A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Proactive'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 Proactive 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

Ruth Purim, CEO and Founder
of Proactive, with Operations
Director Maryam Hussain
Customer service
representative Ovais
beaming at Walthamstow
Proactive is a staffing solutions company for the rail
sector, placing staff with some of the busiest operators
in the UK. Based in London, it puts around 600 staff on
the ground every day, with around half of them working on
the London Overground network. It also has contracts with
all the major London-based rail companies and ensures the
smooth running of day-to-day operations while improving
passenger experiences. CEO and Founder Ruth Purim tells
TheParliamentary Review
I started my career in recruitment and after seeing how poorly candidates and
clients were treated, I felt compelled to start my own business to challenge the
industry and to change perceptions of low standards. I founded a business that
valued people called Proactive: I wanted a name that got straight to the point and
reflected the philosophy of the business.
Proactive is all about people and doing the right thing by them. It’s important for us
to attract people who share our mission of bringing out the best in others and who
want to make a positive difference to people’s lives. This is critical to our business,
especially as we have hundreds of customer-facing staff helping to keep London
moving across the transport network. Everyone is united in their purpose of not
just getting people from “A to B”, but also enabling passengers to enjoy their lives,
whether getting to work or visiting friends or family.
We work on a range of contracts every day, with 600 of our staff based on the
ground. Around 300 of these staff work on the London Overground, which is our
»CEO and Founder: Ruth Purim
»Founded in 2004
»Based in London
»Services: Staffing, coaching
and customer service
»No. of employees: Over 100
Highlighting best practice
largest contract, while another 300
staff work for our clients throughout
the UK. As trains and stations get
busier at certain times, such as when
a football game is on, or the London
Marathon, we have to respond to
fluctuating demand and supply by
placing trained and able staff in the
right place when they are needed.
Recruiting right
One of the challenges facing the
recruitment sector is a skills shortage,
but our strategy is to recruit for
a positive attitude over skills. Our
interview process focuses on emotional
intelligence and whether people have
a natural gift for altruism. With most
of our job roles focused in major rail
stations and airports, it’s important our
people can adapt to stressful situations
and care for people, especially during
major disruption when dealing with
frustrated and emotional customers.
If our people are happy, then
customers are happy, so we work
hard to ensure that the employee
experience delivers what people need.
Technology has been critical in meeting
this, and each colleague has a mobile
app that allows them to manage their
workload. The app, which is designed
by our sister company Sirenum,
includes everything from selecting
shifts, clocking-in, holiday requests,
browsing new roles and seeing how
much they will be getting paid.
Colleagues really value the MySirenum
App, so they can plan and control their
work-life balance. Of course, it helps
us as a business too as we digitise
processes, making it a quicker and
smarter way to work. It also enables
our managers to get out of the office
to spend more time visiting the people
we have placed and our clients.
We consult with our clients to find
out where the particular pain points
are and we then tailor our approach
to offer a solution that increases
customer satisfaction. We recently
worked with Southeastern Railway,
Bibi and Rafael on
our Heathrow Express
contract at Paddington
Our interview
focuses on
and whether
people have a
natural gift for
providing customer experience
ambassadors at Charing Cross and
Cannon Street stations, which resulted
in an all-time high National Rail
Passenger Survey score of 81 per cent,
leading to them winning an award for
A lot of our candidates enjoy the gig
economy and working when they want
to fit around their family and social
life, so we offer good flexibility. Our
focus is on recruiting people that are
motivated by building a career with
us and 60 per cent of our temporary
workforce often go on to work full
time with our clients. This is a fantastic
compliment and testament to the high
standards and calibre of our people.
Saving lives
Proactive’s training and development
programmes ensure that people
learn the necessary high standards in
customer service and skills for their
role. We place people in safety critical
environments and we have in-house
trainers who take candidates through
intensive training that also includes
security and suicide awareness.
Unfortunately, we are only too aware
of the sad circumstances that surround
fatalities on the railway and our
candidates have so far saved 57 lives
by identifying vulnerable people and
offering support.
Taking Proactive into the next
14 years
We are really excited about the next 14
years of helping people and we have
some exciting plans for the business.
Since we established ourselves, we
have expanded and now offer a variety
of different roles to different sectors.
I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t
worried too much about our brand
and website from an image point of
view; we’ve really just got on with
doing a really good job for our clients
and people. Over the last 12 months,
however, we have been working on a
new brand design, and a new website
will be launching soon aimed at
making life even easier for our clients
and candidates.
have so far
saved 57 lives
by identifying
people and
»Provided 700 ticket office staff
for the London 2012 Olympics
»Trusted partner in ensuring
crowd safety at the London
Marathon with our DLR partner,
providing 250 people
»Our biggest contract is London
Overground providing customer
service staff
»Recently won a contract with
Heathrow Express to provide
concierge staff Proactive’s philosophy
of customer service
excellence extends to
their client anniversary
Proactive’s Blissona
heads Bankside Pier with
Thames Clippers

This article was sponsored by Proactive. 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