Corporate Social Responsibility

Our Social Purpose is “To make life changing improvements, creating jobs and generating wealth for our communities.” The strategic aims of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy are cross-referenced against the three pillars of sustainability: People, Planet and Place. Our key areas of focus are Travel and Transport, Natural Resources, Supply Chain, Social Value and Engagement. Progress on the CSR strategy is monitored regularly at our Risk and Governance Committee for assurance and to ensure that our mechanisms continue to deliver impact.

We invest in local economies, by:

  • Adopting the principles of a Community Interest Company in shadow form and paying a dividend of up to 35% of our distributable profits to our shadow customer owners to invest in their communities (£1.3m in 16/17 and the same in 17/18)
  • Our governance structure enables ownership by any public contracting authority who commissions STPs and Integrated Care Systems (ICS) services from NECS, alongside our 12 existing NE and Cumbria customer owners.
  • Using small, local suppliers for our internal events (e.g. as our health and well-being events) and for arrangements relating to the International GP Recruitment programme of work (e.g. accommodation and transport)
  • Building the skills of local people through our workforce development opportunities, including four graduate rotations as part of the NHS Graduate Scheme and the NECS apprenticeship scheme.
  • Commissioning Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to conduct work for our customers, recognising that they are key to supporting people to have choice and control about how their needs are met in the context of their local community.
  • Partnering with networks, such as Voluntary Organisations Network North East (VONNE), to help build the collaborative relationships and local infrastructure that enables VSCEs to deliver as suppliers at local, sub-regional and regional level on the health and wellbeing agenda.
  • Benefits to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment
  • We ensure that all communities are represented, including STPs and regional transformation programmes.
  • We commission third sector umbrella organisations as strategic partners to facilitate engagement with the regional VCSE sector and the communities it represents, including some of the most excluded as defined by the Equalities Act, ensuring that planning and development of services are informed by and designed around communities and the service-users who live in them. For example we engaged VONNE to lead in the production of a ‘Maternity & Paediatric Services Conversations with VCSE’ report as part of VCSE engagement on the Better Health Programme proposals around reconfiguration of hospital services in Tees Valley and Durham. VONNE worked with seven VCSE delivery partners to support engagement of 50 small VCSE groups and ensure their voice and the voice of their beneficiaries was heard.
  • We provide accessible employment through Project Choice, a programme which develops long term employability skills for young people with learning disabilities, difficulties or Autism, in collaboration with 12 NHS organisations.
  • We support the Newcastle Opportunities Café, which is operated by people with learning difficulties, by sitting on the steering group responsible for the overall management of the café and making annual contributions of £5,000.
  • We employ over 1,000 staff, with additional resources through our supply chain. In 2017 we set up additional Consultancy geographical bases outside the North East, creating 34 local jobs and responding to local STPs. This has reduced overhead costs, carbon footprint and improved the work life balance of our staff.
  • Our 2017/18 non-pay spend in the UK economy exceeds £13M, and we reinvest our annual 5% (£3.6M) surplus in the economy through programmes for improvements in the quality efficiency and effectiveness of our services.
  • We optimise the value delivered to customers, delivering an overall 15% internal cost improvement in 2016/17.
  • We reduce CO2 emissions through promotion of video conferencing, sustainable travel for visitors and staff (e.g. our cycle to work scheme), and regular staff campaigns and challenges to encourage more sustainable behaviour. There has been a 24% increase to 228,367 WebEx/video conferencing minutes from 2017/18, and from a starting position of 9483 minutes in 2016; a comparative increase in users from 90 in 2016 to 1255 in 2018.
  • We run campaigns and events with staff across our organisation to promote healthy lifestyles and have achieved the Gold North East Better Health at Work Award.
  • Ethical and sustainability considerations when choosing partners are embedded into our robust due diligence and procurement processes. We procure our supply chain through a contract with independent specialists within NHS Shared Business Services who assure fairness and transparency. All suppliers are required to answer mandatory questions including compliance with environmental, waste management, health and safety and equality legislation, social employment law and their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, together with management of any conflicts of interest (by the bidder and the NECS tender evaluation team) in line with our Standards of Business Conduct. We have encouraged circa 15 SMEs to join the CSU Elis procurement framework and a CSU operated dynamic purchasing system which provides a flexible approach for smaller and more local suppliers to be accessed.