Defense team for Harvey Weinstein requests maximum of 5 years in prison for sex crimes convictions

first_imgDNY59/iStock(NEW YORK) — Harvey Weinstein should be sent to prison for no more than five years, defense attorneys said in a letter to the judge ahead of sentencing scheduled for Wednesday.The disgraced former Hollywood producer was convicted of two felony counts — criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape — for attacking former production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006 third-degree rape of aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013. He was acquitted of three additional counts — two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape.The defense said Weinstein’s age, health and life of charity are among the factors that argue for a lesser sentence. Weinstein, 67, who was convicted on Feb. 24, was moved from Bellevue Hospital Center in New York to Rikers Island correctional facility last week after undergoing a procedure to insert a stent in his heart. He had been using a walker throughout the trial and was being held in a prison ward at Bellevue after complaining of chest pains.“As an individual with no criminal history having spent no time previously incarcerated, his health concerns, his age, and as famous as he is, a custodial sentence will no doubt prove much more difficult for Mr. Weinstein than most other inmates, which further counsels in favor of a sentence of five years’ imprisonment,” defense attorneys Damon Cheronis, Donna Rotunno and Arthur Aidala wrote in their letter to Judge James Burke.“With respect to deterrence, counsel will again note that Mr. Weinstein is a first-time offender,” the attorneys wrote.The sexual assault charge carries a maximum of 25 years in prison. He could receive up to four years in prison for the rape conviction.Prosecutors have said Weinstein deserves a “lengthy” prison sentence. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not recommend a specific sentence but said it is “totally appropriate” to show through the court’s sentence “that sexual assault, even if perpetrated upon an acquaintance or in a professional setting, is a serious offense worthy of a lengthy prison sentence,” according to a letter to the same judge filed by prosecutors last Friday.The DA’s submission details what the prosecutor’s office claims are several decades’ worth of alleged misconduct by Weinstein beyond what was prosecuted in court.The defense attorneys responded in their letter that those additional accusations by prosecutors, “many of which are not even sexual in nature (e.g. “abusive behavior in the workplace”) and the vast majority of which have nothing to do with [Mimi] Haley or Jessica Mann — in no way constitute relevant conduct.”The prosecution filing notes the complaining witnesses, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley, will submit statements to the court.ABC News does not normally name victims of sexual assault, but both women have either publicly identified themselves or agreed to allow their names to be used.Following the verdict, Weinstein’s attorneys said in a statement they will be filing an appeal, claiming there were “extremely troubling issues” with the trial.While appealing his New York conviction, Weinstein will also be preparing to defend himself against four felony sexual assault charges filed earlier this year by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. In that case, Weinstein is charged with attacking two women in separate incidents over a two-day period in Feb. 2013. He has not yet entered a plea in that case. Weinstein claims any sexual encounters were consensual.If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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To enforce coronavirus distancing, police say arrests are last resort

first_imgrustythedog/iStock(NEW YORK) — After some of the nation’s first arrests for violations of coronavirus-related distancing orders, police across the country are attempting to navigate the delicate task of enforcing the new rules — preferably less with handcuffs than with help from the community, police leaders told ABC News.In Charles County, Maryland over the weekend, the sheriff’s office arrested a man for holding a bonfire at his house with about 60 people. They said it was because he was in violation of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency coronavirus order, and it was the second time police had visited for the alleged violation.A New York City bar operator was also arrested this weekend for a purported violation of a local executive order against nonessential gatherings there.On Monday, the Henrico County Sheriff’s office arrested Tampa, Florida, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for purportedly being in violation of the social distancing order put in place by neighboring Hillsborough County, where the pastor’s church is located. Howard-Browne held a service that was livestreamed, showing more than 10 people in the Evangelist church. A week before his arrest he vowed not to close the church and said that closings were for “pansies.”Howard-Browne and an attorney for Shawn Myers, the Maryland man, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening. Myers was held without bond, according to ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.It is not immediately clear if the New York man, Vasil Pando, had obtained an attorney.But as much of the country faces some version of social distancing government mandates, arrests are not the way police would prefer to enforce the new rules and should be a last resort, according to Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.“Police are going to use a great deal of discretion in these situations. Police are going to be very careful about stopping people. This is going to be advisory rather than, you know locking people up,” he said. “I can’t imagine a police chief wanting to use… their finite resources to cite people.”International Association of Chiefs of Police President and Buffalo Grove, Illinois Chief Steve Casstevens said arresting people in violation of the new orders is “the last thing we want to do.”“I’ve been getting messages from many other law enforcement agencies that say rather than making a physical arrest, they’re giving a summons or essentially a non-traffic ticket for a violation to give to people for a future time,” he said.Police Chief Edwin Roessler of Fairfax County, Virginia, told ABC News that if a business was found in violation of the social distancing order, they would first try to just offer a warning, before taking more drastic legal action.“We will throw a call into the restaurant and at the same time, visually try to observe the violation and get voluntary compliance and give them a warning. And we make a report of that and the health department will get that warning and they could follow up that call for service for the code violation with the code compliance team,” he explained. “If for some reason, we are not getting compliance, it’s my understanding from being legally briefed that we would then use the health department and code compliance to then call an emergency on call circuit court judge to then issue an injunction that’s immediate against the business. Then they would be electronically and verbally served with an order to shut down the business.”In Bowie, Maryland, where Gov. Hogan has re-instituted the stay-at-home order, Police Chief John Nesky told ABC News that they have had a few instances of reminding people to socially distance themselves from others.“We have not had to charge anybody. It’s all been we get there [and] explain why,” he said. “One of the things you want to careful of, that we don’t want to do is ramp up tensions even higher. And if you start to… take this really hard crackdown on things, that may not be within the realm of what’s necessary at the moment. You’re just going to kind of amplify your issues.”Providence, Rhode Island Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said that it is “impossible” for law enforcement to stop everyone from these orders. Rather, he said police needed to take a community approach to the problem.“It’s akin to your taxes, right? We need compliance and to pay your taxes and to be honest and fair about [paying them]. Because it’s impossible for the government to audit every single tax submission and returns,” he said. “We’re asking and we’re pleading with people to obey the guidelines in the executive orders, whether it’s the governor or the mayor. … So the majority of the people will, but what do you do with those that thumbing their nose at it, continue to violate it? That’s the challenge for law enforcement.”Paré added that they aren’t looking to arrest or fine people, but that police will do what they can to break up large groups. Multiple police departments with which ABC News spoke said that they have taken measures at local outdoor parks to discourage people gathering, such as removing or boarding up basketball hoops and locking gates.North Miami, Florida Police Chief Larry Juriga told ABC News that he, too, is emphasizing a community based approach — neighbors relying on their neighbors to keep everyone safe.“If we can have our communities comply, we will save lives. As simple as that. It’s very rare that you can say something like that you comply with these ordinances you comply with these orders? will save lives,” Juriga said. “Our men and women are going out. And what we’re encouraging is education, about the about the requirements, and then what we’re pushing for is we’re pushing for participatory compliance.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. 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Man faces 20 years for attempted $750 million COVID-19 PPE scam

first_imgnatasaadzic/iStock(ATLANTA) — An Atlanta, Georgia, man was arrested for attempting to defraud a federal agency into paying $750 millions for phantom orders of over 125 million face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), federal authorities announced on Friday.Christopher Parris allegedly misrepresented to the Department of Veterans Affairs that he could obtain millions of 3M masks from domestic factories when he knew that fulfilling the orders would not be possible. The agency provides services to veterans including health care.Face masks, gowns, gloves and other PPE equipment have been extremely limited as health care workers are on the front lines aiding COVID-19 patients. To date, over 1.7 million people worldwide were diagnosed with COVID-19, including over 500,000 positive cases in the U.S.“COVID-19 scams divert government time and resources and risk preventing front-line responders and consumers from obtaining the equipment they need to combat this pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney General William Barr in a statement. “We will vigorously pursue fraudsters who exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to make money.”Parris, 39, is facing up to 20 years in federal prison for a wire fraud charge.“During this time of crisis, fraud or attempted fraud impacting services for veterans, who have selflessly served this country, is unconscionable,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea for the District of Columbia, where Parris is expected be extradited and face a judge.Parris also allegedly made similar false representations to other entities to enter into other fraudulent agreements to sell PPE to state governments, authorities said.“We are committed to protecting the integrity of taxpayer funds and ensuring the delivery of medical supplies necessary to provide quality healthcare to our nation’s veterans, and any attempt to exploit the current global COVID-19 pandemic for personal gain will be dealt with swiftly,” said Inspector General Michael J. Missal for the Department of Veterans Affairs.If convicted, Parris faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Attorney information was not available as of Saturday.Federal authorities are urging the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline 1-866-720-5721 or by e-mailing the NCDF at [email protected] © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Judge drops one injunction against Robert E. Lee statue removal

first_imgiStock/niratBy: IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News (RICHMOND, Va.) — The legal battle over the future of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, had two major developments on Monday.Judge W. Reilly Merchant dismissed a case filed by one resident who is blocking Gov. Ralph Northam’s June 4 order to remove the statue from Monument Avenue. He also granted an injunction on a second suit that’s aiming to keep the Confederate statue in place.In the first case, the resident, who is a great-grandson of one of the statue’s land donors, contended that the state didn’t have the legal authority to remove the statue of the Confederate leader. Judge Merchant ruled the plaintiff’s claims “fail as a matter of law.”“The plaintiff has articulated no substantial legal right sufficient for the court to create a declaratory judgment,” Merchant wrote in his ruling.Meanwhile, another lawsuit filed against Northam’s order continues to play out in the courts. Merchant ordered a 90-day injunction on Monday against the removal while residents of Monument Avenue make their case against the governor’s order.“The fact obviates the need for the court to address the remaining…counts,” the judge’s order said.A spokeswoman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said in a statement that he filed a motion to dismiss that suit.“Attorney General Herring remains committed to ensuring this divisive, antiquated relic is removed as soon as possible,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.The statue’s removal is among the monuments to Confederate leaders that have come under extra scrutiny following the Black Lives Matter protests. Statues and other monuments around Virginia have been removed over the last few months, including busts from inside the state Capitol.A descendant of Robert E. Lee told ABC News he supports the removal, calling it a “no-brainer.” And Lee himself opposed statues to Confederate leaders. “I think it wiser,” he wrote in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”The statue’s opponents have held rallies outside the statue since the end of May and on several occasions projected images of Black figures, including the late Rep. John Lewis, on the statue to decry racism.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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South Dakota seeing surge in COVID-19 transmission as cases rise in Midwest

first_imgfiladendron/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — South Dakota has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 spread in the country, several reports show, as the Midwest experiences a surge in cases.The state ranked second in the country for both rates of new cases and test positivity in the latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. According to the report, dated Sept. 27, both numbers increased over the last week amid greater testing, “indicating increasing transmission.”South Dakota leads in testing positivity in another survey of COVID-19 transmission. According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Tuesday, the state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate was 26% — the highest in the country.After months of somewhat steady numbers, daily new cases and hospitalizations in the state have surged in recent weeks. South Dakota reported a record number of daily new cases on Sept. 26, with 579. The next day, it reported a record number of current hospitalizations, with 216, according to the COVID Tracking Project.The records came several days after Gov. Kristi Noem said on Twitter that the spread of the virus had “peaked” in the state.The increase in cases and hospitalizations come as COVID-19 is raging in the Midwest. Since Sept. 26, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas have also reported record numbers of new cases, and the Midwest leads the nation in regional cases per one million people, according to the COVID Tracking Project.Idaho and Wisconsin are currently seeing positivity rates at 20% or higher, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report, South Dakota’s neighbor to the north, North Dakota, had the highest rate of new cases in the country.Additionally, three Midwestern states — North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin — have the highest risk level for COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the Harvard Global Health Institute.Testing is “key to achieving epidemic control” in South Dakota, the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended. State health officials said that’s what they’re focusing on.“We are very much working towards increasing testing volume across the state,” Department of Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said during a coronavirus briefing earlier this week. “That will continue to be a priority for us.”Malsam-Rysdon did not share details of the state’s plans to increase testing during the briefing, though she said that “it takes efforts from providers across the state to work towards that testing volume.”Health officials said they have heard anecdotally of people avoiding testing, and they are encouraging people who show symptoms of COVID-19, or are asymptomatic but have had close contact with someone who is a confirmed case, to seek testing. They are also stressing that residents quarantine and isolate as necessary if they have a confirmed case or come into contact with someone who does.After hovering around the high 70s earlier this month, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have been above 200 since Sept. 27 in South Dakota, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Officials have stressed that hospital capacity in the state is not currently a concern, though they warned that a large number of hospitalizations can be expected for the time being.As of Wednesday evening, hospital bed capacity was at 57% and ICU bed capacity at 75%, according to state data.Dr. Joshua Clayton, the state epidemiologist, has emphasized “individual precautions,” such as mask-wearing and social distancing, when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the state. South Dakota is among a minority of states to not have issued a statewide mask mandate during the pandemic, and it never issued a stay-at-home order.The rising cases come as Gov. Noem has been promoting tourism in her state. Earlier this month, her administration announced it was using federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a $5 million tourism ad campaign.Last month, South Dakota hosted a massive motorcycle rally that had at least 100 COVID-19 cases in eight states traced back to it.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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El Paso teacher who gained popularity online dies after 2-month battle with COVID-19

first_imgKVIA-TVBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(EL PASO, Texas) — An El Paso, Texas, elementary school teacher whose video of her first graders giving each other hugs went viral in 2018 has died after a two-month battle with COVID-19.Zelene Blancas, a bilingual teacher at Dr. Sue A. Shook Elementary School, was in the intensive care unit for nine weeks after contracting COVID-19, according to a GoFundMe fundraising campaign her family set up to help cover her medical expenses. Blancas died on Monday, school officials confirmed with ABC News. She was 35.“She always made an effort to share kindness, whether it was with a message or a note or just reaching out to her colleagues,” Principal Cristina Sanchez-Chavira told ABC News. “Just a very, very loving person.”The school has been remote since March. At the beginning of this school year, Blancas created care packages that included masks, pencils and candy and delivered them to her students, her principal said.“She embodied kindness,” Sanchez-Chavira said. “That’s who she was.”The El Paso native, who taught at the school for four years, gained national attention in 2018 after a video she posted on Twitter went viral. In it, her first graders chose from a “good morning or goodbye” menu to give each other hugs, handshakes, high-fives or fist bumps.“What a nice way to end our week!!” Blancas wrote in the post.After her video garnered over 13 million views, Blancas told the El Paso Times that she wanted her students to feel like they “have a safe place to come back to and learn in a safe environment.”Blancas was surprised that it took off, Sanchez-Chavira recalled.“That small action touched so many lives,” the principal said. “The kids felt so comfortable. You could see how loving they were — that came through in her video. And that I attribute to the culture she established in her class, that loving culture.”The video, which has since been viewed over 22 million times, drew the attention of PinkSocks Life co-founder Nick Adkins, whose organization works to spread kindness by gifting pink socks. He connected with Blancas to hand out over 1,330 pink socks to students at her elementary school last year during a “kindness pep rally.”The two continued to stay in touch, Adkins told ABC News, and he planned to return to her school district this past spring before postponing due to the pandemic.Blancas “was just a bundle of kindness and joy and love,” Adkins said.“We try to celebrate people and organizations that are doing good things,” he said. “I’m grateful for the legacy that she’s left behind.”El Paso has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. After a surge in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this fall, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego ordered nonessential businesses to shut down in late October. The order ended on Dec. 1, while curfews during the holidays have since gone into effect to further limit spread. More than 1,450 people in El Paso have died due to COVID-19.Sanchez-Chavira said her school has been largely spared during the pandemic until now. Once she learned of Blancas’ passing, the school contacted the families of her students personally, including students from the past two years. The school is currently collecting photos of Blancas and letters from her students to give to her family, the principal said.Sanchez-Chavira said she hopes to honor Blancas once the school returns to in-person learning, such as through a “kindness corner,” for a “constant reminder of her and her kindness.”“It’s very easy to find teachers that can teach,” Sanchez-Chavira said. “But to find teachers that carry this passion and love for children, and the spreading of kindness, that in itself is irreplaceable.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Boost for HR as IPD wins charter status

first_imgThe IPD’s victory in its six-year battle to gain chartered status has beenhailed as a massive boost for the personnel profession. From 1 July the organisation will be able to call itself the CharteredInstitute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), putting HR professionals on apar with accountants and marketeers and making the institute the third largestchartered professional organisation in the UK.Already senior personnel practitioners are saying the move will give HR moreclout and attract more talent to the profession.But it could still take years before members can individually becomechartered. The institute is yet to decide the qualification criteria forgranting this status.For now IPD-accredited professionals will be able to call themselvesmembers, fellows or associates of the CIPD. The institute will now focus on arebranding exercise in the run-up to 1 July and has promised that funds forthis have already been allocated and subscriptions will not be increased as aresult. Disciplinary procedures remain unchanged.Leading practitioners welcomed the Privy Council’s decision but said it wasnow up to the profession to deliver the high standards that chartered statusconfers.”This raises the status and raises the stakes,” said Bruce Warman,personnel director at Vauxhall Motors. “If it works we have a great future– if we do not then we only have ourselves to blame.”Geoff Armstrong, director general of the IPD, who has crusaded for charteredstatus, said, “It recognises that people management and development is adistinctive, systematically learnable body of knowledge, understanding andcompetence which adds value to organisations.”By Philip WhiteleyOther chartered institutes: number of membersInstitute of Chartered Accountants 116,000Chartered Institute of Management Accountants 110,000Institute of Personnel and Development 95,000 Chartered Institute of Bankers 50,000 Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators 45,000 Chartered Institute of Marketing 31,175 Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Boost for HR as IPD wins charter statusOn 22 Feb 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Industry waits at the school gates

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article ElaineEssery looks at renewed efforts by business and education to reach a consensuson closing the skills gap and awards low marks for effort Industryand learning need to become partners in creating a skilled workforce and alsothe right environment in which the habit of learning can flourish.Fewwould disagree with this statement, which after all has been kicked around forthe past decade, but now there does seem to be a ground swell of high-profileactivity to make it a reality.Whenthe Learning and Skills Act received Royal Assent this summer, it placedemployment interests at the heart of the National Skills Agenda. Employersnow have a critical role in saying what skills they need and how they can bestbe achieved. It makes it vital that industry and education and trainingproviders work together to equip individuals with the skills central toemployability in a rapidly changing workplace and business success.Andthe soon-to-be more influential Further Education Development Agency is keen tokeep this subject in the spotlight as it furthers links with the new Learningand Skills Council on this area. Earlierthis month it raised the subject with Ufi at its Learning 2010 conference. DrAnne Wright, chief executive of Ufi, was among those delivering papers. Shespoke at the conference on the subject of meeting the skills needs ofemployers. “Peopleneed to go on learning because of changes in the economy and working practices.We all need to recognise that. It’s a question of making sure we can meet theskill needs of employers throughout people’s working lives,” she says.ITskills are becoming increasingly important, according to Wright, but, as shepoints out, the knowledge economy still places a high premium on literacy, numeracyand other key skills. ConvergenceWrightbelieves some employers are beginning to see for the first time a convergencebetween the interests of employees in developing core skills, which they cancarry with them to another job, and their own interests in training forbusiness needs. “Evenin what you may think of as knowledge industries, including wholly IT-basedindustries, communication skills are more important than they ever were.Because people can process so much more data, communicating and working withone another become more important,” says Wright. “Whatwe need to do as quickly as we can is identify those skills that are going tobe necessary for e-business – people needing to work in teams remotely from oneanother, being able to manage people as well as processes through e-business.All that takes on a new dimension in the new economy.”Wrightbelieves it is absolutely vital that people from both industry and educationhave a good understanding of employers’ needs and become partners in thetransformation of learning which she expects to see in 10 years’ time. Itis the task of teachers in schools and colleges to lay the foundation on whichemployers can build to meet their specific needs. But is the education systemgiving employers the people and qualities they are looking for?“Firstand foremost we look for people with a good broadly-based education thatprovides the best foundation for lifelong learning in industry,” says DavidBrown, chairman of Motorola. “Secondly,to the extent that it’s possible to teach them in schools, we look for keyskills. And I mean the whole panoply of key skills, not just literacy andnumeracy.”CommunicationBrownacknowledges that communication and teamworking skills are difficult to teachyoung people, but probably the hardest of all to teach is how to manage one’sown learning. “Inmy view that’s the skill that’s in shortest supply in industrial Britain today.People are often motivated to carry on learning – particularly foremployability – and a great many employers make learning resources available. “Thebit that’s often missing in the middle is how do you connect the motivationwith the resources? How do you direct people’s learning? “Theissue is giving people the skill they need properly to select the learningthat’s right for them and follow it through,” says Brown.Inan age where people need to continue to learn at an ever-faster rate throughouttheir working lives, figuring out what learning is required can be apartnership between employers and employees. But lifelong learning is alsosomething for which young people can be better prepared by the educationsystem.Stateof mind“Atschool it would be very helpful if more and more they created a state of mindin people which was not just ready for learning to continue through employmentbut actually eager for it,” Brown believes. Andyoung people need to understand the many forms learning can take, sincelearning in industry is far from sitting in front of a blackboard with ateacher and being given facts. “Learningis more about exploring as a team how to find new ways of doing a job. In asense, inventing things is a totally valid form of learning and I would verymuch like schools to be saying that as often as they can. “Discoveringnew things, generating new insights and passing on those insights to the peopleyou work with is learning.”Wrightagrees with Brown on the importance of managing one’s own learning. One of thechallenges that Ufi has specifically addressed through learndirect is the needfor learning to be individualised and made easy. “Allour learning is self-managed in a very easy way and entirely individual –people can do it where they want and when they want so you don’t have to plantoo far ahead. “Everylearndirect learner will have their own learning log, personal to them, whichthey can use to plan and record learning. “Ifthey want they can present it to an employer and it can be used to help planlearning in the context of a company programme,” Wright explains. Ufihas also developed a diagnostic tool for learners. It asks them to look at whattheir own interests and styles are, what kind of job they may be aiming at andhelps them to plan for that. “Learndirectprovides an all-round tailored solution for individuals, but it also provides abusiness solution for companies large and small,” says Wright.Ifemployers look to schools to provide key skills and a broad base for extendedlearning, they look to the further education system to provide knowledge andskills pertinent to their industry. GarryHawkes is chairman of the NTO National Council and the newly appointed chairmanof the Edexcel Foundation, one of the country’s leading exam bodies foracademic and vocational qualifications. His 20 years as managing director andchairman of Gardner Merchant has given him an insight into what industry wantsfrom the education system. Heis concerned that the current system is driven by providers not users and hebelieves employers should talk to educators more. “Ithink business people have got to get out of their business environment andparticipate in the world at large – that’s why I got involved in Edexcel. “It’seasy to criticise, but if you employ people and have a view about education andtraining, you’ve got to get involved in the process and try and influence andchange things,” he says.Adopta collegeHecites as an example the “adopt a college” scheme, which he ran and participatedin at Gardner Merchant. It involved every senior executive linking up with acollege and working in various committees there. “They learned a lot about thecollege and its problems, but also were able to articulate the needs of ourparticular industry. It worked exceptionally well,” he says.Hawkes’sviews are echoed by key figures in government and education who spoke at aconference organised earlier this year by school leadership specialist, Heads,Teachers and Industry (HTI), and education strategist, Education and Youth(E&Y). Their report, Today’s Leaders – Tomorrow’s World, consolidates thethinking of the Feda conference on developing a national strategy for businessto work with education. “Educationneeds business, but business also needs education. In achieving long-termambitions, business needs a close relationship with the education sector morethan has ever previously been the case,” says Lord Puttnam, chairman of theGeneral Teaching Council and the National Endowment for Science, Technology andthe Arts. Workingtogether“Onlywhen businesses and schools recognise their fundamental need for each otherwill we truly begin to get the benefits of working together.”Businessesof all sizes could play a much bigger part in influencing the content of theNational Curriculum and therefore the quality of their future workforce byforging closer links with education, the HTI/E&Y report says. But93 per cent of smaller firms have no links with education. This is somethingthat Estelle Morris, School Standards Minister at the DfEE, wants to change. “Weneed a cultural change in our society so that everyone accepts theirresponsibility to be an educator. Whether you’re from a small business,medium-sized business or a large business, whether you’re working on theshopfloor, as the head of a company, or as an accountant, you’re an educator aswell,” she says.Thereis little doubt that industry and education need to come closer together. Fedachief executive, Chris Hughes, would like to see the relationship becomeseamless within the next 10 years. “Educators and employers tend to stand offeach other and a blame culture still exists,” he says. “Alot of good things go on but it doesn’t add up to continuous engagement. Itwould be good if employers started regarding providers of skills training withthe same seriousness as they do other parts of the supply chain – as less of apublic service but more as a partner. I think that would be progress.” Industry waits at the school gatesOn 1 Nov 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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UK firms get top marks for staff consultation

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. UK firms get top marks for staff consultationOn 17 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today The IPA’s new study, Sharing the Challenge Ahead: Informing and Consultingwith your Workforce, should be required reading for anyone who works in HR. Itshows UK employers are turning around their poor historical record onconsulting with staff and showing the rest of Europe how it should be done. Amongthe organisations reaping the benefits of good consultation processes areBritish Bakeries, Cap Gemini, the NHS, Pizza Express, Asda, Blue Circle Cementand AstraZeneca to name only a few. With an EU directive on consultation due to go to the European Parliamentsoon this is good news, provided the directive allows for a range ofapproaches. The study shows that UK employers are developing effective modelstaking in mechanisms such as staff councils, joint union-employer taskforcesand consultation arrangements at local and national level. HR people have been saying for a long time that strong staff consultationand involvement are essential to business effectiveness and the study showsthat their efforts to instil this in UK organisations are paying off. There aresituations, however, where consulting with staff can carry risks for theemployer and staff alike. The key is to strike a balance between ensuringemployees’ views are taken on board and avoiding processes which could resultin the delaying of business decisions. On this score, UK employers cannot afford to sit back just yet. The EuropeanParliament could reinstate sanctions which force companies to delayimplementing collective redundancies. And employers are best advised to makesure they set up voluntary models now rather than risk having ones imposedlater that could reduce the scope for quick decisions. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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HR has to take lead on new consultation laws

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. HR has to take lead on new consultation lawsOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Today HR professionals must act now to help organisations comply with the EUdirective on informing and consulting with staff. This is the view of Professor Keith Sisson, co-author of a report on theimpact of the directive, which means employers will have an obligation toinform and consult employee representatives about a range of business issuesincluding redundancies and restructuring. Sisson, of Warwick Business School, believes employers have a “uniqueopportunity” to improve relationships with employees and trade unions asthey adapt their policies to comply with the EU directive – but only if HRtakes a lead. Sisson warns that the HR profession must be prepared to helporganisations deal with this employment relations culture change. He said: “The HR workload will be pretty substantial. Training linemanagers, senior managers and staff to operate in a culture of open informationwill be the major challenge.” Sisson also warns that those organisations that don’t shape up risk havingEuropean-style works councils imposed on them. “HR must be in a position to advise senior line managers and to makesure that the employer acts before staff do. It must look at its policies oninforming and consulting and look to update them,” he said. The study, Works Councils for the UK? Assessing the Impact of the EUemployee consultation directive, advises that the creation of effectivepartnership agreements between employers and trade unions will helporganisations comply with the directive, which will become law for firms withmore than 150 employees by 2005. Warwick Business School wrote the report with the Industrial RelationsServices. www.irsonline.co.ukBy Paul nelson Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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