September 14, 2018 Posted: September 14, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News, National & International News FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, Diocese of San Diego adds eight priests to list of sexual predators 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The Diocese of San Diego added eight priests to the list of those believed to have molested children as part of a clerical sexual abuse scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church, it was reported Friday.The new names — the Revs. Jose Chavarin, Raymond Etienne, J. Patrick Foley, Michael French, Richard Houck, George Lally and Paolino Montagna, plus Monsignor Mark Medaer — were released in piecemeal fashion, with critical details missing.The list extends the roster of predator priests established by a legal case that was concluded 11 years ago.On Sept. 7, 2007, the diocese settled 144 claims of child sexual abuse by 48 priests and one lay employee, the Union-Tribune reported. The payments totaled $198.1 million, the second-largest settlement by a Catholic diocese in the United States.“This is a response to the terrible moment we are in,” Bishop Robert McElroy told the newspaper, citing a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that found 1,000 children had been molested by Pittsburgh area priests there, and the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of sexually assaulting altar boys, seminarians and priests.McElroy will embark on a tour of eight public forums at parishes in San Diego County between Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. to address the scandal of clergy sexual abuse.Below is a full list of these public forums:Oct. 1, Monday, 7 p.m., Our Mother of Confidence Parish, 3131 Governor Drive, San Diego, 92122Oct. 3, Wednesday, 7 p.m., St. Joseph Cathedral, 1535 Third Ave., San Diego, 92101Oct. 4, Thursday, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Grace Parish, 2766 Navajo Road, El Cajon, 92020, Moloney CenterOct. 5, Friday, 7 p.m., St. Charles Parish, 990 Saturn Blvd., San Diego, 92154Oct. 6, Saturday, 9 a.m., St. Mary Parish, 795 La Brucherie Road, El Centro, 92243Oct. 17, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Church of the Nativity, 6309 El Apajo Road, Rancho Santa Fe, 92067Oct. 18, Thursday, 7 p.m., St. Gabriel Parish, 13734 Twin Peaks Road, Poway, 92064, Msgr. Charles Dollen HallNov. 5, Monday, 10 a.m., USD-Joan B. Kroc Institute, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, 92110 Updated: 5:28 PM
Posted: January 7, 2019 January 7, 2019 SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped for the 18th consecutive day Monday, decreasing six- tenths of a cent to $3.311, its lowest amount since Jan. 26.The average price has dropped 10.6 cents during the streak, including three-tenths of a cent on Sunday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.The average price is 3 cents less than one week ago and 15.9 cents lower than one month ago but 11.7 cents more than one year ago. San Diego County average gas price falls to lowest amount since January 26 KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The Port of San Diego has sent out a press release announcing the successful completion of a lighting study they conducted on the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. The press release detailing the study can be read below:The Port of San Diego has successfully completed an engineering lighting study to test and evaluate the potential use of color-changing LED lights to illuminate the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. The tests were conducted on the evenings of April 29 through May 2, 2019 as part of the design development process for the proposed San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Lighting Project. The study focused on a small portion of the bridge structure located over land near Barrio Logan.The study was designed to simultaneously illuminate two of the bridge’s supporting concrete piers with color LED lighting units (luminaires) provided by two leading manufacturers of architectural lighting products—Philips Color Kinetics and Lumenpulse. To effectively illuminate the approximately 165-foot tall piers, sets of LED lights were mounted at ground level, beaming upward, and with the use of boom lifts positioned near the tops of the piers, beaming downward. The study allowed the Port to observe, evaluate and collect data related to the output and performance of the lights over a broad range of the color spectrum and at varying intensities. The lighting displayed during the tests did not, however, represent any particular lighting configurations or scenarios being envisioned for the final bridge lighting design.“This is the first time the Port has been able to field test how well the colored LED lighting units would actually perform in illuminating the bridge structure, and we are very pleased with the results,” said Port Commissioner Marshall Merrifield. “From what we have seen so far, we know that the lights will be able to provide a variety of gradations and hues and ultimately create a beautiful example of public art that can be enjoyed by everyone.”Observations and data collected during the study will assist with refinement of the proposed bridge lighting design, including the types, quantities, and placement of lights on the bridge. It is envisioned that when the project is fully approved and funded, approximately 30 of the bridge piers supporting the span from the Coronado shoreline to a point near Harbor Drive in San Diego would be illuminated with computer programmed color LED lighting.The data and lessons learned from this successfully completed engineering lighting study will inform the next step in the design development process, which would be to conduct a full-scale mock-up of the updated lighting configuration for testing and validation from the technical, artistic, and operational point of views. It is envisioned that the mock-up field test would illuminate four adjacent bridge piers located near the center span. Such tests could occur in late 2019 or early 2020 and would be clearly visible to the general public over a period of several consecutive nights.The Port of San Diego’s proposed Bridge Lighting Project is currently in the midst of Phase 2 in which the objectives are to update and refine the design, obtain environmental clearance through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, and acquire all applicable agency approvals and entitlements. There will also be extensive community outreach and opportunities for public comment.The proposed project is estimated to cost between $14 and $16 million, funded through a Port-led fundraising campaign. Currently, about $1 million in contributions has been raised in the fundraising effort.Architectural lighting designers Speirs & Major, BuroHappold consulting engineers, and artist Peter Fink are designing the lighting project, which is anticipated to be completed in 2022. May 8, 2019 KUSI Newsroom, Port of San Diego conducts successful lighting study on San Diego-Coronado Bay bridge KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News ABOUT THE PORT OF SAN DIEGOThe Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis. FacebookTwitter Posted: May 8, 2019
ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program hosted a fortification of staple foods seminar in El Salvador last week. The seminar, “Soy: Benefits for Health and Processing in Food Products”, was funded by USDA’s Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.Bridget Owen of the National Soybean Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Dr. Mark Messina and Dr. Mian Riaz presented at the seminar on topics ranging from the utilization of soy in school feeding, to the benefits of soy for human health, to the utilization of soy in baked goods and extruded snack products. Fradbelin Escarraman, WISHH’s Regional Representative for Central America, organized the seminar which was attended by over 45 representatives from the food processing industry, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and the Salvadoran government.
The 133 delegates of the American Soybean Association voted Saturday to approve a new set of policy resolutions to guide the organization’s work in Washington and nationwide for the coming year. Part of the association’s annual Commodity Classic, this year’s resolutions process included language defending biodiesel’s role in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), protecting the privacy of farmer data generated by precision agriculture systems, and reinforcing the crucial role of crop insurance as a risk management tool for farmers, among other items.With specific regard to biodiesel, ASA reiterated its support of biodiesel in the RFS and again called on the Environmental Protection Agency to release the renewable volume obligation (RVO) levels for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Additionally, ASA took EPA to task for its decision to facilitate imports of Agrentine biodiesel in the form of a resolution supporting domestic biodiesel production over that of our foreign competition.EPA drew further focus from ASA in a resolution clarifying and underscoring the association’s opposition to the controversial Waters of the United States rule under the Clean Water Act. Moving forward, ASA used the resolution to call on EPA to work closely with agricultural groups and the Army Corps of Engineers in any future reimagining of the rule.“Our resolutions that focus on biodiesel and the Clean Water Act are a direct by-product of an EPA that we believe has lost touch with the realities of American agriculture,” said Wade Cowan, ASA’s president and a farmer from Brownfield, Texas. “This year, we’re going to work with our fellow farm groups and hopefully with EPA toward providing the counsel that the agency needs to ensure these decisions work with farmers, rather than against them.”New to ASA’s policy book for 2015 is a resolution that supports the realignment of U.S. international agricultural development programs to fall under USDA’s jurisdiction. Such a realignment would enable the Department to focus on increasing the productivity and profitability of small farmers in underdeveloped countries, and to optimize these efforts through research, land grant education and extension, and technology transfer available through USDA’s knowledge base.“We believe that international agricultural assistance programs that focus primarily on agricultural development are best run by the federal agency that has institutional knowledge on these matters, and that’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Cowan. “The men and women at USDA know not only how these programs work on the ground in the country of need, but also how they benefit farmers here in the U.S.”Additional resolutions include ASA’s firm support of granting trade promotion authority (TPA) to the White House; calling on Congress to pass legislation to extend Section 179 expensing and address future trade-impacting work stoppages like the recent one affecting ports along the west coast; expediting approvals for new biotech traits by USDA-APHIS and wetland determinations by USDA-NRCS; increasing federal highway truck weight limits to 97,000 pounds over six axles; continuing the association’s work on GMO labeling legislation and encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration to finalize regulations governing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in agricultural applications.“This voting delegates process is a great reminder that ASA is a farmer-driven and farmer-focused organization,” added Cowan. “We only have our farmers in the room making these policy decisions, and while it’s hardly an easy process, it keeps our organization grounded in the policy priorities that help to make farmers more successful.”
Clark County lawmakers reacted cautiously to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed 2011-13 budget Wednesday — some said its cuts are too Draconian, others that it doesn’t cut deeply enough — but the governor said in an interview that it’s long past time for “Monday morning quarterbacking” as the state confronts a $4.6 billion budget deficit over the next 30 months.“Now is not the time for partisanship, now is not the time for politics,” Gregoire said. “The election is over, our people are struggling. We have to step up to the leadership role. That means taking votes they hate.”State Sen. Joe Zarelli, whom the governor praised as a constructive voice on the budget, said in a statement that Gregoire “has given the Legislature a good place to start.”But Zarelli, the Senate Republican leader on the budget, added, “Once we get into the details, I expect we will disagree with some of her choices, especially considering the commitment Senate Republicans have made to protect the most vulnerable residents of our state.” The governor proposes eliminating the Basic Health Program, which covers about 66,000 low-income adults, as well as health coverage for the children of illegal immigrants and cash grants and medical care for unemployable adults. Her budget would also cut some Medicaid-funded services to the disabled as early as next month.
A candidate for the Board of Clark County Commissioners plans to get his name on the August primary ballot by collecting signatures of registered voters, rather than paying a filing fee.Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said it marks the first time in his 13 years in office that a candidate will submit signatures in lieu of paying a fee.Filing fees go into the county’s elections fund; the fee varies depending on the position. If the position pays more than $1,000 a year, the filing fee is 1 percent of the annual salary.For county commissioner, the filing fee is $1,022.State law does provide for “a candidate who lacks sufficient assets or income at the time of filing” to submit a petition with a number of signatures of registered voters equal to the number of dollars of thefiling fee.Battle Ground resident Ron Barca, a lean practitioner at Boeing Commercial Aircraft in Gresham, Ore., who serves on the county planning commission, said this week he’s running a grass-roots campaign and plans to rely only on donations from individuals rather than lobbying groups. Ron Barca
Charlene Burger scored the goals.Haley Case made some key saves.And four defenders — Lindsay Hurley, Taylor Hallquist, Ana Delgadillo and Sarah Case — made sure the opponents had no room to breathe, very few opportunities Wednesday at Kiggins Bowl.It was a perfect combination for the Columbia River girls soccer team in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.That combination ended the reign of the Seattle Prep Panthers, the two-time defending state champions.Columbia River (15-0-2) never trailed in this battle of programs that had won the past three state titles, earning a 2-1 victory to advance to the quarterfinals. Columbia River will travel to face Meadowdale on Saturday.“I thought we could win. And Ana had a dream we were going to win,” Burger said.That was enough to convince the Chieftains they could knock off a team on two-year, eight-match winning streak in the state playoffs.Well, that and a lot of clutch plays on defense.“We knew it was going to be a tough battle. We had to prepare ourselves,” Delgadillo said. “They’re a top-10 team. They showed up.”The Panthers showed to within 25, 30 yards of the net often, but rarely were able to move closer.The Columbia River offense missed on several scoring chances in the first half, but Burger quickly made up for one of her missed opportunities.With Seattle Prep whistled for a handball in the box, Burger took the penalty kick. Prep keeper Abby Rockwell stopped the shot, but could not control the ball. Burger seized on it, and sent the ball to the back of the net on her second try for a 1-0 lead midway through the half.
The second annual Vancouver Brewfest sold about 5,000 tickets, netting $2,500 each for four local charities and helping to spread the word about Clark County breweries, said Cody Gray, one of the two founders.“The brewfest was great,” he said. “We had attendance of about 7,000 if you count people who came back multiple days. Overall, we did a little better than last year, when we had 4,800 people.”The festival, held Aug. 9-11 in Esther Short Park, featured 30 breweries, including 11 from Clark County.“All the Clark County brewers did great,” Gray said. “They all sold out.”About 700 people turned out Sunday, a third day added to the festival this year, he added.“I think that helped us out, and I hope we can do that again next year,” Gray said.There were no major problems, although organizers had to call 911 once for an intoxicated individual, Gray said: “One guy on Saturday night was acting strange and was really out of it. But that’s the only time we had to call the cops.”Disabled American Veterans, the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, the Children’s Center and the Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy will split the event’s $10,000 profit.The first brewfest beer, “Citrus Satisfaction,” made by Heathen Brewing, also sold well. It’s a mild, floral, citrus summer brew, with around 4.8 percent alcohol and not much bitterness.
WASHINGTON — Looking beyond America’s post-9/11 wars, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday proposed shrinking the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, closing bases and reshaping forces to confront a “more volatile, more unpredictable” world with a more nimble military.The nation can afford a smaller military so long as it retains a technological edge and the agility to respond on short notice to crises anywhere on the globe, Hagel said. He said the priorities he outlined reflect a consensus view among America’s military leaders, but Republicans in Congress were quick to criticize some proposed changes.In a speech at the one-year mark of his tenure as Pentagon chief, Hagel revealed many details of the defense spending plan that will be part of the 2015 budget that President Barack Obama will submit to Congress next week. Hagel described it as the first Pentagon budget to fully reflect the nation’s transition from 13 years of war.At the core of his plan is the notion that after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that proved longer and more costly than foreseen, the U.S. military will no longer be sized to conduct large and protracted ground wars. It will put more emphasis on versatile, agile forces that can project power over great distances, including in Asia.Hagel stressed that such changes entail risk. He said, “We are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted.”
Clark County is facing a deadline if it wants to limit the sale and use of fireworks within unincorporated land.Commissioners have until the end of the month to decide whether to restrict the sale and discharge of fireworks in order to have the code changes in place by the 2015 Fourth of July. State law says a jurisdiction must set limitations on fireworks a year ahead of when they’d take effect. There will be no new restrictions for the upcoming fireworks season. County residents passed a nonbinding advisory vote in favor of tightened restrictions on fireworks in November, so it’s up to commissioners to implement the actual change in code. Commissioners say they are behind schedule in potentially drafting a new ordinance to do that. With the clock ticking for next year, the commissioners haven’t shown signs of urgency in drafting any code changes, saying instead that they need more information about what specific limitations they should enact — if any.Commissioner David Madore has called for more public input before he can make an informed opinion about changing the county’s fireworks policy. The current policy allows fireworks to be sold from June 28 to July 4. People can set fireworks off on the same days, during specific windows of time.“Do we do what people said on the ballot measure, just simply the way it’s stated, or do we consider that a starting point and maximize the feedback?” Madore said. “We want to hear from the community.”
After nearly a year-long hiatus, the committee considering a possible shake-up of the C-Tran Board of Directors will reconvene next month.But unlike at its last meeting in December 2013, the group will resume deliberations knowing that a reorganization of the C-Tran board will likely eliminate the veto power now held by Clark County and the city of Vancouver. That’s what a county judge ruled in September following a months-long legal dispute.Before the C-Tran board composition review was halted late last year, there appeared to be some momentum for giving the smaller cities more representation on the transit agency’s governing body. That would require either Vancouver or Clark County giving up at least one seat on the nine-member board. Changing the number of seats for either of those jurisdictions would also invalidate the veto power both have held since C-Tran’s inception, according to Clark County Superior Court Judge David Gregerson.That ruling didn’t change the stance of Camas Mayor Scott Higgins, one of the committee members who had called for more say for his city.“For Camas, it doesn’t change anything,” Higgins said of the ruling.Camas currently shares a seat on the C-Tran board with Washougal. Both cities have said they’d like their own seat at the table. If that means the veto goes away, Higgins said, then so be it.
Yokohama’s IR plan sparks Chiba and Aichi prefectures into action RelatedPosts Yokohama Port Association ramps up casino opposition as JPY780 billion redevelopment plan submitted Increasing support from the local community has the Japanese prefecture of Chiba attracting increasing attention as a potential home for one of the country’s first integrated resorts, according to a new report by Bloomberg.The news agency is reporting that the backing of local residents is one of Chiba’s primary selling points, with a coalition of companies in the prefecture pushing for an IR as a means of further diversifying its tourism offerings and boosting the local economy. Chiba is home to Tokyo Disneyland as well as Japan’s largest airport, Narita. 49% of Chiba residents opposed to a local IR Load More The supporting coalition wants to build a floating offshore island covering 534,000 square meters which would house the IR while also acting as a port for luxury cruise ships. The President of the coalition, Ikuo Kantake, has estimated that the project would take two years to complete and cost around US$590 million.However, a lack of support from the local government – which is yet to offer any clear stance on the issue – has so far held Chiba back from pushing its case.
Vietnam might have passed a bill last week allowing locals to bet on international football but the new law, which comes into affect next year, arrives too late for the current World Cup in Russia amid revelations that not a single betting agent or operator applied for a license under a sports betting pilot program.The Vietnamese government announced last year that it would launch the program from April 2018 allowing one selected betting operator to offer legal sports betting on some sports, including FIFA-sanctioned international football matches excluding those involving Vietnam. However, local media is reporting that not a single operator has applied for the pilot license on offer due to the limited betting options available and confusion over the bidding process itself.According to English language newspaper VnExpress, the inability to offer bets on the most popular football leagues such as the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga make football betting far less attractive for operators with the lack of action at tournaments such as the World Cup likely leading to heavy losses.Under the pilot program, the maximum daily amount that can be bet by each person is just VND1 million (US$44).Illegal betting on football is estimated to sit in the billions in Vietnam each year, with the new bill passed by the Vietnam National Assembly last week aimed at addressing the problem. Details of the new sports betting regulations and what sports or leagues will be covered are yet to be finalized. Tabcorp cleared as Australian Federal Police close investigation into Cambodia sports betting bribery claims Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham forced to cut sponsorship ties with Russian betting site Hong Kong Jockey Club breaks betting turnover record in 2018-19 RelatedPosts Load More
RelatedPosts 181 Chinese nationals arrested in dispute over POGO accreditation status The case of the US$81 million Bangladesh Bank Heist is not yet closed with charges against six former employees of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) still pending, the Philippines’ Department of Justice has stated.Confirmation of the ongoing case came after the bank’s manager, Maia Deguito, was convicted of money laundering by a Makati Court last week. Philippines rejects China’s call to ban online gambling Load More Leisure & Resorts World Corp suffers major swing to loss in 2Q19 Around US$29 million from the heist was alleged to have been laundered through VIP rooms at Manila’s Solaire Resort & Casino.Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon said complaints against the remaining staff have yet to be resolved, according to local media outlet Philippine Star.It is expected that another trial for the former employees will be held should prosecutors find probable cause to indict.Charges against a number of other people, including junket operators Kim Wong and Weikang Xu, two employees of money transfer firm Philrem and money laundering compliance officer Anthony Pelejo have previously been dismissed.
Load More Scheduled to open in late 2020 on an 87-acre site at the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip, Resorts World Las Vegas will comprise more than 3,400 hotel rooms across three hotel towers and a gaming floor covering 100,000 square feet. The Chinese-themed resort will also boast a 30,000-square foot lake surrounded by a Chinese garden. Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas names five key additions to executive team Genting Berhad subsidiaries Resorts World Las Vegas LLC (RWLV) and RWLV Capital Inc. (RWLV Capital) have issued US$1 billion of Senior Notes as part of its financing for under-construction US$4 billion integrated resort, Resorts World Las Vegas. The 4.625% Senior Notes due 2029 are now listed on the Official List of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited.RWLV has also closed on a US$1.6 billion senior secured credit facilities, comprising a US$400 million term loan facility which was fully drawn in connection with the closing and a US$1.2 billion revolving credit facility. Wynn Resorts to undergo internal restructure as part of refinancing plan RelatedPosts Huawei Japan joins Kansai Economic Federation with eye on World Expo 2025 and Osaka IR
Employee Benefits Live 2016: The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is set to link performance reviews and bonus awards to the organisation’s key values and behaviours.After launching its core values in 2015 to help align employees with business and performance goals, this year the sporting organisation will incorporate its values into employee performance reviews.Staff will be reviewed on whether they are living and actioning the organisation’s four core values of teamwork, integrity, passion, and excellence, as well as associated behaviours. How employees embody these values will be one of the factors considered when issuing performance-related awards, such as bonuses.Addressing delegates during a keynote presentation at Employee Benefits Live 2016, Vicky Williams (pictured), director of people at the LTA, said: “I’m now making sure that we are truly living the [organisation’s] behaviours because each employee will be reviewed against them and will also be rewarded or not against their living of [these values and behaviours].”Alongside its values, the LTA has put forward behaviours that staff should consider and embody to help bring its core values to life.Williams said: “Our behaviours are statements that can be read and understood by everybody. So they cut through gender, they’re applicable to [employees] under 30, generation Ys, they’re also applicable to baby boomers, and they’re applicable to people who might want to look at them before they join the organisation.”The values are clearly visible on the organisation’s website and are also included in job descriptions.Williams said: “We put values and behaviours at the forefront of the welcome day [for new joiners], and then we do a repeat induction day three weeks and three months later, just to make sure that people are truly living and understanding the values and the behaviours.“It’s actually our new starters who have the best impact on knowing whether our values and our behaviours are correct. We’ve introduced a new-starter lunch for people who come into the organisation and we talk about whether the values and behaviours are actually working in the organisation.“New starters are a really powerful set of people; they talk honestly and openly and they have a great knowledge that they bring with them from other organisations.”LTA utilised a range of communication methods to highlight its values to staff and to help embed these into the organisation’s culture. It held focus groups to gather feedback from across the business, as well as briefing employees in small groups during bite-sized training sessions.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will carry out spot checks on UK employers to ensure that workplace pension duties are being met.As part of its ongoing enforcement activity, TPR will conduct inspections at organisations believed to be at risk of failing to comply with workplace pension regulations. Employers will be given a short notice period before the inspection.The spot checks are designed to serve as a warning to organisations that deliberate non-compliance will not be tolerated.The spot checks will also enable TPR to gather insight into employer behaviour, investigate any non-compliance, help employers get back on track or to inform any required enforcement action.The inspections will be conducted across a range of business sectors, including those thought to be most at risk of non-compliance, such as the hospitality and retail sectors.Charles Counsell, executive director of automatic enrolment at TPR, said: “Automatic enrolment has been a great success so far with more than seven million people now saving into a workplace pension. It is important employers continue to make contributions into their staff’s pensions and these spot checks make sure ongoing compliance is being maintained.“It is not fair to staff if they do not get the pensions contributions they are entitled to by law. We take non-compliance seriously and will take enforcement action when we need to.“As well as investigating any non-compliance, these inspections will also help shine a light on employer behaviour so we can see why different types of employers fail and also identify good practice that others can learn from.”
North Wales-based Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has launched a new engagement and recognition platform for 17,000 employees, working across 38 hospitals, healthcare centres and offices.The new mobile platform, provided by StaffConnect, is being rolled out to staff using a phased approach. This began in January 2019, being introduced to around 2,500 community-based employees and 4,500 staff working in district hospitals.BCUHB plans to roll out the platform to all its employees working across Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham.The new platform is being implemented to replace email as the organisation’s primary internal communication tool. It has also been designed to encourage employee recognition, by integrating with BCUHB’s existing recognition programme and by promoting more informal peer-to-peer recognition. The platform further offers a way for hospitals and wards to share information more easily on care standards and service notices.The introduction of the mobile platform is in response to an employee survey conducted in 2017 among 1,400 staff members. Face-to-face feedback found that many employees did not have access to the organisation’s digital resources and that some staff, such as nurses, did not often have the opportunity to monitor their emails. Furthermore, the survey found that staff were keen to embrace a mobile platform, to better reach BCUHB’s dispersed and non-desk-based working population, as well as being accessible from home or via a personal device.Aaron Haley, communications officer at BCUHB, said: “Historically, information and [organisational] updates have mainly been shared through a weekly newsletter via email, to all staff. While that works for our desk-based staff, we know that there’s a big contingency of our workforce who just can’t find the time to get on to a computer as part of their working day.“We wanted the new internal communications tool to be completely voluntary and we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to improving internal communications with a platform that meets the needs of all our employees, regardless of their role or location.”To date, more than 3,700 employees have registered to use the new platform.The platform further aligns to BCUHB’s ambitions to improve its essential services and leverage technology in the workplace.“We are extremely pleased with how well the implementation of StaffConnect’s platform is going and have received very positive feedback from employees,” Haley added. “We know our people, but StaffConnect’s customer success programme provides an outside perspective on best practices for content and communication, which has been really helpful and valuable to us.“We’re also encouraging staff to offer their input on how to do things better and how they see the platform working for them. I am highly enthusiastic about this two-way communications approach that will have a positive impact on NHS staff and workforce culture.”