Category Archives: Uncategorized

Worthing Newsletter – March 2019

The next Worthing lunch will be on 10th April 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at Liming, sponsored by Bennett Griffin - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor:

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Bennett Griffin

Top 5 tips if you’re in a cycling accident

Posted By:  on 8th February 2019

As we all know cyclists are identified in the Highway Code as one of the more vulnerable groups of road users.
In my experience having acted for numerous injured cyclists, accidents arise because of 3 reasons. These are the actions of other road users, defects in the road structure, or defective equipment, ie your bike just lets you down!
If you are injured and it isn’t your fault, you maybe entitled to make a claim for your injuries and financial losses. But crucially some of the most important evidence often needs to be obtained at the very moment the adrenaline is running to the max. So here are my top 5 tips to remember at the scene of an accident:
1. The most important thing is to appreciate whether you are still in danger following the collision. If you come off your bike, get yourself safe before doing anything else. If you are not able to, shout or wave to get the attention of others.

2. If in doubt, call for emergency backup. We’ve all experienced defensive and therefore aggressive drivers, so if you are riding on your own don’t feel bad about calling the police if you feel intimidated. If they do attend then ask them to put their details in your phone. It sounds obvious but if you need medical help, phone an ambulance, but certainly get a hospital check-up especially if your helmet was damaged. The advantage of this is that it will act as a permanent record of the accident which is sometimes the difference between recovering the cost of that replacement carbon bike or not.

3. Take your time and don’t be rushed. Hopefully you will just have a few bruises and a slightly damaged ego, but however experienced you are, there will always be an element of shock. If people have stopped then don’t get all British about it. Accept friendly help and assess whether you are fit enough to pedal off.

4. Before you do pedal away though, think evidence, evidence, evidence. Here you will be thankful you asked for that new phone clip for Christmas. Take the details of anyone who might have caused the collision. If you do one thing, take a photo of their registration plate as lawyers can carry out a search to find the relevant insurance just from the reg plate. If anyone witnessed the accident, get them to write their details in your phone. Independent witnesses will often decide a case in your favour. Take photos of the area; as many as you can that show the scene. Remember people’s memories fade, so snap away, even if you think it irrelevant. If a pothole caused you to come off your bike, take photos of it, but also of the general vicinity so it can be identified later. If there are other potholes, take pictures of those; (it gives the impression of a poorly maintained road). If you can take a photo that shows the depth of the pothole, even better. Above all though, don’t put yourself in danger doing this, you can always come back later with a friend.

5. Check your bike over to see if it is safe to ride away. Only ride off once you have looked for damage to the wheels, components and frame (especially important with a carbon frame). When you get back get an experienced bike technician to inspect it. If any claim is successful these are the type of costs that will be recoverable.

Tim Ransley is an Associate Solicitor within the Personal Injury team at Bennett Griffin. As a keen local cyclist, and a member of Worthing Excelsior CC as well as being an Advanced Driver, he is particularly well placed to advise on cycling accidents. He is able to act for clients on no win no fee agreements.

Eastbourne Newsletter – March 2019

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 22nd March 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, sponsored by Humphrey & Co - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor:

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Humphrey & Co

Capital Gains Tax entrepreneurs’ relief change for shareholders

The latest Finance Bill detailed important changes to CGT entrepreneurs’ relief that could have the effect of denying the relief to certain employee shareholders. As the result of lobbying by the professional bodies the government have made a late change in the Finance Bill to the definition of “personal company” so that fewer shareholders will be denied the relief when they dispose of their shares.

The normal test is that the shareholder is required to be entitled to at least 5% of the company’s ordinary share capital, voting rights, profits available for distribution, and assets available on the winding up of the company.

The amendment provides an alternative test which would allow relief where the individual is entitled to at least 5% of the sale proceeds in the event of a disposal of the whole of the ordinary share capital of the company, even if the 5% test in relation to distributable profits and assets on a winding up was not satisfied.

This remains a complex area and we would suggest that you contact us to review your company’s share structure to check whether particular shareholders would be entitled to relief for their shares.

Brighton & Hove Newsletter – March 2019

We are excited to announce that we are launching a new lunch, the Brighton Lunch! The first meeting will be on the 4th June 2019 – for more information click here

The next Brighton & Hove lunch will be on 12th March 2019, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Ginger Pig Pub, sponsored by Whitespace & ViiSana - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Hove Lunch dates

Sponsor:

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ViiSana 

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Whitespace

 

Who is Whitespace and what do you do?

Whitespace is a Brighton-based creative agency specialising in design, web and marketing. We founded the business after having worked together in various guises for the last 12 years so we have a really solid and collaborative working relationship. Each of us leads one of our three focus areas.

Some clients come to us for just one of our services, others are keen to use

all three. We are really focused on our areas of expertise – we don’t try to be all things to all men, instead we do what we do well and are supported by an exceptionally strong network of collaborators and friends in the industry.

How did the three of you come together?

We worked together as heads of department in the same company before forming Whitespace.

Steve and James also previously worked for years on web and app projects, while Milly was James’ client

collaborating on various successful designs and marketing projects.

“We recognised we could build something together that we could be proud of and haven’t looked back”

 

All of us share the same core values, creative approach and love of good design. We each have our individual specialisms and strengths. We recognised we could build something together that we could be proud of and haven’t looked back!

What makes Whitespace special?

Our clients tell us that they love the fact that Whitespace is owner-managed and that we’re personally involved with each and every project and client, from concept to delivery.

We have a personal, down-to-earth approach which seems to resonate well with our clients

And, of course, good, thoughtful design underpins everything we do. We pride ourselves on listening carefully and truly understanding a brief before even thinking about putting pen to paper to start the design process.

What type of businesses do you help?

We work for such a wide range of business, large and small. Some of the organisations we have helped this year include the Green Party and Brighton University, both of whom we have ongoing relationships with. We work with charities such as Grace Eyre, a number of publishers including William Reed, OX Mag – and Sussex Business Times!  We’re currently working on a brand new website for Mayo Wynne Baxter.

It’s a diverse mix and we don’t operate on a sector-specific basis. To us the brief is more important than the sector. And chemistry with the client is really important to us too.

Give us an overview of one of your favourite projects

There are so many! One piece of work we’ve really enjoyed working on this year has been supporting the Green Party’s recruitment drive to gain new members. We developed a web page, predominately for mobile users, which incorporates a radial dial giving users the freedom to pledge whatever amount they feel appropriate for their membership (rather than being constrained to certain brackets).

The Green Party’s main website includes fairly static web pages, so we were keen to incorporate video, lots of colour and dramatic images to drive up engagement levels. We also included elements such as testimonials from real people talking about what the party meant to them, to capture the essence of the party.

The web page produced a much higher percentage of people pledging more money. We’re so pleased that the average donation was significantly increased – and the client was too! This campaign is a classic example that shows how clever, considered design can drive a hard return on investment for clients.

Talk us through your own branding. What’s behind the name Whitespace?

We chose on the name Whitespace as it perfectly reflects our clear, simple way of thinking, our creative approach and love of good design.

The term whitespace is a significant one in the design industry.  It is at the heart of good design and helps strike a balance between positive and negative spaces and is key to aesthetic composition.

The three accent colours represent our three core areas of expertise: design, web and marketing.

“We pride ourselves on listening carefully and truly understanding a brief before even thinking about putting pen to paper to start the design process”

Talk us through some key industry trends

The concept of ‘Responsive Logos’ has been around for a little while now but is certainly gaining momentum. In a modern world, where screens come in all shapes and sizes, logos that can adapt and make best use of the available space really stand out.

Your logo no longer has to be a one size fits all solution – it can move, evolve scale and engage with the device and even your location like never before.

Getting it right can elevate your brand and has huge potential benefits from a creative and marketing perspective.

 

28 Foundry Street

Brighton

BN1 4AT

hello@whitespace.studio

www.whitespace.studio

01273 258000

 

Worthing Newsletter – February 2019

The next Worthing lunch will be on 27th February 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Casa Ciro, sponsored by Bennett Griffin - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsor:

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‘Tis the season for a (jolly or otherwise) fresh start for many…

Sadly, the Christmas period is historically a time for pre-existing family problems to boil over and culminate in further disputes and crisis. The wrangles with the in-laws as to which is truly the “best festive film ever” can, on a very minor scale, cause unpleasant feuding. Apparently insurmountable arguments and impasse with your estranged wife/husband/partner, about contact with your three year old daughter, can be a serious tipping point.

The New Year heralds positivity and the prospect of change, welcome and not so welcome. Many of us feel galvanised and ready to do that which previously seemed beyond our capabilities. Therefore, it comes with no surprise that the period of December 2018 and January 2019 has seen hundreds of people applying for a divorce. This news was revealed by the government in its latest announcement claiming success in moving justice processes online. Something of a festive offering of a glass of mulled wine, a mince pie and a Decree Absolute to take away. (Only the Decree Absolute is part of the online package in fact.)

In total more than 23,000 applications for divorce have been made online since the service was launched in April 2018. That includes 455 applications filed between 24 December 2018 and 1 January 2019 – with 13 submitted on Christmas Day itself! (More productive than watching a classic John Hughes film which you have seen every year for the last 15 years-? Quite possibly.) The Ministry of Justice is keen to proclaim the benefits of the fledgling system, which has been introduced as part of the wider £1bn modernisation programme.

As lawyers expertly equipped to advise as to the divorce process, my colleague Jackie Gifford and I can appreciate the possible benefits of online services to those with a relatively straight forward divorce situation, for instance an agreed basis for the divorce; short marriage; separate finances and no children.
However! Very few break ups are without the need for specific, tailored advice as to the finances and/or children’s matters, even where the facts of the break up are agreed between the parties and all appears simple. And, the government is necessarily and quite properly, a neutral body, and the Court an impartial forum and so advice about the divorce and or related issues should always be sought from lawyers and preferably Resolution trained Family lawyers.

And as for the online method saving time and costs-? Well, that is only true if the forms are completed correctly in the first place. Ticking the right box is not pedantic, it’s essential. Having to come to see a lawyer about starting afresh or amending papers can be more costly than taking advice in the first place; a definite false economising.

If convenience is a key factor in obtaining a divorce, we at Bennett Griffin can accommodate by matching the service package to your needs. In short, if you want us to take it off your hands, that’s what we’ll do. We will report back to you with updates and advice about the progress of your divorce, including as to any issues which arise if, despite initial assurances, the other party does not co-operate (yes, it happens).

Your time is valuable and you need the most important aspects of your life to be looked after well. Invite us to work for and with you and we’ll give you the peace of mind and space to focus on the less vital things in life, such as: is the best festive film ever “Home Alone (no.1 of course)” or “National Lampoons”-? We look forward to helping you in 2019 and as a result, we hope that you will decide that “It’s a Wonderful Life”…

Jacqueline Mensah is a Family and Collaborative Lawyer and Jackie Gifford is a Family Lawyer and Mediator. Both are Resolution trained and have combined expertise in a vast array of family issues. Bennett Griffin’s Family team welcomes all enquiries, in confidence and at your convenience.

Eastbourne Newsletter – February 2019

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 22nd March 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, sponsored by Humphrey & Co - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsors:

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New Year Resolutions to Save Tax

At this time of year we think about New Year’s resolutions. It is also a good time to start planning your tax affairs before the end of the tax year on 5th April.

An obvious tax planning point would be to maximise your ISA allowances for the 2018/19 tax year (currently £20,000 each). You might also want to consider increasing your pension savings before 5 April 2019 as the unused annual pension allowance is lost after three years.

For those looking to do some inheritance tax planning it would be a good time to review (or make) your Will.

 Pension Planning

For most taxpayers the maximum pension contribution is £40,000 each tax year, although this depends on their earnings.

This limit covers contributions by both the individual and their employer. Note that the unused allowance for a particular tax year may be carried forward for three years and can be added to the relief for the current year, but then lapses if unused. Hence the unused pension allowance for 2015/16 will lapse on 5 April 2019 if unused. Note that under the current rules the net after tax cost of saving £10,000 in a personal pension for a higher rate taxpayer is only £6,000 but there are rumours that this generous relief may be reduced in the future.

 Passing On the Family Home

New inheritance tax rules for passing on the family home came into being on 6 April 2017 in the form of an additional nil-rate band, known as the ‘main residence nil-rate band’. The availability of this additional relief should be taken into account when drafting your Will.

From 6 April 2017 this addition to the existing £325,000 nil-rate band is available on death where your home is left to your direct descendants such as children or grandchildren. This relief is being phased in between 2017 and 2020 and will result in up to £175,000 being available as a deduction for inheritance tax purposes by the 2020/21 tax year. In addition, like the nil-rate band, the main residence nil-rate band can be transferred to a spouse or civil partner. There are however restrictions to this relief if your assets exceed £2 million.

This additional inheritance tax relief is available even when you downsize to a smaller property.

For example if a married couple currently live in a large house worth £500,000 and downsize to a flat worth £250,000 they could give away some of the proceeds during their lifetime and yet still benefit from inheritance tax relief based on the higher valued property. They could even sell up completely and move into a rental property and still get the inheritance tax relief!

Our Trust & Estate team can provide you with further information on this potentially valuable relief. They can also assist with your Will and at the same time consider the availability of reliefs as part of a review of your potential inheritance tax liability.

Brighton & Hove Newsletter – February 2019

The next Brighton & Hove lunch will be on 12th March 2019, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Ginger Pig Pub, sponsored by Whitespace & ViiSana - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

Sponsors:

ViiSana logo

ViiSana

ViiSana is one of Vitality’s largest Exclusive Associate brokers in volume terms and has recently been recognised as their fastest growing partner in 2018. This growth has been driven by using the Vitality product as the base for our proposition – and adding extra layers of products, services and most importantly, engagement support. Experience has taught us that sustainable, long term habit change (particularly in relation to he­alth and wellbeing programmes at work) is far stronger when ongoing engagement and relationship support is provided. We provide a full sup­port service including wellness days, open clinics, ongoing advice and support – as well as lots of additional benefits and rewards.

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Worthing Newsletter – January 2019

The next Worthing lunch will be on 20th February 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at Casa Ciro, sponsored by Bennett Griffin Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

 

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Energy Performance Certificates Essentials for Commercial Properties

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/962) (“MEES Regulations”) were introduced with the intention to improve the energy efficiency of privately rented properties.

MEES Regulations prohibit the grant of new qualifying leases of commercial (referred to as “non-domestic” in the MEES Regulations) privately rented property on or after 1 April 2018 if the property falls below a minimum energy efficiency standard (“MEES”) in certain circumstances.  It also will apply to existing leases of non-domestic private rented properties on or after 1 April 2023.

However before you can consider how the MEES Regulations might affect your property, you need to first establish whether your property is exempt and, if not, if you either have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) in place or whether there will be a “trigger” to have an EPC commissioned in accordance with the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (2012/3118) (“EPC Regulations“).

How do I know if my property is exempt or not a “non-domestic private rented property”?

Certain types of property can be exempt from the requirement to have an EPC.  The most common are properties which use no energy which condition indoor climate, industrial units with low energy demand and in certain circumstances, listed building and buildings in a conservation area.

How can I check if there is an existing EPC for my property?

You can check online by searching the non-domestic EPC Register: https://www.epcregister.com/

Please note though that this does not include every EPC that might exist as EPCs can be “opted-out” from public disclosure.

Generally an EPC is valid for 10 years or until a new EPC is prepared for the property,

What transactions can trigger the requirement for an EPC to be commissioned? 

  • A sale or renting out a property.  It is irrelevant if the tenant or buyer does not care about the EPC i.e. sales to friends or family or sale of low value
  • A building under construction is finished
  • There are changes to the number of parts used for separate occupation and these changes involve providing or extending fixed heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation systems

Note that there is a separate requirement to display an EPC if (1) the total useful floor area is over 500 sq. metres, (2) the building is frequently visited by the public and (3) an EPC is already in existence.  The EPC will give a rating of the energy efficiency of the property using a banding system with band ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and band G being the last energy efficient.

You can arrange to have the energy efficiency of a property assessed by an accredited energy assessor, who will produce an EPC for a fee.

What transactions are not considered sales or lettings? 

Unfortunately there is no express list of exclusions.  However there is guidance available that indicates the following are not included:

  • Compulsory purchase transactions
  • Sale of shares in a company which owns property
  • Lease surrenders
  • Not-for-value transactions

The position with lease extensions and renewals to the same tenant is unclear as the guidance on the MEES Regulations and the EPC Regulations conflict so each case will need to be considered on its circumstances.

At what point in either the sale or rental transaction is the requirement to commission an EPC triggered?

  • Prior to marketing a sale or letting – the EPC rating must then be put in any advertisements of the property; or
  • When there is deemed to be a prospective buyer or tenant.

There are limited legitimate excuses for not making an EPC available i.e. the transaction is not a sale or letting or the property is exempt.

The EPC must be provided free of charge therefore the tenant or purchaser should not be required to contribute towards the cost.

If a valid EPC exists (whether as a result of a trigger or otherwise) – what impact will the MEES Regulations have on me and my property?

The MEES is currently band E or above however this may be reviewed and changed in the future.

It is worth considering whether action needs to be taken sooner rather than later if the property you let or intend to sell is below the required MEES i.e. the valid EPC for the property is either band F or G.  Some examples as to why are as follows:

  • in order to improve the property to meet the MEES (currently E or above) you might need to budget for improvement costs;
  • costs of the improvement may not be reimbursable by the tenant;
  • enforcement action could be taken for non-compliance such as a fine based on the rateable value of the property rising in increments the longer the property fails to meet the MEES (capped at £150,000); and
  • public exposure for failure to comply with MEES Regulations.

All of which could impact on:

  • the marketability and value of the property;
  • the rent that tenants are prepared to pay (compared to a property which has a higher energy efficiency rating); and
  • the amount a lender is prepared to lend due to a decrease in value of the property and risk associated with uncertainties connected to the improvement costs necessary for the property to meet the MEES.

If the property is deemed to not meet the MEES (and exemptions do not apply) after an assessment then in order for the landlord to lawfully rent out the property (or continue on the existing lease of the property after 1 April 2023) the landlord will need to make improvements.  Improvements must qualify as a ‘relevant energy efficiency improvement’.  For instance such relevant energy efficiency improvements are mentioned in the recommendation report (which is within the EPC).

There are some exemptions and legitimate reasons for non-compliance.  If you are to rely on an exemption, prescribed information must be uploaded to the PRS Exemptions Register to avoid enforcement action.  If a lease is granted despite non-compliance with the MEES Regulation, then it will not invalidate the lease but it will incur a risk of the implications noted above.

Are there any exemptions to the MEES Regulations?

There are exemptions to the prohibition on letting or continuing to let properties with energy ratings below the MEES set out (briefly) below:

  • Third Party Consent – if in the proceeding 5 years, the landlord has been unable to increase the energy rating to the MEES (or higher) because of prescribed reasons and the landlord has registered prescribed information regarding this in the PRS Exemptions Register (in advance of relying on the exemption). Examples of prescribed reasons could include the tenant’s refusal to make proposed relevant energy efficiency improvements or a third party’s consent to carry out the works is not attainable/ has been refused (subject to reasonable efforts being made).
  • Property Devaluation Exemption – if in the proceeding 5 years, the landlord has obtained a surveyor’s report reporting that the relevant energy efficiency improvements would result in a 5% reduction in the market value of the property and or building and the landlord has registered prescribed information in the PRS Exemptions register
  • Exemption due to recently becoming a landlord – this temporary exemption can apply in prescribed scenarios such as the landlord purchasing a freehold interest subject to an existing tenancy, the exercise of right to take an overriding lease (i.e. a guarantor) or a lease is created by operation of law. As above, the landlord must register prescribed information in advance of relying on the exemption in the PRS Exemptions Register.

In order to claim an exemption the landlord will need to enter their details on the PRS Exemptions Register to avoid enforcement action.  The exemptions are personal (cannot be passed to successors in title) and they are also time limited.

If all the relevant energy efficiency improvements have been carried then this can take effect as an ‘exemption’ although not specifically referred to as such.  However the energy efficiency improvements need to satisfy certain conditions to be qualify as ‘relevant’ and this would need exploring in more detail to determine if the improvements meet the conditions.

A Risky Strategy

The absence of an existing EPC may be helpful to a landlord who suspects their property might be below the MEES.  This is because the MEES regime will not apply if there is no valid EPC.  Therefore if there is no requirement to obtain an EPC and if the letting term extends beyond the trigger date of 1 April 2023 this could delay the need to carry out relevant energy efficiency improvements.

If this is a strategy you wish to use, bear in mind that a third party such as a tenant could possibly commission an EPC (causing the MEES Regulations to apply).  The tenant may be restricted from doing so by the terms of the lease but this will not invalidate an EPC if the tenant commissions one in breach of their lease terms.

Annie Webb

Property Solicitor

Bennett Griffin LLP

Bennett Griffin are award-winning solicitors based in West Sussex with offices in central Worthing and Ferring.  Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered, and practical manner. Please contact our commercial property department on 01903 229 999 or by email at info@bennett-griffin.co.uk for advice and assistance.

Please note this article does not constitute legal advice.

Eastbourne Newsletter – January 2019

The next Eastbourne lunch will be on 18th January 2019 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, sponsored by Sussex Cancer Fund - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

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THE IHT ANNUAL EXEMPTION – USE IT OR LOSE IT!

Although not particularly generous at £3,000 per donor per annum if this annual IHT exemption is not used by 5 April it is lost, although it is possible to carry the allowance forward one year if unused. This means that if the annual allowance for 2017/18 was not used an individual may make gifts of up to £6,000 in 2018/19.

Where the gifts to individuals exceed the annual exemption there may still be no inheritance tax to pay if they survive for 7 years following the gift or the gift falls within the £325,000 nil rate band.

GIFTS OUT OF INCOME ARE NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT FOR IHT

 A more generous inheritance tax exemption applies where the donor can prove that he or she is not transferring capital but is making gifts out of their income. There are detailed conditions for this exemption to apply requiring records to be kept of income and expenditure in order to prove that there is sufficient surplus income each year to make regular gifts to the beneficiaries. We can of course assist you in keeping the necessary records to satisfy HMRC.

 CERTAIN GIFTS CAN HAVE CAPITAL GAINS TAX CONSEQUENCES

 Although there will be no CGT on gifts of cash there may be CGT to pay where the gift comprises shares or other assets. This is because the transaction will generally be deemed to take place at market value between connected persons even though no money changes hands.

 The amount of the gain would normally be determined by comparing the market value with the original cost of the asset gifted. Where the amount of this gain is within the annual CGT allowance (currently £11,700) then there would be no CGT payable.

 Where the gift comprises shares in a trading company or other business assets it may be possible for donor and recipient to sign an election to hold over the gain so that no CGT is payable by the donor at the time of the gift. The effect of such an election is that the recipient of the asset will take over the donor’s original cost for subsequent disposal.

 Please get in touch with us if you are considering making gifts of shares or other assets so that we can advise you fully of all the tax implications.

Brighton & Hove Newsletter – January 2019

The next Brighton & Hove lunch will be on 8th January 2019, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Ginger Pig Pub - Book here

Book onto upcoming dates here:

We would like to welcome Milly Stone from Whitespace & Lisa Ollerton from ViiSana who are the new sponsor’s for the Brighton & Hove Ladies Lunch Club!

ViiSana logo

ViiSana is a life and health insurance broker – but with a BIG difference. Life insurance is normally a pretty dry subject – focussing on what happens if someone dies or becomes ill. Whilst we are deep subject matter experts in this area, we chose to do it differently. We focus on helping thousands of customers to live life to the full – by encouraging them to live a happy, healthy life.

In simple terms – we sell a product and then try as hard as we can to make sure it is never used…

That said, there is a very serious side to what we do. We pride ourselves on advising our customers on the most suitable financial protection packages to put in place if the worst really does happen. 
ViiSana is a multi-award-winning susssex based family run business that is achieving breakthrough growth in a very crowded market. The company name is derived for the Spanish term vida-sana, which means ‘healthy lifestyle’.

County House, 3 Shelley Rd, Worthing BN11 1TT

enquiries@viisana.com

0333 772 0761

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Who is Whitespace and what do you do?

Whitespace is a Brighton-based creative agency specialising in design, web and marketing. We founded the business after having worked together in various guises for the last 12 years so we have a really solid and collaborative working relationship. Each of us leads one of our three focus areas.

Some clients come to us for just one of our services, others are keen to use all three. We are really focused on our areas of expertise – we don’t try to be all things to all men, instead we do what we do well and are supported by an exceptionally strong network of collaborators and friends in the industry.

How did the three of you come together?

We worked together as heads of department in the same company before forming Whitespace.

Steve and James also previously worked for years on web and app projects, while Milly was James’ client collaborating on various successful designs and marketing projects. “We recognised we could build something together that we could be proud of and haven’t looked back”

All of us share the same core values, creative approach and love of good design. We each have our individual specialisms and strengths. We recognised we could build something together that we could be proud of and haven’t looked back!

What makes Whitespace special?

Our clients tell us that they love the fact that Whitespace is owner-managed and that we’re personally involved with each and every project and client, from concept to delivery.

We have a personal, down-to-earth approach which seems to resonate well with our clients.

And, of course, good, thoughtful design underpins everything we do. We pride ourselves on listening carefully and truly understanding a brief before even thinking about putting pen to paper to start the design process.

What type of businesses do you help?

We work for such a wide range of business, large and small. Some of the organisations we have helped this year include the Green Party and Brighton University, both of whom we have ongoing relationships with. We work with charities such as Grace Eyre, a number of publishers including William Reed, OX Mag – and Sussex Business Times!  We’re currently working on a brand new website for Mayo Wynne Baxter.

It’s a diverse mix and we don’t operate on a sector-specific basis. To us the brief is more important than the sector. And chemistry with the client is really important to us too.

Give us an overview of one of your favourite projects

There are so many! One piece of work we’ve really enjoyed working on this year has been supporting the Green Party’s recruitment drive to gain new members. We developed a web page, predominately for mobile users, which incorporates a radial dial giving users the freedom to pledge whatever amount they feel appropriate for their membership (rather than being constrained to certain brackets).

The Green Party’s main website includes fairly static web pages, so we were keen incorporate video, lots of colour and dramatic images to drive up engagement levels. We also included elements such as testimonials from real people talking about what the party meant to them, to capture the essence of the party.

The web page produced a much higher percentage of people pledging more money. We’re so pleased that the average donation was significantly increased – and the client was too! This campaign is a classic example that shows how clever, considered design can drive hard return on investment for clients.

Talk us through your own branding. What’s behind the name Whitespace?

 We chose on the name Whitespace as it perfectly reflects our clear, simple way of thinking, our creative approach and love of good design.

The term whitespace is a significant one in the design industry.  It is at the heart of good design and helps strike a balance between positive and negative spaces and is key to aesthetic composition.

The three accent colours represent our three core areas of expertise: design, web and marketing.

“We pride ourselves on listening carefully and truly understanding a brief before even thinking about putting pen to paper to start the design process”

Talk us through some key industry trends

The concept of ‘Responsive Logos’ has been around for a little while now but is certainly gaining momentum. In a modern world, where screens come in all shapes and sizes, logos that can adapt and make best use of the available space really stand out.

Your logo no longer has to be a one size fits all solution – it can move, evolve scale and engage with the device and even your location like never before.

Getting it right can elevate your brand and has huge potential benefits from a creative and marketing perspective.

28 Foundry Street, Brighton, BN1 4AT

hello@whitespace.studio

01273 258000

 

Tunbridge Wells Newsletter – December 2018

The next Tunbridge Wells lunch will be 5th February 2019 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM at the Tunbridge Wells hotel, Book here…

Upcoming Dates

5th February 2019 - Book Here

New Transparency Law Banner

The new transparency rules: what you need to know, A Guest Blog from Vicky Simpson from Teal Compliance

The Legal Services Board have recently approved the SRA’s proposed rule changing in relation to price transparency. What does this mean for your law firm? How are you going to ensure you comply with the new rules by the December 2018 deadline?

Under the new rules, firms will be required to:

Publish on their website price and service information for specified legal services:

  • Debt recovery (up to £100,000)
  • Employee and Employer tribunal claims (unfair/wrongful dismissal)
  • Immigration
  • Licensing applications for business premises
  • Probate
  • Residential conveyancing
  • Road traffic Offences
  • The rules do not apply for publicly funded work.

The aim of the changes is to assist clients by providing clarity in relation to their legal fees.

The rationale came from the recent Competition and Market Authority report. Where it was apparent that consumers wanted more information to enable them to make informed decisions about the range of services available to them when accessing legal services.

The report found that the prices charged. The services offered were unclear. Descriptions were ambiguous and that the client was not always getting what they expected.

In addition firms will be required to display the new SRA digital badge, which essentially provides a layer of protection against fraudulent activities. Other changes include the requirement to publish the firm’s complaints procedures, including how and when complaints may be made.

As a firm, you will be required to publish:

  1. A full description of services offered. This should be included in your Client Care Letter/Terms of Engagement
  2.  The costs of services:   These must be clear, no more hidden additional fees.  If it is not possible to provide the total costs. You should provide details of the costs in stages, and what each stage entails.
  3.  Hourly rates -v- fixed fee: If the firm is charging on an hourly rate basis these will need to be published.  Consider placing these on the profiles of the fee earners on the service pages, so potential clients can see the information sooner rather than later. Firms may also want to consider an hourly rates table on their website. If you are offering fixed fees, ensure that you clearly set out what is and isn’t included in the fee.
  4. Disbursements: Provide clarity and certainty (where possible) as to what the disbursements will be during the matter.  For example, for conveyancing transactions firms may want to consider providing a full list on the website of possible disbursements.  In other matters, the firm may want to consider listing the types of disbursements that may need to be funded, so that it does not come as a surprise to the client.
  5.  VAT:  Be clear as to what will have VAT added.
  6.  Referral Arrangements: You will need to disclosure any referral agreement you have in place, including how much you will receive.  This information should also be in the Client Care letter/Terms of Business.

How can you make this work on your website?

Firms will be considering how to achieve this. You should consider the “user experience” how will your clients find out this information. The draft guidance to support these rules suggests the information should be easily navigable if it is not on your home page.

Some firms are creating specific pages, others are building this into an online quote tool, or are considering connecting to price comparison sites.  There is an increasing number of firms that are white labelled under other organisations and they will all need to align, particularly in relation to conveyancing where clients can obtain online quotes.

Complaints information must also be published. It should include your complaints handling procedure as well as details about how and when a complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman.

Firms must also display in a prominent place its SRA number and digital badge.

What if I don’t have a website?

If a firm does not have a website the firm must make the information available on request. Firms are not expected to create a website simply to comply with these rules.