Where does the ISA review leave parents?

The new Home Secretary Theresa May announced yesterday that the Government are to review the new vetting & barring and criminal records regulations to ensure that ‘they are scaled back to sensible levels’. Under the existing proposals privately organised tutoring between parents and tutors was outside of the scope of the new regulations, although arrangements made through tutoring agencies would be covered. So to this extent, there was some inconsistency in the way that tutoring was treated by the ISA.

As parents we continue to be very much in favour of the new ISA regulations. Nothing brings the need for tutor checking home more than the recently reported case of the private tutor Ugochukwu Okorie who went on to abuse two young sisters. Would the new regulations have stopped this happening you may ask, well only if the tutor was already known to the authorities and the parents had conducted an ISA check.

Our advice to parents continues to be to make their own tutor checks and follow up references every time they use a new tutor. The ISA would have made the process a whole lot easier – the combination of wider safety checks and ability to look someone up quickly on the database would give parents a much greater sense of security.

So where does this review leave parents? Well, no better off, lets hope that the Government conclude the review quickly so that we can give families that extra piece of information they need to keep their children safe.

What’s life like at a start-up?

I have been asked to speak at an event called ‘pitching for management, not money’ in London on 22nd June.

The event has been organised by Angel News with the aim of putting experienced professionals directly in touch with exciting growing businesses. I suppose that in many ways I am well qualified to tell people about the transition from the corporate world to that of a new business start-up. What it’s like and how it’s different.

Preparing for the event has set me thinking about the major differences. Here is how I see it:

1. Culture. Status and career development are important at a large corporate, in a relatively low risk environment. This counts for nothing at a start-up, and why should it. An effective culture at a start-up is critical, and it’s not about introducing processes like performance management as teams are small, it’s about getting clarity of purpose and energy.

2. Focus. The biggest difference, I think. Corporates are about executing the business model, engineering effective processes, management and administration. The focus is very different at a start-up, it’s about identifying unfulfilled market and customer needs, creative / innovative solutions, hypotheses testing, business model testing, customer development and agile development. Instead of traditional accounting, it’s business metrics and instead of a regular paycheck it’s about effective cashflow management and fund raising. Once you have nailed the business idea you can scale the business, it’s then that you move toward the effective management of processes that large corporates focus on.

The positives of life in a start-up include:

  • You get to create something new and different
  • Every day is different – a totally different lifestyle
  • Learn new skills and meet new people
  • Opportunity to realise a capital gain
  • Develop a new outlook on life

But it’s not for everyone, and life is very different for me these days. Probably the biggest factors are uncertainty / ambiguity and your attitude to risk. If this appeals, why not come along?