Page 1

Contents Introduction

2

Overview of the Year

2

FRC Group

4

Our performance 2004/05

6

Health and Safety

10

Trainees

11

A business by business overview

13

Bulky Bob’s

16

Revive

20

Ben & Jerry’s

22

The Cat’s Pyjamas

23

Green-Works

24

FRC Solutions

25

Our Environmental Performance

26

The Future

33

Auditors’ Assurance Statement

35

Appendices

FRC Group Sustainability Report 2004/2005

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Our Sustainability Report 2004/05 Introduction Sustainability reporting is all about how we have made a difference. We believe that the FRC Group indeed made many positive differences to the lives of people who we have furnished accommodation for, to our trainees by offering them job and training opportunities, positive environmental impacts through our Bulky Bob’s recycling work and generating income though our businesses. It has been our intention for some time to move away from producing an annual social report to produce an annual sustainability report. This year we have bitten the bullet and done it. Much has happened in the Group this year! Read on and you will learn more about the extent to which we have delivered on our triple bottom lines that is our economic, social and environmental impacts. This year we hoped that we have achieved something we have been meaning to do for some time, and that is to produce a much shorter report than we have done in recent years. This year changes in our business have also meant that we do not have the resources that we have had in the past to put into social and environmental reporting. Never the less we believe that this report is as complete, material and responsive as our previous social reports. We will let you judge for yourselves. Readers should note throughout the year we still continued to develop our month by month triple bottom line accounting systems, in fact they have become more sophisticated and also easier to use than ever. They can be found at the back of this report in appendix 1. This report also includes priorities and targets for our work social and environmental work in 2005/06.

Over view of the Year Group income This year £4,085,568, last year £4,758 731 This year has been very busy! It has been one of winning awards for our work, higher than ever recycling rates, increased competition from competitors, the closure of one of our businesses and the departure of a much loved Chief Executive. We were delighted to be ranked 26th in Financial Times’s Best Place to Work Index. We won Best Social Report 2004 from ACCA/ Accountability and we also won the Merseyside Groundwork Tony Bonner Award for our environmental performance and we were runners up in the Merseyside Agenda 21 Health and Safety awards. We were also short listed in the prestigious Orange National Business Awards in the Social Enterprise category.

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Our Bulky Bob’s business has gone from strength to strength overachieving on reuse and recycling targets. Very worthwhile discussions were had with a North West local authority that is keen to sign a new Bulky Bob’s contract later in late 2005. Our Revive stores continued to deliver quality low cost furniture and great service to low income customers. However it has been tougher in our Furniture Resource Centre business where the market is changing and our customers are no longer buying the volumes of furniture that they once did. We also took the decision this year to close our Ben and Jerry’s Partnershop after a poor year of trading but ironically a great year for the disadvantaged young people who gained a job and training opportunities with us. Our Cat’s Pyjamas business, selling experiential training opportunities in social enterprise management had fewer customers and tackled this by running bespoke events at the request of customers. In July 2004, we said goodbye to our Chief Executive, Liam Black, who left the Group after a 10-year association with the company. Recognising the skills of our three Leadership Team members our Board decided to create a triumviate of three directors to run the company and promoted our existing Leadership Team into this role. They took over as directors in August 2004 working in a collective style of leadership. We continued to get a high number of our trainees into work and recruit higher than ever percentages from black and minority ethic community The headlines on our environmental performance continued to be mixed and encouraging. We know we missed the mark in some areas such as our carbon dioxide emissions and we must improve on these however we over performed on our reuse and recycling agendas. It has been a challenging year with many changes but it would not have been FRC Group if it had been any other way.

Our Finances Year

Income

% grant income

2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05

7,490 451 5,045 661 4,758 731 4,085,568

10 4 7 7

FRC Group Sustainability Report 2004/2005

% sales income 90 96 93 93

staff average 104 74 78 83

Unrestricted Funds profit/(loss)£ 431,299 28,265 (11,124) (149,267)

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FRC Group The FRC Group of social enterprises finds business solutions to social and environmental issues. We are based in Liverpool with national ambitions. We are a values led company trying to do business as creatively, passionately, bravely and professionally as we can. We aim be as open, honest and accountable as we can with the people who matter to us. At the heart of our business is the Furniture Resource Centre – a charity that is this year 16 years old. Also, within the FRC Group we have trading subsidiaries and brands that allow us to find commercial solutions to social and environmental issues. Our companies are The Furniture Resource Centre Ltd, Bulky Bob’s Ltd, FRC Trading FRC Scoopers, and our joint venture the Cat’s Pyjamas. Our brands are Revive stores and amovingexperience. We also operated a Greenworks franchise and a Ben and Jerry’s Partnershop. (see appendix 3) Throughout the year we have sought feedback from people who matter to our business in many different ways. We value this feedback. The people who matter to us are: x x x x x x

Our staff Our trainees Our board of charity directors Our customers Our suppliers And the environment

You can read more about how we engaged with them this year in appendix 3. In January 2005, we also reviewed the Group’s objectives to see if they were still relevant to what we wanted to do as a social enterprise that is committed to balancing the economic, social and environmental challenges of the triple bottom line. Our objectives are: x x x x

To be great to do business with To be a great place to work To be great for people To be great for the planet

And of course to be profitable in all of our business endeavours. We aim to deliver on our triple bottom line all of the time throughout the year. Our objectives enable us to articulate how we do this. Being great to do business with means acting on customers’ and suppliers’ feedback. Being a great place to work means we take seriously what our staff think about working at FRC Group. Being great for people is through offering training and job opportunities for the long term unemployed and getting low cost furniture

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to low income households through our Revive stores. All of this is carried out whilst we are working to be great for the planet and accounting for and improving on our environmental impacts. And we can never forget that we must always ensure that all we do means we have to be commercially minded and always deliver on our financial bottom line.

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Our performance 2004/05 Throughout the year we ran our business to specific performance targets. Our performance on these has been reported on throughout this document. The key below, explains how well we did on the targets that we set for 2004/05. Key

. /

We got there We almost got there We missed the mark

Our staff and our values Our staff are very important to us! We want to recruit and keep the best that we can have. We want to train them, recognise good work, treat them well and reward them fairly and celebrate success. We began the year 1st of April 2004, with 83 staff on our payroll and ended it with 79. We had 29 new starters and 28 leavers across the year making our staff turnover 33%. It is important to understand that twenty of these were people on temporary contracts-10 in logistics and 10 throughout the rest of the business, three staff were dismissed, 4 left for jobs elsewhere and one was made redundant. On 31st March 2005, the ratio of male/female staff was 3:1 unchanged from the previous two years and amongst the 13 people with managerial or team leader responsibilities this ratio was 1:1, again unchanged from the previous year. None of our management team was from an ethnic minority background although throughout the year 9% of all of our permanent staff were from the Black and Minority Ethnic community (BME). In March 2005, of the 7 Board members, all were white British, 5 were men and 2 were women. This was unchanged from the previous year. In November 2004, we entered the Financial Times’s Best Place to Work Index. Entry requires that over 70% of staff give feedback via a questionnaire about working for the Group. 80% of our full time staff did so: 84% of staff responded, “ Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work” 83% believe that management trusts people to do a good job without watching over their shoulders 81% I am offered training or development to further myself professionally 80% I am proud to tell others I work here 73% everyone has an opportunity to get special recognition 73% believe that management is approachable, easy to talk with 71% feel they make a difference here.

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65% Management shows an interest in me as a person and not just as an Employee 59% Management’s actions match its words 54% People are paid fairly for the work that they do 48% Managers avoid favouritism In April 2005, we were delighted to be ranked the 26th in the Best Place to Work UK index www.agreatplacetowork.co.uk above companies such as Asda, Saatchi & Saatchi, Goldman Sachs International and the Carphone Warehouse. Achievement 2004/05 Continue to acknowledge and reward our staff for living out our values

-

Our culture is highly important to us; this includes our values, which are our beliefs in action. We continued to use our values awards as a way of demonstrating and reinforcing the way in which we want to work. This year staff awarded colleagues 216 values awards (278, 2003/04 and 138, 2002/03) for their professionalism, creativity, bravery and passion. To do this we have a set of definitions for behaviours that demonstrate our values. We also continued to have all staff rates of pay benchmarked via a third party agency. Achievement 2004/05 Continued our annual values awards voted for by all the staff in the Group -

In October we introduced a new award – Employee of the Month–, which is awarded by the Leadership Team to a member of staff who has demonstrated all the Group’s values in the last month. Building on this, we once again organised our annual Staff Awards Ceremony. In July 2004 we celebrated the individuals who were voted by their colleagues as their most passionate, most brave, and most creative members of staff in the previous 12 months. Our in house events team organised the celebrations including rallying staff to volunteer as entertainers for the afternoon. Our values culture is maturing. Throughout the year we had several organisations visit us specifically to learn about our values, their inception and their evolution. This is very flattering and we do not want to get complacent about this, and in keeping in line with our value of creativity, we will continue to look for new ways of keeping our values alive and fresh and at the centre of all we do. One challenge for 2005/06 will be how do we start and maintain our

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values culture out at new satellite Bulky Bob’s operation some geographical distance from the FRC Group headquarters in Liverpool. We have an agreement with a Greater Manchester local authority to start a Bulky Bob’s operation later in 2005. We will start it with a brand new team, new to FRC Group and new to our values. Welcoming them into the Group’s culture will be an interesting step in the evolution of our values. We are highly committed to offering personal and professional development opportunities to our staff as we see this as an important investment in them and our business. We deliver our training through our site-based University for the People, which delivers job related training in the day and a mixture of job related and hobby related courses after work. The hobby related courses give staff a chance to take part in activities they may not be able to afford to try or have never considered before, for example archery or scuba diving. This year we spent £75,000 (£72, 920, 2003/04) on training courses and secured £59,976 of Skillsworks funding towards this training. The University delivered 240 courses and 1371 hours worth of training. 81% of staff surveyed said that they believed that “they were offered training and development to further themselves professionally”. Achievements 2004/05

Reviewed HiG to ensure continual improvement of the process Ensure that all staff members go through HiG by the end of November 2004

.

FRC Group believes that constructive feedback can be very powerful in personal development. Every year all of our permanent staff had a How’s It Going (HiG) conversation with their line manager. HiG is our performance appraisal process. This year was no different and we reviewed and improved on the process after canvassing feedback from team leaders and staff. We ensured that all staff had had a HIG conversation with their line manager by the end of February 2005. We are ready for the challenges that 2005/06 will bring around the development of our culture, our diversity agenda and the continuing professional development of our staff.

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Our staff and our values- priorities for 2005/06 x

Enter the Best Place to Work Index in 2005 and strive to be ranked as high as we can be

x

Complete a review of our values system by March 2006

x

Ensure that we embed our values culture in our new satellite businesses

x

Ensure all staff have a HIG conversation with their manager by the end of February 2006.

x

In the light of staff feedback continue to review and update our HIG process.

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Health and Safety We continued to encourage staff to take health and safety in the workplace seriously. All new staff and trainees went through an intensive induction course including robust health and safety training. We also ran mandatory refresher training courses for all staff, repeated manual handling training for logistics staff, encouraged staff to report accidents as soon as they happened and communicated the Group’s health and safety performance back to staff on a regular basis. In February we were runners up in the Groundwork Merseyside Agenda 21 Health and Safety awards. Achievements 2004/05 Reduce our accident rate by 10% from 0.71 accidents reported per employee to 0.70

.

The total number of accidents reported for the year was 50 (61, 2003/04). This equates to 0.71 per employee, fractionally higher than our target of 0.70 per employee. Of this year’s 50 accidents we obliged to report 9 of them to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). This is slightly up on last year’s 8 RIDDOR reportable accidents. 85% of staff surveyed agreed that “this is a physically safe place to work” We believe our messages and training efforts made a difference. Health and safety issues are so important we must keep a close eye on our targets throughout the year and endeavour to reduce accident rates by fostering more awareness amongst staff through training, communication on accident rates and constant review. Target for 2005/06 To reduce our accident rate from 0.71 accidents per employee to 0.65 accidents per employee

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Trainees Each year we offer year long job and training positions to 20 people from long-term unemployment. We passionately believe that getting a job is one of the best ways out of social exclusion. Trainees come to us to earn a salary for working in our businesses, gain a clear work ethic and a set of both certificated and non-certificated skills that increase their employability when they leave us. Whilst with us they work in the Group’s logistics team and spend time in the Bulky Bob’s business collecting unwanted furniture and, on our Furniture Resource Centre’s one stop service delivering new furniture. They also spend time delivering new and pre-loved furniture for our Revive stores and helping to move tenants as part of the amovingexperience business. Each year we recruit trainees in June, October and February. This year 9% of those recruited had been unemployed for between 6 and 12 months, 91% for more than 12 months. Of these 29% had been unemployed for more than 4 years. Trainees gained an average of 4.4 (4.4, 2003/04) qualifications each and completed a total of over 1367 hours worth of training between them. Achievements 2004/05 Reach our target of at least 70% of staff on training contracts into jobs

-

Reduce the early leavers rate on our 12-month training programme from 19% to 15%, excluding those who leave early into a job or further education

/

Of the 20 who completed their training in 2004/05, seventy one percent (69%, 2003/4) went on to jobs and or further education. This is in line with last year. This year we had to terminate the employment of 7 trainees. This equates to 30% of all trainee leavers for that year and more than last year’s figure of 19%. We believe that this reflects how much harder we have had to work on tackiing trainees’ attitude to work and the fact that many recruits have more issues in their lives that cannot be solved by offering employment alone and that we are not equipped to help them with. We have deliberately reduced our target for 2005/06 to reflect this. Achievements 2004/05 Continue to track our leavers for up to 2 years and report the results of this

-

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We continued to track our leavers for two years, of those who returned their questionnaires, 87% believe that their time with FRC Group helped them get a job and they cited training and qualifications (46%), confidence building (21%) and learning how to work as a team (25%) as the top three things that they gained whilst at FRC Group. Achievements 2004/05 Recruit 25% of our trainees from the BME communities in Liverpool

-

We were delighted to have exceeded our target for our BME recruitment. This year 33% (24%: 2003/04) of all the trainees were recruited were from Liverpool’s BME community and our target was 25%. Now that we have very good links with the local BME community and their advocates we want to keep this level of recruitment up. Over the next year we will continue to deliberately target the BME community in the city and endeavour to attract women on to our training programme. We also wish to offer training places to individuals leaving incapacity benefit behind them. We are therefore continuing to work with hard to reach groups

Our trainees - targets 2005/06 x x x x

Reduce our early leavers target to 25% Get 75% of our leavers into jobs or further education Maintain our level of at least 33% of trainees coming from BME communities Continue to track leavers for up to 2 years

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A business by business overview The Furniture Resource Centre Turnover this year £ 3,212,648, last year £3,569,664 This business continues to provide its core service of packages of new furniture to social landlords that allow them to easily and cost effectively created furnished tenancies. In addition to furniture products Furniture Resource Centre (FRC) also provides a whole range of services allied to the creation of furnished tenancies – installation of electrical items, fitting of carpets and curtains and removal of packaging waste for recycling. FRC also provides a removal service for social landlord’s tenants– which is branded amovingexperience – and a stock management service that allows customers to manage their budgets more effectively and allows more sustainable use of furniture packages. Since the creation of the one stop furnishing service some 13 years ago our customers have been social landlords – local authorities and housing associations. Traditionally local authorities have contributed the bulk of our turnover whilst housing associations have represented our largest customer base by number. In 2004/5 this situation began to change for a number of reasons and the spend of our customers was 64% from local authorities, 31% from housing associations and 5% miscellaneous, for example, hostels and foyers. Achievements 2004/05 Work with social landlord customers to investigate new ways of gaining feedback from tenants in furnished accommodation

.

There are two main reasons for this change in the market, the first, is the continuing ‘saturation’ of larger customers that has been apparent in the past 2-3 years. We have reached a situation where our larger customers now have substantial quantities of furnished accommodation units. This means that when a new tenant requires a furnished tenancy one can often be provided from existing furnished housing stock rather than triggering a need to buy new furniture. The second reason is that many of our local authority contracts have undertaken large scale housing stock transfers that has seen them divest themselves of housing stock and to sell/sign over properties en masse to existing or newly formed housing associations or Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO).

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We believe that it is good practice to get feedback from the tenants who receive and live with our furniture. This year we worked with two of our customers and their tenants to do this. We discussed the possibility of holding focus groups with their tenants but neither of these customers was keen for this to happen and they opted for a postal questionnaire instead. They were New Prospect Housing in Salford and Yorkshire Metropolitan in Huddersfield. This is what tenants said about furnished accommodation “It has saved me a lot of money which I didn’t have” “Having a furnished tenancy means that it helped me out with me being out of work. I would have struggled a lot to get my own furniture” “The good points are I am happy with my furniture. Bad points, I have been told the furniture is on rent and will never be mine, I disagree as I pay part of my rent I work part time so by now as I have lived here for nearly seven years, I think the furniture should be mine” The overall current market size has continued to shrink in 2004/5 with one customer alone now spending a staggering £1.4M less on furniture than they were in 2001/2. This trend has led to even more competition from private sector competitors who have entered the market in recent years. However, the potential untapped market for furnished tenancies remains massive with the number of social landlords who are yet to be persuaded to provide this service far outweighing those that currently do. The trick for FRC is to lobby and persuade those social landlords who do not offer furnished tenancies to start doing so and for us to put specialist resources together to do this. One significant issue was that FRC’s submission to a local social enterprise support fund for financial support to recruit a Business Development Manager to drive forward this agenda was rejected. Whilst the consultants employed by the funders to help applicants prepare bids viewed our submission to be the most professional that had been submitted this possibly worked against our objective of financial support, as part of the paraphrased feedback we received was that we obviously did not need support. During the course of the year Furniture Resource Centre continued to diversify both its range of services and the type of customers and introduced a ‘stock management service’ for two of our major customers. This provides end of tenancy support to customers with regard to the removal, cleaning, storage and redelivery of furniture. Through our amovingexperience brand we carried out 150 (325, 2003/05) household furniture moves for 9 different registered social landlord customers. We offer a people centred removals service with a chaperone option for particularly vulnerable tenants. We also undertook 48 void clearances for a Merseyside social landlord.

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We became a logistics provider to the premier niche furniture store in Liverpool and became logistics provider to a major supplier of furniture to builders’ show houses, corporate rentals and the buy to let market. To grow this business we need to have a better understanding of the changing RSL market and we need to continue being innovative in the services that we offer our customers. We also need to get more feedback from them than we had this year. All of this will be at the centre of our FRC work in 2005/06.

Furniture Resource Centre – priorities for 2005/06 x

Increase the sales and profitability of the Furniture Resource Centre

x

Recruit a Business Development Manager for the FRC business by August 2005

x

Diversify our customer base within the RSL sector

x

Design a clear timetable by October 2005 to gain more structured and timely feedback from more of our FRC customers

x

Work with two social landlords customers to find creative ways of gaining feedback from tenants in furnished accommodation by March 2005

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Bulky Bob’s Turnover this year £758,005, last year £807,111 Bulky Bob’s has local authority contracts to collect all of the Bulky Household Waste (predominantly furniture) that residents no longer require. The added value that Bulky Bob’s brings is that we do not simply landfill all of the collected furniture but reuse or recycle a contractually agreed percentage of what is collected. Furthermore, we have a contractual commitment to provide 12-month salaried training positions within the workforce. As in previous years Bulky Bob’s continues to meet all performance targets for the 2 local authority contracts that we deliver. In particular, Bulky Bobs has surpassed the agreed rate of diversion from landfill in both areas. Achievements 2004/05 Maintain our 35% recycling rate for all goods collected in Liverpool Exceed the current 26% recycling rate in Halton

-

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This year we carried out a total of 53, 068 collections (51,003: 2003/04) in Liverpool and Halton. We had 10 complaints we investigated them all and only 1 was upheld. Since Bulky Bob’s was launched in June 2000, we are delighted that it has increased the tonnage of waste reused and recycled each year in both of it operations. In 2004/05, its fifth year of operating, 37.7% (35%, 2003/04) by weight of the waste collected was reused or recycled by Bulky Bob’s Liverpool. This is against a contract target of 30% and our own target of 35%. Our Halton Bulky Bob’s reused and recycled 26.1% (24%, 2003/04) against a contract target. In total Bulky Bob’s diverted 1330 tonnes of white goods and furniture away from landfill. Liverpool City Council staff gave us 10 out of 10 on our customer service and a mark of 8.5 out of 10 when asked how good we were for people and the planet. They also said that we are: “Well organised and well run - responsive to changes” We asked 100 householders about the quality of the service they got when a collection was carried out.

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80 of the householders interviewed were in at the time the Bulky Bob’s collection was made and dealt with our collection crew. 93% of them said that our crews “were very polite or polite when the collection was made”. Every year our householder survey in Liverpool highlights the issue of our crews being unable to bring items downstairs for customers. The only problem I’ve had is when we left something up the stairs and they wouldn’t get it from there, not that they wouldn’t but couldn’t because of insurance or something. They were still very nice though. I think it’s a great service” Under the terms of our contract with Liverpool City Council who cite insurance issues we are simply not allowed to bring items downstairs for customers. Ironically our Halton Borough Council contract does allow us to offer this part of the service. In the interests of offering a better service to our customers we hope to be able to persuade Liverpool City Council to think otherwise. At the end of the year the performance of Liverpool City Council’s ‘Street Scene’ team was scrutinised by the Audit Commission as part of a best value Corporate Performance Audit (CPA). As a service supplier to the team Bulky Bob’s performance was part of the remit of the scrutiny panel. Although the resulting report is not yet in the public domain the anecdotal remarks are that the service was viewed as being wholly positive. We also under took some preliminary work to establish the local economic impact of Bulky Bob’s and found that 62% of the contract value of the Liverpool contract and 46% of the value of the Halton contract remains in the Merseyside economy. Achievements 2004/05 Agree two new Bulky Bob’s partnerships by 1st of April 2005

.

The general environment for Bulky Bob’s continues to be very positive. Throughout the year the whole recycling and sustainability agenda continued to gain media attention and influence the national psyche. The only potential threat to the rise and rise of Bulky Bob’s is the emergence of consolidated waste contracts that seek to award contract for all waste management activity to a single supplier (or consortium). Bulky Bob’s simply does not have the experience or resources to win these contracts so we began to research the possibility of forming/joining consortiums with waste management companies providing non-bulky household waste services. During 2004/5, Bulky Bob’s was the subject of significant interest from some fifteen local authorities. Negotiations with one northern council that had begun in the previous year continued for the duration of this year. Interest in the Bulky Bob’s service remained high and we secured an agreement from one

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Greater Manchester local authority to take discussions further. However, these negotiations further confirmed that introducing a groundbreaking and innovative service within a local authority (especially one that requires buy in from a range of separate autonomous council departments) is a slow and frustrating process that requires many stops and starts as personnel change and agendas and priorities constantly change. Equally, during the course of the year negotiations ground to a halt with a local authority in the North East for the simple reason that the number of collections made in that area could not support the infrastructure required to service the contract. Joint attempts had been made by both Bulky Bob’s and the local authority to create a ‘sub regional consortium’ with other councils that would provide the economies of scale necessary for a venture such as Bulky Bob’s. This experience provided key learning with regard to the conditions that are favourable for the formation of a Bulky Bob’s business. During the year the need for a full time position to concentrate on the roll out of Bulky Bob’s across the country became clear and recruitment to fill this position of Business Development Manager began. We recognised that, as with Furniture Resource Centre, the private sector will at some stage see the value of the market that we have created and begin to muscle in on our business. We therefore need to establish our pre eminence in this field before this happens or run the risk of losing this massive opportunity. Achievements 2004/05 Continue the pursuit of more environmentally sustainable options for the reuse or recycling of the residual waste sent to landfill -

We were delighted to have exceeded our reuse and recycling targets for the year but still sent a considerable 2519 tonnes of waste to landfill. It is an ongoing task to find other outlets and possibly start new environmentally efficient businesses to deal with the residual waste. We were able to find a new outlet for bicycles collected and sent 96 to Her Majesties Prison Walton where inmates refurbished them. The bicycles were sent on to Romania for reuse. We also continued to have discussions with researchers and possible business partners about the implications and business opportunities raised by the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive and other forthcoming waste related legislation. During the year the idea of a version of Bulky Bob’s that provides a collection and diversion from landfill service to the corporate sector was tested in part. In order to determine the nature of this work and also to establish our credentials

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in the sector Bulky Bob’s undertook wholesale collections of fixtures and fittings from various locations owned by a major hotel chain and also from a major holiday camp. We established that we can effectively deliver this service and also that a significant proportion of the stock collected can be diverted from landfill. This exercise was the starting point for a more substantial body of work to determine whether a bona fide social business can be developed around this initiative.

Bulky Bob’s targets for 2005/06 x

Improve upon our reuse and recycling rate of 37.7% by Liverpool Bulky Bob’s

x

Improve upon the reuse and recycling rate of 26.1% by Halton Bulky Bob’s

x

Carry out a feasibility study to establish opportunities for recycling of more WEEE equipment from the Bulky Bob’s waste stream.

Bulky Bob’s priorities for 2005/06 x

Recruit a Business Development Manager for Bulky Bob’s

x

Develop our national strategy to win more bulky household waste contracts

x

Develop our work on the local economic impact of Bulky Bob’s

x

Establish the social return on investment for the Bulky Bob’s business

x

Ensure we get direct feedback from householders on all of our Bulky Bob’s contracts

x

Continue to find more environmentally friendly options and business opportunities for the reuse and recycling of residual household waste

x

Continue to investigate business opportunities for Bulky Bob’s with the corporate sector

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Revive Turnover this year £170, 481, last year £157,474 Revive is the brand name of our high street presence in Liverpool and in Widnes (Halton) where we sell low cost furniture and to low income households offering discounts to those on benefits. We sell a combination of Bulky Bob’s collected pre-loved furniture, ex-catalogue stock, refurbished white goods, new beds and fireplaces. Achievements 2004/05 At least maintain the current level of 84% of customers on lowincome

.

This year Revive Liverpool made 3337 sales (3408, 2003/04) and Halton made 529 (96, 2004/04). On average 83% of customers in Liverpool and 82% in Halton were on benefits. This is against our target of 84% (84%, 2003/04). This year sales of catalogue stock equated to 21% of turnover (30%, 2003/04) 96% of the customers at the Revive store in Liverpool regarded the quality of the items that they bought from us as excellent or good.

Achievements 2004/05 Take Revive on the Road at least four times

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Disappointed with our Halton sales and knowing that there was still a great need for low cost furniture we used the idea of getting furniture out to those most in need. So we came up with the idea of Revive on the Road. Seven times throughout the year we took a wagonload of furniture to community centre out in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the region and opened the doors for trading on a Saturday morning. We visited Speke in Liverpool twice, Castlelfields in Runcorn three times and went once to Netherton in Sefton and the Eldonians community in north Liverpool. We sold £3,133 worth of furniture to low-income customers and we beat out the target we set for ourselves of getting Revive on the Road out four times throughout the year.

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Revive - priorities for 2005/06 x x x

Ensure that 84% of customers at Revive are from low income households Maximise the amount of furniture collected by Bulky Bob’s that is reused through Revive Establish the local economic impact of the Revive business and investigate its social return on investment

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Ben and Jerry’s Turnover £ 58,394 Inspired by what we had seen in the USA, in October 2003 we opened a Ben and Jerry’s Partnershop in central Chester, a prime retail location and the first franchise of this kind in outside the USA. We wanted to diversify our business using a tried and tested business model and offer an attractive training opportunity to young people. So, through the selling ice cream we offered disadvantaged young people between the ages of 16 and 17 years old, job and training opportunities. In October 2003, we had worked with Fairbridge the young people’s charity and Ben and Jerry’s to recruit 10 young people onto an intensive 6 week personal development programme. In December 2003 we invited them all to apply for 4 salaried training positions in the partnershop. Between January and October 2004 the four trainees recruited took part in 10 training courses between them and gained an average of 6 accredited training qualifications each. The training offered was a mixture of formal job related training and personal development work building self-confidence, motivation and team working skills. Here are some of the things they said about working at Ben and Jerry’s “I feel good of myself” “Feel proud that I am doing a good job” “Increased self belief and I am confident that I will find another job” “ It has been a bit scary sometimes when people left but I got used to working with different people” Achievements 2004/05 Redesign the job and training programme for young people offered in Ben & Jerry’s -

Throughout the year we constantly reviewed the training programme to ensure we were offering the best training opportunities that we could the trainees stayed with us for an average of 10 months starting with their induction training in October 2003 and leaving in April, June, August and October 2004. Two of them went on to employment elsewhere, one to study Information Technology and another was dismissed due to poor attendance. Sadly in October 2004, after a year of trading on the high street our ice cream business was not working on a commercial basis and was making substantial losses trading well below the expected levels that Ben and Jerry’s had advised us. We therefore decided to close this business. We were very disappointed to have to do this. The closure resulted in minimal impact on employees the manager was transferred to our Revive store in Halton, the assistant manager and the one remaining trainee were leaving to go back to full time education.

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We have some regrets about our Ben and Jerry’s experience. We were confident about the business model and we know that the Partnershop model does work. We believe that location was the issue and we opened it in the wrong place. You cannot sell enough ice cream all year on a UK high street. The Cresco Trust info@crescotrust.com in Derry, Northern Ireland opened their first and very profitable Partnershop in August 2004 in a shopping mall it has been so successful that they are now in the process of opening a second Partnershop. The key to their success has been the location – it seems people will eat ice cream all year in a shopping mal and not as we learned on the high street. We wish Cresco well and believe that if we had not taken the risk on opening our store they may never have followed.

The Cat’s Pyjamas Turnover this year £ 59,630, last year £381,956 We run the Cat’s Pyjamas as a joint venture with Urban Strategy Associates. The Cat’s Pyjamas organises a series of events to help people learn about the potential and limitations with social enterprise business models. This year we ran three events for a total of 56 people from a range of organisations either social enterprises themselves or working in an advisory or consultancy capacity with social enterprises. In February, when we had to cancel one of our three day events due to a lack of bookings we were forced to review the future of the Cat’s Pyjamas model. Whilst we were one of the first social enterprises in 2001 to turn opening our doors into a business, there is now so much competition and choice in the market for those wishing to learn about social enterprise that custom for our three-day events has fallen away. We now offer bespoke courses for organisations wanting to block book and have a tailor made course to explore the specific issues they request. There was one casualty in all of this- the Cat’s Pyjamas business could no longer sustain a business development manager. In August 2004, we seconded her to work for across the Group on special projects but the Group could not sustain this either. This post was made redundant in March 2005.

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The Cat’s Pyjamas is still a very strong brand facilitating new ideas and learning within the social economy sector. We have therefore spent the year working with Foothold Ltd in Llanelli, South Wales to develop a franchise model. We are in discussions with several organisations across the UK who wants to use the Cat’s Pyjamas brand to show case local social enterprises.

Achievements 2004/05 No priorities were agreed for the Cat’s Pyjamas as at the time it was not clear what direction the company would take in the future.

Over the forthcoming year we plan to work more with the private sector and have already begun discussion with one multinational with regard to learning from us in the social economy to improve their sustainability and corporate social responsibility agenda.

Cat’s Pyjamas - priorities for 2005/06 x x

Reinvent the Cat’s Pyjamas Work with private sector companies to develop their corporate social responsibility agendas

Green-Works November 2004, saw us launch the northwest franchise of Green works- a London based social business that collects high quality office furniture from the City and sells it on a low cost to small and medium sizes enterprises and the voluntary sector. Achievements 2004/05 Sell £15,000 worth of furniture, making Green-Works financially sustainable

/

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This year we seconded one of our Revive store managers in to this business to build up custom across the Merseyside region. We were very confident that this was a robust business model and would work. However, we have had problems with the consistency of supply, both in the type and quality of product and we found it hard to build up a customer base. In April 2005 we took the decision to close this business.

FRC Solutions FRC Solutions offers a consultancy service designed to meet the bespoke needs of organisations that want to learn from our experiences of running a social business. Achievements 2004/05 Complete at least 20 days of consultancy through FRC Solutions

.

We year we worked with a range of organisations across the UK and Eire including social businesses, social enterprises, charities local authorities and other consultancies. They were interested in a range of aspects of our business from how we work with local authorities to how we developed our environmental management system to how we build our values culture. We carried out 19 days of paid consultancy work and hosted numerous visits for social enterprises and non-governmental organisations for which we did not charge. FRC solutions is a useful part of our business it enables us to earn an income through offering advice to and coaching other organisations. In doing this we reflect on our own organisation’s learning – what have we done well? What not so well? And what would we do differently in the future? In the coming year we will continue to offer our services through FRC Solutions but, as this business is essentially a reactive one we have decided not to be proactive about gaining work for FRC Solutions work. We do not want this to be at the expense of our other, more income generating, businesses.

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Our Environmental Performance The FRC Group has both positive and negative impacts on the world in which we live. This has been a challenging year for FRC Group and we have had to work hard to try and balance our environmental objectives with the realities of running a business. We monitored our environmental impacts and worked hard to reach the targets that we had set ourselves. We had our environmental management system verified by an independent third party and we carried out an audit of the environmental management practices of our top ten furniture suppliers. We have also taken the decision not to produce a separate environmental report but to incorporate a report of our environmental performance here. We have continued our practices on our environmental housekeeping with regard to energy use, fuel consumption and water use and the National Centre for Business and Sustainability reviewed our environmental management system. Details of our performance on our targets over the year. can be found here. We have unfortunately not performed as well as we had hoped on some of our targets. Some of this is down to the fact that we have been short of personnel to pick up on certain issues. Achievements 2004/05

To introduce an FRC Group wide sustainable purchasing policy / We attempted to survey our top 10 furniture suppliers to establish how much consideration FRC’s furniture suppliers give to the environment by identifying any negative impacts their businesses have on the environment, how they measure those impacts and what, if anything, they do to reduce them. Our spend with these 10 suppliers represents 63% of the FRC’s turnover and 41% of the Group’s turnover. We hoped that the findings would enable FRC to support and encourage suppliers to introduce more environmentally sustainable working practices over time, rather than penalise or stop business with suppliers who are not doing so already. We aimed to use this work to form the basis of a sustainable purchasing policy. We found a fairly low level of understanding of environmental issues amongst the 9 suppliers who agreed to be interviewed over the telephone. Although 5 of the 9 stated that they have an environmental policy, further questioning about what management systems are in place to back this up suggest that in most cases, the policy is little more than a piece of paper. None of our suppliers have an accredited environmental management system and only 4 have an internal one. Given the responses to some of the more specific questions asked, it is likely that some of the internal management systems are less than robust. When questioned about how different impacts such as energy and fuel use are managed, the answers given suggested a lack of understanding of what the actual impacts on the environment are, and of the various means available to manage these impacts. This was most apparent with Swift

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Electrical and Create UK, who have both done very little in terms of environmental management. For FRC to be more certain of the content and impact of the furniture it sells, there is a considerable amount of work to be done with its supply chain to ensure that they understand the environmental impact of their products and manufacturing methods, how to reduce those impacts and the benefits of doing so. Certainly at the moment it is not possible for FRC to report with any confidence on the environmental credentials of its supply chain. The one exception to this is HJ Berry, who have successfully integrated environmental management into their organisation and have made information about this publicly available on their website. A challenge for us is to decide how we take this forward and what can our FRC market stand. The FRC Group is committed to a sustainability agenda and we want to persuade our customers to think this way too. We need to develop strategies to do this, which may include more work with existing suppliers, may mean finding new suppliers or a combination of both. We also need more information on the cradle to grave impacts of our existing products so that our FRC customers can make more informed decisions. This year our triple bottom line accounting system has allowed us to measure and record our environmental impacts on a month-by-month basis. We have not met all of our targets and we have had a positive impact where we had not meant. Once again it has been difficult to find a comprehensive set of measures that allows us to compare a year on year performance. This is because events affecting our environmental impacts change along with our business.

Carbon Dioxide emissions and energy use FRC Group creates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through the use of petrol and diesel in our vehicles and through the use of gas and electricity in our buildings for power, heating, lighting and hot water. Achievements 2004/05 Reduce electricity use at FRC by 6.5%, back to the level of 2003/04 / Reduce electricity use at Revive by 10% .

This year the electricity use at FRC remained the same as in 2003/04 and was reduced by a small percentage 2.4% at Revive. In both these areas we missed our targets to reduce the use of electricity and we therefore missed our target on reducing carbon dioxide levels from electricity use.

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Achievements 2004/05

Reduce CO2 emissions from electricity use at FRC by 5% /

We had encouraged staff though a poster campaign and through notes on wages slips to save electricity but it was clearly not enough. The resulting carbon dioxide emissions from our electricity use remained the same as the previous year. To make a greater impact in 2005/06 it will be important to concentrate on staff training and a more in-depth awareness campaign. Achievements 2004/05 Maintain the current level of gas use at FRC -

Maintain the current level of gas use at Revive /

Unexpectedly at FRC there was a 33% decrease in the use of gas this year. This is due to our new warehouse supervisor reducing the ambient working temperature in the warehouse and reducing the use of the gas heaters. However, at Revive, gas usage has increased by 21% and we are unable to explain why. Achievements 2004/05 Review the options for renewable electricity supply again in March 2005 /

As well as reducing our electricity usage to protect the environment FRC could also switch to a more sustainable renewable source of electricity generated by for example, hydro, wind or solar. At the end of March 2005 we had still not managed to switch our supplier – this is a priority for 2005/06. Achievements 2004/05

Implement a carbon neutrality plan for the FRC Group /

In 2003/04 we began asking Cat’s Pyjamas delegates to give us details of how and how far they had travelled to our events and used the service provided by www.futureforests.com to estimate total emissions created by travel and then to plant enough trees to off set the carbon dioxide emissions generated. We investigated using this approach for our activities at FRC that created the most emissions. We tried to find the cheapest and most effective

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approach. However, financial constraints have meant that we have had to put this idea on hold until the Group’s finances improve.

Transport We had set ourselves targets to reduce the amount of fuel we use in our vehicles a fleet of two 7.5 tonne trucks and two 12 tonne trucks plus a sprinter van and a company car for the Furniture Resource Centre. Bulky Bob’s fleet consists of seven 7.5 tonne trucks and Revive has its own 7.5 tonne truck. Achievements 2004/05

Increase fuel efficiency of the Furniture Resource Centre by 5% / Increase the fuel efficiency of Bulky Bob’s in Halton by 6% to the same level as Liverpool /

Maintain the current level of fuel efficiency of the Revive vehicle

/

Fuel efficiency on our trucks either remained the same as in 2003/04 on FRC trucks or decreased by 8.9% on the Bulky Bob’s service in Halton and decreased by 14.8% on the Revive service. This performance is despite delivering driving efficiency training to our drivers in October 2004.

Increased fuel usage also means that we have missed our fuel related carbon dioxide targets.

Achievements 2004/05 Reduce CO2 emissions per kilometre from Bulky Bob’s in Halton to 0.56kg (a 7% reduction) the same as Bulky Bob’s Liverpool /

Maintain the current average CO2 emissions of FRC and Revive vehicles.

Carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre from Bulky Bob’s in Halton increased to 0.67kg per kilometre and Bulky Bob’s Liverpool to 0.58kg/km. Emissions from FRC vehicles remain the same as 2003/04 levels of 0.55kg/km. Clearly our fuel efficiency needs more attention. Driving conditions can differ so much as we work on Bulky Bob’s and Revive in congested urban areas, suburban areas and urban fringe. FRC wagons drive longer distances using

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motorways. We need to address issues of fuel efficiency through greater attention to driving style, deliver training and embed a greater commitment to this from staff and then communicate the results and savings back to staff. Achievements 2004/05 Continue to check the availability of bio-diesel on the forecourt, with a view to using this in our wagons .

There is an increasing investment in bio fuels and we investigated this and found a suitable source for bulk purchase but we have not been able to sort out an on site storage option that meets health and safety requirements. Our commitment to this continues and so will work on this project. Achievements 2004/05 Source low-emission company cars

.

We investigated getting two hybrid engine cars but the models available were too expensive for our budget. We have extended the lease on our existing company cars for now but will choose the lowest emission cars when we do switch in the summer of 2005.

Water Our water use is basic, our FRC and Revive building have toilets, kitchens and washing facilities. FRC uses water to clean the Group’s wagons using a pressure hose and cleaning agent. The cleaning agent all contains plant extracts rather than bleach or other harsh chemicals. Achievements 2004/05 Measure water use at FRC per £ sales income rather than per person, so that our measure reflects changes in our business that happen during the year -/

We reviewed this again and concluded that water use per ÂŁ sales is not any more useful an indicator than water use per person. As water is not our most significant impact, we are happy to leave this as it is. Achievements 2004/05 Reduce water use at Revive by 21%, back to 2002/2003 levels -

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Water use at Revive has reduced by 22% this year but the reason for this is not known. We will continue to monitor our water use.

Environment - priorities 2005/06 The environmental impacts of our products x Seek feedback from three major customers on the environmental credentials of the products that we supply x

Carry out cradle to grave impacts for the products that we sell

x

Research the possibility of producing sustainably produced product lines and or sourcing current product from more sustainable sources

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Environment – Targets 2005/06 Carbon dioxide emissions x Reduce CO2 emissions from electricity use at FRC by 5% x Reduce CO2 emissions from the FRC Group logistics fleet by 10% Energy use x Switch to renewable sources of electricity for the FRC Group x Reduce electricity use at FRC and Revive by 5% x Maintain use of gas at FRC at 2004/05 levels x Reduce levels of gas usage at Revive to 2003/04 levels Water x Maintain water use levels at 2004/05 levels Staff Training x Run at least one environmental awareness event for all staff x Run at least one driving efficiency course for all logistics staff Increase our reuse and recycling figures x Improve upon our reuse and recycling rate of 37.7% by Liverpool Bulky Bob’s x Improve upon the reuse and recycling rate of 26.1% by Halton Bulky Bob’s x Carry out a feasibility study to establish opportunities for recycling of more WEEE equipment from the Bulky Bob’s waste stream. .

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The Future 2005/06 There is no doubt that 2005/06 will bring new challenges for the FRC Group on all fronts, economic, social and environmental. This year has been testing with losing our Ben and Jerry’s and Greenworks business, but we have learned so much from this that we are so much wiser for the future. An overall challenge is how we continue to balance three elements of our business at the same time in our efforts to be financially and environmentally sustainable. Another challenge is how we integrate commercial targets with social and environmental ones. We very much need to be one step ahead of our competitors and capitalise on the unique selling points of the FRC Group that will win us more business. We need to be smarter commercially as we are facing more and more increased competition on so many business fronts. Our new business development managers in Furniture Resource Centre and Bulky Bob’s will help us do this. We need to continually improve on the performance of our triple bottom lines. We have a great opportunity to improve on our data capture and data management with the development of our new Microsoft Great Plains system. We need more regular and more structured feedback from all of our stakeholders in particular, our Furniture Resource Centre and Bulky Bob’s customers. We also need to take action on what they tell us so that we can improve our commercial performance. There are also great opportunities for us to do more work on the local economic impact and the social return on investment for all of our businesses and we plan to do this. With regard to Bulky Bob’s the challenge will be how we ensure that the embedded values culture at head office is inculcated within our new satellite operations. On the Cat’s Pyjamas business we need to define our unique selling point in a market, which is awash with so much,subsidised competition. On our social agenda, with rising employment in the region we must work harder to get out to socially excluded groups and to offer them job and training opportunities with us. To do this we need to continue to develop our understanding of Government initiatives and the needs of socially excluded groups and marry these with our business needs. We want to maximise funding revenues to underpin our research and development work on special projects such as finding more environmentally efficient options to landfilling unusable goods from the Bulky Bob’s collections. On our environmental agenda we want to address our business practices that have the biggest environmental impact i.e. the impacts of our logistics operation and the furniture products that we sell. As always it will be a challenge but it is going to be an interesting year!

FRC Leadership Team September 2005

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AUDITORS’ ASSURANCE STATEMENT justassurance1 is a social enterprise dedicated to working with stakeholders, or ‘people who matter’ in FRC Group’s (FRC’s) language, to provide assurance of social and sustainability reports. justassurance was paid £4,150 to provide assurance in connection with the FRC Sustainability Report 2005. justassurance will also provide feedback on FRC stakeholder engagement and accounting. justassurance has no other relationships with FRC that might compromise its independence. justassurance has sought to act impartially with respect to FRC’s various stakeholders. Statements of independence, impartiality and conflict of interest, together with the competencies of the auditors, are detailed at www.justassurance.org. The Audit Panel was convened in September 2005 to bring a further, stakeholder-oriented perspective to bear on the report. The directors of FRC are responsible for the content of the FRC Sustainability Report. NCBS have separately reviewed FRC’s environmental management systems, with which they were satisfied. justassurance has used the AA1000 Assurance Standard2. This requires us to review the completeness, materiality and responsiveness of the report. To meet AA1000 we: x Identified claims in the Report x Reviewed the consistency between the Report claims and the underlying records x Traced key claims through the accounts and back to source data x Interviewed members of the Leadership Team x Discussed the report, accounts and our statement with FRC and with the Audit Panel. Opinion On the basis of the work we have done, we believe this report adequately represents FRC’s economic, social and environmental impacts on its stakeholders and its responses to their concerns. Our review against the AA1000 Assurance Standard is set out below. Completeness

FRC has a reasonably mature accounting process in place and has maintained its triple bottom line accounting. However in the past year it has proved difficult to allocate the resources needed to continue the same thoroughness and level of stakeholder engagement as in previous years. Nevertheless we believe that its current accounting systems have captured of the major stakeholder and environmental issues.

1 2

www.justassurance.org/ www.accountability.org.uk/

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Materiality

We believe that FRC’s main material issues have been described. However with the extensive level of change in parts of the business and the expansion of others, new issues may have arisen. It will be important in future years to ensure that the level of stakeholder engagement returns to a higher level to ensure these can be captured. Responsiveness

The presentation of targets and priorities is better aligned to the various businesses than in previous years. However it would be helpful to include and integrate financial targets with social and environmental targets. However a key issue for tenants remains the flexibility of the nature of their tenancies. While this will require skilful working with a number of different stakeholders to resolve, its resolution would make a considerable impact on tenants. We welcome the plans for supply chain management, however it will also be important to engage with suppliers as stakeholders concerning FRC’s performance towards them.

Adrian Henriques, Auditor, justassurance September 2005

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Audit Review Panel Statement The members of the Audit Review Panel were: ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

Graham Worral - Director, ELECT Peter Tyson - Financial Skills Worker, Norris Green CAB Penny Street - Project Manager, National Centre for Business and Sustainability Kirsty Evans - Director of Strategy and Finance, Learning Skills Council Vicky Ratcliffe- Housing Services Manager, Helena Housing

We have reviewed FRC Group “Sustainability Report 04/05” and it’s audit and are happy to endorse them

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Appendix1


Appendix2 Methodology This year we have continued to collect data on a monthly basis and include it in to our triple bottom line accounts as an integral part of our business practises. Due to the increasing diversity of our work it has not been possible to compare all aspects of our work with last year’s performance. Feedback from our various stakeholder groups has been collected using different methods, face-to-face interviews and questionnaires, telephone interviews, postal questionnaires and post course evaluation forms. Once again we worked with two major RSL customers to design and send out tenant surveys. The FRC Group’s researcher and a placement student from Liverpool Hope University carried out questionnaire analysis.


Appendix 3 The Furniture Resource Centre Ltd is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, which has created and wholly owns 3 trading subsidiaries and half owns the Cat’s Pyjamas. Company Structure and Brands June 2005

The Furniture Resource Centre Ltd

FRC Trading Ltd

FRC Solutions Ltd


Organisational Structure June 05

Board of Trustees

Finance & IT

Retail

Leadership Team

People & learning

Logistics

Sales & Customer Service


Appendix 4: People Who Matter to the FRC Group 2004/05 Category

Sub-group

Number

Where based

FRC Group Staff

Permanent

79

Training Contract

20

Liverpool, Widnes and Chester

Volunteers

4 97

National

Not consulted

The Room Store

1

Liverpool

Not consulted

The Room Service Group

1 9

Southeast Liverpool

74

National

Not consulted Informally during conversations with FRC Group staff throughout year 2 surveys carried out

Furniture Resource Centre customers

Local Authorities Registered Social Landlords

amovingexperience Registered Social Landlords customers Tenants

Bulky Bob’s Householders

Revive Customers

Registered Social Landlords

amovingexperience tenants Liverpool householders

150 38, 748

Halton Householders

12,246

Liverpool Store Halton Store

3337 529

Liverpool Liverpool

100 Revive

How consulted Great Place to Work Questionnaire November 2004

Yorkshire Met 50 posted New Prospect 100 posted Informal feedback 100 phone call interviews Feb 2005 Not possible Face-to-face interviews in store Feb 2005

Replies 49 returned 73% return rate

25 48 100


Category Customers for training of the long term unemployed Suppliers

Sub-group

Number

ESF/ Government Office Employment agencies

5

Where based

FRC Group goods and services

10

Merseyside North West National

Supplier questionnaire February 2005

FRC Board

7

Not consulted

FRC Solutions Customers

19

North West National National

How consulted Not consulted

Not consulted

Replies

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