Kids Club Kampala – Our Charity of the Year

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We are delighted to announce that we have adopted Kids Club Kampala as our Charity of the Year.

The charity originally ran clubs on Saturdays for the children of slum communities in Kampala, Uganda. Over the years further work with children means that they support education for the poorest chldren, as well as feeding. More fun comes from music and football projects. One of the effects is that children are in a safe place.

Uganda has a large number of children separated from their parents (for a variety of reasons) and Kids Club Kampala’s Ewafe project works to reintroduce them safely to their families. This in a country with few social workers.

Other projects work with women and teens, including on subjects such as HIV prevention.

This is not one of those “fat cat” charities, and the head office is run on a shoestring. Importantly, it is community led, so it is not a case of the rich West patronising Africa.

One of the needs the charity has is for regular funding, and one of the best ways to help is by regular monthly giving. For further information, see http://www.kidsclubkampala.org/projects/

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Website Problems

I have tried to log into the Iwan Thomas Associates website content management system to update the site. For some reason access is being denied (a problem for many others, according to the support forum).

Until the issue is sorted out, any updates, interesting offers and so on will appear on this blog – so keep visiting!

How is Your Operating Platform?

I spoke to a manager from Amey yesterday, who told me of their use of technology to manage some of their subcontractors on their contract with Birmingham City Council. For example, tree surgeons have hand held devices on which jobs and instructions can be allocated and work recorded.

This makes communication quicker, but particularly limits the need for worksheets and invoices. There is no dispute over what work has been done, and information is common (and accessible to the Council as client).

This led me to think of the importance of operating platforms for small businesses. This means everything that the business uses to “get the work done” – people, facilities, processes and technology. How these fit together make a huge difference to the success of the firm, and hold the key to productivity improvement. It is worth mapping processes and making step by step improvements.

And remember that one day you will not be there, due to retirement or otherwise. How well will your operating platform function without you?

Delegating is Hard Newsletter

It always seems easier to do it yourself than to delegate to someone else, but a growing business depends on delegation. Learn more in our latest Law Matters Newsletter, as well as details of a VIP Day offer, and a free lawyer joke. Download NewsletterVol8No1

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Adult Apprenticeships

I had coffee with Nick Thompson of Dudley College yesterday to discuss Adult Apprenticeships, with particular reference to law firms. They do not however deal with Legal Apprenticeships (others do).

Instead they assist a number of law firms to develop nonlegal skills such as in business administration (ie office skills), customer service and team leadership. For instance, someone in a client facing role is likely to be more effective if they learn how to do it, rather than being told.

Qualifications are at various levels, up to degree equivalent. NVQ’s are based on work based training and assessment. Cash investment by the firm can be minimal as the scheme is government funded, unless the firm wants something bespoke. It will however need some time from the employee and encouragement from the employer.

This could be a very cost effective way of increasing skills, staff retention and profitability. With the revolution in the legal industry (and if we talk ourselves into a Brexit recession) firms that train and improve their staff will have a better chance of thriving.

So contact Dudley College for more details (or find your local equivalent, if you are outside the West Midlands).