Farne Salmon

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Farne Salmon's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Farne Salmon is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


HR Director Linda Dickson
Our production process
leverages traditional and
modern methods to deliver
high-quality salmon
Farne Salmon launched in 1982 with six staff – they now
run the largest salmon processing facility in the UK, which
supplies major retailers both in the UK and beyond with hot
and cold smoked salmon, ready-to-eat party food and ready-
to-cook salmon. Farne pride themselves on offering customers
a high standard of service, and this philosophy has taken them
from success to success over the past 37 years. Farne’s HR
Director Linda Dickson tells
The Parliamentary Review
If the progress of a company can be seen in a record of expansion, then Farne
Salmon is a success. Alongside serving major UK and international retailers, we
have also committed during this phase of expansion to the 700 staff who work
in our factory at Duns, 45 miles south of Edinburgh; in this region – the Scottish
Borders – we are the largest private sector employer.
The Farne approach
Our approach – one which is responsible, inclusive and committed – is evident
in our production process, which combines the best of traditional and modern
methods to produce a high-quality, hygienic product.
We use age-old techniques to preserve salmon by using the traditional art of dry salting
to add flavour; our salmon is also smoked using high-quality wood chips in our kilns.
Quality and hygiene are rigidly enforced using modern computer-controlled
processes. Every batch of incoming fish is analysed against an agreed specification
and is later monitored in our laboratory for salt and moisture content.
»HR Director: Linda Dickson
»Established in 1982
»Based in Duns, Scottish
»Services: Supply of salmon and
party food to major retailers
»No. of employees: 700
»Farne are the largest private
sector employer in the Scottish
Borders region
Farne Salmon
Highlighting best practice
Motivation and culture
Factory work can be hard and intense,
and our previous high staff turnover
was a great challenge. We need
skilled, motivated people to meet our
tough deadlines while maintaining the
highest safety and food standards.
As such, over the past seven years,
we have set out on a journey to
transform our factory culture from one
of command and control to one that
empowers our staff and makes them
feel like part of a team.
This began with the appointment of a
new senior management team, who
developed a mission and vision for the
business and a new set of values. It’s
this vision which sets the direction for
the organisation, ensuring that everyone
at Farne has a place and fitsin.
Community engagement in
the Scottish Borders
We also wanted to ensure that Farne
was immersed in the community in
which it works, forging relationships
with the local schools, educating
them on the health benefits of salmon
and providing work experience
opportunities and help with
Providing opportunities for those
who found it difficult to access work
was also important for us, and we
have linked with agencies such as
Developing the Young Workforce to
offer employment opportunities for
those with learning difficulties. This
was a resounding success, and in 2017
we were recognised as the Supporting
Young Workforce Business of the
Year at the Scottish Borders Business
Excellence Awards.
A developed workforce pays
We have spent £1.3 million on staff
training and development over the
past five years, improving employment
opportunities, providing coaching and
feedback and engaging with the local
community. That investment includes
benefits for staff such as flexible
working, a subsidised canteen, free
chiropody and physiotherapy and a
good pension scheme.
This investment has paid itself off many
times over; the company has seen a
24 per cent increase in applications
of people wanting to work here, with
more than 700 applying in 2016. We
have moved from a business with a
£62 million turnover in 2012 to one of
£110 million in 2017, at the same time
cutting our labour costs by 12 percent.
A ream of awards
It’s not just in financial terms that
we can measure the success of our
journey. The company was named
Scotland’s Best Employer in the 2017
Business Insider Awards and won three
awards at the 2016 annual awards
ceremony of jobs website, s1jobs.com.
Our people are skilled,
motivated and a joy to
work with
Our approach
– one which is
inclusive and
committed – is
evident in our
These were Best In-House Recruitment
Team award among firms with more
than 500 employees and Best Employer
Brand Development, as well as being
highly commended in the Best Training
and Development category.
It doesn’t end there. Farne is
committed to environmental
sustainability through initiatives such
as Saving Water at Work Week; our
environmental champions are always
looking for new initiatives and ways
to engage with the workforce. We
were recognised for our efforts at
the VIBES 2016 Awards, where we
were named Best Large Employer,
and have recently been shortlisted
in the Best of VIBES Awards, which
sees winners from the last 20 years
recognised for their positive approach
to environmentalsustainability.
When Farne was approached by the
University of Sunderland and totrain
to survey our staff about their working
practices, they found that throughout
the organisation there was a high
commitment to food safety, scoring
them 4.2 out of a total of 5 – indicating
a high positive food safetyculture.
We also took part in Strathclyde
University Business School’s Fair,
Informative and Transformation
Work Survey, and came out top of all
manufacturing organisations inScotland.
A clean, hygienic and
sustainable future
We are committed to ensuring the
highest standards in our sourcing of raw
materials. Our farmed salmon comes
from Scotland, Ireland and Norway, from
approved suppliers who demonstrate
that they meet both our and our
customers’ demanding specifications.
We continually assess performance
to ensure agreed standards are being
maintained and encourage best practice.
The attention staff pay to hygiene,
neatness and lean production
processes is not lost on visitors. An
auditor from a major supermarket, a
customer of Farne’s, said her visit had
been “an eye-opening experience,
in a good way”, that our factory “is
very controlled and sophisticated” and
spoke of how she was “very impressed
with how organised and composed all
of our employees are”.
Other customers have remarked on
several occasions how professional
all factory staff were, and how all
operatives took such pride and
ownership in their areas.
It’s this attention to detail and
commitment to a good job done that
has made Farne the success it is today
and will be for years to come.
The attention
staff pay to
neatness and
lean production
processes is not
lost on visitors
We have attracted workers from several European countries over the years.
Marco Casqueira, who has worked for us for five years, is a good example of
the commitment they bring.
“I arrived for a seasonal job,” Marco told us in an interview for our website.
“I thought that I was coming for a three-month job and I am still here. They
welcomed me with a smile on their face and they were very nice to me. They
treat me like family and I am very grateful for that. It was a new challenge for
me but Farne helped me all the way.
“They gave me all the training that I needed and I was always involved in all
changes and processes the factory had to do to be the best at what we do.
Farne is a great place to work and develop a career. I am very happy at Farne
Salmon and they are part of my family.” Employee satisfaction
and excellence is of
paramount importance


This article was sponsored by Farne Salmon. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster