Business Charter for Social Reponsibility launched

By on 15/04/2013 in Cllr Stacey, Leader, News

Citizens, employees, contractors, suppliers and the City Council will all benefit from the creation of the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility, launched today (April 15).

The charter aims to boost the local economy by maximising social value the council obtains from its £1billion purchasing power by reforming the authority's procurement strategy.

Six key principles form the basis of the charter, a pledge in the Leader's Policy Statement of June 2012. It was drawn up following formal consultation with the business community last year, and the six main principles are:

Local employment - signatories will provide employment and training opportunities for local people, especially in target areas where unemployment is high
Buy Birmingham First - signatories will be asked to endorse the principle throughout their supply chains
Partners in communities - play an active role in Birmingham's neighbourhoods, working with community support organisations, especially in areas of the city in greatest need
Good employer - supporting staff development and welfare, adopting the Living Wage within their organisation
Green and sustainable - committing to protecting the environment, minimising waste and energy consumption, while using other resources efficiently
Ethical procurement - signatories will commit to employing the highest ethical standards in their own operations and those within their supply chain (paying fair share of taxes, not support child Labour, pay suppliers on time etc)

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The council's controllable budget exceeds £1billion, so it is absolutely crucial we make that money works as hard as possible for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Birmingham's citizens.

“The Business Charter for Social Responsibility will help do this by changing the focus of our procurement processes – creating job opportunities, supporting the local supply chain and ensuring contractors' employees get paid a fair wage for their efforts.

“These measures will ensure that more money is recycled within the local economy than at present, which is vital as we seek to tackle inequality and as we attempt to escape the dire economic situation the city faces.”

The charter's six principles have mandatory and voluntary elements. All future commissioning and contracting decisions taken by the council will use the principles of the charter to form part of the terms of new council contracts and Conditions of Grant Aid.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement, who has worked on the development of the charter, added: “The charter will put more money in the pockets of more Brummie workers, who will then spend that money at Brummie shops and businesses creating yet more jobs.

“But it isn't just about workers and their pay packet. Businesses and other suppliers will benefit from improved workforce motivation and productivity.  And the social value that the charter seeks to obtain from our contractual arrangements will benefit all our communities.

“Even if this means the council has to spend more money per year on a small number of services, it is still the right and just thing to do, and is long overdue here in Birmingham.”

All principles and policies of the charter will be mandatory for organisations with individual contracts or grants worth over £200,000 per year or multiples worth an aggregate of over £500,000. Organisations with contracts worth less than this will have a mixture of mandatory and voluntary elements of the charter to fulfil.

In the period before contracts come up for renewal, the council will seek “early adopters” of the charter, to sign up to the principles on a voluntary basis. Amongst those to offer early support are the council's highways partner Amey and from the third sector Reach: The People Charity.

Nick Gregg, managing director for Amey's local government division, adds: “Amey works very closely with the City Council to deliver highways works across Birmingham. We are delighted to support the Business Charter for Social Responsibility and pride ourselves on, not only the service we deliver on behalf of our customers, but also the positive impact the services we provide can have on a community as a whole.

“With 90 per cent of our supply chain being based locally, we are committed to delivering a sustainable service.”

Anthony McCool, charity lead for Trident Reach, said: “We at Trident Reach are really proud to support the charter's principles. We have over 457 staff employed in Birmingham, all of whom are working in the social care and support field. Social care unfortunately remains a low paid sector despite the crucial work delivered by our staff to vulnerable people in Birmingham. The social value of paying staff fairly for the tremendous work they do is a cornerstone of what this charity is about.”

The charter will now go to the city council's Cabinet for approval on April 22.


Notes to editors

A photo gallery, for media use, from the launch event is available on the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed here

In 2010, Amey won the Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service contract to manage and maintain the city's roads over the next 25 years. The contract will see a huge investment into the city's road network and Amey is working in partnership with Birmingham City Council to deliver the contract. The works include refurbishment and improvement of the city's roads, footways, bridges, tunnels, street lighting and traffic control systems.

Trident Reach It is one of the leading social investment charities in the region, dedicated to supporting vulnerable individuals and the communities in which it works. The charity has a 'People First' ethos and assists the mentally ill, those with learning disabilities, young people at risk, elderly people, people fleeing domestic violence, teenage parents, young offenders, the homeless and refugees.

For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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  1. Nick Booth says:

    This is good news – is there a link yet to how it will work in more detail?