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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Statement

Person/s responsible for the Corporate Social Responsibility Policy: CSR Team Last review date: January 2012 Reviewed by: CSR Team Next review date: January 2013 Reviewers: Corporate Social Responsibility Team - see key in policy for detail


Contents

1. Introductory Comment

2. CSR Policy

- Our People and our Workplace - Our Clients and our Suppliers - Our Local Communities - Local & Global Environment

3. Law & Ethics

4. Targets We Have Set Ourselves

5. CSR Contacts


1. Introductory Comment

Welcome to our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Statement covering all of our 4 offices - Bath, Cambridge, London and Melksham. We have very much enjoyed producing what it contains and summarises. By further stimulated the culture of social and we fully expect that this culture will the way we conduct our business.

this Statement and we are proud of compiling this Statement we have responsibility within Stone King LLP develop yet further improvements in

We are proud to publicly display our commitment to being a socially responsible business, both internally and externally. We believe that it is crucial for us to make a positive impact on the communities in which we work and on our stakeholders. For us success is not simply about maximising profitability as a firm. It is much broader than that, and it certainly includes being a responsible business. By this we mean that we must take care of those people and environments that we care about – our employees, our clients, the communities in which we work, and those charitable causes that are close to our hearts. Our statement sets out some examples of how we, as a firm, act responsibly on both a corporate and an individual level. It also sets out our CSR policy in relation to the 4 key responsibility areas that we have identified:

• • • •

Our Our Our Our

people and our workplace clients and our suppliers local communities local and global environment

We have formed a CSR Team whose remit it is to develop and implement our CSR policy and monitor its effectiveness and impact. This Team includes our people from various offices and from different levels within the firm. We are always keen to develop our CSR policies where we can and so please let us know if you would like to make any comments on the Statement or our activities.

Michael King Chairman

Steven Greenwood Managing Partner


2. CSR Policy 2.1. Our people and our workplace

2.1.1. Equality and Diversity Our people are our most valuable assets and they are critical in enabling us to provide exceptional service to our clients. We want to attract, retain and develop people of the highest calibre. To achieve this we endeavour to recruit and promote our people exclusively on their abilities, thereby promoting equal opportunities and avoiding all forms of discrimination.

2.1.2 Training and Development We fully recognise the need to continually develop and stretch our people and we commit to investing in the legal and professional skills of our people. We provide all of our people with access to internal and external training and development opportunities. Most of our learning occurs on the job and therefore regular upward and downward feedback is encouraged at all levels. Each of our Teams provides internal technical legal training, as well as know how such as standard documents and precedents, so as to ensure that we can work in as effective and efficient a way as is possible. Every one of our people is appraised at least once per calendar year. Partners, Operational Heads and staff participate in 360 degree feedback programmes.

2.1.3 Nurturing new talent We encourage people to apply for work experience with us and for future trainees to apply for a training contract. We carefully read and consider all CVs sent to us. We are working towards offering a structured placement for successful work experience applicants, so as to provide them with valuable experience of a solicitor’s work and working environment.

2.1.4 Mentoring We are establishing a mentoring scheme in which our Associates act as mentors to our new people, and senior associates act as mentors to our trainee solicitors. Through this mechanism our new people and trainee solicitors have the ability to discuss any issues and difficulties they might face regarding the firm and their work.


We take on trainees across our offices and provide them with a varied training contract. Currently we have 6 trainees with us. We see today’s trainees as being tomorrow’s partners and so we are committed to providing valuable and rigorous training.

2.1.5 Work/life balance We fully recognise the benefit of a sensible work/life balance for all of our people. Our fee earners all have sensible target hours, and everyone is actively encouraged to use their full holiday allowances each year. All of our people receive a generous holiday entitlement. There is a sabbatical scheme in place for the Partners, and the firm encourages Partners to use this time-off to engage in worthy activities. We understand the importance of our people getting to know each other outside of the office setting. We organise regular social activities on a Team and a firm-wide level and we encourage our people to participate.

2.1.6 Benefits We offer all of our people an excellent benefits package including competitive salaries, optional health insurance and pension. We pride ourselves on trying to be flexible towards the needs of our people on an individual basis.

2.1.7 Health and safety We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of health and safety in all of our offices. We have a formal health and safety policy, which underlines our commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. All incidents and accidents are reported to the Practice Director, who ensures that they are investigated and that any necessary steps are taken to prevent recurrence.

2.1.8 Lexcel In order to ensure that we deliver all our clients a high quality service and sound legal advice, we have invested in systems and procedures throughout the entire firm to ensure all matters are handled efficiently. We have developed our management and reporting structures to ensure that we continually focus on the delivery of service excellence and constantly look at ways of improving the way we work. In recognition of this we were awarded the Lexcel Quality Mark by the Law Society in 2005. To maintain this status we have to undergo stringent independent assessments on an annual basis to certify that Lexcel standards are met.


2.1.9 Investors In People We achieved recognition of Investors In People in March 2010 and will undergo assessments every 3 years to maintain the status 2.1.10 Publicly Funded and Pro-Bono As a firm we are committed to undertaking publicly funded work and we also carry out work on a pro-bono basis for deserving clients (at the discretion of the Partners).

2.2 Our clients and our suppliers

2.2.1 Equality and Diversity We act for a wide variety of clients and we commit to trying to accommodate any specific client needs that may arise from gender, disability, race, religion, beliefs, age or sexual orientation. We will not refuse to act for a client, nor to contract with a supplier, on such discriminatory grounds. Every member of the firm is expected to comply with this policy and any allegations of discrimination will be taken very seriously. Any client or supplier who has any queries about this should contact the firm’s Chairman, Michael King.

2.2.2 Client care We believe in establishing a personal relationship with all our clients to fully understand the exact details of their particular situation, their individual needs and personal preferences. We are working to establish a Client Partner role across the firm whereby each client has access to a specified partner who is responsible for the particular client relationship. This understanding, combined with our reputation for discretion, sensitivity and pragmatism has engendered an environment where we build long term relationships with our clients. In order to ensure that we deliver all our clients the service they expect we shall: • • • • • •

Use plain English when advising our clients; Highlight all the legal options available to our clients and recommend the most appropriate given their circumstances; Return our clients’ telephone calls as soon as we can - on the same day if possible; Deal with urgent correspondence as a priority and we try to deal with all other correspondence within 48 hours; Arrange suitable appointments with the minimum of delay; Advise our clients of all costs prior to any expenditure.


Any client who has any queries on this may contact our Chairman, Michael King, who has the special role of Client Care Partner or visit our website for a copy of the firm’s Client Charter.

2.2.3 Supply chain management We are committed to ensuring that our current and potential suppliers focus on environmental impact, sustainability, fair-trade and labour laws, where possible. We shall actively engage with suppliers and potential suppliers on these issues as part of the procurement process.

2.3 Our Local Communities

2.3.1 Engagement We are committed to engaging with the communities in which we work and we understand our responsibility to those communities. We encourage our people to become involved in community projects and we encourage those with legal or other skills to use those skills for the benefit of our local communities. We all benefit from community involvement, not only the community itself, but also ourselves as a firm and also our people as individuals. We are proud of what our people contribute to our local communities already and we are committed to supporting their continued and further involvement.

2.3.2 Staff Survey We conduct regular surveys of all of our people so as to make ourselves fully aware of how we are benefiting our local communities. We hope that this process will encourage everyone to participate in community projects.

2.3.3 Pro-bono activities Those of our people with legal skills and those with other skills are encouraged to use those skills pro bono. Our people currently act, for example, as trustees for various charities, as school governors and as school reading assistants. In addition, our lawyers undertake pro-bono legal work at the firm’s discretion. Every appraisal will include discussion of that person’s voluntary commitment and how the firm can support that personal commitment.

2.3.4 The Stone King Foundation We have established a Charitable Foundation (The Stone King Foundation) which acts as a grant making body. The trustees of the Foundation include


both Partners and staff (and represent a cross section of the firm), and the causes to which funds are distributed will be selected with the involvement of all of our people. The Partners have provided regular contributions to the charity since its creation and the Partners will continue to explore ways to fund the Foundation and employees will be encouraged to contribute should they wish. The Foundation donated nearly £10,000 to charitable causes in its last financial year. Working alongside the firm, the Foundation has also supported fundraising events involving our people and our local communities: in 2012 highlights included a sponsored cycle ride to Paris and a skydiving event. The trustees of the Foundation produce an annual report for the Partners setting out the activities of our Foundation. The next report is due out in June 2012.

2.3.5 Global Our local communities also include those causes that are close to the hearts of our people. Therefore we do not restrict our community activities to those that are geographically local to us - our supported causes can also be emotionally local to us. The Foundation sponsors the education of two secondary school children at Wagwer School in Western Kenya.

2.4 Local and Global Environment

2.4.1 Climate Change We have previously commissioned Resource Futures to conduct an Environmental Baseline Review of our offices, and we used the findings and recommendations to implement environmental improvements in our offices (for example to reduce paper usage and increase our recycling activities). The firm is committed to evaluating its environmental impact continuously and, if necessary, will work with outside organisations again in the future to achieve further improvements.

Undertake a survey to establish what community activities our people assist with;

2.4.2 Environmental Champions We are looking to appoint ‘Environmental Champions’ whose role is to focus the minds of our people on their environmental impact and the steps they can


take to reduce it. The intention is that the Environmental Champions will meet regularly to come up with ideas on how we can minimise our environmental impact, to feedback on the impact of environmental initiatives and to input into purchasing and supply decisions.

2.4.3 IT We are committed to investing significant sums of money in our IT systems as these can, when carefully managed, reduce our environmental impact. We have invested in a teleconferencing system linking our London, Bath and Melksham offices, and we are committed to using this where possible for internal meetings so as to reduce physical travel between offices. We have also committed to investing in teleconferencing in our Cambridge office which is a serviced office. We also installed a new document management system, “Lawsoft”, in December2012 that operates across the entire firm. The Education Team and others across the firm are testing the extent to which this will allow us to move towards a “paperless office” or “less paper”, by reducing our paper usage and file storage requirements. In 2011 we donated approximately unused 25 PC’s and monitors to IT Schools Africa. The equipment is used to improve access to IT in schools and community organisations in the developing world.

2.4.4 Environmental Management System We already recycle our waste paper, but we are committed to reducing the amount of wastage. Each year we report on the trees that have been saved by the firm committing to using Shred It. We shall continue encouraging our people to print double-sided documents where practical and to adopt any other practices that will reduce waste.

3.

Law and Ethics We are a law firm and as such are subject to rigorous regulation by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (“SRA”). We have a Risk Management Partner who is responsible for monitoring the risks that we face. Anti-money laundering and anti-bribery and we operate a rigorous client identification and verification procedure in line with legislation. We provide regular in-house anti-money laundering and anti-bribery training sessions. We operate a complaints procedure which complies with the framework established by the SRA Code of Conduct. Complaints will be fully investigated in a fair and expedient manner.


As lawyers, and particularly as a firm with a long-standing national reputation for advising in the voluntary sector, we understand the need to live and operate not only within the bounds of the law, but also in accordance with strong morals and values.

4. Targets We Have Set Ourselves…

In the next calendar year we intend to achieve the following: •

Identify an individual charity each year that will benefit from the firm’s charitable work;

Undertake a survey to establish what community activities our people assist with;

Produce a publicly available CSR report summarising our CSR activities for the year;

Continue to raise awareness of CSR among all of our people;

Involve at least 50% of our people in our CSR activities;

Encourage dialogue with our clients, suppliers, communities about our CSR policy and activities;

Measure our paper wastage monthly and set reduction targets;

Reduce our travel using video and telephone conferencing where possible; and

Raise and distribute funds through our grant making Foundation.

employees

and


5. CSR Contacts If you want to speak to us about this CSR Statement or any of our CSR activities, please contact any of our CSR Team, whose details are listed below:

Steven Greenwood – Partner, 01225 324443

Stephanie Howarth – Partner, 01225 324493

David Milton – Associate, 01225 324433

Tom Murdoch – Solicitor, 020 7324 1750

Rachel Curtis – Associate, 01225 326744

Jean Boyle – Associate, 01225 326745

Charlotte Foster – Marketing Executive, 020 7324 1758

Simon Walker – Associate, 01225 324486

Tom Johnson – Solicitor, 01225 324411

Caroline Leviss – Associate, 01225 326796

Sue Murphy – Practice Director, 01225 324424


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