Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Report, 2009/10 - Riverside

Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Report, 2009/10 - Riverside

Corporate Social Responsibility

Annual Report


Welcome 3

Our objectives 4

Environment 7

Community 11

Workplace 15

Marketplace 19

Looking forward 23

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As one of the UK’s leading social housing and regeneration

organisations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a natural

extension of Riverside’s traditional role.

It lies at the heart of our business and is synonymous with our

vision, transforming lives, revitalising neighbourhoods.

It is about embracing our wider responsibilities and looking at

how we can make a positive impact on the broader community,

environment and marketplace and how this can be achieved by

creating a happy workplace where staff feel valued and involved.

Since our first annual CSR report was published last autumn,

we have made significant progress including undertaking a

successful amalgamation and rebrand which will generate

savings that can be invested into frontline services.

This report is a chance to reflect on our achievements over the

last 12 months and identify what still needs to be done to meet

our objectives over the next few years.

Paul Brant

Board Sponsor CSR Steering Group

Vice Chair of The Riverside Group Limited Board


Our objectives

As one of the country’s leading social landlords,

we own and manage around 50,000 properties

from Carlisle to Kent and employ over 2,500

members of staff.

In 2007 we joined Business in the Community,

who engage and challenge companies on

responsible business and support them to

continually improve their positive impact on

society. Since then we have continued to make

good progress in their four key impact areas.


We aim to demonstrate that by recruiting,

purchasing and investing in a considered way

we can help build thriving communities.


We aim to protect and enrich the natural

environment, minimising our negative

impact whilst improving the quality of

the physical landscape.


We aim to treat our customers and suppliers

fairly and with respect, ensuring that we adopt

an ethical approach to procurement without

compromising value for money.


We value our staff by promoting a positive

internal culture where our investment in

staff benefits both the individual and the

organisation, helping to achieve positive

outcomes for the wider community.

Progress update

We have encouraged the reduction of our

head office energy consumption by running

an energy saving campaign called ‘Goodbye

Standby’. This resulted in our head office

decreasing their energy usage by 4% in one

week. It raised awareness by providing hints

and tips to staff to help sustain this reduction.

We have encouraged the reduction of business

mileage by introducing a Passenger Mileage

Incentive that allows drivers to claim a mileage

allowance for passengers, encouraging car

sharing. As a result, our passenger mileage

increased by 113% and our business mileage

decreased by 4% this financial year. Since April

2009 we have saved nearly £184,000 in travel

costs by using video conferencing.

We raised almost £7,000 for the homeless

charity the Whitechapel Centre. WaterAid

will be our nominated charity for the next

three years. We have set a target to raise

£10,000 for WaterAid and other national

and local charities in the next 12 months.

Since April 2009 over 350 people accessed our

training and employment opportunities as a

result of our partnership with external Welfare

to Work agencies such as Working Links and

Shaw Trust. We work in partnership with local

authority providers such as Liverpool Jobs,

Education and Training (JET) Service and

Sefton at Work. Other third sector agencies we

work with include Tomorrow’s People, ELECT

and the Neighbourhood Services Committee.


Our achievements over the past year

We have undergone a rebrand and

amalgamation, which will save us more than

£3 million over the next five years. This will

be invested into new affordable homes and

improving our services. The consolidation of

our assets is also expected to strengthen our

position with the Homes and Communities

Agency (HCA) when it comes to the provision

of social housing grants.

We are on track to achieve our target of

3,000 tenants getting access to affordable

credit by 2011. This has been helped by

setting up St Helens Moneyline, which will

soon be launched in Wirral and Warrington.

We have launched a Homelessness Strategy

which is consistent with our objectives to

deliver excellent housing services and to

support vulnerable residents to live with

dignity in their own homes.

We adopted a calendar of CSR activities that

actively promote national awareness days

such as Bring a Phone to Work Day, Fairtrade

Fortnight and Bike Week to staff and tenants.

We joined SHIFT (Sustainable Homes Index

For Tomorrow), a national benchmarking

and best practice group for Registered

Social Landlords (RSLs) who wish to promote

sustainability and energy efficiency.

We have commissioned a Green Fleet Review

with the Energy Saving Trust. They provided us

with a carbon footprint for our fleet of vehicles

and identified ways to reduce our costs and

environmental impact.

We have been reaccredited with a Big Tick

by Business in the Community for our

commitment to education in Liverpool and

have been shortlisted for two Sustainable

Housing Awards.

Lancaster University undertook a

benchmarking exercise that evaluates the

progress of our CSR programme. They have

made further recommendations about our

future CSR planning.



Environmental issues are high on our agenda.

So much so that one of our Group Objectives set

out in our Corporate Plan is to ‘manage places

so that they are cleaner, greener and safer’.

To ensure all staff contribute to meeting this

objective and to ensure that environmental

focus is embedded across the organisation,

we have reviewed our vision and values and

adopted them into our appraisal system.

One of the staff competencies built into

performance appraisals is ‘maximising value

minimising waste’. To demonstrate this, staff

must manage environmental resources

efficiently and identify areas to achieve a

reduction in waste. To further raise staff

awareness of environmental issues and

encourage positive personal and corporate

green action, we have a staff award called

‘Making Riverside Greener’.

Big Tidy Up

In partnership with our contractor Morrison, we

helped to clean up the streets of Merseyside as

part of Keep Britain Tidy’s national clear up

campaign. Keep Britain Tidy is a national

environmental charity that campaigns directly

to the public about those things that impact

negatively on the places where we live, work,

invest and visit. Their aim is to change

behaviour for the better and improve our local

environment. The Big Tidy Up encourages

communities to get together and to tidy up

areas like streets, beaches, gardens, parks and

watersides by litter picking and recycling.

We also use Lighthouse Liverpool, a charity

which has an outlet shop that funds work in

the local community, to clear void properties.

Hundreds of pounds are raised each month by

recycling furniture and other household goods

that would otherwise go to a tip.

Tenants’ and Residents’ Greener

Issues Group

We have launched a Tenants’ and Residents’

Greener Issues Group, which comprises of

representatives across all divisions from

Carlisle to the South East.

Their objectives are to:

— encourage tenants and residents

to share ideas and best practice on

environmental issues

— identify sources of advice and assistance

which will help tenants and residents

manage energy more effectively

— raise awareness of the need to protect the

environment and reduce carbon emissions

for example by recycling, limiting energy

consumption in the home and travelling

in a greener way

— act as a sounding board for

environmental ideas and initiatives

— sponsor and lend support to initiatives

within communities.

We will shortly be consulting with members of

the Greener Issues Group about our ongoing

plans to improve the energy efficiency of our

existing tenant properties.

Sustainable Housing Awards

We were shortlisted for two Sustainable

Housing Awards organised by Inside Housing

magazine in association with the Chartered

Institute of Housing (CIH). We were a finalist

in the Social Housing Provider of the Year

category. CIRCLE, which is a partnership

between Riverside, Plus Housing Group and

the Seddon Group, was a finalist in the Waste

Initiative category.


Smarter Driving

Working in partnership with the Energy Saving

Trust, we offered staff free Smarter Driving

lessons with an advanced driving instructor

who taught employees how to drive more

efficiently and reduce fuel consumption. To

date over 100 staff from head office in Speke

and our local offices in Dovecot, Belle Vale,

Bootle and Middleton have taken the training.

At the end of each session, a percentage

reduction in fuel consumption was provided,

plus an estimate of how much money this

would save the driver each year. On average,

staff could reduce CO 2

emissions by 18% each

time they drive. For a typical car, this equates

to annual savings of more than half a tonne

of CO 2

and more than £300 in fuel per driver.

This adds up to a potential group saving of

more than 50 tonnes of CO 2

and over

£30,000 in a year.

Cycle to work day

Initiated by cyclists themselves, this project

was an excellent example of employees living

green values. To encourage participation, all

staff who cycled to work received a voucher

for a free lunch at the staff restaurant. There

was a display in reception to raise awareness

of the benefits of cycling with free giveaways

including cycle maps and wheel spoke

reflectors. On the day, 12 staff cycled 200

miles, saving 49kg of CO 2

. They saved up

to £80 in travel costs. Those who pledged to

cycle at least once a week would collectively

travel 19,400 miles a year, saving over five

tonnes of CO 2

– that’s over 2.8 million litres

of CO 2

by volume. They would collectively

save £7,760 in transport costs.

Sheltered housing

We encourage our tenants and residents to

get involved in environmental improvements.

In Cambridge our Victoria Road hostel not

only has a well run allotment, but was the

first scheme to successfully raise livestock. The

gardens are tended by the scheme’s residents.

In the heart of London, our Queen Mary’s

hostel for women with mental health

problems successfully bid for funding for a

bike loan. Now its residents, many of whom

have suffered abuse and mental ill health,

benefit from loaning out a bike and cycling

to appointments and meetings.

Cavity walls

Over 3,000 tenants will benefit from warmer

homes and energy savings, thanks to a

successful bid for cash to insulate properties

with hard to treat cavity walls. Working with

Fusion21, we secured over £3 million from the

HCA to insulate properties across the country.

The cash forms part of a £83.8 million fund

from the HCA’s Social Housing Energy Saving

Programme, set up to help social landlords

improve energy efficiency nationally. As a

founding member and the largest housing

association in Fusion21, we secured the

funding on behalf of the group with a

collective bid that will benefit four smaller

housing associations. The two year insulation

programme is due for completion in April 2011

and could potentially save people an average

of £110 per year on heating bills and cut CO 2

emissions by nearly four million tonnes.


Changing Spaces

We are currently involved in 12 Changing

Spaces projects.

— Through Steps to Sustainability, we are

working with the community to develop

green spaces in Tranmere including

allotments. We are extending the

bag-a-bargain food co-operative and

introducing eco gardening in schools and

a junior warden scheme.

— We are creating green spaces in pre-1919

terraced street alleyways in Merseyside.

— We have transformed Hillcrest play area

in Runcorn from a playground that was

blighted by graffiti and disrepair into a

creative play space. It includes state of

the art equipment and a community

garden featuring toddler play.

— We are creating a multi-use games area

and surrounding landscape on the

Colshaw Farm estate near Wilmslow.

— We are helping to transform Mab Lane

playing fields in Dovecot into a

community resource which aims to be ‘the

most colourful woodland in the world’.

— At Millfields in West Bromwich we are

engaging with the community to develop

the Balls Hills area. This includes the

development of a friends group and a

youth warden scheme.

— We are landscaping Gorsewood Ponds in

Runcorn to develop a local habitat for

wildlife. There will also be improved access

for the local primary schools to enhance

natural learning.

— At Bromborough Pool Village in Wirral,

we are designing a playground with a

natural theme.

— In partnership with a social enterprise, we

are working with local unemployed people

to transform a derelict car park in Leicester

into Beaumanor Community Garden.

— At Weston Heights in Stoke-on-Trent, we

are developing a new community garden

as part of the regeneration of the area.

This is being led by the Compendium

Group, a joint venture between Riverside

and Lovell.

— We have commissioned the Everyman

and Playhouse theatres in Liverpool to

work with young people by engaging

them in their environment, which includes

the Vauxhall canal side.

— We are transforming a derelict urban site

in Netherley into a high quality landscape

that includes a multi-use games area.

Since October 2007 our Changing Spaces

project has:

— held 117 community events

— involved 309 people in the delivery of

its projects

— recorded 712 reports of increased

satisfaction within the local environment

and facilities in the Steps to Sustainability

Tranmere and Rock Ferry area, which

exceeded our target of 500

— generated 143 resident volunteering


— created seven permanent jobs.



We have always recognised that creating

sustainable neighbourhoods takes more than

investing in housing and managing tenancies.

Ensuring that communities remain socially and

economically vibrant is as much a part of our

core business as transforming run-down and

socially blighted neighbourhoods.

We have a dedicated Community Investment

Team as well as local Community Initiative

Officers. Each year we invest around £500,000

via the Riverside Impact Fund and £100,000

via the Central Community Chest. In addition

our divisions have their own local Community

Chest and in Merseyside we invest £60,000 –

£70,000 via the Riverside Charitable Trust.

We also bid for external funding. Through

‘Green Spaces for People’, a partnership

with Places for People and Peabody, we

secured £15.6 million of the Big Lottery

‘Changing Spaces’ grant to regenerate

75 neighbourhoods across the UK.

Financial inclusion

We secured funding from the Department

for Work and Pensions to pilot a low cost loans

service in St. Helens to provide an alternative

to doorstep lenders. Following the success of

Moneyline in St. Helens, which has given out

961 loans, helped 336 people set up savings

accounts and has lent over £440,000 in it’s

first year, we are now rolling out the initiative

in Wirral and Warrington.

We donated £20,000 towards Clockwise,

a credit union in Leicester, that enabled it to

introduce a current account to its customers.

For the first time members can withdraw

money free of charge at over 60,000 ATMs

throughout the country, rather than having

to go into one of Clockwise’s offices during

working hours.

Anti-social behaviour

We are working in partnership with the

community group, Benwell Neighbourhood

Management Initiative, on a junior warden

scheme that is aimed at teaching youngsters

about the work of neighbourhood wardens

in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour (ASB).

We donated £1,000 towards the scheme

which saw 60 youngsters learn about the

consequences of fly tipping, graffiti, fire

safety and the impact of crime on its’ victims.

Junior wardens from the Langley estate

in Middleton visited police horse stables in

Manchester. This was part of a wider initiative

to give youngsters a better understanding of

the work that the police do to help develop a

greater level of respect.

In the Midlands, we organised five weeks of

activities to get the young people at City Point

in Derby involved in cleaning up their area.

During the time the scheme was running,

ASB reported to the police dropped by 22%.

Digital inclusion

During ‘My Friends Online Week’ we teamed up

with Age Concern to offer a free taster session

for our older tenants, introducing them to the

internet. We encouraged them to get in

contact with friends and family across the

globe, discover interest groups in the local area

and meet new people online.

We also teamed up with a community based

economic regeneration agency, Dingle

Opportunities, by sponsoring the Liv-it bus in

a bid to increase social inclusion and economic

benefit through digital technology.



We have commissioned a study into

worklessness and social housing to gain a

better understanding of the needs and

situations of our tenants. We have been

working with the Policy Studies Institute (PSI)

to build a profile of our tenants, and provide

evidence on the employment and financial

issues for different household types. PSI have

recommended a systematic and joined-up

approach on how to deliver support to our

tenants. The study recommends a range of

tailored policy options aimed at reducing the

distance of our tenants from the labour market

and improving financial inclusion. We will use

this knowledge and the recommendations to

prioritise resources and to focus our attention

on those options that improve the prosperity

of our tenants in the most effective way.

We have been chosen by the CIH to host pilot

City Employment Strategy (CES) training

sessions focusing on worklessness for housing

association staff in Liverpool. Following the

pilot, an initial programme will be rolled out

across Merseyside. This is one of the areas

identified by the Department for Work and

Pensions as being furthest away from the

country’s aspirations of achieving an 80%

employment rate.

We are also involved in the Government’s

Future Jobs Fund. We successfully bid to create

50 work placements over the next 18 months.

Future Jobs supports people aged 18–24 who

are experiencing long-term unemployment.

Placements will include roles that benefit

the local community such as environmental

services, financial inclusion, housing

management, customer service, construction

recycling and community engagement.

Nominated charity

Last year we raised almost £7,000 for the

Whitechapel Centre, a Liverpool charity that

supports vulnerable homeless people and their

families. The cash was used to pay for ‘start

the journey’ and ‘welcome to your home’

packs. The former contained items such as

toiletries whilst the latter provided essentials

such as kettles and crockery. Fundraising

activities included the sale of a calendar for

Diverse City, a photography exhibition that

celebrated our 80th birthday in Merseyside.

We also donated the location fee from a film

shoot at properties in Liverpool, when the BBC

filmed the supernatural drama Apparitions.

For the next three years our nominated charity

is WaterAid, whose mission is to transform lives

by providing access to safe water, sanitation

and hygiene education in the world’s poorest

communities. To date, we have launched a

campaign to encourage staff to donate an

hour’s pay; our tenants have worked with

schoolchildren in Liverpool and Liverpool World

Centre to develop a drama to highlight the

work of WaterAid; and individual members

of staff have taken part in sponsored events

from cycling to bog snorkelling.

Access to skills and training

Across the country we run over 100 homeless

hostels and foyers. A key focus is working

with people to access skills and training that

will assist them with making the move into

employment and independent living. We also

offer NVQs in a wide range of areas such as

catering, warehousing, forklift truck operations,

and health and safety. We have established

relationships with local businesses to aid with

further training and employment.


Food for thought

We held several events throughout the year

to show our tenants that by making a few

small changes to their daily lifestyle they can

eat healthily, while saving money and reducing

food waste at the same time.

Big Lunch events in Southport and Liverpool

have encouraged our tenants to sit down and

eat with people from their street in a bid to

foster greater community spirit. The events

were a chance for our tenants to appreciate

their local area and the people who share it

with them. As well as being good fun, events

like this help build stronger neighbourhoods.

Elsewhere in the North West, we promoted

healthy eating on a budget by giving away

goody bags at a family fun day in Bootle.

The bags contained a healthy family recipe

idea and the ingredients to make it.

Tenants in the North East learnt that eating

a healthy and balanced diet doesn’t mean

you have to buy the most expensive foods.

To help tackle rising obesity rates and to help

tenants get the most out of their weekly shop

during the credit crunch, we invited Real Food

Works to run a workshop on cheap, healthy

alternatives to processed or fast food.

Community centres

In Birmingham, our Ashgrove extra-care

sheltered scheme linked up with its local church

to develop a community resource centre. The

centre offers a community café, an IT suite

with training classes, aerobics sessions for older

people and a community lounge that is used by

parents and toddlers and many other groups.


We have a long track record of supporting

homelessness. Our merger with ECHG, which is

now our specialist supported and sheltered

housing provider, has confirmed our position as

a national provider of excellent services to the

homeless and potentially homeless. The

current economic downturn makes the plight

of the homeless more pressing than ever as

supply is threatened and repossessions increase

resulting in an imbalance between housing

supply and demand.

We have developed a strategy to prevent

homelessness by working with partners who

support those at risk of homelessness.

By providing suitable accommodation for

those at risk of homelessness and by tailoring

housing and support services we aim to help

those vulnerable people remain in their homes.

Empowering tenants to launch their

own enterprises

At Livingstone House in London, we work with

black and minority ethnic homeless men and

women to integrate them back into the

community. By giving them confidence and

qualifications, our ex-residents have gone on

to set up enterprises as diverse as fashion

labels, PR agencies, careers services and music

recording studios. One of our ex-residents is

now a rap artist, who has won acclaim from

the Princes Trust for his work using music to

tackle gun crime in his community.



We pride ourselves on a welcoming and

supportive culture for all.

We have a strong internal communications

network, a robust training and development

programme and a suite of employee benefits.

Staff are appraised annually on behavioural

competences and their contribution to our

Corporate Objectives. Every year we reward

staff who go the extra mile in helping us

achieve our vision and values through the

staff achievement awards.

We have several staff groups including the

Action for Disabled Staff Group, which is

affiliated to our Equality and Diversity Group;

the Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Group; and

the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Staff Group.

The Sunday Times Best Companies

We have been accredited with the One to

Watch award by the Sunday Times Best 100

Companies, after staff gave their opinions in

an online survey. Out of the eight factors used

in the survey to score employers, our two

strongest areas were:

— Giving Something Back – how much

people think we put back into society.

— Personal Growth – whether people feel

challenged by their job, whether their skills

are being utilised and perceived

opportunities for advancement.

Through these results, we have identified our

strengths and areas for further improvement.

Year-on-year results will allow us to identify

trends and improvements. We can also

benchmark our results from the survey

to compare with other organisations,

including housing associations.


Reward Gateway

We meet the membership fee for all

employees who wish to join our online scheme

which gives discounts and cashback from more

than 1,300 retailers.

BUPA Employee Assistance

All employees and their families are given

access to free, confidential support, guidance

and counselling.

Cycle to Work

Staff can save up to 40% off the cost of a bike

and accessories by taking advantage of the tax

and national insurance exemption.

Childcare Vouchers

Staff can save up to £1,000 a year on childcare.

Childcare-plus is a Government approved

benefit that allows staff to receive part of their

salary free of tax and national insurance to

pay for registered or approved childcare.

The Workplace Trust

The Workplace Trust is a workplace charity

that provides financial aid that can improve

a person’s quality of life, should they become

ill or disabled. It is entirely voluntary and it is

up to each member of staff how much they

contribute into the fund. Any member of staff

can ask for assistance for themselves or on

behalf of a colleague, family members or a

friend when they need it.

Super users

Our super users are policy and practitioner

experts who provide day-to-day support to

staff. By giving staff access to advice and

support, we are helping them respond

more effectively to our tenants’ needs.


Competence training

We provide competence training in our key

service areas of ASB, estate and tenancy

management, rechargeable repairs and

rent arrears recovery. We were the first

social housing organisation to launch a

competence-based, Open College Network

accredited course in ASB. In its first year,

complaints about ASB reduced from 2,530 to

1,230 and customer satisfaction with staff who

visit tenants and residents to discuss their case

increased from 85% to 93%. The course won

a North West Training Award. The feedback

report said the judges were particularly

impressed with the “contribution that this

programme is making” and that there are

“strong elements of training best practice,

inclusiveness and further potential for the

future”. They noted that the number of

complaints about the service halved due to

an increase in the number of complaints

being resolved at first point of contact.

Management training

Cornerstone is our management development

programme, endorsed by the CIH and

accredited through the Institute of Leadership

and Management. It aims to raise the bar

on our current management practices, bringing

a consistent approach to management across

the Group. In addition we have an Active

Engagement Programme that helps those

at the top become champions of service

excellence. It better equips managers in

leading and embedding change across the

organisation, helping them build commitment

from all employees so we can strive for

excellence. It involves Group Directors

spending time with colleagues on the ground

for example shadowing Customer Service

Centre staff or acting as mystery shoppers

for our Home Ownership team.


Disability Awareness Week

Paralympic athlete Mark Eccleston shared his

passion for sport and his story of recovery

from a life changing accident, at a special

presentation to launch our disability awareness

week. In 1986, at the age of 16, Mark was

involved in an accident that severed his spinal

cord leaving him paralysed and a full time

wheelchair user. He has since gone on to

become a wheelchair rugby and tennis

champion and is an inspirational speaker

with a remarkable story of determination.

Mark’s visit to our head office in Speke marked

the start of a week long schedule of activities

lead by our Action for Disabled Staff Group

to promote supporting people at work.

Other speakers including Talking Hands, the

Alzheimer’s Disease Society, the Northern

Signing Choir and Action for the Blind.

The Action for Disabled Staff Group is

available to talk to any member of staff who

has a disability issue whether they need to

adapt their working environment or need

advice on financial assistance.

Internal communications

We consult our staff and keep them informed

via a strong internal communications network

which includes a weekly e-bulletin, the intranet

and the staff newsletter and DVD, which are

produced three times a year. We hold annual

staff award ceremonies, managers’ conferences

and a bi-annual staff conference. Every

department has a monthly team meeting

for which a team brief is produced to ensure

information from managers’ meetings is

cascaded down to all staff. We also have

ad-hoc electronic surveys asking for feedback

on departments or projects and if we are

undergoing a significant change the Chief

Executive will hold a series of roadshows across

the country to ensure all staff are fully informed.



We aim to operate in a socially responsible way

in all areas of our business including the supply

chains for our repairs and housing

improvement programmes.

We monitor contractors’ equality and diversity

annually, for example ensuring they record

all their staff by gender, ethnicity and level

of employment.

We work with a wide range of contractors,

suppliers and partners to stimulate a varied and

competitive market. Our supply chain includes

voluntary organisations, social enterprises and

other not-for-profit organisations.

The Riverside Partnership

The Riverside Partnership is a group of

RSLs who have come together to maximise

efficiencies and the impact of their work.

We are a lead partner along with Regenda and

Vicinity Group. Other members include Venture

Housing, Twin Valley Homes, New Progress and

Wirral Partnership Homes. The Riverside

Partnership has a framework of design

consultants, cost consultants, structural

engineers and construction design

management consultants. The aim is to deliver

housing programmes in a more cost effective

and time efficient way through a start to

finish performance improvement process. By

focusing on value to customers and reducing

waste and increasing efficiency, we are able to

deliver our programmes more effectively and

make a greater impact on the communities

within which we work.


We aim to work with contractors who have

a strong CSR remit, for example Morrison,

our repairs contractor, supports the local

community by:

— establishing local employment

— supporting education

— supporting social and economic


— working with clients and communities to

promote diversity and tackle


— promoting safer communities

— promoting a positive impact on the


As a result of its partnering contract with us,

Morrison has involved over 100 people in CSR

activities, totalling nearly 800 hours and

valuing £22,000.

Respect for People

Constructing Excellence is the single

organisation charged with driving the

change agenda in construction. Constructing

Excellence partners seek to achieve radical

performance improvements within the

construction industry which includes Respect

for People principles. Respect for People is

identified as fundamental to business success

and is about giving respect to employees

whilst gaining respect from them and from

the general public. We benchmark our

supply chain on nine Respect for People

Key Performance Indicators such as Safety,

Qualifications and Skills, and Equality and

Diversity. Many of our contractors have

achieved the highest scores in areas such

as Equality and Diversity and Investors in

People status, and these results are used to

incentivise and encourage improvement.



We are one of the founding members of

Fusion21, a social economy business which

promotes collaboration to save money and

create jobs. Fusion21’s supply chains help

deliver work programmes, create sustainable

jobs for local people and generate savings to

reinvest in frontline service improvements.

In the last five years, the Fusion21 Skills

Programme has created over 600 permanent

jobs in construction for Merseyside residents.

This figure includes:

— 160 social housing residents

— 49 women

— 21 members of black and minority ethnic


— 19 disabled people.

Fusion21 provided further vocational training

to over 700 Merseyside residents. In doing so

it generated an estimated financial benefit

in excess of £18.5m to Merseyside boroughs

through regular paid work and reductions in

benefit claims. Following its success in

Merseyside, Fusion21 is now being rolled

out across the UK. It is establishing groundbreaking

links with prisons to offer training

and employment opportunities. This includes

innovative in-prison assembly contracts for the

production of window frames.

Social enterprises

We work very closely with social enterprises

who trade for social and environmental

purposes. Their profits are reinvested back

into the business or the community.

— We donated £3,700 to Furniture Resource

Centre, which manufactures, collects,

refurbishes, sells and delivers furniture to

low income households. Their retail

venture Revive supports hundreds of low

income families in Merseyside every

month while their waste management

and recycling business Bulky Bob’s collects

from over 100,000 households a year.

— We work with Speke Training and

Education Centre (STEC) to provide work

experience placements.

— We are a member of Compass

Regeneration Academy, an innovative

learning and development forum which

has been set up to enhance the

professional development of graduates

working in the housing and regeneration

sectors in Merseyside.

— We support several credit unions.

We donated £10,000 to King George

Credit Union and £5,000 to Lodge

Lane Credit Union.


Ethical sourcing

Prior to the rebrand and the amalgamation

of Riverside, most items we printed had to be

reproduced eight different times for each

subsidiary and division. By standardising

materials, reducing multiple brands and using

a single supplier, we have made savings that

can improve our capacity to purchase Fairtrade

and recycled goods.

Responsible procurement

During the last year we have continued to

implement our procurement strategy which

combines value for money with a commitment

to responsible procurement. We aim to ensure

that we take an ethical approach when

choosing suppliers, goods and services, taking

into account their environmental impact and

the added value to the community. Since

January 2009, nearly a third of our corporate

stationery account has been spent on green

products. There are still opportunities to

improve this but it is a promising start. In

addition we are trying to identify the areas

of the business that place frequent orders

rather than a monthly request in order to

cut down on the amount of deliveries made.

We also purchase a range of laser toner and

inkjet cartridges which carry international

accreditation in respect of quality and

environmental procedures in the

manufacturing process.


We have adopted a position statement

pledging to support and promote Fairtrade.

During Fairtrade Fortnight we ran a series

of events such as the staff canteen at our

head office in Liverpool featuring a menu

made principally with Fairtrade ingredients.

A volunteer from Traidcraft, an organisation

which fights poverty through trade, was also

invited to come and speak to staff.

Faithfield, our sheltered housing scheme in

Watford, registered with Fairtrade Watford

after the town was declared a Fairtrade Town

in a commitment to raise public awareness and

participation in the sale of Fairtrade goods. To

celebrate its introduction, staff at the scheme

held a Fairtrade event which included a cookery

demonstration using Fairtrade ingredients and

a Fairtrade quiz with Fairtrade chocolate for

the winners. A member of Tearcraft, who

provide jobs and fair salaries for craft-workers

from some of the world’s poorest communities,

was also invited to speak at the event.

Connaught our cleaning contractors have taken

on four of our tenants as employees since

undertaking our corporate cleaning contract.


Looking forward

As we reflect on the achievements and

challenges of last year and look ahead, it is

clear that CSR will remain an important aspect

of our mission.

There will be a number of strands to our CSR

programme in the coming year which will

include a continued emphasis on the

environment and renewed prominence for

workplace issues. We will look to our CSR

Steering Group to drive progress and will

expect to increase the profile of the Green

Contacts network and the Green Issues Group

to further promote energy awareness amongst

our staff and residents.

We will continue to deliver CSR within our

mainstream activities including our community

engagement work on financial inclusion,

worklessness and our ethical procurement

strategy. We will also be launching a major

programme designed to ensure that we ‘do

business better’. This will help staff see the

links between our performance culture and

some of the broader more socially orientated

aspects of our work.

We will of course continue setting targets

enabling us to measure progress. At the end

of 2009/10 we aim to:

— reduce electricity consumption at our

head office by 2%

— reduce business mileage by 5%

— roll out Fairtrade products in all offices by

March 2010

— generate at least £10,000 for our

nominated charity WaterAid and other

national and local charities

— introduce a time off scheme that allows

staff up to three days per year to carry

out public and voluntary duties.

We believe that our CSR programme is adding

significant value to our work as a social

business and we look forward to another

challenging and productive year.

There is considerable enthusiasm for choosing

WaterAid as our nominated charity for the

next three years. Our wish is to reach out and

help end water poverty for some of the poorest

and most disadvantaged communities across

the world.


Contact us


Customer Service Centre

24 hours a day, 365 days a year

0845 111 0000

With inclusive call packages or mobile phones,

it may be cheaper to call 0345 111 0000

We are happy to accept Typetalk calls

Minicom: 0845 111 7766

The Riverside Group Limited

Registered office:

2 Estuary Boulevard,

Estuary Commerce Park,

Liverpool L24 8RF

A charitable Industrial

and Provident Society

Regulated by the

Tenant Services Authority

November 2009

Details correct at time of printing

Printed on 75% recycled paper

with 25% from FSC-certified sources


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