The Business Bulletin - Issue 201 - 27th May 2013

Thank you for all the responses to our coffee competition. The prize-winners will be receiving their prizes in the next 7 days.
Allen Cox - t +44 (0)28 9127 3923
m +44 (0)7709 556434

TEA Types....
This week we look at the Main Tea Types....  and we have another competition this week
Black tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are plucked and allowed to ferment. The fermentation is what gives the leaves that dark colour and rich flavour, a bit like fruit that has been dried.
Green tea also comes from the camellia sinensis plant. Once plucked, it is either roasted (in something that resembles a giant wok) or steamed like veggies. This prevents fermentation, creating a much more delicate fresh flavour.
Herbals, strictly speaking, are not actually teas as they do not contain the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, therefore they are known as infusions.
Rooibos tea (pronounced “roy boss”), also known as red tea or redbush tea. This tea comes from the Cedar Valley, deep in the heart of South Africa. Rich in antioxidants and naturally caffeine free, it can be enjoyed with or without milk.
White tea is often referred to as the purest, most natural form of tea. The top bud is plucked during a very short period every April in the Fujian province in China, and withered naturally in the sun. This non-fermented tea is light and aromatic.
Oolong tea also known as blue tea, is part fermented tea. Unlike green tea, oolong tea has been allowed to ferment for a short period of time, but not as long as black tea, giving it a unique and special character in between the two.

So here's this week's competition and there's a prize for the first six correct answers....

Question – What plant does tea come from?
a/ Camellia synopsis
b/ Camellia sinensis
c/ Camellia japonica

Send your answer to

Nigel Clarke has spent seven years researching, calling and cataloguing the phone menus of several hundred companies. 

Sunday Telegraph  Jessica Winch - 17 May 2013

If spending 10 minutes trying to navigate through an automated call centre gives you nightmares, imagine making 12,000 calls to these centres over seven years.

Nigel Clarke, an IT manager, documented each call to build a database of “shortcuts” to help people skip the endless lists of call centre options at leading companies.

He found that some firms had more than 80 options in their phone menus, with up to seven levels of menu to work through – something he described as “the modern equivalent of Dante’s circles of hell”.

It comes as research by consumer group Which? also found problems with call centre phone systems.

Which? investigated tested the phone systems of BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media in February and April this year. In the worst cases it took eight minutes to get through to an operator at Sky, and 17 minutes for a BT adviser to answer simple questions.

Mr Clarke, 53, said his crusade against the call centres started “naturally”, with notes taped to his computer.

He said: “I told a few friends and family and the database started to grow.

“As I researched it, I realised the reaction from people was always the same – that there were too many options, too many levels, and it took too long to get through.

“If you know what numbers to press, you can get through in seconds rather than minutes.”

For example, a Lloyds TSB home insurance customer who wants to report a water leak would normally have to spend more than four minutes wading through 78 menu options over seven levels, according to Mr Clarke.

Instead, dialling 1-3-2-1-1-5-4 as you progress through the levels will take you through in seconds.

The guide, at, lists the option menus for 560 services from 130 leading companies.

During his research, Mr Clarke also found that two thirds of companies used introductions or additional advertising between options.

Mr Clarke, who lives in Fawkham, Kent, said that with better menu design at least 3million caller hours could be saved.

He said HM Revenue & Customs was one of the worst offenders, with callers taking up to six minutes to reach the correct department.

As one of Britain’s busiest call centres, HMRC receives up to 60million calls a year.

An HMRC spokesman said the tax office was preparing to introduce speech-recognition technology this year, a solution that did not impress Mr Clarke.

“In my experience, voice recognition is hated even more than menu systems,” he said.

“If they just improved the design and published the options on their website, it would help their customers a lot.”

Richard Lloyd, Which?’s executive director, said: “It is maddening to be asked to choose from a series of options by a machine when you just want to speak to a human, especially when you want to complain.

“Six in 10 of us say we avoid using companies because of a reputation for poor customer service, so firms should try harder to get it right and stop wasting their customers’ time.”

The consumer group's research found several ways to cut through the call centre menus.

For example, randomly pressing a sequence of keys confuses Sky’s interactive voice response (IVR) system and will put you through to an operator, as will pressing the # key twice.
Which? also recommends tools on mobile phones that can help. The WeQ4u app, which can be downloaded to smartphones for free, keeps your place in a queue and calls you back when an operator is available. However, this doesn’t work for Sky customers.

TalkTalk customers can try the sales number and then ask to be transferred to customer services, and BT customers can use the same trick by dialling the “calling from overseas” number, where they will need to state their account number before being put straight through to an adviser.

If you want to avoid call centres altogether, Which? recommends using “chat” services on companies’ websites. Sky said this was the quickest way to get an answer from its customer service operators. BT claims that an adviser will respond to a web chat request within 30 seconds.

Alternatively, customers can send an email or tweet their query or complaint, which has the added advantage of providing a written record should you wish to challenge or prove communication in future.

Mr Clarke, who now works full time on the shortcuts website, has not kept count of how much he spent on the research calls.

“It’s taken quite a bit of time and money and effort, but I think it’s worthwhile,” he said.

“It was an itch I’ve been trying to scratch for many years. I knew something had to be done, and if it helps companies think about the consumer, that would be nice.”

Mr Clarke would like to see firms submitting their menu options to create a “verified” directory of shortcuts. “It’s so simple to do,” he said, “and it shows that the company cares about its customers. At least they can see the options before they dial.”

Conference: Reflecting on a decade of War and Revolution 1912-1923:

The Cause of Labour.

Saturday 15th June 2013 - Liberty Hall, Dublin
On Saturday 15th June Universities Ireland - the network of university presidents on the island of Ireland, is organising the second in a series of annual conferences to mark the seminal 1912-1923 period in Irish history.  This second conference is called Reflecting on a decade of War and Revolution in Ireland 1912-1923: the Cause of Labour and will be held in Liberty Hall, Dublin from 9.30 am. to 5.30 pm.  It is co-sponsored by The Irish Times.

We are honoured that the President of Ireland, President Michael D Higgins, will deliver the keynote address.
Other speakers will include Professor Ralph Darlington, Professor of Employment Relations at the University of Salford, who will speak on The Dublin Lock-Out in Context: the International Labour Unrest and Syndicalist Challenge; Ms Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress and Mr Padraig Yeates who will speak on 1913 – Did the wrong side win?

There will also be contributions from Dr Jacinta Prunty, NUI Maynooth (on the Dublin slums); Dr Fearghal McGarry, Queen's University Belfast (on Helena Molony); Professor Karen Hunt, Keele University (on Dora Montefiore), Mr Paul Maher (on the Dublin Metropolitan Police), Dr Andy Bielenberg, University College Cork (on William Martin Murphy) and a number of speakers on the Birth of the Irish Trade Union Movement: Mr John Gray, Belfast; Dr John Cunningham, NUI Galway and Dr Emmet O'Connor, University of Ulster.

We would be delighted if you would join us for this important conference. There will be a small charge of €12/£10 (payable at the door) to cover the cost of lunch and refreshments.

Please complete the online booking form by clicking on before Friday 7th June. If you have a colleague or student who would also be interested in attending, please pass these details and attachments to her/him. There will be no charge for students showing student identity cards.
Further details are available from the Administrator of Universities Ireland, Patricia McAllister at or 0044 (0) 28 3751 8282/1550.


Following the announcement made today by Dr. Stephen Farry MLA, Minister for Employment and Learning, we are delighted to inform you that our Next Level Leadership programme is now 100% funded for eligible candidates!

Next Level Leadership comprises of three specific support options that can be accessed individually and are tailored to the needs of participants and the needs of their organisations:

L&M Essentials (leads to the Chartered Management Institute Award in Management) is a one day master-class covering core leadership and management knowledge, skills and behaviours and includes 15 hours guided learning & individual follow–up coaching:

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The Unleashing Potential Programme (Chartered Management Institute Certificate in Management) builds on the lessons learned in the Essentials Programmeand comprises of two x 1 day master classes covering core leadership and management capabilities together with the identification of potential improvement projects to implement within your organisation and 30 hours guided learning & individual follow–up coaching:- 

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The Maximizing Effectiveness Programme (Chartered Management Institute Diploma in Management) builds on the lessons learned in the Essentials Programme and Uleashing Potential Programme and comprises of three x 1 day master classes designed to maximize leadership and management capabilities together with practical implementation of improvement projects within your organisation and 135 hours guided learning & individual follow–up coaching:-

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Countdown on for Global India Week in Belfast
Belfast will celebrate and bolster its business and cultural links to India, when it hosts 'Global India Week' in the city this June.
Taking place from 22- 29 June, one of key events of this week will be a special business conference – the Horasis Global India Business Meeting.   
Around 300 business delegates from India and Asia have been invited to this prestigious conference as well as local businesses. Among the key speakers are Anand Sharma, the Minister of Commerce and Industry for the Government of India.
The conference will take place in the Europa Hotel but the international delegates will visit other venues in the city during their visit including the City Hall and Titanic Belfast.
Belfast City Council is co-hosting the Global India Business Meeting from 23-25 June alongside Horasis and conference partner Invest NI.
The council is also organising Global India Week from 22-29 June with a wider programme of events planned to highlight all aspects of Indian culture in Belfast from Indian dance, film and food.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Gavin Robinson said: "There are many major events to look forward to in Belfast this year but Global India Week is without doubt, among the highlights. This will be a tremendous opportunity to showcase Belfast and put it in the global map as well as bolstering our international trade and investment opportunities."
For more information on Global India Week, go to or contact Belfast City Council on 028 9027 0666.

BorderBizcamp, Saturday 8th June 9.15am-4.30pm,
Monaghan M:tEK Building, Armagh Road, Monaghan.

If you shared the day with us last year, come and join us again. If you missed the day last year, definitely put this date in your diary 

Border Bizcamp is a very special business event - it's all about businesses supporting businesses in Monaghan and the border region. Its all about learning, business links.....and lovely food!! It's the kind of event which last year raised the business energy of all who attended and was a really positive reflection on business people who want to succeed in a can-do, supportive environment.

During the day-long event you will have a choice of speakers to listen to and learn from. Some will be there in person, and some will be utilising the advantages of modern technology and joining us by Skype from the USA. The organising team have been hard at work searching out speakers who are at the top of their game, who will inspire and who will share 30 minutes of their expertise and excellence in business, for the benefit of others in business or those thinking of starting in business.

This year we are proud to announce the first of our confirmed speakers:

Gary Vaynerchuk - co-founder and CEO of a social media brand consulting agency, video blogger, co-owner and director of operations of a wine retail store, and an author and public speaker on the subjects of social media, brand building and e-commerce joining us by Skype link. 

Neven Maguire - cook, author, TV presenter and chef, teacher, and food innovator. 

Una Fox - VP at Walt Disney Company Corporate Technology group with a specific focus on online marketing technologies, Brand Management and Customer Business Intelligence, organiser of LA Coder Dojo, passionate about getting more girls into technology.

George Mordaunt - MD of the Mordaunt Group (retail motor dealership), recession survivor, author and business support . 

The day is shaping up really well, so to be sure of having an opportunity to hear these powerful talks book early.

You can attend just to listen and learn from the expertise, experience and energy of a broad range of speakers contributing on a range of business themes.....or you can volunteer to speak yourself! Check out for the guidelines.

Oh and another this - it's FREE to attend.

If you would like to offer some sponsorship to this great event get in touch at

This event will be of interest to many so book early to guarantee a place. You can book your place early here. Looking forward to seeing you there.

BorderBizcamp 2013



For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.
Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.

75234 - - Tourism Mobile Apps (Android/iOS)
Publication date:  20-05-2013
Response deadline:  14-06-2013 17:00   GMT
Procedure: Open Procedure (NON OJEU)
Description: Invitation to tender (ITT) to Design, Develop and Manage Advertisers for a suite of iPhone/iOS and Android applications to act as guides for tourists visiting County Mayo, County Donegal, County Meath and/or County Sligo, which will be available to download free.
Buyer: Mayo County Council

Connecting with our values - an engagement programme
Regulatory Advisors for the Green Investment Bank
Provision of Block Student Possessions Insurance for Student Accommodation
GB-Chelmsford: Vehicle Wash
Refurbishment of Physiotherapy reception area at Bridlington
Data Processing Service
Consultancy service to provide a waste/recycling options analysis
GB-Leamington Spa: Venue Diary & Resource Management System
CHIPiR Shutter Lead Insert Assy
DECC Heating Controls Advice Trial Evaluation
Window Replacement
Video Screen Technical Consultancy Services
Refurbishment Newport Phase 2
GB-East Grinstead: Electrical & healthcare engineering support
Leisure Options Phase 1
GB-Bath: Aptamer Assay Development
GB-Bath: Replacement of Water Storage Tanks and Water Booster Plant
UK-Manchester: Energy and related services
UK-Leeds: Software package and information systems
UK-Livingston: Miscellaneous software development services and computer systems
Data Processing Service
GB-Leamington Spa: Venue Diary & Resource Management System
Video Screen Technical Consultancy Services
UK-York: Financial analysis and accounting software package
UK-Bristol: Marketing management consultancy services
UK-London: Software package and information systems
UK-Leicester: Festival organisation services
UK-Ballymena: Fleet management, repair and maintenance services
UK-London: Computer-related professional services
UK-Cardiff: Geological, geophysical and other scientific prospecting services
Hospital Marketing Tool
Clinical Reporting Tool
UK-London: Project management consultancy services
UK-Derby: Software support services
UK-Dorchester: Computer back-up services
UK-Darlington: Health services
UK-Belfast: Computer-related services
UK-Belfast: Gas-distribution network
UK-Manchester: Energy and related services
UK-Preston: Construction work for buildings relating to law and order or emergency services
UK-Harwich: Dredging and pumping works
UK-Yeovil: Windows
DK-Valby: Laboratory furniture
Refurbishment of Physiotherapy reception area at Bridlington
Window Replacement
GB-East Grinstead: Electrical & healthcare engineering support
Refurbishment Newport Phase 2
NO-Lier: Construction work for school buildings
UK-Matlock Derbyshire: Repair and maintenance services of building installations
UK-Sunderland: Site preparation work
UK-Sunderland: Bricklaying work
NO-Tønsberg: Hospital facilities construction work
UK-Welwyn Garden City: Repair and maintenance services of boilers
DK-Copenhagen: Facade work
UK-Downpatrick: Carriageway resurfacing works
UK-Leicester: Festival organisation services
The Provision of Swimming Pool Chemicals

Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

First Edition Publications, The Technology Centre,
Townsend Enterprise Park, Townsend St., BELFAST BT13 2ES 

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