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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 192

Date:- 20 March 2005

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HR Directors’ concern over paternal leave

WHILST 98% of HR Directors feel that paternal leave is more acceptable these days, 56% are expressing concern about the impact proposed increases will have on businesses, according to recent research. In a snapshot survey conducted by leading HR recruitment specialist, Resource Innovations among 50 of the UK’s top HR Directors, more than half believe that moves to increase paternity leave will lead to serious resourcing issues in the work place.

Further to the government’s announcement that paid maternity leave will be extended from 6 to 9 months and can be transferred to the father, concern is rising over the disruption that this will cause. Jane Shaw, Director of Resource Innovations, commented:- “The government’s current focus on ‘family friendly’ reforms is seen by most in a positive light. However, when we drill down from an HR perspective, it is clear that the implications and potential disruption increased paternity leave in particular could raise questions over its viability. We spoke to HR Directors in some of the largest UK companies, but it is worth bearing in mind that smaller organisations are bound to be the worst hit in terms of resourcing issues.”

The research, which spoke to HR Directors of key organisations such as the Metropolitan Police, the Audit Commission, AXA and Deloitte Consulting, also looked at the implementation of the government’s strategy for voluntary age discrimination across a selection of FTSE 100 companies. An encouraging 90% of those questioned said that their company had embraced the government’s strategy. 

These were just a few of the questions in a survey which also explored issues of pension schemes, with 30% admitted that there was an imbalance between Director and general employee schemes, and 58% of HR Directors felt that the government should be doing more to support them over pension issues.

In terms of recruitment, 90% use employment agencies as the first port of call, despite the fact that 62% feel that they don’t offer value for money. 

Looking at staff retention, a worrying 42% of HR Directors could not say what percentage of employees leave within the first 3 months, with 46% quoting a 5% turnover. Policies for preventing this include professional induction programmes, buddying systems and recruiting the right people in the first place! One response mentioned the use of counsellors to get over any teething problems, and one respondent even said that no steps are taken as 5% was ‘acceptable’.

Harry Potty!

SEVENTY book-mad babies have gone potty over reading! The tots have just completed a literary mini-marathon. And they will be crawling for joy as they cross the finishing line of the Liverpool Baby Book Crawl. Between them they have leafed through more than 400 books, in just six weeks. It's part of a unique city council project to get kids reading before they start school.

Liverpool's Lord Mayor, Frank Roderick, will reward each of the young bookworms with a special certificate tomorrow at Dovecot Library. And in a real plot twist, he will spring a huge surprise on the kids by unveiling a brand new reading zone created just for them.

The special under-4 area has been set up in the library to give babies and toddlers their own quiet reading space. It's stacked with books and toys to make sure learning is fun. 

Councillor Roderick said:- "I'm very proud of the babies and toddlers who have completed this reading marathon. I'm really looking forward to meeting them all - and with the great start they've got off to, I could well be coming face-to-face with some future best-selling authors!"

The Baby Book Crawl was created by SureStart in partnership with the city council. It aims to introduce children to the world of books from the start of their lives and give them vital reading and writing skills. The project is also highlighting how much fun libraries can be.

The 70 children were challenged to read 6 books each in 6 weeks. Staff at Dovecot Library have been amazed by the response and have seen the toddlers grabbing a range of children's favourites - including Giles Andrea's Giraffe's Can't Dance, Lucy Cousin's Maisy goes to the library and Erick Hills' Where's Spot.

Councillor Warren Bradley, executive member for leisure, said:- "For us, lifelong learning really does mean lifelong learning. The council is committed to making sure children have the opportunity to learn and develop from the moment they are born. I would like to thank library staff and parents for helping their children complete the Baby Book Crawl. And it's great news that they can now continue their development in their own 'little library'."

Search is on for over-60s from Liverpool with a spring in their step

LIVERPOOL'S over-60s sports lovers are being targeted in a national campaign to encourage older people to stay active. 

Powergen Staywarm, part of E.ON UK, is looking for nominations for the UK’s top sporting over-60s – they might not be up to Olympic standards but they could be in with the chance of striking gold with a £100 cash reward. The nominations are being sought as part of the Stay Active campaign recently launched by Powergen Staywarm, the fixed price electricity and gas service designed exclusively for the over-60s. 

Staywarm wants to hear about over-60s who take part in sports that can put a spring in their step such as running, walking, basketball, netball, hurdling and pole-jumping. 

Powergen Staywarm’s local advisor for Liverpool, Steve Whatham said:- “We’re not looking for the next Paula Radcliffe, Linford Christie or Sally Gunnell, we just want to hear about people who like to keep active with regular exercise, particularly by taking part in sports. So, if you’re over-60 or if you’re part of a group with a strong contingent of over-60s, then we’d like to hear from you. We’re certain we’ll receive lots of nominations from Liverpool.”

Staywarm will be selecting both individuals and groups from the area for a Stay Active Award of £100, which can be used to help the winners continue their active lifestyles or to encourage others to join them.

Statistics show that we take less and less exercise as we get older and, by the time we reach 60, few of us take any regular exercise at all. Just 32% of men in England aged between 55 and 64 do the recommended 30 minutes of exercise most days, in Scotland it's 26%, and for women in England it's only 21%, with Scottish women at 19%. For 65- to 74-year-olds, the figures drop to 17% of men, 14% in Scotland, and 12% of women, 8% in Scotland?.

As part of the Stay Active campaign, Powergen Staywarm will also be using NHS guidelines to help spread vital advice to older people on ways to keep mobile. The advice outlined in NHS Keep Warm, Powergen Staywarm advisers at meetings will distribute Keep Well leaflets across the community.

“Moving around generates extra body heat, so any kind of activity will help to keep you warm,”
said Professor Ian Philp, the Department of Health’s National Director for Older People’s Services. “We advise older people, who are able to, to undertake moderate exercise, such as walking, as it provides real health benefits if you do it regularly all year round. We’re delighted Stay Active is encouraging people who can do so to enjoy active lifestyles.”

For a nomination form or further details on Powergen Staywarm please call 0800 1 694 694

Powergen is part of E.ON UK, which is part of the E.ON Group, the world’s largest investor owned utility.


NATIONAL Charity, Help the Aged, is teaming up with Avis Rent-A-Car to offer customers 10% off car hire in the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada. 

Unlike most other car hire companies, Avis does not impose any upper age limit, so all motorists, no matter what their age, will be able to take advantage of this offer.

Avis operates a network of over 4,000 locations worldwide and offers competitive rates, inclusive of all insurance, as well as a ‘no cancellation fee’ policy plus a host of exclusive partner offers with leading airlines and hotels. 

Mark Christopher, Senior Manager Commercial Development at Help the Aged, said:- “At Help the Aged, we receive many calls from older people who are frustrated because they are unable to find a car hire company that will rent to them because of their age or indeed who have been refused car hire outright. We wanted to address this issue by not only teaming up with a car rental firm that does not discriminate against age and that is renowned for great service, but by offering customers a 10% discount to boot.” 

To take advantage of this offer, call 0870 60 60 100 quoting 

AWD W660401 or visit  

Help the Aged will benefit financially from each car hired in conjunction with this offer, with the money going towards the Charity’s work to improve the lives of older people in need.
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