Alan Jones

Alan Jones

We are happy to welcome Alan Jones, retired from running his own Legal Practice in Commercial Law and now dedicates his time Training International Lawyers.

During his legal career, he taught law at university for two years; worked as an in house lawyer with an airline for ten years; was a commercial law partner with a large English law firm for several years and ran his own practice based at Gatwick airport.

He specialises in business and commercial law with particular emphasis on work on aviation law including commercial contract and procurement issues related to the operation of aviation services.

He is also involved with the Bar Associations of the Netherlands and Malaysia in providing advanced legal English studies for their members.

Alan is also an active Board member of the European Legal English Teachers Association.

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Mary Spinocchia, Managing Director ILC Communications

ILC Communications is an established, innovative Training, Development  & Consultancy Organisation, passionate about driving people to achieve their full potential in their prospective careers and in growing their businesses.

Their work also encompasses advice and consultancy in the area of Human Resources as well as Employment issues.

This aim, not only applies to their International corporate/Lawyer clients, who undertake a range of Commercial Legal English programmes but also to some delighted local businesses who have embarked on  Management/HR workshops, as part of a Leadership and Management Government funded incentive.

ILC Communications have recently teamed up with Bournemouth and Poole College in order to offer placements and work experience to future graduates.

In March of this year ILCC’s Managing Director, Mary Spinocchia, contacted the Bournemouth & Poole College with the intention of offering work placements to local students.

Following an initial meeting with Chrissi Kenton, at Bournemouth and Poole College, Mary Spinocchia was introduced to several candidates, who were subsequently interviewed and offered work placement within the firm.

ILC Communications recruited Katie Finn, who is pursuing a Foundation Degree in Tourism and Events Management and Mel Bulbul, who is on a Foundation Degree in Business and Management.

These courses are run at the Bournemouth and Poole College in conjunction with Bournemouth University. This is an opportunity for the students to assume dual identity and benefit from both the college facilities as well as the university facilities at both the Lansdowne and Wallisdown Campus.

ILC Communications “This has been a tremendous opportunity for us to contribute to the wider community, Mel and Katie have shown commendable dedication and professionalism to ILC Communications and we are delighted to have had them on board and to be able to offer them permanent placements, on a two day basis, while they continue with their academic careers to complete their degrees.

We would encourage every business to explore this opportunity.”

Mary Spinocchia,  Managing Director – ILC Communications

Bournemouth & Poole College commented that “The College is always looking for relevant organisations who can work with our students as we want to ensure that they have the best possible experience during their stay with us. We are delighted that ILC have been able to work with students this year on a small event project and also offer a very rewarding work placement for another student.

There are many ways organisations can work with us and including work placement, guest speaking, mentoring and running small events. Working with industry is a very valuable experience for our students as it gives them realistic, hands on view of how companies and organisations work and also gives them a valuable reference on their CV”

Chrissi Kenton, Bournemouth and Poole College



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Any employer can manage good people; you just point them in the right direction and leave them to get on with the job. Any employer can manage a gross misconduct issue, as there are usually clear facts to work on, and a clear process to follow. Managing employee poor performance however is not so easy or straight forward. Performance issues can be complicated as there are often unclear facts to work on, and emotions can run high on both the employers and employees part. Add the worry about employment legislation, and you have a real challenge for employers today. Challenging as it is, employers have to tackle poor performance. If they do not the damage to their business, their team morale, and their stress levels can be considerable.

So what do employers have to do when tackling poor performance and avoid tribunals?

The first thing employers need to be made aware of is that since April 2009 they do not have to get every detail right in order to avoid an unfair dismissal claim. The rule today is ‘fair and reasonable’ which means that if an employer tackles a poor performance issue fairly and reasonably, this will reduce the risk of a tribunal claim. The question on many employers’ mind though is; what is meant by fair and reasonable?

Doing the following will go a long way in achieving a fair and reasonable approach to tackling poor performance.

  • Get your paper work in order, contracts, job specs, personnel records are all critical now.
  • Get your facts right – there must be evidence of poor performance.
  • Discuss performance issues early on as the longer you leave them the more difficult they will become to resolve.
  • Issue improvement plans before moving into a disciplinary discussion.
  • Give employees both time and help to improve their performance.
  • Treat every employee in the same way.
  • If you go down the disciplinary route stick to the ACAS code of practice
  • Deal with grievances and appeals straight away
  • Call in professional HR support when required.

Handling a poor performance issue fairly and reasonably does not mean employers will always avoid a tribunal claim, as some disgruntled employees will launch a claim, even if they are unwarranted. Being equipped to handle a situation fairly and reasonably will reduce the risk of a claim reaching the tribunal stage.

Should you require further information, or would like to enrol on a forthcoming workshop please contact

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How to handle poor performance and underachievers

Employees have many employment rights, they are well protected and the list of new employment rights is growing continuously but what many employers overlook is the fact that they too have some basic rights also. Every employer has a right to ask employees to; Do the job they are employed to do (Performance), 2. Behave appropriately when within the workplace (Behaviour) and 3. Turn up for work when they are meant to (Attendance). So just how do employers achieve their basic employer rights without infringing the rights of their employees? That is the biggest challenge facing employers today.

So what do they do?

Firstly, employers need to be made aware that a major change in employment law came into effect in April 2009 which has made the tackling of underperformance in the workplace far less bureaucratic, less risky and less worrying.  Where before employers had to follow a clear process and failure to follow that process was automatically seen as unfair dismissal, the procedure today is based on ‘fair and reasonable’ actions by the employer. What’s that means is employers do not have to get every detail correct as long as they follow the new ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance.

The second thing employers have to do is to put poor performance on the corporate agenda by; communicating to all the organisation that poor performance will not be accepted, having poor performance procedures detailed in employee handbooks and by giving line managers clear procedures to follow when having to deal with poor performance.

The third thing employers have to do is train all managers in dealing with poor performance.  Any manager can manage good people or a gross misconduct issue but managing underperforming employees is far more difficult and where specialist training is required.

The fourth and most important thing employers have to do is to support their line managers when the inevitable harassment and bullying complaints come in and employees go off sick with stress.  If executives automatically assume line managers have handled the matter incorrectly and go into blame mode, no line manager will take the risk and address poor performance.

Just think how more profitable your organisation would be and how much more of an enjoyable workplace to work in if there was a culture where good performance was expected rather than poor performance being accepted. For course information and training please contact ILC Communications on 01202 313710 or email

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