Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Green 50: South West's most progressive green companies recognised

Business leaders and sustainability innovators from across the South West gathered at Bristol and Bath Science Park last week to celebrate the region’s most progressive green companies.
The Green 50 Awards, which was sponsored by eco printing and mailing firm CFH Docmail and renewable energy supplier Good Energy, saw businesses acknowledged for driving forward change in organisational sustainability.
Gavin Thompson, editor of The Western Daily Press, hosted the ceremony.
He said: "There have been steps along the way already. When I put out our recycling every week I think ‘we used to throw all of this away to be buried in a hole in the ground’. But I also think, ‘look at all that plastic’. There is a long way to go.
"I do not believe this change will be brought about by direct action. Rather this will be driven by consumers. And business meeting those consumer demands, and, in some cases, leading it.
"That’s why we created the West of England Green 50. We want to nudge that transition along. We want to inspire change."
Waste management solutions company GENeco, which is based in Avonmouth, was presented with a judges’ award by Dave Broadway, chairman of CFH Docmail.
Dave said: “We are fighting against climate change. We are the few and we have to do more and more to save the rest of them from themselves.”
Bristol-based ethical bank Triodos was also presented with a judges’ award by Dr Randall Bowen, director of business services at Good Energy, who pointed out that “if we don’t do something about climate change we are going to be in a very sticky situation.”

The GDPR – The Basics

The GDPR provides the first shake up in data protection legislation since the Data Protection Act in 1998.
As May 25th 2018 looms large, the responsibilities and requirements of the GDPR have taken on mythical proportions with organisations racing to delete databases, qualify records and appoint Data Protection Officers.
However the GDPR is really about common sense and process and boils down to checks and balances which if properly conducted will mitigate risk, fulfil the requirement to act responsibly and ensure that the data of your residents/ tenants is only used for legitimate purposes.
In simple terms GDPR has real teeth and is there to safe guard the individual, it marks a shift from a general directive to a legal requirement and no matter what happens with Brexit , it will still apply.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a ruling intended to protect the personal data of those who live within the European Union. It will provide a greater level of control to people over their personal data and how it is used.

The central sentiment is that data belongs to the individual and NOT to you – it’s their data not your data.

Depending on the letter you are planning to send then different rules apply. If you are sending out marketing letters and have prepared your database yourself then you should have acquired the relevant permissions. Equally if you have purchased your data then you need to make sure the provider has obtained consent.

When you are processing transactional letters such as invoices or legitimate service information you can usually rely on the legal basis of legitimate interest. Just make sure you keep appropriate records to show that you are relying on the legal basis of legitimate interest for processing this data and that your privacy notices are clear and up to date.

'Controllers' and 'Processors' of data need to abide by GDPR legislation. A controller is responsible for how and why the data is processed, while the processor acts on the controller’s behalf.

You will need to develop technical and organisational measures to demonstrate compliance with GDPR. If you are working with an outsourced data processor you must ensure that you have updated contractual terms.

Get to grips with Data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) which help identify, assess and mitigate or minimise privacy risks with data processing activities. They’re particularly relevant when a new data processing process, system or technology is being introduced and are a handy weapon in the war against cyber crime.

DPIAs also support the accountability principle, as they help organisations comply with the requirements of the GDPR and demonstrate that appropriate measures have been taken to ensure compliance.

Failure to adequately conduct a DPIA where appropriate is a breach of the GDPR and could lead to fines of up to 2% of an organisation's annual global turnover or €10 million – whichever is greater.

The GDPR mandates a DPIA be conducted where data processing “is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons”.
Finally you will need an understanding of the changes to data retention and to explore the likely legal grounds for retention of particular data that housing associations commonly require.

An ongoing, regular review will keep everyone on their toes, identify any glitches (and help you sleep at night).

The information in this article is for guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. We will be updating the sector regularly over the coming months and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Call 01761 416311/ 07834 173288.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Nick Britton runs Bath Half for Crohn's and Colitis UK

Everyone knows that running a half marathon is tough, but in two (or in my case, closer to three) hours’ time the challenge is at an end and any pain or discomfort starts to disappear. 

I have watched for many years as those close to me with Inflammatory Bowel Disease have battled bravely against something from which there is no relief, and for which there is currently no cure.

It is estimated that more than 300,000 people in the UK suffer from either Crohn’s or Colitis, so you will almost certainly know someone who suffers from either condition even if you do not know it. Too often it is a condition that is hidden from view, with people suffering the often chronic symptoms in silence.

I am aiming to raise £250 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK by running the Bath Half Marathon on the 4th March 2018. This will provide enough funding for two days of research into Inflammatory Bowel Disease, with the hope of finding a cure.

This will be my second Bath Half Marathon, with my first coming last year only a few days after completing a couch to 5k Beginner’s Running Course with Somer Athletic Club. One year on and I am feeling much more prepared, hoping to beat the previous time of 2:49.

Please help me to raise money to find a cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease by donating at my Just Giving Page (www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nickbritton), and find out more about this great charity here: www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/about-inflammatory-bowel-disease

MP presents ‘Flu Hero of the Year’ award to Norfolk surgery receptionist

Jessica Bane, Management Assistant and Receptionist at Ludham and Stalham Green surgeries, was presented her award by Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb on Friday 19th January after winning our national competition to find the UK’s ‘Flu Hero of the Year’. The competition recognises the outstanding and innovative contributions made by staff within GP practices, to increase uptake of flu vaccinations.

Ms Bane has managed the Ludham and Stalham Green surgeries’ flu clinics for the last two years and has seen an increase in flu vaccine uptake figures. Some of her initiatives have included inviting local healthcare organisations and charities such as Age UK and Norfolk Carers Support to host information stands at Ludham and Stalham’s flu clinics, and improving the efficiency of clinician’s flu vaccination information.

Mr Lamb said: “It was fantastic to present Jessica with this award. Her dedication to the community is admirable, particularly at a time when flu vaccinations are so crucial. She’s part of a great team at Ludham and Stalham Green surgeries.”

Ms Bane said: “I am very proud to have won CFH Docmail Flu Hero of the Year 2017 and privileged to have my award presented by Norman Lamb. I thoroughly enjoy organising the annual flu clinics, introducing innovative ideas each year and increasing our uptake. I am passionate about ensuring that as many patients as possible are vaccinated and protected against the flu and appreciate that my hard work has been recognised.”

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Using Docmail to make the phone ring and grow a franchise business

Allan Simmons is the MD of a Chem-Dry franchise which he has been running for the last 28 years. His franchise is one of the most successful in the UK. One of the main reasons for his success has been his proactive and innovative approach to marketing, expertise which he has always shared through his mentoring and support of other start ups.
 Allan says ‘One of the biggest learning curves for anyone starting their own business (who has not had the benefit of sales or marketing training), is knowing what is needed to make sure the phone rings.'
‘The key to success is making sure you build and effectively market to your database whether by letter, email or phone. I've found that even in today's online world direct mail is still a crucial part of the marketing mix. One of the tools that has helped us to grow our Chem-Dry business has been using Docmail.  It's a hybrid mail system that allows you to print and post letters, postcards and now folded newsletters directly from your computer.  What's even better is that postcards and letters cost less than the price of a second class stamp, and that includes the printing and folding and stuffing. We use it for single mailings and also larger mailshots.  By maintaining your database and setting up timed reminders to ensure that you contact customers when they are likely to need your service again e.g. have their carpets cleaned before Christmas or in the spring, we've built a large repeat client base.

‘Docmail is actually a massively useful service for master franchises to set up and cascade to their franchisees.  It will add value to their proposition and ensure that their franchises are properly supported with the correct marketing templates "ready to go".  It's an easy to use online service which will help franchisees make the most of their time and ensure they are not bogged down with printing and post. Importantly it costs nothing to set up. There is no minimum spend to maintain an account, no minimum quantity to mail, and it ensures professional delivery and no risk when you are starting up your business. We love Docmail so much that when we had our own software developed to help us run our business we included using Docmail as an integral part of that because of the benefits of Docmail.  We now licence that software (GetBookedUp) to other businesses in many industries and in my mentoring capacity with users I speak to many small business owners.  Many of those are franchisees in other industries and many of them are frustrated by the lack of marketing help and support from their master franchisee.  Many were promised marketing support but found it lacking when they needed it.  A master franchise offering Docmail set up and "ready to go" to their potential new franchisees, would have a benefit to their offering, and for those who looked to add it for their existing franchisees it could be the shot in the arm they need.’

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Productivity Series Part One: Focus.

In today’s busy world we all have a lot on our plates; it can be hard to stay motivated and on top of everything coming our way.  With unending emails, unnecessary meetings and the obsession with multitasking, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.  At Docmail, we take organisation and productivity seriously - all our services have the fundamental aim of reducing your workload.
We also know that taking steps to regain control of our tasks and our time can help us not only to stay ahead, but also to feel more motivated to do the tasks and happier in our work.

So we asked around our office and found the advice came pouring in, we've pulled together some of our top tips and planned this series to help you to regain control of your day.


This is one of the hardest things to do in the modern world, where mobile working allows us to be always contactable, however it is also one of the most important things we need to try and do, that’s why it’s our number one. Regular multitasking is not good for productivity, in fact a study from Stanford University[1] found that it makes it harder for people to filter out what is and what isn’t important to the task they are currently working on making it very hard to stay focussed.

The obvious answer is don’t multitask, but this isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re working in a modern office, with emails constantly pinging in, the phone ringing, endless meetings and colleagues asking for help or just a chat.

But your time is important. So important in fact that you should schedule in important work. Based on the Pomodoro Technique[2] (so called because of a sauce timer) blocking out a short period of time to focus on and individual task is a good way to keep on target without ruining work relationships, missing important meetings or ignoring customers.
Choose a task, schedule out 45 minutes (Pomodoro recommends 25 but we did say it was “based on” Pomodoro) and then focus on that task and that task only for that time. Don’t answer emails, in fact turn them off for this time period if it’s urgent they will call, and keep paper and pen handy.

Why a paper and pen you ask? Whenever you get a phone call or a colleague asking a question politely take down a note of the task and information, tell them you are in the middle of something and that you will look at it in roughly however many minutes you have left. If you had booked this time out for a meeting they wouldn’t expect you to answer immediately so why sacrifice your work, it’s definitely more important than meetings.
The paper is also useful for stopping you from detracting yourself. Just when you start your task your traitorous brain will drop all kinds of useful reminders on you such as “what time does the local supermarket shut? We need milk!” this usually results in a google search then 2 hours on Facebook looking at cat videos. So when your brain hits you with a time consuming hint write it down. Just make a note and move on. Do this for all internal distractions your brain throws at you, you can deal with them once the time is up.

Once the time is up, stop. If you do manage to go distraction free for all that time take a quick break. Researchers at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business found that frequent short breaks keep you sharp and energised. They also found that it doesn’t matter what task you do in your break. Contrary to common belief that the break should not be work related the researchers at Baylor said you should just do what you prefer to do, whether that’s work related or not. So check your email, or your phone it’s up to you, but limit your break to 10 to 15 minutes. Once this is done take 5 minutes to check what you need to work on next, does your current task need more time, are there urgent emails to answer for the next 45 minutes, and is there something else that needs your time?
Keep dividing you time into 45 minutes block of complete focus, keep planning and make sure you take the breaks!

[1] http://news.stanford.edu/2009/08/24/multitask-research-study-082409/
[2] http://cirillocompany.de/pages/pomodoro-technique

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The RUH Forever Friends Appeal.

Once more our fundraising appeal for the RUH Forever Friends Appeal is under way and the team are busy training, come rain or shine.  We thought it might be nice to share a few words from Chairman, Dave Broadway, on the involvement of CFH Docmail with this wonderful cause.  

"CFH Docmail has supported the Forever Friends Appeal to build a new Cancer centre at the Bath Royal United Hospital for several years now, either as a main sponsor for the Forever Friends team in the Bath Half Marathon, or in other years, just entering a fund raising team.

Like most families, we have lost a number of family members to Cancer over the years, so this appeal was always one I was happy to support. 

In February 2015 I managed to crash a bicycle at the Olympic Velodrome and broke my hip. That summer, I lost a good friend to Cancer, then as the year went on we lost a colleague from work, and heard of the death of an ex colleague at a young age. I decided to turn my misfortune to some good by aiming to run the half marathon the following year to raise a significant sum for the Appeal. 

I managed to achieve my goal of raising £10,000 and running the half marathon. That, combined with our previous donations, and CFH’s main sponsorship of the Forever Friends entry raised our total donation to over £26,000 and made us a key sponsor. It was humbling to go to the awards at the RUH and see just how much others had lost, and how much they had put back into the Cancer centre in memory of their loved ones.

This year I am hoping to increase the £10,000 to £15,000. It’s difficult to ask people that have already donated to donate again, so I felt I needed to set the target a little lower this year. Hopefully, with the help of friends, colleagues, customers and suppliers, we can once again succeed!" 

To see Dave talk in person on the subject, watch our YouTube video here 
If you would like to donate, visit the Just Giving page here.