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The threat to the UK from international terrorism is currently SEVERE which means that an attack is highly likely. Safeguarding the UK from the threats from terrorism and extremism are overarching aims for the counter terrorism (CT) policing network.

Counter Terrorism Awareness Week 2016 is a campaign led by counter-terrorism police and partners which focuses on partnership working between businesses, stakeholders and the general public about the current counter terrorism threat picture and what is being done to tackle it. It will advise audiences on how to protect themselves and their interests from the threat at work, at home and online. It takes place between Monday 28th November and Sunday 4th December 2016.

On Monday 28th, to coincide with CT Awareness Week, the police service is announcing a national roll-out of Project Servator to 11 police forces across the country to take place over the next 12-18 months. The activity sets out to help keep key-sites and crowded places safe and secure.

On Tuesday 29th, the focus shifts to Prevent and we will be reminding everyone about the Stop Terrorists’ & Extremists’ Online Presence (STOP) reporting button. The internet provides many opportunities for those with extreme views to target young or vulnerable individuals through internet enabled devices whether in their own homes or remotely.  The STOP Button enables anyone who finds online content that they believe to be terrorist or extremist material to report it online. The button can be found on police websites, and many other public facing internet sites.

If you need to report illegal terrorist information, pictures or videos that you’ve found online, your report will be treated anonymously. STOP Reporting Button

Another way that we can all help in keeping us safe is to maintain vigilant behaviour. 

The Employee Vigilance Campaign provides practical information about the steps you can take to stay safe at home, at work and on-line. The information will help you spot what suspicious activity looks like, how to be vigilant against it and what steps to take to report it.

For more information about how to run a vigilance campaign in your workplace, please visit the website of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) pages on ‘How to run an employee vigilance campaign’.

As the week progresses, we will be sharing tips via social media about how to keep safe online and how to protect your devices.

On Wednesday 30th and Thursday 1st December, the UK Security Expo opens at Olympia. Subject matter experts from Protect & Prepare policing will be delivering informative presentations on a range of subjects including Aviation Security and HGV security; the Expo also sees the launch of the new Stakeholder Menu of Options. During the two days of the UK Security Expo, NaCTSO will be hosting a Document Awareness stand in the main hall.

Friday 2nd will see the introduction of a new HGV security leaflet which aims to reduce criminal and suspicious activity by introducing simple steps for drivers to follow to keep their vehicle secure.

During the weekend, Anti-Terrorist Hotline messaging will be shared at sports stadia across the country. If you see activity that you think might be related to terrorism please call the Anti-terrorist Hotline: 0800 789 321.

To keep up to date with activity during Counter Terrorism Awareness Week 2016, follow us on Twitter #CTAW2016 and #CounterTerrorismUK 

Rockliffe Hall’s Head Concierge has won the title of Concierge of the Year at the Hotel Cateys 2016 Awards.

Anton Coburn was the only Concierge outside of London to be shortlisted for this top accolade and at the weekend he attended a glittering ceremony in the capital at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, where he was announced as the winner.

Now in their tenth year, the Hotel Cateys Awards are the hotel industry’s only truly independent benchmark of operational excellence.

Anton, from Darlington, was a transport manager before being made redundant about eight years ago but soon started working at Rockliffe Hall, which celebrated its 7th anniversary in November. He’s one of the longest-standing members of staff at the award-winning five red star hotel.

Anton said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won this award. The Hotel Cateys are well respected in the industry and to beat off stiff competition from some top London hotels makes me very proud.”

Anton is already in an elite group as a member of the Society of the Golden Keys of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, a worldwide network of professional concierges. To be accepted into the group a concierge has to have worked as one for five years, be nominated by two other members and attend a vigorous interview process in London.

Since their launch in 2007, the Hotel Cateys have celebrated the most successful hotels, hoteliers and hotel employees across the UK. They were created to recognise and reward those individuals and teams that work tirelessly to make sure their business delivers an exceptional guest experience, day in, day out.

ONE of the UK’s most famous football grounds has scored a Gold award for its commitment to public safety.

Newcastle United’s St James’ Park received the Raising the Bar award thanks to a range of measures and policies designed to ensure late night visitors to the stadium enjoy the highest standards of comfort and safety.

Raising the Bar is a best practice scheme run by Newcastle City Council to encourage late night venues to go over their licensed conditioning requirements in championing safety policies and procedures.

Among the initiatives which led the stadium to achieve the Gold award were staff training schemes in conflict management, fire safety and drug awareness along with highly trained security staff and membership of schemes such as Pubwatch.

Staff at the stadium’s catering and events partner, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, are also fully committed to public safety, trained in caring for visitors who are unwell or injured and ensuring everyone leaving the stadium can get home safely.

Sodexo PV&E’s commitment to the prevention of public nuisance was also recognised by the award, along with its policy in preventing underage sales of alcohol and its success in keeping the areas outside the stadium clean and litter free – even after large scale events.

In return for its commitment to public safety, the stadium will receive 30 per cent discount on its Late Night Levy – an annual charge made on licensed premises which supply alcohol between midnight and 6am, to cover the costs of council and police services during that time.

It will also be given an accreditation certifying the venue for its upkeep of public order, noise reduction, safety and public health.

“We are conscious at all times of the responsibility we have to our customers, our staff and to the wider population of Newcastle,” said Frankie Angus, general manager for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at St James’ Park.

“St James’ Park is very much a family venue and we are delighted to received this recognition of all our hard work and our commitment to public safety.”

A range of popular city venues were granted the accreditation, with 43 venues achieving gold, 69 venues achieving silver and 11 achieving bronze.

For information about Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at St James’ Park stadium, call

0191 201 8525 or e-mail  


Rather than Jam tomorrow, this budget is about JAMs today – with a focus on supporting the Just About Managing section of the population through measures such an increasing the tax threshold, investment in housing, freezing fuel Duty and banning letting agency fees. The budget also focuses on innovation and infrastructure funding, reducing tax avoidance and increasing funding for export schemes in order to protect the economy from the impacts of Brexit. To do this had the previous targets for the budget surplus and Public debt have had to be abandoned.

Interestingly, this is the last Autumn Statement and there will be no Spring Budget – instead they are to be replaced by an annual Autumn Budget with a Spring Statement (which will contain no fiscal measures).

General Economic Status

  • Office for Budget Responsibility growth forecast upgraded to 2.1% in 2016, then downgraded to 1.4% in 2017
  • OBR forecasts growth of 1.7% in 2018, 2.1% in 2019 and 2020 and 2% in 2021
  • Government target of a budget surplus in 2019-20 has been replaced with “as soon as practicable”
  • Debt will rise from 84.2% of GDP last year to 87.3% this year, peaking at 90.2% in 2017-18
  • The deficit will fall from 4% last year to 3.5% this year. It is forecast to continue to fall over the next five years, reaching 0.7% in 2021-22.
  • Growth forecast at 2.1% for 2016 – up from 2% it forecast before the EU referendum 1.4% in 2017 – down from 2.2%, 1.7% in 2018 – down from 2.1%  and 2.1% in 2019

General Business Issues

  • National Living Wage to rise to £7.50 from April next year
  • £23bn to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over five years
  • Doubling UK export funding capacity
  • government will review the tax environment for R&D to look at ways to build on the          introduction of the ‘above the line’ R&D tax credit


Tourism Related Issues

Culture and Heritage

  • 7.6 m grant for repairs for Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham.
  • The new museums and galleries tax relief will be expanded to include permanent exhibitions. The new tax relief, which starts in April 2017, was originally only intended to be available for temporary and touring exhibitions. The rates of relief will be set at 20% for non-touring exhibitions and 25% for touring exhibitions. The relief will be capped at £500,000 of qualifying expenditure per exhibition.
  • £850,000 for a Royal Society of the Arts pilot to promote cultural education in schools
  • £1.6 million to help complete Studio 144, an arts complex in Southampton, including an auditorium, studio, and gallery
  • £1 million towards the development of a new creative media centre in Plymouth

Business Rates

  • Rural rate relief will increase from 50 to 100% in April 2017. This business rate relief is available to businesses in rural areas with a population under 3,000, where that business is:
  • the only village shop or post office with a rateable value of up to £8,500, or
  • the only public house or petrol station with a rateable value of up to £12,500

Infrastructure and Transport

  • £1.1bn extra investment in English local transport networks
  • £220m to reduce traffic pinch points
  • £390 million will go to future transport technology, including driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy efficient transport.
  • £170 million in flood defence and resilience measures
  • The Chief Secretary to the Treasury will chair a new ministerial group that will oversee the delivery of priority infrastructure projects. The review will report in summer 2017.

Fuel Duty

  • Cancelling planned Fuel Duty increase again


  • The government will consult on VAT grouping and provide funding with a view to digitising fully the Retail Export Scheme to reduce the administrative burden to travellers.
  • Foe SMEs on the Flat Rate VAT scheme, the government will introduce a new 16.5% rate from 1 April 2017 for businesses with limited costs, such as many labour-only businesses.

Business Tax

  • Commitment to cutting the rate of corporation tax to 17% by 2020 and reducing the burden of business rates by £6.7 billion over the next 5 years.
  • The government will publish its response to the Making Tax Digital consultations in January
  • The Government is reviewing tax in relation to self-employment to ensure that self-employed users of these schemes pay their fair share of tax and National Insurance


  • £1.8bn from Local Growth Fund to LEPs (£556m to North of England, £542m to the Midlands and East of England, and £683m to LEPs in the South West, South East and London)

Personal Tax

  • Personal Allowance will rise to £11,500 in 2017-18. The point at which you pay the higher rate of income tax will increase from £43,000 this year, to £45,000 in 2017-18.

Air Passenger Duty

  • The government is publishing a summary of responses to the consultation on how to support regional airports in England from the potential effects of APD devolution but intends to review this area again after the UK has exited from the EU.


  • Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) will increase from 10% to 12%

Sharing Economy

  • Budget 2017 will set out further details for making access to licences or services for businesses conditional on them being registered for tax.

Gift Aid

  • The government is amending the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to make it more accessible and flexible, and to ensure fairer treatment between charities that are structured in different ways.


  • 100% business rates relief on new fibre infrastructure
  • More than £1bn for digital infrastructure

Since Spring 2016, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) have been working in partnership with Roadwise Driver Training, a business owned by of Aberdeen Foyer, to help promote and improve safe driving practices in the North-East of Scotland.

As the largest independent driver training provider in the region, the Roadwise team led by a former Police driving instructor, delivers training designed to instil road safety awareness as well as the appropriate attitude and behaviours in drivers from an early age.

AECC provide an off-road area for Roadwise training courses which includes an Introduction to Driving for Under 17s and scope for learner drivers to develop their manoeuvrability skills. The space is also used for trailer towing candidates to practice reversing manoeuvres.       

In the past year, over 60 delegates have benefited from taking part in Roadwise sessions at AECC, ranging from learners struggling with parking to those looking to familiarise themselves with vehicle control in a calm environment.

The profit generated by Roadwise directly supports the work of Aberdeen Foyer, a local charity who work to prevent and alleviate homelessness and unemployment, enabling people in Aberdeen City and Shire to build confidence and cultivate their skills and talents to make major and lasting changes in their lives.

Fiona Mann, Director of Operations and Safety at AECC said “AECC have been working alongside Aberdeen Foyer for a number of years on their Employability Scheme which helps unemployed young people get in to the working world. The partnership with Roadwise gives us the chance to build on this, already strong, relationship. Knowing we can provide the space to help better road safety in the North-East is something we are proud to be a part of.”

Dave Watson, Founder and Executive Director of Roadwise said, “We are grateful to AECC for providing an off-road facility to add value to our driver development programmes. In a safe and quiet environment, learners can concentrate on building up their confidence and expertise without the distraction of other road users.  It is an excellent facility to enable learners to enhance their skills en route to becoming safe and responsible drivers.” 

The Meetings Show has added to its marketing team through the appointment of Chloe Modaberi, who will focus primarily on the delivery of increased visitor numbers to the show in 2017.  Chloe joins the team from Reed Exhibitions, having most recently worked on delivering the marketing campaign for The London Book Fair.

Additionally, research gathered after the 2016 edition of The Meetings Show demonstrated that 55% of attendees came to the show to seek new products and innovations. Growth in visitor numbers will therefore be supported by an increased effort in exhibitor recruitment following the appointment of Ross Barker, International Account Director, and Andy Batten, Sales Executive.

Ross joins the team from the publishing division of Haymarket and has extensive industry experience having worked on two of the sectors best known publications – Meetings & Incentive Travel and Conference & Incentive Travel. Andy joins the team having previously worked for Informa Exhibitions.

Finally, the show’s hosted buyer programme will also see increased support through the recruitment of an additional Hosted Buyer Manager due to join the team in the near future.

“We are delighted to see Centaur investing in The Meetings Show’s team,” comments Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Business Tourism & Major Events, London & Partners and member of The Meetings Show’s advisory board.  “The Meetings Show continues to go from strength to strength and this support on a corporate level will maintain that momentum.”

The Meetings Show’s Event Director Steve Knight comments: “The team is growing, as are our aspirations for the 2017 show.  I look forward to seeing the team come together over the coming months as they deliver a show focused on the needs of both our buyer and supplier audiences.”

Organised by Centaur Live (a division of Centaur Media Plc), The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, taking place 13-15 June, 2017 at Olympia, London.  Organised by meeting professionals for meeting professionals it is focused around a large exhibition, networking opportunities and professional education.

Rockliffe Hall won two Golds at last night’s North East England Tourism Awards.

The five red star resort in Hurworth, near Darlington, was short-listed for Business Tourism Provider of the Year and Hotel of the Year, and walked away with the top prize for both categories.

It’s the second year running that Rockliffe Hall has won Hotel of the Year at these awards, and last year the resort went on to win the title of VisitEngland’s Large Hotel of the Year too.

The winners of this year’s awards were announced at a glittering ceremony in Newcastle Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall on Tuesday 22nd November.

Alfie Joey, BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presented, hosted the awards which were attended by around 350 guests.

Eamonn Elliott, Chief Executive at Rockliffe Hall, says: “We are delighted to have won gold for Hotel of the Year and Business Tourism Provider of the Year. Here at Rockliffe Hall we offer the ultimate experience for our guests, whether they’re visiting us for business or pleasure, and we host a wide range of high profile events throughout the year, all in five star luxury.”

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which organised the event, said: “Many congratulations to all of this year’s winners. It is always a delight to see so many businesses awarded for their commitment to the North East’s tourism sector. The North East of England has a fantastic tourism offer, from the buzz and culture of our cities to the beautiful heritage of our coast and countryside. This is demonstrated by the variety of businesses that have entered and won the awards.”

Winners at the regional awards have the chance to showcase their business and the North East on a national stage at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2017.

David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy & Transformation at NWG said: “The calibre of all entries was first class and I was particularly impressed by the strength of innovation and excellence we have across the North East.”

The North East England Tourism Awards are organised and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in partnership with the Northern Tourism Alliance.

For more details or booking information, contact or call 01325 729999.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) today announced the results of its Events Industry Referendum Impact Survey which aimed to identify the industry’s key priorities for consideration during the forthcoming EU exit negotiations.

Drawing on responses from a broad range of event industry venues, suppliers and contractors, the survey reveals the top four priorities facing event professionals following the decision to leave the EU.

Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents identified their number one priority as “safeguarding trade” by reducing uncertainty and engaging with new markets. The second highest consideration was reviewing existing legislation in order to ensure future business can be conducted efficiently (16%). The third most important issue was investing in UK infrastructure to improve Britain’s competitive position in the global market (12%). The final priority was investing in people in order to manage the impact of changes to foreign worker status in the UK (9%).

Britain’s reputation as an events destination was another major interest for survey respondents including: the potential perception of the UK as protectionist and unfriendly; damage to the UK’s reputation for being a modern international leader and trendsetter; and the danger of European conventions stopping the inclusion of the UK on their rotation patterns.

The survey also highlighted opportunities that have emerged since the EU referendum result. The fall in the value of sterling was cited as an opportunity for some businesses, although this was offset against projects being delivered in Europe where margins were being eroded due to the exchange rate. An increase in domestic business was cited by some respondents, particularly in relation to the need for additional conferences and meetings required by clients to help support SMEs face a more competitive trading future.

BVEP’s report points out that the questions raised by Brexit are compounded by the already wide range of issues and considerations that affect the events industry. As well as a lack of hard data on the events industry from a single recognised source, these include: workforce issues; aviation capacity; regulation; and specific initiatives such as the Tour Operator Margin Scheme (TOMS).

However, the report suggests that there is an opportunity for the industry to position itself as an integral part of the broader trading nation that needs to re-define itself with the EU and forge new trade agreements with other international markets. In other words, the future success of the UK events industry is also inexorably linked to the longer term impacts on the key industrial sectors it serves. Where the automotive sector succeeds, for example, so too will events such as product launches, dealer training session, trade shows and consumer experiences.

Calling on the events sector to help prioritise the key issues for government in the forthcoming EU negotiations, BVEP Vice-Chair and report author Simon Hughes said:

“Having identified the wide range of touch points that could affect our industry, the next stage is to identify a specific “Brexit Manifesto” to make sure events are taken into account in any positioning of UK plc. Over the next two years or so, we have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the links between events and international trade. This is a chance for all event professionals to be seen and heard, while the government’s agenda is firmly focussed on protecting and enhancing our global reputation for business”. 

Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington, has been named the Best Spa for Luxury in the UK by the Readers’ Choice National Awards, organised by The Good Spa Guide.

Members of the Spa team attended a glittering ceremony last night (November 15th) at Spa Life UK at the Telford International Centre to find out they’d won – Rockliffe Spa won the same award in 2014.

The Spa was selected by special Spa Spies™ who visited dozens of venues around the country to carry out an extensive and thorough review.  The category is defined by the Spa Spies™ as ‘pure bliss, outstanding facilities, indulgent treatments and impeccable service’.

The Good Spa Guide is considered the expert guide to the best spas and treatments in the industry, and since the awards were first launched in 2010, The Good Spa Guide has seen rising standards, new developments and a huge growth in the popularity of spas.

Victoria Rickett, Spa Manager at Rockliffe Hall, who also recently won a Spa Manager of the Year award, says: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this coveted title again. The entire team works tirelessly to ensure that Rockliffe Spa is the best in the industry and we’re so pleased to have this confirmed by winning such a prestigious accolade.”

The Milken Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. This is achieved through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings and meaningful policy initiatives.

On December 6, the Milken Institute London Summit will convene 800 business leaders, investors, philanthropists and decision makers from across Europe and around the world for a mix of moderated panel discussions, exclusive interviews, and private industry specific sessions. By bringing together leaders from diverse sectors and industries, and connecting non-traditional allies, the summit creates an opportunity for powerful ideas and fresh thinking to emerge that can drive change. A key subject of the discussions at the London Summit will be on the future of Europe after the UK referendum.

SPARK THINKING will provide a full service offering including event production, creative solutions, logistical and on-site support. The summit will take place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Nancy McHose, Associate Director of Events at the Milken Institute, commented on the appointment: ‘SPARK THINKING stood out throughout the process as they understood the mission of the Institute and the objectives of the London Summit. We were given assurance and confidence in their production standards and logistical capabilities. We were also impressed with their creative ideas that will help ensure the summit environment, branding and staging resonates with the attendee demographic and facilitates important discussions and networking that will help amplify the value of what our network is capable of.’

Luke Flett, Head of Global Marketing at SPARK THINKING, commented:  ‘As an agency that always provides a fresh viewpoint on existing corporate challenges, we have to keep up with the external geo-political, economic climate and developing trends that might impact our client’s business. We need to make sure we are as informed and up to date, minute by minute, as we can be. This could not be more evident from our appointment by the Milken Institute. The London Summit is a natural arena for SPARK THINKING to help ensure that the event brings real value and that the agency helps facilitate the ideation process that will happen during all the sessions at the summit. Working for a better future and helping generate ideas that will take us there, is a driving motivation behind the people at SPARK THINKING, so we are relishing the opportunity to be part of such an important event this coming December.’


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