Back on the 8th July…..

It’s been a while I know, but in a way we had to wait for the world to catch up with our thoughts and anticipations!!

Anyway, the Forum is set to meet again for the first time in well over a year at the Media Centre, Huddersfield, HD1 1RL on the morning of Friday 8th July 2011.

For our first get together there is no charge and we plan to finish by lunchtime. There are cafe facilities on site for lunch and further discussions afterwards if needed.

If you are not sure of the benefits of participating then its worth remembering the comments of one of our members, Charles Offord of the Financial Services sector,

“Attendees are finding it an invaluable source of business advice and insight without an expensive invoice from a consultant.  We can already see members changing their business strategy in response to our discussions and deliberations”.

Members old and new are welcome and please get in touch if you would like to participate.

mob: 07957 325336

Categories: Uncategorized

Three and a half years later………

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Well at long last reality has caught up with our forecasts  from three and a half years ago!

The recent discussions and debates on the Human Rights legislation have finally given us a ‘full house’ on the outcomes we anticipated happening post Oct 2007.

We just need to improve our timing……

Here’s the link to the original predictions –



Categories: Uncategorized

Forum Review up to the May 2010 Election

May 16, 2010 1 comment

In chronological order I’ve tried to summarise our anticipations relative to relevant current events and issues.

Oct 2007

Decentralisation an emerging issue

Recession likely plus house price reductions up to 25%

Backlash against immigration

Clean coal and nuclear power needed

Localisation wanted not more centralisation

Need to revoke licensing laws due to behaviour and health issues

Austerity shopping to come – red, white and blue car sales up!

Things we got wrong

  • Gordon Brown wouldn’t last 12 months as PM
  • Challenges to human rights act

Nov 2008

Premiership football club collapses due to debt and mismanagement

Reduction in red tape demanded

Tax revenues collapsing

VAT reduction not effective

Euro parity

Eurozone collapse and split into North v South

Inflation 3%

Private sector backlash against public sector conditions

Union support restricts public sector reforms under Labour

Major reforms needed but unlikely – industrial unrest to increase

More social responsibility needed and demanded

Green energy issues the future for the recovery for UK industry

Innovative skills not there after ‘target’ mentality

Things we got wrong

  • 4M unemployed – but we couldn’t trust the numbers!

Feb 2009

Further round of business closures from well known businesses

Mergers and consolidation to follow to regain profitability

Innovation in public sector needed

Insurance fraud will become more prominent

Rise of e-sputing

Rise of post-consumerist society and search for meaning

Small businesses offering excellent service will prosper

Need for business credit unions to support lending

Environmental support with protectionism for UK industry

May 2009

Need for honesty and transparency throughout society

Leaders with the courage to be unpopular now required

10% tax rise or 20% public sector cuts

New era of Tax and Waste

Sep 2009

Knife edge economy – could easily re-enter recession

500,000 job losses from public sector expected

Economic factors not good for a long period ahead

Categories: Findings, Uncategorized

Next date and new locations

Next date Friday 16th April 2010 here at the Media Centre, Huddersfield – generously priced at a one off £15 plus VAT.

So not only have we a new venue but also a new blog site.

Until the transfer is complete you can access our historic material prior to April 2010 here.

Categories: Forum Dates

Press Release following September 2009 Meeting

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Partners in Management – The Forum

Press Release –Sep 2009

The Economy at it’s “Italian Job” moment?

 Charlie Croker’s immortal words “Hang on lads – I’ve got a great idea!” said whilst hanging precariously over a cliff edge high in the Alps in the original “Italian Job” film probably sum up the state of the British economy at the moment according to The Forum’s latest analysis.

The Forum, a growing group of enlightened managers and owner managers that meets four times a year to discuss and anticipate the future, last  met on Friday the 4th of September 2009 to debate current and future economic and social trends.Representing a wide variety of commercial sectors and with geographic representation now from the Midlands to the North East, its views and comments are becoming widely appreciated and acted upon by many organisations – particularly those participating. It now has 15 members with representatives from the automotive component, textile, water and gas utilities, banking, insurance, voluntary and business services sectors – but there is still room for more!

Amongst others it has previously predicted the recession and housing crash, the collapse in sterling, the rise of ‘localisation’ and the need for public sector reforms and likely industrial relations battles that will follow.

David Broadhead of Partners in Management, based at the Media Centre in Huddersfield said:

“Whilst our members felt optimistic about short term prospects this year we felt that we were very much on a knife edge regarding longer term prospects, January onwards.  Generally we seem to have reached the bottom of the initial stage of the recession but prospects for growth were limited and holding onto where we are now and not going over the edge is the real challenge.

No one, either personally or in their organisations intended to increase their basic fixed expenditure over the next 12 months and only 10% planned investments and that from existing cash reserves.  If anything cutbacks and savings were more likely.Unlike the worldwide car scrappage schemes which had stimulated demand, the VAT cut had made no difference to anyone’s expenditure or sales.

However we did consider that when it is raised back to 17.5% , scrappage schemes end and stamp duty returns there will be a negative effect on growth and more importantly people’s confidence and perception.If that wasn’t worrying enough then add the inevitable tax rises of anything up to 10% unless other cuts take place, increasing inflation, rising interest rates and the continued rise of unemployment generally before we add half a million job losses from the public sector to the equation and the future becomes quite worrying”.

We never got to know what Charlie Croker’s idea was – let’s hope our politicians can get it right otherwise the consequences are potentially catastrophic!

The Forum’s next meeting is on Friday Nov 27th at Cliffe House, Shepley,
Huddersfield when we will debate and summarise our suggestions as to what our leaders should do next.

New members are still welcome.

Categories: Uncategorized

Press release following May meeting

The Forum met on Friday 15th May.  At the moment the detailed findings are still being prepared but in the meantime the following has been issued to reflect the flavour of the discussions:

Partners in Management – The Forum

Optimism at last?

We need leaders who have “the courage to be unpopular”

Press Release –May 2009

The Forum, a growing group of enlightened managers and owner managers that meets four times a year to discuss and anticipate the future, met last Friday the 15th of May and for the first time had a degree of optimism about the current economic situation.Representing a wide variety of commercial sectors and with geographic representation now from the
Midlands to the North East, its views and comments are becoming widely appreciated and acted upon by many organisations – particularly those participating. It now has 12 members with representatives from the automotive component, textile, water and gas utilities, banking, insurance, voluntary and business services sectors – but there is still room for more!It has previously accurately predicted the recession and housing crash, the continuing banking crisis, the collapse in sterling, the rise of ‘localisation’ and the increased sales of white cars – to name but a few.

David Broadhead of Partners in Management, based at the Media Centre in Huddersfield said:

“Nearly all of our members felt positively about the future and their own and their organisation’s prospects.  In fact, our automotive component manufacturing representatives couldn’t attend due to increased demand and the fact that they were having to recruit again!  However, for the economy as a whole we still did not consider the recession to have bottomed out and our earlier views on further cuts, closures and job losses were still valid.”

So why is there a discrepancy between these two positions?

“What became apparent in our discussions though was that all those expressing optimism were doing so because they were actively doing something different.  We had all either introduced new products or services, found new markets and customers or significantly re-structured the way we operated, in truth we were all being entrepreneurial within our organisations.”

One of the key advantages of membership and how the earlier discussions within the Forum have been beneficial has been highlighted by
Charles Offord of the financial services sector;

“Attendees are finding it an invaluable source of business advice and insight without an expensive invoice from a consultant.  We can already see members changing their business strategy in response to our discussions and deliberations”.

A perfect example of this has just been demonstrated dramatically by Partners in Management themselves.  David Broadhead explains,

“Personally I felt that the current economic crisis represents a failure of management emanating from the consultancy led, analytical target driven mentalities that have developed over the last 20 years.  What we need in this next decade of austerity is a new breed of manager that can innovate and deliver sustainable organic growth in an ethical way – in truth to be able to deliver more with less!  The discussions with the group just confirmed and reinforced this belief.”

“After our February meeting we then sat down and designed a new management development programme called ‘The Intrapreneurial Manager’ to reflect this new belief and offer a refreshing alternative to conventional MBA type programmes. It will be accredited at the same Level 7 Masters and lead to the Chartered Management Institute’s Strategic Management & Leadership qualification.  When we offered places on the first cohort they sold out within 48 hours and we are now booking places on the next one!  Hopefully, it looks like we could well now be a success story of the recession, an example for others to follow and also provide something which many individuals and organisations can truly benefit from”.

The Forum had its own views too on the current political crisis;

“Back in Oct 2007 we didn’t believe that Gordon Brown would survive 12 months as Prime Minister – it’s the only item we anticipated at that time that hasn’t come to fruition.  We now feel that he is only one more mistake away from having to stand down.  To have both a monumental economic crisis followed by a historical political crisis on your watch is due to either incredible bad luck or serious mismanagement – time will tell which”.

David Broadhead goes on to summarise the views of the group,

“We all felt that the current situation both economically and politically is due to a vacuum of moral leadership.  Many of our MP’s and Bankers in particular have become detached from the people and customers they serve and as such are often only acting in their own dishonest self-interest.  Our political leaders in particular have lost vision and conviction.  They work for the short term and tell us what they think we want to hear.”

“However, what we believe people now want is the truth.  If we can’t trust MP’s with their expenses, how can we trust the government with its accounts and the real state of the economy.  The debt we are building up is immense.  Do we manage this by a 10% tax rise generally or by cutting public expenditure by 20%? We need leaders to tell us the truth and set out their position – we need mainstream leaders who have the courage to be unpopular but from honest policy.  Without it we will see the rise in extremist parties from this and also apathy in the masses due to bland, indistinguishable offerings.”

“We see this need for honesty and transparency spreading throughout society, both within the public and private sectors.  How much more public and private money is being squandered through greed and mismanagement in Europe, in Central and Local Government, the NHS and the Consultants/Advisors that are actively involved.”  

People will want to know and be reassured that we are not in a new period of Tax and Waste. The Forum’s next meeting is on Friday Sep 4th at Cliffe House, Shepley – a lot is sure to happen between now and then….More details are available from David Broadhead  – and new members are still welcome.

Categories: Uncategorized

February 2009 Onwards Scenario

There are ‘green shoots’ as ever in the economy.  However, the skill is to determine which are ‘weeds’ and which are not!  Organisations will have to re-stock at some point and there are lots of ‘bargains’ for both personal and commercial buyers with cash and security.  These will no doubt have an impact and give the impression of the recession ‘bottoming out’.  Again the challenge is to guess this correctly – many fortunes are lost on false dawns, but what we can rely on is that the strong, wealthy individuals and organisations will no doubt get stronger.


At the moment our views do not indicate the bottom has been reached.  We anticipate that a new wave of company closures will soon commence.  These are not the badly-managed or heavily indebted organisations – that “low hanging fruit” has already gone, or is well on its way.


These companies will have been traditionally profitable and well managed but will collapse due to a pure lack of cash.  The restriction on lending by the banks and the lack of easily available credit insurance will be the primary cause but then this will be accelerated by lack of payments as serial company failures occur.  Of course this will tighten lending by the banks precipitating further crises.


The organisations that survive this will do so through savage cost cutting and tight managerial control.  Expect to see something like a 25% cost reduction target in most private sector organisations.


Following this in the longer term, beyond 12 months, the organisations that survive may well struggle to return to real profitability, let alone growth. The likely scenario here is that these organisations begin to seek mergers with each other to achieve economies of scale.  Again in this situation we will see significantly more redundancies and closures.


The voluntary, not-for-profit sector will also feel the pressure.  We anticipate a raft of charity organisations failing over the coming months, leading to more pressure on existing public services where applicable.


Increasingly though the public sector will be pressurised as previously predicted.  The concept of externally auditing against ‘best practice’ will be challenged as innovation and variety in delivery is needed to drive change and deliver effective and efficient affordable solutions.


Politicians will also have to change and start to control less and stimulate more and let local growth and innovation take place.  There may well be the opportunity for more local mayors with greater autonomy who can react and deliver to local needs free from central control.


The government supported PPF, pension regime will come under considerable increasing pressure, possibly leading to its collapse or suspension.

The evidence of fraud will continue to emerge within the finance sector with the strong likelihood that ‘insurance related’ fraud will be the next to hit prominence.


There are lots of opportunities though for enterprising individual and organisations. Obviously, budget hotel chains like Travelodge should continue to profitably expand as demand continues but UK manufacturing, particularly automotive, should be in a healthy position given current exchange rates and reducing labour rates, but only if materials are sourced locally and not imported.


Connected to this though is the growing essential skills shortage.  Real reforms to the way in which apprentices are paid for and trained need to be investigated – maybe we will see a return to the old training bodies of the 60’s and 70’s?


The retail High Street will continue its decline, eventually leading to large ghetto like areas in town and city centres.  These will pose challenges to regeneration – maybe areas may be returned to inner-city parkland or even farmland.


Squatting and other forms of social unrest will become more prevalent.  We also see the rise of ‘e-sputing’ where groups of disenfranchised people join together electronically to deliver social unrest.


We are also intrigued to see how well devolution works in a recession.  Will there be greater pressures for more separation or will re-integration became preferable.

Socially as well the drive to self-sufficiency will increase.  This will be initially at a personal level before becoming a local and national driving force.  There is a significant challenge here to the conventional concept of increasing globalisation.


We are now entering a new post-consumerist society and we are intrigued to know how this will manifest itself.  Our particular views on this are that people will seek new ‘role models’ and ‘leaders’ that lead ethical lifestyles and will choose to support and emulate them.  There could well be a new genre of reality TV programmes supporting this as people look to become personally responsible for their own lives, cut debt, become self-sufficient, reduce energy consumption and seek moral comfort in things other than materialism.  The ‘baby-boomers’ could see a re-incarnation of Blue Peter designed especially for a mature audience!


The real challenge for us all however, is to determine what will stop the decline.


We see this breaking down into three main areas.  The first is how to ensure organisations retain or generate sales/income, the second is how to provide essential finance and the third is what sectors can provide sustainable growth.


Our view on the first is that we still see many smaller successful businesses all offering excellent service and with a clear identity, both locally and often directly to the owner.  No doubt this is why so many franchise operations are still doing well within the recession.  Whilst large organisations like Tesco and others are always going to be relatively successful, the indicators are there that other organisations need to be smaller, adaptable, flexible and focus on good quality personal service and not just price.  The day of the ‘Me2’ organisation that just copies what others do is well and truly numbered.


The second area is critical and revolves around how to provide finance to where it is needed at affordable rates.  What we believe is that the existing banking structure is fundamentally flawed and probably not fit for purpose.  The government is effectively lending money to the banking sector supposedly to then pass onto commerce as required.  However, this is obviously not working effectively and banks may be more inclined to use the money provided to bolster their own reserves and continue to restrict lending to those businesses they clearly don’t know, don’t understand, can’t evaluate and as such determine the element of risk.  This will only lead to more business failures as we have predicted.  Our solution would be to form local ‘business credit unions’ with the sole aim of recruiting members, knowing them and their businesses and then lending to them on attractive commercial rates and working with them to ensure they survive and prosper.  Unlike the banks, they would be limited in size and only receive a fixed commission on money lent and as such then they couldn’t develop the ‘fat-cat’ bonus culture plus would be focussed on actual lending.  Government money could be used to pump prime these new organisations before they become independent and free to raise their own money from their own member investors.


The third area is what should the government focus on to stimulate growth and help halt the slide into depression?  Our view is that this should be sustainable and focussed around essential needs.  Education and essential skills are vital as is the transport infrastructure. We all need food and water, clothing and housing along with power and energy.  It is in these areas that we need to invest as there will be long term demand and therefore these sectors can some support themselves economically after start-up.  As we have said before the focus has to be on significant ‘cleaner energy’ technological and infrastructure development, but using home-grown skills, equipment and expertise.  What is wrong with protectionism in essential areas?

Categories: Findings