lyoness-logoHailsham is a civil parish and the largest of the five towns in the Wealden district of East Sussex, England.

Back in February, “representatives from Lyoness” were invited to give a ‘short presentation to the Hailsham Forward Executive‘.

According to their website, the Hailsham Forward Executive

was born out of the Mary Portas Vision for revitalising Town Centres.

Hailsham Forward is a Town Team Partner, is supported by the Government, and has received £10,000 funding to undertake projects to improve the business community in Hailsham.

Heading up Hailsham Forward is Chairman Rob Slater and Vice-chairman Nick Collinson.

According to Collinson’s personal website, he’s

a Conservative Party Candidate for Hailsham Central and North Ward.

“I was first elected in May 2011 and then subsequently re-elected in May 2015 to both Hailsham Town Council and Wealden District Council.”

As per Hailsham Town Council’s March 12th Business Enterprise Committee Agenda, referencing a meeting that took place in February:

Representatives from Lyoness made a short presentation to the Hailsham Forward Executive earlier in the day.

The loyalty scheme and card they provide allows the public to get cashback from millions of retailers across 45 countries and local businesses the ability to get repeat business via the cards incentive to shop in a Lyoness Merchant.

There are further benefits for both the public and business that are signed up and then introduce more members and businesses to the scheme.

The Hailsham Forward Executive is keen to look at creating a Hailsham Forward branded card with Lyoness and gain the income benefit to the project by introducing both local people and businesses to the scheme; whilst giving these groups the ability to earn
rewards and gain loyalty with their customers.

Further work will need to be done over the coming months to establish this.

Further details about “the benefits” available to Lyoness affiliates can be viewed over on BehindMLM’s Lyoness review.

Nick-Collinson-hailsham-town-council-memberThe March 12th meeting saw the above matter discussed, with Town Council member Nick Collinson (right) advising the committee ‘that he has done some research on a scheme operated by Lyoness‘.

It was agreed that NAC (Nick Collinson) should pursue this including inviting a representative from Lyoness to the next meeting.

Unfortunately at the time of publication, the minutes from the 12th of March 2015 meeting is all that’s available. According to the Hailsham Town Council website, no further meetings for the Business Enterprise Committee have taken place this year.

Regardless, plans to spruik Lyoness through the Town Council appear to be well underway, with an invitation going out to local Hailsham businesses this past week:

If you operate a business within Hailsham, you are invited to a meeting of the newly formed Hailsham Business Forum on Friday 2nd October at the Hailsham Civic Community Hall from 6.30pm.

On the agenda as a “key feature”, is a presentation “by Lyoness”:

A key feature of the first meeting will be a presentation by Lyoness, an international customer loyalty scheme provider, who will outline the benefits for local businesses of establishing a loyalty scheme in Hailsham and the surrounding area.

Such a scheme would provide benefits to both local businesses (by increasing local shopping and purchase of services with the offer of discounts) and local residents, by way of discounts or credits.

The proposed scheme would also provide a small revenue for the Hailsham Forward project to re-invest in the town.

Town and district Councillor Nick Collinson, who is a member of the Hailsham Forward Executive said: “Setting up this forum is, like with the Residents’ and Community Forums, an important step as it’s crucial that businesses in the town have an input into how Hailsham develops in the coming years.”

“We would like as many local businesses as possible to get involved in this new forum.”

Standard procedure for signing up Lyoness merchants is to get them to invest thousands of dollars in exchange for accounting units (now referred to as “shopping units” in Lyconet).

These merchants then hand out Lyoness membership cards to their unsuspecting customers, on the promise of discounts. The hope is that enough of these customers will go on to become Lyoness affiliates, themselves investing money directly into accounting/shopping units.

These invested units push the merchants initial units closer to maturity, with enough new units invested in paying the merchant a sizeable ROI (determined by their initial accounting/shopping unit configuration).

Here’s where things get murky.

For Hailsham Forward, a “government supported” entity run by Hailsham Town Council members, to sign up as a Lyoness merchant, someone has to recruit them.

That someone is going to cash in if enough Hailsham local businesses sign up as Lyoness merchants and affiliates.

Who that someone is? We don’t know.

Here’s what we do know.

Nick Collinson owns Chapter 12 Wine Bar, a local Hailsham business.

Chapter 12 Wine Bar doesn’t show up on the Lyoness official merchant list (I searched the UK Lyoness website), but does hold “business networking nights“:

Having listened to the feedback from our regular networkers, we have changed the format of the evenings!

We now don’t charge any entry price! So now you can come along and promote your business without charge.

Held on the last Thursday of every month (This month that’s Thursday 27th August) The evening starts at 6.00pm and runs until 8.00pm and will follow an informal and friendly format as always, allowing plenty of opportunity to discuss your business, but without the need to do a formal presentation or ‘1 minute’. [ 35 more words. ]

The informal format for the evenings is that we’ll usually have a guest speaker to discuss their particular business or subject of interest and then a period of ‘free networking’ afterwards, allowing you the opportunity to engage with the other business people attending.

Whether or not Lyoness is presented at these nights is unclear. Ditto whether Collinson as an individual has signed up as a Lyoness affiliate.

Lyoness meanwhile has been promoted in Hailsham as far back as January 2015.

The hosts of that event were Liz Wright and Jo Bremner, who are in a civil partnership.

Jo Bremner, who published as Joanna Bremner on Facebook is aware of and following developments between Lyoness and Hailsham Town Council.

What’s the bet Bremner and Wright were the “representatives from Lyoness” who gave the original presentation to Hailsham Forward back in February?

Not that they don’t exist, but I was unable to find any other promotion of Lyoness in Hailsham – leading me to believe Wright and Bremner are at the top or near enough to the local Hailsham Lyoness affiliate hierarchy.

Their connection to Collinson is unclear, but I’m guessing they’ve pitched Lyoness to him at some point. Or at least someone else in their Lyoness downline has.

Now you have a Hailsham Town Council member attempting to promote Lyoness with the local government’s blessing, using government funding (and a database of local businesses), to push Lyoness onto Hailsham business owners.

Should enough of them sign up, trusting that signing up as a Lyoness affiliate is in their best interests, somebody stands to make a lot of money in matured accounting/shopping units.

Who might that be I wonder…?

And why hasn’t the glaring conflict of interest between Nick Collinson being a local business owner, Town Council member and potential Lyoness affiliate been brought up?

Were I a Hailsham local business owner, the first thing I’d be asking at this Hailsham 2nd of October meeting is who has/is going to sign up Hailsham Forward as a Lyoness affiliate.

I’d then ask whether any of the £10,000 in government funding Hailsham Forward received is to be or has already been spent on Lyoness accounting/shopping units. If not, then whether or not Hailsham Forward plan to or have spent public funds signing themselves up as Lyoness affiliates.

Finally I’d also ask whether or not Nick Collinson is in that Lyoness downline genealogy (in any capacity), with an emphasis on who stands to profit through Lyoness if Hailsham businesses sign up and by how much.

Something doesn’t smell right here…

 

Update 22nd September 2015 – Hailsham’s Town Clerk has reached out to us regarding the questions/issued raised above.

The planned October 2nd Lyoness presentation has been cancelled. Plans to encourage Hailsham businesses to sign up to Lyoness have also been suspended pending a “thorough investigation”.