Our social commitment
The Group seeks to foster positive and collaborative relationships with its employees, customers, suppliers and the wider communities in which its businesses operate. This includes valuing and promoting diversity and inclusion as an employer, attracting and developing talent, having a positive community impact, ensuring customer satisfaction and providing a safe work environment for our people. The Group reports to its investor Arjun on its performance in all these areas regularly.
Creating a positive impact on our communities
Creating a safe place to work
Ensuring customer satisfaction
An informed and engaged workforce
Attracting and developing our people
Committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace
Health and safety
Governance for performance and oversight of significant events rests with the Group Executive team, supported by the Group Head of Health and Safety. We believe safety at work is a basic human right, and workplace conditions directly impact our employees, as well as their families and communities. Our employees should expect an unequivocal level of dedication and continual improvement, using a determined learning approach so they can go home safe every day. Fulfilling our statutory duties is an obligation but one driven by the ethics of caring for our people.
We continue to work hard to transform how we think and manage health and safety, widening our view from just focusing on accidents. An important change has been around how we classify, treat and focus on high potential events. Introducing a potential severity approach has shifted our focus to our most critical risks and a new metric of high potential frequency in our Group reporting highlights a more proactive way of learning and driving improvements. All our businesses took a deeper look at critical risk management to ensure we have active and defence in depth controls.
Diversity and inclusion
The Group is committed to providing a positive and inclusive working environment, free from discrimination and unfair treatment. We welcome diversity and provide equal opportunities for employment, training and promotion, having regard to employees’ particular aptitudes and abilities, regardless of their gender, race, age, disability or any other protected characteristics.
The Group takes steps to promote gender diversity including aiming to attract more diverse applicants to vacancies, further developing flexible working arrangements and encouraging more diversity in engineering and technical roles.
Human rights are not considered to be a material risk for the Group’s businesses, because of existing regulatory requirements in the UK and the nature of our supply chain.
This year, our first group wide employee diversity and inclusion survey focused on whether our people felt they belong at work, can be themselves and are treated fairly. The survey results were encouraging with no marked difference in scores by gender, race, age or ethnicity and low overall disagreement in all areas. However, employees living with disabilities were markedly less satisfied which led to the creation of a working with a disability group, sponsored by the executive team to raise the profile of working with a disability and look at how the Group can become more disability friendly and confident.
Community impact & charitable causes
During the year, Charitable Group contributions totalled £68,778. The Group is looking at a new framework to govern its charitable donations strategy moving forward. Some examples of this initiative includes:
Supporting the County Air Ambulance Trust
The Group has supported the County Air Ambulance Trust (CAAT) since 1993, when an employee was in a serious road accident and needed to be airlifted to hospital. Over the past 28 years, the Group has provided free office space, meeting rooms, IT support and equipment to CAAT, helping them to continue to save lives, every day.
Within the SSI waste, water and infrastructure and compliance divisions, colleagues support local causes as well as those that are important to their clients. This tends to be smaller, more localised community and fundraising initiatives. OnSite entered the Thames Water Raft Race to raise money for WaterAid and IWS Water Hygiene employees volunteered at Bury Hospice to redecorate.
South Staffs Water’s community hub is located on Wednesbury high street, at the heart of one of the region’s most socially deprived areas. It was able to reopen within the year following a temporary Covid pandemic closure, as a trusted, friendly and accessible location for customers to interact with the company and other support agencies. It’s a space that is open all week and accessible to the whole local community and operates in partnership with over 200 regional organisations and charities.
In India, Echo Managed Services has supported the Mala Smriti orphanage for a number of years. The orphanage is a non-government funded operation which relies on regular support from the community in order to provide the best care and environment possible for the children who find a home there. As well as running a number of activities to raise money for the orphanage, The Echo India team pride themselves on giving their time and efforts to give the children a better life. Each year, the office hosts Santa Claus and the children are invited to come in, hear stories and have a party whilst also receiving a gift from Santa. The children are often also invited to join with festivities such as Holi, the festival of colours, and food is provided by Echo to the orphanage for other celebrations.