Just a sample of what we have done:
Assisting the National Citizen Service with its summer “Challenge” for 15 to 17 year olds
Took part in the Reading Half Marathon 2016 for Launchpad
Supporting the Local Arts Loan by hiring school artwork
Sponsored the Get Berkshire Active Awards
Seminar presentation to local law firms on the benefits of pro-bono
Taking part in the annual Santa Run
Sponsoring a race night fundraiser for the Jakarta Education Foundation
Ironman contest to raise funds for the Alzheimers Society
Sponsored and entered a team into the Reading FC Former Players 5 aside tournament to raise funds for Launchpad
Marathon Des Sables to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Action and Fight for Sight
Entered a team into the pancake race for Launchpad
Took part in the Reading Half Marathon and Green Park challenge to raise money for Headway
Starlight Hike for Sue Ryder
Reading Triathalon to raise funds for Sebastian's Action Trust
Jones Lang LaSalle property triathalon to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
We are very much of the view that CSR needs to play an intrinsic part in informing our core principles and practices, which is why we have a CSR Policy that is reviewed regularly to make sure that it remains relevant and effective. We interact with the community on many fronts and so we believe it is important that we use the skills we have within our firm to benefit the wider community and to act in a way that will have a positive impact on the community by working to improve opportunities for everyone.
Historically our approach to CSR was very much philanthropic, (focusing primarily on donations and fundraising), but we are increasingly finding that our CSR projects have more of a community involvement aspect to them and require active participation. In particular recent projects have focused on skills available within the firm to assist the work of local enterprises promoting the Thames Valley as a business and technology hub, supportive of all size businesses from start-up to multi-national.
The ethos underpinning this project is that by attracting both established businesses to relocate to the Thames Valley and by encouraging fledging enterprises to set up here, we are helping to create more jobs within the Thames Valley; meaning more taxpayers providing funds for improved infra structure. All of which contributes to the increasing prosperity of everyone living and working in the Thames Valley through improving public facilities and enhanced education and skills opportunities within colleges and local businesses.
On the fundraising and donations side we regularly sponsor both local and national activities, as well as generally making donations and facilitating fundraising where appropriate. We support the local community and wider society both through individual fundraising activities and through firm wide initiatives and fundraising events.
CSR activities are chosen in a way that they complement the firm’s overall business strategy and are monitored to ensure that they are kept aligned with the firm’s core values which we believe encourages a sustainable and workable CSR programme.
CSR practices and procedures
We manage our CSR commitments by dividing the main elements of our CSR Policy into three distinct categories, with different partners responsible for each category:
The fact that so many partners are actively involved in supervising, arranging and approving CSR activities underscores the importance we attach to CSR. The environmental aspects are set-out in a separate policy to the general CSR one and are the subject of a separate annual report so that we can ensure that the fullest consideration is given to the topic.
Philippa Roles (the “CSR Partner”) is the partner with primary responsibility for keeping the general CSR Policy under review and for producing annual reports. The CSR Partner monitors the CSR activities that staff are involved with throughout the year. We encourage staff to discuss any CSR activities and ideas with the CSR Partner and where the activity requires some organisation, involvement or contribution from the firm the CSR Partner acts as liaison to the Management Team to obtain appropriate approvals.
In order to ensure that enthusiasm for the CSR programme is maintained, FSP asks staff participating in fundraising events and community projects to feedback on their experiences so that the partners can assess suitability as a repeat project and whether or not changes need to be made to the firm’s overall CSR approach.
Separately we have a Charities Group which was established to properly service the often varied needs of our charity and not-for-profit (NFP) clients. The lawyers making up that group are taken from across a multitude of practice areas, but all have substantial charity and NFP experience; meaning that they know the issues of importance to focus on with a view to keeping overall costs for the client down. Whenever practical, the lawyers within the Charities Group will take out extra time (without always billing for it) to go and deliver the advice and assistance in person in order to encourage a more open exchange and flow of queries. We have even gone so far as to offer training sessions and seminars to our charity and NFP clients on topical legal areas of interest to the client; all of which is part of our out of the ordinary service for charities and NFPs.
Annually we publish our CSR Report to highlight what has been done during the year and to explain how we hope to develop our initiatives going forward.