now, as firms face closures, and the backlog of criminal cases rise, there are fears that the criminal justice system will be unable to function.”
But despite the apparently grim outlook, a handful of savvy firms have used lockdown as an opportunity to explore new ways of working. Up and down the country, company headquatres are being swapped for the home office, and in-person consultations replaced with video calls. The team behind Ealing firm Avenue Solicitors said it decided to extend their online family and divorce services, so that clients choosing to self-isolate could continue receiving legal support, without risking their health.
With an ever-growing number of law firms now offering their legal services online, the pressure is on for competing firms to facilitate this new way of working. Making the switch might feel like an impossible task – law is, after all, a client-focused business. What many legal professionals fail to realise, however, is that rather than hindering your business, remote work can infact increase productivity, reduce stress, and increase client trust.
The pandemic has triggered a boom in remote technologies, with tech companies vying to produce the best, most accessible tools and software in order to keep up with a newly saturated remote market. For law firms considering taking a more permanent shift towards this style of working, this is excellent news. Not only are these tools more affordable than ever before, but simpler and more efficient too.
In this article, we will run through some of the benefits of taking your law firm remote and offer a few golden nuggets of advice to ensure a smooth transition.
Social distancing in the office can be tricky, particularly if space is at a premium. However conscientious you and your colleagues are about sanitation, the fact is that being confined in a small space for eight hours a day is a risk right now, and the fact is that many clients won’t feel comfortable with in-person consultations.
With this in mind, firms across the country are tuning to video-conferencing services like Zoom or Skype to replace in-person team meetings, with some even using the software to hold virtual coffee and lunch breaks. This may sound frivilous, but finding ways to replicate the normality of office life has been proven to boost team morale.
By the same token, maintaining visual contact with your clients is essential for a good working relationship. It might be difficult to meet face to face, but taking time to give them your undivided attention is still an important part of your role, and will likely work in your favour when it comes to attracting new clients.
Faced with increasing financial pressure, many law firms are realising the money-saving potential of remote working. With fewer employees needing office space there are ample opportunities to downsize, slashing the cost of rent and utilities. While it’s unlikely that the majority of firms will ditch the office all together, breaking the correlation between team size and office space could help smooth over some of the budget implications resulting from the pandemic.
Attract new talent
According to Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Gen-Z: Shaping Tomorrow’s Law Firm Culture report, 74% of recent law graduates value the opportunity to work more remotely. This tech-savvy generation of lawyers have entirely different expectations for the industry, and are pushing against the traditional view of in-office workdays.
Remote working also opens your firm up to a world of experts and specialists from other areas of the country, as well as to those with disabilities, transport issues, or unconventional schedules. The wider you are ableto cast your net, the more talent you are likely to catch.
The UK may have been a late bloomer in terms of legalising gambling compared to other European countries. But after the emergence of the first casino in the 60s, The Gaming Act of 1968 has set the rules of gambling, allowing more casinos to form in the UK, and from it, the UK gambling industry has experienced exponential growth.
In recent years, the UK’s gambling industry’s growth is largely due to the initiation and rise of online gambling. According to the UK Gambling Commission, as of 2019, the UK achieved a Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of £14.3 billion.
However, some of that growth is also down to the UK’s change in attitudes towards gambling and progressive thinking. This has meant the UK’s gambling legislation experienced significant changes in 2005 to update and improve laws, as well as include online gambling.
United Kingdom Gambling Commission
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a government body that propelled into action following the launch of the Gambling Act 2005.
The UKGC regulates the UK gambling industry and oversees the operations of casinos, bingo halls, sports betting, and the lottery.
As detailed in the act, the UKGCs responsibilities are as follows:
Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime.
Ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly and openly.
Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
This is enforced by regularly conducting visits to gambling companies premises, reviewing their financial records, administering licence conditions, and taking regulatory action against licence holders who fail to comply with the rules. The UKGC enforce the Gambling Act 2005 and succeed in keeping crime involving gambling to a minimum.
This also includes online gambling, and you can find various casino sites adhering to these rules.
888 Casino is a good example of a UK licensed and regulated operator. They pride themselves on being compliant with responsible gaming guidelines, such as protection of minors, preventing compulsive gambling and providing self-limits options at their esteemed UK online casino.
Minimum legal age
To gamble in the UK in person or online, participants must be 18 or over. This rule protects young and vulnerable people from taking part in what is predominantly an adult game. Exceptions to the rule include lotteries, football pools, and some scratch cards. To participate in these games, players must be 16 years of age.
Gambling operators are legally required to request a customer’s age and ask for identification. The consequences of failing to disclose one’s real age to a gambling company could result in players being denied any prize money. They may also be required to pay a fine.
Must have a licence to operate
Before offering gambling services in the UK, companies need to apply for multiple licences from the UKGC to operate.
These licences are as follows:
Personal management licence
Personal functional licence
If operating a physical casino, companies have to gain a premises licence from their local licencing provider.
Each licence covers important aspects of how the gambling company operates. For instance, the operating licence applies to any business in or outside the UK that wants to offer gambling services in the UK.
Depending on the company’s GGY, they will need to pay a relevant fee. For example, any company earning £1 billion or more needs to pay £57,304 to apply. Beyond this, an annual fee is required to process and renew the license.
The licence applications and fees give gambling companies the green light to offer their services to the UK public without penalty, providing they abide by the UKGC rules. Failure to comply with the terms of the licence agreement could result in a fine and their licence being revoked.
Advertising and marketing
Gambling companies must follow the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice code (LCCP) section 5.1 when creating and administering marketing material to the public.
The LCCP details how gambling organisations should market their services responsibly to the public. Such as those set out by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).
Suppose a company advertises that they are offering an incentive or reward, such as a sign-up bonus. In that case, the advert must set out the conditions of achieving the reward, plus follow through with the reward granted to customers once they successfully fulfil the conditions and claim the advertised prize.
As highlighted by ASA and CAP, gambling companies must not present misleading information about their services or a customer’s chances of succeeding at a game.
Moreover, advertising must not be directed to people below the legal age limit, and shouldn’t encourage or persuade people to gamble irresponsibly.
Equally, gambling institutions must not associate gambling with enhanced attractiveness, suggest peer pressure, or define gambling as a rite of passage. Additionally, adverts cannot express solitary gambling in favour of gambling socially or use cultural beliefs in adverts to promote luck or gambling with a particular audience.
Should gambling companies fall foul of their advertising responsibilities, they may be referred to Ofcom by ASA and could have their licence to broadcast revoked.
The importance of keeping the UK gambling industry safe
A secure and safe gambling industry is advantageous for the UK. It gives people the confidence to gamble, boosting the gambling operators’ income and giving them the means to support the UK in two ways:
1) As gambling companies income increases, the percentage of tax allocated to the UK government increases also. Allowing parliament to use the money to build a better country and continue investing money back into the UKGC, which enhances each player’s safety.
2) With more customers, gambling companies have the means to expand across the UK, providing more job opportunities to British residents. In 2019, just short of 100,000 employees were working in the gambling industry.
The UK gambling industry has become an essential component of the UK economy and it’s a favourite pastime for people to enjoy. As the UKGC and other independent bodies continue to monitor its use and promote the importance of safety and social responsibility, the UK gambling industry is destined to flourish.
When you go to work, you expect to be entering a safe space that’s optimized for hard work and concentration. So, it always comes as quite a shock when you sustain an injury while in the office – or elsewhere in a place of work. This article is written to help you understand what to do in the event of a workplace injury, sharing the steps you ought to go through in order to adequately deal with the injury and its aftermath.
However you have been injured at work, it’s paramount that you think of your own safety before anything else. Is there more danger around that you should be aware of? Is your injury severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital? You should make these decisions, with the help of your co-workers, in order to make sure your health is maintained after your injury. If someone in your workplace is trained in first aid, they’ll be a good person to check you and to determine if you need further medical attention.
Next, you should try to take in the scene of your injury. If you have a colleague around who witnessed the injury, ask them to photograph where it happened. This is an important element to your argument if you are to go to court over the injury that you sustained at work. If you feel that you were at fault for your accident, it’s still worth gathering evidence from the scene – in the form of pictures, ideally – so that you can talk to a lawyer about your experience, or explain what happened to your managers.
Talk to a lawyer
If you feel that you were not culpable for the injury that you sustained at work – and that your company was to blame – it’s time to begin conversations with a legal representative. This lawyer, or team of lawyers, will help you to understand the dynamics of your particular case, and the chance you might have of winning damages from your firm for what you will argue was their negligence, on their watch. Use this injury at work guide to understand how the law ordinarily applies to those who have been injured in the workplace. If you’re confused, it’s worth ringing legal experts for free to describe your case and to see what they think you should do.
Whether or not your injury at work was serious and debilitating, getting hurt while in the workplace is still traumatic and unpleasant. A serious injury can also take a long time to recover from – and some injuries leave their mark on you forever. All of this is to say that you should take your time in your recover – and expect that your firm will cover your wage until you’re to be well enough to get back into work. Speak with a manager you trust so that there’s mutual understanding about your predicament.
Make sure you bear these tips in mind if you fall foul of an injury at work – something that happens thousands of times a day across the US.
Motorcycles are becoming more popular, with the coronavirus pandemic causing public transport to present a risk to those using it.
A solitary mode of transport, motorcycles and motored scooters can get people to work and the essential shops far more economically than cars. This makes them appealing to those who previously relied on the bus or train to get around and who don’t want to risk being in an enclosed space with other people.
Rising motorcycle usage
In September 2020, according to the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA), total registrations of new motorcycles, mopeds and tricycles were 11.8% higher than in September 2019. The organisation also found that in July 2020, sales rose by a giant 41.9% from June.
The MCIA said training schools had also reported “record levels of first-time riders” undertaking their compulsory basic training course to be able to ride commuter-friendly 125cc motorcycles and scooters.
We’d been seeing a rise in the number of motorcycles and mopeds – known as powered two-wheelers (PTW) – for a while. Total registrations of PTWs had been rising since 2017. And between 2010 and 2019, the UK saw an 11% increase in new registrations.
Now, with people urged to avoid public transport if possible, we’re seeing more people consider the idea of their own form of transport – which is generally cheaper to buy and insure than a car.
According to Royal Enfield CEO Vinod Dasari, when the pandemic is finally all over, “habits will change – people will want to be alone when commuting so there could be an increase in motorcycle sales”.
So we may end up seeing a great deal more of these vehicles on the roads when we no longer face any lockdown measures and are expected back in the office.
But how safe are motorcycles?
Motorcycle accident rate
Motorcycle riders are the most vulnerable on our roads – more so than pedestrians and cyclists. The number of road accidents motorcyclists have is higher than all other road users per billion miles travelled.
There were 336 motorcyclists killed on our roads in 2019, according to the Department for Transport, compared to 736 car occupants. Although this is a lower figure, the fatality rate per billion miles travelled is more than 65 times that of car occupants, at 104.6 and 1.6 respectively.
Meanwhile, the casualty rate of these road users is almost 26 times higher than car occupants, at 5,051 per billion miles ridden on a motorcycle compared to 195 miles driven in a car.
But the number of bikers who lost their lives had fallen by 5% from 2018. The number of riders who were killed or seriously injured dropped by 7% in that period. And the total number of casualties to these road users fell by 4% between 2018 and 2019, allowing for some optimism.
Whether the coming colder weather has an impact on the popularity of these PTW vehicles remains to be seen. As they are more exposed to the elements, it could temporarily result in fewer bikes on the roads.
But there is agreement among the industry that motorcycles are here to stay as they allow inexpensive and convenient commuting at a time where solitary travel is not only desired, but advised.
The global probate genealogy firm, Finders International have won the ‘Best Probate Research Firm of the Year’ award twice in 2020 by two separate judging panels.
On Thursday 21 October the Finders team were announced by host Jennie Bond, ex-royal correspondent, as the ‘Best Probate Research Firm’ winners at the British Wills and Probate Awards.
The event was held virtually, organised by Today’s Wills and Probate and sponsored by Arken, whose aim was to document the achievements of the Wills and Probate sector and recognise the work undertaken during these unprecedented times.
The Finders win comes just a few months after the UK Probate Research Awards where Finders International scooped up three ‘Probies’, including the ‘Best UK Probate Research Firm of the Year.’
Danny Curran, founder and managing director at Finders International, commented: “We are thrilled that two separate organisations, and their judges, have independently recognised the high quality of our work, not least in the same year! It’s all down to our growing, loyal and dynamic team who have made this possible.”
But some of the most serious causes of work-related health problems aren’t even accidents – they are illnesses caused by exposure to harmful substances, carrying out repetitive actions or even loud noise.
These sorts of work-related diseases are life-changing. They can mean shortened life expectancy or chronic pain. They can mean an inability to continue working and financial problems. They can mean emotional ill health, as well as physical.
What sorts of illnesses are most frequently experienced – and will this continue as we adjust to our new working lives in the age of Covid-19?
Stress is the biggest reason for work absences. This is often the result of pressure building up in the work environment, eventually coming to a head when an employee can no longer deal with it and has to take time away.
This can be caused by one person having too much work, having to work for too long, uncertainty and change in the workplace – including worries about job security – and even bullying by colleagues and, particularly, managers.
When it is at its worst, workplace stress can lead to depression, anxiety, a loss of confidence or self-esteem and a feeling of humiliation.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 1.4 million workers suffered from work-related ill health in 2018/19, with 37% of those experiencing musculoskeletal disorders. 41% of these affected the upper limbs or neck, while 40% affected the back.
These kinds of illnesses are often the result of certain kinds of physical work, from manual lifting to constant kneeling.
The HSE said these conditions can arise from work that features repetitive movement, fast-paced work that doesn’t allow for recovery periods between movements, fixed or constrained positions and large amounts of force focused on small parts of the body, such as hands.
Between 2016 and 2019, the industries with the highest rates of musculoskeletal disorders were construction, agriculture and human health and social work.
We are currently seeing a huge amount of people suffering because of work they carried out many decades ago. This is particularly true for sufferers of mesothelioma and other lung-related illnesses – often caused by exposure to asbestos.
The HSE has found that 12,000 lung disease deaths every year are thought to be related to past exposures to harmful substances at work.
Meanwhile, a further 18,000 estimated cases of lung disease or breathing problems caused or exacerbated by work are reported annually.
Although the recent – and, in some cases, ongoing – coronavirus lockdown saw a decrease in the number of accidents in the workplace, many industrial illnesses are continuing to be diagnosed as they were developed many years ago. This is particularly true for sufferers of diseases like mesothelioma, which can take decades for symptoms to show.
In addition, we may see an increase in stress caused by work as staff numbers shrink and more work falls on the shoulders of the remaining employees. Workers are also likely to experience significant levels of uncertainty around job security in the current economic climate.
The exact impact of the pandemic on work-related illness remains to be seen. But, as with almost everything else this year, it will undoubtedly have one.
The amount of cars present on our roads has continued to generally be lower than those seen on equivalent days. However, they have risen recently, reaching 85% on 12 October.
With more people back in workplaces – despite the government now advising working from home if possible – and more amenities and facilities open than during the strictest lockdown period, this is perhaps unsurprising.
Bus and train passenger numbers are far lower than those seen on equivalent days in previous years and sales of motorcycles and scooters have risen. Commuters are looking for more private forms of transport to limit their exposure to the virus.
This could lead to more journeys made in cars that would ordinarily be made on public transport. The resulting impact could be a rise in the number of car accidents as traffic levels rise again.
Despite the lower number of cars on our roads, there are potentially more unsafe vehicles present on them.
Early in lockdown, the government put in place a suspension of normal MOT rules. Cars could have a six-month extension to their annual checkup as mechanics and garages were forced into temporary closures.
But this meant that a car owner wouldn’t be given the opportunity to discover potentially unsafe faults during the usual MOT. And this could have resulted in unsafe vehicles being driven on our roads.
The six-month suspension is now at an end and cars are beginning to have their MOTs again. However, some vehicles will not be checked until the end of the year, potentially leading to unsafe cars. This puts other drivers at risk.
Whether tighter lockdown measures will continue for the rest of the year remains to be seen. What effect this will have on traffic levels and road accidents is also unknown at this stage.
What is known is that the fewer cars are on the roads, the fewer serious accidents occur. Traffic levels may stay low over the coming months, but as we eventually start to combat Covid, they may rise again.
It’s up to decision makers to set the vision for transport and road safety post-coronavirus.
When you are at work, you should feel comfortable and ready to take on the day. However, for some people, the office does not represent a safe or happy place – rather, it represents a source of anxiety, fear, and dissatisfaction due to
There are a few reasons why you might feel uncomfortable at work and one of the major ones is harassment. If you are being harassed at work, you must take action as soon as possible. Read on to hear what you should do.
What counts as harassment?
If you aren’t quite sure what harassment at work involves, you should know that this legal term can cover a number of things. Perhaps you have been verbally abused by your employer or another colleague, or maybe someone has told you jokes of a sexual nature.
You will know when this behaviour has crossed a line, but you should never act on instinct alone. If you think something is wrong, you should get in touch with a legal professional to confirm if this is harassment.
Keep note of any evidence
One of the best things that you can do when you are being harassed at work and are thinking about taking it further is to keep track of any evidence that you have. This can include dates of meetings that you had with your employer, emails that have been sent to you, or any other kind of communication. The more evidence you have, the stronger your claim will be in the end.
Seek legal advice
If you are being harassed at work, you should make sure to get in touch with a legal representative to get some advice before you take the issue further. There are plenty of employment lawyers that can help you to deal with your issue and get the resolution that you require. A great example of a firm like this is Springhouse Solicitors, who are experienced in all things related to employment law.
Once you find a solicitor that you are comfortable with, you can work with them every step of the way until the issue is resolved.
Tell someone you trust
If you aren’t ready to talk to an employment lawyer or you don’t want to get anyone else involved legally, you should consider talking to someone that you trust. You might not think that the harassment is very serious, but a friend or a family member could see this differently.
If you have someone that you trust to discuss this with, then this can help you to deal with the emotion toll it takes. Be mindful of discussing these issues with other colleagues, even if you consider them to be a friend – office gossip can spread quickly, and may make the situation much harder for you.
Use these tips
If you are experiencing harassment at work then you should make sure that you take some steps to resolve this issue. Whether you want to contact an employment lawyer, or you are just hoping to talk to a friend, you have some great options that you can choose from. Make sure to try out some of our tips.
Law firms across the UK are being forced to enact drastic new cost-cutting measures, as government support schemes launched in response to the coronavirus come to an end.
A new wave of redundancies, salary freezes, and pay cuts is expected to hit the legal industry, as firms grapple with the knock-on effects of Covid-19. National and international companies have reported major profit losses since January, and experts have warned further hardship could be on the horizon.
In the six months since the UK government announced lockdown measures, 80% of firms have been forced to furlough staff and cut partner compensation. Many firms have asked their highest-earning employees to take pay cuts of up to to 20%. Firms specialising in housing, family, and criminal law have been hardest hit, due to court delays and stalling within the property-market.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Giles Murphy, head of professional practice at accountant Smith & Williamson, said very few positions would be safe following the economic downturn.
He said: “As the full impact of the economy hits firms, activity levels are likely to fall and firms will need less staff. At that point, the expensive ones may be at risk.”
Although the legal industry is generally regarded as more resilient than other sectors of the economy, the unique pressures presented by remote working have left many firms on their knees. The move toward digital working has resulted in many solicitors providing their legal services online which has rendered a huge score of support staff unnecessary, making their roles particularly vulnerable in the coming months.
A new approach
As the world adapts to a new, digitally focused work world, economists are urging law firms to be flexible in their client approach.
According to McKinsey’s Financial Services Practice, firms are facing unprecedented demand for digital connection with their clients and could benefit from taking a fresh approach to marketing.
They said: “The business context has shifted dramatically, presenting unprecedented challenges. Law-firm partners should proactively connect with and really listen to clients and their needs. Even a two-line personalized email can send the right message. Ask yourself what innovative channels, beyond the standard articles or emails, can you use to get your perspectives to clients?”
This ethos is being echoed across sectors, as an increasing number of professional services look at how they can ride the digital wave.
Speaking to Forbes, marketing expert Sanja Komljenovic said firms could actually benefit from the increase in client internet usage.
He said: “Right now, internet usage is up by 50 to 70 per cent. Marketing strategies — now and after the pandemic — should centre on using content to create powerful online connections. By humanizing your brand and speaking to consumers’ concerns — not your company’s — you can nurture an ongoing conversation, even among those who are in precarious financial situations or juggling multiple responsibilities.”