We recognise the importance of the community in which we work and our responsibility to contribute to it in a positive way and this is not limited to giving legal advice as detailed in our CSR Policy.
In the wider world we understand the importance of managing our business in a sustainable and responsible manner. Our aim is to practise what we preach. We seek to involve ourselves directly in projects and initiatives which use to best effect the skills and energies that we have within the firm and this is not limited to giving legal advice.
We attempt to limit our impact on the environment by understanding the pressures we all face and implementing considered and considerate policies. We believe that we can make a difference and we are committed to doing so in the following ways:
- Conducting ourselves responsibly and in an ethical manner.
- Creating a positive and supportive working environment.
- Supporting local communities and charitable organisations.
- Acting fairly in our dealings with clients, suppliers and other third parties.
- Minimising the impact we make on our environment.
Charitable Giving - The Birketts Fund
Our charitable giving is focused on providing support to voluntary and community groups in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex whose primary aim is to improve the quality of people's lives. The Birketts Charitable Fund, first set up in Suffolk in 2006, is administered by the Community Foundations in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex. Donations to the Fund are made annually by the partners of the firm (currently £80,000 per annum) and grants are awarded twice a year by a committee comprising a cross-section of staff and partners of the firm.
The firm and its staff also support additional initiatives which provide funds for a number of worthy causes. These take the form of organised or sponsored events, many of which have been running for a number of years.
During our 2018-19 financial year over £200,000 was distributed to local charitable, cultural and community projects.
We aim to adopt the highest professional and ethical standards and not to act in such a way as to compromise our firm’s integrity. We recognise that our reputation relies on the qualities of the people that make up the firm.
We actively promote respect between our staff members in their dealings with each other and with clients and other third parties. We work hard to create a positive and healthy working environment which encourages our colleagues to have rewarding careers and job satisfaction.
We consider all staff members to be equal and we aim to create a workplace which is enjoyable and free of unlawful discrimination. In this regard, we maintain a Diversity and Inclusion policy. We are proud that we provide employment opportunities for a significant number of people with a range of skills. We welcome diversity in all its forms and have a tradition of valuing the benefit of the individual.
We do not encourage conformity for its own sake but rather prize the colour and interest that a wide spectrum of characters provides. Fairness and respect are core to our values and nowhere are these more important than in the workplace.
We are fully committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability and actively encourage staff members who have serious concerns about any real or perceived departure from the high ethical standard that we set to voice those concerns openly.
We seek to ensure that all staff have access to the training they need both for their own development and to enable them to deliver a high quality service.
We have long fostered and encouraged a direct involvement in local charitable and community groups and in projects benefiting the community in which we live and work. In some cases the links have very established roots.
All members of staff are entitled to one day a year to undertake a community project. This time is not required to be taken as holiday and involvement in community projects is regarded as a positive factor. We seek suggestions for projects from all quarters and particularly from people within the firm. We will consider any scheme which we believe will give a tangible benefit and which is safe and appropriately structured.
Many members of the firm at all levels play an active role in the running of a large number of local charitable and voluntary organisations and are encouraged to engage with local community groups for mutual benefit.
We are members of the Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire branches of the Pro-Help Group, one of many schemes created by the 'Business in the Community' organisation. The aim is to provide a broad range of professional services to locally based charities, not for profit groups and the voluntary sector free of charge and the group's members include local firms of solicitors, accountants, surveyors and a host of other professionals.
We also provide encouragement to staff members to participate in local pro-bono initiatives with the object of providing legal assistance and support to small local groups principally concerned with the interests of ethnic minorities and the disadvantaged.
We are committed to behaving responsibly and to minimising our impact on the environment. We are members of the Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). We involve ourselves in environmental, conservation and improvement projects and actively promote environmentally sound procedures and behaviours in our staff, amongst colleagues, clients, business partners and outsourced suppliers. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing our carbon emissions and footprint through the following actions:
- Complying with all current environmental legislation in accordance with ISO 14001
- Minimising waste production, ensuring the efficient use of our resources and adopting sensible recycling policies in respect of our paper and food consumption, including a less paper office and reduced printing strategy;
- Integrating environmental issues with all aspects of decision making within the firm;
- Promoting energy efficiency and environmental awareness and responsibility amongst our employees;
- Using suppliers that have a recognised environmental policy;
- Setting achievable and measurable targets for energy and resource consumption.