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What are the early warning signs that a contractor may be in financial difficulty?

As the project progresses, it is important to continually monitor the contractor’s performance.  Any one or more of the items below can be early warning signs that the contractor is in financial difficulty, and that further actions may be necessary:

  • Decrease in labour or contractor’s personnel on site, and/or rapid turnover of contractor’s personnel
  • Slowdown in progress on site
  • Plant, equipment or materials suddenly disappearing from site for no apparent reason – unpaid subcontractors may unilaterally decide to remove items from site regardless of their contractual rights to do so
  • An increasing number of defects and reduction in the quality of the contractor’s work
  • The contractor seeking changes in the payment arrangements, and in particular early payments
  • The contractor making spurious claims or contra charges
  • The contractor seeking assignment of its benefit of the building contract
  • Late filing of accounts by the contractor at Companies House
  • Unsatisfied court judgements against the contractor
  • Subcontractors and suppliers not being paid or being paid late
  • Rumours in the press, in the industry, on site or elsewhere regarding the solvency of the contractor
  • Unusual visits to site, for example from the contractor’s senior management or other personnel who had not previously been present or are not expected to be present
  • Increasingly aggressive behaviour by the contractor
  • The contractor’s parent company or another company within the contractor’s group displaying any of the above signs

Related FAQs

Can I use my Business Interruption insurance to make a claim?

The FCA’s test case in the Supreme Court ruled overwhelmingly in favour of policyholders.  However, business interruption cover generally has the prerequisite of physical damage or loss to the property (or in some circumstances, the presence of a notifiable disease at the property or within a certain radius of it), to recover losses caused by the interruption to your business. The onus is on insurers to re-assess those claims which are impacted by the Supreme Court’s judgment and to make contact with the policyholders regarding next steps. If you have not already made a claim, in the first instance the terms of any policy should be checked carefully to see whether business interruption cover is provided.

Do you have to collectively consult for the minimum period of time before you can issue notice?

These periods are often mistakenly referred to as minimum lengths of consultation (especially by Trade Unions). That is not correct. Consultation can commence, conclude and notices of dismissal be issued within the 30 and 45 day periods. The expiry of the notice would just have to be outside of those restricted periods.

Business support organisations

The Confederation of British Industry

“What you need to know about coronavirus and how it will impact your business”. This includes the very influential and highly regarded daily webinars hosted by Director General Dame Carolyn Fairburn.
https://www.cbi.org.uk/coronavirus-hub/

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum

Links to valuable resources collected by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum team as requested by its members and partner network, including on People, Finances, Physical and Mental Wellbeing, Technology and Leadership.
https://entrepreneursforum.net/support-hub

RTC North

Billed as containing “all the UK government information in one place”, this resource includes information on access to finance, employees, planning and leadership, Growth hub toolkits, and working from home.
https://www.rtcnorth.co.uk/covid-19/

Newcastle Gateshead Initiative (NGI)

Businesses across the UK and around the world are sharing their expertise in everything from remote working to business planning. The team at NGI have collated some of the most useful resources, alongside its own content which is designed to help partner organisations and other businesses across North East England.
https://www.ngi.org.uk/covid-19-business-resources/

North East of England Chamber of Commerce

The NEECC brings together its latest advice and guidance for businesses, as well as some of its own FAQs.
https://www.neechamber.co.uk/covid-19

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber has pulled together information about how it and others in the area are supporting all businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.
https://www.gmchamber.co.uk/covid-19-coronavirus/

North East Growth Hub

The North East Growth Hub toolkit is intended to provide businesses with the latest advice, guidance and support available from government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered include:

  • Financial support available for businesses
  • Official guidance for employees, employers and businesses
  • Advice on effective home working
  • How to care for staff/suppliers/customers and prevent the spread of COVID-19

https://www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk/toolkits/covid-19-coronavirus-toolkit

Pro-Manchester

Links to valuable resources collected by the Pro-Manchester team, including national Government support and advice, regional support and cyber security advice.

https://www.pro-manchester.co.uk/home/covid-19-support/

Innovation SuperNetwork

The Innovation SuperNetwork, a “network of networks”, detail on their website what their team of Innovation Managers are offering during these difficult times, as well as details of funding available, and what is being offered by their numerous partners.

https://supernetwork.org.uk/

VIDEO: Redundancy exercises in the new normal – what should we do differently?

Following our webinars on all aspects of furlough and alternatives to redundancy, it is an unfortunate fact that a number of organisations are likely, sooner or later, to be forced to make some employees redundant.

Our employment experts Jamie Gamble and Roisin Patton take you through the key aspects of conducting cost reduction redundancies, but with a focus on aspects that make this exercise different this time. For instance:

  • How are you going to conduct sensitive meetings remotely?
  • How are you going to ensure that dismissing any furloughed staff will be fair? You may have furloughed at speed, but redundancy selection criteria cannot be defined by such factors.
  • Will you use this time to review your selection criteria if you already have some in place?
  • How will you deal with individuals who are shielding, have child care issues or are pregnant?
  • How do you ensure this is all done sensitively and fairly for those roles that are being made redundant, but also for those who continue to work for you but are still isolated on furlough or working from home?
  • And what are the risks for making redundancies in this “new normal”?

Although you may be perfectly familiar with redundancy exercises these are far from normal times and it is therefore worth pausing to think about the impact that Covid-19 might have and what else you need to think about or plan for.

The webinar was recorded on Thursday 2nd July.

 

When will I receive a grant under this scheme?

The Chancellor confirmed that payments under the scheme would not be available immediately.