Director retires after 30 years and CDS welcomes new group financial controller

CDS waves a fond farewell to one of its directors this month, while welcoming a new group financial controller whose role will include helping the business expand over the coming years.

Lynne Sulley, who worked her way up through the ranks from cleaner to director, is retiring after enjoying ‘every single minute’ of more than 30 years with the company.

“I arrived at CDS wearing a pair of yellow marigolds,” she said. She soon ditched the rubber gloves and over the years worked as office clerk, administration manager, bookkeeper and accounts manager and was appointed a director in 2005.

“When I look back at the last 30 years I’ve loved every minute of my time at CDS.  I’d like to think that, together with Martin and Tony, I played a small part in helping to build the foundation of what is becoming an exciting, energetic and thriving company,” she said.

Before joining CDS, Lynne worked in the careers department at Nottinghamshire Police, with her claim to fame helping to recruit ice skating legend Christopher Dean to the force.

Lynne, a passionate traveller and cook, has visited more than 40 countries and eaten at 60 plus Michelin starred restaurants in pursuit of culinary tips! In a post pandemic world, she hopes to resume her globe-trotting adventures and visit family in the States.

With an accountancy and finance degree and ACA qualifications, Ben Robbins will step into Lynne’s day-to-day finance shoes as well as helping with strategy and expansion plans for the group.

When his head isn’t in a spreadsheet Ben loves playing football and cricket, is training for the London Marathon and has been teaching himself guitar during lockdown. By his own admission he has progressed from ’terrible’ to ‘below average.’

“I’m looking forward to working at CDS, a long-established business with a good reputation, and building strong relationships with stakeholders,” he said.

“I’m also excited to be working for Simon Cashmore and Simon Abley who have got an exceptional track record in business. I feel I will learn great amounts from this experience and that will help me to progress and develop as a business and finance leader. The journey with CDS is going to be extremely interesting and I am really excited to be part of it.”

Fire risk assessments more important as property owners face fines for non-compliance

With building owners facing unlimited fines for fire safety breaches under the Building Safety Bill currently going through parliament, the need to ensure fire risk assessments are kept up to date is becoming even more important, says CDS.

Stronger enforcement action for those responsible for fire safety in commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings was one of the measures announced by the government in its response to the Fire Safety Consultation, which will come into force as part of the Building Safety Bill.

The current Fire Safety Order will be amended and will include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout its lifetime.

The new measures will also make it easier to identify who is responsible for fire safety, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines.

When the Bill comes into force, maybe later this year, the ‘responsible persons’ will need to ensure that their fire risk assessments include the fire safety risks and, where appropriate, any general fire precautions.

CDS managing director Simon Abley said: “Carrying out a fire risk assessment is already a complex process, and these regulatory changes will make it more so. While there is currently no legal requirement for them to be carried out by an expert, the likelihood of missing something crucial, and now the added threat of fines, suggests it would make sense to instruct an independent, appropriately qualified specialist.

Fire risk assessments are a legal requirement for all non-domestic premises, as well as for the communal areas of residential buildings such as blocks of flats and sheltered housing complexes.

CDS has more than 30 years’ experience of providing such assessments to an extensive client base including universities, schools, hospitals, care homes, councils, police authorities, social housing providers, hotel chains, warehouses, distribution centres, factories and airports.