There are lots of benefits for businesses hosting teambuilding events, including increasing morale and building trust among employees. One of the main benefits is employee motivation and how events like this can increase productivity. In this blog, Managing Director Jo Sellick looks at why he thinks hosting teambuilding events like this is important for the business and explains the positive impact it can have on employees. It is that time of year again when Sellick Partnership comes together for our annual 'Teambuilding' event which will be held on Thursday 9 September 2021 to Saturday 11 September 2021 at Durham University. This annual event is one of my absolute favourites and is highly anticipated by everyone across the business. It is a chance for all of our people to come together and share experiences which I believe is vitally important to ensure morale and productivity remains high all year round. Due to the pandemic we were unable to host any events last year, but with restrictions easing we thought now was a good time to get together again in a safe environment. Our very first ‘Teambuilding’ event happened in 2005 with just 15 members of staff travelling to Cumbria in the Lake District. It was really important to me to create an event that people would enjoy, where employees across the business regardless of position or seniority can socialise and have the opportunity to catch up with colleagues they wouldn’t normally see day-to-day. Since then we have grown considerably, and this year we will be heading to Durham University. Despite our growth, and the challenges that comes with arranging an event like this, I still believe it is one of the most important events we put on each year. In previous years we have asked our people to create rock bands, we have competed in our very own ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition, hosted a “bake off” and in 2017 we took all of our employees for a two night break in Majorca to celebrate our 15th anniversary. It is something our people always look forward to and an event I will always insist that we do in some form. I can honestly say that our Teambuilding events have been instrumental in strengthening relationships across our seven offices and have helped us retain many of our long-standing employees. Here are just some of the reasons why I think hosting teambuilding days like ours are so important to keep morale and productivity high all year round. Increased productivity: the collaborative nature of a teambuilding event teaches people how to work together more effectively. It allows you to see that everyone has different skills and approaches to a problem. This knowledge is then transferable to the office environment, as individuals understand how to make best use of each other’s abilities. Develop problem solving skills: because teambuilding exercises usually involve a simulated problem that must be solved, participants can feel like there is less pressure compared to when an issue comes up in the workplace that they need to deal with. They can then find ways to reach a goal despite hurdles, and feel more confident about their ability to do this. The problem solving skills they gain are ones that they can make use of in the corporate setting. Develop future leaders in your business: teambuilding activities usually requires people to step up and take charge to reach an end goal. These leadership qualities can be invaluable to a business and can help you grow your senior management team. This is an excellent opportunity for you to find out who those people are in your business and decide whether they can utilise those leadership skills within your business. Increased networking/communication skills: most businesses rely on effective communication and networking to survive, and teambuilding days can be an excellent way of improving these skills amongst your workforce. Create teams of people who do not usually interact on a regular basis. In doing so you will encourage employees to step outside of the box and help them improve their communication and networking skills overall. Improved company culture: in my opinion this is the most important and valuable benefit. A good company culture will give you the basis to attract and retain the very best employees, and teambuilding activities like ours can really help in boosting the culture within your organisation. A happy workforce is one that is connected and collaborative, and events like this will really help you to reach that goal. But ‘Teambuilding’ for us is not just about increasing morale or improving productivity, it is also our way of saying thank you to the commitment and hard work of all of our staff. Without a great team of people no business can succeed, and here at Sellick Partnership we have a team that I am immensely proud of. It is important to remember that and to always give credit where credit is due. For more information on our annual Teambuilding events or what it is like to work for Sellick Partnership, visit the work for us section of our website and browse our internal vacancies. Alternatively you can see more news, resources and insights here.
Hannah Nicholas is a specialist in the law relating to mental capacity and deprivation of liberty. She has a plethora of experience – from supporting vulnerable people and their families who challenge decisions made by public bodies, to advising the public bodies implementing the legislation. Hannah considers it her life mission is to ensure that those who are vulnerable are protected and their rights are promoted through the relevant legal frameworks. Hannah started her trainee legal career at a large city council and found her passion for the law relating to Adult Social Care and Health during this time. Subsequently, she worked for a niche specialist legal aid practice advising patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 and represented individuals in Court of Protection proceedings. Following this, Hannah practiced at a large international law firm advising NHS bodies on the law relating to Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty amongst other things. Hannah is now a consultant solicitor, as well as founder of Mental Capacity Cat (@thecapacitycat on Twitter). Natalie Atherall, Senior Consultant at Sellick Partnership, recently sat down with Hannah to discuss the importance of her role. What does a typical day look like for you? No two days are the same as a locum adult social care solicitor. As a locum, you are often the person who will be given urgent, pressing cases or complex cases given your expertise. I find that I could be dealing with a Court of Protection case one minute, and then receive a general query regarding safeguarding or mental health matter from someone else. You may have an idea of what your week will look like, but then an urgent referral for Court is required and the to-do list is ultimately scrapped and amended to cater for urgent queries. It’s definitely exciting and rewarding, but I put that down to the area of law rather than what sector I work in, e.g. private/public sector. You have worked in permanent and locum roles, in both the public sector and private sector. What do you find are the key differences? Whether you work as a locum or a permanent employee for either private practice or local government, Mental Capacity work involves a lot of flexibility and the ability to adapt to change. What I enjoy most about being a locum is the flexibility it provides; I am generally able to choose the hours I wish to work, whilst taking into account the client’s needs. Working as a locum is definitely more flexible than private practice. Working within a local authority is very interesting, but also challenging. One of the positives is being creative and resourceful as there is more scope for this approach. In private practice, there is always a focus on billable hours. I find both working in private and public sector rewarding, there is just a different mindset and usual set up with regards to processes and procedures. What trends have you seen in the last 12-18 months, particularly in relation to the impact from COVID-19? During the pandemic, there was certainly an increase in general queries around deprivation of liberty, hospital discharges and treatment issue. The Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) were put on the back burner whilst the focus was to support those with care and support needs through the pandemic. Now, there is a real focus on LPS again given the Codes of Practice is due for public consultation any day now. I am seeing a lot of queries around DOLS/LPS now that the restrictions have lifted and Section 21A challenges to standard authorisations are becoming more prevalent again. You have been a locum for just over two years now. What do you like in particular about working as a locum? Ultimately, I decided to locum to explore other career opportunities and hobbies that I did not have the chance to explore fully as a full time employee, as well as travelling. I enjoy Muay Thai and wanted to spend a few months in Thailand. Being a locum provides this flexibility, although unfortunately the pandemic has impacted my ability to travel recently! In addition, I have set up my training consultancy, Mental Capacity Cat. I am quite a creative person and enjoy digital design and media. I wanted to combine both my passion for Mental Capacity Law, Community Care/Health and Human Rights with my creative outlets, so being a locum provides the flexibility to do this alongside practicing as a solicitor. Another aspect of being a locum which attracted me was the ability to move around various authorities and see how things work in different areas. Each local authority faces different challenges and you meet some of the most amazing people along the way! I would say I have made friends for life during my time as a locum – although you are not a permanent member of staff, you often find your colleagues and clients become friends by the time you leave! What do you find is the best part of your job? Anything Mental Capacity Law is my thing, but the best part of my job is knowing that every day I wake up and help some of the most incredible professionals on the front line every day, supporting people with social or healthcare needs. It’s an absolute honour and privilege to know that the work I do impacts the lives of real people, with real lives, and that I make a positive difference (I hope!) to those who I support and advise. What advice would you give other legal professionals that are considering working as a locum in the public sector? I wish I knew that this was an option in the first place! When I first qualified, I came across locums and wondered what it was all about. I wish that being a locum and working in the public sector/local authority was talked about more in university or generally, as it wasn’t until I qualified that I realised this was something I would be able to do. Working in adult social care is fast paced and hard work – but it is also some of the most rewarding work you will ever do! Fancy a fresh challenge or want to hear more about the opportunities that working as a locum in the public sector can offer? Get in touch with our experienced consultants today.
In our increasingly pressured modern world, it is important for businesses to practice some form of corporate social and environmental responsibility with the goal of contributing to the wellbeing of the communities and society they affect and on which they depend. Corporate Social Responsibility is a “management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions” (unido.org). At Sellick Partnership, our CSR strategy stems naturally from our core values – and we are passionate about how our business can make a real, positive difference to the environment around us. The guidelines that we have in place for our internal and external activities ensure that we can achieve a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives. In this blog I wanted to share some of the things that we do and offer ideas to individuals and businesses out there because together we can make a difference. Community Since first establishing in 2002, giving back to the community has always been a priority of Sellick Partnership. Across the UK we work with a wide range of regional and national charities, including: St Ann’s Hospice, me&dee and the Lord’s Taverners, among others. Each year our staff can use one paid day to volunteer in the community. This is something that some of our clients offer too and is a great way to encourage staff to get involved in helping the community. We run various charity sporting events which are a fun and collaborative way to get involved. For instance, last month we ran our 10th annual Midlands Charity Football Tournament in aid of the fantastic charity, me&dee. There are so many ways for business, groups and individuals to give back to the community. It can even be anything from an adrenaline-inducing skydive to a relaxed group walk or even a tasty office bake sale. Smalls things go a long way too, for example we donate the money from our office tuck shop to St. Ann’s Hospice. Charity fundraising is something we are very passionate about at Sellick Partnership and with such easy and fun ways to get involved, it’s a great way to give back to the community. Halloween is coming up and a charity bake sale is just one example of ways to fundraise for charity. Lots of our clients also do charity bake sales, ‘talk and tea’ sessions and charity runs in aid of charities they are passionate about. Environment We are acutely aware that climate change is unequivocally the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and is continuing at an unprecedented rate (IPCC, 2021). Businesses need to take responsibility to reduce these impacts moving forward. At Sellick Partnership we are passionate about doing our bit to help the environment. We reduce waste as much as we can by having recycling bins around the offices and social spaces, and working paperlessly wherever possible. When it comes to commuting, we encourage car sharing, cycling and the use of public transport. We have now also adopted a hybrid way of working so our staff often work from home which really reduces our carbon footprint. We have an accountability task every month to make sure everyone in the company is taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. The little things really add up, from turning off the lights and computers after a day at work in the office or at home, to having reusable items such as plates, cutlery and water bottles. Our staff have reduced plastic use by using Sellick Partnership canvass tote bags when going to the shops, and some of our teams are trying out meat-free days in efforts to reduce global emissions! Most of these community and environmental activities are things that everyone can do and get involved in. Many of our clients are also working really hard to cut back on waste, and have paperless and no-printing policies. Some clients have been working with arms-length organisations and environmental companies to assess how to lower their carbon footprint and increase their positive impact on the community. Most of our legal clients have all moved towards online case management systems so there is no more need to have so many paper files. Why not give it a go or suggest a new idea to your team? We are always happy to hear ideas for new ways that we can continue supporting the community and environment, so if you have any suggestions please contact our CSR Committee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving into a new legal sector can be a great way to keep your career fresh, challenge yourself and renew your interest in work. We have helped countless legal professionals transition from private practice to public sector jobs with excellent feedback about increased job satisfaction. I recently caught up with a candidate I placed into local government to hear about her experience of moving from private practice into the public sector. My candidate is a Property Lawyer who left a permanent role in a law firm a few months ago to take on a locum role in a local authority. What made you decide to consider working in the public sector? I was tired of the monotony of my work in private practice, I was just doing the same type work over and over with no challenge or variety. I wanted to challenge myself more so I started looking online for public sector roles and came across the Sellick Partnership website and saw that this is something you specialise in, so I applied for a job and you contacted me that same morning. How have you found your transition from a law firm to a local authority? I have absolutely enjoyed it. I have learnt a lot and I am dealing with a huge variety of cases. I am very happy that I made the move. What are the key differences between working in private practice and local authority? There isn’t the pressure of billing targets and I like that you have a consistent client base, because you are working for the council. My personal experience is that the work is quite different. The matters I’m dealing with now are different to what I was doing before so it is interesting. What are you enjoying about working in the public sector? I like the new type of workload, the variety is great. I am provided with legal resources, material and subscriptions. If I don’t know anything I can use various resources to look it up or ask anyone in the team for support. The team work closely together and everyone is really friendly and helpful. What transferable skills do you think you need to make the move from the private to the public sector? The law is the same of course, so that base of legal knowledge is all you need really as you can just build on that. Would you recommend this as a career path to others? Yes, definitely! I am really enjoying it. How do you feel about working in a locum role compared to your previous permanent role? I would say I prefer the locum role, it is flexible and I get paid better! How did Sellick Partnership support your move to a public sector role? And would you recommend us? You kept me informed throughout the process and gave me great interview tips. You were very clear and helpful at every stage. This was the first public sector application I made and I got the job! You were very swift at responding and gave me all the information I needed to be successful. I would definitely recommend you and Sellick Partnership! This is a conversation with just one of many candidates who we have helped move into the local government locum market, across all areas of law. Given our experience as market leaders, we are best placed to help you make the transition and can support you every step of the way, from working on your CV to helping you prepare for interviews and navigating through offers. Fancy a fresh challenge? Get in touch with our experienced consultants today.
Making your company more inclusive and welcoming for staff with disabilities benefits both your business and your workforce. By taking the right steps to help these employees thrive, you will be able to take full advantage of their considerable talents. Modern recruitment is about more than simply looking for the most qualified candidates with the strongest CVs and proven professional credentials. With equality, diversity and inclusion becoming such major talking points within the corporate world, it is now equally important to be looking for talent in traditionally marginalised communities, and cultivate a company culture that provides every employee with an equal chance to succeed. As part of this movement, more and more companies are waking up to the importance of making their workplaces more welcoming to staff with disabilities in recent years. Not only does this mark a company out as socially responsible, but also provides them with access to a sorely underutilised source of talent. According to a recent House of Commons parliamentary report, a total of 8.4 million people of working age identified as disabled in October to December 2020, representing 20% of the working-age population. During this time, only 52.3% of disabled people were in employment - down from 54.1% a year previously, and much lower than the 81.1% employment rate for people without disabilities. This shows there is a real opportunity for businesses to mark themselves out as disability-friendly employers, by working to provide staff with mental and physical disabilities with the right support measures and incentives they need to join. Not only will this allow your organisation to access significant untapped potential within the labour market, but will also help to visibly demonstrate that your commitment to inclusivity is real and substantial. What are your legal requirements for supporting staff with disabilities? When considering the steps that should be taken to accommodate staff with disabilities, the first and most important step is to make sure your organisation is fulfilling all the necessary legal requirements. If an employee has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to do normal daily activities, the Equality Act 2010 states that you have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to support them in doing their jobs and progressing in work - many of which can be done at little or no cost. Here are some of the most common examples of reasonable adjustments you may need to make: Introducing changes to their working patterns to make it easier for them to complete the work. Providing training or mentoring to help them overcome specific challenges and hurdles. Making alterations to your premises to improve accessibility and mobility. Ensuring that business-critical information is provided in accessible formats. Modifying or acquiring work-related equipment to make sure all members of staff are able to complete their work. Providing extra time during tests or tasks to account for people’s specific needs. Additionally, your business may wish to take advantage of the Access to Work scheme - a government grant programme that provides disabled professionals with resources to cover the cost of practical aids for the workplace or for home working. These grants can be used to cover a variety of different support measures, including: Special aids and equipment. Accessibility-focused adaptations to existing equipment. Subsidised costs for travel to and from work. Communication support during the interview stage. Assistance from a wide variety of support workers, depending on the person’s needs. This scheme also includes a Mental Health Support Service, offering advice and guidance for employers to help them understand and offer better support for mental health issues, as well as providing eligible workers with a formal assessment to find out their needs and develop a support plan in conjunction with employers. How can you go above and beyond in your support for staff with disabilities? For an employer to stand out as offering a truly welcoming environment for staff with disabilities, they must go beyond the basic requirements and find ways to show they are making active efforts to make disabled employees and candidates feel valued and sought after. Here are examples of some of the most impactful steps a business can take to achieve this: Make your recruitment process as accessible as possible Paying attention to accessibility throughout your recruitment processes is the best way of making sure you are gaining access to the widest possible pool of talent when hiring. Taking potential disabilities into account when designing your job adverts and interview processes should be a key part of this. This means using a font for your adverts that is large and easy to read, or at least making it available in a variety of formats. It also means avoiding potentially exclusionary language, making it clear that applications are welcomed from all sections of the community, and proactively stating that you are willing to make adjustments and allowances for disabilities. At the interview stage, you should make sure to find out whether they need any reasonable adjustments during the process, such as a change to the lighting or room layout, or switching to a remote interview. However, at the same time, you must remember that you are not permitted to ask too much about a candidate’s health status, other than to ascertain whether they can carry out the role or if they need extra support. The aim is not to provide special treatment, or single anyone out; instead, the focus should be on taking the steps needed to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to succeed. Join the Disability Confident employer scheme Joining the government’s Disability Confident employer scheme is another way of quickly demonstrating your organisation’s welcoming approach to people with disabilities. This programme encourages companies to challenge attitudes towards disability, while removing barriers that prevent people with long-term health conditions from reaching their potential. There are three levels to the Disability Confident employer initiative, each demonstrating a higher level of excellence on various key metrics of inclusion. These include being able to demonstrate that your company is actively advertising vacancies to people with disabilities, making adjustments for employees and offering interviews to people with health conditions. Qualifying for this status allows your company to display a badge that will be taken as a recognised sign of your high standards in this area. Show your recognition of ‘invisible’ disabilities Taking an educated and progressive approach to supporting people with disabilities in the workplace means recognising that not every disability manifests in the same way. There are numerous so-called ‘invisible’ disabilities that are not immediately obvious to the outside observer, but can nevertheless have a major impact on a worker’s experiences. Examples of this include autistic spectrum conditions and learning disabilities, as well as conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that can significantly affect the way a person processes information. These individuals may be extremely capable and talented, but may nevertheless require some additional support and work adjustments to do their best work. Introduce a Mental Health First Aider scheme Mental health first aiders can be a vital addition to any inclusive workplace. These are employees who have received mental health first aid training through Mental Health First Aid England, giving them key skills that allow them to act as a first point of contact for staff members who are experiencing mental health issues or emotional distress. These team members also play a key role in fielding concerns someone may have about a colleague's mental wellbeing, meaning they can make a significant difference in ensuring that everyone within your organisation has someone to turn to if they are experiencing a mental health issue. The government is currently looking to make it essential for mental health first aiders to be present in offices, similar to the laws around physical first aiders and fire marshals. By introducing this measure before it becomes legally mandatory, you can demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to going above and beyond. Normalise flexible working arrangements Flexible working and home working arrangements are often hugely beneficial for people with disabilities that mean they cannot operate successfully in a traditional office environment, or who are simply able to work more efficiently from their own homes. In the past, these kinds of flexible arrangements may have been stigmatised or seen as difficult to arrange, but for many organisations the pandemic has acted as an unforeseen crash course in the basics of arranging productive alternative working arrangements. The last 18 months has also underlined the importance of organising work to accommodate different people’s health needs - and this is a lesson that businesses should look to remember as they look to support their disabled staff members in the future. Consider accessibility when organising events and functions Organising accessible arrangements and support for your employees within your own workplaces and premises should always be a key priority, but it is equally important to remember to consider these matters when organising off-site events, functions and social engagements. These off-site functions are often organised to mark prestigious moments or achievements for the organisation, or to provide employees with a chance to socialise, unwind and bond as a team. By failing to take accessibility into account when planning these events, you risk sending the signal that employees with disabilities are an afterthought on these occasions. As such, you should make sure to avoid this by considering the health needs of every attendee - something that can be achieved by consulting with these individuals as early as possible in the planning process. Take issues of discrimination seriously Fostering an inclusive working culture is not just about taking positive steps to support people with disabilities, but also to act quickly when someone has a reason to feel they have been mistreated. If a staff member with a disability feels that they have been the target of discrimination or exclusionary language, it is essential to take this seriously, investigating the claim and taking swift action to repair the situation. You should be fully transparent in the way you go about this, so that everyone working at the company can see and understand the actions you have taken. By being proactive about combating workplace discrimination, you can turn negative incidents into teachable moments, ultimately supporting your goal of creating an inclusive workplace. Offer the right support for each individual Above all else, creating a welcoming environment for workers with disabilities means remembering that every person needs something different in order to feel that their needs are being met. Each individual is different, so you must make sure you are offering the right support in every case. This can only be achieved by communicating openly and honestly, not just in terms of finding out each individual’s preferences and personal circumstances, but also speaking to each member of the workforce candidly to identify potential barriers within your working culture and how to address them. When you have found this out, you can develop individualised solutions and tailored support that will bring the desired outcome for each person. By taking these steps, your organisation will be able to mark itself out as a truly welcoming workplace for people with disabilities and specific health requirements. In achieving this, you will be able to draw from the widest possible pool of talent, improve your staff morale, enhance your reputation and know that all of your employees have all they need to produce their best work. To learn more about how your organisation can support staff with disabilities, get in touch with the specialist recruitment consultants at Sellick Partnership. We can advise you on the steps you need to take to access the very best talent available.