General Data Protection Regulation – Prepare Now For New Law In May 2018

The Data Protection Act 1998 requires every organisation that processes personal information to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), unless they are exempt. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

Unless one of the exemptions applies, individuals should generally be able to choose whether or not their personal data is disclosed to another organisation. If your intention to disclose information in this way was not made absolutely clear at the outset, at a time when the individual had the option not to proceed in their business relationship with you, then you will usually have to get the individual’s consent before making such disclosures.

data protection

Businesses need to prepare now to ensure they will be compliant with changes to data protection laws when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25th May 2018.

The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.

We suggest you visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website. This includes practical guidance, including:-

A. Overview of the GDPR. This is for those who have day-to-day responsibility for data protection.

B. The 12 steps to take to prepare for GDPR. This has been relaunched, with updated guidance and with increased focus on the need to act now to prepare for May 2018. The steps start with:

  1. Awareness

You should make sure the decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have and identify areas that could cause compliance problems under the GDPR. It would be a useful start to look at your risk register if you have one.

  1. Information You Hold

You should document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. You may need to organise an information audit across your organisation.

The GDPR requires you to maintain records or your processing activities. If you have inaccurate personal data and have shared this with another organisation, you will have to tell the other organisation so it can correct its records.

C. Getting Ready For the GDPR. This is a checklist divided into Steps.

The GDPR will significantly increase the maximum fines, so compliance needs to be taken seriously.

You need to start looking at how to comply now before it is too late.

If you want help, in the first instance, contact Lynne Brooke via Email or our Contact page.

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UK’s Top Solicitor – Lynne Brooke

Successful people hire and cooperate with reliable professionals. VouchedFor is a website presenting solicitors, accountants, financial and mortgage advisers.

certificate of excellence for Lynne

All professionals are reviewed. In order to keep everything transparent and fair, all reviewers are verified. Lynne Brooke belongs to best solicitors - as chosen by his clients. Visit the VouchedFor platform and read all reviews Lynne received.

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Social entrepreneurship: Challenging Traditional Methods, Offering New Solutions

Social entrepreneurs address social and environmental challenges in their unique and creative ways. They drive transformation in fields like education, environment and health. Social entrepreneurs often combine poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial acumen and enthusiasm. They challenge traditional business methods and practices and encourage new solutions.

Similar to business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs create stable and sustainable organisations which are established either as not-for-profit or companies.

The Brooke Consultancy LLP helps and advices social entrepreneurs regarding business structure and about becoming a member of the Social Stock Exchange. Although social entrepreneurs focus first and foremost on the social value creation, they aim at optimising the financial value too.

Thanks to a successful cooperation with The Brooke Consultancy LLP, Home From Home Care achieves with its activities a greater impact on the society. Home From Home Care (HFHC) specialises in residential services for adults with learning disabilities and special needs. HFHC focuses on offering quality services and care to improve the lives of people with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD), Sensory impairment, Mental Health Issues.

home from home care

Home From Home Care was created in 2004 by parents of a child with learning disabilities who understand what it means to want a person with special needs to live a happy life and reach their potential. Combining their family perspective and vision with the services offered by professionals, HFCH employs today over 300 staff.

In order to meet the criteria of The Social Stock Exchange (SSX), Home From Home Care cooperated with The Brooke Consultancy to complete an Impact Report. Becoming a SSX member leads to greater impact through capital allocation or capital raising.

Today's social entrepreneurs like Home From Home Care are innovative, creative and resourceful. They aim at positive solutions to care to improve lives of many people. It is meaningful to change the perception of individuals with learning disabilities.

The Brooke Consultancy LLP assists entrepreneurs with the preparation of the Impact report which is necessary for a company to become a member of the SSX. Contact us to receive more information about Impact reports and SSX.

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Lynne Brooke according to VouchedFor one of the country's top legal professionals

It's important to hire an expert to make sure, your situation is handled effectively and professionally. VouchedFor is an independent service, a platform where you can find, rate and review professionals. The identity of all reviewers is verified.

You can search thousands of financial and mortgage advisers, solicitors and accountants. Not only can you find a professional you can also voice your opinion and contribute to trust online. Solicitors specialise in different areas of law, and therefore, look for one whose reviews are about similar issues to yours.

lynne certificate of excellence

In April 2016, The Sunday Times published via VouchedFor a guide with UK’s top solicitors. Next to Lynne Brooke’s name were the following listed areas: Employment, Immigration, Business, Disputes, Intellectual Property, and Finance.

All top solicitors have received the highest volume of positive client reviews in the past two years – visit the VouchedFor platform to read reviews Lynne received. VouchedFor lists over 10,000 professionals, and over 40,000 clients have reviewed their advisers, solicitors and accountants.

Lynne Brooke belongs to UK's best professionals as chosen by his clients.

Sources: The Brooke Consultancy, VouchedFor.co.uk, The Sunday Times

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Corporate Responsibility Now.

Corporate Responsibility is now a global movement and is a part of sustainability. That means that, while a company focuses on financial success, it has to pay more than lip service to ethics, and the social impact of its activities.

An example of corporate responsibility would be a company prior to the passing of The Modern Slavery Act 2015 making sure that its supply chain is clean. That is now a legislative requirement under the Act and the Supply Chain Regulations under that Act which applies to all companies with turnovers of £36m+.

Corporate responsibility is not a short term development, it is about the development of the company in the context of corporate responsibility, sustainability and stewardship.

A working definition by The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication Making Good Business Sense, states:

Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.

CSR is about capacity building for sustainable livelihoods. It respects cultural differences and finds the business opportunity in building the skills of employees in the context of the community of which it is part. It is more likely than not that CSR is now simply known as Corporate Responsibility.

Corporate Responsibility and Transparency

Companies are subject to increasing demands to be transparent about their activities and approach to Corporate Responsibility. That has to be dealt with in their accounts if they are a listed company or if the private company has a turnover of £36m+.  In fact it is good practice for private limited liability companies to address Corporate Responsibility in their Annual Report.

This process of transparency means that people are better informed about companies and their behaviour and that impacts upon the issue of investment. Lack of regard to corporate responsibility and corporate behaviour puts a company at reputational risk.

Consumers need to trust companies and that means that companies need to be proactive, keep the public regularly informed about their activities, show how they manage operations and the impact they have on the communities in which they operate.

Put simply, companies need to move away from taking resources and exploiting their workforce. Markets need to be built using sustainable energy resources and, while creating value, need to benefit employees and stakeholders.

Corporate Responsibility and Growth

CSR is not an optional add on, it’s an integral part of companies taking serious steps to build their corporate reputation and create a strong base for engaging employees, shareholders and all stakeholders in the segment of society in which a company operates.

In addition to corporate governance and policies, Corporate Responsibility can be discharged by a company contributing to, for example, a sponsorship programme for educating street children in a country that has that need and for those children to be given the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field.  Or supporting a charity that drills wells relatively inexpensively to provide fresh water to enhance the life and environment of an entire village and its present and ensuing generations.

Corporate Responsibility is a necessary part of any company and its growth. It is essential that management addresses the issue of Corporate Responsibility as a question of, not only complying with legislation like The Bribery Act 2010, but also embedding it as part of its policies, governance, values and beliefs that find practical expression in how a company conducts its business.

We deal with the issue of Corporate Responsibility and Social Impact on our CSR-dedicated page.

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Love The Arts, Love The Hearts

Listening to Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart - music touches us emotionally. Words fail to express what music can. It lets us feel less pain and distress. Music even has the ability to heal.

Last Thursday (June 23rd) even the unpleasant weather couldn't discourage people from attending the Hearts in Harmony (HIH) charity event in St. John's Smith Square. At the beginning of the event, Shan Liew, the HIH founder, explained how important music and charity work are in her life, so she decided to combine both. While the Orpheus Sinfonia was playing, people in the audience were encouraged to donate to the Great Ormond Street Hospital (also known as: GOSH).

GOSH provides care to hundreds of sick children and supports families every day, since 1852. By attending the charity event and donating, people enable the Great Ormond Street Hospital to fund a brand new defibrillator.

The Brooke Consultancy was and is grateful to have had the opportunity to attend and support Shan Liew in her noble efforts.

charity event HIH

For more information about upcoming charity events that combine a good cause with the love for the arts - please visit Heartsinharmony.co.uk.

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Organising a Flash Mob: Do’s and Don’ts

The aim of flash mob is to be a public spectacle, drawing attention to a specific cause or charity. Imagine a group of people appearing in a public location unexpectedly, performing something eye-catchy. The Flash Mob performances are usually rehearsed elsewhere.

Flash Mob Location: Choose Wisely

Flash Mob Location: Choose Wisely

Flash Mob Locations

It is likely you will surprise anyone in charge of security, where the event will take place – unless you inform them about your flash mob beforehand. The problem arising here is as follows: Surprised people can be unpredictable. Bear in mind, the current United Kingdom threat level is ‘Severe’. It is very important that you avoid alarming or angering the Public, who may be in a hurry to reach their destinations. Among other things, depending on the location, the event could cause an accident - for example a person could step into or being pushed into nearby traffic by a sudden surge in the crowd. Accordingly, you should choose the location of an event with great care. Avoid places that appear to receive special attention from the Police such as Public Transport. Railway stations platforms and trains, Tube stations platforms and trains, Bus stations and buses might be a bad choice as they are ‘choke points’. Don’t use Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Parliament Square and other sensitive locations without obtaining permission.

Permissions

The main issues are not to commit trespass, go into private property, or obstruct the public highway. You must contact the relevant local authority/owner or manager of the land to get permission and you need to contact the local police. Obtaining acknowledgements by way of letter would be best but that may take time so we recommend writing a confirmatory letter to whoever you have contacted confirming notification/grant of permission. Then if you are approached at the Event, you can produce the letter.

Flash Mob Participants

You should chose the Flash Mob participants. Do not invite people via the internet to participate as that may attract elements who want to use your Flash Mob event for their own purposes.

Flash Mob: Music Choices and Filming

Consider music licensing if you intend to use music during your Flash Mob event and intellectual property rights if you intend filming and publishing the Event on line.

Contact us for legal advice if you intend to organise a Flash Mob.

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Litigation PR: Another Tool in the Litigation Armoury

Litigation public relations is the management of the communication process during the course of any legal dispute or adjudicatory processing so as to affect the outcome or its impact on the client’s overall reputation (Haggerty, 2003).

Litigants and Law Firms have always used the media to get their side of the story across and the practice of Litigation PR originally evolved out of crisis communications in the early 1980s. One of the most famous Litigation Law Practitioners is Alan Hilburg who represented U.S. Tobacco in the well documented Marsee case. The need for Litigation PR has grown tremendously as media coverage of court cases and the law has increased. Usually the two parties to a lawsuit have important interests to defend that expand way beyond legal concerns. Negative publicity about a corporation can cause damage to the overall reputation that even a courtroom win may never salvage. Whether civil or criminal, one cannot underestimate the impact of negative publicity on public opinion in corporate and institutional legal cases.

The Basic Concept of Litigation Public Relations

1. Litigation PR is to influence the outcome of the court case by encouraging early or favourable settlement or by pressuring the prosecution into bringing lesser or no charges (Haggerty, 2003).

2. Litigation PR is to protect the client’s reputation before and during the trial. In this regard, Litigation PR is akin to Reputation Management. Reputation Management is about managing public perception of an organisation or individual. It is about attitude toward the individual and not knowledge itself. An essential aspect of Reputation Management is influencing attitude about the individual and corporation, which can encourage positive activation to the benefit of the organisation (Haywood, 2002).
As a discipline Litigation PR is needed for both parties because the media will convey an inherent bias in favour of either the plaintiff or the prosecutor. Whenever allegations are made public, the media tend to portray cases very much in terms of the traditional victim versus villain and/or David versus Goliath stories. News coverage frequently leads with the plaintiff or prosecutor’s allegations and if a defendant’s responses are included at all, they only appear well into the article. Therefore, the defendant is often forced on the defensive. In these situations, working with the media to create more balanced, accurate, and less sensational coverage of a lawsuit is a necessary element in defending high profile clients.

In taking on a case for either party, your PR Practitioner will look to achieve the following objectives:
• Counteract and respond to negative publicity.
• Make the client’s viewpoint known clearly.
• Ensure balanced media coverage by providing the counter argument in a case.
• Help the media and the public understand complex legal issues through delivering concise key messages.
• Defuse an often hostile and inflammatory environment.
• Help resolve conflict and facilitate channels of communication.

The first step is to establish credibility with the media as an information source, the next is to control the flow of information so the right message is heard. The third step is to develop the key messages in a manner that supports the client’s position.

Differences between Litigation PR and General Public Relations

1. Litigation PR is highly dependent on the media. Although the practice of PR involves far more than just media communication, Litigation PR remains dependent on the media. At a time when society is growing more litigious, the media focuses and in fact seeks out publicly filed lawsuits. It is important your Litigation PR Practitioner knows how to pre-empt adverse publicity that could impact the entire strategy of a legal case.
2. Because typical public relations campaign strategies and tactics may not be appropriate and may even be harmful at certain times during a lawsuit, the legal strategy must follow due legal process.
3. Litigation PR is more regulated so as not to prejudice the legal process.
4. Litigation PR is directed with emphasis on one-way communication. The goal of Litigation PR is to reinforce the legal strategy and theory of the case to ensure a win. Given that the law is adversarial in nature, a Litigation Publicist will always seek to create a win-lose situation to reduce damage to the client’s credibility and reputation.

Sabine Raabe

Sabine Raabe

Why engage a Litigation PR Practitioner

Litigation PR is highly strategic and requires experience, knowledge of the law and a close working relationship with the client’s legal team. Unlike traditional Public Relations, often the objective in Litigation PR is to control the information flow to the media and to pre-empt the opponent’s next move. Lack of co-operation and communication can lead to the most solid case derailing which will ultimately be costly for the client and may lose them their business and reputation. Litigation PR should be seen as part of sound brand management in protecting underlying brand value for the long term at times of crisis.

Good reads to understand Litigation PR:
Haywood, R. (2002). ‘Managing your Reputation’: How to plan Public Relations to build and protect the organization’s most powerful asset (2nd ed.). London: Hogan Page.
Haggerty, J. F. (2003). ‘In the Court of Public Opinion’: Winning your Case with Public Relations. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Author: Sabine Raabe has provided Litigation PR support on high profile cases, including class actions, employment disputes and consumer rights.

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Lynne Brooke - UK's Top Solicitor

Hiring an expert may be your best investment. Make sure you read the Guide published by The Sunday Times via VouchedFor. Since solicitors specialise in particular areas - look for one who has been reviewed by others with a similar issue to yours.

Lynne Brooke received many positive reviews in the following areas: Immigration, Employment, Disputes, Business, Intellectual Property and Finance.

Lynne in the Sunday Times

All top solicitors have received the highest volume of positive client reviews in the past two years on the platform VouchedFor which is a rating site for financial and legal professionals.

VouchedFor lists over 10,000 professionals, and over 40,000 clients have reviewed their own professionals and shared their opinion of financial and legal help they received.

Lists of the 250 professionals with the most positive reviews in each of VouchedFor’s four categories (Financial Advisers, Mortgage Advisers, Solicitors and Accountants) were published in the newspaper The Sunday Times on 10th April 2016.

Lynne Brooke belongs to the country's best professionals as chosen by his clients.

Congratulations Lynne and many thanks to all who contributed with a positive review.

Sources: The Brooke Consultancy, VouchedFor.co.uk, thesundaytimes.co.uk
Photo source: The Sunday Times

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People with Significant Control Register (PSC Register)

You must now under The Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 maintain a register of persons or entities with significant control over your company

1. Introduction

This Memorandum gives company directors and secretaries of limited liability companies, charities and social enterprises established as companies and designated members of limited liability partnerships, an overview of their obligations.

It is essential that you read the Government’s guidance that explains the law.

You can consult us at any time if you need legal advice on setting up your PSC Register, the information that needs to be included, when you arerequired to carry out an investigation and how to respond to requests.

2. People with Significant Control Register (PSC)

From 6th April 2016 UK incorporated companies and LLPs must collect information about people with significant control over them in a PSC Register to increase transparency about their ownership to help deal with anti money laundering and terrorist financing.

Companies must keep their PSC Registers accessible. A company can keep its PSC register at its registered office, or at another location provided it has notified Companies House. Anyone may have access to the company’s PSC Register free of charge, or have a copy of it for an appropriate fee.

Failure to comply is a criminal offence and you will face a conviction of up to 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine.

3. Who needs to keep a PSC Register?

• Unlisted UK incorporated companies limited by shares or guarantee, including dormant companies and community interest companies;
• UK Societas Europaeae; and
• UK LLPs.

4. What is the requirement?

• keep a register of people with significant control over the company;
• take reasonable steps to identify those who are registrable on the PSC Register;
• enter the required information on the PSC Register nd;
• provide the information to Companies House; and
• monitor and update the information on your PSC Register.

5. Who is a person with significant control?

A person or entity that:
• directly or indirectly owns more than 25% of the shares of the company;
• directly or indirectly holds more than 25% of the voting rights of the company;
• directly or indirectly holds the right to appoint or remove the majority of the directors of the board;
• otherwise has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control; and/or
• holds the rights to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the activities of a trust or firm which is not a legal entity, but which would itself satisfy any of the above if it were an individual.

6. What if another company has significant control?

If some or all of a company’s shares are owned by a legal entity, known as a Relevant Legal Entity (RLE), you must enter the RLE on your PSC Register.

Where a PSC interest is held through an RLE, it is the RLE that is entered in the PSC Register. You then need to obtain information about persons with significant control.

You must take reasonable steps to determine whether any individual or legal entity meets the conditions for being a PSC or registrable RLE.

You will need to consider the position where shares are held by nominees or are subject to any other arrangement including trusts before making an entry in your PSC Register.

7. Investigation as to what is significant influence or control

The Government guidance has information on the meaning of significant influence or control. You must have regard to that guidance when considering if a person exercises significant influence or control.

The legislation sets out detailed procedures for investigating the position. You must give notice to anyone who you know to be registrable or you have reasonable cause to believe to be registrable.

You must also give notice to anyone who you know, or have reasonable cause to believe, knows the identity of a PSC or registrable RLE.

It is vital that you send appropriate notices to people before the information can be included on the PSC Register. This also applies to updating the information when PSC details change.

Although Government guidance contains template notices you may need notices based on the guidance which contain additional user friendly wording.

A person who has been given a ‘notice’ has one month to reply. If there is no response, the company must then give a ‘warning notice’ stating that if they don’t respond that may lead to them having restrictions placed on their interests in the company. If the notice is still not complied with, the company may issue a ‘restrictions notice’ after a further one month.

You must keep the PSC Register up to date. For example, the PSC Register may contain the following wording:

The company has not yet completed taking reasonable steps to find out if there is anyone who is a registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.

The company knows or has reasonable cause to believe that there is no registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.

The company has given notice that has not been complied with, but if complied with the PSC notice must be updated with a new statement e.g. The notice has been complied with after the time specified in the notice, together with the PSC’s information.

8. How to respond to requests for information

It is a criminal offence to refuse a request without applying to court.

The company must respond to a request within five working days of receipt. The company’s reply must include the requested information and the date its PSC Register was last updated but a request must include a proper purpose for seeking the information.

If the company believes the request was not made for a proper purpose and wishes to refuse the request, the company must apply to court within five working days of receipt and reply to the request saying that they have made the application. However it seems that the circumstances in which a PSC request would be considered improper are limited.

A company can charge a fee of £12 for each copy of the PSC Register.

9. Residential Addresses

Companies must enter PSC information on their register and the central public register held at Companies House, through their annual Confirmation Statement. All of the information about the PSC, will be registered at Companies House.

The only information that will not be registered is the PSC’s usual residential address. The usual residential address on the register must not be made available for public inspection or when a company provides copies of the PSC Register.

Companies House can make residential addresses available to credit reference agencies and certain public authorities.

In exceptional circumstances, meaning where there is a serious risk of violence or intimidation, PSCs can prevent their residential addresses from being shared with credit reference agencies.

The Government’s guidance sets out more information if a company feels that their PSCs need protection.

From 30 June 2016, private companies have the option to elect to maintain their PSC register at Companies House instead of at their registered office. Companies can only do this if they give notice to their PSCs of their intention to make this choice and if the PSC doesn’t object.

10. Limited Liability Partnerships

The Government’s guidance details the PSC regime that applies to LLPs and it is in all material respects similar to UK companies.

11. Charities and Social Enterprises established as companies

The PRC Register regime extends to companies limited by guarantee, Community Interest Companies and any charity trading subsidiary incorporated as a company or LLP. The obligation to maintain a PRC Register but does not currently include Cooperative Societies, Community Benefit Societies and Charitable Incorporated Organisations.

12. Summary

You must establish and maintain a PSC Register, file those details at Companies House and keep them at your registered office or another address that you have notified to Companies House.

If you fail to comply with this new PSC Register requirement, you will face criminal conviction by imprisonment and/or a fine.

Copyright: The Brooke Consultancy LLP 20 March 2016

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