Charter status for arts and third sector groups

By on 27/10/2014 in Cllr Stacey, News

Organisations from the third sector and arts groups are among the latest wave of establishments to be recognised by the city council for their efforts to maximise social value from their day-to-day operations.

The latest Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility awards presentation ceremony was staged at KPMG’s offices in the city centre today (October  27).

A total of 32 organisations were presented with certificates in recognition of having had accepted action plans detailing how they will deliver benefits to Birmingham through the charter’s six principles.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement at Birmingham City Council, said: “This awards ceremony is a celebration of ethical business practice – something which Birmingham has an increasingly strong reputation for.

“The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility sets a standard for everyone to aspire to. Accreditation confirms the organization in question conducts itself in the right way when dealing with its employees, suppliers and the environment.

“We spend £1billion annually as a council, so want to get as much extra value as possible for our citizens and the charter is helping us to do this. It is a status on offer to all organisations, regardless of whether they currently supply services to the council, and I look forward to even more signatories being announced in the coming months.â€

Cllr Penny Holbrook, Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning and Culture at Birmingham City Council, added: “The voluntary and arts sectors do great things in helping citizens back into the world of work through voluntary and placement schemes.

“This is playing a significant part in the effort to address the skills shortage and historic unemployment we face in Birmingham.

“I offer my congratulations to all of the organisations involved at the ceremony.â€

The organisations honoured today were:

A3 Project Space – An artist-led venue in Digbeth that supports contemporary artists to develop their work and their relationships with audiences.

Accord Group – One of the largest housing and social care organisations in the Midlands, providing 13,000 affordable homes and health and social care to 80,000 people and employing nearly 4,600.

Age Concern Birmingham – Provision of Day centres and advice to elderly.

Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid – Provides services for women and children who have been affected by the experience of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.

Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau – Provider of advice on a wide variety of topics, online, by phone to the people of Birmingham.

Birmingham Crisis Centre – Since 1988 providing a safe haven for female victims of domestic abuse.

Birmingham Museums Trust – Organisation which runs a number of high-profile venues including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Birmingham Opera Company – Creates and stages opera in unpredictable and unusual places close to the streets of the city.

Birmingham Rathbone – Providing support for people with learning difficulties.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre Ltd – Founded in 1913, a popular theatre group, whose city centre base was renovated as part of the Library of Birmingham project.

Birmingham Royal Ballet – Internationally-renowned organisation, formed in 1990, when Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet moved to Birmingham from its original home at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London.

Birmingham Settlement – Delivers responsive programmes supporting the community on a range of issues including: money advice, children’s services, older people’s services, cohesion, digital inclusion, development support for voluntary and community organisations and volunteering opportunities.

British Red Cross – Part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

Black Country Housing Group Limited – Housing association working closely with local communities in Birmingham and the Black Country,  provides affordable housing for rent, new homes for sale and a diverse a range of specialist local services.

Castle Vale Tenants and Residents Alliance (Birmingham) Ltd – Provision of legal entitlement advice.

City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – Performs around 130 concerts a year. As well as the Birmingham season, this includes concerts regionally, nationally and internationally, where the CBSO acts as a proud ambassador for Birmingham.

Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) – Tendered for substance misuse treatment.  Looking to locate further staff in Birmingham as their work develops.

DanceXchange – Based at the REP, A partner organisation with Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham Royal Ballet, dx is a dance house dedicated to creating exciting opportunities for people of all walks of life to experience dance as participants, performers and audience members.

The Drum – A modern arts organisation serving the needs of diverse audiences and communities locally, regionally and nationally.

Ex Cathedra – A leading UK choir and Early Music ensemble with a repertoire that reaches from the 12th to the 21st centuries, via almost all points in between. The group presents concerts in Birmingham, and beyond.

Fry – Fry Housing Trust has been established for over 50 years and provides supported accommodation and community-based services to people with convictions and homeless people at risk of offending.

Gilgal Birmingham – Provider of domestic violence refuge and housing/employment support services.

Highcroft Community Centre – Run by volunteers, has facilities for bowls, cricket, darts, snooker and several function rooms suitable for dancing, keep-fit, parties and meetings.

Ikon Gallery – Contemporary and internationally-acclaimed art venue based in city centre.

Mac – One of the country’s foremost arts centres for over 50 years. Located in Cannon Hill Park, specialises in contemporary work.

Midland Heart – One of the top ten housing and care organisations based in the UK.  Its work involves; supporting those who need help to live independently, assisting in regenerating communities and helping an individual to discover their own abilities just as much as it involves providing and maintaining homes for more than 70,000 people with maximum customer involvement.

Sampad – A dynamic development agency for South Asian arts based in Birmingham. It plays a significant role regionally, nationally and beyond, in promoting the appreciation and practice of the diverse artforms originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Shelter – Housing and homelessness charity, providing support for those suffering from domestic violence and homeless families.

Spurgeons – One of the UK’s leading children’s charities, supporting children and their families for almost 150 years.

St Basils – Long-established organization working with young people in the city on the issue of homelessness. 

Trident Reach the People Charity – Providers of supporting people contracts, housing support and employment support services.

Warm Zones cic – Delivering the Stay Warm Stay Well project to help individuals so they do not suffer from inability to warm their houses.

More information on the charter and a full list of signatories can be viewed at

Pictures from the ceremony can be found on the Birmingham Newsroom Flickr feed.


For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

About the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility

The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility is a set of guiding principles to which Birmingham City Council will adhere and which it will invite its contracted suppliers, the wider business community, other public sector bodies (including schools), and third sector organisations (including grant recipients), to adopt.

Charter signatories will consider and describe how they can improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of Birmingham that result from their activities. Organisations tendering for council contracts as of September 2013 will have to adopt the charter. Existing contractors are also invited to do the same. The charter, once adopted, becomes a contractual term: that is, failure to perform their action plan could see them stripped of their contract in the same way as if they failed to, say, pay the council rent for their premises.

A full charter award is where a business is ready to commit to and deliver against the full requirements of the charter. A “working towards†award is presented when a non-contracting company is not able to commit to the full set of requirements, but is working towards achieving them. There is a three-year period during which a company can move from “working towards†to full certification.

Where a pre-September 2013 contract involves multiple parties such as PFI arrangements (e.g. the highways maintenance contract), a separate agreement is signed to govern the charter adoption. In this case, failure to deliver against the action plan, after usual efforts to rectify, will result in the embarrassing withdrawal of the charter certification but not the contract itself.  Any part-completed actions must be completed or costs reimbursed such that another party can complete them.

Charter Principles

Local Employment – Charter signatories will create employment and training opportunities for local people especially in target areas

Buy Birmingham First – Charter signatories will take account of the social and economic impacts of buying locally when commissioning and contracting, thereby reducing unemployment and raising the skill level of the local workforce. This means advertising procurement opportunities through

Partners in Communities – Charter signatories will play an active role in the local community and community support organisations, especially in those areas and communities with the greatest need

Good Employer – Charter signatories will support staff development and welfare and adopt the Birmingham Living Wage

Green and Sustainable – Charter signatories will commit to protecting the environment, minimising waste and energy consumption and using other resources efficiently

Ethical Procurement – Charter signatories will commit to employing the highest ethical standards in their own operations and those within their supply chain

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