A packed Civil Mediation Council (CMC) workplace mediation conference held in the Old Library of Lloyd’s of London on 1 February enjoyed an interactive session from Chair in Management at SUMS, Prof Paul Latreille.
His focus on workplace conflict gathered on-the-spot data from the audience via polling technology, revealing that nearly three-quarters (71%) of the senior-level delegates were from the private sector, suggesting a growing interest in mediation there. The demand for practical help was equally clear – 78% had been aware of or experienced workplace conflict over the previous year, and the top three costs of workplace conflict identified by the poll were: the damaging impact on management time; reduced engagement and performance among parties in conflict; and the costs of absenteeism.
Some of Paul’s written reports produced for Acas, including a recent study of a conflict resolution system in an NHS Trust (see below), were also referenced by their chairman Sir Brendan Barber.
The conference brought together practitioners from a range of organisations including speakers from the BBC, Sony, the NHS and Tesco, and explored an array of areas in workplace mediation and conflict. Caroline Sheridan, Chair of the CMC Workplace and Employment Group, said: “Mediation is enjoying considerable momentum as a core business process for employee engagement and conflict resolution. We have focused on the arguments and strategies to fuel the momentum and to develop confidence in anticipating and addressing the most likely challenges.”
Paul continued: “It was a great privilege to address delegates at this event. By incorporating live data, my session benefited from current information and a highly engaged audience – we were able to identify and explore some of the greatest challenges we face in the workplace conflict arena, on the spot.”
Paul has since been invited to speak at a series of similar CMC regional events later in the year, with the provisional schedule including Bristol in June, Birmingham in October and the North East.
Read Paul’s reports on workplace conflict and mediation by clicking on the links below:
‘The interactions between people, home and energy’ – the Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN), co-founded by Dr Robert Marchand at Sheffield University Management School (pictured above), is an ever-expanding group of international researchers aiming to bring domestic energy issues into the spotlight.
Wellbeing is affected significantly by living in a cold home, and many people can’t afford to heat them thoroughly – in fact the annual social cost of cold homes on mental health in a city like Sheffield alone is almost £20million. Robert and his colleagues aim for closer collaboration between their academic community and policy makers, so that government initiatives and funding are appropriate, informed and ultimately effective.
FPRN is now preparing for their third major event, a meeting and parliamentary reception in Edinburgh from 28-30 March 2017. Co-organisers, Energy Action Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University, have planned an engaging agenda including a reception at the Scottish Parliament with Andy Wightman MSP. Click here for more information and to book your place.
Robert said: “We hope to create positive change through the network – having an impact on the people affected by fuel poverty drives our efforts. Whether it’s the pensioner who can’t afford to heat their home, the GP with a crowded waiting room of unwell people contributed to by energy costs, or the landlord who can’t yet see the value of insulating their property portfolio, we hope to reach all of them.
“The Edinburgh event is testament to the FPRN’s approach to collaboration. With contributions from a member of Scottish parliament, the only national body dedicated solely to eliminating fuel poverty, and relevant academic researchers, it’s an event where we’re can together identify key interventions.”
Dr Diane Burns is leading a research project, working with Sheffield City Council to roll out a new pilot study aimed at improving innovation in the provision of home care in the city.
Policy makers recognise that home care is a better and more cost effective way of supporting people to live independently for longer in their own homes.
However, the home care sector is faced with a number of problems including financial cuts, care quality, workforce recruitment and retention, and the growing need to avoid preventable hospital admissions and delayed discharges.
The ‘Doing Care Differently’ study aims to encourage experiments in the design and implementation of new models of funding and providing care in the city. The project has secured £50,000 in funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Diane said: “This project brings together a team of interdisciplinary researchers who co-wrote two public interest reports (see below), which set out our distinct and critical perspectives on social care.
“With the Doing Care Differently study we want to carry out action research to support the design and implementation of new models of funding and operating at the local level.”
The pilot will create a network of care recipients, academics, council officers, commissioners and care providers to share knowledge, investigate health outcomes and the implications alternative care models may have for Sheffield.
It will also include a forum for stakeholders in the city to discuss choices, develop plans and identify what support is required to successfully develop new models of care. Researchers will visit cities in Holland, Spain and Norway to look at successful models of care that are currently in place.
If the pilot is successful, researchers hope to apply for further funding to extend the pilot across the UK.
As 2016 comes to an end, we reflect on a successful year of developing international partnerships with other world-leading schools. For Dr Naoko Komori, a lecturer in accounting, this has seen her achieve her personal academic goal – creating a shared learning space between East and West.
Naoko has been a key player in building a relationship with Kobe University’s Graduate School of Business Administration, with whom Sheffield has launched an innovative International Doctoral Programme (IDP).
The structure of this unique provides an opportunity for PhD students to study at both the host and partner university and benefit from supervision at both – graduating with two PhDs. Dr Komori commented: “This cross-cultural learning experience is an exciting development, for both schools and myself. I am aware that there is too much indigenous knowledge in Japan that remains untranslated in the international academic arena – I hope that the IDP will expand this dialogue.
The first IDP student, Ruxandra Jianu, said: “I will be exploring the subject of entrepreneurship in Japan. The most exciting aspect is having four world-leading researchers guiding me in my studies – each will have different strengths and experiences, which I think will lead to a unique, cross-cultural PhD thesis. Living and studying in Kobe for a year presents an amazing opportunity to really understand this growing area of research in Japan and the UK.”
Scientists are calling for an increase in sustainable and less toxic material in global manufacturing as one way of firms reducing their toxicological footprint and combating climate change.
Research led by Professor Lenny Koh at the Management School and published in Nature Scientific Reports highlights toxicity and its impact on climate change.
By analysing data from the Toxic Release Inventory of the United States (US), Prof Koh’s team identified some key interventions to mitigate toxic chemical release’s impact on climate change – the analysis quantifies the contribution of population growth, changes in consumption volume, consumption structure, production structure and changes in emissions intensity on toxicology footprint. The findings will be helpful for decision makers to understand toxic chemical release and formulate effective mitigation standards and management protocols.
They found that there are many external influences on the US’s toxicological footprint, including economic recession and recovery patterns, population growth, change in consumption volume, production structure and emission intensity, all of which provide a narrative in explaining why and how toxicological footprint fluctuates in the data – for example, between 1999 and 2006 the toxicological footprint of the US decreased by 42 per cent, mainly driven by improvement in emissions intensity in the mining and quarrying sector.
Prof Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre at the University of Sheffield, said: “We often see carbon dioxide levels and emissions measured, but toxicity also affects the environment and is rarely reported.
“In addition to understanding the drivers of the US’s toxicological footprint dynamics, our analysis assesses the efficacy of different drivers to reduce it in the future. Our results show the prominence the mining and quarrying sector in emissions, so I propose that a sectorial-focused approach should be designed to address reduction.”
Prof Ian Reaney, co-author from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, said: “This study has highlighted the strategic importance of understanding toxic chemical release, emphasising the need for more sustainable and less toxic materials and materials extraction in global manufacturing.”
Prof Klaus Hubacek, co-author from the University of Maryland, said: “This international collaboration provides an excellent base to advance our understanding of efficiency and structural aspects of an economy and their impact on the toxicological footprint.”
An analytics tool from the University of Sheffield, built in partnership with one of the world’s biggest technology companies, is helping decision makers understand the full environmental impact of their supply chains and the potential consequences of their decisions.
SCEnATi, the improved version of the SCEnAT supply chain environmental analysis tool, now integrates with the Microsoft cloud technology platform, Azure. It outputs on a world map geographic carbon dioxide emissions and environmental impact across global supply chains.
This powerful data visualisation – along with country profiles and sustainability contribution information – helps policy makers, planners, investors and industrialists understand the impact of their supply chains by calculating carbon dioxide emission intensity and environmental impact using life-cycle analysis.
As part of the improvements, SCEnATi has also been enhanced with advanced business intelligence analytics capability from the Microsoft Power BI platform, which works with Shaping Cloud on an Office 365 platform.
Teresa Hitchcock, Partner at global law firm DLA Piper where SCEnATi was launched said: “I am delighted to see the evolution of this research capability led by the University of Sheffield, especially the work from Professor Koh and her team. Being an industry member of the AREC committee, we have been involved in the work as part of a co-production process. I believe this tool will be an important enabler to assist key stakeholders in their transition to a low carbon and sustainable future globally and to support their compliance to environmental regulation and policy.”
Professor Lenny Koh, Chair in Operations Management at Sheffield University Management School and Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), said: “The supply chain resource sustainability model demonstrated in SCEnATi is powered by advanced technology and will grow our understanding of global challenges on resources critical in supply chains. The science which underpins SCEnATi has been published in top journals whilst the technology, provided by our strategic partner Microsoft, provides a flexible, secure environment for our users.”
Mike Davies, Higher Education Manager from Microsoft, continued: “SCEnATi automates data capture using Microsoft Excel where Office 365 supports complete mobility to enable users to use the tool as part of their routine package.
Steve Beswick, Education Business Development Director from Microsoft, said: “It is compatible with a range of our devices including Surface and Hubs. The built-in touch capability in this tool gives complete flexibility to users to access the tool anytime and anywhere.”
Carlos Oliveira, CEO of Shaping Cloud concluded: “The science and technology supporting SCEnATi is world leading. It is a great example of how academic research can be translated into a tangible piece of IP, which we believe can deliver real change and impact worldwide.”
Click here to find out more about SCEnATi: http://www.scenat.com/
Tags: Koh Posted in Business Engagement, Research | Comments Off on New analysis tool will help economy move towards a low-carbon and sustainable future
Breaking down barriers to business creation – the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) is joining eight organisations from across Europe in piloting a digital course in social entrepreneurship for women and students from non-business studies backgrounds.
The initiative, called Open Mind, is an Erasmus+ project which over two years will develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in social entrepreneurship; a gamified online platform which serves as an inspiring learning environment, and an impact assessment report. Members of CREED, Dr Robert Wapshott, Dr Chay Brooks, Kate Penney and Prof Tim Vorley, attended the kick-off meeting in Athens with other academic partners. Tim said: “This is an excellent EU project drawing on CREED’s collective experience in entrepreneurship teaching and research. We are excited to be part of the partnership, aimed at developing new ways to foster entrepreneurship for social change.”
This project is key for social and economic progress in Europe. Despite the positive impact that social enterprises have, the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered in business and economic studies so most students can’t take part. Data shows that two-thirds of young people and women in EU believe they do not have the knowledge or skills to start a business – the outcomes from this project will address this gap.
Kate said: “The MOOC will introduce students to the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship, as well as covering areas such as identifying opportunities, creating a business model and business plan, attracting investors and getting your enterprise off the ground. An e-book featuring 50 inspiring female start-up entrepreneurs will also inspire the learners.
“The game elements incorporated into the learning environment will create a participative environment where students can explore business concepts, develop key skills and work on real-world case-studies. It will also operate in five languages, expanding the reach of the project.”
At the end of the two-year development stage, the team will outline the project’s major outcomes and establish support to sustain the project.
Project No: 2016-1-BG01-KA203-023754. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Reader in Finance at the Management School, Dr Mohamed Shaban, is making an impression in Asian finance networks.
His research into corporate finance, with a particular focus on funding availability for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia, has seen him deliver a series of high-level keynotes across the continent.
Following on from a successful conference in Brunei, hosted by the International Finance and Banking Society (IFABS), of which he is vice-president, Mohamed travelled to the island of Lombok, Indonesia, to address the BPK which is the supreme audit board of Indonesia – responsible for auditing state-owned government entities (pictured below, left). The international seminar reviewed the efficiency and financial stability of their local development bank – he spoke on its importance and how it should contribute to local economies by supporting SMEs.
Similar to other emerging economies, the Indonesian economy faces challenges of weak institutions, weak law enforcement, corruption and politically directed lending. The BPK is using Mohamed’s research to conduct an efficiency audit on Indonesian banks.
In October, Mohamed was invited to Tokyo to deliver a keynote speech at an international conference hosted by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI, pictured above centre), the research arm of the Asian Development Bank. Amongst other research, policy makers and industry experts he discussed the lack of access to lending for micro-SMEs (MSMEs) in Asia – a key area of development as sustainable capacity building becomes core to future prosperity. Mohamed proposed that the ADBI would benefit from creating local units which deal directly with MSMEs; with this, a dialogue between banks and organisations will begin – reducing banks’ perception of entrepreneurs as agents and reluctance to lend, whilst increasing trust, quality and frequency of reporting.
A further suggestion from Mohamed proposes that SMEs employs or train managers, arguing that the entrepreneur lacks managerial experience. Employment of management staff is something he’s seen great success with in industry with organisations seeing a ten-fold growth in profits. This is the focus of Mohamed’s new research project.
Finally, Mohamed gave keynotes to executives from the Chinese banking industry at the 2016 China-UK Financial Talent Education Meeting on Banking (pictured above right). This was organised in October in Guangzhou in collaboration with Guangzhou Tianhe Central Business District Administrative Committee and the UK Department for International Trade. Around 200 senior executives from commercial banks in Guangdong Province attended this meeting. Mohamed’s keynote was on China’s banking sector. He focused on opening new banks to serve SMEs which are significant in Asia, representing up to 99% of business.
Mohamed was also invited to join a high profile panel which was composed of senior executives from Central Bank of China and other major Chinese banks to discuss the global trends in banking and its implications for Chinese financial sector.
By applying his research to these organisations, Mohamed is making a difference to the development of policy and emerging economies across Asia.
Heating homes accounts for over 70% of household energy consumption. So reducing this figure – while keeping homes warm enough – not only cuts energy bills, but helps meet the carbon reduction commitments that the UK government is legally required to deliver.
The most recent figures show that 2.38m households in the UK are in fuel poverty – which basically means that almost 11% of British homes cannot afford to keep warm. But while the scale of this problem is significant, not all the solutions need to be complex and costly. So here are 10 simple tips for keeping your home warm for little or no extra cost – just in time for that severe weather warning.
1. Use your curtains
Heat from the sun is free so make the most of it. Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day to make use of this free heat. When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms. You should also make sure you don’t have any leaks or gaps so that the warm air can stay in and the cold air stays out – this also helps to reduce condensation.
2. Use timers on your central heating
The Centre for Sustainable Energy advises that programming your boiler to turn the heating on a little earlier – such as 30 minutes before you get up in the morning – but at a lower temperature is cheaper than turning it on just as you need it at a higher temperature. This is because a boiler heats up at a constant speed whether you set your thermostat to 20°C or 30°C. But don’t make the mistake of leaving your heating on low all day – because then you’re just paying for heat when you don’t need it.
3. Move your sofa
It might feel great to have your favourite seat in front of the radiator, but it’s absorbing heat that could be warming your home. By moving it away from the radiator, hot air can circulate freely. The same goes for your curtains or drying clothes – keep them away from the radiator so that you can get the most out of your heat source.
4. Maximise your insulation
When it comes to heat, around 25% is lost through the roof. This can be easily reduced by installing 25cm of insulation throughout your loft. It’s also worth seeing what’s going on in your walls, as around a third of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost this way. Although it’s not as cheap to install as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation could save up to £160 a year in heating bills. It’s also worth checking with your energy supplier to see if they have any insulation schemes running – which can sometimes mean cheap or free installation.
5. Wrap up warm
If you have a hot water tank, make sure it is properly lagged – or insulated. This will keep the water warmer for longer, and reduce heating costs. The Energy Community reckons that insulating an uninsulated water tank could save up to £150 a year – but even just upgrading your tank’s “old jacket” will help to save money.
6. Turn down the dial
This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but bear with me. The World Health Organisation previously recommended a minimum temperature of 21°C in the living room, but Public Health England revised this to 18°C in 2014. And research shows that turning your thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating bill by up to 10%. So keep the dial at 18°C, save money and avoid the negative impacts of a cold home .
7. Block out the draughts
Even a simple solution such as a making your own sausage dog draught excluder will help keep the warmth in your home. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save £25 per year. You can do this yourself for very little cost. Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install. So it’s worth getting those doors and windows sealed before winter properly kicks in.
8. Install thermostatic radiator valves
Research at the University of Salford has shown that installing heating controls and theromostatic radiator valves results in energy savings of 40% compared to a house with no controls. These work by allowing you to programme your heating to come on at predefined times – so you only use energy when you need it. New smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely via your mobile so you can turn on your heating on the way home, ensuring it’s nice and toasty when you arrive.
9. Upgrade your boiler
If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a new, more efficient model. Depending on your old boiler type and house, you could save up to £350 with a new A-rated condensing boiler – which uses less energy to produce the same amount of heat. Plus, if it’s new, you’re less likely to have any issues going into the winter season.
10. Reflect the heat
Radiator panels are relatively cheap, easy to install, and ensure that heat from your radiators warms up your room and not your walls. They work by reflecting the heat back into the room.