Chamber News

Chambers Ireland has made a submission to the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) asking them to be more flexible in how business consumers are billed as part of Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework.

The CRU has made recommendations that Irish Water should be extremely strict and inflexible with their business customers in two key areas.

Firstly, about assigning and switching tariff classes, and secondly about leaks.

The CRU proposals would see businesses charged on the basis of the previous year’s consumption and upon receiving their harmonised bill these businesses will then have to argue that they should be reassigned to a different tariff.

On leaks, the CRU is seeking to transfer all risks that relate to a premises onto the occupier and would in some cases disallow any rebate for leakage.

Speaking today (20 April), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“Chambers Ireland has called on the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to amend their proposed regulations which relate to the billing of Irish Water’s business clients.

As part of the move to harmonise water charges across the country, a move that will in its own right increase pressures on a large number of businesses, the CRU is also proposing billing changes which have the potential to gravely affect struggling businesses in these trying times.

There are two principle problems with these proposals.

Firstly the CRU’s proposals will have businesses paying for their water at rates which are based on last year’s usage. With so many businesses closed this will put many businesses into an inappropriate category which will force many businesses to challenge the new charges, a prospect which could bring the harmonisation process into disrepute.

Then, next year, upon resuming business as normal post Covid-19, these same businesses will have to challenge their bills a second time, because 2020’s consumption is likely to be completely unrepresentative.

The second issue is that the Commission is seeking to transfer all the risk associated with on-site water leakages onto the business customers of Irish water. Chambers Ireland believes that the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, reveal how inflexible this move is, and how the regulations should allow for circumstances which are outside of the customer’s control.

Across the country, many businesses are not free to maintain, or perhaps even access, their business premises. Key workers may be cocooned. The proposed system is so inflexible that it cannot deal with real world problems.

These problems with the CRU proposals will create an undue burden on businesses which they will have to investigate whether they should be on a more appropriate rate, and will also create the bureaucratic challenge of tens of thousands of customers having to contest their bills.”

Click here to read the submission.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are launching a worldwide survey to report the challenges faced by the private sector from COVID-19.

In response to COVID-19, ICC and WHO are surveying the private sector to gather more information about global business responses and develop solutions that will address the spread of the pandemic. The ICC-WHO survey will improve information flows between different sectors of the global economy and develop a framework for managing the economic and human consequences related to the pandemic’s spread.

On the launch of the ICC-WHO survey, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said, “By providing transparent feedback, the private sector can minimise the spread of COVID-19 and address the pandemic’s underlying repercussions for our global economy. ICC and WHO are calling on business leaders – as trusted voices in their local communities – to share more information about the pandemic’s influence on their daily operations, supply chains, and employees.

Please, take a few moments to complete this survey, so that we can protect our colleagues, customers, and communities from the continual damage caused by this pandemic’s spread.”

The survey is the latest step in ICC and WHO’s unique collaboration to provide reliable COVID-19-related information to the private sector and develop trusted guidance for business communities around the world. As part of an initial joint statement, ICC and WHO called upon national governments to adopt a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calling for participation in the survey via video message, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “This survey will allow us to understand how businesses are responding. It will help us map best practices and understand better where we and national health authorities should focus our attention. The information generated by the survey will help us mount an effective response, saving lives and minimising economic damage.”

ICC Ireland Secretary General and Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland Ian Talbot said, “As the results published yesterday from Chambers Ireland’s most recent national business survey show, the pandemic has deeply impacted businesses across Ireland, on a widespread scale reaching across different industries, with consequences and challenges for all levels of Irish society.

While the data being shared is stark, it is crucial in identifying the necessary, practical solutions to address the pandemic. By completing this survey, businesses will be speaking out on the challenges they now face while playing their part in a global business response, coordinated through the ICC, the largest business representative organisation in the world and the WHO.

This joint effort is a unique partnership bridging together the voice of business at all levels, representing local communities from Ireland and at global level, with medical experts to address this crisis.

We strongly urge businesses to complete this survey from the ICC-WHO to share key information to develop the best response possible to the impacts of the pandemic.”

The ICC-WHO survey

Following the publication of the second Chamber Network survey Chambers Ireland and our nationwide Network of Chambers has today (10th April 2020) called on Government to join Chambers in calling for engagement with the prompt payment legislation and to send a message to business, both public and private, that if you can pay, you should do so on time.

The survey, which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3rd April and the morning of 6th April 2020.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Cash is king, as the saying goes, and we’ve been calling on businesses in our Network who can pay their bills, to pay their bills. Cash flow has been identified as a significant problem for businesses since the start of the crisis. Unless we can keep money moving in the economy, we risk exacerbating and prolonging the impacts of the recession to come.

Within our survey, we asked businesses if invoices were being paid by state bodies early and on time. While the majority confirmed this was the case, a significant minority (33%) said that payment was taking longer than 15 days.

We have been raising this issue with Government for a number of weeks and we are now calling on them to make an immediate statement on this matter and join Chambers in calling for bills to be paid on time by those in a position to do so.”

Chambers Ireland Covid Business Survey April 20Chambers Ireland and our nationwide network of chambers has today (9th April 2020) published the results of a survey of its members, which seeks to quantify and highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses in towns, cities and regions right across the country.

Our survey which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3 April and the morning of 6 April 2020.

The results published this morning are the second in a series of nationwide surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on the business community. All corners of the country are represented in the responses and the results will inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and affiliated chambers, on behalf of businesses throughout the country, and provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis.

The headline results are:

Revenue:

  • 84% of businesses expect revenue to decline by in excess of 25% in the next three months, which is up from 73% in our last survey published on the 24 March.
  • Approximately 25% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by more than 90% over the next 3 months
  • Smaller firms are more concerned about loss of revenue and are more likely to expect a 100% reduction in revenue

Closures:

  • 42% of businesses have closed entirely, and 30% of businesses having closed the public facing offices and are now working from home
  • Of those that have closed, most expect to be closed for 12 weeks

Staffing:

  • 47% of businesses have laid off staff, with over half of those laying off in excess of 30% of staff
  • 20% of all businesses have laid off their entire staff

Commercial Rates:

  • 76% of businesses owners/operators believe that the 2-month deferral of Commercial Rates payments will not be enough to have any meaningful impact on their business
  • Most believe that it would need to be a six-month holiday to be of use, with a significant minority believing that the extension would need to be for 12 months

Next Steps/Economic Interventions:

  • 99% of respondents believe that there will be a need for a post - COVID-19 economic stimulus package
  • 95% of respondents believe that there is a need for liquidity grants to businesses
  • 96% of respondents believe that the measures that have already been introduced will need to have their timelines extended

Speaking this morning (9th April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “When we published our first set of results, neither the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme nor the tighter restrictions were in place, so we expected that the impact on business would continue to decline. Therefore, our findings that 84% of businesses, an increase of 11% on two weeks ago, expect a decrease in revenue of more than 25%, should not come as a shock.

“However, what our results do show is the gravity of the situation, particularly for many smaller businesses. 25% of those who responded expect revenue to collapse by more than 90%, with one in five businesses laying off all staff.

“For those who have closed their operations entirely, most expect to remain closed for at least 12 weeks. Unfortunately, as we’re seeing in other countries, the period of closure is likely to be longer for some businesses.

“Should this come to pass, an honest dialogue with Government will be required regarding how the staff and employers who have lost their living will be supported.

“Since the outset, we have highlighted the need for far-reaching economic intervention from Government to support local economies and job creators right across the country. We need action on a scale we have not seen before. The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 must be met with an unprecedented response.

“This view is shared by our members, where there is almost unanimous agreement that a post-COVID-19 stimulus package will be required and that part of these measures must include the provision of grants for business to help them re-open their doors and restore jobs lost.

“Measures already introduced, while critical in the first response to support business, will need to evolve in scale and scope.

“For example, the Government’s earlier announcement of a two-month deferral for commercial rates is found to be insufficient by three quarters of businesses responding to our survey.

“If a deferral is to have any meaningful impact, it will need to last at least 6 months, if not a full year, as was introduced in the UK. To ensure that Local Authorities can continue to serve communities, this short-fall in funding must be replaced by central Government.”

  • To access the COVID-19 Business Community Survey results report, click here
  • To access the Survey results for Waterford, click here
  • To access the results report from the previous Chambers Ireland Covid-19 Business Impacts Survey from 24 March 2020, click here

Responding to the publication of the March Exchequer Returns, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to look to the future and plan how it will meet the challenge of restoring the country’s finance and rebuilding the economy.

Speaking today (2nd April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,“The impact of the measures we have had to take as a country in the last 3 weeks are mostly not reflected in these Returns and we can expect larger percentage falls in May and June. The figures published today foreshadow the profound impact that the Covid-19 crisis will have on our national finances and our economy. Government must react in accordance with the scale of this challenge.

As we pass through the initial shock that this is having upon all of us, we must start looking towards the future, beyond the unprecedented scale of this disaster.

We must also be conscious that today’s figures are not the worst we are likely to see. Reduced consumption, lower employment numbers and significantly slower economic activity will have consequences on the Exchequer for months to come. VAT receipts, which form a significant part of State income, are likely to continue to fall as only essential shopping takes place, typically at lower rates of VAT.

Businesses widely welcomed the supports announced last week in the Emergency Powers Legislation. The programmes of support are unprecedented, and while there continues to be questions about some aspects of how the various schemes will operate, we look forward to working with Government to resolve these issues, so we can ensure that they function as intended and keep people engaged with the workforce, maximising the chances of business continuity.

Government and business need to work together to ensure that policies are introduced as smoothly as possible. We have never experienced this kind of shock, or a shock of such magnitude. While we appreciate the efforts that are being put in by everyone across society, there is more to be done and there is much more that can be done.

Today’s Returns highlight that the worst of this crisis has yet to be seen. Momentum in how we respond doesn’t merely need to be maintained but needs to increase if we are to meet this challenge.”

We are appealing with you to complete the Chambers Ireland Covid-19 Business Community Survey on the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CPBLP2J

The survey focuses on the actions that businesses have taken to date, and some policy responses that they would like to see Waterford Chamber and Chambers Ireland working on.

It is open to all businesses in the republic whether they are members of their local chamber or not so please feel free so share on your own websites, LinkedIn/WhatsApp groups, social media, and emails.

We would expect to be publishing the subset of data from the Waterford area next Tuesday and  to go to the national and local media with this on Wednesday 8th (assuming no major national breaking stories on that day).

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Skillnet Digital Classroom Apr May 2020 1

Skillnet Digital Classroom Apr May 2020 2

Performance Management – Thursday, April 2nd - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Identifying Performance Strengths and Weakness
  • Day-to-Day Performance Management
  • Feedback 
  • Identifying Underperformance
  • Development Planning
  • Dealing with Failure to Improve

Cash Management in a Crisis – Friday, April 3rd - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • The right processes and procedures to keep ‘cash flowing’ within your organisation
  • How to effectively manage your credit risk
  • How to successfully recover a bad debt
  • Options and resources available

Leadership in a Crisis – Friday, April 3rd - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • The 5 Pitfalls of leading teams in a crisis situation
  • The building blocks of Crisis Management
  • Taking back Control
  • Communication Flow for Sound Leadership
  • Leadership Styles and Crises

HR How to Devise an Infectious Diseases (Covid-19) HR Policy & Procedure - Monday 6th April 15:00 - 16:00

  • The key areas of consideration and definitions
  • Compliance with Government, HSE and WHO guidelines
  • Practical application of employment law & HR policy requirements
  • How to apply procedures around restrictions within the workplace
  • Go home
  • Stay at home
  • What if’s 
  • Guidelines for working from home/remotely 
  • Connection to other key HR policies
  • Applying timelines & amended terms

Managing Self – Tuesday, April 7th - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Emotional Intelligence in Difficult Circumstances
  • Time Management
  • Delivery of Results

Food and Mood: 3 key ways to support your teams nutritionally for greater energy, resilience and productivity" 7th April – 15:00 - 17:00

  • Discover how stress effects energy and food choices.
  • Jemma will share 3 key ways in which diet and lifestyle can help with creativity, reduced absenteeism and improving companies bottom line. 

Change Management – Wednesday, April 8th - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Models of Change
  • Identifying Responses to Change
  • Staff Needs of Times of Change
  • How to Make it Stick

The Lean Workflow - Wednesday 8th of April - 15:00 - 16:30

  • Know your value
  • Bring it to life using Mapping
  • Create flow
  • Assess customer demand and establish pull
  • Act and continuously improve

Motivating Staff – Thursday, April 9th - 9.30am to 1.30pm

  • How do We Motivate Others Remotely?
  • Motivation Model
  • The Three Elements of Intrinsic Motivation
  • Self-Motivation

HR How to manage your headcount in challenging times - 3.00pm – 4.30pm – 9th April - Ria White

  • Current Government supports & implications for your business
  • Contractual terms & condition requirements
  • Short term, lay-offs post lockdown
  • Definition of redundancy
  • Key HR policy requirements
  • Action planning, key points & checklist
  • Communication, documentation & paperwork 
  • Practical solutions

Remote Management  – Wednesday, 15th April - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Identifying all the challenges faced when managing remotely
  • Exploring tactics and tools to overcome these challenges
  • Experience what it is like to be in a remote team through a team activity, to gain empathy and reinforce learning
  • Identify the enhanced skills required when managing remotely
  • Achieve goals through communication, relationship building, coaching, delegating and trust

Role of a Manager – Thursday, 16th April - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • What do you need to Be, Do and Know
  • Supervisor/Leader/Manager
  • What kind of Leader are You?
  • Flexing between Roles

Change Management – Friday, 17th April - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Models of Change
  • Identifying Responses to Change
  • Staff Needs of Times of Change
  • How to Make it Stick

All Webinars are free of charge for businesses closed due to COVID-19.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your place.

Following the publication of today’s (2nd April 2020) live register figures by the CSO, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to ensure that post-crisis, the supports are there to ensure business can re-open.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Today’s CSO figures illustrate just how much damage has been done to businesses and to livelihoods right across the country. A surge of 24,400 new applicants for jobseekers’ allowances in the space of one month is remarkable in itself. Viewed alongside the figure of 283,037 persons receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the 25,104 benefiting from the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, assessing how deep the damage will be to the economy is difficult to gauge at this stage.

To see the progress made in job creation since the economic crash over a decade ago, wiped out in little under a month, is truly alarming.

The results of our national Network survey last week have shown some indication of what might come to pass in the weeks and months ahead, where 94% of businesses see their revenue declining over the coming three months, 73% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by in excess of 25%. We can only assume that the associated economic down-turn will contribute to further job-losses.

There are of course some positives to note, due largely to Government intervention over the past week, such as the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, which retains employees on payroll. Supporting that link between employer and employee throughout the crisis will be instrumental when the health threat abates and economic activity starts to return.”

Also speaking today, Chambers Ireland President and Director of Noel Recruitment, Siobhan Kinsella, spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the workplace.

“While today’s figures show one part of the economy, where thousands of people have found themselves temporarily unemployed, this is only one part of the story. The world of work in many industries continues but has changed utterly.

We’ve long talked of digital transformation and the future of work. COVID-19 has triggered a digital transformation, which in ordinary circumstances would takes years, in a matter of days. Entire organisations have moved to remote models, with employees, managers and directors responding to the crisis and running businesses from their own homes. In fact, the Chambers we represent right across the island are doing just this and responding to the needs of their members remotely and digitally.

Amid this economic crisis, there are opportunities to innovate and to reimagine our ways of work. Life-long learning, a priority of Chambers Ireland, is even more important now. Many training organisations, such as Solas and Skillnet, have responded and evolved their offering because of the crisis.

If we had one message to the workforce, it would be to engage in training and look at ways to upskill. Anything we can do to build on existing skills will, once this crisis passes, support future resilience and productivity. This message of course includes those in work and those temporarily out of work.”

Webinar Agenda - Week Commencing 30th March 

Each Webinar is €15pp or €60 for a bundle of 5.

To register or to arrange this Webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders, please contact Audrey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

skillnet

Role of a Manager – Monday, 30th March from 9.30am-12.30pm

  • What do you need to Be, Do and Know
  • Supervisor/Leader/Manager
  • What kind of Leader are You?
  • Flexing between Roles

 skillnet

Performance Management – Monday 30th March from 1.30pm-4.30pm

  • Identifying Performance Strengths and Weakness
  • Day to Day Performance management
  • Feedback
  • Identifying Underperformance
  • Development Planning
  • Dealing with Failure to Improve

skillnet

Change Management – Tuesday, 31st March from 9.30am-12.30pm

  • Models of Change
  • Identifying Responses to Change
  • Staff Needs of Times of Change
  • How to Make it Stick

skillnet

Team Development – Tuesday, 31st March form 1.30pm-4.30pm

  • Stages of Teams
  • Team Types
  • Effective Teams and How to Fill the Gaps

skillnet

Cash Management in a Crisis – Friday, 3rd April from 12.30pm

  • Having the right processes and procedures to keep ‘cash flowing’ within your organisation
  • How to Effectively Manage your Credit Risks
  • How to Successfully Recover a bad debt
  • Options and resources available to you

FREE Live Webinar - Leadership in Crisis: CV & Career Planning, Working from Home & Resilience

Date: Friday, 27th March

Time: 10:00am-11:00am

As part of SureSkills Effective Management and Working from Home Series, we have another complimentary webinar on Leadership in Crisis, CV & Career Planning, Working from Home & Resilience.

These are unprecedented times, for many, the possibility of self-isolation, social distancing and working from home for the next few weeks/months is becoming a daunting reality. Indeed, working from home is a new concept for many teams and their managers.

Waterford Chamber Skillnet and SureSkills can assist in helping you and your team transition and cope with this new reality.

Webinar Agenda

  • Leadership in Crisis
  • CV and Career Planning with SureSkills Resource Placement
  • Resilience and Working from Home tips
  • Q&A

Who Should Attend?

This webinar is aimed at those who have been impacted by COVID-19 and the effects it is having on the workforce and landscape as we know it.

Register here

If you would like to arrange this Webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders, please contact Audrey @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

WC Skillnet Business Strategy Free Webinar

Date: Thursday, 26th March
Time: 9.30am-11.00am
Cost: Free of charge

This live Webinar will assist SMEs to review business continuity plans and emergency activation plans in the face of changing business landscapes. The aim of this webinar is to help business owners and managers to mitigate the impact this situation will have on critical business functions, products and services. What you do now will make the difference. 

This 90-minute webinar will offer business owners valuable ways and means on how their business can survive in the coming weeks and months.

Topics Include:

  1. Short-term finance options
  2. Adjusting your current business plan to revise profit margins
  3. Appraising your company expenditure
  4. Negotiating your payables
  5. Identifying alternative streams of revenue in the short-term
  6. Crafting a communication plan with Stakeholders
  7. Diversifying your asset portfolio
  8. Tips on personal wellbeing during a crisis

This Webinar will be delivered by Monere Development Services.

If you would like to arrange this Webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders, please contact Audrey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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