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 Spektrum Events is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | SPEKTRUM EVENTS
We have worked in the events
industry for nearly 15 years
Mark Horsfield describes Spektrum Events as being a
“partner in event production”. They pride themselves on
designing, building and installing promotional spaces and
items which focus on quality, safety and sustainability. Based in
Portsmouth, Spektrum are a small, family-run business that work
with major international brands, getting their message across
to live audiences, both directly and through agency affiliations.
Mark, their managing director, tells
The Parliamentary Review
about how the company have changed over the past five years.
Five years ago, we undertook a full review of our business strategy and realised
we were often working extremely hard on projects with little to no profit. In a
difficult financial climate, we were happy to be paying salaries and bills without
having to reduce staff levels or downsize, but this was not a sustainable approach.
Longstanding members of staff were becoming tired and demoralised, working
extra hours without a pay rise for many years.
We quickly realised that our staff were Spektrum’s greatest asset and
acknowledged their combined experience in the event support sector as invaluable
for our continued success.
A time for change
For years, we completed repeat annual projects for one of our biggest clients;
each year their budget was smaller, yet they wanted more. Eventually, we had to
»Established in 2005
»Based in Portsmouth
»Services: Events management
»No. of employees: 14 full-
time, with a backup pool of
»Turnover: £1.8 million
»ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS
31SPEKTRUM EVENTS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
discuss how this was unsustainable.
We tried to cut costs and suggested
savings for them but, in the end, we
had to hold firm and regrettably lost
the contract. These were anxious
times for the management team, but
we soon discovered that our open
schedule meant that we could take
on more exciting and profitable work.
Sometimes you have to make bold
decisions and have faith in both what
you are offering and the ability of
With a new focus, new clients and
some interesting projects underway,
we set about a programme of
employee training. This allowed us to
highlight areas that would add value to
our capabilities and develop our team’s
skillset. This in turn renewed their
motivation and saw them start to take
immense pride in their work.
Working across the events industry for
nearly 15 years, we have dealt with a
huge variety of projects, clients and
venues, all of which have different
requirements and standards. As part
of our structural overhaul, we decided
to obtain useful accreditations to
show our compliance with the vast
number of regulatory and statutory
obligations that companies like ours
We initially gained our SafeContractor
accreditation to show our compliance
with health and safety legislation and
our commitment to the welfare of our
staff. This immediately presented us
with new opportunities, filling current
and prospective clients with confidence
in us as a supplier. They now know
that we reliably undertake work in the
safest possible way and are able to
provide our expert advice with regard
to methodology, material selection and
We then took further steps to
becoming fully accredited, obtaining
ISO accreditation for quality, health and
safety and environmental management.
Not only has this broadened our
client base and allowed us to get
involved with prestigious projects, but
the systems put in place to meet BSI
standards make day-to-day work far
more agreeable and inspire our staff.
One of our bespoke
have to make
and have faith
in both what
you are offering
and the ability
of your staff
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | SPEKTRUM EVENTS
It isn’t easy being small
There are a lot of frustrations and
difficulties for British SMEs. We find
that one of the most concerning
problems arises when working for
large multinationals; often, our efforts
feel thoroughly underappreciated and
exist solely to service their ever-more
difficult requirements. In one case, to
ensure we retained the contract, we
signed terms agreeing payment 120
days from the end of the month – with
this being one of our larger clients, we
had no alternative at that time other
than to go down the route of invoice
factoring, reducing the original value
of the contract. Although this helped
with cashflow at the time, it did cost us
more than £100,000 over three years,
money we could have instead spent on
extra staff, training and equipment.
The other main factor negatively
affecting our productivity is the area’s
incredibly slow internet speed. Even
though we are based in Portsmouth,
one of the most densely populated cities
in the country, it is incredibly insufficient.
After five years of enquiries, we have
been told once more that “solutions
are still being explored”. Consequently,
we have just spent over £10,000 to
have a dedicated line installed; this
stops staff from having to go home
to gain reasonably fast internet access
and increases our productivity rather
than wasting precious time watching
spinning cursors and loading icons.
Controlled growth and
We have always relied on word of
mouth and recommendations to accrue
new business, and we recognise that this
only works if every job we do meets or
exceeds the expectations of our clients.
For this reason, we believe that slow and
controlled growth is our way forward;
we’ve seen first hand how stressful and
chaotic it can be when companies take
on too much work and end up having
to compromise on quality.
We have tightened our belts and
realigned both who we work for and
how we operate. This has allowed
for investment in our facilities and
equipment alongside our staff and their
development needs. We feel this recent
investment, along with a large-scale
restructure of our operational framework,
has put us in a great place to face the
challenges that lie ahead. By working to
various ISO standards, we feel proud that
we continue to work in a thoughtful,
safe and sustainable way, and keep
quality at the heart of our business.
We have always
relied on word
to accrue new
A Spektrum pop-up café An abstract Christmas tree
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.