Anti-Social Behaviour and the Police

Antisocial BehaviourMany police forces in England and Wales have recently come under harsh criticism for failing to protect their areas from the modern-day scourge that is anti-social behaviour. Topping this poll, with a poor classification across the board, were Nottinghamshire Police; Greater Manchester Police were second worst, with two areas out of three classified as poor, although they did score a “good” rating in one category of local opinion.

This is a highly controversial subject, and for those of us who are lucky enough to live in respectable and peace-loving suburbs, hopefully we may never come to realise just how distressing anti-social behaviour can actually be. However, we all seem to hold a fervent opinion on this topic and many of us seem to share the view that not enough is being done in particularly prone districts to curb this menace.

Changes to Your Consumer Rights - Part 2

COnsumer RightsIn the first part of our consumer law update, we examined the EU proposals to simplify and strengthen the rights of consumers. In this article, we will consider the more extensive UK proposals set out by the Government’s White Paper called“A Better Deal for Consumers – Delivering Real Help Now and Change for the Future”.

At the moment, the law reforms mainly focus on helping consumers avoid credit and online scams. This is part of a wider plan to deal with sharper business practice. There will also be reforms of the current laws on misrepresentation, making it easier for a consumer to take action if they feel they have been misled.  The key proposals include:

1. Appointment of a New Consumer Advocate

Meeting the Needs of Clients

When we’re a customer in a shop or a client of a company, we like help, respect, understanding, satisfaction, value for money, action, friendly service … need I go on? So whether you’re dealing with a colleague’s or a multimillion-pound client’s request, you will have to satisfy these four basic needs: the need to be understood, the need to feel welcome, the need to feel important and the need for a comfortable environment.

So here are the top ten tips to help you meet those needs and guarantee that your clients remain your clients:

Managing Your Workload

Workloads in a legal office are demanding at all levels. How we manage these will influence how we perform as well as how we feel.

There is a well-established principle of dividing what is important from what is urgent and of spending as much time as possible on things which are important and spending no or minimal time on things which are not important (urgent or not).

What is ‘important’? Well, this is generally understood as something which helps us to achieve our goals or something which supports our values. In the work context, this includes things like doing a good, efficient and professional job, delivering a good service to a client, being a valued member of the team, preparing a polished, carefully thought- through report, keeping within agreed service levels, or developing or improving a skill, e.g. project management, confidence, assertiveness.  The importance of a task is the personal aspect of our workload – what importance does it have for us directly or indirectly?

Going Green at The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs

Every year businesses needlessly waste thousands of reams of paper, burn excess electricity and literally flush resources down the drain. During the past two years the Institute has been working towards streamlining its systems, not only to create more efficiency but also to stop overusing resources. We all have a responsibility to be aware of these issues and reduce our impact where we can.

The Paperless Office

Management of waste paper is an issue in almost every office. Fortunately these days the majority of office spaces practice some sort of paper recycling. The Institute has taken paper management one step further not only by simply recycling waste paper but also by attempting to cut down on paper consumption as much as possible. In the modern world the use of paper is diminishing in many ways. Many people prefer to receive and send documents via email and on the web. Embracing these technologies to their fullest capacity helps organisations cut down their paper consumption and limits the possibility of unwanted flyers, circulars and brochures ending up in a bin somewhere. By reducing the amount of printed materials we send out and focusing more on email and Internet-based solutions, the Institute is moving towards the often elusive ideal of a paperless office.

Green Hosting

Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace on the Increase!


We are all used to a bit of banter in the office, but it becomes a completely different matter when banter turns into something as serious as bullying. Bullying and harassment in the workplace have always been issues that have been played down to a certain extent, but recent studies by work unions have indicated that instances have almost doubled over the past ten years.

Stereotypically, it is women bullying other women that gets the most attention in terms of the subject. But in fact it has come to light that 32% of all cases of bullying involve a male victim and a male bully, which is a slightly higher rate than that of the stereotype mentioned above. Surprisingly, 28% of cases also involve men bullying women in the workplace, whilst only 11% involve women harassing male colleagues. One other stereotype that appears to be true is that male bullies are more likely to be brash and noisy, whereas female bullies will victimise their prey in a more subtle way. So why has it all escalated over the last decade and what can be done to resolve this problem?

Are You Lacking Motivation?

Motivation is directed by positive emotion. Motivation propels us towards something rather than holding us back.

If there is a positive expectation for the outcome of what we are doing, then that expectation will motivate us towards it.

If we experience anxiety, anger or other negative expectations, then this will maintain and increase stress levels, which, if unchecked, will in turn interfere with the positive elements of the expectation, often by distorting or deleting those positive elements.

What is it we want to achieve? Is it motivation we lack when feeling lacklustre about a Monday morning or a particular task? Or is it something else? Are we tired? What is going on in the rest of our lives?

Celebrating 20 Years of Dedication to the Legal Secretary Profession

We celebrate our twentieth anniversary with pride, as we have become recognised as the leading organisation in our field. ILSPA not only offers accredited and recognised qualifications but also provides professional recognition for our Members and their ongoing development, together with support, advice and career guidance for trainee and experienced Legal Secretaries throughout the UK and overseas.

The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs was formed in 1990 by a group of like-minded legal professionals to promote the excellence and professional recognition of Legal Secretaries and PAs. We initially existed to assist legal practices with their main support staff functions by helping maintain and improve services to their clients through the expertise and diligence of a well-informed and commercially aware secretariat.

46,000 Repossessions and This Figure is Set to Rise!

RepossesionsIt is one of the unfortunate facts of life that when a deep recession strikes our economy, there are always going to be unfortunate homeowners who lose their abodes through the distressing process known as repossession. The current recession has not proven to be any different and indeed the figures that recently have been announced for repossessions last year have been even more shocking than previously anticipated.

During 2009 there were 46,000 repossessions across the country and what is even more worrying, this figure is predicted to rise to a shocking and unforgivable 53,000 during 2010. Last year’s figure was the highest recorded in fourteen years and there are many organisations calling for action by the Government to try and reduce this number.

One such organisation is Shelter. This charity was conceived as an attempt to tackle homelessness and members are now stressing the fact that no political party seems to be even slightly inclined to set out exactly what it intends to do to help the unfortunate victims of repossession when the next government is established later on this year.

Using Emotional Intelligence in Presentations

Emotional IntelligenceYou may be surprised to learn that 60% of people rate fear of public presentations even above the fear of death. This comes from an ancient fear of ostracism from the tribe, abandonment and vulnerability, which remains part of our inheritance in the emotional brain. The emotional (subconscious) part of our brain evolved for life in the wild, whereas our intellectual (conscious) brain evolved much later. Fear produces stress and it triggers the fight or flight response; danger requires a physical response, not an intellectual one. That response is only turned off when we take physical action – fighting or fleeing – or if we become skilled at reducing stress by becoming calm. Excess stress inhibits access to our intellectual and rational brain.

So how do we use these emotional and intellectual resources to best effect for presentations in public, whether to a few colleagues or to a wider audience? Essentially, we need to prepare well on both a subconscious and conscious level.

Conscious Preparation