First Business Charter awards ceremony staged

By on 11/02/2014 in Cllr Stacey, News

Firms from Birmingham and beyond have been recognised for their efforts to maximise social value from the contracts awarded to them by the city council.

The inaugural Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility awards presentation ceremony was staged at the Council House today (February 11).

A total of 17 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. The creation of the charter was a key pledge made by the council's incoming administration in the summer of 2012.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement at Birmingham City Council, said: “The Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility is one way of ensuring that as much of the council's £1billion spent on contracts as possible is used to get extra value for Brummies but it is also about setting out a new 'way of doing business' in our city as a whole.

“So, I am delighted that we are now at the stage where we can recognise the organisations that are setting a standard for ethical business practices for all other companies to aspire to, whether contractors or not.

“Fairness and responsibility from our suppliers is important for workers, the local supply chain and the environment amongst many other things. It is particularly pleasing that firms who currently do no work for us are keen to be associated with a scheme that champions ethical procurement and socially responsible business operations.”

The 17 organisations to be honoured (charter status in brackets) were:

Altodigital - Kingswinford-based photocopier servicing (voluntary)
Amey - the city council's highways maintenance partner, with offices in Birmingham (voluntary)
Beeline - Ladywood-based manufacturer of promotional materials such as the Library of Birmingham staff uniform (voluntary)
Chapple & Jenkins - Bristol-based vending machines contractor (mandatory)
Dennis Eagle - Manfacturer of refuse collection vehicles, awarded a contract for 45 lorries last year as part of the modernisation of the fleet and waste service. Based in Warwick (mandatory)
Fawkes & Reece - London-based recruitment agency (voluntary)
First Personnel - Birmingham city centre-based recruitment agency (voluntary)
KPMG - Financial consultancy firm based in Birmingham city centre (voluntary)
Mytime Active - social enterprise based in Lickey Hills, contracted to manage the city's golf courses (mandatory)
Pertemps - recruitment agency based in Edgbaston (voluntary)
ProBrand - Software house based in the Jewellery Quarter, which currently has no contract with the council (voluntary)
Revolver - a Wolverhampton-based Fairtrade coffee-producing social enterprise that does not currently supply the council (voluntary)
Skips Educational - Birmingham-based firm producing educational workbooks for schools, which is 26 per cent owned by the city council through money invested by Finance Birmingham (voluntary)
Switch - marketing and IT company from Birmingham that is interested in working with the council (voluntary)
Vendaid - Wednesbury-based vending machines contractor (mandatory)
Venn Group - recruitment agency based in the city centre (voluntary)
Wilmott Dixon - Firm that delivers repairs and maintenance work on housing for the council (voluntary)

Nick Gregg, Managing Director for Amey's Government division, said: “Amey is working closely with Birmingham City Council, not only to deliver investment into the highways across the city, but also to invest in and support the local community.

“We understand the positive impact we can have in the areas in which we operate and are delighted to be supporting the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility today.”

Mike Steventon, Midlands Chairman of KPMG, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by Birmingham City Council as one of the first local businesses to accept and address the six aims of Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility.

“As a business, we strive to be an active member of the community by hiring local, supporting neighbouring businesses and schools and committing to protect the environment that we live and work in.”

Ron Monk, Sales Manager at Vendaid, added: “We are delighted to be included as a charter signatory to the Birmingham Business Charter for Social responsibility.

“This enables us to underline our current active role in supporting our local community through the charter. Our aim is to also make a positive contribution in supporting local business partners.”

A number of other suppliers are on the verge of approving action plans to implement the charter and further celebration ceremonies will be staged in the coming months.

Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility by BirminghamNewsRoom


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

Notes to editors

Pictures from the awards ceremony are available from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed

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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