The Wales Quality Centre provides Business Improvement and Skills Development Training and Support.
The Centre is a not-for-profit organisation and works across public, private and third sectors.

Our national campaign is the Journey to Excellence Improvement Programme, which showcases the successes and best practices of organisations in Wales.

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A message from Denise Phillips Chief Executive of Wales Quality Centre

It’s just one of those sayings that we trot out without really thinking of it, a bit like mushrooms grow overnight.

ACTUALLY THE EXACT OPPOSITE APPLIES, what we see, or think we see, is what we believe, both in ourselves and for all things!

In this digital age with virtual reality and photoshopping being common place, logically we know that seeing something does not necessarily make it true, but we have been conditioned from an early age to accept certain things as truths, it’s part of our culture and the way we think.

Is a lightning strike really just an electrical manifestation or is it a message from the gods?
What we believe affects our behaviours, and it is our behaviours that drives actions that enable us to succeed and bring about change. Being competitive is what has enabled humans to survive, in order to compete and win we have to change, but we don’t like change.

It is this paradox that makes change, and particularly culture change, so difficult, it’s all about MINDSET. Effective change occurs when you are able to put yourselves in someone else’s shoes and understand what the real issue is, it is often not what it seems.

Apologies to my automotive sector friends (and engineers) for this example, but for most people the features that enable innovations, the things that that excite and drive the development engineers, are not usually what sells the product, which is why sales people are trained to sell the benefits not the features.

It is therefore surprising that while companies invest in training for tools techniques, managements standards etc, (and don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support the drive for efficiency and excellence, it is after all a very important part of the support and training we provide to welsh businesses), it is behaviours that determine the degree of success of implementation, and fewer invest in developing soft skill sets. This is akin to buying an expensive new car and not paying to put fuel in.

The soft skillset that managers and executives need to achieve this are often thought to be part of a persons make up, some people are natural leaders, have more charisma etc. Whilst this is true (I’ve seen so I believe), these are also skills that can be taught. They not only validate someone’s belief in themselves (most people think they are imposters, and their success is accidental, they attribute success to outside factors, being in the right place at the right time or just plain good luck), but increase an organisations ability to change and survive.

Since the start of the pandemic, individuals and businesses have mostly been in a state of permanent flux, and survival has depended on flexibility and the ability to change rapidly.

Find the silver lining, every cloud has one right?
Resistance to change is at its lowest ebb, so there’s never been a better time to accelerate success.

With this in mind Wales Quality Centre have our Executive programme running in 2021.

Make this the start of a new chapter, and gear your company up for success. We are running a suite of modules, that focus on behaviours and soft skills. We can even deliver an In Company programme for you.

Need some motivation
Join us on April 13th, for a session on Leading High Performing Team with renowned author and Chief Executive of the Institute of Leadership Hilarie Owen

For more information contact us at Wales Quality Centre.

Employment Law Update 3 November 2020

Extension of Furlough Scheme

In a very last minute announcement on Saturday evening, the Prime Minister announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (or furlough scheme, as we know it) will be extended until December 2020 (although the precise date is unclear). This means that the Job Support Scheme (JSS) that was due to come into effect as of 1st November 2020 has now been delayed until the CJRS comes to an end. The extended CJRS became available as of 1st November.

Set out below is a summary of the extended furlough scheme; courtesy of Berry Smith Solicitors.

Under the extended CJRS, the government will pay up to 80% of an employee’s normal pay, up to a cap of £2,500 a month (employers can choose to top up employee wages if they wish). Employers will remain responsible for National Insurance contributions and pension contributions

• Employees can either be put on furlough on a full-time basis, or on a part-time basis (i.e.flexible furloughing).

• Neither employers nor employees need to have previously used the CJRS to be eligible for the extended scheme.

• In order to be eligible, employees must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll as of 23:59 on 30th October 2020. This is good news for those employees that did not previously qualify for the furlough scheme, such as recent starters for example.

• When claiming under the CJRS for furloughed hours, employers must report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.

If you have already put in place JSS Agreements, or your workforce is back at work and you would like to place some employees back on furlough / put new staff on furlough, you will need to contact those employees as soon as possible to obtain their written agreement. Please do let us know if you would like draft communications to send to your employees.

This is welcome news for many employers given that the extended furlough scheme is more generous than the JSS which was due to come into place on 1st November. You will recall that the JSS was divided into two elements, JSS Open (for businesses operating but where employees are working at least 20% of their usual hours) and JSS Closed (where the business is legally required to close its premises and employees have no work to do at all). Under the JSS Closed, the government would have paid 67% of employee wages, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 a month. Under JSS Open the position was more complex but the government contribution was capped at a maximum of £1,541.75 per month and the employer contribution was capped at £125 per month.

We hope that this is of interest and useful for you. If you need further information relating to this topic, please feel free to contact a member of our team on 029 2034 5511 or at employment@berrysmith.com

COVID-19 – Job Support Scheme

As the Coronavirus pandemic has continued to develop here in the UK, thousands of employers and employees have continued to suffer financially and with the furlough scheme due to end on 31st October 2020, many were left wondering whether any further support would be available.

On 24th September 2020, the Chancellor announced that a new Job Support Scheme (JSS) will come into effect from 1st November 2020 and will run for a period of six months.

The intention of the JSS is to safeguard jobs in businesses that will face a lower demand over the winter months as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, where employers are considering making redundancies, they are being encouraged to keep employees in work but on reduced hours.

The Government has published a Factsheet about the Scheme. We are expecting to receive further information with regards to the JSS over the coming weeks, however for the time being we understand that the scheme will operate as follows:

  • In order to be eligible under the scheme, an employee must be on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23rd September 2020.
  • For the first three months of the JSS, an employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours. The employer will be liable to pay the employee for these hours worked at the employee’s normal contractual salary. After three months the government may consider increasing this threshold.
  • For those hours not worked, the employee will still be paid but only up to two thirds (based on the employees’ normal contractual salary) – 22% will be paid by the employer and 22% will be paid by the government. The government’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month. Therefore, where the government cap does not apply, an employee will receive at least 77% of their usual pay.
  • The grant available under the JSS will not cover Class 1 employer national insurance contributions or pension contributions which will need to be paid by the employer.
  • Each employee will not have to work the same work pattern each month, however each short-time working arrangement must last for a minimum period of 7 days.
  • Those employees on the JSS cannot be made redundant or given notice of redundancy.
  • The new working arrangements must be agreed in writing between the employer and employee. HMRC may ask for evidence of this documentation which will have to be provided upon request.
  • An employer will be able to start making claims under the JSS from December 2020.
  • The JSS will be available to all small and medium sized businesses. It appears that larger businesses will only be eligible to claim for a grant under the scheme if they can demonstrate that their turnover has decreased during the pandemic.
  • Employers who previously haven’t used the furlough scheme will still be eligible to apply for a grant under the JSS.

As we saw with the furlough scheme, the devil is going to be in the detail of the guidance, which the government has said will be released soon.

Many employers won’t feel that they are in a position to pay 55% of a worker’s salary for 33% output so it remains questionable as to whether we will see further redundancies on the horizon. Commercially, if redundancies are looking like an inevitable option, we would urge employers to start thinking about / commence a redundancy process swiftly. This is to ensure a dovetailing of the phasing out of the furlough scheme with consultation / notice requirements – note those employees on the JSS cannot be made redundant or given notice of redundancy,

We understand that this is a difficult and confusing time for both employers and employees and we will endeavor to post employment related updates as soon as possible when further information becomes available.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law at 02920 345 511 or employment@berrysmith.com

Can you help support the NHS and provide much needed PPE?

Looking for an opportunity to secure work and to supply into NHS Wales?

The FSB and the Hywel Dda Health Board are looking to procure more of their products locally, and will be holding a virtual event on
Date: Tuesday 29 September 2020
Time: 14:00 – 15:00

* Hear about what the NHS in Wales needs, and how other small businesses have taken advantage of opportunities within Hywel Dda Health Board

* Learn about how to secure work through NHS procurement, and support available to help businesses

* Ask questions about NHS Procurement to a panel of experts (attendees are requested to submit questions when registering for the event through the booking link)

Who should attend?
Businesses from across Wales interested in securing work through NHS opportunities.

Alan Binks, Hywel Dda Health Board
Rob Basini, Federation of Small Businesses
Stephen Pickard and Alex Curley, NHS Wales Procurement
James Davies, Industry Wales
Howard Jacobson, Business Wales Procurement Team

To find out more and register for the event:
Follow the link; https://bit.ly/333cNs9

Tel: 07917 162779

online on demand training

Training but not as you know it!!!

Wales Quality Centre is open for business. Almost all of our courses are being delivered through our tutor led remote training platform

Jeff, one of our trainers, delivering remote training this week.


PPE Support

Welsh Government have appointed Life Sciences Hub Wales (LSH) as the primary contact for any organisation that feel they are able to supply, manufacture and/or distribute products or collaborate with others to develop products or solutions in areas which include Medical Devices, Infection Control and Digital Solutions. If you are an existing supplier of PPE or critical equipment or are able to provide any additional support on either manufacturing, repurposing products or innovation, please contact the Life Science Hub through their innovation portal at: https://lshubwales.com/call-industry-collaboration-fight-coronavirus.
Offer of support will need to be submitted with essential information including evidence of certification and product standards.

Supporting additional construction and temporary accommodation for the NHS

Any suppliers specifically able to offer support for Planning, Construction and Implementation of additional/temporary accommodation for the NHS please register interest at HSS.COVID-19.PlanningCell@gov.wales

Any other offers of support

Offers of support not directly related to Medical Equipment or PPE, are being captured at a regional and local level.  Offers of this kind will be captured via a link to an online form which identifies offers by post code area.  This intelligence is being captured on a regional level not to meet existing demand but to be called upon in future if a need is identified. To register offers of this kind please complete the online form here.


A series of manageable 2 hr training sessions to enable upskilling while people are isolated and working from home during the pandemic.

Motivation  16th April
The role of Human Factors in Health and Safety  –  20th April
A quick introduction to ‘LEAN’ Principles –  23rd April
Culture change –  1st May
A quick introduction to Root Cause Analysis tools – 7th May
Mindset  – 12th May
Time Management  – 27th May
Goal Setting  – 9th June
Coaching and Mentoring  –  23rd June


If you can supply, manufacture or test any of the following, NHS Wales needs your help. Any offers of PPE from existing recognised suppliers or parts that are approved by the NHS to :

Anyone with an idea that needs a bit of support to get approval info@industrywales.com

Wales Quality Centre fights back against Covid 19

Self-Isolation? Social Distancing? Company directive?

Don’t let the virus interfere in your business any more than necessary.

If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you
If we can’t come to you, join us via webinar

As far as possible, we are trading as usual, we are not cancelling any courses and are scheduling new ones – just different ways of working.

  • Book onto our courses and choose if you want to attend in person or join us via Webinar
  • Book a bespoke course delivered just for your company, delivered remotely by Webinar

In order to allow our delegates to attend their training sessions and maintain self-isolation and social distancing in light of Covid 19, with the exception of a few courses, our courses will be available through a Webinar.
If you can let us have the e mail contact details for delegates, we will arrange for them to join our virtual training session.
We can also deliver in company training via a webinar link that means our trainers don’t have to attend your site.



Covid 19 Advice for Employers, courtesy of Berry Smith Solicitors

As of 12th March, a total of 590 people in the UK have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on the World Health Organisation’s declaration that this is a Pandemic of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate.

As public concern around Coronavirus grows, we have seen an increase in queries from employers asking for advice on how they should deal with various employment issues that may arise as a result of the Coronavirus.  We therefore set out a list of frequently asked questions.

How can we reduce the risk to our employees?
We suggest that employers send around an email/guidance encouraging employees to be extra vigilant with washing their hands, using and disposing of tissues etc.  If you have the capacity to do so, we would suggest designating an isolation room where an employee who feels ill can go and sit away from the rest of the company and privately call “111” before taking any further necessary action.

You may also want to consider deep cleaning their area and work station after they have left the premises.

If the laboratory tests confirm COVID-19 infection was present, your local health protection team will conduct a risk assessment and provide further advice.  Employees who have had close contact with the affected person will also be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Dealing with staff who need to self-isolate.
Employees are likely to be advised to self-isolate for 14 days in the event of:

  • Recently having close personal contact with a confirmed case of Coronavirus.
  • Recently returning from a specific high-risk country.

What is the position on pay?
The Coronavirus may result in workplace absences for a number of different reasons.

  • Sickness absence for suspected or diagnosed Coronavirus infection

Employees will be entitled to the usual sick leave and pay entitlements including statutory sick pay or contractual sick pay, in the event this is provided in the employment contract or within any policies. Within the past 24 hours the Prime Minister has stated that employees will get statutory sick pay from the first day off work, not the fourth, to help contain Coronavirus.

  • Absence for self-isolation

There is no right to statutory sick pay if not unfit for work.

Despite the above strict legal position, Acas guidance suggests that it is good practice for an employer to treat absence as sick leave and follow the usual sick pay policy or agree for the time to be taken as annual leave.  Employers may therefore want to take a flexible approach to the unexpected absences that the virus may cause.

If the employee is able to work remotely, they should receive their usual pay.  If they are unable to work remotely then, unless there is a contractual right to pay in these circumstances, there is no legal entitlement to pay.

The Government has made it clear that if NHS 111 or a doctor advises an employee to self-isolate, they’re entitled to statutory sick pay. Entitlement to contractual sick pay would depend on the contractual terms.

The new regulations (The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020) give Secretary of State and registered public health consultants power to detain people for testing, impose restrictions on travel and activities, or require a person to be kept in isolation. Affected employees would be entitled to statutory sick pay as they are deemed to be incapable of work.  Again, entitlement to contractual sick pay would depend on the contractual terms.

  • Absence from work at employer’s request

The entitlement to usual pay would continue unless there is a contractual right not to pay.  Employers may want to consider if they have contractual provisions for lay off or short time working.

  • Absence from work due to being scared of risk of infection

Check to see whether the ability to work remotely exists and, if so, the employee would be entitled to the usual pay.  There is no entitlement to pay if the employer requires the employee to come into work and they refuse.

  • Absence for childcare

Emergency leave exists to provide employees with a right to reasonable amount of time off work to assist or arrange care for ill dependants (e.g. if a child has the virus), and with unexpected breakdown in care arrangements (e.g. child is quarantined or school is closed). This is unpaid – unless pay is provided in the employer’s contract or policies.

Employers should keep the situation under review and stay alert for further government guidance.

If  you would like more information about any of the issues raised in these articles or any other aspect of employment law, please do not hesitate to contact at 029 2034 5511 or employment@berrysmith.com.

Launch of digital tools

for businesses exporting goods in and out of the UK

The Department for International Trade launched two digital tools for businesses exporting goods in and out of the UK market.

The free-to-use tools available on gov.uk detail product-specific and country-specific information on tariffs, regulations and other topics in one place, saving businesses time and making it easier for them to trade.

The ‘Trade with the UK’ tool provides businesses exporting goods into the UK market with detailed and up-to-date information on topics such as tariffs, taxes and rules.

The ‘Check How to Export Goods’ tool provides exporters of goods out of the UK market with information such as duties and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world. The tool also provides information about the UK border which is sourced from other government departments such as HMRC and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


HMRC have published letters that provide clarity on the Implementation Period to reassure businesses ahead of the weekend. The section under ‘What will happen after January 31st 2020?’ is key and includes the following text:

“During this time [in the transition period] there will be no changes to the terms for trading with the EU or the rest of the world, unless the rules change for the whole of the EU. This means EU rules for customs, VAT and excise will continue to apply to the movement of goods and trade for this limited time. There will be no new customs procedures at present.”

There is also a new gov.uk/brexit landing page with guidance on what business can do to prepare during the transition period. This will be populated with new and updated guidance as negotiations progress.

Happy New Year to you all – we look forward to supporting our Members in 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined in the Christmas fun and entered our advent quiz, with a special thank you for those of you who did it every day – including Christmas Eve – very impressive. Last few outstanding prizes will be shipped this week.

ONS have released some Christmas statistics, so we’ll start the New Year by sharing these interesting facts, without you having to answer any questions

It’s a time of year for sharing so here are twelve stats to complete our Christmas theme.

  1. Christmas is, for many, all about shopping and how we shop has changed over time, from in store to using our computers or phones to purchase goods. The money we spend online has increased from a monthly average of 4.9% in 2008 to a monthly average of 17.9% in 2018. This means that nearly 18 pence of every pound was spent online in 2018, the highest annual proportion reported yet. Read more in our analysis of modern shopping trends.
  2. There were 1,292 live births on Christmas Day 2018. It was the second most unlikely day to be born in 2018– only beaten by Boxing Day when there were 1,193 live births. Read more in our Birth Characteristics in England and Wales release.
  3. More girls were named Holly in December 2018 than in any other month that year.  In total, 201 new baby girls were called Holly in this month last year. Read more in our latest statistical bulletin on Baby names in England and Wales.
  4. We leave milk out for Santa: The price of a pint of milk went up 633% between December 1971 and December 2018, from 6p to 44p. Taken from our consumer price inflation time series.
  5. And we leave carrots out for reindeers: A kilo of carrots was 7p in December 1971 and in December 2018 the price per kilo was 72p. Taken from our consumer price inflation time series.
  6. One kilogram of Brussel sprouts cost 11p in December 1971 and had increased to £1.30 in December 2006. They’re no longer in the inflation basket – the “shopping baskets” of items used in compiling the various measures of consumer price inflation are reviewed each year. Taken from our consumer price inflation time series.
  7. Price of potatoes went from 51p a kilo at Christmas 1994 to 75p at Christmas 2018. Taken from our consumer price inflation time series.
  8. Lots of people will be looking forward to Christmas pudding in a couple of days, UK producers sold 24 million kg of dried fruit in 2018 worth £105 million.  Taken from estimates of UK manufacturers’ sales by product (otherwise known as our PRODCOM survey) for 2018.
  9. Shops also sold 361 mil tonnes of cream worth £672million in 2018. Taken from our PRODCOM survey for 2018.
  10. Gingerbread sales have been pretty consistent over the years and were worth £15 million in 2018.  Taken from our PRODCOM survey for 2018.
  11. Turkey sales have been increasing in recent years having doubled since 2008, worth £30 million in 2018. Taken from our PRODCOM survey for 2018.
  12. Some people like to enjoy a drink at this time of year. Last year, whisky sales were bigger than beer sales for the first time in 2018 at around £3.5 billion. Taken from our PRODCOM survey for 2018

The annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken, and the associated costs to Great Britain.

The statistics, compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, illustrate that in Great Britain in the 2018/2019 period there were;

  • 147 fatal injuries at work
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 364 cases were prosecuted and resulted in a conviction; fines from convictions totalled £54.5 million
  • 28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury

The estimated economic cost to Great Britain totalled £15 billion in 2017/2018.


It is a very sad day today Schaeffler Llanelli closes it’s doors for the last time.

WQC would like to pay tribute to Schaeffler for their support and engagement through the years, and wish employees all the best in their future endeavours.

brexit business training

GOV.UK has an online checker tool to help businesses prepare for the UK leaving the EU. Businesses can use the Checker Tool to find out:

  • What their business may need to do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU
  • What’s changing in their sector
  • Information on specific rules and regulations

In addition, there is tailor made information by sector available. This can be found by clicking below:

Non-Metal Manufacturing 
Professional & Business Services

Building Resilience ico TRAINING

WQC are pleased to confirm Newport Wafer Fab have successfully completed another 6 Sigma Green Belt programme. Denise Phillips Chief Executive WQC said ‘It is always inspirational to see the application of our 6 Sigma training at Newport Wafer Fab, and to see first-hand the amount of efficiency savings realised by the end of  each programme’. Congratulations to everyone for a job well done.

6 sigma course

health and safety infographic


Other Headlines

Building firm fined £900,000 after fatal wall collapse – 14th March 2019

Company fined £1.4m after worker suffers serious crush injuries – 29th March 2019

Priory Healthcare fined £300,000 following death of 14-year-old patient – 17th April 2019

Council prosecuted after wall collapses onto child fined of £133,333 and ordered to pay costs of £21,419.55 – 14th August 2016

Become An Excellence Champion in 2019

Is your organisation “Recognised for Excellence?” Start your Journey to Excellence in 2019 to find out more contact us on 01656 652063 or email info@walesqualitycentre.org.uk

Read about our Excellence Champions here The Winners





The Journey to Excellence
Contact WQC
The Waterton Centre, Waterton Estate, Bridgend CF31 3WT