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Corporate Social Responsibility

There is a lot of talk in all corners of health and social care about corporate social responsibility (CSR), social value and ethical trading. Discussions with providers suggest that many don’t know what this all means or that they have only a sketchy understanding.


Other providers don’t see the point of even thinking about these issues as they “are only a small company” and surely such things only apply to large providers? While there is some logic to this position, it is wrong.


This blog will consider why all social care providers should consider, have policies relating to and enact social responsibility within their business as well as what forms this takes.


Why does it apply to me?


There are very many good reasons that social care businesses should consider their CSR these include:


• The ethical imperative to do the right thing.

• Because it is good for the planet.

• Very often it is the financially sensible thing to do.

• It is good for staff.

• Some potential Service Users will be looking for providers who match their own ethical and environmental values.

• Local authority and other contracts increasingly require these to be in place.


The overarching purpose of CSR is that the business is enhancing, rather than having a negative impact on society and the environment. Enacting such policies ensure that providers not only self-regulate effectively, but that they are socially responsible to themselves, Service Users and the wider population.


What do they cover?

As a general theme, CSR policies and procedures cover issues relating to:

• The environment.

• Ethical trading.

• Philanthropy.

• Financial probity.


Each element of these need to be considered for the CSR policy to be complete. A provider cannot for example choose to be environmentally friendly but ignore the need to trade ethically.


Environmental responsibility

Things a social care provider might do to support the environment might include:

• Going paperless or paper light.

• Promoting recycling.

• Using less energy, e.g. low energy bulbs and intelligent lighting.

• Car share schemes / promoting the use of public transport and cycling.

• Buying local produce and reducing food miles etc.


What you do to be greener will depend on the nature of your business, e.g. a domiciliary care service might promote cycling or walking between clients, while a care home might be better looking at their energy and water use.


Ethical trading

Ethical trading requires providers to always act in fair and honest ways and respect human rights. This might include only trading with businesses who also have an ethical trading policy, who don’t buy products where there is a chance people have been exploited in the manufacture.


Ethical trading is also about the ways in which providers treat their staff, paying a fair wage and ensuring staff are all treated equally.


Philanthropy


While many social care providers are perhaps too small to give money to good causes, they can promote and provide opportunities for volunteering, which can help some people get into work. Other examples include providing expertise to the local community perhaps in designing dementia friendly communities or allowing community groups to use a meeting room.


Financial Probity


This element of CSR is about being open and honest in business transactions and financial dealings. Like ethical trading, social care businesses which consider financial probity also look to the values of the businesses they trade with.


Where do I start?


Your CSR policies have to align with the values and vision of your business, so the obvious place to start is to consider what you value as a business and what it is you want to achieve, your vision.


Then consider all the elements which go into making up your business, what you do, who works for you and who you work with. Engage with your stakeholders, especially staff, Service Users and their families to identify what is important to them and to get them onboard with the plan.


Summary


Socially responsible care businesses not only recognise the need to contribute to wider efforts to tackle issues such as climate change and social injustice, but they also reap the benefits of a positive public profile and access to contracts which are not available to less socially aware businesses.


Bettal Quality Consultancy has a comprehensive and regularly updated suite of policies, procedures and risk assessments, including for CSR, social value, environment and ethical trading, to support busy providers, registered managers and their teams in the provision of CQC compliant care.


If you would like to know more, browse our website, https://www.bettal.co.uk, or get in touch:


Email: info@bettal.co.uk

Telephone: 01697741411


Peter Ellis MA MSc BSc(Hons) RN

Consultant

Bettal Quality Consultancy

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