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5 questions employers often ask about shared parental leave



Introduced in 2015, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) allows new parents to share time off work in the first year of their child’s life, or in the first year after adoption. It is intended to give parents greater flexibility in their childcare arrangements, while still maintaining their profession. Importantly, SPL allows both parents to play an active role in caring for new arrivals, and is another step towards helping employees achieve a better work-life balance.

Managing SPL can be complex, but it’s important to understand good practice so that you can support employees and minimise disruption to your business.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 questions employers often ask regarding SPL arrangements.

  1. When is an employee eligible for SPL?

To be eligible for SPL and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP), both parents must share responsibility for the child at birth; they are not eligible if they started sharing responsibility for the child after it was born. In addition, employees must also meet certain work and pay criteria. If parents want to share the SPL and ShPP, both of them must:

  • Have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date;
  • Be employed by you while taking SPL;
  • Have employee status (workers are not eligible for SPL – although their employed partner may be); and
  • Earn on average at least £116 a week.

Different criteria apply if only one of the parents wants to take the SPL and ShPP, and for adoptive parents.

  1. How much notice will I be given?

Don’t panic. By law, employees must give you at least eight weeks’ written notice of their intention to take SPL and the dates of their leave. This should give you enough time to prepare for their absence and ensure organisational needs are met. Having early conversations regarding an employee’s intentions will be beneficial for both parties, as it will enable both you and the employee to be clear regarding the entitlement, what leave arrangements are being considered and how any leave will be accommodated.

  1. How much leave are employees entitled to, and how should they be paid during this time?

By law, women must take a minimum of two weeks’ maternity leave after giving birth. After this, new parents can take a maximum of 50 weeks’ SPL, of which 37 weeks is paid as ShPP. The statutory pay for shared parental leave is £145.18 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. You may wish to offer additional pay above the statutory minimum; this should be set out in an employee’s Contract of Employment.

  1. How can employees choose to take SPL?

Employees are entitled to take SPL in the way that’s best for them; it can be taken at the same time as their partner, or at a different time, meaning a woman can take maternity leave while her partner is on SPL. SPL also doesn’t have to be taken in one go; employees can book up to three blocks of leave during their child’s first year. Employers must accept requests for one continuous period of leave, but for employees requesting discontinuous blocks of leave, you have 14 days to either accept the leave they are proposing, put forward other suggestions or refuse. Keep in mind that shorter blocks of time may be preferable, as it means employees won’t be away from work for an extended period, keeping them in the loop with what’s going on.

  1. What’s in it for me?

Rather than seeing SPL as an inconvenience, remember that there are benefits for employers too. Greater flexibility around childcare is proven to create happier, more loyal and more productive workforces, and will make it easier to attract and retain staff. Gone are the days where employees are solely focused on money – work flexibility is now high on people’s list of priorities when job hunting. Not only that, but by embracing SPL, employees will feel valued, appreciated and supported, which can only be good for business.

There’s also the fact that, unlike maternity or adoption leave, eligible employees can stop and start their SPL and return to work between periods of leave. This is good news for employers, as it minimises disturbance to their role and to your business.

Ellis Whittam is a leading provider of fixed fee employment law advice and is NIVO’s preferred partner. For more information contact Ellis Whittam on 0345 226 8393 or email Ben Delaney on

New Products from Bravilor Bonamat






“In 1991 Munich smart-card maker Giesecke & Devrient, sold the first 300 SIM cards to the Finnish wireless network operator Radiolinja”. That’s what it says on Wiki anyway and I have no reason to doubt it. In 2014 GSMA Intelligence said that the deployed SIM estate worldwide exceeded 7 billion. That’s 7 thousand million SIMs, or 699,999,999,700 more than that 1991 order. That’s a lot of SIMs. It’s also a lot of revenue for the mobile operators. It’s a lot of applications and it is this figure because a SIM card is a very useful item.

The mind-boggling thing is that GSMA also said that by 2020 uptake could be as high as 20 billion SIMs, which is 13,000,000,000,000 more in just 4 years. Thirteen billion SIMs in 48 months. That’s nearly 271 million new SIM activations per month worldwide. We connected over 30,000 SIMs last year and we are not a household name in the consumer market, but all of those SIMs are delivering services to consumers.

You could easily be forgiven for asking “why on Earth would that happen?” as the numbers are eye-wateringly high. Take a closer look and the case becomes compelling.

Why do Utilities companies want to send a man in a van to read your meter so they can end billing estimates when they can put a SIM in it and take accurate meter readings at will? Why does a leading pest control company want to send a man in a van to check if a rat trap needs resetting? They can, and now do, drop a SIM into it and tell the rat trap to alert base when it has been set off.

Vending companies monitor their machines and know exactly how much money is in the machine and what stock is needed – no more double trips or time wasted by the operator going in and out of the customer’s premises.  Total efficiency and route planning is now incorporated from the simple SIM.

Card payments & contactless – don’t tie yourself up with your card reader supplier – you don’t need to – save some operating costs by getting your own SIMs.

Would you like a new vending machine with touch screen technology?  You will need SIMs to be able to easily communicate remotely with your machines.  You can change the advertising and even bespoke messages for that important visitor.

Ever followed a Heavy Goods Vehicle on the motorway? It probably has a SIM in it for its vehicle tracking, odometer readings, tachograph and even driver WIFI access point. Another SIM is attached to DashCam to record insurance / driver safety audio-visuals. Another SIM is maybe in the trailer checking ambient temperature of perishable goods, or soldered into each of the many containers on the load for asset tracking purposes. A further SIM may be attached to a sensor in the engine recording oil and fuel measurements and more.

Ever stood at a bus stop and the overhead display says your bus will arrive in 5…4…3…2 minutes, then says “due” and the bus comes round the corner right on cue? Yes, there is a SIM in the bus providing WIFI, CCTV, tracking and updates to the SIM in the bus stop making your life more predictable and easy via a back end public transport management system.

How do you think the motorway signs get updated to show alerts? Or electronic point of sale signs get their updates? Have you ever bought from Amazon and collected your package the following morning from your newsagent? The newsagent has a barcode scanner with a SIM in it which talks to the Amazon server farm. Amazon know the instant your package is ready to be collected. That’s really clever.

All this mind-boggling stuff is making me hungry.

I might log on to a well-known website showing all of the takeaways in my locality and select a dish of culinary style, nationality, proximity and convenience and order something for tea. The website will take my order, my address, my payment and required time of delivery. It will then send those details to a SIM card plugged into a remote printer at Elif’s takeaway pizza 3 miles down the road which will stream paper all over their counter to say “10 inch hot and spicy deep-pan, extra cheese and special garlic bread (no mushroom)”, all of my delivery details and confirm the order is paid in full.

Dinner has been ordered for 7.30pm.

SIMs start from 25p per SIM per month – Beat that!

Contact Adam Oddy on 07984 198124 to explore the possibilities!

VENDEX midlands – 30 April 2019


5. Vendex-Midlands-2019-invitation

Food for thought.


Food for thought.

We know that the UK snacking market is changing. Health is shoppers greatest concern. Traditional Chocolate and Sugar confectionary is in decline whilst Better for You snacks continue to grow as shoppers seek alternatives to traditional confectionary.

BUT… having visited vending operators up and down the country throughout 2018 I would like to propose a question!

How do you decide which snacking bars to stock in a snack vending machine?

Price, rate of sale, margin, revenue, brand support, category and consumer trends, vend ability, perceived consumer value, nutritional profile, NHS compliance, consumer profiling, demographics, vending data analysis, client asks for it! I’m guessing that the answer for the vending outlet operator is that ‘it depends’ and ultimately is a combination of important factors.

As well as looking specifically at NHS ‘compliance’ I wanted to take some time to consider two other factors of which are ‘occasions’ and consumer considerations; opportunities that I feel are somewhat overlooked but can unlock new consumption opportunities.

The breakfast opportunity

How many vended sales do we make in the morning versus lunch time or the afternoon tea break?

With today’s busy lifestyles its little wonder that food to go and on the go breakfast foods are growing. I’ve taken a morning train recently myself and noted with interest that the vending machine on the platform stocks only traditional confectionary bars and Crisps, not a choice I am likely to make at 7am! Kellogg’s is a brand synonymous with breakfast and our Nutri-Grain Fruity Bars have a soft golden baked crust made with wholegrain wheat and oats, and a Strawberry, Apple or Blueberry filling. It offers a quick, on the go breakfast and with its recent re-branding and VAT exempt credentials, represents the perfect solution.

Consumer profiling.

How many sales do we make for men versus women and do we reflect this dynamic in our range?

I was somewhat surprised to discover that Women aged between 25-45 make up 61% of Cereal bar sales. In 2018 Special K’s ‘Powering You’ campaign celebrated the power of women in everyday moments of life. The 35g Special K Protein Cereal Bars, packed with Nuts, Seeds and Almond butter, 14% protein and 149 Kcal per bar feels like it delivers against the opportunity but please read on!

NHS and ‘Compliance’

I see that vending operators are reacting at a varying pace to the macro consumer trend of a shopper who is more often making a ‘heathier’ choice. We know that legislation is shaping range across NHS and other Government estates specifically, and there are there differences between legislation in England, Scotland and Wales. All things considered, from the outlet operators’ perspective, healthier and compliant products need to be sensibly priced and deliver rate of sale and margin which can be the real challenge.

The great news is that Kellogg’s Better for You range, including Squares, Nutri-Grain and Special K Protein bars are all under 250Kcal thus complying with the basic CQUIN guidelines in England.

Furthermore, Special K Protein Blackcurrant and Pumpkin Seed bars are compliant against the healthy living award product compliance checklist (Scotland)… ‘compliant compliant’ you might say.

Our full range is available to order via Automatic Retailing and Blakemore, I shall be out in trade and look forward to meeting with as many vending operators as possible in the coming weeks to present our range and samples. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or queries.

Alex Tye (Kellogg’s)

For more information contact Jem Collins,
07976 595625






Portlebay Popcorn


Nestlé YES! bar – delicious & wholesome?


Explore the possibilities of flavourful and wholesome vending – Nestlé Professional® Nutritionist Beth Hooper gives the lowdown on the latest evolution in wholesome and delicious snack bars*

“Snacking in the UK is undergoing a revolution, with the category now valued at £18bn and rising (1). And, as ‘Generation Graze’ continues to develop, so too does the demand from consumers for wholesome alternatives, as 45% of shoppers say they are looking for healthy snacks and 41% state they want snacks with less sugar (2) .
“The Government currently suggests that we consume about 80% of our recommended calorie intake from main meals and that the other 20% of our diet can be made up of healthier snacks and drinks – this equates to around 400 calories. “As long as you don’t exceed your overall daily calorie intake, there’s no reason why snacks can’t be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. In fact, for some, the right snack choices can actually help us to get enough of some positive nutrients.

Introducing the Yes!bar

“It’s with this in mind that Nestlé Professional® has launched the Yes! bar. This premium bar is a great addition to the vending offer across a wide variety of sectors – from workplace and further education to coffee shops, travel, leisure and healthcare. “There are currently three bars available; Tempting Sea Salt, Dark Choc & Almond Nut Bar (189 calories); Sumptuous Cranberry & Dark Choc Nut Bar (183 calories); and Delicious Beetroot & Apple Fruit Bar (123 calories). Designed to bridge the gap between indulgence and nutrition, the YES! range is specially crafted using fruit, vegetable and nuts to be both delicious and wholesome*.

Looking at the nutrition

“While sales of traditional cereal bars are declining, snack bar growth is coming from new shoppers buying energy, fruit & nut bars (3). Primarily driven by rising consumer inclination towards healthy food products and busier lifestyles, the healthy snack market is expected to continue to expand significantly (4).

“Meeting this demand, our Yes! bars have strong nutritional credentials. All varieties available through Nestle Professional® are high in fibre. Both the Tempting Sea Salt and Sumptuous Cranberry bars are also a source of protein, meanwhile the Beetroot & Apple bar has no added sugar, is low in saturated fat and counts as one of your five a day – a key factor given we know that adults in the UK are still struggling to meet the 5 A Day target.

“What’s more, with one third of consumers stating they are keen on ‘free-from’ food options (5), all three Yes! bars are gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. Plus, the Beetroot & Apple bar is lactose free and meets the needs of the estimated 542,000 vegans in Britain (6).

Looking to the future

“With an increased emphasis on healthy food for NHS staff,visitors and patients, the onus is on for enticing vending options that meet the standards of the NHS Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) framework. Our Beetroot & Apple Yes! bar is CQUIN compliant as it only contains naturally occurring sugars from the fruit within. All three Yes! bars are under 250kcal.
“The focus on health and wellbeing is also an important issue to consider when looking at broader workplace vending. A recent survey found nearly two thirds of businesses (63%) see it as an important business issue . Yes! bars are ideal for tapping into demand from employers to offer snack alternatives to their staff.”


*YES! Dark Choc Sea Salt & Almond and YES! Cranberry & Dark Choc Nut Bars are a source of
protein. Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass. Yes! Beetroot & Apple Fruit Bar
is low in saturated fat. Reducing consumption of saturated fat contributes to the maintenance of
normal blood cholesterol level. Enjoy as part of a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle.
1 Nielsen, The Power of Snacking (July 2018)
2 Nielsen, The Power of Snacking (July 2018)
3 Euromonitor International (March 2018)
4 Healthy Snacks Market report by (May 2018)
5 Survey of European Shoppers by IRI (2017)
6 Vegan Society study carried out by Ipsos Mori (2016)
7 Front of Mind: Prioritising Workplace Health & Wellbeing, research conducted by CBI, in
partnership with Bupa and HCA Healthcare (2018)




Coffee farmers are earning LESS than a cent a cup for a £4 cappuccino sold in the west…


Gafeto Gardo a coffee farmer based in Ethiopia is considering leaving an industry his family has been in for generations as coffee prices slump. Over the past year coffee bean prices have continuously fallen and are now sitting at 29 cents a kilogram – the lowest in 13 years. “We are losing hope now, we are not reaping what we should and I am worried this will have a huge impact” said Gafeto but “coffee is our life here”.

Coffee farms have always suffered from being at the wrong end of the chain, receiving only a small fraction of the retail price of the crops they produce. Not only this but producing coffee beans is a labour intensive and costly process. Questions are now starting to be raised about whether or not growing beans is worth it at all and there are fears farmers may abandon their crops en masse.

In comparison at the other end of the chain coffee has never been hotter. With millennials growing up drinking coffee and other coffee based drinks, coffee shops are quickly developing expensive innovations with price tags reaching as much as £6.00. The industry has seen huge acquisitions as companies such as Nestlé and Coca-Cola look to get their share of a rapidly growing market.

For farmers however, this has not been reflected in coffee beans prices. Growers throughout the world are warning the West of a growing “social catastrophe” unless farmers’ incomes can be increased. A group representing growers in more than 30 countries wrote a letter to chief executives of companies such as Nestlé and Starbucks, to warn of the risk of abandoned farms leading to fuelled social and political unrest and more illegal migration.

Some companies are responding to help farmers – Starbucks, for example, has committed $20 million to help some smallholders they work with in Central America until coffee prices rise above production costs.

The latest slide in prices was mainly caused by a bumper coffee crop produced in Brazil (the world’s biggest producer). On September 18th last year the price of Arabica beans traded in New York fell to just $2.09 a kilo gram, a level not seen since 2005 and less than a third of the peak in 2011. Four months later the price is still hovering around the same.

For the 4500 farmers in the co-operative that Gafeto helped establish in Ethiopia these fluctuations and decreased prices are quickly reflected in prices at home as prices correlate closely with trends in global future markets.

Fairtrade and other rules:
The label Fairtrade has sought to improve the situation for farmers by guaranteeing a minimum price but many companies believe this is just a slightly better way of buying in an unfair system. “Coffee has been becoming more and more expensive and in higher demand for the last 10-15 years, yet coffee farmers themselves have seen no reflection of this in their wages” says one company who believes the system needs a total over haul.

Food giant Nestlé said there needed to be a collective, constructive approach across the industry to improve the lot of farmers around world.


The Brexit Vote & Employment Law and Health and Safety


Despite many false dawns, the reality of what the UK might look like in a post – Brexit world is becoming clear. Parliament is due to vote on Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union on January 15th 2019.

It is important all organisations prepare for any eventuality and take steps to ensure they are clear on what to do in any post – Brexit landscape.

Businesses are cautious when it comes to the reality of a post – Brexit world. According to the Financial Times, business investment has barely grown since the referendum which demonstrates that businesses are unclear of what the environment will look like and so will not be willing to risk investment.

Ellis Whittam, Employment Law, HR and Health and Safety experts discuss what you will have to be aware of, whether the ayes or the noes lobbies win.

Ayes to the right wins

This means that the deal presented to Members of Parliaments (MPs) by Theresa May has been approved.

How will this impact Employment Law?

The impact of Brexit on employment law will present challenges, particularly for organisations with a migrant EU workforce.

The draft withdrawal agreement does contain a number of provisions about this issue so following a positive vote for Theresa May:

  • An “implementation period” from the date of Brexit (29 March 2019) to 31 December 2020 will come into effect during which free movement will continue between the UK and the EU, with EU citizens and their family members who are legally residing in the UK continuing to be able to do so.
  • EU citizens who have resided in the UK lawfully for five years by 31 December 2020 (the end of the implementation period) will be able to apply to stay indefinitely under the new “EU Exit Settlement Scheme” (previously referred to as “settled status”). This scheme is open now and has been somewhat controversial as it requires payment of a fee to apply which runs contrary to the Government’s previous promises that nothing would change for EU migrants already settled in the UK.
  • Those EU citizens in the UK for fewer than five years by 31 December 2020 will be entitled to “temporary status” until they have been in the UK for the necessary five years to get EU Exit settled status. They will be able to continue working, studying or being self-sufficient until they have reached the five-year point.
  • The draft withdrawal agreement covers only EU migrants and not people from other EEA countries such as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein. Yet, it is expected that the scheme will be extended to them in due course.

In terms of other areas of employment law although a significant proportion of UK employment law is derived from the EU, there appears to be no appetite for immediate change.

Most EU derived employment law is so embedded in UK working practices and in some cases gold plated.

There may well be tweaks with some areas that are viewed as particularly tedious for businesses (the Agency Worker Regulations for example) or the raft of recent EU case law about the accrual & payment of holidays whilst off sick.

However, these are likely to be a little way off at the moment.

What about Health and Safety?

The United Kingdom has practised high standards of health and safety implementation for over 40 years.

Health and safety law in the UK is implemented through the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, (HASAWA).  This pre-dates our entry into the European Union.  The Act however has allowed successive governments to implement regulations either as a result of EU directives or in response to recognised risks in the workplace.

The Act has been fundamental to the UK obtaining its position as a world leader in health and safety and is not at all connected to European law. Therefore, it would be remiss to expect that Brexit will lead to a mass reduction in the health and safety obligations of companies and individuals in the UK as these are largely underpinned by the Act.

Noes to the left wins

This means that Parliament has decided not to vote in favour of the deal Theresa May has put together with the European Union.

This presents several options to Theresa May and her Government, however, for this purpose, let us presume that this will result in a no-deal scenario.

A no-deal scenario is where the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement of how the relationship will work.

No Deal and Employment Law

If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement then Theresa May has given assurances that those migrants who are settled prior to 29 March 2019 could continue to live and work in the UK.

The Government would look to implement something broadly similar to the above scheme in any event.

After all, what is the alternative?

However, there will no doubt be some significant changes, especially for anyone who is looking to work in the UK for the first time after Brexit.

How will this affect Employment Law and HR

The simple fact is that without a withdrawal agreement, no-one is sure what the future position on immigration will be.

At least the withdrawal agreement buys the government some breathing space to work out what that may look like. It could be that they implement a points based immigration system similar to the one that already exists for non-EU migrants.

However, that is likely to be unpopular with businesses given that it is quite a complex, unwieldy system in any event and can be very costly.

Indeed, the guidance on sponsoring a non-EU national runs to over 10,000 pages which is far from perfect or in line with the Brexit ideal of cutting back on unnecessary red tape.

Another alternative would be a simplified work permit system for EU nationals, however, there is no indication as to what that might involve.

In its “Workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal” document, the government sets out that there will be no change to employees’ rights and protections. Some minor amendments will need to be made to the language of the legislation to reflect our departure from the EU, but they will not modify policy.

Is Health & Safety impacted?

There appears to be little evidence that a no deal Brexit will impact health and safety and how it is implemented in the United Kingdom.

As HASAWA was introduced before the UK joined the EU, a no deal Brexit would not affect this.

Furthermore, for many industries, including manufacturing and food production, the UK’s place as a leader in the health and safety sphere, means that any derogation away from that could impact investment.

As Nick Wilson, Director of Health and Safety services at Ellis Whittam explains, “Ultimately, health and safety goes hand in hand with successful and sustainable business and so business leaders are likely to want to stay as aligned as possible with the high standards of the EU.”

Irrespective of the vote, it is important that you seek advice from the experts. Contact Ellis Wittam now to discuss how we can support your Employment Law, HR and Health and Safety.

Ben Delaney, Partnerships Manager, 01244 687625,


JANUARY BLUES | 6 ways to retain your talent

January is a time when people are keen to make some changes to their life and this may include looking for new job opportunities.

Coupled with people worrying about their expanding waistline, fretting over the amount of money spent over the festive period and feeling gloomy about the cold, wet weather, many employees’ motivation levels may be very low.

It’s vital that employers don’t just accept this as unfortunate and unavoidable, but undertake initiatives to ensure that employees are engaged.

Here are six simple measures, which can help you tackle the ‘January blues’ and keep hold of your employees.

Organise some events

You may feel that you have just spent significant time and resource organising the Christmas work party, but it’s worth trying to organise some other events, such as team building, group challenges or charity and community projects. These types of events bring colleagues together and give them something to look forward to and be motivated about.

Get them excited about new challenges and projects ahead

January is a fantastic time to remind employees of everything that’s going to happen over the next 12 months. You should highlight the key objectives and how valuable their contributions are towards achieving business goals. If they feel part of the business’ future vision, this will boost morale and increase engagement levels.

staff meeting

Think about well-being strategies

New year’s resolutions will often result in your employees starting new diets, joining the gym, abstaining from alcohol or quitting smoking.

There are a number of ways you can support them.

For example, you can offer some discounted gym classes, organise some team sports or group exercise, have free fruit and vegetables available on site, or show your support during ‘Dry January’.

Promote any new benefits, incentives or policies

If you’ve got new initiatives to introduce, now is the time to shout it from the rooftops to all your employees.

You could be thinking about:

  • New flexible working arrangements
  • Free parking
  • Subsidised food; or
  • Health insurance.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have first consulted your employees to ensure you make an informed decision about what employees really want and value.

Recognition Schemes

If you have a recognition scheme in place, make sure that you clearly set out the goals to employees and what they need to do to achieve these targets.

It’s a proven motivational technique.

Career Progression

Have one to one meetings with your employees and talk about career progression, professional development and training opportunities.

If done correctly, this will help build loyalty.

Don’t forget…

It’s not just in January when retaining your talent is a priority. For further information on how Ellis Whittam could support your business please visit or call Ben Delaney, Partnerships Manager, on 01244 687625 or email


Start the year off with a great promotion!!



You should have received the email inviting you to vote for the coveted NIVO Supplier of the Year awards. The survey only takes a couple of minutes to complete, so please show your appreciation for the suppliers who have made a difference to you this year. The closing date for the survey is Friday 18th January. There are five categories for you to choose from:

Best Newcomer to NIVO
Equipment Supplier
Snack / Confectionery / Drink Supplier
Consumables Supplier
Business Service Supplier

You can choose 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each category. There will also be a ‘Special Recognition Award’ chosen by NIVO.
The Winners will be announced later this month, look out for this coming soon!


Click here to complete the survey now!

Performance management – Where are employers going wrong?


According to Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), one in ten employers believe their performance management processes are actually demotivating their employees.

This shouldn’t be happening. Performance management is about setting clear expectations, giving people praise and constructive feedback, identifying training and development needs and increasing your employee’s engagement level. All of this will ensure that your business is getting the very best out of your employees.

So where are employers going wrong?

Often managers fall into the dangerous trap of thinking that performance management starts and stops with an annual review, but a successful performance management strategy involves many more layers.

Here are the key ingredients to successful performance management:

  1. Use probationary periods

If you notice performance issues during the probationary period, do not leave it until the last minute to start addressing the problems. Holding mid-probation reviews and regular feedback sessions to explain to the employee in what ways they are progressing well and what areas they need to work on ensures that everyone knows where they stand. To discuss probationary periods in more depth, contact Ellis Whittam (details below).  

  1. Set objectives

Consider what objectives you want the employee to meet and how they align to your business’ goals. Use the SMART acronym to ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

  1. Monitor performance frequently, not just once a year

By carrying out one to one meeting on a monthly or quarterly basis, you can ensure that the employee is working on target and offer them support when they need it. This should be accompanied by formal reviews which you may decide to undertake once or twice a year.

  1. Train your managers

In order to ensure consistency of approach across the organisation, all your managers should receive training on performance management.  They should know how to identify poor performance, carry out appraisals, set objectives, develop a Performance Improvement Plan, keep effective records and understand the process to dismiss.

  1. Take action where necessary

Sometimes managers let poor performance through unchallenged because they don’t how to handle it, feel awkward having difficult conversations or are concerned of falling foul of the law. But the very success of your business relies on all employees performing to the best possible level, so it is important to take action where necessary.

It is not always easy to determine whether your concerns regarding an employee should be dealt with as a performance or conduct issue and what procedure is most appropriate in the circumstances. Seek advice at the earliest opportunity to talk through whether you should use a disciplinary or performance management procedure.

To explore this further, contact Ellis Whittam, who are NIVO’s preferred partner, on 0845 226 8393. Alternatively, contact Ben Delaney on for more information.

Thanks to your generous donations!


As well as being a fantastic business and networking event, there is also the opportunity to raise money for the charities we support at the NIVO Business Networking and Golf
We have been distributing all the charity cheques from your generous donations to our raffle and auction at the NIVO Business Networking and Golf Event. 

We are very proud to have supported EdUKaid, the charity improving education and changing lives in rural Tanzania for a number of years. Graham attended the Great Vending Get Together 2018, hosted by Tim and

Sarah Varney of Revive vending, (which raised an incredible £13,000) and conducted a lively auction before presenting Tim with the cheque for £1000 raised at our Golf day. It was great to see some of the NIVO members there showing continued support. We are so proud to play a part in changing the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.

At the end of November Michelle and Graham attended a fantastic night organised by Martin and Ann-Marie Kilgallon raising funds for The Whole Autism Family. It was held at a local Indian providing great food supported with fantastic entertainment and the support was phenomenal. The work they are doing is incredible and we felt privileged to present the charity their £1000 cheque.

Keep your eye open for further updates and events.
Thank you for all your continued support of our charities. To find out further information about the charities we support, the work they do, and how to donate, please visit our website.


The potato drought of summer 2018


The summer drought that affected most of north-west Europe has resulted in both a lower and poorer potato harvest. At the beginning of October, it was forecasted that the eating potato crop was to be almost 20% smaller than last year. The North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) association has estimated that crop yields in Belgium, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Germany will be down 8% below the five-year average. Whilst some farmers are benefiting from a stronger free trade price others are struggling to meet contract tonnages.

Experienced potato farms can achieve yields of up to 70t/ha but the extreme drought and high temperatures have kept average yields to around 40t/ha and un-irrigated crops have struggled even more barely reaching 30t/ha.

The total predicted potato crop is only expected to between 25.5-24million tonnes despite there being an 8.4% increase in potato farming area across the five key producing countries. The result of this is a significant tightening of raw material supplies and a distinct reduction in the quality of what has been produced.

o    90,000 ha increase in land used for potato farming

o    8% reduction in harvest

o    Significantly smaller potato harvest

o    Harvest delayed as some farmers try and bulk up crops

o    Quality issues with size, colour, sprouting and secondary growths

Not only has there been a reduction in the size of the harvest, potato quality has also been badly affected. Farmers in all countries have reported abnormal/extra growths, and sprouting in the furrows raising questions about storage.

In line with quality issues, some European processors have already lowered supply standards and it is reported that starchy potatoes are being included in processing lines.

Farmers on the potato harvest so far (October 2018)

West Yorkshire, England

Patrick McCloy has 100ha of potatoes at Byham Park, Knottingley West Yorkshire. The farm has a contract with McCain providing Innovator and Royals.

Mr. McCloy says “we’re pretty lucky to be able to irrigate but we know for sure crops yields will be less”

A company called Agri Tech tested the farm’s soil and found water usage on the Royals had almost stopped and the Innovator never really got going. He also has further concerns over quality with many potatoes green and tubers cracking.

He also said “there is still potential in the crops, however, most of them have packed up. I have heard that a potato plant will completely shut down if temperatures are 27 degrees or above and we’ve had a few of those days.”

Erkelenz, Germany

Franz Püllen farms 220ha just 12 miles from the border. He estimates his 45ha of Challenger, Fontane and Markies potatoes will produce a yield of just 30t/ha at the most. Irrigation is not possible and they have had almost no rain for 5 months.

“Normally, we easily manage 50-55t/ha and sometimes in 60t/ha in the good years” he says. “Mind you, I was surprised to even get 30t given the season.”

North Brabant, Netherlands

Jarco Koekkoek decided to harvest in Mid-September having opted not to delay his harvest to allow tubers to bulk up. He wanted to prevent abnormal shoot and tuber formation to maintain quality despite sacrificing size.

His 12ha crop of Melody potatoes was planted late in May due to a wet April but the crops grew easily and evenly. He irrigated 7 times and three weeks before harvest treated the crop with maleic hydrazide to maintain quality whilst in storage. This season this should hopefully prevent abnormal shoot and tuber formation.

Mr. Koekkoek estimates his net yield is now 45t/ha compared to his normal 55t/ha.

Maisnil-les-Ruitz, France

Thomas Huyghe grows 50ha of potatoes on his farm in France. He is hoping his 35ha of Fontane potatoes to yield at about 45t/ha, he doesn’t irrigate and the crop has only had, at most, 100mm of rain since planting. My Huyghe is growing his potatoes on “virgin soil” and believes it is too early to judge. However, despite smaller yields, he is positive that this will be partly compensated for by the good price on the free-buy market.

The free buy price of potatoes is rapidly rising and is close to £250/t, that’s £110 more than this time last year.

The knock-on effect of this low supply of potatoes is slowly pushing up the cost of crisps and chips. In July Tom Keogh of Keogh’s Crisps stated that there were still enough of 2017 old potatoes reserves to keep crisp supply afloat for two weeks longer however if nothing changed supplies will be tight later in the year. The drought, of course, did not end and as a report showed on the 9th November prices are increasing on potato products. To manage availability between July and November there was 78 percent fewer deal on multipack crisps compared to the same period last year, according to The Grocer. Prices of frozen potatoes in supermarkets have also increased by 8p in the three months up to September.

As stated above starchy potatoes are being included in production so a complete shortage is not to be expected. Crisp manufactures have stated however that crisp sizes may be smaller due to the lack of growth. One Belgian crisp manufacture (Roger & Roger) has limited its range of flavours available to just the most popular in the hope it can give their potato suppliers time to allow their potatoes to grow and bulk up more as soon as it rains again. And then, in turn, harvest larger volumes.

SEABROOK CRISPS: Our Best Ever Proposition for Vending Operators


Revised – 31.10.18 – NIVO Mail A4 Flyer Revised

Coffetek has received three awards from the British Vending industry: Innovation, Best Machine Manufacturer and Best Table-top Machine



Once again Coffetek has been rewarded with the Innovation award at the “Vending Industry Awards”, due to its beverage machine Novara Protein.

The British Vending industry Gala Awards took place on October 2nd at the Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club in Birmingham and there we won the first award of the evening, in the category of “Best Machine Innovation” for Novara Protein.

Novara Protein incorporates the latest technologies of protein shake making, which guarantees the perfect combination of ingredients, as well as the appropriate texture, served consistently and immediately making it in an ideal model for gyms, CrossFit and sports centres.

This recognition is added to the ones already awarded in September by the British consortium AVS, which awarded us with the Best Machine Manufacturer and the Best Table Top Vending Machine with the Vitro series.

The successful Vitro series, designed for offices and Horeca establishments, combines a wide selection of models with different capacities, functionalities and processes of delivering drinks, from espresso or filter coffee to leaf tea infusions. It also incorporates a state-of-the-art design with a smoked glass finish and and brushed stainless steel.

With these three awards, we continue to lead the UK Market as we have been recognised by the “Vending Industry Awards” as the best machine supplier and/or innovation six times in consecutive years.

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