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“Those organisations which achieve the Work Wise UK Quality Mark will be well placed to attract the very best staff.”

Sir Digby Jones, UK Skills Envoy and former director general of the CBI, launched the new Work Wise UK Quality Mark during the Work Wise UK Summit at the QEII Conference Centre in London today (May 16). The new quality mark will allow any organisation to gain recognition for their successful introduction of new smarter working practices in the workplace.

The new Work Wise Quality Mark will be assessed using the Work Wise UK Standard, which has been developed over a 12-month period, in collaboration with the TUC, Transport for London, HBOS, NHS, BT and the Association for Commuter Transport, bringing together the best in current thinking. The standard itself provides a framework both for organisations that have already introduced smarter working practices and wish to go further, or those that are just realising the benefits and want to start reforming their working practices.

Sir Digby Jones said: “The nature of work is changing fundamentally. UK businesses need to understand this, and adapt and evolve accordingly. The introduction of new smarter working practices is gaining momentum not only to improve business productivity but also to be able to recruit and retain the staff needed to do business.

“Those organisations which achieve the Work Wise Quality Mark will be well placed to attract the very best staff, as the labour market becomes ever more competitive and society becomes increasingly aware of the benefits of flexibility and new ways of working.”

Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of BT Group, said: “The national announcement of the Concordat and the development of a new quality standard dedicated to smarter working policies are key milestones that will establish strong foundations for the project in the coming years.”

Assessment for the quality mark will normally take two days and require an organisation to demonstrate:

· Understanding and use of smarter working techniques as a strategic planning tool
· Staff involvement in defining future strategies
· Vision in planning for the future

The assessment will determine how effective an organisation is at recognising that smarter working, in its widest sense, contributes to not only organisational success, but employee satisfaction. It will cover the following elements:

· Operational benefits
· Client benefits
· Employee benefits
· Change management
· Legal aspects
· Transport and environment
· Healthy workplace

Russell Toms, head of standards and assessment for Work Wise UK, said: “Over the last 12 months, we have worked with our partners to develop a standard that embraces both the spirit and practicalities that is “smarter working”. Even those world class organisations that have contributed to the standard have taken away new ideas and aspirations of how they can do more to promote this important agenda.

“This standard brings together the best in current thinking and provides a framework both for organisations that are already deploying smarter working and want to do more or those that are only just beginning the smarter working journey”.

Further information about the Work Wise UK Quality Mark can be found on the Work Wise UK website (www.workwiseuk.org) or by contacting Adam Le Gresley on 01784 473005.

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Notes to editors:

· Sir Digby is available for a limited number of interviews
· Images of today’s launch are available from the press office, or directly downloadable from the pressroom.
· Supporters of the Work Wise UK campaign include the CBI, TUC, the British Chambers of Commerce, BT, Transport for London, Scope, the RAC Foundation, Technology Means Business, Henley Management College and the Association for Commuter Transport.
· Further information about Work Wise UK can be found on the website www.workwiseuk.org.
· A dedicated electronic media centre has been established for journalists to obtain further information, to download print-quality materials, and to register for media updates about Work Wise UK. This can be accessed either through the main website or directly at www.workwiseuk.pressrooms.net.

For further information, please contact:

Roy Turner, Chelgate PR, 020 7939 7939 or 07970 522 232 or rt@chelgate.com

Michael Hardware, Chelgate PR, 020 7939 7939 or 07775 925 274 or meh@chelgate.com



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