Tag Archives: Corporate Social Responsibility

Reliance High-Tech names SSAFA as chosen charity in support of Armed Forces community

Reliance High-Tech, the independent security technology integrator and provider of lone worker protection services, has named SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) as its 2019-2020 corporate charity. Throughout the year, Reliance High-Tech’s employees will engage in a range of activities to raise funds and help with the vital work that SSAFA carries out for serving personnel, veterans and military families across the UK and worldwide.

SSAFA has been providing lifelong support to the Armed Forces and their families since 1885. Last year, its teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 82,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans through to young men and women who’ve served in more recent conflicts.

“We take the selection of our corporate charity very seriously and were unanimous in the view that the incredible work that SSAFA does to support those who’ve served their nation, and been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, was a perfect fit with our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives,” explained David Walton, director of finance at Reliance High-Tech. “Furthermore, many of our current employees are ex-Armed Forces personnel and we believe that supporting SSAFA on a national level enhances our levels of employee engagement.”

Kelvin King, regional service manager at Reliance High-Tech, stated: “This is brilliant, I’m happy to try and collect funding as much as I can”.  This sentiment was echoed by project manager Lee Jones, who commented: “Being ex-Welsh Guards myself, I would be more than happy to be involved with anything in my regional area.”

SSAFA Descriptor RIGHT_WHITE

Amendment of CSR policy

Although raising funds is vitally important for SSAFA, so too is providing the time, energy and resources needed to help it carry out its fundraising activities. As such, Reliance High-Tech has amended its CSR policy to give each member of staff one day of paid leave to actively volunteer their time to help with SSAFA’s charitable projects.

The company has also appointed eight regional co-ordinators who’ll ensure that help is available where and when it’s needed. The business has committed to match any money raised from employee activities.

Reliance High-Tech will  play an active role in Armed Forces Week, which runs from 24-30 June, helping out with Big Brew-Ups around the country. Big Brew-Ups are a perfect way to convene with friends and family, colleagues or neighbours, have a chat over tea and cake and donate to SSAFA.

Jonny King, corporate fundraising officer at SSAFA, enthused: “I’m delighted that Reliance High-Tech has selected us as its chosen charity for 2019-2020. The business will help us raise funds to support Armed Forces personnel and their families in their times of need. From speaking to David, it’s clear that there’s a genuine synergy between our organisations. I’m very much looking forward to working with him and the rest of the Reliance High-Tech team in the months ahead.”

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Paxton named ‘Company of the Year’ at Brighton and Hove Business Awards

Paxton, the global brand of electronic IP access control and door entry systems, is celebrating being named ‘Company of the Year’ at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards. The company was also highly commended in the International Business of the Year category.

The Brighton and Hove Business Awards are supported by the city’s leading organisations and are established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s competitive business environment. In selecting the ‘Company of the Year’, the experienced panel of judges were looking for “the company that has truly achieved all-round business excellence in terms of year-on-year financial performance, strategic direction, employee relations, Corporate Social Responsibility, innovation and a first-class service and/or product offering.”

The awards ceremony, which took place on Saturday 14 July, was attended by Nicola O’Donnell, Human Resources director at Paxton, and resourcing business partner Devin Yuille, along with representatives from other local businesses.

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Nicola O’Donnell collects Paxton’s award

Commenting on the win, Adam Stroud, Paxton’s CEO, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have scooped ‘Company of the Year’ at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards, and to have been commended for our international presence. It’s a massive honour to be recognised among the top businesses in Brighton, and to be the only security manufacturer to win an award.”

Stroud continued: “We aim to be world-class in all that we do, from our products and services to our working environment. We’ve worked hard to develop a positive company culture and to support our staff on each step of their career with us.”

In conclusion, Stroud added: “While hard work, focus, investment and a good strategy are essential to the success of the company, most important of all by a long way are the people that work for Paxton. I’d like to thank all of the Paxton team. They have been responsible for our success to date, and will continue to determine the extent of our future successes.”

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Axis Group sponsors Sage Gateshead

Security solutions specialist Axis Group has become a silver sponsor of Sage Gateshead, a landmark music and entertainment venue exhibiting national, regional and international performances.

Funding from sponsorship helps to support Sage Gateshead’s charitable local initiatives targeted at the region’s most deprived areas. Examples include Music Making for Under Fives, a Talented Young Musician programme and an over-50s Silver Music Class.

The sponsorship package will see Axis Group branding in and around the venue and on its collateral. It will provide access to corporate entertaining space, annual ticket allocation and booking services as well as advanced event information.

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The concourse at Sage Gateshead (Photo by Mark Savage)

Jonathan Levine, Axis Group’s CEO, has stated that, following last year’s successful management buy-out, the Group is now looking for sponsorship opportunities where organisations’ values mirror its own.

“Sage Gateshead has a commendable focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, having made a £300 million contribution to the region in just ten years,” stated Levine. “The sponsorship provides fantastic opportunities for networking, client events and employee benefits.”

Sage Gateshead has been a client of Axis Security since 2011 and, as of 2014, has benefited from a joint security and cleaning contract through Axis Cleaning and Support Services.

Home to the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead is managed by the North Music Trust and hosts a wide range of entertainment shows, seven days a week, both in the daytime and the evening. It aims to bring about a widespread and long-term enrichment of the musical life of the North East of England.

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Ward Security takes ownership of first electric vehicle

Ward Security has taken ownership of a new electric car as part of an ongoing commitment to reducing the company’s carbon footprint. The new Nissan Leaf has been deployed at the International Trading Estate in Southall, where the company provides 24-hour security for the entire estate.

“Ward Security takes its environmental responsibilities seriously,” explained managing director Kevin Ward. “The company is ISO 14001 accredited for our Environmental Management System and we recently purchased new fleet vehicles and gave fleet managers control using tracker and driver management. Consequently, we’ve managed to decrease emissions per vehicle despite a 9.5% increase in fleet size and now achieve 70-80 mpg and lower fuel costs, while also ensuring drivers drive sensibly and safely as they’re being monitored and managed properly.”

Ward continued: “It’s important that we have a particular focus on transport as the nature of the business means we have a lot of staff using a lot of vehicles to travel a lot of miles, so the challenge is considerable and takes a concerted effort from everyone across the company. However, we’re delighted by what we’ve achieved so far. The purchase of a new electric vehicle is another step towards further reductions in our carbon footprint.”

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During 2016, Ward Security is looking to replace 18 vehicles with newer vehicles that offer even better fuel consumption and lower emissions. The new vehicles will be limited to 62 mph and feature stop/start technology designed to further increase miles-per-gallon and reduce emissions.

Ward Security has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. As well as addressing environmental concerns, the company regularly sponsors, contributes towards or fundraises for a number of charities and organisations in various categories, including Abigail’s Footsteps – a national charity that’s making positive changes to the lives of bereaved families and promoting safer births.

The company sponsors Aylesford Rugby Club and also runs safety campaigns with local schools. Ward Security supports the Medway Foodbank Trust by providing a free security service for the foodbank’s warehouse and volunteering staff to help in the warehouse, and regularly allows members of staff to take time off for charity work.

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Axis Communications publishes detailed Sustainability Report for 2014

Network camera specialist Axis Communications has issued its Sustainability Report for 2014, with environmental considerations, business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) very much in focus. The company’s fifth annual Sustainability Report describes the progress made in a number of fields such as environmental impact and anti-corruption. Great progress has also been made in work dedicated to informing and auditing suppliers in order to ensure compliance with Axis’ Supplier Code of Conduct. The Sustainability Report was prepared according to the G4 global reporting standard.

“Axis Communications works proactively with sustainability issues on a long-term basis since a responsible attitude is an important success factor for our global business operations,” explained Ray Mauritsson, the company’s president. “I’m proud of what we have achieved during 2014, from optimising our logistics flows to minimising our environmental impact as well as countering corruption in the value chain and working to create a safer and more secure world.”

Axis aims to be a driving force behind the development of innovative security solutions which assist end users in both the private and public sectors to meet today’s critical challenges, such as protecting people and important infrastructure while also helping to solve today’s urban problems such as traffic congestion.

As a global company with employees in 49 countries and partners in 179 countries, Axis aims to be a leader in the security industry when it comes to CSR and, as a result, assumes a long-term responsibility for how the company’s operations affect employees, partners, suppliers, end users and other important target groups.

Ray Mauritsson: president of Axis Communications

Ray Mauritsson: president of Axis Communications

“Our ambition is to serve as a model for the industry in terms of sustainability,” added Mauritsson. “This latest report shows how our sustainability work has delivered positive results across the entire value chain. I look forward to continuing the work relating to Axis’ industry-leading measures such as our anti-corruption program.”

Key facts and figures in the report

Some important points raised in the 2014 Sustainability Report are as follows:

  • Axis’ comprehensive anti-corruption work has been intensified. All employees have participated in training and more than 100 of the company’s distributors have undertaken to comply with the company’s policy of zero tolerance against corruption, bribes and conflicts of interests
  • 96% of Axis’ suppliers that have an impact on the company in terms of the environment or sustainability have either been audited by Axis supplier inspectors or are certified to ensure that they follow Axis’ requirements relating to environmental considerations, the working environment and occupational safety
  • Axis has managed to cut the company’s carbon dioxide emissions by 13% during 2014, primarily through its optimised logistics flows and reduced distances for transportation
  • The company has continued to phase out PVC plastic from its products while 65% of the company’s network cameras and video encoders are now PVC-free
  • During 2014, Axis’ employees participated in surveys conducted by Great Place to Work in Sweden, USA and Germany and the company realised top positions in all countries
  • In order to raise environmental awareness among its suppliers, Axis held webinars through its training program Axis Supplier Academy, whereby all suppliers were informed about the company’s views on sustainability issues as well as rules and laws for material accounting
Axis Communications' headquarters in Lund, Sweden

Axis Communications’ headquarters in Lund, Sweden

In the 2014 Sustainability Report, as stated Axis has changed over to the new G4 reporting standard which is an update of the leading rules for sustainability reporting drawn up by the Global Reporting Initiative.

As part of Axis’ transition to the new reporting standard, the company has initiated dialogue with key target groups and stakeholders which has provided important insights that can be used to continue improving the company’s long-term sustainability work.

*The Axis Communications Sustainability Report for 2014 can be downloaded from this link: http://www.axis.com/corporate/sustainability/index.htm

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‘Fire risk management systems should be formalised’ urges FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council

In the wake of prominent multi-fatality fires, organisations have spent considerable sums of money on fire safety but not necessarily achieved an improved level of fire safety assurance. Having spent a number of years undertaking fire risk assessments on the same portfolio of buildings, Ben Bradford states that it’s noticeable some organisations are beginning to wonder if the current practice is sustainable.

It has been almost nine years since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 prompted many organisations to undertake fire risk assessments within the premises under their control. Several have spent significant financial resources on consultant fire risk assessors (a person who carries out and documents the significant findings of a fire risk assessment) only to discover that, although the advice they received may have been offered with the best of intentions, it was not wholly appropriate. Indeed, it may also have differed from the advice of a ‘competent’ fire risk assessor.

At the same time, the fire industry has itself spent a considerable amount of time in the last few years deciding how to define a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment and also how to tackle the ‘cowboy’ market. It would appear that, at long last, there’s now at least a ‘defined’ competency criterion for fire risk assessors and guidance for those charged with delivering fire risk assessment programmes on how to seek the services of a competent fire risk assessor.

Following a recent enforcement review around the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which was undertaken by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is now committed to promoting the use – and acceptance – of recognised professional certification and accreditation for commercial fire risk assessors.

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk assessments are the very cornerstone of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, yet the value of such an assessment – even when conducted by a competent fire risk assessor – is largely dependent on the organisation’s ability to manage the outcomes.

A fire risk assessment is a means to an end but not the end in itself. When reviewing the high profile prosecutions that have hit the headlines over the past few years, one quickly realises that failure to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment (under Article 9) is not the only compliance obligation imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. There are numerous other duties by which the responsible person is bound.

Cost of fire at an all-time high

Enter the concept of ‘fire risk management’. With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. Rather, it encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire.

In today’s global and interconnected marketplace, issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility and reputational risk are extremely prominent. News headlines travel fast via both traditional and new media forms. The cost of fire is at an all-time high and, in these tough economic times, organisations need to be frugal with finite financial resources. In essence, they require to build resilience and ensure that fire risk assessment programmes deliver the intended outcomes.

Many organisations have a policy in place setting out an overarching statement of intent (signed by the CEO) and firmly establishing the ‘What’ and ‘Why’. Less common, yet essential, is the Fire Risk Management Strategy – a document which defines an organisation’s fire risk management system and method of implementing the overarching policy, and which firmly establishes the details of ‘How’, ‘When’ and ‘Who’.

These two pieces of documentation form the backbone of an organisation’s fire risk management system (a set of interrelated or interacting elements within an organisation designed to establish policies, objectives and processes to achieve those objectives and manage fire risk) and are generally underpinned by operational procedures.

The practice of fire risk management within our built environment is a much broader discipline than many give it credit for. It’s often delegated to the Health and Safety manager or the security manager within an organisation and, while I’m not suggesting that all companies should have a dedicated fire specialist responsible for fire risk management, they must acknowledge that fire safety is not just a sub-discipline of Health and Safety.

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

Fire risk management is a discipline in its own right with its own set of competencies. It does not always sit neatly in the Health and Safety Department due to the need for interaction with property, estates or facilities management functions. The old adage about ‘Jack of all trades’ most certainly applies. Too many fire safety manager roles are advertised with the essential qualifications stated as a NEBOSH Diploma, which merely emphasises the confusion often found in organisations regarding the scope of the Health and Safety manager’s role.

When undertaking fire risk management system audits, my experience is that those organisations recognising fire risk management as a discipline in its own right – regardless of which department the function sits – are in a far better position to maintain governance over organisational fire risk than those that do not.

Competency criteria to be considered

The Fire Sector Federation has recognised that, having established the Competency Council and published the competency criteria for fire risk assessors, the next logical step is to consider the competency criteria for those actively engaged in fire risk management.

Following an initial meeting of key stakeholders, organised jointly between the Fire Sector Federation and the Fire Industry Association, there’s now a proposal afoot to reform the Competency Council and really tackle this issue.

Some organisations have formalised their fire safety policy, strategy and procedures and are now in the process of gaining fire risk management system certification via a third party certification body. Those organisations that already hold certification of their Health and Safety management system to OHSAS 18001 or business continuity management system to ISO 22301 are well placed to integrate their management systems and streamline the internal or external audit process.

Fire risk management system certification via a UKAS-accredited third party certification body will provide a means to reduce the burden on enforcing authorities and significantly support the Primary Authority (or Fire Authority) partnership schemes.

Fire risk management is evolving (both as a discipline and a practice) as an integrated or holistic approach to understanding and managing the risks posed by the threat of fire which enables an organisation to optimise its underlying processes and achieve more efficient results.

Those responsible for fire safety in organisations would do well to consider formalising their fire risk management system, and not focus solely on the process of documenting fire risk assessments.

Ben Bradford BSc MSc MBA CEng FCIBSE FRICS FIFireE is a member of the FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council and the founder/managing director of BB7

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