Tag: building

Salesforce Live – The Nottingham Building Society rethinks digital strategy in light of COVID-19

(Image sourced via The Nottingham Building Society Facebook )

The Nottingham Building Society was founded back in 1849 by a small group of Nottingham businessmen, led by local Quaker Samuel Fox. The first ever branch used to open between 6pm and 9pm on the first Tuesday of each month and the vision for the building society was to help people own their own home, as well as offer them a safe and secure place for their savings.

Since then The Nottingham (as it’s more commonly known) has grown to serve over a quarter of a million members across the UK and now has 67 branches across 11 counties. Gone too are the days of a three hour opening window once a month, with the building society expanding its use of digital services for members rapidly.

The Nottingham has had a digital strategy in place for over three years, which served it well in the initial fallout from COVID-19. But as CEO David Marlow outlined at the Salesforce Live UK & Ireland event this week, the rapid changes in consumer expectations and the workplace are forcing the building society to go deeper with its transformation.

Part of this involves moving to the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud to completely reengineer the organisation’s process for the digital, with the aim of creating an immersive experience for members.

Marlow explained that COVID-19 has shifted thinking at The Nottingham in two fundamental ways. Firstly, regarding the move to distributed working. And secondly, the additional expectations from consumers on digital services. He said:

I think the working from home element is a major item. Here I am at home, somebody who never worked from home over the last 20 years. How we make the most of that and leverage it is really important. Accommodating the changes that we see both positive and negative for people remote working. That implication has an enormous knock on effect to our business continuity arrangements, and we’ve got some big changes to put through in how we organise ourselves in business continuity terms. Just as example, historically we had a building on the outside of Nottingham that was just left empty. When we had a crisis we would all move out to that. Well, we don’t need that sort of capability any longer, we would all just work from home.

And then finally I think the major item for us has been the enormous shift in expectations from customers and members and the public at large around digital. Not only in terms of the access that they expect, but the richness of the service that they now see as the norm, not as a bonus.

A solid foundation

As noted above, The Nottingham has been working on its digital strategy for three years now and Marlow said that this put the organisation in a good position when demand for its services increased during the height of the pandemic. However, he added, that with the enormous shift in customer expectations, he soon

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Watch: Building back better through civil society

Building back better though civil society. Via YouTube.

SAN FRANCISCO — Hamzat Lawal, co-founder of Connected Development, is focused on fighting corruption in Nigeria and across Africa. His Follow the Money initiative, which uses data to hold the government accountable, has been tracking COVID-19 spending in the months since the pandemic hit.

In a recent Devex digital event, Lawal called on donors not just to increase their funding of civil society organizations, but also to provide more flexible support.

“You submit a proposal and then you have a workplan and then you have activities,” he said of what donors traditionally require of nonprofits. “For us right now, with COVID-19, we can’t even tell what will happen tomorrow.”

While donors have increasingly expressed interest in supporting grassroots organizations, only 2% of official development assistance goes directly to civil society organizations in low-and middle-income countries. As these groups emerge as critical partners in the COVID-19 response, it is critical that donors scale up their support, panelists told Devex. They outlined ways donors can go beyond supporting civil society organizations by giving them a seat at the table so they can represent the most vulnerable, translate ideas into policy, and hold power to account.

Cornelieke Keizer, senior policy officer on the Women’s Rights & Gender Equity Taskforce at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, outlined ways bilateral donors can move from a managerial to a transformational approach.

“Let go of technical processes,” she said. “Trust local ownership and contextual approaches to shift power and create lasting change.”

Keizer acknowledged that this is not always easy or even possible for bilateral donors, because they are accountable to taxpayers, tend to operate on short funding cycles based on the political context, and are bound to program funding.

She mentioned Leading from the South, a feminist philanthropic fund supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as one potential model for donors interested in increasing support for civil society organizations.

The pandemic is more than a public health crisis, as the crisis spans ecological, political, and economic systems, said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of Grassroots International, which supports grassroots movements globally.

“Movements are making visionary demands and trying to push through not just pieces of policy changes, but new systems, a new world,” she said.

Hong notes that only 1% of total U.S. philanthropic dollars go toward advocacy and organizing in low- and middle-income countries

“What does that say about our sector?” she said.

Over the past several years, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation has increased the amount of money it grants to civil society organizations headquartered in Africa from 10% to 20% of its $100 million annual budget, said Dana Hovig, program director of global development and population at the foundation.

He emphasized the importance of making funding more flexible, applauding efforts by other donors to follow these best practices during COVID-19, and saying he hopes to see these practices continue

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Tipton Building Society launches first-time buyer mortgage where you only need a 1% deposit

FIRST-TIME buyers can now get onto the property ladder with just a 1% deposit with a new mortgage from Tipton Building Society.

The deal comes as Boris Johnson yesterday revealed a new 5% mortgage deposit scheme to help create “Generation Buy”.

Tipton has bucked the trend launching a mortgage where you only need a 1% deposit


Tipton has bucked the trend launching a mortgage where you only need a 1% depositCredit: Alamy

Specific details about how exactly the Prime Minister’s scheme will work, or when it will launch, have yet to be revealed but it comes as mortgage providers pull best buys for those with smaller deposits as they tighten lending criteria.

The coronavirus crisis has seen banks instead launch flash sales for first-time buyer mortgages as they become as “rare as Glastonbury tickets”.

But one lender bucking the trend is Tipton Building Society, which has added a new Flexible Family Assist mortgage to its range, which allows you to take out a 99% loan on your first home.

This is in addition to its existing 100% mortgage deal, which still remains.

What help is out there for first-time buyers?

GETTING on the property ladder can feel like a daunting task but there are schemes out there to help first-time buyers have their own home.

Help to Buy Isa – It’s a tax-free savings account where for every £200 you save, the Government will add an extra £50. But there’s a maximum limit of £3,000 which is paid to your solicitor when you move. These accounts have now closed to new applicants but those who already hold one have until November 2029 to use it.

Help to Buy equity loan – The Government will lend you up to 20% of the home’s value – or 40% in London – after you’ve put down a 5% deposit. The loan is on top of a normal mortgage but it can only be used to buy a new build property.

Lifetime Isa – This is another Government scheme that gives anyone aged 18 to 39 the chance to save tax-free and get a bonus of up to £32,000 towards their first home. You can save up to £4,000 a year and the Government will add 25% on top.

Shared ownership – Co-owning with a housing association means you can buy a part of the property and pay rent on the remaining amount. You can buy anything from 25% to 75% of the property but you’re restricted to specific ones.

“First dibs” in London – London Mayor Sadiq Khan is working on a scheme that will restrict sales of all new-build homes in the capital up to £350,000 to UK buyers for three months before any overseas marketing can take place.

Starter Home Initiative – A Government scheme that will see 200,000 new-build homes in England sold to first-time buyers with a 20% discount by 2020. To receive updates on the progress of these homes you can register your interest on the Starter Homes website.

Here’s what you need to know.

How does Tipton’s new 99% mortgage

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We Need More Entrepreneurs Building Companies That Address Society’s Biggest Needs

2020 is the year the world’s attention turned to the deep fractures of our economic, political, educational, and healthcare systems. The year when status quo solutions were no longer good enough. For all the declarations of being “in this together,” the dual pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism have revealed how low-income communities and people of color are disproportionately left out, let down, and punished by our systems.

The death of George Floyd, representing too many Black lives lost, has reignited the movement for racial justice around the world, demonstrating that we urgently need to build a society that is not only inclusive, but also just. The immediate call to reform police and criminal-justice systems in America is a significant step, but the change must go further. We must upend how capital flows, how hospitals care for patients, how institutions lend, how employers hire and care for workers, and how all of us see and care for each other.

To do this, we need to activate all parts of society—public, private, and nonprofit—to rebuild. We need to develop bold new solutions that address our most pressing problems at the systemic level, and then mobilize our resources to help those solutions achieve maximum impact.

A New Category of Entrepreneurs

Many of these new solutions are coming from a new category of entrepreneurs who apply their creative and innovative energy to solve problems of poverty. These entrepreneurs, who run for-profit businesses, have been the difference makers in countless communities across America. They bring crucial products and services to the people who need them most, while at the same time addressing the factors that contribute to them being the most in need.

The leaders of these companies are role models for our future because they share a new mindset that puts the wellbeing of all people and the planet at the heart of their businesses. And this new mindset reflects a moral revolution that’s happening across the country.

Restaurant chain Everytable serves healthy grab-and-go meals at fast-food prices in eight locations in underserved communities across Los Angeles. When Covid-19 shut the city down, Everytable CEO Sam Polk not only shifted to delivering food, but also provided free meals to anyone who couldn’t afford them. He also called on his community to help by asking customers who could afford more to “pay it forward.” This approach increased Everytable’s volume seven-fold and helped the chain provide over 3 million meals into the food deserts in L.A., including to the homeless, the recently unemployed, employers looking to feed their staff, and parents struggling to feed their children.

MindRight Health, based in Newark, New Jersey, provides culturally responsive and trauma-informed preventative mental health coaching by text message, to help youth in under-resourced communities manage daily stresses and navigate adversity. CEO Ashley Edwards aims to reimagine mental health services and advance health equity by making mental health care accessible and inclusive. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges that lead to stress and anxiety for low-income youth, including

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A new challenge for transition planners: Building a government over Zoom

The Trump administration’s transition team, which has also begun preparing for a potential transfer of power should they lose in November, did not respond to multiple inquiries from POLITICO on how they are navigating the remote work environment.

Forming a new government is hard enough in the best of circumstances. During a global pandemic, when it’s potentially lethal for staffers to huddle in government offices to vet candidates and plot out an agenda for the first 100 days of the new administration, it would present an unprecedented challenge for Biden should he win in November.

Transition team veterans say the amount of planning that gets done before Inauguration Day can determine how much a president accomplishes across his or her entire term, and especially during the first 100 days in office. The already tight window of roughly 70 days between the election and inauguration could also be cut shorter this year if the results are not final for days — or even weeks — after polls close on Nov. 3, as some analysts anticipate.

The remote setup has already upended one defining characteristic of past transitions, in which eager would-be appointees angle for a position by tracking down transition officials around town or hanging out in coffee shops near the transition offices.

One aide for a previous transition team said he would often run into people downtown who were interested in getting involved.

“If I went to a Hill meeting or a social gathering on Capitol Hill, I would see a lot of people there, and they’d say, ‘Hey, you’re working on the transition — what’s it like? Can we grab coffee? Here’s my résumé. A friend of mine is looking to work in Commerce or in Treasury.’ Something like that,” the aide said. “You’d see that a lot.”

That sort of inside-the-Beltway networking is now a lot harder to come by.

Biden transition team members, meanwhile, are already facing the same challenges as much of the country in the pandemic era — juggling work and family while schools are closed, trying to build team camaraderie online, and dealing with the fatigue that comes from back-to-back video calls.

Some of the starkest logistical challenges, however, will come after the election, should Biden win, when transition teams typically balloon in size. Members of the team will have to go in person to secure rooms in government buildings to review sensitive national security information — a situation where it’s difficult to maintain social distance, and one that can’t be replicated remotely.

“You’re not doing classified briefings on Zoom,” said John Podesta, who helped lead transition efforts for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Speaking at an event Friday hosted by the Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service, Podesta added, “That gives a whole other layer and dimension of difficulty to operate in a classified environment when homes haven’t been built for that.”

In the past, hundreds of transition officials have also begun visiting federal agencies and meeting with

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Boris Johnson’s government looked at building wave machines to stop migrant boats crossing the English Channel

Priti Patel, Boris Johnson looking at a laptop: The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson Getty

© Getty
The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson Getty

  • The UK government considered creating a wave machine in order to stop migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK from France.
  • The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Home Office discussed a plan to install boats with pumps generating waves in the Channel.
  • The idea was dismissed due to the risk that they would cause small boats to capsize.
  • The UK is currently experiencing record numbers of people claiming asylum who are crossing the Channel from France, with 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in the UK in small boats this year.
  • Labour’s shadow home secretary said: ‘This is a vile example of how degraded an environment the Tories have created.’
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The UK government has considered plans to build wave machines designed to stop migrants crossing the English Channel from France

The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Home Office discussed a plan to instal boats with pumps generating waves in the Channel, before the idea was dismissed due to the risk that they would cause boats to capsize.

Officials also considered whether it might be possible to link a series of small boats together in order to form a physical barrier to deter migrants, the FT reported.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the mooted plans, tweeting: “This is a vile example of how degraded an environment the Tories have created. The Windrush Review was damning about the inhumane culture they have created at the Home Office. They’ve learned nothing.”

The UK is currently experiencing record numbers of people claiming asylum who are crossing the Channel from France, with 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in the UK in small boats this year, according to PA Media.

Patel in August said the number of crossings was “appalling and unacceptably high” and said she was working to make the route “unviable.”

Multiple reports appearing in Thursday’s newspapers, outline other “blue-sky” plans discussed by her department to deter migrants.

The story began when the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Patel had asked officials to consider opening an immigration center on Ascension Island, which is in the South Atlantic.

Downing Street on Wednesday did not deny the plans, with a Number 10 spokesman saying: “As part of this work we’ve been looking at what a whole host of other countries do to inform a plan for the United Kingdom.”

A further report in The Times on Thursday claimed that the government is considering processing asylum seekers on disused ferries moored off the UK coast, a plan which a government official confirmed to Politico remains under consideration.

A report in the Mail claimed that the government could alternatively open an immigration facility in the Isle of Wight, the Shetlands, or the Isle of Man.

Allies of Patel suspect that civil servants have leaked details of the plans in order to invite mockery against her following

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