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Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 2
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We have a duty of care to protect our customers’ data

Sean Maguire
Sean Maguire
Sean Maguire,

Managing director,

Legend Club Management Systems


The information an organisation holds is arguably its most important asset. The need to both operate efficiently and provide differential services means that the personal data we hold has not only grown in magnitude, but is also taking on ever greater value.

However, one only has to consider the near daily reports of data breaches in other industries to recognise that as the value of data becomes greater, so does the corporate responsibility and risk. Our customers entrust us with their personal details and we have a duty of care to protect this information to the highest degree possible.

Health and fitness operators have an obligation to their customers to comply with information security standards such as those set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Equally, those providing services to operators that might involve the storage, handling or transmission of data have a duty to put in place audited processes for data security.

Unfortunately, many organisations in the health and fitness industry are still either unaware that they are processing customer data in a manner that is in breach of these standards or are simply failing to adhere to data security best practice.

It’s time that, collectively, we step up and put in place formal standards and processes to protect data, before one of us becomes the focus of the latest data breach news. We have a duty to our customers as an industry group to offer a formal validation and an industry-wide commitment to information security.

“Customers entrust us with their details and we have a duty of care to protect them”

Health clubs are in possession of a wealth of customer data which must be protected / PHOTO:shutterstock.com
Health clubs are in possession of a wealth of customer data which must be protected/ PHOTO:shutterstock.com

New apprenticeship levy a great opportunity for businesses

Jessica Higgins
Jessica Higgins
Jessica Higgins,

Workplace relations consultant (non-practising solicitor),

Ibex Gale


Apprenticeships are widely used in the health and fitness industry, providing opportunities for young people to enter the workplace and gain qualifications at the same time. Apprenticeships help businesses to increase productivity and performance as well as create a competent and committed workforce.

However, from 6 April 2017, all UK employers with wage bills of over £3m must pay the government an Apprenticeship Levy. The levy is 0.5 per cent of a business’ payroll and will be collected by HMRC via PAYE. All employers have £15,000 to offset against the amount they owe, such that the 0.5 per cent levy only applies to wages paid over the £3m threshold.

The purpose of the new levy is to encourage all employers to invest in apprenticeship programmes and to improve the quality and quantity of their apprenticeships.

The fund can be accessed by employers to fund apprenticeship training in their business. The levy will be paid monthly and it will be accessed online via a digital apprenticeship service account.

The government will add 10 per cent to the digital account and the funds will be available to use for 18 months. Any unused money in the fund following this time will be used by the government to fund apprenticeships for SMEs, so all employers should benefit.

So, if your company pays out more than £3m in wages, be prepared for the compulsory levy coming into force in April – but let’s see it as an opportunity for businesses to fund new apprenticeships and grow and enhance their workforce.

“The levy should be seen as an opportunity for businesses to grow and enhance their workforce”

The new levy will result in more apprenticeships
The new levy will result in more apprenticeships

There’s no evidence of ‘weekend warrior’ health benefits

Melvyn Hillsdon
Melvyn Hillsdon
Melvyn Hillsdon,

Associate professor of physical activity and health,

The University of Exeter


Recently the press reported the findings of a study that focused on physical activity during leisure time in a large cohort of UK adults aged 40 and over. The headline was that so called ‘weekend warriors’ (people who do all their physical activity at the weekend) have a reduced risk of death similar to people who are more frequently active.

Based on the headlines, readers might be surprised to learn that this study did not separately measure physical activity undertaken on weekdays and weekend days. Instead, the survey asked people how frequently they undertook physical activity in the four weeks prior to the survey. Their answers were averaged out to estimate weekly frequency.

What the paper actually shows is that some exercise is better than none and more regular activity is a bit better still. The study did not include occupational or transport activity and therefore it is possible that the infrequent exercisers (the ‘weekend warriors’) were more active in these two domains with less time for physical activity in their leisure time.

The message is still very positive, any exercise is better than none, but we shouldn’t assume there’s any kind of weekend effect.

“Any exercise is better than none, but we shouldn’t assume there’s any kind of weekend effect”

The study actually looked at frequency of activity over four weeks
The study actually looked at frequency of activity over four weeks
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