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Our CR targets and achievements

Corporate responsibility

Enabling our organisation and people
to have a positive impact on society

We believe the only way to secure the highest level of commitment from our employees is to make sure our Group is one of which we can all be proud.

Our people are at the centre of everything we do and that includes the way that we meet our corporate responsibilities. Through focusing our Corporate Responsibility (CR) strategy on community, people and sustainability, we enable our people to have a positive impact on the societies in which we operate. By acting responsibly in how we do business, we will meet our ambition to passionately pursue better ways to connect people and provide an inspiring customer experience.

We recognise that our contribution is crucial for a sustainable future and we work hard to be a responsible business. This is evidenced in the range of community and sustainability awards we have received this year, including Green Company of the Year and Business Community awards. It is reflected also in the way that our employees support our community and sustainability programmes, going the extra mile to demonstrate the Group’s team-minded, flexible, innovative, open and considerate and inspiring values in action.

During the year a CR Steering Group was set up with representation from each of our three main areas of focus across the Group. The Group meets monthly and reports three times a year to the Board. Responsibility for CR at Board level is held by our Executive Chairman, Bill Halbert.

Community

Our community strategy is based upon various strands of engagement and support, both at a Group-wide and local level. The KCOM Group works with a national charity partner and this is chosen by our people voting on a shortlist of UK registered national charities.

In 2011/12, we raised £56,202 for Help the Hospices, the most money that the Group has ever raised through its charity partnership scheme, a result that is testimony to the commitment of our people. This amount was achieved by our people organising and participating in a series of fundraising events and activities supported through our network of volunteer charity champions. This resulted in Help the Hospices presenting the Group with an award for special recognition of a new corporate partner. Fundraising activities included participation in the London to Paris cycle ride, marathons, swims across the Humber Estuary, running, walks and various dress down days and cake bakes. The funds we have raised will go towards supporting hospices across their national network.

In 2012/13 and 2013/14, the Group is partnering with Sparks, a charity dedicated to funding pioneering research into conditions affecting babies, children and mums-to-be. We see a match in values between the KCOM Group and Sparks in their dedication and commitment to pioneering innovation through medical research. Their focus is on improving the quality of life for children and families affected by serious illness or disability, whilst seeking ways to better diagnose, treat and prevent these conditions in the future. The medical breakthroughs they make possible will deliver a difference to thousands of women, children and families around the world. The KCOM Group is delighted to be able to give its support to such a worthwhile charity.

From this year, we are extending our Group charity partner relationship from one to two years. This decision was taken because of the time, effort and expense spent by both parties in the first year in getting a partnership up and running effectively.

In the past 12 months our quarterly grants scheme awarded a total of £3,600 to our people to help them pursue and support their chosen community and charitable projects. We have helped a range of projects including funding the purchase of equipment for schools, community groups and youth clubs, to enabling day trips to the zoo for Mencap and swimming coaching days. We support also the National History Museum and a range of other charitable causes including Movember for Prostate Cancer, the Jeans for Genes appeal, British Heart Foundation and Sport Relief.

The KCOM Group has become recently a patron of the Prince’s Trust. The Trust is the UK’s leading youth charity, offering a range of opportunities including training, personal development, business start up support, mentoring and advice to young people who need it most and we look forward to developing this relationship over the coming months.

Volunteering and community projects

Volunteering and community work is central to the Group’s CR programme and our people get involved in many diverse and varied projects across the year. The Group has also formal partnerships in place with schools, charities and projects across the UK.

The Group’s Wakefield office, for example, has become a corporate partner of Hunslet Moor, an inner city primary school in Leeds. Our people are working with the head teacher and her team to facilitate and deliver a range of fundraising and volunteering activities.

As one of the largest employers in the Hull and East Yorkshire region, our employees are recognised increasingly by local businesses, partners and charity groups for their commitment to helping make the region a better place to live, work and visit.

KC in the Community

During 2011/12 employees in Hull and East Yorkshire donated over 2,000 hours to community volunteering and supporting regional charities, community groups, schools and sports clubs.

Our KC in the Community programme won the coveted Business Community Award in the 2011 Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards. The awards are one of the leading business events in Yorkshire and celebrate the best examples of innovation and enterprise across the region. The fact that the KC programme was shortlisted against and selected above social enterprises whose purpose is to serve the community is testament to the strength and focus of our people and the Group’s ability to be socially responsible as well as profitable.

Business in the Community (BITC)

Our KC brand partners with a BITC employee volunteering programme, Hull & Humber KC Cares, which is part of a network of more than 350 partner companies across the UK. It is a business-led programme that engages employees in their communities through volunteering to address varying social issues, with a focus on education, employability, economic renewal and the environment.

Hull Children’s University

We continue to support Hull Children’s University, through the use of our city centre learning base as well as delivery of its programme of modules.

Hull Children’s University was established in 1997. It aims to broaden a young person’s outlook and experience of life. It aims also to raise levels of achievement and to develop a young person’s love and thirst for learning.

CatZero

We continue to support CatZero as a business partner. CatZero has delivered some tremendous once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and results for the region’s young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). Through a specialist training programme, the charity has reached hundreds of young people in Hull, transforming their lives and future prospects.

KC Invest

During 2011, the Group created KC Invest, an investment fund of £300,000 to provide start-up and growth financing for businesses in the digital and technology sectors. To date, 12 businesses have benefitted from this fund. We committed also to donate £60,000 over three years to the Hull Youth Enterprise bank, offering practical support and grants of up to £1,000 for young people who need finance to help set up or develop their businesses. It means that even more enterprising 13 to 21-year-olds can now gain funding to buy the business equipment and services they need to get started.

Attracting and developing the leaders
of today and tomorrow

Our people

Our people are crucial to the success of the Group and we support wholeheartedly the principles of equality, diversity and inclusiveness in employment. We empower our leaders to attract, retain and motivate highly talented people from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and mindsets.

An inclusive programme

To enable us to achieve our long-term vision, a people strategy steering group was established to ensure that we attract, develop, recognise and retain the right people. Our strategy aims to create a workplace in which every employee is recognised as an individual and inspired to deliver exceptional business performance. It is built around our Group values and long-term vision, enabling every individual to contribute to creating excellence together.

Investors in People

In 2012 the Group was re-accredited with Investors in People status for the next three years. Investors in People is central to helping our people become even more customer focused, enabling us to achieve our long-term vision and deliver inspiring customer experiences.

Employee turnover and sickness

Year on year, employee turnover has reduced further to 10.3 per cent for 2011/12. Sickness absence has reduced also, decreasing by over 700 days.

Health, safety and wellbeing

The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is of paramount importance to the Group. We pride ourselves on our performance in these areas and the people focused initiatives we have in place.

The KCOM Group’s health and safety strategy, and a supporting annual health and safety plan, is agreed by senior management and progress against this plan is reported to the Board on a quarterly basis. Over the course of the year, we have continued to embed, audit and improve our BS OHSAS 18001 management system.

During the year, there were no fatalities or health and safety enforcement notices. We experienced three RIDDOR incidents. Under RIDDOR regulations these incidents were not classed as major injuries but ‘over three day injuries.’

The Group recorded 61 working days lost during the year as a result of health and safety incidents. 48 of these days related to an off-site incident outside of the Group’s control.

One of the five strategic aims reflected in the health and safety strategy and plan is to ‘improve health in the workplace’ which supports both the EU and UK Government health and safety strategies. It supports also the Group’s internal people strategy. To achieve this, the Group is encouraging the wellbeing of its people in a variety of ways as we recognise that this is a means to help boost productivity, engagement and overall fitness levels.

Calendar of campaigns 2011/12

The KCOM Group’s health and wellbeing calendar of campaigns has been published for the third year running. This has been developed to support our aim to create a positive health and wellbeing culture. Each month focuses on a new topic. Basic information is provided to employees to increase their knowledge and awareness of health and wellbeing related issues, to encourage and support them to make positive changes.

Screening sessions

To support employees with their physical health, the Group provides the opportunity for all employees to attend a free health and wellbeing screening session. These sessions are now in their fifth year of operation. The percentage of people attending the Group’s wellbeing sessions has increased each year, with over 30 per cent of employees attending a session this year. Sessions consist of checks on blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, body fat percentage, lung age and diabetes as well as advice on how to make positive lifestyle changes.

Fitness and wellbeing network

During the year, the Group has created a new fitness and wellbeing network to promote ways for employees to get fit and active through local clubs, training sessions and sporting activities such as cycling, swimming, walking and running. Employees are able to use the network to share information with each other and ultimately extend the Group’s health and safety strategy beyond working hours.

Cycle2work scheme

We have continued to offer a cycle2work scheme as part of our flexible benefits package. The scheme allows people to make savings on the purchase of a bike and accessories through income tax and National Insurance contribution savings. As well as encouraging a healthier lifestyle, the scheme forms part of the Group’s environmental management strategy by encouraging people to reduce their CO2 emissions. We have seen a year on year increase in employees taking up this offer.

Mental health and wellbeing micro-site

In 2011/12, we have developed a mental health and wellbeing micro-site to provide all employees with a source of information and support. The site covers key areas including mental health awareness, work/life balance, tools and information and support at work.

Employee Assistance Programme

An independent, free and completely confidential telephone advice service is provided for all employees giving them access to fully qualified counsellors and practitioners. This service provides employees with support for both personal and work related issues.

Awards and recognition

Our Group’s health, safety and wellbeing strategy has achieved national recognition. The Group has been shortlisted in the national Employee Benefits Awards for the ‘Most effective healthcare and wellbeing strategy for employers with more than 1,000 staff.’

Our Group’s health and safety performance was recognised also in the regional Humberside Occupational Health and Safety Group awards, where the KCOM Group was selected as winner of the award for ‘Significant Health and Safety Improvement’ during 2011.

FTSE4Good

The Group continues to be a member of the FTSE4Good Index. Under the FTSE4Good Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings assessment for 2011, the Group achieved good results with particularly high scores for its environmental management.

Sustainability

Management

Our Risk team continues to ensure that the Group manages its responsibilities effectively through its ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. To ensure delivery of the annual environmental programme, the Environmental Operations team now meets monthly to ensure increased focus. Improved reporting has allowed the team to monitor more closely changes and trends in environmental performance.

External audits have continued to take place with no significant issues being raised. The Group has had no pollution incidents or enforcement notices.

Waste

This year we have again successfully reduced the amount of waste going to landfill at the same time as increasing the proportion of waste we have recycled, continuing the trend of recent years. This has been due in part to improved waste management processes which have allowed us to mix more waste together, making it easier for our employees to recycle. We have carried out also a series of waste audits to identify individual waste streams in order to select the most appropriate recycling channel.

Energy

As a communications provider, we have an ongoing focus on managing effectively our power consumption.

A great deal of effort has gone in to implementing power-down software for all relevant equipment across the Group.

Work has been undertaken also to optimise equipment in our data centres in order to reduce energy consumption as much as possible.

In our telephone exchanges, work is underway to upgrade the power systems supporting our traditional operations with more energy efficient systems. Early trials have realised already excellent energy savings and this will continue to evolve through the coming year.

Despite the above initiatives, the Group saw an overall increase in its electricity consumption. This is due to both the increased accuracy of recording consumption through our automatic meter readers, now covering more than 90 per cent of our estate, together with the inclusion of additional data centre information.

We are finalising currently arrangements to introduce a managed print service within our offices. This will enable more effective print management and reduce unnecessary printing. We expect that this will have a positive impact on the amount of paper used in the coming year.

Travel

Business travel by our employees has increased by 13.95 per cent in the year, which is consistent with the increased geographical diversity of our customer base. Our focus on winning business with multi-site organisations means our employees now travel more regularly for customer meetings. The previous two years had seen significant decreases in the amount of travelling undertaken across the Group; therefore despite the increase in the year, the amount of travelling taking place is still 32.51 per cent lower than in 2009/10, reflecting the efforts made by our employees to conduct internal meetings online or by telephone conference whenever possible.

Supplier and Partner Code of Conduct

This year we introduced our Supplier and Partner Code of Conduct as our way of ensuring that our suppliers support our principles and commitment to responsible business practice. It means our customers can be confident that products and services purchased through our Group have been produced and delivered responsibly and lawfully in decent working conditions without exploiting the people who make or deliver them and without damaging the environment.

Compliance with the Code is achieved through self evaluation. Where necessary we undertake independent inspections and audits to ensure that our suppliers and partners are adhering to the Code’s principles and that we are all working together under the same responsible values.

For more information on our CR activity contact Cathy Phillips, Director of Communications.

All of our carbon emissions data is audited by our internal audit team.

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“I’d like to thank all the employees at KCOM Group for supporting Help the Hospices – the funds you have raised have been fantastic. Without the generous support of companies and staff like yours we would not be able to continue our work in supporting hospice and palliative care throughout the UK.”

Nisha
Help the Hospices

 

Employee participation
in wellbeing sessions (%)
31


Leadership development
(attendees to date)
126


It Starts with Me
(attendees to date)
1,200

 

“Every year I participate in the health and wellbeing screening sessions. These are really helpful as they could be used as an early indicator for any potential health problems which gives me peace of mind.”

Simone
Kcom