• Full Power Utilities, VPMA
  • Full Power Utilities, VPMA
  • Full Power Utilities, VPMA
Latest News //
  • Petplan Veterinary Awards Practice Manager of the Year Winner 2017 - Anne Corson

    Petplan Practice Manager of the Year Winner, Anne Corson from Pennard Vets in Tonbridge, Kent demonstrates the type of work she carries out in a normal working day. Watch the Video.


    Renay Rickard, VPMA president, armed new managers with a suite of tools to help conduct appraisals with a range of practice team members during her ‘New to Management’ webinar

    Conducting appraisals causes many new managers to pale at the thought, but VPMA’s president, Renay Rickard, put minds at rest with a straightforward guide to the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of staff appraisals, during VPMA’s second New to Management webinar held on March 15.

    The message was clear from the beginning: make appraisals in your practice a positive experience and something that members of the team actually look forward to instead of dread!

    “In the early days, when I first started to do appraisals in my practice, it was viewed as an annual telling off! We want it to be a positive experience all round. We now have people coming to me and asking when their next appraisal is – that’s when you know you’re doing something right,” said Renay.

    It’s important to make your team member feel at ease and special – this is time invested in them in a busy practice where time is pressured and not everyone always gets listened to, continued Renay. “It’s important to commit to a time you’ve set – I’ll allow a time to be cancelled once but the appraisal has to go ahead the next time. It’s a big deal for the person being appraised so make sure they feel important and that your meeting is held somewhere private and uninterrupted,” she added.

    Being clear about the purpose of the appraisal and giving the reasons why you’re holding one is important for clarity and consistency among staff. Key to this, said Renay, was having a structure and procedure in place, including making your key performance criteria available to everyone – publishing them in the staff handbook in Renay’s practice.  


    Polls carried out during the webinar showed an interesting split between delegates in their concerns over conducting appraisals. When asked “What is your biggest challenge regarding appraisals?” the responses were as follows:

    33%  “Unsure how to keep emotion out of it”

    27%  “Worried about confrontation issues”

    22%  “Not having a formal process in place”

    16%  “Don’t have enough objective info”

    2%   “The team members are senior to me or at practice longer”

    When asked whether their practice had an appraisal process in place, the results showed almost one-third did not.

    62% Had a process in place

    31% Did not have a process in place

    8 % Were not sure

    The message from Renay for practices without an established appraisals process was to not be intimidated by the prospect and start one yourself. She said: “If your practice doesn’t have a review process, do start one in an informal way and do it yourself if you’re heading up a small team. Ensure that the person who does take on this task has the authority to make changes or raise issues with the bosses – there’s nothing more frustrating for staff than being promised a chat and airing their views only for it not to go any further.”

    Renay shared her protocol for appraisals, which will be distributed on the accompanying slides to webinar delegates. You may still sign up now to this and other webinars in the series; visit

    The next webinar in the series is entitled
    Difficult Team Members and Disciplinary Processes and will be delivered by Simone Taylor from Citation on April 12 at 8pm. This webinar will look at how to handle difficult team scenarios and what might be expected of you in managing a disciplinary process.

    To sign up or for more information email
    secretariat@vpma.co.uk or visit http://events-by-vpma.co.uk/

  • RCVS Strategic Plan 2017/19

    Leadership, innovation and culture change focus for three-year strategic plan

    The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has published its Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2019, with a focus on developing leadership within the veterinary professions, encouraging innovation, and further extending a learning culture as a counter to the ‘blame’ culture that exists in some parts of the profession.

    The Strategic Plan was developed throughout the course of 2016 with input from a number of stakeholders including RCVS Council and Veterinary Nurses Council, key committees and College staff. Most importantly, the evidence for change came from the wide and deep consultations that took place within Vet Futures, the joint RCVS and British Veterinary Association project that aims to help the veterinary profession prepare for and shape its future.

    This process led to the development of five key ambitions for the next three years:

    • Learning culture: to establish the extent to which a ‘blame’ culture exists in the veterinary professions, the role that the RCVS may play in it, the impact it may have on the welfare of vets, veterinary nurses, owners and their animals, and how we can move towards a culture that has a greater focus on learning and personal development.

    • Leadership and innovation: to become a Royal College with leadership and innovation at its heart, and support this creatively and with determination.

    • Continuing to be a First-rate Regulator: continuing to build on the foundations that have already been laid, we will work to ensure that the legislation and regulations that support us are not only fit for purpose today, but enable us to make the UK veterinary professions, and those allied professionals who work alongside them, the best that they can be into the future.

    • Global reach: in part a response to Brexit and the need to be more externally-facing but with an emphasis to improve animal health and welfare on an international basis by raising veterinary standards overseas, contributing to the One Health agenda and ensuring that our regulation keeps pace in a global market.

    • Our service agenda: to continue to build on our service agenda to ensure that people not only find interactions with us to be efficient and fair, but seek out and take up opportunities to engage further.

    Nick Stace, RCVS CEO, said: “The hallmark of our 2014 to 2016 Strategic Plan was getting the basics right by clarifying our identity, improving our core functions, setting out our service agenda and strengthening our foundations. The plan gave us a firm foundation to build upon and improved levels of confidence in the College from stakeholders which has allowed us to be more ambitious and outward-looking with this new plan.

    “Within the new plan there are challenging ambitions and stretching objectives that address some of the big issues affecting the veterinary team, whether that’s playing a more global role post-Brexit, the importance of embracing new technology, or the pressing need to consider culture change within the profession to ensure it continues to grow and learn.

    “I would ask each member of the profession to take a look at the Strategic Plan and I am very happy to receive comments and feedback on the plan by email at nick@rcvs.org.uk.”

    To download the Strategic Plan please visit www.rcvs.org.uk/publications

  • VPMA / SPVS Congress 2017

    Join us at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport from the 26th to 28th January 2017.

    From behaviour economics to the ultimate front of house experience; resilience to understanding mindsets; practical H&S to managing social media, with speakers from home and abroad; within and outside the profession - you don't want to miss this event.

    Incorporating the New to Management Stream: whether you're a head nurse, a lead vet in a clinical role, an administrator or client care team leader, you probably have some management elements to your job; or are you moving into management but finding it a bit daunting?  This stream is pitched at introductory level.

    For full details about Congress, click here.


Full Power Utilities

full power utilities - white-blue on black - pens

Utilities - the early bird keeps the smaller worm

Click Here

The article about gas and electricity utilities I wrote a couple of months ago was all about how crucial it is to get the dates of your utility contracts logged, to know when your Termination window is due.  The article was written to help you ensure that your current supplier does not ‘Roll’ you directly into a new 1-year contract, one that you did not sign for and at what can be punishing rates.  Avoiding that pain is being smart and organised.

This article is also about the smart utility buyer.  Anyone who is not aware of the price rises in utilities is almost certainly a hermit.  So, assuming that you are aware of the rises and you do the buying for your organisation, you know that you are as busy as anyone in business and you have to balance the demands of tasks to be done with the interruptions that are not expected, but which become urgent just because they are put in front of you.  The difficult part for any buyer is to be motivated to do something early, when almost everything is already under at least some degree of pressure.  Similarly, something you know little or nothing about is plain intimidating, so here is some information you probably do not have that may motivate you to think a little differently.

Question.   Imagine that, just as an example, petrol prices zig-zag up and down but in general consistently rise, if you could buy your petrol at today’s price and lock in to that one price for a full 3 years ... would you?  If the answer is yes and you had to lock in to your petrol price before a given date, you would probably try to arrange that price as early as possible, to get the lowest price secured before the market rises on you.  Every time this question is posed to a group of business people the answer is the same;  ‘Of course we would take the lowest price, as early as possible and fix into that price for as long as possible.  Prices only go up.’

Well you cannot do that for petrol, unfortunately ... BUT ... you can for your business electricity and gas contracts ... AND ...  What is not common knowledge is that you can organise your electricity / gas contracts, not just months but up to a year ahead, secure a price at today’s rate and fix for up to 3 years for electricity or 5 years for gas. Don’t wait for your supplier to contact you just a few months before your current contract ends, look now or as early as you can.  It pays dividends.  Overlapping your contracts with one running to completion whilst the replacement is already set up and waiting to take its place, is the smart buyer’s way of keeping costs down.

One final reason to do it right now.  It is summer time.  Gas and electricity prices are closely linked and we have just had a really mild winter so there is loads of gas in storage that the suppliers have to get rid of.  Prices are actually lower than 2013 but it will not last. In September the winter prices will start to feed into the pricing and the price  climb will be on.

Quite probably you will not try to do this yourself, because you have forgotten everything you learned the last time you did all that and now it’s all too complicated again, you’re too busy, it gets put off etc ... so ... That single phone call?  Call your broker and ask them to do it for you.  Just for once, being an early bird and getting a small worm is a good thing.

For VPMA Members.

Juliette Stone is one of the the Brokers at Full Power Utilities Ltd and personally deals with all VPMA members. Their service is whole-of-market (all 26 suppliers), UK-wide and with no fee charged to the member, as the supplier pays them a commission.  Each supplier pays them much the same, allowing them to be impartial.   Customers include Dominos Pizza, Costa Coffee, BMW right through to factories, warehouses, restaurants and veterinary practices. Go to www.fullpowerutilities.com or call 020 8952 0125.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

From each contract, new or renewal, organised by Full Power Utilities Ltd for a VPMA member, VPMA receives 25% of their income which is used for VPMA member benefits.