Edinburgh-based Beeline PR specialises in:

Public Relations | Crisis and Reputation Management | Brand Building

We can:

create maximum impact through strategic communications

raise the awareness of your brand or organisation

support your business objectives

identify and communicate with target audiences

provide white-label services for other creative agencies


About Beeline PR

Debbie Byers


Debbie was Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in Scotland 2009/10 and also scooped the CIPR Award for Best PR Consultant under the age of 30 in Scotland in 1998.

Debbie Byers, Director

Debbie Byers established Beeline PR in September 2011.  The independent agency works with corporate clients and consumer brands as well as other creative agencies looking for strategic PR and business development support.  Services include brand building, media relations, business-to-business marketing support, crisis communications and reputation management, stakeholder and political engagement and social media strategy.

Each client is provided with a strategic tailored approach to both its campaign planning and the dedicated team selected to implement the activity.  Beeline PR is affiliated to a number of organisations and consultants to create positive working relationships for the benefit of the client.   

With almost two decades of experience, Debbie worked for leading PR consultancies in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow before establishing Beeline PR in September 2011.

She is a business degree graduate and the past Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in Scotland representing its 750-strong membership from the private, public and charitable sectors.

Debbie has fostered a broad experience across consumer, business-to-business and corporate campaigns as well as issue-led media relations working across all sectors from financial and professional services to food and drink. 

She also provides pro bono support to the venture philanthropy charity, Inspiring Scotland.

Peter Ranscombe, Consultant and Corporate Writer

Peter Ranscombe, Consultant and Corporate Writer

Peter spent nine years as a journalist with The Scotsman newspaper, including three years writing for and helping to edit the professional pages - such as Science & Environment, Education & Learning, and Law & Legal Affairs - and six years on the business desk, writing about life science companies, technology firms and university spin-outs. His articles have also appeared in the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Herald, the Sunday Post and the Sunday Times.

As the editor of BQ Scotland and a commissioned corporate copywriter, Peter writes across a broad range of subjects from entrepreneurs, investment finance, renewable energy, technology and law.  He is a dedicated consultant to Beeline PR’s clients Pyreos and Keenan Recycling. 

Peter holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in physics from the University of St Andrews and a master's degree in journalism studies, awarded jointly by Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde.

Colin Hutchison, Consultant on Tiso Group

Colin Hutchison, Consultant on Tiso Group

Before he could barely walk, Colin was on family trips that explored the beaches and remoter parts of Scotland’s highlands and islands. A few decades later, the Edinburgh-based PR and writer has more than 15 years’ experience, including within the sport and adventure tourism sectors.

A keen alpine skier, kayaker, mountain-biker, climber and hiker, he has written extensively about Scotland and the great outdoors for the national and specialist media.  A former outdoor adventure columnist for the Sunday Herald, he has also co-authored / contributed to several international travel guidebooks about Scotland, including Footprint, Rough Guide Highlands & Islands and Frommer’s Best Walking Trips in Scotland. 

Making Colin the perfect candidate to support Beeline PR on the PR account for Scotland’s leading outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, Tiso - as well as the charitable initiatives it supports including, The Polar Academy.

Irene Moore, London Consultant

Irene Moore, London Consultant

Irene is Beeline PR’s London-based consultant working across consumer and lifestyle brands.  She is a PR and Digital Communications specialist with more than a decade of experience working on some of the world’s most loved beauty, FMCG and luxury lifestyle brands including NYX Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Maybelline, Bobbi Brown, Revlon, Eylure, Sean John and Lotus cars to name but a few.
She is currently supporting Beeline PR on its campaign for Scotland’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of luxury toiletries, lifestyle products and gifts, Arran Aromatics.
Irene is also the Founding Director of the training consultancy, Digital Marketing London providing clients with the online tools and techniques to build their brand equity.

Sarah Howden, Consultant

Sarah Howden, Consultant

Sarah is a PR consultant and journalist with more than 15 years’ experience in media, PR, marketing and events for retail and luxury brands.
Having worked in some of Scotland’s top PR consultancies, she specialises in creative results-driven multi-media campaigns spanning media relations, marketing, digital and social communications.
Sarah also spent several years working for the Scotsman Publications as a columnist, lifestyle journalist and magazine editor.  She is currently a beauty columnist for the Edinburgh Evening News, a regular contributor to Scottish national glossy, i-on, and continues to write for publications including the Press & Journal, the Scottish Sun, Tie the Knot Scotland and Glamour.com. 

Eve Robertson, Consultant – Consumer / Lifestyle / Luxury PR

Eve Robertson, Consultant – Consumer / Lifestyle / Luxury PR

Eve has more than 16 years’ consumer, lifestyle and luxury PR experience having directed UK campaigns for some of Scotland’s most well known brands.  This encompassed media relations, sponsorship, brand partnerships and event management.

She worked in an agency environment for more than a decade before working with Debenhams as the Senior PR Manager for Scotland and Ireland. 

Eve is an extremely enthusiastic and well-regarded PR that prides herself in producing very creative yet realistic campaigns for clients.

How we can help

As a small PR business with a carefully managed portfolio of clients, Beeline PR can offer senior level support and commitment at all times.  In addition to working with our own clients, we provide a white-label service to other PR consultancies and creative agencies that need support driving busy projects or assistance with securing new business.

Current clients

Click on the client logo to find out more

Beeline PR client experience has also included:

Gardens Galore
Graham's The Family Dairy
Nick Nairn Cook School
Rare Whisky 101
Scottish Dental Show 2014
Turcan Connell

Our partners

Beeline PR works with a number of partners to pollinate creative ideas while project managing campaigns for its clients:

Digital/Social Media
Digital/social media
Direct Marketing
Direct Marketing
Public Affairs
Public Affairs
Contract Publishing
Contract Publishing

News from Beeline

Bar Soba serves up expansion plan after £3m BGF investment

6 December 2016

Bar Soba serves up expansion plan after £3m BGF investment

Bar Soba, the Glasgow-based bar and restaurant chain, is preparing to open a further seven restaurants following a £3m investment by BGF (Business Growth Fund) and the appointment of industry veteran Mohan Mansigani as chair.

The company, which already has five sites spread across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds, will initially target Scotland and the North of England and is already considering a number of sites in key cities including Aberdeen, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.  It will then focus its efforts on expanding further afield.
Founder and CEO Brad Stevens launched the brand at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1997 as a pop-up restaurant.
He opened his first permanent Bar Soba outlet on Mitchell Lane in Glasgow and has since expanded into premises in Glasgow’s Byres Road and Merchant City, as well as on Hanover Street in Edinburgh and Merrion Street in Leeds.
His business, which serves creative cocktails and South-East Asian street dishes in a vibrant atmosphere, is on course to turn over in excess of £6m during the current financial year.
Bar Soba has an ambition to become a truly national brand and one of the few born in Scotland to then grow south of the border.  This first stage of investment from BGF is supporting its immediate growth, while the business plans to grow to 30 sites.
Brad Stevens, CEO and founder of Bar Soba, said: “I’m really excited about our ambitious expansion plans and that we’ve found the right partner to provide the funding and expertise we need to accelerate our growth.
“Expanding to 12 city centre locations will allow even more drinkers and diners to enjoy our combination of indulgent cocktails, freshly prepared street food inspired by the night markets of South East Asia and music.  We have been researching locations we feel will suit the Bar Soba offering but are always open to hear ideas from others.”
As well as providing the growth capital to fuel Bar Soba’s expansion, BGF introduced the business to industry heavy-hitter Mohan Mansigani, who has been appointed as non-executive chair.
He served as chief finance officer at Casual Dining Group – the company behind brands including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Belgo – from 2002 until 2014, having previously worked as finance director at Costa Coffee and TGI Fridays and in senior finance roles at Grand Metropolitan and Pizza Hut.
Mohan Mansigani, chair of Bar Soba, said: “I’ve worked with some really vibrant brands during my career and I see many of the same elements in the DNA of Bar Soba.
“Brad Stevens and his team have created bars with a strong personality and a relaxed dining style that runs through all of their venues.  I have been very impressed with the food quality and fantastic range of drinks.
“I’m looking forward to working with Brad to help him fulfil his ambitions for the business, which I believe will prove to be just as popular in the North of England and further afield as it has been in its Scottish heartland.”
BGF’s existing UK investments in the leisure and hospitality sectors include Mexican restaurant group Barburrito, tapas brand Camino, and Thai chain Giggling Squid.
Patrick Graham, an investor with BGF heading up activity in the central belt of Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “Our team at BGF was attracted to Bar Soba’s business model – the bars serve a wide range of unique cocktails all created in-house and fresh Asian food during the day though to the evening, when DJs and other live music add to the atmosphere.
“That combination of the lunchtime trade transitioning through into cocktails and live music means that the outlets are busy throughout the day and night.
“The Bar Soba concept appeals to students and young professionals, which ties in well with the target geographies in the north of England and beyond.  BGF looks forward to supporting the business through its expansion.”
BGF was set up with £2.5bn to invest in privately-owned and Alternative Investment Market quoted companies that have revenues of between £5m and £100m.
In return for an initial investment of typically between £2m and £10m, BGF takes a minority equity stake in the business.
The company can also provide follow-on investment and access to its Talent Network of entrepreneurs who can give advice to its portfolio of companies.
Advisors to the transaction:
For BGF: MMS (Legal)
For Bar Soba: CMS (Legal), Henderson Loggie (Corporate Finance)
Arran Aromatics unveils new brand to drive global growth

2 December 2016

Arran Aromatics unveils new brand to drive global growth 

Arran Aromatics, Scotland's leading manufacturer of luxury toiletries, lifestyle products and gifts, has unveiled its new brand identity – ARRAN Sense of Scotland - to drive international sales growth.

The brand’s premium transformation will help the company to cement its position as one of Scotland’s most-loved brands and help to introduce the label to consumers in an even broader range of countries.
Janet and the late Iain Russell founded the business in 1989 on the Isle of Arran off the West Coast of Scotland.  All of its products – including bath and body ranges, skin care, fragrances and scented candles - are still made and hand-finished in Scotland, before being sold in more than 30 countries.
For the past 18 months, CEO Jacqui Gale and the team have been quietly working on re-launching the brand.  All the packaging has been re-designed, some new products and gift packaging have been created, along with a completely new Christmas range including a stunning advent calendar.
The brand has not removed anyone’s favourite fragrance and still includes its best seller After the Rain.  Although many of the products have been given new names associated with the inspiration of the island and every formulation has been improved.
ARRAN has annual revenues of around £6m and employs 120 staff across its manufacturing facility on Arran, logistics centre in Dundonald, eight stores, including the newly-refurbished flagship store on George Street in Edinburgh, and many concessions.
The business also creates bespoke products for several hotel groups, including The Auchrannie Hotel & Spa on Arran, Cameron House, Cromlix, the DeVere Group and Macdonald Hotels.
Jacqui Gale joined the business as its CEO in March 2015, prior to which she was chief executive of Crabtree&Evelyn’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  During her career, she has also worked with brands such as Lulu Guinness shoes, Pretty Polly bras and Revlon Cosmetics, as well as improving the performance of clothing manufacturer Russell Europe prior to its takeover by Fruit of the Loom and leading the growth of clothes distributor Falk & Ross Group Europe.
Jacqui Gale, CEO at ARRAN, said:  “I am incredibly proud to unveil ARRAN’s exciting new branding, which provides a contemporary image while still celebrating the label’s provenance and deep roots in Scotland.
“This is a watershed moment for the business, as the new brand will help to introduce our product range to even more overseas consumers, while also giving our loyal customers at home a fresh take on some of their favourite products.
“Introducing this new brand is part of our exciting plans for growth, which will help ARRAN to fulfil its potential.”
Founder Janet Russell, added:  “I have lived on the Isle of Arran for more than 40 years and raised my family there.  When my children were young I started producing ARRAN products in the kitchen of our family cottage in 1989.  I’m so proud that our beautiful Scottish hand-finished products are now available around the world.”
Visit ARRAN.com
BGF realises successful exit from Stevenswood

29 November 2016

BGF realises successful exit from Stevenswood 

BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital, has successfully exited its investment in Stevenswood after a deal was completed for Stevenswood to acquire Polyframe Trade Centres Limited (“PTC”) continuing it’s ambition to build a UK-wide trade counter business. 

BGF invested £3.6m in the Livingston-based business in February 2015 in return for a minority stake.

BGF’S funding allowed Stevenswood to rapidly expand its network of trade counters from five to 15 throughout Scotland.

During BGF’s involvement, the company has opened outlets in Anniesland, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Govan, Inverness, Stirling as well as Leith and Sighthill in Edinburgh.

Revenues have risen from £10m in 2013-14 to £18m in 2015-16.  News of the deal comes just weeks after BGF revealed that the size of its investments across the UK had broken through the £1bn mark following an £11m investment in holiday park operator Coppergreen Developments, which allowed it to buy the Piperdam golf and leisure resort near Dundee.

BGF investor Patrick Graham, who served on the board of Stevenswood, said: “The favourable return we have realised from our investment in Stevenswood will allow us to continue supporting other fast-growing Scottish companies.

“This is an excellent example of how BGF can help high-growth businesses - our capital helped unlock significant opportunities for Stevenswood to fuel its expansion.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with managing director Ron Hepburn and his team over the last 18 months to grow this highly-successful business and I wish them every success for the future.”

Ron Hepburn, managing director at Stevenswood, added: “The growth capital and expertise that BGF brought to the table helped us to expand our business much more quickly than we would have been able to on our own.

“Opening ten trade counters in just under two years has really transformed Stevenswood into a national brand and no doubt brought us to the attention of other players in the market. As a result, it helped open up the opportunity to combine Stevenswood with PTC to create a group with 26 trade counters across the UK.

“I’m looking forward to the next stage of Stevenswood’s development as we continue to grow our UK presence.”

As well as investing cash in the business, BGF also introduced expertise and advice in the form of Graham as investment director, David Pearson as chairman and Murray McGarvie as finance director. 

Pearson is a former group commercial director of Focus Wickes, while McGarvie is an experienced finance director with a proven track record in both manufacturing and retail businesses.  

Stevenswood was founded in 1997 by Hepburn and his now retired business partner, Dave Flynn, initially focussing on the installation of windows and doors. It was the first company in Scotland to offer 70mm fully-sculptured frames, which are now the industry standard.

15 November 2016

BGF reaches £1 billion invested

More than 150 businesses now backed by BGF, including 17 in Scotland

BGF (Business Growth Fund), the UK’s most active provider of growth capital, has passed £1 billion in committed investments to entrepreneurial businesses across Britain.

An £11 million investment in holiday park operator Coppergreen Developments, which has been used to support the acquisition of Dundee-based Pipperdam Golf and Leisure Resort, brings the total amount invested by BGF to over £1 billion.

The firm is on track to invest more than £370m this year, compared to £250m in 2015.

More than 150 small and mid-sized companies have taken BGF funding since October 2011, including Scotland-based M Squared Lasers, Stevenswood Doors and Windows, Keenan Recycling and MorphCostumes. 

More than £700 million of the £1billion has been invested outside of London and the South East including £127 million in 17 businesses across Scotland. 

Nationally, BGF invested more than £100m in the third quarter of 2016, compared to £60m in the same quarter last year. According to Beauhurst, BGF was the top institutional investor in the three months following the EU Referendum by number of deals completed, against a backdrop of an overall slowdown in investment activity. 

Collectively, the businesses backed by BGF employ 25,000 people nationwide – a number which would make it the UK’s eighth largest private sector employer.

Patrick Graham, Investor, Scotland, BGF said:

“BGF has established itself as the leading provider of long-term capital in the UK. We are proud to have backed 17 great companies in Scotland - and we know that we have only just scratched the surface. 

“While growing businesses will be affected in different ways and to varying degrees during the Brexit negotiations and beyond, our long-term approach means that we have no intention of slowing down our new activity or support for the companies we back.” 

BGF makes long-term investments in small to mid-sized businesses in return for a minority stake. The companies it backs are privately-owned or listed on AIM, and typically have revenues of between £5m and £100m. 

1 November 2016

ARRAN Launch A Sense of Christmas Advent Calendar

Ditch the morsels of chocolate this year and indulge in little beauty luxuries instead with ARRAN’s decadent advent calendar, A Sense of Christmas. Featuring pampered treats from Scotland’s leading designer of luxury toiletries, ARRAN’s most-loved collections behind each advent door, A Sense of Christmas is set to add a touch of festive glamour to any mantelpiece.

ARRAN’s luxurious advent calendar’s 24 generously sized goodies takes beauty aficionados and the pamper seekers on a winter journey of the senses with themed collections embodying the feel of the season. Housed within a stunning Christmas box featuring a festive landscape from Arran, with the opening of each door you can step away from everyday life to discover a secret Arran escape, an unspoiled space within the island’s winter landscapes. 

Janet Russell, founder of ARRAN, commented on the A Sense of Christmas launch: “Last year’s advent calendar was immensely popular so we wanted to create an even better experience – a different and exciting body and skincare experience every single morning throughout December.  The result is A Sense of Christmas.

“With the opening of each door you can step away from everyday life to discover a secret Arran escape, an unspoiled space within the Scottish island’s beautiful winter landscapes.” 

From the best-selling After the Rain collection which is inspired by the atmospheric, fresh garden scent following a rain storm, there’s a body lotion, bath & shower gel, shampoo and conditioner (each 30ml) as well as the fragranced soap awaiting, all with the irresistibly fresh fragrance. Containing essential oils of lime, lavandin, mandarin, juniper and cardamom, skin is left awakened and cleansed, the senses calmed.

Daydream away to a remote beach with the Seaweed & Sage shampoo, conditioner, bath & shower gel, body lotion (each 30ml) and soap, hidden behind some doors. Gently scented with the fragrance of crisp, clean and mineral freshness, feel invigorated on even the darkest of winter mornings.

Other advent doors reveal Glenashdale body lotion, bath & shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and soap.  A 30ml Mandarin and Mint body lotion will sooth muscular aches and pains, leaving limbs toned and revived.  Use after the Bergamot & Ginger bath and shower gel (30ml), which contains essential pols to tone, uplift and stimulate. There’s also the luxurious Grapefruit & Shea Butter soap plus Lavender & Lemongrass shampoo and conditioner (each 30ml).

And who can resist scented candles. With Arran’s A Sense of Christmas there are four - Amberwood, Wild Gorse, After the Rain and Ultimate Fig – to bring festive scent into the home throughout December. Each candle has eight hours burning time.

Costing £45.00, A Sense of Christmas advent calendar is in ARRAN shops, in John Lewis and online at www.arran.com.

Janet Russell, added:  “I have lived on the Isle of Arran for more than 40 years and raised my family there.  When my children were young I started producing ARRAN products in the kitchen of our family cottage in 1989.  I’m so proud that our beautiful Scottish hand-finished products are now available around the world.”

Visit ARRAN.com
Shared Parental Leave Policies need to be well-defined

31 October 2016

Shared Parental Leave Policies need to be well-defined

Pam Loch, Managing Partner of Loch Employment Law highlights the importance of how to manage shared parental leave and pay.

In a recent Employment Tribunal in Scotland a working father was awarded £28,321 
by Network Rail as a result of their discriminatory shared parental leave policy. 

While Shared Parental Leave (SPL) drew lots of attention when it was introduced, the uptake has been limited. By allowing parents to share their maternity, paternity and adoption leave, employers have had to rewrite their policies based on a complex piece of legislation. 

The Employment Tribunal found Network Rail’s parental leave policy was indirectly discriminatory against fathers by reinforcing stereotypes that mothers are the primary carers.  Their policy was unequal in respect of Shared Parental Pay (SPP). 

Male employees who were fathers would always get less than mothers and therefore were being indirectly discriminated against. 

Network Rail also failed to deal with the employee’s grievance raised over the shared parental leave policy in a timely or correct manner and comply with the ACAS Code on Grievances. The Employment Tribunal took the view that this caused further distress to the employee resulting in almost £9,000 being added to the total award for injury to feelings and the employer’s failure to follow a proper grievance process. 

This decision highlights how important it is for an employer to take grievances seriously from the minute they are made. Had the grievance been handled appropriately in the first instance it is likely the case may not have escalated to an Employment Tribunal hearing. Essentially, by being complacent about the original grievance and not following the correct procedures Network Rail failed to nip the complaint in the bud.

Network Rail has subsequently changed their shared parental leave policy “to ensure fairness” by reducing women’s maternity pay to the statutory level in line with the entitlement for partners whilst on shared parental leave. Ironically, part of Network Rail’s justification for paying the different levels was to help retain female employees in their male dominated industry. In light of the Employment Tribunal outcome and their decision to reduce the pay level for mothers, this could clearly have a detrimental impact on retaining female staff going forward. 

A survey by My Family Care (2016) one year on from the introduction of SPL found that less than 1% of male employees were taking up SPL which begs the question why? Is it because working fathers don’t want to share leave for fear it may affect their career? Or is it to do with affordability? Ultimately SPP has to be financially viable for working families and to do this employers must provide equally for expectant male and female employees. If both parents are offered their normal full pay for SPP, as opposed to statutory, SPL could be an attractive alternative to maternity and paternity leave. 

Over 80% of men and women surveyed by My Family Care (2016) agreed or strongly agreed that finances were the primary factor when deciding on sharing their leave. 

On another note, while reviewing their policies, employers should also consider what changes to the law may come about as a result of the Government announcement to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents looking after grandchildren under the age of one. Although the intention was to consult on this in the first half of 2016, with a view to changing the law by 2018, to date no consultation process has emerged from the Government. 

SPL remains a very confusing area for both employers and employees and ultimately has not been taken up by the levels originally anticipated. The Network Rail case explored here highlights how careful employers need to be when creating policies in this area and also how important it is to deal with grievances properly. 

Pam Loch is Managing Partner of niche employment law practice, Loch Employment Law and Managing Director of Loch Associates Group incorporating HR Advise Me, Loch Mediation and Loch Health. 
Courts introduce online procedure for the ‘Netflix generation’

17 October 2016

Courts introduce online procedure for the ‘Netflix generation’

CONSUMERS can do almost anything online these days – from booking a flight or ordering a takeaway all the way through to finding out why that mysterious direct debit keeps coming out of their account each month through their internet banking.  Soon, members of the public will even be able to use the internet to bring cases to the Sheriff Court.

From 28 November, non-personal injury claims, such as contract disputes and debt recovery, for up to £5,000 will have to be brought to Court in the form of a new “simple procedure”. A similar simple procedure for personal injury claims is expected  to follow next year. 

Simple procedure is breaking new ground – it marks the first time in Scotland that claimants will be able to use an online portal to launch and run court action. The procedure will replace two existing systems: small claims running to £3,000; and summary causes from £3,001 to £5,000.

These are the most significant changes to “low-value” claims since the 1971 and 1907 Sheriff Court (Scotland) Acts and so they mark a major turning point. It is anticipated that the new simple procedure cases will be dealt with in Sheriff Courts throughout Scotland by Summary Sheriffs, a new Scottish judicial role heralded by the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. Sheriffs will also be able to deal with such cases. For the purposes of this article, we refer to both roles – Summary Sheriff and Sheriff – as “Sheriff”.

Online processing of civil court cases is a major change for the Scottish legal system. By the time personal injury claims are added to the portal, which is anticipated around the middle of next year, more than 60 per cent of civil business in the Sheriff Courts will be processed online.

The switch to online processing is being made possible by the introduction of a digital Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) by the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service (SCTS). The whole aim of the reforms is to speed-up the court process and make justice more affordable and accessible for litigants.

As well as starting an action online, by lodging a “Claim Form”, parties will also be able to submit documents for their case, pay any fees due, and track the process of their case on the internet. It may not be as exciting as watching a boxset on Netflix, but it does mark a sea-change for the system.

It isn’t just the method that’s changing either. The simple procedure is designed to be user-friendly, allowing members of the public – rather than just lawyers – to use the system.
Instead of legal jargon and very formal terms, the new procedure uses “plain English” wherever possible. For example, cases are now “paused” instead of being “sisted”. 

Flow-chart diagrams are used so that litigants can understand each stage of the process. The documents involved in the procedure will use headings that are phrased as questions to help guide litigants through the system.

Speed is at the heart of the reforms. Sheriffs must make first written orders in the case within 2 weeks of a “Response Form” being received from the person, called the Respondent in simple procedure, against whom the claim is brought. 

Instead of holding a hearing of evidence, Sheriffs will be able to organise case management discussions to identify the issues between the parties and to work out the best way of resolving the problem. They are also able to refer litigants to “alternative dispute resolution”, such as mediation, or indicate an intention to make a decision without any hearing. The prospect of every claimant, therefore, “having a day in Court” is diminished. Hearings for evidence in Court will, it seems, only be set if really necessary.

Sheriffs are also given power to dismiss a claim at any time, even without any hearing or prior indication that a decision without a hearing is intended. That power can be exercised if the Sheriff thinks considers that the case “obviously has no real prospect of success” or is obviously incompetent. Equally, a claim can be decided at any time if the response to it is obviously incompetent. 

Although they may be called “simple”, the rules and forms for the new procedure run to a beefy 253 pages. Written in “plain English”, the intention is clearly to make the new procedure open and accessible to all. Equally, though, we anticipate that lawyers may frequently be involved in the new process. Indeed, both the Claim Form and the Response Form require fairly detailed and extensive information and, with the prospect of the claim being decided simply on the basis of those Forms, all litigants who take part in the new simple procedure will wish to “get it right first time”.

It seems clear that the Scottish Courts’ move to online processing will not end with simple procedure. Earlier in 2016, in a speech to the Council of the Law Society of Scotland, Lord Carloway, the Lord President, discussed a five-year redesign of the court room to reflect the 21st century by fully embracing IT. This culture change starts with simple procedure from 28 November. 

Gillian Rushbury
Partner, BLM
Barburrito Opens Sixth Scottish Site, with Number Seven to Follow Next Month

6 October 2016

Barburrito Opens Sixth Scottish Site, with Number Seven to Follow Next Month

Estate Now 18 Burrito restaurants nationwide with a plan to reach 25 sites in 18 months

Barburrito, the UK’s first specialist burrito chain, founded in 2005 by CEO Morgan Davies, has opened its newest outlet at 55 Forrest Road, Edinburgh in premises formerly occupied by Starbucks.  This is the company’s third outlet to open in the capital. 

The property of more than 2,500 sq ft has been fitted out with Barburrito’s latest high quality, cool interior, with branding emphasising its fresh produce and dishes prepared daily on the premises.

Forrest Road is located opposite the 19 acre Quartermile development that is home to a number of high profile offices and luxury apartments as well as in close proximity to Edinburgh University and The Meadows.

Jim Bishop, Property Director at Barburrito commented: “This location is ideal to serve our customer base with a good mix of students, office workers and local residents.  The fit out of the building has been challenging and exciting and we have managed to create 70 covers in a really special environment”.

Founder and CEO, Morgan Davies added: “This latest opening cements our place as the leading burrito bar operator in Scotland.  Having grown up near Edinburgh, I am personally excited to be selling our burritos on home turf.  As the UK’s first burrito bar chain we are now proud to be operating 18 restaurants across nine major cities”.

Following the opening in Edinburgh, Barburrito will be taking their fast-casual Mexican food to Aberdeen with a new store opening in Hammerson’s Union Square development.

The new Edinburgh has recruited 16 new members of staff and Aberdeen will be appointing 20 team members.  The company now employs 90 people in Scotland.  

Jim added: “The Aberdeen outlet will have 46 covers in the shopping centre and is ideally positioned on the first floor to provide local office workers, shoppers and cinema-goers fast, healthy food in a vibrant environment”. 

Barburrito is backed by the growth capital provider BGF, who last year helped fund the acquisition of Pinto Mexican Kitchen in Scotland and who have provided funding for Barburrito’s growth over the past five years.

  • The first Barburrito was opened by founder and CEO Morgan Davies in 2005 in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. 
  • The headquarters are in Manchester. 
  • Proud to be the UK’s first burrito bar chain and the first to go national. 
  • The company now has eighteen stores across eight cities (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, London, Newcastle, Cardiff, Edinburgh & Glasgow). 
  • The Glasgow sites are located at Queen Street, Gordon Street and Hope Street, with sites in the Scottish capital at Shandwick Place, Lothian Road and Forrest Road.
  • The company employs over 300 people. 
  • Barburrito continues to expand and is looking for top sites in high footfall destinations including major city centres, shopping centres and travel hubs. 
  • Barburrito is backed by BGF (Business Growth Fund), which has committed funding to help grow the business to over 25 stores in the next 18 months. 
  • The company is experiencing strong like for like growth in established sites. 
  • Combined turnover run rate is now over £13m net sales.
Employment law & HR expert expands firm into Scotland

5 October 2016

Employment law & HR expert expands firm into Scotland

An employment law and HR expert is returning to her roots by launching a specialist practice in Scotland.

Pam Loch, who studied accountancy and business at the University of Dundee and then law at the University of Edinburgh, has opened Loch Associates Group in the Scottish capital.

The entrepreneur founded her business – comprising Loch Employment Law, HR Advise Me, Loch Mediation and Loch Health – in April 2007.  The business in Scotland will focus on all aspects of employment law, HR and employee wellbeing. 

Her company has a £1.3m turnover and has expanded from its headquarters in Kent to include offices in Brighton and London and now Edinburgh. 

Ms Loch, who is a dual-qualified lawyer in Scottish and English Law has brought on board Chris Phillips, an accredited employment law specialist, as a partner to run the new Edinburgh office. He will be joined by HR Consultants from HR Advise Me. 

Mr Phillips studied politics and international development at the University of Glasgow before gaining his law degree from the University of Edinburgh.

He trained alongside Ms Loch at niche employment law practice Mackay Simon – qualifying in 1997 and becoming a partner in 2000 – before spending ten years as a partner at Maclay, Murray & Spens. He served for a further four years as a partner with Simpson & Marwick and then Clyde & Co before joining Ms Loch’s practice as Partner.

Pam Loch, Managing Director of the Loch Associates Group, said: “The success of the Loch Associates Group has been due to our range of expertise and services we offer. We are not simply employment law experts, but the team also delivers human resources support and training, employee wellbeing and mediation services – adding value to our clients and often resolving situations before the need for further time consuming consultations or legal action.”

“Securing Chris Phillips to run our Edinburgh office has been a real coup – he brings 20 years of expertise to draw on and is incredibly well respected in the industry.”

Chris Phillips, partner at Loch Employment Law, added: “I’m really excited to be opening Loch Associates Group’s first office in Scotland and bring the services of Loch Employment Law to the Capital. The expertise of our HR Consultants and the wider team in our other offices will add value and, more critically, commercial expertise to the service we can provide to our clients.” 

Ms Loch is a member of the Employment Lawyers’ Association (ELA), an accredited mediator and is a former president of both West Kent Chamber of Commerce and Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & District Law Society. 

Mr Phillips is a member of both the ELA and the Scottish Discrimination Lawyers Association. He has been accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an employment law specialist since 2005 and is an external examiner in employment law for the University of Dundee.

Loch Employment Law is ranked as a leading employment law firm in both the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 guides and has built a client base that stretches across the UK, Europe, Asia and the United States. Pam and Chris are both regarded by these guides as leading individuals in employment law. The firm has recently been shortlisted as a finalist in the Modern Law Awards.

HR Advise Me is a renowned HR Consultancy providing both retained and ad-hoc HR and employee support to clients nationwide providing a dynamic, secure, cloud-based employee management system as part of its offering. The company is currently a finalist for Consultancy of the Year - Personnel Today 2016 and British Small Business Awards Consultancy of the Year 2016.

Loch Health delivers employee wellness health checks and our team of highly qualified medical professionals and trainers can provide bespoke First Aid Training and specialist emergency training for employers as well as individuals. 
Arctic bound… charity selects ten Edinburgh pupils for life changing expedition

3 October 2016

Arctic bound… charity selects ten Edinburgh pupils for life changing expedition

Ten pupils from the north of Edinburgh have today been selected by the Scottish charity, The Polar Academy to participate in a life-changing expedition to Arctic Greenland next March.

The 5 boys and 5 girls have been selected from both Broughton High School and Fettes College in Edinburgh. The 3 girls and 2 boys from Broughton High School are part of the FetLor Youth Club that provides services within the north of Edinburgh. Aged between 14 and 17, all of the participants now face seven months of intensive physical training to ensure they are fully equipped for the 10-day, 100km expedition through one of the world’s most stunning and inhospitable natural environments. 
An additional 9 pupils, 4 from Broughton High and 5 from Fettes College have been offered places in The Polar Academy Leadership programme. They will benefit from much of the same training and skills development as the expedition team. 
The Arctic bound pupils will face temperatures below -20C and need to ski and haul their own 45kg sledges as they navigate across sea ice, camp in remote mountain passes and conduct field studies to support school projects related to the national curriculum. This will include taking ice samples and measuring movement in glaciers to contribute to scientific understanding of the impact on the Arctic of pollution and global climate change. The pupils’ will be supported on the expedition by Mathieson and his fellow expert guides; Nigel Williams and Jess Ridgway (both from Glenmore Lodge by Aviemore) and Dr Wild.  
Departing Scotland on 21 March 2017, it will be the third expedition in three years to be led by charity founder and expedition leader Craig Mathieson.  Designated in 2013 as Scotland’s first Explorer in Residence by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), in the same year 47 year-old Mathieson founded The Polar Academy with the vision to ‘inspire Scotland’s youth through exploration.
A veteran of several successful expeditions to the North Pole and South Pole, Mathieson is emphatic that the latest expedition to Greenland will prove positively life-changing for the participants. He said: “Supported by its founding partners, Tiso Group and Bergans of Norway, The Polar Academy selects pupils whose ability to achieve in life is currently hindered by a crushing lack of self confidence and esteem. 
“Kids are kids and regardless of their social background it’s important to recognise that they can acutely lack self-confidence and esteem. The success of the previous two expeditions to Greenland with pupils from North Lanarkshire and Edinburgh has demonstrated how ordinary kids can achieve the extraordinary and develop huge amounts of self-confidence and belief. 
“The training is tough and relentless but I am proud that each pupil has already made the first step to positively transforming his or her life. You can see the potential in these kids that The Polar Academy will help to unlock. Now preparations for a journey through the Arctic wilderness begin in earnest!” 
Lena Ascherman, a 14 year-old pupil at Broughton High School is one of the ten pupils selected for the expedition. She commented: “I feel quite privileged because so many pupils went for selection and I’m proud of myself that by being chosen I’ve already achieved something. The coming months are going to be a challenge for sure but both physically and emotionally I think the training will be good for me. I’m not very outdoorsy but now I can imagine myself being in Greenland.  I’m really looking forward to what is an amazing opportunity.”
Fellow school pupil, 15 year-old Anna Ziemons McLean, added: “I’m really excited to be involved. It seemed like almost everyone in the school applied in the hope of being chosen. The selection process was tough, especially when asked to tie knots under water!  I know the physical training is going to be really challenging but I’m really going to work hard and hopefully I’ll see the Northern Lights when in Greenland.”
James Mackman, a 14 year-old pupil at Fettes College, said: “I was over the moon and on cloud nine when told I’d been selected for the expedition team.  I think the training is going to be quite hard and challenging but I know it will all be worth it.”
The pupils don’t pay for their involvement in The Polar Academy. As a charity, it must annually fundraise over £170,000 to operate.  Chris Tiso, CEO of Tiso Group has been impressed by the change in pupils who have previously experienced The Polar Academy.

“Over the past two years I’ve been amazed how shy teenagers have returned from Greenland bursting with pride, brimming with newly discovered self-confidence and eager to relate their personal experiences to their peer-groups in schools throughout Scotland. 
“Their personal stories inspire thousands of other kids across Scotland to realise that with focus, sustained effort and determination, dreams are attainable.”
In addition to considerable support from founding partners Tiso Group and Bergans of Norway, the charity is also helped by the likes of Cornhill Building Services, Baillie Gifford and by private donations.
Pyreos recruits VP Operations

14 September 2016

Pyreos recruits VP Operations

Pyreos, the Edinburgh-based passive infra-red sensor developer which is the only supplier of thin film pyroelectric sensors worldwide, has recruited Ken Williamson as VP of Operations. 

Ken has an extensive career in semiconductors.  After graduating in EEE, he worked initially for Nat Semi and in Switzerland for Micronas, Ascom and others.  He then worked for Siemens in the UK & Germany and managed operations through successive acquisitions until the business became part of Atmel.  He has worked for Atmel worked for many years in the US & UK, including several years running Conductive Inkjet in Cambridge.

Ken’s roles have included numerous process developments and transfers, product management, quality management, and several roles as Operations Director. Ken has also consulted and advised widely in the global semiconductor industry.

Andrew Wallace, Pyreos CEO, said:  ”We are delighted that Ken, a returning Scot, has chosen to join us.  He brings extensive experience of setting up and maturing complex semiconductor manufacturing and has worked in multiple languages and cultures.  This breadth is important to our business, which has a global supply chain and which exports 91 per cent of sales and it is interesting that two thirds of our management team has lived outside the UK.

“Pyreos has started shipping samples of its new ezPyro digital sensor, the smallest digital pyroelectric device available, and has also just announced a strategic purchasing agreement with Parker Kittiwake, a subsidiary of Parker Hannefin, to provide sensors for oil analysis products.

“These developments and other news in the pipeline are driving significant volume growth and are the result of major product development initiatives across the Pyreos product range so Ken has plenty to work on.  His experience in process and quality will help maintain the momentum of maturing Pyreos operations.

Callum Gordon, who has managed Operations since early 2015, will continue as an advisor to the company and Pyreos thanks him for his leadership.

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