Corporate social responsibility report

1 October 2012 to 31 March 2013


1 London Street,

+44 (0)118 951 6200


Philippa Roles

Philippa Roles

We take CSR very seriously, giving it a key status within our overall ethos. Responsibility for CSR activities lies with the CSR Partner, Jacqueline McDermott and in her absence the CSR Associate, Philippa Roles. Separately on environmental matters, responsibility lies with the Environmental Partner, Joe Lott.

Every year we report twice yearly (internally and externally) on activities undertaken by the firm and its staff.  Despite the difficult economic times we are delighted that our activities continue to be well-supported and we remain indebted to the dedication and generosity of our staff, clients and contacts. In addition a set sum is ear-marked each year for charitable giving to both local and national charities.  

This report only covers a six month period. The CSR year is split into two parts and each is reported on separately due to the volume and variety of CSR projects undertaken.

1.    Pro bono legal work

  • Volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Reading and at Communicare.
  • Providing VAT advice (either pro bono or for a greatly reduced fee) to various charity clients.

2.    Pro bono mentoring / support

We encourage staff to give presentations at the University of Reading on working in the legal profession. In addition two members of staff are mentors for the College of Law helping students with their CVs and applications as well as giving general advice and insight on legal careers. We are exploring ways (in conjunction with the education group) to expand the work we do in this area. Other opportunities are also being explored with Connect Reading and separately with Central Berkshire Education Business Partnership for staff to speak to young people and/or job seekers about presentation and interview skills generally.

We are discussing proposals to work in partnership with local organisations to provide guidance to innovative start-up / early growth businesses in the Thames Valley area alongside FSP’s business start-ups group (which has already produced a detailed start-up guide to help with this process).

Running a charity leaders’ forum which charity representatives are invited to attend to receive free legal updates and to openly discuss (and hopefully find answers to) problems of current importance to them.

3.    Charity/community involvement supported by FSP

3.1    Fundraising

Staff have been involved in the following fundraising events:

  • sale of homemade cakes raising £109 for Helen Douglas House;
  • volunteering at one of our client’s call centres on the evening of Comic Relief to take pledge details (eight staff in total);
  • entering a relay team into the Green Park Triathlon, raising £195 for Comic Relief, as well as participating in the Funathon; and
  • we have purchased a table at the Style Acre charity Spring Ball to be held in May.

Donations have also been made to the following:-

  • Helen & Douglas House
  • St Peter & St Paul's Church Shiplake
  • Movember
  • Angela's Fund - motor neurone
  • National Deafblind and Rubella Association
  • Comic Relief
  • Meningitis UK
  • Bath Rugby Foundation

3.2    Trusteeships

Several staff members sit on charity boards and/or are trustees. We allow staff reasonable time off to fulfil their obligations and will consider any other related requests for support. The organisations that have benefitted include:

  • Rotary Club of Caversham Trust Fund;
  • Purley Park Trust;
  • Duncan Trust;
  • Heart of Streatley Charitable Trust;
  • Launchpad Reading;
  • Family Resource UK;
  • Streatly Hill Pre-School;
  • Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation;
  • Woodley Age Concern;
  • Ways and Means Trust (t/a as Greenshoots);
  • Headway; and
  • Reading YMCA.

In most cases the trustee positions taken on by our staff are active roles requiring considerable effort and time commitment (for example as chairperson or treasurer).

In addition to the above, a member of staff sits on the fundraising committee for PALS (a charity for disabled children).

Some staff members have also taken on school governor roles, with one taking on the responsibility of treasurer for their local pre-school and another coaching the under 7’s football team.

One member of staff plays in a band providing music for charity events in the Reading, Newbury, Aldermaston and Basingstoke areas, whilst another rescues and walks stray dogs at weekends.

In addition we continue to be involved in the following:

  • We have trainee solicitors on the Board of the Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire District)
  • We support students looking to enter the legal profession by running a programme of work experience placements.

Our next report will be issued in October 2013, but there is a dedicated CSR page on FSP’s web page.