We acknowledge that running our business has an effect on society. In particular, we have a responsibility to our clients and our employees as well as to the broader community in which we operate.
We are committed to taking responsibility for our actions and encouraging a positive contribution towards improving standards for our clients and employees, minimising our impact on the environment and improving the quality of the local community.
By putting CSR into practice, we are committed, wherever possible, to:
- conducting ourselves responsibly and in an ethical manner;
- creating a positive and supportive working environment;
- supporting local communities;
- minimising our impact on the environment;
- following our Core Values of Trust, Care, Collaboration and Agility.
We communicate this policy to our staff, clients and other stakeholders by means of our Intranet and our Website.
Responsibility and review
Our COLP (Compliance Officer for Legal Practice) has overall responsibility for our CSR strategy and for implementing this policy. They have a key role in ensuring the systems and controls we have in place are effective.
All members of staff have a role to play in complying with our CSR objectives and are encouraged to make further suggestions in relation to initiatives we could undertake. If anyone has a suggestion, they should contact any member of the CSR team: Carolyn Beal (COLP), Diane Hall, Lewis Brown, Catherine Lowther, Jenna Keir-Kendrew, Lauren Willcox, Alex Siddle, Phoebe Gogarty, Manny Thandi and Julia Lovell.
We are fully committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability. In line with that commitment, we actively encourage all staff members who have serious concerns about any real or perceived departure from the high ethical standard that we set to voice those concerns openly.
We are committed to ensuring our policy remains effective. As part of our ongoing commitment, this policy is reviewed at least annually to verify its effective operation. Records of the reviews are maintained and any necessary amendments are made to the policy, as appropriate.
Our CSR principles
We aim to adopt the highest professional standards and not to act in such a way as to compromise our organisation’s integrity.
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and comply with all SRA requirements.
We actively promote respect between our staff members in their dealings with each other and with clients and other third parties.
We actively promote our published Core values of Trust, Care, Collaboration and Agility.
Our working environment
We recognise that our staff are our most important resource. We actively seek to offer our staff a positive and healthy working environment and ensure that they have rewarding careers and job satisfaction.
We maintain an Office manual and an Employee Handbook, which set out the rights and expectations of all members of staff. They can be found on the Intranet.
We seek to ensure that all staff have access to the learning and development (L&D) they need for their own personal development, to meet their regulatory obligations and to ensure they can deliver a high-quality service. Our procedures in relation to L&D can be found in our Training Policy which is kept on our Intranet.
We consider all staff members to be equal and we aim to create a working environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. In this regard, we maintain an Equality and diversity policy, which can be found on the Intranet.
We have obtained the Investors in People Standard and regularly survey our employees to ensure we are meeting the expectations of the Standard and meeting our aims of continual improvement.
In considering our impact on the community we have resolved to support projects with the following themes:
- youth; and/or
- social mobility.
We sponsor or otherwise support St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham and ask for nominations from staff for other charitable organisations to support in the North Eastern Region. We ask for nominations on an annual basis and select at random if
we receive more than one nomination.
We will allow members of staff time off work to enable them to carry out work in support of a charity or community project as long as it supports the aims of this CSR strategy. Every employee has the option of one paid day off per calendar year for this
purpose, which can be taken either as one whole day or two separate half days.
We will continue our links with the local youth and sporting groups that we sponsor. The list of those groups is maintained by the CSR committee but can be seen on request.
If there is any money left from the annual CSR budget at the end of a financial year, a donation of those funds will be made to St Cuthbert’s Hospice on behalf of the Firm.
We are committed to delivering a high level of service to all our clients. We understand that our business exists in a very competitive market and in order to retain our clients we need to deliver a professional and courteous service. This is achieved by conducting customer satisfaction surveys and by dealing with any complaints or concerns in a respectful and timely manner.
Wherever possible, we take steps to promote equal opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide. We take account of the diversity of the communities we serve in order to ensure that, subject to funding constraints, our services are accessible to all clients.
We are committed to behaving responsibly and to minimising our impact on the environment.
In considering the environment, we have resolved to achieve the Investors in the Environment accreditation no later than April 2024. As part of the IiE accreditation, we will:
- encourage environmental responsibility among our employees and include
environmental considerations in our purchasing and procurement processes;
- minimise our consumption of natural resources and manage waste through
responsible disposal, reuse and recycling, including paper and ink
- monitor our consumption of gas, electricity and water; and
- create a Waste Management Plan.
Last updated: October 2023