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Latest News


For most, figuring out parenting and your career is difficult. It can be even more so if you are an LGBT parent. Peter Keenan-Gavaghan explains how the support from his organisation enabled him and his husband to make the leap into parenthood while growing his career. Balancing a career and a family is always a juggling act. However, when your family does not fit the traditional model, it can also prove to be a minefield for all concerned, especially at work. Societal expectations of parental roles, parental names and second glances are only a few of the factors that need to be thought about before LGBT people become parents. Despite having made the decision to have children early in our relationship, it took my husband and I eight years before our son arrived into the world. With both of us being working professionals, the process of family planning started in the traditional way: how do we balance parenthood, careers and our relationship? We quickly realised that we also needed to consider society. In the end, some of it came down to practicalities, and some came down to our own values, preferences and external supports.  Parental leave One area we had to consider was managing early childcare. My firm gives enhanced paid parental leave regardless of gender and this played a big part in our decision that I would be the stay at home dad for the first seven months of our son's life, with my husband returning to work on a reduced work week. Without the seven-month paid parental leave from my firm, our family would be much different position starting out – and certainly disadvantaged compared to mums going on leave. It’s important that not only the people in an organisation are supportive to LGBT families, but that the support is reflected in the HR policies and procedures. Creating a network We always knew we would need to navigate the potential assumptions from colleagues and clients that there is a ‘mum’ at home. We quickly realised that if social assumptions were to change, we needed to be proud of our family, and not place each other back in the closet. Having same-sex parents is nothing new in Barclays. Indeed, when we were investigating how we would become parents, one of the first ports of call was Barclays LGBT network, Spectrum. There we got a greater understanding of fostering, adoption and surrogacy. The network also holds regular talks on ‘non-traditional' parenting to educate colleagues on how they can become parents and continue to build their career. While nothing would have stopped my husband and me from having our son, the information and support gained from the LGBT network in my organisation eased the process for us (as much as to-be parents can be eased when planning for their first) and normalises families like ours to colleagues and clients. Before going on paternity leave, my team did the traditional baby gift presentation and I was invited to expectant parents’ events. This not only showed support but also demonstrated inclusivity. Talent retention What I have found since going back to work is that I have become more focused and flexible. Because Barclays gave me the information on parental leave, the precious first months with my son, and the flexibility to alter my working hours to the typical parent’s life without judgements or assumptions, they have retained a committed employee and have helped create a happy family. Peter Keenan-Gavaghan is Vice President of Barclays Internal Audit – RFT & Functions Technology.

Jun 22, 2020
Press release

Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a set of new measures to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy. Alan Gourley, Chair of NI Tax Committee, Chartered Accountants Ireland gave his initial reaction, commenting “The key measures announced in the Summer Statement today are designed to encourage consumers to get back out spending and to have the confidence to enjoy a meal out, buy a home and return workers to regular employment. “Today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the economy in Northern Ireland.  We have the same Stamp Duty Land Tax system as England so Northern Ireland will benefit from the increase from £125,000 to £500,0000 of the zero-rate threshold, a saving of £2,500 on a home costing £250,000. “This zero-rate threshold in addition to measures like the reduced 5% VAT rate for hospitality services, the innovative “eat out to help out scheme” and the jobs retention bonus are all time bound incentives due to expire early next year at the latest. This will hopefully encourage consumers to have the confidence and the money to resume spending in 2020. This can only be a good thing as local businesses in Northern Ireland really need consumer support to get back on track.  “These incentives, combined with a sensible approach to social distancing will help as the economy tries to navigate the post-COVID-19 recovery.” Highlights include:  Jobs retention bonus will be paid to employers from 1/11/2020 to 31/1/21 - £1k bonus per furloughed employee who is returned to work - employee must be paid at least £520 per month on average between Nov 2020 and Jan 2021.  Payments will be made from February 2021. Stamp duty land tax on residential properties – 0% threshold will be raised to £500,000 (currently £125,000) until 31/3/2020 – effective from today for England and NI. VAT on hospitality – food (eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs),  accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites) and attractions (cinemas, theme parks and zoos) cut from 20% to 5% from next Wednesday until 12 January 2021. For month of August – “eat out to help out” discount - meals eaten at any participating business, from Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children. Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a website, open next Monday. Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days.  

Jul 08, 2020

Paul Henry, Director of Osborne King and President of Chartered Accountants Ireland has been named as Chair of CCAB for 2020/22. CCAB (The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies) is an umbrella group of the accountancy profession in the UK and has a combined membership worldwide of 408,000. Its core purpose is to promote sustainable growth in the economy through the accountancy profession. Paul Henry takes over as Chair from Mike McKeon CA, President of ICAS (the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland). During his two year tenure, Paul will lead the CCAB’s work in identifying and capitalising on the opportunities that the rapid pace of change in the business and accountancy world brings in 2020. Equally he will lead the CCAB’s response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 for its members and the wider business community.  Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: “I look forward to engaging with as many members and stakeholders as possible in the coming months to help our profession to adapt to all the changes that affect us, from rapid technological advancements to increased regulatory requirements. This of course all takes place in the context of a business community worldwide that is facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the way we all live and conduct business.  “Another area of focus for me in the coming 2 years will be strengthening the reputation of our industry to ensure that we can attract the best and brightest individuals. The lifeblood of any profession is the young talent that chooses to join its ranks.” Paul Henry is a Director with Belfast based property consultancy Osborne King and has extensive experience of real estate, insolvency and corporate finance. A resident of Belfast, he qualified with Pricewaterhouse in 1989. Prior to his current role, he held positions with the Industrial Development Board, Enterprise Equity, PricewaterhouseCoopers and ASM Chartered Accountants.  He also served as Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society in 2014.  The CCAB was established in 1988 to coordinate the representation functions of the participant professional bodies in areas of common interest to the profession. It has a number of committees which respond to Government and regulatory initiatives in their respective areas.

Jul 07, 2020