NCC Group takes its corporate social responsibilities very seriously and recognises the important contributions to the business made by the wider community of stakeholders, in particular investors, employees, clients, suppliers and local communities.
It recognises that by acting responsibly it can deliver a sustainable business while contributing to the community and preserving the environment.
The Board takes into account social, environmental, human rights and ethical issues in its discussions and decisionmaking, as well as the health and safety of employees.
The investors in the Group need to trust that their capital is being responsibly used to provide them with sustainable returns. The Group communicates regularly with its investors in meetings and roadshows to keep them up-to-date with both the opportunities and challenges faced by the Company.
During this year, the Directors maintained engagement with investors through various meetings and telephone calls, details of which can be found on page 71 of the Governance Report.
People are fundamental to the Group’s business, and the support and involvement of the talented individuals who form its team are vital to the continued success of the Group overall. The Head of HR reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer to ensure high-level visibility and control of all employment-related issues.
The Group endeavours to attract and retain the brightest and best people in its industry and to make sure they are given the opportunity to develop their talents. The Group is committed to providing a productive working environment and recognises the importance of training and career development.
Each employee has a training record and is positively encouraged to up-skill. All roles where an additional professional qualification can be achieved are actively supported and rewarded. The Group employs a training manager who ensures all relevant staff have the necessary training plans in place.
On a daily basis, the Group provides relevant technical, administrative and sales training and each employee is required to dedicate a certain amount of time each month to research and development. The majority of the training is provided in-house (through on the job side-by-side coaching, internal workshops or as part of a research team) although external courses and trainers are used where it is appropriate to do so.
It is not possible to directly quantify the total amount spent on training within the Group, as this is part of the normal working week.
The Group has a policy of keeping employees informed of, and engaged in, its business strategy through the Intranet, regular employee briefings and divisional meetings. Information is
cascaded from the Board downward to ensure that relevant Group targets are communicated, as well as ensuring that cultural values are aligned.
Comments and suggestions from employees on the Group’s performance and management are actively encouraged. Direct access to the senior management team is actively promoted and encouraged and the Group maintains an Open Door Policy.
Every employee and contractor has access to an external whistle-blowing helpline pursuant to the Group’s Whistleblowing Policy.
The Group recognises that modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. The term modern slavery includes not only slavery but also servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.
The Company has a zero-tolerance approach to “modern slavery” and is committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all of its business dealings and relationships, and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure modern slavery is not taking place anywhere in its business or in any of its supply chains. The Company communicates its zero-tolerance approach to all its suppliers, contractors and business partners and this message is reiterated in its “Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement” on the Group’s website. It expects high standards from all of its contractors, suppliers and other business partners, and also expects that its suppliers will hold their own suppliers to the same standards.
Equality and diversity
The Group is committed to equality and diversity and offers equal opportunities to all and maintains an Equality and Diversity Policy which aims to create a working environment free from unlawful discrimination, victimisation and harassment in which all employees are treated with dignity and respect.
As part of this, we work to ensure that all employees, whatever their personal circumstances, receive the same opportunities for training, career development and promotion.
The Board recognises the need to positively support gender diversity in a technology business, which has traditionally and historically attracted more men due to, in our view, the teaching of IT and Technology in our schools and colleges where the subject has historically been viewed as a primarily male preserve. The Group is endeavouring to engage with local schools, colleges and universities to help educate and instil the benefits and opportunities of careers in IT and cyber security for all genders.
NCC Group supports GCHQ’s CyberFirst Girls Competition in a bid to encourage young women to consider cyber security as a career. The competition, aimed at 14 and 15-year-old girls, is part of the National Cyber Security Programme and is designed to inspire a new generation of females. A team of female security consultants from the Group have been working on the initiative, producing videos with tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a cyber attack and also speaking at roadshows in universities up and down the country.
Approximately 80 percent of our employees are male and 20 percent female. In our team of senior managers, approximately 92 percent of the team are male and 8 percent female while on our plc Board, 83 percent are male and 17 percent female. A “senior manager” is defined in the legislation as an employee who has responsibility for planning, directing or controlling the activities of the Company or a strategically significant part of the Company.
The Group is committed to its employees and actively attempts to improve their health, well-being and morale by encouraging fitness-based activities and taking part in charitable events. The Group has its own football, cricket and netball teams that play regularly, and organises cycling events encouraging mass employee and business participation.
Health and safety
The Group takes health and safety in the workplace seriously and complies with all relevant legislation and best practice. There have been no workplace fatalities in the Group’s history and no reported workplace accidents in the year.
NCC Group values each and every client and is proud of the long-standing nature of its client relationships. Continuing client satisfaction is central to its ongoing success and is regularly measured and monitored through the ISO 9001 certified quality programme. This includes written and telephone satisfaction surveys each month.
Rare instances of negative feedback are treated with the utmost seriousness and dealt with swiftly by management through to resolution. Each Operational Director takes direct responsibility for customer satisfaction, with the CEO investigating directly if a division’s performance fails to meet the 75 percent threshold. No investigations were required in the year reported on.
The Group recognises and understands that its relationships with those with whom it deals are the key to its success and, as such, takes its obligations and commitments to those people and organisations very seriously. The Group’s independence, reputation as a supplier of quality services and the trust of its clients are all key assets that it aims to protect at all times. It aims to engender in its employees' principles of honesty and integrity and the desire to work to the best of their ability. To ensure the best service for the Group’s clients all employees are required both to comply with the Company’s Code of Ethics and to undergo annual anti-bribery and equality and diversity refresher training.
NCC Group believes in supporting good causes and encourages its staff to get involved too, with considerable success to date.
The Group has donated £65,000 to good causes this year, with its main charity being Macmillan Cancer Support, and with a number of local and national charities also benefiting. Additionally, the Group provided security consulting services on a pro bono basis to Comic Relief and has supported a number of employee-related smaller charity initiatives. A similar policy has been introduced in North America.
The Group believes in community and encourages its staff to do the same. Again this year the Group has continued to sponsor local junior football teams by buying their football kit and trophies to encourage children to take an interest in sport and keeping fit. The Group has also co-sponsored the cycling team Torelli, an elite female team from the North West.
Every year NCC Group staff members participate in and organise football tournaments, silent auctions, raffles, bake days, sports days and many more fundraising activities.
NCC Group has signed up to become a platinum sponsor of Cyber Security Challenge UK as it looks to bring more talent into the industry. The Challenge features a series of national competitions, learning programmes and networking initiatives designed to identify, inspire and enable more people to work in the cyber security industry. NCC Group’s cyber security experts will be closely involved in a number of competitions and events in the coming year.
NCC Group has also committed to offering student bursaries as part of the government-backed CyberFirst initiative in a bid to encourage more youngsters to take up careers in cyber security. The CyberFirst programme, which was set up by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), aims to provide secondary school-aged students with the tools and knowledge to live and work securely online while highlighting the wide range of career options available to them.
The Group is apolitical and does not support any political party in any jurisdiction nor has it ever made a political donation.
The Board has an overall responsibility for ensuring the Group upholds and promotes respect for human rights and supports, through the Group’s Human Rights Policy, the UN Declaration of Human Rights which underpins its policies and actions.
The Group’s policy is to pay suppliers in accordance with the agreed terms and conditions. Although the Group does not follow any code or standard on payment policy, where terms have not been specifically agreed, invoices dated in one calendar month are paid close to the end of the following month. At 31 May 2017, the Group had an average of 34.82 days purchases outstanding in trade creditors (2016: 42 days).
Environment and sustainability
As a service provider with no manufacturing facilities, the impact of the Group’s operations on the environment is limited compared with other industries, however, it recognises its responsibility to respect and limit damage to the environment in every way it can.
The Group has in the past sought third-party advice for initiatives that could be implemented and followed as well as for staff education to ensure that they are thinking about the environment both at work and at home. During the year the Group made available the selection of hybrid or electric vehicles through its company car scheme.
Presently, due to the size of the Group, an external environmental audit is not practical but this will be reassessed if the Group grows to such a size where an external audit would have merit.
The Group’s Environmental Policy aims to reduce the energy our business uses by:
- Conserving energy and other natural resources and improving efficient use of those resources;
- Improving the efficiency of materials used;
- Reducing waste and increasing reuse and recycling wherever possible;
- Reducing the need for travel and encouraging the use of alternative means of transport, for example, via the Cycle to Work scheme and car sharing; and
- Providing all staff with relevant environmental training and guidance.
Initiatives that the Group has put in place to reflect the above:
- Energy efficient lighting in refurbished areas of the office and lighting which switches off automatically;
- Use of recycling in all offices – there are paper recycling bins throughout the offices and bottles, cans and plastics recycling bins in the kitchens;
- On-demand boiling water and cold water taps to reduce wastage of water and power;
- Cycle to Work scheme;
- Recycling of printer cartridges in all offices;
- Printer replacements featuring double-sided printing as standard;
- Recycling of redundant IT equipment;
- Addition of low emission car options into the company car scheme;
- Video conferencing facilities available in main offices. This reduces the need for travelling so helping the environment and improving productivity;
- Teleconferencing facilities available for all staff;
- Printer review to enable more double-sided printing; and
- Increase staff awareness of environmental issues.
NCC Group’s new HQ – XYZ Building, Manchester
The Group’s new Manchester headquarters at the XYZ Building has been successful in addressing broader aspects of sustainability and has achieved a strong BREEAM 2011 NC “Excellent” certification. Key sustainability factors include:
- Primary energy consumption reduced by 28 per cent through the utilisation and careful specification of a combination of high-efficiency, low NOx CHP and commercial boiler units with high-efficiency chiller and distribution units.
- Low energy lighting is installed throughout, which is particularly important for reducing energy consumption within an office building.
- All materials specified for the building had a reduced life cycle impact in terms of their CO2 emissions and environmental degradation potential.
- All major materials were responsibly sourced with supporting certification evidence.
- Full FSC certification achieved for all timber products used, both in the constructed asset and site works.
- Careful specification of water consuming components resulted in a 42.13 per cent improvement in water consumption compared to the BRE baseline, supported by the installation of flow control devices and water leak detection which tie in with the goals of the UK Government’s “Future Water” Strategy for England.
Greenhouse gas emissions
This section includes our mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2014 (“The Regulations”).
The greenhouse gas report period is aligned with our financial reporting year and so runs from 1 June to 31 May for each reported year.
The method we have used to calculate GHG emissions is the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition), together with the latest emission factors from recognised public sources including, but not limited to, Defra, the International Energy Agency, the US Energy Information Administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Our emissions cover scope 1 and scope 2 and we have used revenue as the intensity ratio as it best reflects the size and scale of the business. Our aim is to reduce the overall carbon intensity for the Group by at least 10 per cent over the next three years.
On behalf od the Board
Interim Chief Executive
18 July 2017