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UK’s Best Boss rewarded

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The Parents at Work and Lloyds TSB Best Boss competition 2002 has been won by a City of London financial manager and father of two – Ian Barnard, Head of Benefits at Cogent Investment Operations Ltd based in Moorgate, London.

Cogent is a leader in outsourcing investment operations, administering in excess of £143bn on behalf of more than 70 clients in the UK, Europe and Australasia. As a financial institution based in the Square Mile of London, Cogent and its staff operate flexible working practices within the long-working hours culture that still pervades much of the City.

Ian Barnard said: “Our company culture is progressive in terms of human resources policy so it made sense to suggest the introduction of flexible working practices. We can now provide cover for longer periods of the business day and we are better equipped to handle the peaks and troughs of business. This is a great example of how teamwork has played a role in achieving business results. Most of my team work nine day fortnights and we have found that working from home has been beneficial for all parties. Importantly for the business, productivity has risen and the extra twenty days “holiday” that staff now enjoy – owing to compressed working – has had a positive effect on staff retention.”

Ian was nominated by three members of his team – Suzanne Dytham, David Reed and Mandeep Gill. They all agreed about why Ian should be Best Boss: “Ian’s a flexible boss and, as a father of two, has been particularly understanding of the pressures on working parents. He has championed flexible working within Cogent by introducing annualised hours, homeworking, remote and part-time working.”

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive (job-share) of PARENTS AT WORK, said: “We are really pleased to have Ian as our Best Boss this year. Our Quality of Life in the City research has shown us that many parents would like to use flexible working to break out of the long-hours, ‘macho’ working culture that predominates in the City, and Ian has shown that it can be done. The fact that Cogent has also benefited from higher productivity, greater flexibility and lower staff turnover should help to convince other organisations that this is a good way forward for families and employers alike.”

Sally Evans, acting Head of Equal Opportunities at Lloyds TSB, said: “As well as being impressive, Ian’s nomination was unusual – a City boss, working for a financial institution in the Square Mile, operating what can sometimes be thought of as ‘fluffy’ working practices in the steely world of City finance. But it was clear to the judges that Ian’s introduction of flexible working has benefited the company and the staff and we felt his drive for a win-win situation has been achieved.”

The Runner Up to Britain’s Best Boss is Madi Sharma, MD of Original Eastern Foods Ltd in Birmingham. Special Commendations went to:
– Karen Billany, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust for Building Trust and Staff Morale through communication and flexibility
– Heather Foote, Britannia Building Society for Exceptional Leadership and the Introduction of Trail Blazing Practices
– Sharon McNamara, Jersey Evening Post for Ability to work with a team to find solutions to problems

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