Archives for January 2015

PROVIDING CARE THROUGH THE FRANCHISE ROUTE

Features, PublicNet: 30 January, 2015

This feature describes how a care business was set up as a franchise.

As a former police officer, Joe was passionate about helping people in need, and for many happy years he put the full weight of his considerable personality into making the streets of Cardiff a safer place. As the years went by Joe’s passion for helping others never waned, but he couldn’t ignore the niggling doubt that perhaps he wasn’t helping himself to achieve his own goals.

Joe started doing what most of us have done at one stage or another, and imagined himself in different jobs trying to work out what would make him happy. Eventually it became clear that what he really wanted, was to work for himself and build a business that would test his abilities, reward his hard work and have a positive effect on those around him.

The day Joe visited his family to tell them he was resigning from the police service, he read an article in the paper that would literally change his life. It was an interview with a Right at Home franchisee.

Throughout his time in the Police Joe saw some pretty bad examples of vulnerable people failing to get the care they needed and deserved either at home or in care. The Right at Home article seemed to show there really were companies out there that provided a compassionate and professional service to people in their own homes. This was the opportunity Joe had been looking for.

“I contacted Right at Home and after a couple of lengthy phone calls I was invited along to one of the Discovery Days. That was when I met Ken (Ken Deary managing director) and I honestly knew there and then that this was what I wanted to do. I didn’t know if I could afford it or even if they’d want me of course, but I knew I would be good at it”.

Right at Home discovery days are friendly and informal, but they are designed to give the company and the attendees a chance to really show their cards.

“Straight away I could tell how passionate Ken was about the business. He is so enthusiastic and really draws you in; I found the whole thing so exciting and the more he talked, then more I wanted to be a part of what they were doing. Saying that though, the more he talked, the more I also realised that they were only looking for the very best franchisees, and with no home care experience and the fact that it is a serious financial investment, I did start to feel like it might not happen for me”.

Without giving away too much of the Discovery Day process, Joe had a lot to prove to Ken and the team and would have to make several trips back to see them, produce a fantastic business plan and prepare himself to sit down with the banks to discuss how to raise the finance.

“Right at Home really helped me with all of that, but only to a point as they want to see that you are capable of running this kind of business on your own two feet. Like I say, they helped me, but it was my business plan and I was the one who had to sell it to the bank. I had to be sure that I really believed I could do it too, because obviously the bank don’t lend you all the money, I had to put every penny I had into starting the business which is not something I would have done if I had any doubts I could make it work”.

In the end, the bank must have believed in Joe as much as Ken did, as Joe raised the money and became the very proud owner of the Right at Home franchise for Cardiff.

“The training was full on, but it just made it so clear that trying to set up a business like this on your own would be a nightmare. Again, one of the biggest surprises was Ken; I couldn’t believe how involved he was. He was at almost every session and he has so much experience in franchising as well as the care industry. It just reinforced that I had made the right decision – I wanted my own business, I wanted something that I would have to work really hard at, have the potential to make good money, be able to really help people and build something I could be proud of, but, and I really mean this, I knew I would need really great support and guidance to make it happen. Right at Home have more than lived up to their side of the bargain and I hope they feel I have too”.

Two years into the business how does Joe feel about his decision?

“Best decision I ever made; no question. I’m in my thirties and I can see a really bright future where I own maybe 3 or even 4 Right at Home territories. I have put an amazing team together and the support I get from Head Office is just as good as it was at the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, it can be stressful at times, people really rely on the services my care staff provide and we can’t ever let them down.

Read more on PROVIDING CARE THROUGH THE FRANCHISE ROUTE…



WATCHDOG TELLS CARE PROVIDERS TO SHOP AROUND FOR VALUE

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 January, 2015

Monitor, the health watchdog, has warned care providers that plans to renew community services contracts automatically could be a missed opportunity to improve the NHS for patients and secure better value

Read more on WATCHDOG TELLS CARE PROVIDERS TO SHOP AROUND FOR VALUE…

THE CHILDREN’S CENTRE: A LIFELINE AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY

Features, PublicNet: 23 January, 2015

Phil Neal talks about some of the essential steps children’s centres can take to help ensure they are meeting the needs of children and families in their community.

Recent figures suggest that the demand for services provided by children’s centres is on the increase. The 2014 Sure Start Children’s Centres Census produced by national charity, 4Children, revealed that over one million families are receiving regular support from the centres.

Read more on THE CHILDREN’S CENTRE: A LIFELINE AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY…

CHANGES IN WELSH LOCAL GOVERNMENT COULD IMPACT ON DEMOCRACY

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 January, 2015

A report commissioned by the Welsh Government reveals that a reorganization of local government could deter new councillors from standing for election and impact heavily on democratic processes and representation.

The report from the Cardiff Business School assesses what impact the introduction of the cabinet system in local government has had on decision-making, democracy, scrutiny and accountability in Wales with a view to its future development.

Read more on CHANGES IN WELSH LOCAL GOVERNMENT COULD IMPACT ON DEMOCRACY…

LAND REGISTRY MOVES TO ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION

Features, PublicNet: 16 January, 2015

This feature describes how Land Registry benefited from replacing a forms-based registration process with an electronic document service.

Land Registry is a government department which was created in 1862 to register the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. They keep and maintain the Land Register, where more than 24 million titles – the evidence of ownership – are documented. Once land or property is entered in the register they record any ownership changes, mortgages or leases that affect it. Land Registry’s vision is to be recognised as a world leader in the digital delivery of land registration services and in the management and reuse of land and property data.

Challenge

Land Registry’s electronic Document Registration Service (e-DRS) project was established to allow customers to send in applications to change or create property registers electronically, rather than through the post. With e-DRS, customers can send in certain applications and receive the results securely, over the internet and through Land Registry’s business to business channel. The Project was a significant 3-year programme of work that was designed to deliver significant benefits to both Land Registry and their customers. One aim was to save customers time and money and help protect them against property fraud.

The applications customers submit through e-DRS are form based, typically as PDF or an image, such as TIFF, JPEG and GIF. The content of those files is “locked” and not readable or searchable by machine. Land Registry wanted to increase operational efficiency by reducing the time required by employees to manually enter data from these documents. Land Registry determined they could increase efficiency by automatically digitising the valuable information held in the forms so they could prepopulate their existing casework systems.

Solution

One of Land Registry’s partners mentioned that they had previously used ABBYY’s products and suggested this might be a best-fit for their document processing needs. They obtained trial versions of several products and ran examples of Land Registry forms through them. They obtained trial versions of several products and ran examples of Land Registry forms through them. Ultimately, ABBYY FlexiCapture Server was chosen based on the accuracy of the output data, the scalability of the product and the friendly licensing scheme.

ABBYY FlexiCapture Server is designed for large organisations that wish to automate their document-based business processes. With this powerful enterprise capture platform companies can automatically digitise paper documents, extract key data and transfer the information to various back-end-systems for further processing. By implementing an intelligent capture solution organisations can streamline resource-intensive manual operations for business-critical documents, such as applications, purchase orders, invoices, remittances and contracts.

Once Land Registry had established a model that worked, the solution was deployed quickly. The development and deployment team were able to work through any issues with the ABBYY support team in less than two days. In the new process Land Registry receives scanned forms from their customers via both their online and business-to-business channels. Land Registry puts the documents through ABBYY FlexiCapture Server to extract some of the information contained in the forms. The digitised information is saved in data sets (in a DB2 database) and read by the casework systems. This allows them to pre-populate specific information, removing some manual keying in of data.

“We are expecting to process over 10 million pages this year and this is increasing steadily as take up of the service increases,” said Kim O’Flaherty, Technical Team Lead, Land Registry.

Results

“The decision to move to a digital system was not taken lightly,” added O’Flaherty. “The e-DRS initiative was a multi-year project but we knew we could reap significant benefits by undertaking it. A major part of this was putting in an automated system that gives us the potential to take data straight from forms and put it into our systems. The ABBYY FlexiCapture solution gives us this potential.”

O’Flaherty continued: “Overall, we are very pleased with the ABBYY solution. It is saving our caseworkers time by not having to key in data. The ABBYY team was friendly and supportive throughout, responding quickly to the emails and calls put in by our developer.”

About ABBYY

ABBYY is a leading provider of text recognition and document conversion technologies and services. Its versatile product portfolio for document processing and information retrieval is available on various platforms and devices. ABBYY offers a broad range of solutions designed for specific business and industry needs. Organisations all over the world rely on ABBYY offerings to optimise their paper-intensive business processes. More information at www.ABBYY.com

Read more on LAND REGISTRY MOVES TO ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION…

CALL FOR GREEN BELT TO BE ABOLISHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 January, 2015

The Adam Smith Institute has called for the Green belt to be abolished to solve the UK housing crisis.

In a new report, The Green Noose, author Tom Papwort, sets out an analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform.

Read more on CALL FOR GREEN BELT TO BE ABOLISHED…

COUNCILS NOT PLUGGED IN TO COMMUNITY ENERGY POLICY

Abstracts, PublicNet: 14 January, 2015

Councils are often being given the cold shoulder in Government discussions about community energy policy, a team of Sheffield Hallam academics has claimed.

The team from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research say Government is often switched-off when it comes to how local authorities can support community energy policy – where communities work together to either generate energy or to collectively reduce the amount of energy they use.

Read more on COUNCILS NOT PLUGGED IN TO COMMUNITY ENERGY POLICY…

PROPOSALS FOR SETTING UP LOCAL COUNCILS DO NOT GO FAR ENOUGH

Headlines, PublicNet: 12 January, 2015

Proposals for streamlining the process for setting up local councils should be more radical to give greater power to communities claims the National Association of Local Councils. In order to get their voices heard and run local services there needs to be greater neighbourhood democracy.

Read more on PROPOSALS FOR SETTING UP LOCAL COUNCILS DO NOT GO FAR ENOUGH…

THE POWER OF MOBILITY: CREATING A SMARTER WORKFORCE IN THE FIELD

Features, PublicNet: 9 January, 2015

Today, the ultimate goal of field service excellence is to respond quickly to customer needs. This feature demonstrates how it can be done.

Whether customers are in the private of public sectors, it takes four criteria of a timely and effective response. Be on time, allow enough time to do the job, have the right skills and bring the right equipment. For the mobile technician, an increased importance has been put on their role to the overall success of the organisation, as they are quite often the only interaction a customer will have with the business. This has led to the search for new ways to empower technicians and equip them with the right tools that allow them to excel at their jobs, through improved communication, collaboration, data sharing and integration.

Read more on THE POWER OF MOBILITY: CREATING A SMARTER WORKFORCE IN THE FIELD…

HOW TO BUILD A WINNING TEAM

Book News, PublicNet: 8 January, 2015

Mark Gallagher explains how to build teams in a high-pressure, high-stakes environment.

Everyone has his or her own personal traits, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. By investing in our staff and providing equitable support to all we can build a cohesive, motivated team.

Read more on HOW TO BUILD A WINNING TEAM…

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