Business Action | December 2019 / January 2020


December 2019 / January 2020 issue of the independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.

This issue includes the event guide for the BBxpo business exhibition and networking event in Bideford on Thursday 24 October 2019.

Business Action Plan and magazine subscribers receive priority access of new issues of Business Action on publication. Subscribe at


Workforce diversity attracts purple pounds

A new support service

aims to help businesses tap

into £249 billion a year of

spending power, which many

are ignoring. That’s the value of

annual purchases by disabled

people and their families, which

they are more likely to spend

with businesses who employ a

more diverse workforce.

The aim of the Be Ready

Employer Hub is to support

Devon-based businesses,

charities and social enterprises

who can provide meaningful

employment opportunities for

people with a disability or longterm

health condition.

It is a two-year pilot project

jointly funded by Devon County

Council (Learn Devon) and

the Department for Work and

Pensions (DWP). The aim is to

create a central hub of specialist

knowledge and information,

supported by employers, service

providers and Jobcentre Plus,

with contributions from individuals

with ‘lived experience’

of working with a disability or

long-term health condition.

Help and advice

The Be Ready Employer Hub

will provide practical assistance

and knowledge through:

➤➤An online knowledge

resource hub providing all

the information and links

for employers who are ready

to take the next step but not

sure where to start.

➤➤Training – either delivered

on-site (for larger organisations)

or as a group bringing

together smaller businesses,

covering topics such as the

Access to Work scheme,

the Equality Act 2010

(Disability as a Protected

Characteristic), what

‘reasonable adjustments’ are

and how easy and low cost

they can be to implement.

➤➤A telephone helpline (callback

service) for specific

Cyber security is a growing

concern for many businesses

and was the topic of a recent

workshop organised by the

South West Police Regional

Cyber Crime Unit (SW

ROCU) and Lineal Software

Solutions Ltd.

30 business people from

across the South West took

part in Lego-based group

exercises highlighting key

concepts in cybersecurity,

as they sought to protect a

fictional utilities company

from a common real-world

cyber crime attack. This was

followed by a short Q&A

including advice for businesses

on related topics such

as network best practice, password

policy, physical security,

and the Government’s new

Cyber Essentials certification.

Designed to raise awareness

of coordinated digital threats,

the workshop is part of a new

educational initiative being

run by the Police in the region.

The winning team defended

their company by spending

their budget on the correct

countermeasures at each stage

of the exercise and strategically

limiting the damage from

questions about any aspect

of inclusive recruitment for

people with a disability.

➤➤Peer networking groups for

employers to share experience,

ideas and have open

and honest conversations

about employing individuals

with a disability.

➤➤Opportunities to achieve

the different levels of

the Disability Confident

scheme, which is often seen

as a ‘badge of honour’ by

many disabled people when

making buying decisions.

Good business sense

One of the project’s key objectives

is to show employers that

it makes good business sense

to work with a more diverse

workforce, such as attracting

some of the £249 billion a year

spend. Having people working

in the business who think

Protection from cybercrime

any breaches in security.

Supported by five Police

forces, SW ROCU delivers

specialist capabilities to target

and disrupt serious and organised


Lineal’s head of technical

services, Matt Norris, said:

“We were to delighted to be

able to organise the Cyber

Crime Unit to run this very

special workshop for local

companies. Many businesses

struggle to grapple with cybersecurity

but help and expertise

are accessible.”

differently, have developed

their skills by overcoming

adversity and have ‘lived experience’

of the disabled ‘target

market’ is a major competitive


By focusing on ability and

talent, rather than the disability

or health condition, employers

will see the business benefits of

valuing difference and diversity.

The Be Ready Employer

Hub goes live in February 2020

and while in set-up phase, the

project team are hosting focus

groups around the county to

get the opinions of businesses

as to what the service should

cover. The North Devon focus

group was held in December,

but the team still want to hear

from more businesses.

For more details on how

to become involved in the Be

Ready Employer Hub, contact

project manager Debbie Stafford

(debbie.stafford@devon. or project co-ordinator

Sue Windley (susan.windley@


Protect officer Samantha

Parsons from the SW Regional

Cyber Crime Unit explained:

“The overwhelming majority

of businesses are reliant on

online services, which exposes

them to cyber security risks.

Despite 43% of businesses

reporting breaches or attacks

in 2018, only 27% had a formal

policy or policies covering

cyber security risks. It was

great to see so many organisations

attend the workshop,

wanting to understand more

about cyber security and how

they can protect themselves.”

■■Details 01271 375999 or

2 business action | December 2019 / January 2020 |

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