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Corporate social responsibility at Stephensons

As one of the largest and fastest growing providers of legal services Stephensons Solicitors LLP are fully aware of, and have a genuine commitment to, corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Corporate social responsibility is important to our staff and we take our responsibility to wider communities seriously. We seek to minimise the impact we have on the world’s resources while aiming to maximise the impact we have on the well-being of those we serve.

Our determination to affect real change is underpinned by our involvement in the UK Small Business Consortium’s ‘Better Business Journey’, a model which encourages businesses to focus on people, premises, promotion and purchasing. Our policy follows these four signposts.

To demonstrate Stephensons’ commitment to this policy, the firm has a corporate social responsibility team comprising of a cross section of employees, which meets on a quarterly basis to ensure that all our aims remain relevant and are being effectively and appropriately implemented. This team has been established for over 1years and it is chaired by our Marketing Partner, Sarah Boustouller.

People

People are the most important asset in any business, and at Stephensons we recognise that by empowering our staff, they will contribute to the firm’s continued success. We aim to provide an environment where our employees’ values are consistent with our own.

Stephensons actively invests in training for our staff we have a dedicated online learning platform. We encourage all employees to play an active role in the local communities, through fundraising efforts or donating time to worthwhile causes.

The firm promotes diversity and equality in the workplace through our recruitment processes and staff training programme. The health and well-being of our employees is also a key consideration, and we encourage staff to take regular breaks, in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Our staff volunteer and help a broad spectrum of charities and other organisation by giving their time on a regular basis. Several of our Partners have voluntary positions in other organisations proving vital support to charities.

In practice

Stephensons continually promotes a healthy workforce the firm holds a variety of different events across the year and has a rewards platform that provides employee assistance concerning mental health, exercise and cooking inspiration and discounts to retailers as well as a recognition board and ongoing firm news.

The firm also gathers the opinion of the whole workforce to choose a nominated charity to support each year, and money is raised through initiatives such as dress down Fridays, coffee mornings and a payroll giving scheme.

We have an attractive benefits scheme in place for employees and are proud of our continuing Investors in People status. All our staff are provided with an annual appraisal and quarterly review appraisals as an opportunity to discuss personal performance.

Stephensons runs a childcare voucher scheme for parents who may qualify for tax-exempt childcare vouchers.

We always try to involve our staff in the firm’s plans for the future through a twice yearly board tour, where everyone has the chance to ask questions to the board.

Stephensons has always trained and mentored staff helping them achieve qualification. We will continue to support those who have passed the LPC as a route to qualify until 2032 when this is being phased out. However, so that we are able to widen the routes to qualify as a solicitor making qualification more accessible to a wider number of people Stephensons will continue to support the apprenticeship route and the newly introduced Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) that is being phased in.

Premises

Stephensons has it head office centralised in Wigan the firm is aware of the impact it has on the local environment and is committed to promoting solutions that minimise all forms of resource consumption, with a continuing aim of reducing the carbon footprint of our assets and the protection of natural supplies. Our social value statement highlights our contribution in this regard.

In practice

Stephensons has a formalised agile working policy which has led to a reduction in travel by our staff and a significant reduction in our carbon footprint. We operate a centralised admin team to ensure our practices are paper-lite.

Where possible, we use recycled paper, and indeed, we always endeavour to incorporate the recycle and re-use ethos in all we do. We are currently recycling waste paper, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and aluminium cans across our network of offices through a system of formal and voluntary recycling schemes.

The firm has a ‘switch it off’ policy and staff are encouraged to turn off equipment that does not need to be left on standby at the end of a working day and also turn off lights when there is no one left in a room.

From 1st April 2020 to 30th March 2021 we have recycled, 31,216kg of paper, this equate to 31 metric tonnes.

Each ton (2,000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, this means we have saved 527 trees and 7,750 pounds of CO2.

Promotion

Stephensons proactively communicates our practices to a wide audience, as we believe by using our voice to communicate our activities, inspiring others to do the same and therefore create a much larger impact.

In practice

Internally, our employees are made aware of the firms’ activities through our CSR representative, our Intranet, following our social media channels and through our website. We also have dedicated staff engagement commitee and CSR focus groups who co-ordinate and maintain momentum in our collective efforts.

The firm also communicates responsible business activities to customers and suppliers through regular newsletters, press releases and our website. We also hold several advisory events for our clients throughout the year and support local projects such as awards and charity events through sponsorship.

The firm also works with community support networks such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, and provides training and development to these groups through seminars, key note speeches and educational courses.

Stephensons is also continually innovating in order to access new markets and provide legal services the way our clients want them. This includes new legal service packages and the introduction of web-based legal documentation.

Purchasing

Stephensons is a responsible purchaser and operates to the highest standard of business integrity. The firm encourages the use of local suppliers where possible, and treats suppliers fairly. The firm recognises that positive purchasing has a large impact on commercial success and always strives to build good long term stable relationships with our suppliers.

In practice

Stephensons works, where relevant, with local businesses and social enterprises. The firm also has a company wide policy to ensure suppliers are paid fairly and on time.