Corporate Social Responsibility Charter
Our mission statement is “to work together to proudly deliver an outstanding, considerate and proactive property service that makes our customers’ lives that bit easier.” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives play an integral part in maintaining and improving our business. Caring for our community, our customers, our colleagues, our contractors and our partners is at the heart of who we are and what we do. We have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to operating as a socially responsible business and we recognise the active role we can play in helping to build a happier and healthier workplace, business and community.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the efforts made by a company to improve society and contribute towards sustainable development, and in this way improve the company itself. CSR describes initiatives run by a business to evaluate and take responsibility for their impact on a number of issues ranging from human rights to the environment. The purpose of CSR is to encourage businesses to conduct their companies in an ethical manner and work towards having a more positive impact on society through ensuring sustainable growth.
Corporate social responsibility typically refers to lengths taken by businesses that go beyond what is deemed compulsory by law and ethical standards as stated by regulators and environmental associations. CSR initiatives can take shape in many ways, with common examples including donating money to charities and implementing environmental schemes in the workplace. The three main types of CSR are environmental, ethical, philanthropic.
Our CSR Principles
We are committed to operating our business in a manner that is both sensitive and responsible with proper regard to our legal obligations and according to relevant directives, regulations and codes of practice. We are also committed to supporting the Government’s vision for Corporate Social Responsibility in terms of businesses taking account of their economic, social and environmental impacts, specifically:
- Promoting business activity that brings simultaneous economic, social and environmental benefits.
- Encouraging innovative approaches and continuing development and application of best practices.
- Ensuring best minimum levels of performance are greatly exceeded in areas such as health & safety, the environment and equal opportunities.
- Creating a framework that facilitates business practices that balance profit and success with achievement of social and sustainability goals.
- Taking an active part in supporting the local community and social causes.
- Creating real opportunities for local people and local enterprise development.
- Providing a rewarding, challenging and great place to work.
Corporate Social Responsibility is also touched on in several of our internal company policies including:
- Ethics & Business Integrity
- Health & Safety
- Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
- Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption
What We Do
A large part of our efforts and resources go into supporting organisations which are non-profit making and are usually charities, clubs, local people getting together for a good reason or even individuals who need some help to allow them to help others.
We help in three main ways:
1. Funding & donations
We have helped many organisations over the years with funding. Sometimes we have funded very directly, for example we were asked if we could fund some local school students studying Spanish GCSE to go to Spain, as they could not raise the funds themselves. We have sponsored, among others, a local nursery and several school groups, a local amateur football team, local community groups and a charity helping young people excluded from society to train for work and re-enter society. We have also run initiatives on several occasions whereby we donate 5% of our fee to a charity or non-profit organisation of the landlord’s or vendor’s choice.
2. Assistance in organising & running events
We enjoy being more hands on in our support- funding is important but so is actually showing up and mucking in! We often organise, help with and participate in local events. Examples include helping to organise a show staged by a local school at a local theatre and helping a local cycling group dedicated to people with special needs to put on their annual events- we even helped run their stall at local festival on several occasions.
3. In-kind support
In-kind support is the donation of goods or services as an alternative, or in addition to, to a financial contribution. Wherever possible we try to offer in-kind support to local organisations, businesses, groups and individuals. Examples include hand delivering flyers advertising local charity events around the neighbourhood during our own flyer drop rounds, asking our marketing and design team to design complimentary flyers and posters for local initiatives and collecting tinned goods to donate to local food banks.
Probably the most important business resource we have. We have eight clearly identified strategies and policies:
- We regularly check our pay structure to ensure our staff are paid above the industry norm.
- We encourage staff to study, take professional exams, and allow study time to do so.
- We pay for study and CPD courses, exams and professional body subscriptions.
- We have full transparency in pay scales up to senior management level, with published salary and career gradings in each department of the Company.
- We have a career structure policy showing how to progress and be considered for promotion to higher career grades.
- In 2016 we introduced an ‘Discretionary 8 Days Leave’ initiative whereby staff are able to take up to 8 days off from work each year, fully paid, for compassionate leave, mental health days, sick leave (this does not in any way affect their statutory sick pay entitlement).
- We actively support employee health and wellbeing and have several policies in place including our Health and Wellbeing Policy and our Stress at Work Policy.
- We have an Equal Opportunities Policy in operation, which is reviewed at least once annually.
Excellence in customer care is the heart and the backbone of our business, as is evidenced in our Company Ethos. We have eight clearly identified strategies, policies and initiatives to ensure excellence in customer care:
- We have established clear Customer Care Protocols which can be found in our Staff Manual. These protocols are reviewed at least once a year and we undertake internal staff training on these protocols on a regular basis.
- We place great importance on treating our customers equally across the business and this attitude forms the basis of several of our policies and initiatives- for example, our tenants and buyers are just as important and as highly regarded as our landlords and vendors.
- We have a clear Customer Complaints Policy and procedure in place, which can be found in our Staff Manual and on our website – we handle complaints properly and take them very seriously.
- We have full transparency in our fees and do not attempt to hide our fees. A full list of our fees can be found on our ‘Fees’ page of our website, located on the wall of our sales floor where they can be viewed by our customers, and they can also be produced as a printout or email attachment upon request. Furthermore, we are compliant in how we display our fees both digitally and in print.
- We have clear guidelines, protocols and policies for how we expect our staff, partners and contractors to behave towards our customers- in summary we expect our customers to be treated with respect, kindness, honesty and fairness.
- We regularly conduct competitor, customer and market research to ensure that we are delivering high quality services and fair fees that align with current expectations, market conditions and demand.
- We maintain all personal information in line with GDPR regulations, are members of the IPO, and we have Data Protection and Privacy Policies in operation which can be found in our Staff Manual and we do regular staff training in this area.
- We do not engage in practices that are deceptive, misleading, fraudulent or unfair, unclear or ambiguous, including omission of critical information.
Our Local Community:
There are various initiatives we make to promote local organisations, people and businesses. We help good causes as above, giving both our funding, our in-kind support and the assistance and time of our staff. Here are just some examples of ways in which we have supported our local community:
- We were the main sponsors of North Four Magazine, which was a digital magazine dedicated to the local area and to promoting local independent businesses, initiatives and charities and ran for almost 5 years.
- We are members of the local trader’s association and regularly attend meetings, assist with their events, and provide in-kind support and donations to the association.
- We promote local businesses through our welcoming packs for people that we deal with who are moving to our area.
- We are proud that the great majority of our staff live in or are from the local area.
- We, wherever possible, use local suppliers- from using local contractors, to buying moving-in gifts for our buyers from local independent shops
- We are committed to the continual support of local organisations, businesses, people, charities and initiatives – for more information please see ‘Good Causes’ above.
We are committed to continuous improvement in this area and are currently working on the following initiatives to help the environment:
- We have embarked on a programme to reduce waste produced by our company by using an increased amount of digital storage and digital paperwork.
- In 2019 we instructed a government regulated archiving company to digitally archive our historic paperwork and recycle all the paper and cardboard from the old archives.
- We actively encourage our staff, suppliers and clients to use a fully or majority paperless environment and have successively reduced written correspondence to mostly email and we are using a cloud software for digital signatures.
- We no longer use company cars, nor do we provide car expenses to any staff members. Necessary transport to appointments at properties we deal with are attended to by public transport, cycling or walking.
- We have instigated an ongoing programme of low wattage lighting systems, whereby the great majority of the office lighting, including internal and external display lighting, is now provided by (often specialist) LED fittings.
- In 2015 we reduced our use of plastic by removing a water cooler and coffee machine (which were being used with plastic cups) and instead replaced them with a filter attachment for our kitchen tap and ask all staff to use ceramic mugs and glasses which are provided by the Company.
- We donate all of our old or unused furniture to a local company who repurpose, upcycle or resell the items at a reduced rate.
- We recycle, re-purpose or donate bulky electrical items wherever possible.
- We have introduced a recycling scheme and a Waste Management Policy in order to reduce, reuse and recycle widely used materials.
Our offices are located in the only Grade II listed commercial building within the Finsbury Park Town Centre, which we have carefully restored and renovated from a dilapidated condition and improved the amenities to provide an environment suitable for modern working conditions for the benefit of our staff and customers. Many visitors have expressed their admiration of our premises, with particular approval of the manner we have kept and maintained many fittings, especially in our ground floor salesroom office.
Our Procurement Policy:
Although we are not legally required to have policies relating to procurement or monitoring our business and supply chain for human trafficking or slavery, we have decided to maintain high standards and adopt such policies where possible. Our procurement policy is part of this document, and is simply to ensure that we will only deal with contractors and suppliers of goods and services that have high standards relating to their staff and the environment, and we will cease to trade with any contractors or suppliers that we have reason to believe do not adhere to adequately high standards.
We are a small company with limited resources, but nonetheless in 2016 we took the decision to devote considerable resources to invest in our belief that we should have in place as many policies as possible to ensure the best working culture within our business, not only for the benefit of our customers but also for the benefit of our staff. We like to punch above our weight when it comes to forward-thinking and progressive policies. Our other policies include our:
- Equal Opportunities Policy
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Bullying and Harassment Policy
- Health and Safety Policy
- Absence and Leave Policy
- Family Friendly and Flexible Leave Policy
- Stress at Work Policy
- Disability in Employment: Policy, Procedure and Guidance
- Health and Wellbeing Policy and Statement
Our Contractors & Suppliers:
We treat our contractors and suppliers fairly, and we expect to be treated ourselves (and our customers on behalf of whom we engage contractors and suppliers) fairly. What do we mean by “fairly”? This is simple:
- We pay our invoices quickly (within days, or for regular multiple invoices we pay monthly by agreement).
- We expect to receive good quality goods and services provided within a reasonable time and with reasonable warranties.
Furthermore, we ensure contractors, who provide work to our clients, enter into a Contractor’s Agreement and a Contractor’s Data Processing Agreement (both of which can be found in our Staff Manual) which, in summary, are signed agreements assuring us as to the contractor’s commitment to quality and abidance to relevant legislation, compliance and standards.
For the sake of full transparency for the benefit of our clients, any instances of referral fees or payments made to us by contractors, are clearly indicated to our clients.
Communication & Review Process
Our CSR policy can be found in our Staff Manual and on our website.
This policy will be reviewed regularly by the Company Directors and may be altered from time to time considering legislative changes or other prevailing circumstances.
Staff are encouraged to report any areas for improvement and suggestions to either a line manager or a company director.
Partners, customers and members of the community can contact us with any areas for improvement and suggestions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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