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CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION OVERHAULS ITS APPROACH TO HR AND PAYROLL

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CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION OVERHAULS ITS APPROACH TO HR AND PAYROLL 1

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), the UK’s leading professional membership body for tax advisers, and the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), the leading professional body for those providing UK tax compliance services, have overhauled their approach to HR and payroll with the help of Cascade, an independent subsidiary of IRIS Software Group.

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The charities have invested in Cascade’s fully integrated and secure cloud-based HR and HMRC-recognised payroll software; a decision which marks CIOT/ATT’s desire to work ever-smarter and better tackle industry challenges. The solution – comprising core HR, payroll, workflow and self-service functionality – is being implemented this quarter, before it goes live and is gradually rolled out from January 2015.

CIOT logoLicensed for up to 200 employees, the software will help the CIOT/ATT with its somewhat complex payroll scenario. The Institute and Association must accurately remunerate 74 permanent members of staff, plus biannual invigilators and employees of affiliated organisations for which payroll bureau support is provided.

The more intuitive system will also ensure complete integration of the CIOT/ATT’s payroll and HR functionality, replacing the limiting payroll technology previously being used.

Managers and employees will be empowered to submit their own information, which the software will automatically feed to the right people, at the right time. This will avoid duplicate data entry, reduce the likelihood of error and free up the HR team’s time to concentrate on more value-adding personnel management activities. Proactive workflows will also encourage the adoption of best practice HR procedures throughout the organisation.

Commenting on the overhaul, the CIOT/ATT’s HR manager Lesley Hinchliffe said: “We knew the time was right to invest in a user-friendly system that would improve our approach to HR and payroll, and heighten our ability to produce meaningful management reports. In 2015, we will be able to better analyse absences, measure the cost and frequency of joiners and leavers, and produce monetary-based projections for so many other facets of the organisations. We will also adopt electronic payslips, saving us time and money, and improving our environmental credentials.

Lesley Hinchliffe

Lesley Hinchliffe

“Due to the nature of our organisations, we care a lot about professional development, compliance, metrics, and precision, and I think it is important that our HR strategy helps us uphold these same principles.”

Cascade’s Project Manager Katie Sykes added: “We demonstrated our proposed solution to a team of decision makers – including Lesley, her job share HR manager, the head of IT, head of finance and director of member services and operations. It gives us a real sense of achievement to know we satisfied all of their requirements, from a usability, technology and ROI point of view.

“The CIOT/ATT is a great client to have on board, and another welcome professional body within our growing customer base.”

John Coldicutt, IRIS Software Group’s Chief Marketing Officer added: “We’re proud that a professional bodies like the CIOT and ATT are using Cascade Payroll for their own RTI tax submissions, it shows how trusted our compliance software is across the UK.”

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 2

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.

Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.

A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 3

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.

The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.

In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.

Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.

GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.

The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.

Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.

Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

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Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

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Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 4

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.

“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”

Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.

Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.

“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.

Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.

The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.

Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.

There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.

“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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