Main menu

Liverpool:

+44 (0)151 600 3000

Manchester:

+44 (0)161 836 8800

Preston:

+44 (0)1772 823 921

Search form

Search form

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y

Employment

Equal pay for women - why reducing the gender pay gap should be a priority for employers
Monday 19th October 2015

“Tackling the Gender Pay Gap is an absolute priority” for the Government according to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities. As part of this the Government has started the process of introducing mandatory pay gap reporting for businesses with 250 or more employees.

So, if tackling the gender pay gap is a priority for Government should businesses share that concern, even if they have less than 250 employees?

What is the extent of the gender pay gap in the UK?

According to the Government’s “Closing the Gender Pay Gap” consultation document “the gender pay gap measures the difference between men and women’s average salaries.”

Recent figures show that the overall UK gender pay gap stands at 19.1% (Source: the Office for National Statistics (ONS) “Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2014 Provisional Results” (the ONS Survey)). Although this is the lowest gap since records began in 1997 when the gap was 27.5%, it still means that on average a woman earns about 80p for every £1 earned by a man. It also gives us the 6th highest gender pay gap out of 27 EU countries (not including Greece) (Source: “Tackling the gender pay gap in the European Union”, the European Commission)

What causes the gender pay gap?

The causes are complex and many overlap. They can have a significant cumulative impact on a woman’s earning potential during her lifetime. They include:-

  • Higher concentration of women working in lower paid sectors
  • The effects of maternity leave
  • Part time working
  • Unequal pay
  • Sex and maternity related discrimination in the workplace
  • Education choices and opportunities
  • Unconscious stereotyping and bias
  • Atypical working to facilitate caring responsibilities for children, grandchildren, ageing parents
  • Barriers to promotion
  • Approach to negotiating pay rises

What is the impact of the gender pay gap?

Not only does being paid less than a man mean that a woman’s take home salary is lower it can have a long term impact on women’s salaries, savings, career progression and pensions.

Studies have shown an average woman working full-time from 18 to 59 years of age will earn £361,000 less over her working life than an equivalent man. Also a woman’s personal pension pots are on average only 62% of men's. The difference in pension pots can be exacerbated by career breaks (for example maternity leave and/ or working part time to facilitate caring responsibilities). Especially at younger ages, this can have a profound effect on the final level of women’s pensions.

How does the Government plan to close the gender pay gap?

The Government hopes to tackle the gender pay gap and promote transparency by requiring employers to identify and make public the gender pay gap within their own businesses. The Coalition Government’s attempts under the voluntary Think, Act, Report initiative, which was introduced in 2011, to encourage companies to:-

  • Think: identify any issues around gender equality
  • Act: take action to fix those issues
  • Report: on how the business ensures gender equality

However, this does not appear to have lead to a culture change. Of the over 200 companies who had signed up to the initiative by August 2014 only 4 had published gender pay data (Source: “Just four companies reveal gender pay gap under coalition scheme”, the Guardian, 12 August 2014).

Given the lack of impact of a voluntary approach the Government has decided to pursue a mandatory reporting route for all companies with 250 or more employees from 2016. Consultation closed in early September and it is anticipated that the results of the consultation will be published this winter with new regulations coming into force by spring 2016.

Why should employers be concerned that there is a gender pay gap and what should you do to address it?

If you are a business with less than 250 employees you may be breathing a sigh of relief at not having to undertake mandatory gender pay gap reporting; however, the proposed introduction of mandatory reporting has raised the profile of the gender pay gap and businesses should be wary of burying their heads in the sand.

If you aren’t already analysing whether there is a pay gap based on gender in your business we would recommend that you consider doing so. Although completing such an analysis, may bring some difficult issues to light, it will at least give you a head start in trying to address any problems which may exist. Some commentators have suggested that one way of limiting the potential fallout from conducting a gender pay audit would be to try and rely upon legal professional privilege by involving your solicitor in completing an audit. If done properly this could restrict the possibility of the results being disclosed in future litigation.

Review your recruitment and promotion policies and procedures (and as part of this you could collect and evaluate data on the number of women applying for jobs and promotion and leaving the business) to ensure that you are not unconsciously dissuading women from applying. Assess your maternity leave and pay arrangements as well as the way in which flexible working and shared parental leave are operated within your business (including for prospective employees and senior employees). Training your staff to address unconscious bias and support gender diversity can also form part of a strategy for dealing with a gender pay gap.

You could also consider introducing mentoring schemes and support networks for women in your business and engaging with your staff to find out their views on how to reduce the gender pay gap.

Although the mandatory pay gap reporting will only initially apply to businesses with 250 or more employees it is perhaps likely that, over time, this requirement will eventually filter down to businesses with employee numbers below this level. Even if it doesn’t, if you decide to voluntarily address any gender pay gap you have and are transparent about this you can improve employee retention and morale, increase confidence in your pay and reward process and reduce absenteeism. You could also create a positive corporate image that will impact not only upon your employees, but potential employees, your clients and the wider community at large.


Author:

Shared Parental Leave
Wednesday 17th June 2015

Effective from 5th April employed parents are able to share up to 50 weeks’ parental leave between them.

The statutory scheme is not particularly attractive to higher paid employees and a number of larger employers have promised enhanced schemes to aid recruitment and retention of their talent pool in a competitive market.

Schemes offering full or nearly full pay for fathers wishing to take shared parental leave for up to 12 months sound attractive but are less so when the eligibility conditions are taken into account. In fact some commentators have suggested that overly prescriptive conditions could act as a disincentive for fathers to take shared parental leave beyond a few weeks!

On the other hand a properly thought through enhanced scheme is likely to be seen as a great advantage in the battle to recruit and retain the best talent.

Shared Parental Leave is here to stay but recent studies have shown that although 61% of men would consider it nearly half would not want to take any more than the minimum two weeks’ paternity leave, possibly due to fear of losing status and potentially harming career progression.

Therefore the real challenge for employers is less about the cost of introducing an enhanced scheme more about encouraging take up. 


Author:

National Minimum Wage and Carers
Monday 15th June 2015

The Social Care Sector are struggling to run efficient and effective services with properly trained and experienced staff. The climate is becoming increasingly challenging with the National Minimum Wage due to increase from October 2015.

Against a backdrop of revenue cuts and freezes, the Government wants all employers to pay a living wage “where they can afford to do so” and has promised to “take further steps” to eradicate non-payment of National Minimum Wage and the exploitation of migrant workers, and has also pledged to increase the NMW to £8 per hour by 2020.

Employers need to be aware that there are now stiff fines and a “name and shame” policy for paying less than the NMW.

Therefore remember that of the following situations must be paid at an average hourly rate which must not be less than the NMW:-

  • “Sleep-in” shifts where the worker is required to be at a particular place and available for work, even if they are allowed to sleep during this time.
  • Hours spent training which has been “approved by the employer”, whether or not this training takes place at the workplace. This may be the case even if training takes place outside of normal working hours.
  • Rest breaks to which the employee is legally entitled.
  • Time spent performing actual work. 

Author:

Obesity, disability, and the work place
Wednesday 13th May 2015

With a growing number of people in Britain being classed as clinically obese, employers should be on alert that employees who are able to establish that their obesity qualifies as a disability, will be entitled to protection against unlawful discrimination.

Although discrimination on the grounds of obesity itself is not prohibited, obesity may render a person disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 in certain circumstances. This definition could be met through physical or mental impairments, such as reduced mobility, or the onset of medical conditions which prevent the employee from carrying out their work or cause discomfort when performing their professional activity.

In the event that an employer is faced with a claim for disability discrimination by an obese employee, such obesity causing significant impairment of the employee’s day-to-day activities, all is not lost. It may be relevant evidentially to ask whether the obesity might affect the length of time for which any impairment was to be suffered. An individual who was determined to reduce their weight to normal levels within a year might not suffer from the adverse effects of any condition for a sufficiently long period to be classed as disabled.

Practical steps that concerned employers can take to encourage their workforce to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle could be to provide subsidised gym memberships, ensure healthy options are offered on menus and vending machines, promote weight loss and healthy living advice, hold sports events to encourage team building and staff morale, and offer facilities such as bikes/showers to encourage staff to cycle or walk to work.

In addition, employers should utilise the Government’s Fit for Work Service, which is expected to be fully rolled out from May 2015. The service aims to provide free health and work advice through its website and telephone advice line to help with absence prevention; and a free referral for an occupational health assessment for employees who have reached, or whose GP expects them to reach, four weeks of sickness absence.


Author:

Fit for Work (FFW) service
Wednesday 22nd April 2015

Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud said – “Being in work is good for people’s wellbeing and can help them to recover. Fit for Work will help employers and their staff to manage sickness absence and aid the return-to-work process…”

What is the Fit for Work (FFW) service?

FFW is a Government funded initiative providing free occupational health (OH) assessments and return to work plans for certain employees.  As of 9 March 2015, GP’s can refer patients to FFW and it is anticipated that by Autumn 2015, so too will employers.  The focus is on achieving a return to work and not to provide ongoing clinical care.    

Who is eligible?

Employees that are, or are expected to be absent from work for four weeks or more due to sickness.

Website

A service offering a web based support and a telephone line offering work-related health advice to employers and employees has been available since December 2014: http://www.fitforwork.org

Referral

Employees will need to provide consent to a referral to FFW by employer.  

Once a referral is made, the employee will be assessed by telephone (in person in certain cases) and FFW will produce a tailored Return to Work Plan for the employee.

The scheme provides that employees will be contacted within 2 working days of a referral from either their GP or employer.

Other points to note

As of 1 January 2015, the Government introduced a tax exemption for employers of up to £500 per employee, per year, on medical treatments which are recommended in helping an employee return to work. This applies to treatments recommended as part of the FFW scheme.

FFW will be delivered by OH professionals. These professionals must have an occupational health qualification or OH experience. Commentators query whether adequate resource has been made available, particularly to meet the ambitious time frames for contacting employees as set out above.   

Practical steps

Consider amending sickness absence policies to reflect the availability of FFW and to clarify that employees may be asked to consent to FWW assessments (once employers are able to make the referrals).

Comment

FFW is not mandatory for either employee or employer.  Whilst geared at employers without any OH provision, some employers may also choose to use FFW as a complimentary resource.  That said, despite the qualification of the OH professionals, there will always be a place for expert OH advice in complex cases.  


Author:

Key employment law reforms proposed at annual party conferences
Friday 13th February 2015

In September / October 2014, the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties proposed and debated various reforms, at their respective annual conferences. With the general election in May 2015 fast approaching, we summarise the key proposed reforms of each party, which will have a significant impact on the employment law landscape, if successful.

Conservatives

  • Ending the use of exclusive zero hours’ contracts. David Cameron stated that the Conservatives would “scrap” exclusive zero hours’ contracts. It remains to be seen how this will be achieved, although the Confederation of British Industry has welcomed this proposal.
  • Potentially adding maternity pay for self-employed mothers to their election manifesto. Details are awaited.
  • Preventing the trafficking of workers. The Conservatives intend to achieve this through the Modern Slavery Bill.
  • Introducing a British Bill of Rights. If elected in 2015, the Conservatives will pass a new British Bill of Rights, which David Cameron suggested would replace the Human Rights Act 1998. This would effectively provide the UK parliament and courts with the final say on such matters as opposed to the European Court of Human Rights. The Law Society has responded, commenting that the Human Rights Act 1998 should be “retained, not replaced”.
  • Changing the rules on strike action. Proposals include:
    • A 50% minimum voting threshold for a strike to be lawful.
    • A new three month limit after a ballot for the strike action to take place
    • A requirement for 14 days’ notice before unions take industrial action.
    • The criminalisation of certain types of picketing.
    • The current code of practice on picketing to become legally binding.

Labour

  • Proper rights at work and restricting the use of zero hours’ contracts. This includes introducing new laws so that employees on zero hours’ contracts who are working regular hours will be entitled to regular contracts. Employees on zero hours’ contracts will also have the right to refuse requests to be available outside their contracted hours and will receive compensation when shifts are cancelled on short notice.
  • Ensuring equal rights for self-employed individuals. Further details are awaited on what this might mean specifically and how this would be achieved.
  • Requiring companies to publish details of average pay to promote equal pay. Promoting equal pay between men and women. According to a senior member of the party, equal pay is viewed as ‘unfinished business’, which should have been addressed in Labour’s previous government.
  • “Cracking down” on rogue employers who avoid the minimum wage, and increasing the national minimum wage to £8 an hour by the end of the next parliament in 2020. This is stated to be a ‘target’. Labour has also proposed to provide tax breaks to businesses that pay the living wage.
  • Removing barriers for parents returning to work. The Labour Party have pledged that they would:
    • Provide 25 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds for all working parents.
    • Require breakfast clubs and after school clubs to be provided.
    • Increase opportunities for flexible working across the public sector
  • Tackling ‘rogue’ employment agencies. The Labour Party believes that the number of ‘rogue’ employment agencies has increased in recent years. The Labour Party proposed to tackle this by removing the Swedish Derogation from Agency Workers Regulations 2010, banning overseas only recruitment and introducing further measures on which the party will consult.
  • Migrant workers. It has been reported that the Labour Party plans to make it a criminal offence to exploit migrant workers by paying them lower wage rates and offering worse conditions than local employees receive. In order to prove that a criminal offence had been committed, evidence would need to be provided, which demonstrates that some abuse of power had occurred and that overseas nationals were employed on significantly different terms to local employees.
  • Abolishing employment tribunal fees? On 8 September 2014 the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Chuku Umunna MP indicated that Labour will undertake major reforms of the employment tribunal system if elected in 2015. Mr Umunna suggested that the introduction of fees in the employment tribunals has curtailed individuals’ access to justice and is both “unfair” and “unsustainable”. He stated that Labour would “abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system”, although no further details were provided. It has been reported that Labour will not abolish tribunal fees altogether but will introduce better means testing.
  • Double paid paternity leave to four weeks. Ed Miliband has announced that a Labour government would double the amount of paid paternity leave available to new fathers from two to four weeks and increase statutory paternity pay by more than £120 a week to £260, paid for by savings in tax credits.

Liberal Democrat

  • Requiring equal pay information disclosure. Invoking the power under the Equality Act 2010 to require companies which employ more than 250 people to publish the average pay of their male and female workers.
  • Increasing the national minimum wage. Instructing the Low Pay Commission to consider ways of increasing the national minimum wage and improving enforcement action.
  • Increasing the national minimum wage for apprentices. Business Secretary Vince Cable MP announced in his key notice speech that he would present a proposal to the Low Pay Commission to increase the minimum wage for apprentices in the first year of their apprenticeship by over £1.
  • Setting a Living Wage. Establishing an independent review to consult on setting a Living Wage, which would be paid by all central government departments and executive agencies from April 2016 onwards.
  • Creating a new Workers’ Rights Agency. Vince Cable also announced plans for a ‘one stop shop’ for workers’ rights enforcement, which will become part of the Liberal Democrat manifesto in 2015. The new Workers’ Rights Agency would streamline the work of four existing bodies: the national minimum wage enforcement section at HMRC, the Working Time Directive section at the Health and Safety Executive, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, and the Gangmasters Licencing Authority.
  • Granting fathers an additional four weeks’ paternity leave.
  • Anonymising public sector recruitment. Party members have backed a ‘name-blank’ application form in the public sector, in an attempt to cut discrimination.
  • Increasing inspections of employers to check for compliance with employer legislation. Doubling the number of employer inspections, to “ensure all statutory employment legislation is being respected”.

Author:

Employers beware - 10 things you may not know about shared parental leave
Tuesday 27th January 2015

New rights for working parents to take time off work to care for children have come into force. Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is available for parents of children born or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015. The main features of these new rights have been widely publicised. However we have pored over the detail and uncovered potential skeletons in the closet. In no particular order…

1. Shared parental leave – just parents? - The right to take SPL arises in respect of birth mothers, biological fathers or the mother’s spouse, partner or civil partner. Partner is defined as someone who lives with the mother in an “enduring family relationship” but is not the mother’s child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. This raises the prospect of applications for leave being made by persons other than biological fathers on the basis that they are in a relationship with the mother and intend to assist in caring for the child. It will be a difficult road for an employer to challenge eligibility.

2. Absent Fathers – What about the absent biological father? Are they entitled to leave in addition to the mother and mother’s spouse/partner? Assuming they satisfy the other eligibility criteria there appears to be no reason why the right to leave could not be asserted, even if the mother and partner have already made arrangements between them to take SPL. This could raise sensitive and difficult issues for employers.

3. What evidence can I ask for? – ACAS take the view that the employer should grant SPL and pay based upon the information provided by their employee. Employers can request a copy of the birth or adoption certificate and the name and address of the employee’s partner’s employer. Time will tell how many employers will take these steps and how many employers will feel comfortable in responding to external enquiries.

4. Going round the block – The total amount of SPL which can be shared is 50 weeks with both the mother and partner being allowed to take the leave at the same time or separately and either in one block or a discontinuous block. Discontinuous blocks could be for example: 4 weeks leave, 3 weeks back at work and another 4 weeks leave on a rolling basis. Employers don’t have to automatically grant requests for discontinuous blocks but how far can an employer go in discouraging such applications? We have already seen suggestions of bans in policies and financial incentives to take continuous blocks only.

5. Are we covered? – With the prospect of applications for discontinuous leave, and a minimum of only 8 weeks notification period to take the leave, together with the right to cancel or vary, expect difficulties in arranging suitable job cover especially in critical or customer facing posts.

6. Enhancing it - Shared parental leave is paid at the statutory rate – ca £138 per week. Where employers already enhance their maternity pay, will there be a discrimination risk if employers don’t enhance shared parental pay? Further, would mothers be able to take advantage of enhanced maternity pay and then go on to take enhanced shared parental leave pay, or should there be an offset? Suffice to say this is a fiendishly complex area of law and one that has not been fully tested.

7. Keep it in the family – Couples working together at the same employer may choose to take the leave concurrently. Provided that each applies for a period of continuous leave the employer cannot refuse the leave. This could create particular problems for small businesses.

8. Budget for the SPLIT – Both parents are eligible to use up to 20 keeping in touch days (known as SPLIT days) which could be used alongside shared parental leave to enable a return to work on a more flexible basis.  Where these are granted these should be paid at the normal rate of pay. Employers granting these should consider their budgets carefully.

9. Return dates – Depending on the length of SPL taken, the employee has a right to return either to the same job or if that is not reasonably practicable, a job that is both suitable and appropriate for the employee to do. This mirrors the protection already in place for maternity leave returners but with these rights will now apply across the board to both male and female job returners.

10. A damp squib? – Despite widespread predications that take up of SPL will be low, a recent survey has shown that almost two-thirds of men and women would be interested in taking up SPL– a huge contrast to government estimates. According to the research, based on responses from 250 employees working for FTSE100 employers, 62% showed an interest in taking a period of SPL after the rights come into force. [Linklaters 20 November 2014]


Author:

Rory wins at Hoylake: British summer of sporting despair ended!
Monday 21st July 2014

And so the week (and months and years of preparation) ended: Rory McIlroy wins the oldest and most revered major championship in golf.

At the still tender age of 24 he has now completed three-quarters of the Grand Slam and the talk has already started of the Masters – the one he needs to complete the Slam - next April. Rory collapsed there in 2011 holding a lead in the final round. Now older, better and wiser all will consider him the favourite.

Whilst Sunday’s final round at Hoylake wasn’t the procession many expected (and many players particularly Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler gave him a run for his money), it is the manner of Rory’s three majors to date that makes us realise we have a phenomenon in front of our eyes. He destroys the field and the accelerator stays on the floor as he flies over the line. No safe shot played short of the last green - he went for it but caught the bunker short and right. Giving us palpitations his bunker shot was in truth slightly thin but nearly crashed into the flag giving us relief. Two more putts and the silver claret jug, golf’s holy grail, was his.

At the winners reception I talked to his coach. Rory is barely five foot nine inches tall and not a lot of weight but he hits the ball prodigious distances. His coach told me he is unusually flexible and the speed he can generate is through the extraordinary coil and spring from his flowing athletic action. Others have to bulk up to achieve power – Rory does gym work of course – but the power comes from his natural flexibility. As we talked of the Grand Slam I asked how he would approach the mental side? “He can handle it: he’s getting wiser and learning from all that happens to him.

I talked to his Mum and Dad: “What was it like last night before his final round?” I asked Mum. “Oh we always try to be normal, normal things to eat and normal talk – but we don’t talk about the elephant in the room – normal’s never quite normal is it?

I say a word to Rory: “You’re on the same plane as Tiger when he won here eight years ago. Wonderful playing. Best of luck for the future.” and Rory gives me, like so many other well wishers, grateful thanks truly felt and intended.

Now the reflections start. Hoylake add McIlroy to their honours board: the last two Opens here have yielded arguably the greatest ever player, Tiger, and now his young heir apparent – Rory. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the Royal Liverpool Golf Club and the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral can sleep soundly after another exceptionally staged Open.

And so the clearing up begins!!

Rory McIlroy with Andrew Cross


Author:

The Open Championship Hoylake - What changes can we expect in 2014?
Monday 14th July 2014

So what changes can the spectator expect to see at Hoylake in 2014 compared to 2006? To show just how much things have changed readers may recall that mobile phones were banned following Tiger Woods 2006 complaint of too many photographs being taken whilst he was playing.

We have come full circle. This year the R&A will actively encourage people to bring their smart phones and this will be the first major sporting event with Wifi accessible by all spectators – you will be able to log on via an R&A app and watch live BBC coverage on your mobile phone at the same time as watching the players in real time!!  Almost every Green will have electronic score boards showing pictures of the players approaching the Green, a leader board and the player’s scores.

To enhance the drama of the gladiatorial entry and exit of the players to the first tee and from the 18th Green there will be a large overhead walkway with zip wires so the arriving or departing gladiator can be followed in his pomp (or his misery) all adding to the excitement! There will be unreserved seating for 22,000 in stands and all under 16 get in free!

The huge logistical exercise of planning and preparation is well advanced –consider just a few random statistics: 1,200 Marshalls from a dozen local clubs; near enough 10,000 people working at or near the golf course; 3 park and rides and streams of buses provided by the Local Authority; the closure of West Kirkby railway station so that the terminal becomes Hoylake and fans can enjoy unparallelled access via the rail networks. Over 1,000 journalists and media folk from all over the planet. Three global broadcasters.  Not least an estimated 400,000 pints of beer drunk during the week on the course alone – it’s just as well we have a good drainage system installed!

For the golfing purist the course is only a little bit longer than in 2006, we’ve changed the first green, added some rough ground and run off areas, but have taken some of the bunkers out – only to add more devilish bunkers with greater collection areas!

Finally the weather… and Tiger

So as the practice days now proceed (come and see the world’s giants even before the gun goes off!) and the event is only three days away, the weather apps tell us the temperature will be high with sunshine and some showers. The course is looking immaculate – a very different golf course to the one in 2006 - longer, lusher rough and more receptive greens. Of the early practice I’ve seen Adam Scott looks terrific. Undoubtedly the best home chance (with no disrespect to Rory MacIlroy) is Justin Rose fresh off two consecutive wins at two difficult and different golf courses.

And of course we were delighted to welcome back arguably the greatest golfer of all time and the best known sports face on the planet (with no disrespect to David Beckham!). Tiger is back - the reigning Hoylake Open Champion got in on Saturday and on Sunday practised in front of several thousand - some fascinated, some adoring (cries of “we love you Tiger”), all willing him to do well. He seemed untroubled by his back (an operation at the end of March keeping him from competitive golf until two weeks ago) and as focussed as ever.

So let the Games begin….. come and enjoy the circus and the world’s greatest golfers at one of the world’s most revered venues!

Come back next week to read Andy’s review of the Open.

 


Author:

The Open Championship - Hoylake
Monday 7th July 2014

Andy Cross, Employment Partner at Brabners, is one of Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s Championship Committee for the 2014 Open and he is looking after PR & Media for the Club.

Andy was Club Captain and presented the Claret Jug to Tiger Woods in 2006 the last time the Open was played at RLGC.

He reports below on the Open Championship, a true global sporting spectacular, which returns to Royal Liverpool Golf Club (known to golfers as Hoylake) from 17 - 20 July 2014.

I can hardly believe it’s 8 years ago that the Open was last held at Hoylake (after a 39 year absence) and the best player in the world, Tiger Woods, probably then the best known sporting face on the planet, won the greatest and oldest golf major in the world watched by record crowds (230,000) basking in sunshine with record worldwide TV audiences (450 million) who must have imagined that this was the Mediterranean not Merseyside!  Tiger described the course as “a fantastic test” and the R&A described the event as “the greatest ever staging of an Open Championship”. So we have something to live up to – no pressure then!

More than a sporting event

Quite apart from the intense sporting interest the impact of the Open on the local economy is said to be worth £75 million (something like £25 million in immediate value and the balance in long term gains)

A fantastic spotlight is poured on our region. Wirral Local Authority have enthusiastically supported the tournament knowing the high profile it brings all over the world improving the prospect of inward investment to our region. Note for example the increasingly economically dominant nations of China and India are both also enjoying golf booms. It is a wonderful coincidence that the International Festival for Business has its last week as the week at the same time as the Open.

In any year a lot of business is done at the Open. If you fancy doing some corporate entertaining you will find yourself in high company from the powerful global Blue Chip Companies who are “patrons” of the event (Rolex, HSBC, Nikon, Mercedes amongst others) to a host of national and regional businesses all anxious to be at the party. 

High rollers drop in for the Open – if I can be forgiven some name dropping from my 2006 experience I recall a deal being fostered between Boeing and Rolls Royce – the occasion a quite unassuming four ball on the Friday before the Open started. I partnered HRH The Duke of York and we took on the Chief Executive Officer of Boeing and the Secretary of the R&A - tea afterwards with the Chief Executive of Rolls Royce and the deal was virtually sealed!

To see an interview with Andy about this year’s championship please click here.

You can find out what changes there will be in 2014 in Andy’s next blog on Monday 14 July.


Author:

Pages