Consultation on new charter for social responsibility

By on 25/10/2012 in Cllr Stacey, News

Boosting the Birmingham economy is at the heart of Birmingham City Council's new Business Charter for Social Responsibility, which seeks to ensure value for money and maximise additional benefits from its £1 billion purchasing power.

Employing local people and buying goods and services made in Birmingham are key principles the city council is asking all its suppliers to sign up to as part of its charter.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement, said: “We intend, through this innovative procurement strategy that puts Birmingham first, to offer a lifeline to our city's struggling economy and create much needed jobs and apprenticeships.

“But it's not just the direct economic benefits that procurement can support; our purchasing power will be used to encourage suppliers and partners to make a positive contribution to Birmingham's communities through activities such as mentoring and capacity building, and working with schools and third sector groups.”

Birmingham City Council will now listen to views on the charter from its private and third sector providers, after it launched a six-week consultation alongside strategic partner, Amey, which won the contract in 2010 to manage and maintain the city's roads for 25 years.

Mike Notman, Amey Project Director, said: “The charter is all about ensuring businesses are being sustainable and responsible; and that makes business sense.
We are committed to signing up, and we are already meeting or exceeding the vast majority of requirements it contains.

“We will continue to work with Birmingham City Council to ensure we meet all requirements of the charter - and, furthermore, we will also help to support our suppliers to meet them too. As a strategic partner of the City Council, we will support the authority wherever possible in the roll out of this important initiative.”

Other values, which the council will adhere to and is keen for those it does business with to adopt, are playing an active role in the local community; supporting staff development and welfare; protecting the environment; and employing the highest ethical standards.

Another key element of the charter is for suppliers to agree to pay the Birmingham Living Wage – 'providing dignity in work and greater financial security' – which the council has already introduced for 3000 of its directly-employed, lowest paid workers.

Cllr Stacey added: “Putting more money in the pockets of Brummies will help local shops and businesses, creating a virtuous spiral that can treble its value to the local economy; and there is plenty of evidence that paying the Living Wage boosts flexibility and performance, reduces sickness and aids staff retention.”

Future commissioning and contracting decisions will take account of the principles of the charter and it will form part of the terms of new Birmingham City Council contracts. Those that sign up to the charter will be able to commit to the principles all in one go or over a period of time.

Whether all the principles and policies are mandatory or some are voluntary for suppliers will depend on the size of the contract, and this threshold is one of the key areas being consulted upon.

The consultation will close on Wednesday 28 November 2012.

Ends.

Notes to editors
•    The Living Wage of £7.20 per hour i.e. above the core national minimum wage of £6.08 was introduced for Birmingham City Council staff on 1 July 2012.
•    The proposed six principles in the charter are: local employment; Buy Birmingham First; good employer; partners in communities; green and sustainable; ethical procurement.
•    The full Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility is attached and can be seen at www.birmingham.gov.uk.
•    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. Across the city, this includes 2,500km of road network, 100,000 street lights, 76,000 trees, 850 highway structures and bridges.

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  1. MM says:

    It’s very well for Amey to make tall claims but they do not employ people from inner city areas such as Sparkbrook.You only have to look at their staff profile and see how people are excluded from their workforce.

    I am pleased that City Council is now tackling the issue seriously.

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