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A Week in the Life of an Accreditation Officer with Lynn Cunningham

Posted: 2017-07-31 16:30:25

A Week in the Life of an Accreditation Officer with Lynn Cunningham



Monday, July 17

Beautiful bright morning in Dundee and I’m busy planning my diary. Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown MSP’s recent visit to Dundee generated huge interest in the real Living Wage when he congratulated Wise Group on becoming Scotland’s 845th accredited employer. I’m using this momentum to set up meetings with all the contacts I made during this ‘845 moment’.

Meanwhile, a big part of my job is explaining the difference between the real Living Wage and the National Living Wage. Today was no exception when I was asked for further clarification from a leading Dundee company. For the record  … the real Living Wage of £8.45/hour is calculated independently, is voluntary and applies to workers 18+. The National Living Wage of £7.50/hour is the new name for the National Minimum Wage. It is set by the UK Government and is the legal minimum an employer can pay an employee aged 25+ 



Tuesday, July 18

Caught the early train to check out the Poverty Alliance’s new office in Hope Street, Glasgow. Very impressed - it’s bright, spacious and still very central. And I met Julie McGahan, the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative  (SLWAI) Programme Manager for Scotland who has just returned from maternity leave. My post is Dundee based and is specifically a new resource to support companies in the NE of Scotland to achieve Living Wage accreditation. And thank you to Dundee City Council which has provided office space for me in the City Square. J

After our team meeting the rest of the day was spent catching up on emails and confirming meetings in Aberdeen on Friday. Probably the hottest day ever in Glasgow! Got back to a cool Dundee breeze and enjoyed a good long walk with my wee dug Puk.



Wednesday, July 19

A Dundee-based day and the sun has gone! But my day is brightened up considerably by two positive meetings with large companies in the City, where I explained the business benefits of being an accredited living wage employer. Accreditation sends a strong message about company values, which in turn makes it easier to recruit – and retain –  top quality staff.

And while these are important plus points, accreditation also has an impact on the wider supply chain, capturing third party contract workers (eg. cleaners and security staff).  A good rule of thumb is – if they are on your site for two hours in any day, then they are most likely in the scope of your accreditation. Where there are suppliers with whom employers have long contracts with, we help to negotiate a reasonable date for those staff to get the real Living Wage.



Thursday, July 20

Highlight of my week was helping Dundee Association for Mental Health celebrate becoming an accredited Living Wage employer. A fantastic organisation that really does make a difference to the lives of the people it supports. The celebration was held at DAMH’s allotment on Dundee Law with its beautiful willow tree arch, which gives name to DAMH’s Willow Centre. The view over Dundee and across to Fife was stunning. Cllr Clare Short came along with me and we heard about DAMH’s green therapy programme – WOW – such dedication and commitment from staff.

After all that excitement and fresh air I was so happy to be meeting my friend and ex-colleague Jacqui, a careers expert, for lunch at Henry’s in the Square. It was a good catch-up and lunch, and even warm enough to sit outside. And after lunch it was an afternoon at my desk for emails and calls. 



Friday, July 21

Off to Aberdeen for a busy day of meetings, going up the coast road in glorious sunshine. First stop was with Paul Gellately, head of HR for Serco Northlink Ferries. Having just submitted their Living Wage accreditation application, I met with Paul to “dot the is and cross the ts”. The meeting was held on the Shetland ferry and happy to say all was good. But even more so, by showing leadership and committing to accreditation, Northlink Ferries has ensured an additional 80 staff supplied by its sub-contractor now also benefit from a Living Wage.

Thereafter, a couple of other positive meetings, and at the end of the day the opportunity to meet with Aberdeen Cyrenians who recently became an accredited Living Wage employer. Everyone I spoke to today really understood how paying people a decent wage – a Living Wage – makes the communities they live and work in stronger.  



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