Well, it’s that time of year again and we’re well and truly in the Christmas office party season!  A time of year when all photocopiers live in fear!  We’ve got our office party tonight – fortunately, we don’t have a photocopier, but they’ve got one next door……

There have been three exciting events since my last missive.  The first and most exciting can be found at the bottom of this piece.  Once you’ve seen that, come back and read the rest of this!

UK Supplier MapThe second was the launch of our on-line supplier registration form which can be found here. Since its inception, Biocensus has been unique in delivering the vast majority of its field work via a UK-wide network of freelance ecologists.  As we go into 2017 we currently have over 450 local freelance ecologists on our books, all of whom we have used at least once in the past. As it stands this means that we cover pretty much all ecological disciplines in most areas of the UK.

Our goal is to deploy a local ecologist, and when we say local we mean within 50 miles, although they’re often a lot nearer (the record is held by a bat surveyor who walked the half mile to his job!).  The step change at the tail end of this year and going into 2017 is that we are now asking freelance ecologists and small businesses to register with us ahead of being required, so we can resource jobs and deploy people more efficiently.

I know for a fact that there are lots of awesome ecologists out there and I wanted to have a system where I can prove that we’ve got many of them on our books. We have always worked hard on the quality assurance aspects of using freelancers in our work and ensuring a robust approach to this has been central in developing our new registration system.

As an indication of our commitment to recruiting and deploying only the best ecologists, we have asked Dr Stephanie Wray (the chair of our board) to oversee the Biocensus QA process and take it to the next level.  For me, a crucial part of this is client feedback and their ideas on how we can improve.  So for all our existing clients that are reading this, please do provide feedback, whether it’s good or bad.  All of this is essential to our drive to continue to improve the quality of service we provide.

Alongside this development work we are excited to announce that we are expanding our team in the Stroud office. If you know anyone who may be interested in working with us to provide excellent service to clients running large infrastructure projects please let them know that we are currently recruiting a Senior Ecologist and an Ecology Survey Coordinator. Full information is available on our website: biocensus.co.uk/about/work-with-us

Finally on this subject, I would encourage any freelance ecologists reading this to register with us as soon as possible.  We are anticipating record-breaking levels of demand for ecological input to projects next year and by being registered with Biocensus you are maximising your chances of being part of this.

The third exciting thing (well OK it might only be exciting for me) was my election onto the Governing Board of the CIEEM at the Institute’s autumn conference in Nottingham this year.  As a result, I step down from my place on the advisory forum which I have held for the last four years.  Although this has been immensely rewarding I felt that I would like to be more closely involved in the running of the Institute and to play a small part in furthering its development, and I am very much looking forward to attending my first board meeting in January.

Otter Video

OK, so the first exciting thing. I was on a run along the tow path of the Kennet and Avon canal (which runs alongside our office) the other day when I spotted this in the water.  There was about 10 mins of footage but most of it was in the dark as it was in a tunnel.  It then emerged into the light, as bold as brass.  One might say a little too bold for survival in an urban environment, but let’s hope it wises up soon.   So 50 bird species seen from the office and now this, although as rules are rules we can’t add it to the office list as I wasn’t actually at the office when I saw it!

Christmas BirdFinally, I hope you all have a great festive break and a well-earned rest and we all hit the ground running for a mammoth 2017!

I’m off to find a mince pie, a glass of mulled wine and a warm photocopier…….  Merry Christmas.

Tim