Law firm offers businesses all-round protection | 24 August 10
THE increasing burden of new employment, health and safety and data protection regulation on UK businesses has led law firm Ward Hadaway to expand the legal protection packages it offers to companies.
Experts at the firm, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, say businesses are having to spend increasing amounts of time ensuring their systems and procedures for staff and customers’ data are up to strict new standards.
The introduction of tough penalties for accidents at work and data disasters, combined with a steep rise in Employment Tribunal claims, is making companies think ever more carefully about such issues.
Ward Hadaway says the situation has become so crucial that it has now expanded the legal protection package it offers to employers.
Previously, the firm’s package only covered companies and organisations’ employment matters.
Now its service covers health and safety issues and data protection matters, giving what Ward Hadaway says is one of the most complete risk management packages on offer in the UK.
Joe Thornhill, partner and joint head of the employment law team at Ward Hadaway, said: “We have been providing employment law protection packages to clients across the country for a number of years and they have been very well received.
“However, in recent times we have noticed from talking to clients that they are increasingly concerned about health and safety matters affecting their business.
“This can be anything from what policies they need to have in place to whether they are covered in the event of a serious incident.
"Recent high-profile cases involving the loss of personal data from clients and customers has also made employers nervous about that aspect of their business.
“In response to this, we have expanded our protection packages to include health and safety and data protection issues, making what we believe to be one of the most comprehensive packages offered to businesses anywhere in the UK.”
The service – Employment and Health & Safety Protection – has been developed in partnership with insurers Arag, rated the best legal expenses insurer in the UK by industry magazine Insurance 360.
It is also backed up by Ward Hadaway’s own substantial team of specialist employment, health and safety and data protection lawyers.
Ward Hadaway says the package removes the risk of costly employment claims from hiring to firing, reduces the risk and costs of Health and Safety Executive or local authority prosecutions and cuts down on the risk of falling foul of data protection laws.
James Thompson, partner in the health and safety team at Ward Hadaway, said: “Health and safety is increasingly becoming a hot topic in UK businesses of all kinds, not just in sectors such as manufacturing where the risks can be more obvious, and the penalties for not complying with regulations can be severe.
“This package enables companies to know where they stand when it comes to health and safety legislation and what systems they need to have in place, as well as advice on dealing with crisis situations.”
With businesses facing the threat of fines of up to £500,000 for serious breaches of data protection, this is another issue which is preying on the minds of many companies.
Judy Baker, partner and head of data protection at Ward Hadaway, said: “As businesses retain more information about their customers, the dangers of data protection breaches increase.
“By offering a complete review of companies’ data protection systems, this package can help to flag up any potential issues before they get to a stage where enforcement action occurs.”
Joe Thornhill added: “The current economic situation means that businesses are faced with a difficult task ensuring the survival and success of their enterprises.
“With regulators becoming ever more vigilant in enforcing legislation and employees increasingly aware of the potential to take action against their employers, that task is made even harder – and potentially much more expensive.
“Hopefully with the launch of this new package, companies can afford to spend more of their time on growing their businesses rather than on worrying over the onset of regulation.”
* Find out more details about our Employment and Health & Safety Protection packages.