THE BUTLER DID IT: DISTILLERY’S EXCLUSIVE WHISKY CASK NAMED AFTER GERARD

Scottish actor Gerard Butler is about to be in a different sort of spotlight – as the famous name to adorn the next Bottle Your Own cask at Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest whisky distillery.

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An exclusive cask of limited edition bottles named after the actor will be available at Glenturret’s Distillery shop, part of Crieff-based The Famous Grouse Experience. The news follows an online poll to identify individuals worthy of the honour, and who have close ties to the area, in which members of the public backed Gerard as a Scot who is “famous for a reason”.

The Bottle Your Own series is hand-picked as an exceptional cask from the Glenturret Distillery by The Famous Grouse Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell. These are extremely collectable and the bottles from these casks are only available from the Glenturret Distillery shop and online on both the UK and global sites.
Gerard follows in the steps of an illustrious line of Bottle Your Own ‘celebrities’ who have ties to the Perthshire area including fellow actor Ewan McGregor, tennis ace Andy Murray and The Earl and Countess of Strathearn. Gerard has close links to Crieff; his mum Margaret and stepdad Alex live in the nearby Perthshire village of Comrie and the Hollywood star is a regular visitor to the area.

The Hollywood-based actor, who was born in Paisley, has said of visiting his mum:

“I sit in the garden, I look up at the mountain ranges and I am just taken aback constantly by how beautiful it is there, and what a great land I come from. I love the humour there and I love the warmth. I just really connect when I get back.”
Stuart Cassells, General Manager at The Famous Grouse Experience, said:

“The Butler did it! Our Bottle Your Own experience has proven to be immensely popular and we’re excited to be continuing the Perthshire connection with Gerard Butler. He may be a teetotaller but he has a great appreciation for his home country. As such he will take his place in Distillery history alongside the other Bottle Your Own ‘celebrities’. Continuing our Bottle Your Own charity efforts, £2 from every bottle sold from the Gerard Butler cask will be donated to a good cause.”

For further information on The Famous Grouse Experience and to book your tour, visit www.thefamousgrouseexperience.com

Employer’s access to worker emails condoned in tribunal case

Employers can justifiably access their employees’ private emails if there is a good reason for them to do so, according to Tayside solicitors and estate agents Miller Hendry.

The advice follows a recent employment tribunal case concerning gross misconduct in the workplace, which upheld Solent NHS Trust’s access to a worker’s private emails.

The tribunal held that the investigation into the employee’s emails to a work colleague did not breach Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Trust investigated after anonymous malicious emails were sent to a staff nurse, Ms Maclean. The claimant in the case, a clinical manager with the Trust, had formed a personal relationship with Ms Maclean and then suspected she had formed a relationship with another colleague. After anonymous emails were sent to management, Ms Maclean became concerned that the claimant was harassing and stalking her. The employer investigated and found items on the claimant’s iPhone which implicated him and linked him to the anonymous emails.

The claimant, dismissed for gross misconduct, made a claim for unfair dismissal. His claim failed. In the course of the employment tribunal proceedings, the claimant unsuccessfully argued that the Trust had acted in breach of Article 8 by looking into matters related to his private life. Rejecting this, the employment tribunal considered that in this case, Garamukanwa v Solent NHS, the emails were, in fact, work related. The EAT agreed.

Alan Matthew, employment specialist with Miller Hendry, said:

“What this case shows is that, although Article 8 does extend to protect private correspondence and communications, in certain cases private emails can be investigated. Such was the case here, where an employee’s private emails impacted on work related matters, were sent to work addresses, and distressed colleagues. The EAT was therefore right to examine them, and Article 8 proved irrelevant.”
For further advice or information on employment law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

Employers, not staff, should pull themselves together when it comes to stress in the workplace

‘Pull yourself together’. It’s a favourite statement to people with depression and anxiety issues, from people who don’t understand depression and anxiety issues – particularly managers. But it’s the managers who should pull themselves together and deal with it sensitively, says Tayside solicitors and estate agents Miller Hendry.

The facts surrounding mental health in the workplace speak for themselves: one in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their life; stress accounts for 35% of all work-related ill health problems; mental health problems cost UK employers £30 billion a year in lost production and absence.

And yet the way managers deal with the issue not only leave a lot to be desired, it can be discriminatory, says Miller Hendry.

A recent employment tribunal decision concerning Visionplus, now doing business as Specsavers Opticians, in Colchester, concerned a director who made “dismissive” comments about an employee’s medical condition. The ruling found that the director’s comments trivialised the depression of the employee, an optical assistant. The worker had received formal and informal warnings for failing to comply with the employer’s notification procedure, lateness and a dispensing error.

The director went on to say that “everyone gets depressed sometimes, you just have to pull yourself together.” He also told the employee, who said she was struggling with depression, that he had no time for “this kind of thing”.

The employee resigned after it was suggested she might be dismissed. She then brought successful claims for disability discrimination. In the employment tribunal, the director was found to have discriminated based on disability under the Equality Act 2010.

The Wickers v Colchester Visionplus Ltd t/a Specsavers Opticians case throws up not only the dangers of dealing with mental health in the workplace, but being aware of disabilities among employees, says Alan Matthew, employment specialist with Miller Hendry. He said:

“Incidents of stress-related illness at work have been steadily climbing in recent years. And with one in four in the UK facing mental health problems at some point in their lifetime, it’s time for managers to treat the issue sensitively and respectfully.

“The Specsavers case threw up the issue of how much knowledge managers have of employees’ wellbeing and disabilities due to depression. Our advice to managers would be that they should make sincere enquiries about an employee’s health, get medical evidence as soon as they can, and show sensitivity and respect when dealing with mental health issues.

“Phrases such as ‘Pull yourself together’ and ‘Sort yourself out’ should never be used. Saying things like ‘I’m concerned, can we talk about this?’ and ‘How can we improve things?’ are much more appropriate. In other words, it’s not the employees who should ‘pull themselves together’ but the managers.”

For further advice or information on employment law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

Northern Lights: Over 10,000 tickets go on sale this Friday for Colours of Cluny

Over 10,000 tickets for Colours of Cluny, a spectacular light and sound show that is set to showcase the beauty of Cluny Hill in Forres, are to go on sale to the public this Friday 24th June at 10am.

The event, which is the first of its kind in Morayshire, will light up northern skies this November and organisers, Forres Features Community Interest Company, are expecting the vibrant show to attract thousands of visitors to the area.

Graham Murdoch, Chairman of Forres Features Community Interest Company said:

“We’re delighted by the fantastic response since announcing Colours of Cluny and with tickets going on sale this Friday we urge people to book early. We’re looking forward to putting on an event that will engage the local community but also drive visitor numbers to the area. This region of Scotland has always been popular for people looking to see the Northern Lights – but, unlike our spectacular natural lights which choose their own times to reveal themselves, this Northern light show is guaranteed.”

The interactive family show has been developed by the same creative team who are behind the multi-award winning Pitlochry sound and light show, The Enchanted Forest. Set to enhance the natural landscape in a dramatic and mesmerising mixture of sound and light, bringing awe to children and igniting a playful sense in adults, Colours of Cluny follows a route that begins close to the town centre with an illuminated walk through Grant Park, up Cluny Hill, before culminating in a show-stopping finale at the historic Nelson’s Tower.

Speaking of her excitement for the new event, Creative Director, Kate Bonney, commented:

“I went to school in Forres and the area has provided me with much inspiration over the years. I’m truly delighted that we’re developing a show that is set to showcase the landscape of Cluny Hill and Forres in a new and exciting way and is definitely something not to be missed.

Kate continued:

“Many of the team have worked on award-winning shows such as The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry and bring with them a wealth of creative talent and some very exciting ideas that will make both local people and visitors to the areas see Forres in a whole new, and very colourful, light!”

The show will run on Wednesdays to Sundays from 10th – 20th November and tickets are available from this Friday 24th June by visiting the website at www.coloursofcluny.com.

Enchanted Forest Community Trust Funds 25 Local Projects

The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, organisers of the award-winning sound and light show in the woods, have awarded £10,000 to a range of local projects in Highland Perthshire, from pipe band uniforms to the upgrade of a bookshop, to yoga classes for the elderly.

This is the third year that such a fund has been available and the highest number of projects that have been helped.

This year’s Enchanted Forest, now in its 15th year, is set amidst the stunning Autumn woodland of Faskally Wood in Perthshire. The 2016 show is set to be the biggest yet, with 65,000 tickets now on sale. The spectacular sound and light show runs from Thursday 29th September to Friday 30th October at Faskally Wood near Pitlochry.

Scotland’s premier sound and light show is a three-time winner of Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Event Awards and was recently crowned winner of the Rural Tourism & Hospitality Award at the 2016 Scottish Rural Awards. This year’s show, SHIMMER, will use dazzling visuals and an original music score.

Ian Sim, acting chairman of The Enchanted Forest, said:

“Last year more people visited The Enchanted Forest than ever before. That means we were able to fund a host of exciting local community projects. We’re delighted that our show helps make all of these projects possible, and visitors should feel proud that, just by visiting the show, they have done their bit to give back to the community and benefit the local area.”

This year’s Enchanted Forest will again run for an extended season, due to popular demand. Organisers are encouraging the public to book early to avoid disappointment.

For tickets for this year’s show visit www.enchantedforest.org.uk

Lifting the lid on tricky toilet problems

A drop in public toilets and a rise in gender discrimination issues are causing a stink for businesses.

When the public toilets in the small Perthshire town of Blairgowrie were threatened with closure, it wasn’t long before locals were up in arms.

A public outcry, together with the support of local councillors and John Swinney MSP, resulted in an about-turn and a decision to keep the toilets in the centre of town open.

But local businesses are no doubt heaving a sigh of relief too. It’s estimated that the number of public toilets provided by local councils has dropped by around 40% in the past 10 years. That puts increasing pressures on businesses to fill the gap, according to Tayside solicitors Miller Hendry.

A recent case pitted a local authority against high street bakery chain Greggs. Hull Council wanted to force Greggs’ outlets in its area to provide customer toilets, despite the fact that they were predominantly take-away outlets with limited seating for eat-in customers.  This challenged existing guidance by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which said that outlets with predominantly take-away trade did not need to provide facilities.

But the judge in the Greggs case decided that approach was wrong.  He said: “It would mean that a cafe with, say, 25 tables which also does a roaring takeaway trade, doing more business for off-site than on-site consumption, could not be required to install toilets for those brave enough to sit down for a drink.”

Simple provision of toilet facilities is not the only concern for businesses, says Miller Hendry. They also have to consider transgender users of their toilets. This issue hit the news recently following a tribunal hearing in the Channel Islands, when a taxi driver took Condor Ferries to task over their attitudes to the use of toilets on board their ferries.

Erin Bisson is a transgender woman, and she complained of feeling embarrassed after she was told by staff members that she would have to use the disabled toilets rather than the ladies’ toilet when travelling, despite having phoned the company to check toilet arrangements before travelling.

Condor admitted ‘non-intentional and non-malicious’ discrimination towards Ms Bisson and agreed to update its equality and diversity policy and to train staff so that transgender people would be treated sensitively in the future.  The ferry company also said that it would change the signs on the doors on all its vessels, replacing the words ‘ladies’ and ‘gents’ with symbols.

Alan Matthew, employment specialist with Miller Hendry, said:

“Hull Council brought the case arguing that Greggs had an unfair trading advantage over other local eat-in cafes, which had to provide toilets. But the outcome of the ruling is that it’s likely that small sandwich bars and cafes which do predominantly take-away trade may find themselves forced to provide a public toilet, or else close their eat-in service.

“Provision is not the only consideration either.  Whether you’re forced to add a loo for customers, or already have public facilities, you need to think about whether facilities are unisex and, if not, how facilities are labelled and how staff direct visitors to use them.

“While this case was heard in the Channel Islands, it’s a situation that could easily arise in the UK. As well as the consumer-facing position involving Condor Ferries, it’s equally relevant for transgender employees in the workplace.”

On the subject of gender issues and toilets, one solution is to have single-occupancy, gender-neutral toilets that are simply marked with a generic WC sign, said Matthew. “These can be used by anyone, whether or not they are comfortable using a toilet in gender-specific usage.  It’s worth remembering, however, that you can’t force a trans or gender reassigned person to use a single-occupancy toilet, it must be their choice.  In the workplace, consultation is vital to make sure you are making appropriate provision for transgender employees,” he said.

Employees, customers and service users are protected against unlawful discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment under the Equality Act 2010. Gender reassignment covers a person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process to reassign their sex.

Any business providing toilet facilities must also ensure they are kept clean and in good condition, with an adequate supply of toilet paper and soap.

For further advice or information on employment law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

When a ban on Muslim dress may not be discrimination at all

Are there instances when employers can legally ban the wearing of Muslim headscarves in the workplace?

Although on the face of it such a ban may seem wrong, and certainly controversial, the answer is that it can sometimes be allowed, says Tayside based solicitors and estate agents Miller Hendry.

A recent opinion by Advocate General Juliane Kokott concerning a Muslim employee at a Belgian company proved this point, because the employer’s ban stemmed from a general ‘neutrality’ policy in the workplace.

Three years into her employment at a Belgian security company, the employee began wearing a headscarf at work, despite a company rule which prohibited the wearing of any visible signs of political, philosophical or religious beliefs. She was dismissed and appealed to the Belgian Constitutional Court, which then posed the question to the European Court of Justice.

Advocate General Kokott considers that, because the neutrality policy is not limited to religious beliefs, it could at most amount to indirect discrimination. Even then, it could be objectively justified as an occupational requirement, says Kokott, who gave her opinion in advance of a European Court of Justice judgement on religious discrimination.

Kokott also argues that the neutrality policy is what distinguishes the Belgian case from the high-profile one of Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in worker who was told by BA she couldn’t wear a cross at work. Eweida took her fight to the European Court of Human Rights and won. In the BA case, a neutrality policy had not been applied consistently, says Kokott.

Alan Matthew, employment specialist at Miller Hendry, said:

“The big questions surrounding this case in Belgium were: Is it or is it not direct employee discrimination? Can a private employer lawfully prohibit a Muslim employee from wearing a headscarf in the workplace? And as controversial as the ruling may seem at first, it makes legal sense when you take into account a general workplace policy that bans any such headwear.

“As ongoing religious discrimination cases are continuing to demonstrate, this is a murky area for employers and employees and one we all have to watch and learn from closely.”

For further advice or information on employment law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

Should your business be a Social Butterfly?

Long gone are the days where business owners would ask us the question “should we be on Facebook?”

Most businesses now take it as read that social media is how the world communicates and know they need to be at the party if they are going to get the chance to socialise.

But, with social media long past its infancy, and such a plethora of social platforms to choose from, social is a complicated landscape for businesses to navigate.

From day dot we’ve been meticulous about tracking the effectiveness of social media activity for our clients. Does it create action? Do they visit our website? Does that lead to a sale? What’s the ROI? What’s the return on effort? That’s easier to do in some businesses than others, e-commerce businesses in particular are the easiest to track route from social media postings right through to a completed sale. In a business to business environment, it can be trickier to show outcomes.

But, with all these insights, it’s only right that analysis and action follows. We’ve seen quite a bit of evidence of rationalisation among businesses in the last twelve months with many deciding to proactively remove their brands from certain social platforms, rather than continue to spend time and resources feeding a content machine that is simply not making them money.

This is a brave new world. The social media fanatics would have us believe that not to be active on all of these platforms is tantamount to playing dead. And I can sort of see why this is. The world, as they see it, is all social, social, social. But is being a social butterfly really good for business?

The reality is that social media is an investment of considerable human time, cold hard cash and, at the end of the day, all of these platforms have to stack up in marketing metrics to make the resources invested into them commercially worthwhile. Like never before, John Wanamaker’s words ring in my ears: half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. With social media, in particular, it’s too easy to write off the time taken to develop content and deliver it as free. If you want a true gauge of the cost of your social media efforts, tot up what outputs you have in any given month, contact an agency and ask them to quote for doing the same thing.

But social media is trackable, right? It must be easy to evaluate? Wrong. Big data is also real. So much data that the business doesn’t know where to start and what to look at. Which metrics matters? Take Facebook’s weekly page insights report it kindly sends you by email every week. You would be forgiven in thinking that declining reach or engagement from the previous week is the end of the world. However if last week you had a major product launch and this week none, then that dip is perfectly acceptable. And, not wishing to be entirely cynical, Facebook is actually selling paid for solutions to all of the items it covers in its brief report, and none of Facebook’s statistics tell me if your business actually made money. That’s for you to track.

So, we’re seeing the tides turn a little. In the last 6 months alone, and armed with valuable insights prepared by us, we’ve undertaken the following actions for clients:

  • removed them from instagram
  • created instagram accounts
  • removed them from tumblr
  • removed them from facebook
  • added them to facebook
  • removed them from twitter
  • added them to twitter
  • rationalised multiple twitter accounts
  • rationalised and merged multiple facebook pages
  • reduced the volume of posts and activity on social accounts (less is more)
  • increased the volume of posts and activity on social accounts

Social media strategies for businesses are, like any good marketing strategy, constantly evolving and so they should. Content marketing should be about fulfilling the needs of that strategy, not an end in itself. Digital marketing should be about driving reach, engagement and action (ideally towards a commercial benefit for the business) and social media is no exception to that rule. Anything else is just noise. And, dare I say it, there’s a lot of that going around.

So what are we saying? It’s OK to be a social butterfly if it’s working. But it’s also OK not to be a social butterfly. It’s OK to evaluate how effective these platforms are for your business. It’s OK to decide to stop using them, even if that feels like you’re bucking the trend. If you have the insights and the analytics to back up your decision, then it’s a good business decision. And it’ll save you time, money and allow you to focus your marketing resources on something that will potentially be more effective, and who doesn’t want their marketing to be effective?

 

Volpa Appoints Yomego’s Steve Richards to Strengthen Digital Offering

Perth based integrated communications agency Volpa has strengthened its offering with the appointment of digital marketing expert and former Yomego MD, Steve Richards.

Steve founded his own digital marketing agency Swordfish in London in 1998. After a move to Scotland in 2008 he took on the role of managing director of Yomego, a social media agency in Glasgow, whose clients included Nissan, British Airways, Google and Amazon.

He has been appointed to help Volpa expand its digital offering, which includes digital strategy and planning, digital engagement, insights and amplification.

Volpa has been active in digital marketing space for almost 10 years and this latest move marks Volpa’s ambitions to extend its offering as well as offer new and enhanced services to existing clients. Richards’ appointment to the role of Head of Digital is the latest step in a period of rapid growth for the award-winning Volpa, which has tripled its staff in the last 18 months and is now one of the biggest independent marketing agencies servicing Tayside and Perthshire.

Volpa provides a full spectrum of marketing, public relations, design and digital services. Its clients include The Enchanted Forest, St. Andrews Aquarium, Miller Hendry, Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, Horsecross Arts, University of Stirling and Balhousie Care Group.

Tricia Fox, Founder and Managing Director of Volpa, said:

“I’m delighted to be welcoming Steve to Volpa. He brings with him a wealth of experience in digital marketing and will be a valuable asset to the business and to our clients. Volpa has been active in the digital arena for more than 10 years and our digital expertise combined with a strategic marketing approach make us perfectly positioned to help businesses develop their digital marketing to ensure it delivers strong results and has maximum impact. Steve’s skills in this area will complement the skillset of our existing digital team and ensure that Volpa remains at the forefront of digital marketing.”

Oor Wullie hitches a lift with Barnetts Volkswagen

Barnetts Volkswagen has celebrated its sponsorship of a sculpture on Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, the region’s largest mass participation public art event, by introducing a very special passenger to its fleet of courtesy cars over the summer months.
After adding some eye-catching Oor Wullie branding to their cars, the Dundee car dealership is asking members of the public to keep their eyes peeled for the mischievous wee boy beaming out from the cars’ paint work.

Barnetts Volkswagen is one of over 50 sponsors joining Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail this summer and organisers The ARCHIE Foundation, alongside DC Thomson and Wild in Art, are urging businesses not to miss out on the chance to be part of the one-of-a-kind project, with just over three weeks left to sponsor an Oor Wullie sculpture before the sculptures descend upon the area on June 27th.

Each Oor Wullie sculpture will be placed in and around Dundee for 10 weeks during the summer for people to seek out. At the end of the trail, in September, all the sculptures will be sold at a special auction in Dundee, with proceeds going to the ARCHIE Foundation’s Tayside Appeal to raise funds to create a brand new twin operating theatre and paediatric surgical suite for the Tayside Children’s Hospital at Ninewells.

Jim Brown, Managing Director of Barnetts Volkswagen, commented:

“As sponsors of Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, Barnetts Volkswagen is delighted to support The ARCHIE Foundation and be part of what is set to be an incredible event across Tayside throughout the summer. Our chosen design still remains a secret, but we have worked closely with former DC Thomson artist, John Barrie to create a design for our fleet of courtesy cars and they are looking really eye-catching. It is great to be able to offer some additional support to the project and we hope the public will keep their eyes peeled for Oor Wullie on the roads as well as on the Bucket Trail.”

Neil Cooney, Project Manager of Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, added:

“With less than four weeks until Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail gets under way, there is still time for any final sponsors to be part of this very special public art event and we urge businesses to get involved and get in touch. By becoming a sponsor you will be helping us to create an unforgettable event for the City of Dundee and beyond, as well as help to raise crucial funds for the ARCHIE Foundation’s Tayside Appeal.”

To find out more about Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, visit www.oorwulliebuckettrail.com

To discuss sponsorship, contact Neil Cooney on 07960162223 or neil@archiefoundation.org.uk

For further information about Barnetts Volkswagen, visit http://www.barnettsmotorgroup.co.uk/volkswagen

For further information about the work of The ARCHIE Foundation, visit www.archiefoundationhome.org.uk