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Working with communities

Successful businesses are socially responsible.

We have a responsibility to support the communities we work among, and we will try to support you in the social and charitable activities you want to undertake.

We actively encourage involvement and participation in charitable activities and causes. But we do need to make sure that the charity in question is legal and appropriate, its activities are proper, and it really is raising money for good causes. We should not end up supporting something we don't want to support, or cannot support for legal or ethical reasons (for example, donations to political causes).

As a private individual of course you can raise money, make donations or participate in charitable activities for any legitimate cause you believe in. However, if you're involved in activities or raising money for a charity on behalf of Serco, always make sure it is legitimate, and always get approval from your manager.

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Operations Group Standard

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What you can expect from us:

  • Our day-to-day operations have positive impacts on society. These range from providing employment and paying of taxes through to the services and innovations we deliver.
  • We also contribute to a variety of organisations and activities in the communities in which we do business. We want to improve lives and make a positive difference. So we consider what's important to our customers and our surrounding communities.
  • We try to have open and transparent dialogue and consultation with the communities and other representatives of civil society touched by what we do. So we listen, and we try to act on their concerns wherever we can.
  • We assess and report on our contribution to community projects and activities annually through our Corporate Responsibility (CR) report.
  • Our community engagement initiatives can include local business development, providing opportunities for workers from disadvantaged backgrounds, and creating partnerships that benefit our communities. We also share our expertise, skills and resources.
  • We will try and support you in charitable or community activities but these decisions will be made at a local level by your management teams.

We expect you to:

  • Work in the communities we serve in a responsible and respectable manner.
  • Think about how you might engage with your local communities and take ideas about making a positive social, environmental and economic impact to your manager and/or CR representative.
  • Gain approval from your manager to undertake volunteering activities in your local community during work hours and to report afterwards on the impact made.

The daughter of a colleague is a successful swimmer and her club are due to go on tour. He’s approached me to see if Serco is willing to contribute to tour costs. Is that okay?

Perfectly okay. Serco actively encourages this kind of initiative

Wrong. Please try again.

Possibly, given the specific circumstances

Right answer because:

We believe that part of being a successful business is being socially responsible. We have a responsibility to support the communities we work among, and we will try to support you in the social and charitable activities you want to undertake. 

Of course it is impossible to support every request of this kind, so each case must be judged on its own merits. Our Code says:

“We will try and support you in charitable or community activities but these decisions will be made at a local level by your management teams.”

In this case, there are other members of the swimming team to be considered, but if the amount of the donation is not excessive it could very possibly be allowed.

In any event the decision would have to be made by local management. Anyone with a direct connection to the club should excuse themselves from the decision-making process to ensure its transparency.

All reasonable requests will be heard and responded to, but a final decision will be made at a local level by the appropriate management team.

No. Employment at Serco can’t be seen to benefit family or friends

Wrong. Please try again.

I’ve volunteered to help a local charity that my client is heavily involved with. She is delighted and has asked if Serco is willing to assist in any other way. Should I help and is Serco able to get involved?​

No. If it’s a client’s charity our involvement could be misinterpreted

Wrong. Please try again.

Yes, volunteering for local charities is positively encouraged by Serco

Wrong. Please try again.

In principle yes, but because it’s a client, we’d need to check

Right answer because:

We actively encourage involvement and participation in charitable activities and causes. But of course there may be circumstances where we can’t get involved, or need to be very cautious before we do.

In this case there could be reasons why we might have to refuse. For example, if there are negotiations under way with this particular client that are at a sensitive stage, then our participation in the charity he is involved with could be misinterpreted as a form of bribe or improper influence.

But this is not the case here. The client is happy and the employee is acting in good faith, so in this situation everybody wins.

Whenever we consider any case involving working in the community we have to consider all the factors. If we do decide not to get involved, we undertake to always explain our reasons in full to the charity or client in question.

Serco assesses its contribution to community projects and activities annually through its Corporate Responsibility (CR) report. Our stated aim, as written into our Code, is to “improve lives and make a positive difference. So we consider what’s important to our customers and our surrounding communities.”

Negotiations for a big contract renewal are going well. At the end of a meeting a senior customer mentioned his son’s soccer team is struggling to get a sponsor and wondered if Serco might be interested. What are the risks of sponsoring this team?

None. Serco’s sponsorship of the team can only aid in negotiations

Wrong. Please try again.

A very high risk of Serco being accused of bribery and corruption

Right answer because:

There is a clear conflict of interest here. The sponsorship has the potential to be perceived as a bribe even if the intentions of all parties are innocent.

The request would have to be discussed with senior management before any decision was made, but our Code asks us to “avoid actual conflicts of interest and the appearance of them.” It also says:

“Under no circumstances will we approve any irregular payment or payment in kind to win business, encourage others to act improperly or influence a decision in our favour.”

Any hint that we are trying to bribe someone to decide in our favour could seriously damage the company’s reputation worldwide so must be avoided at all cost.

In this case we are in the middle of trying to renew a contract, so the timing of the request is a very real concern. If negotiations proved successful, it would be very difficult to answer any accusation that the customer solicited a bribe, and we gave it, even though there weren’t any actual underhand motives.

That’s why in matters of fraud, bribery and corruption and potential conflicts of interest, our Code keeps stressing that we must take care to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing.

A small possibility that this could look like bribery. Caution is needed

Wrong. Please try again.

An important customer has asked if Serco would make a large donation to a local charity that he's patron of. It is a legitimate charity doing important work. Can we donate?

Possibly, but such a donation could be viewed as a bribe

Right answer because:

The matter should be discussed with senior management before any decision is made, but let’s look at the issues they would have to consider.

Our Code firmly states that we must understand the risks of bribery and corruption. Even though in this case the donation is to a recognized charity, this still has the potential to be perceived as a bribe because an important client of ours is the charity’s patron.

The intentions of all parties might well be innocent, but we need to look carefully at the context.

Timing would be a major concern here. Are we involved in any on-going negotiations with the client? Is there any way at all that this donation could appear to be some form of kick-back?

In this case it looks like none of those things apply, and this is a legitimate local charity – something we try to support. So it’s probably okay.

But the important point is that we do need to take care. Serco maintains its global reputation for fairness and transparency by strict adherence to our Code, which states: 

“Under no circumstances will we approve any irregular payment or payment in kind to win business, encourage others to act improperly or influence a decision in our favour.”

No, it would be a bribe

Wrong. Please try again.

Yes. In this case it’s a good cause and a valued customer, so we all win

Wrong. Please try again.

The daughter of a colleague is a successful swimmer and her club are due to go on tour. He’s approached me to see if Serco is willing to contribute to tour costs. Is that okay?

Perfectly okay. Serco actively encourages this kind of initiative

Wrong. Please try again.

Possibly, given the specific circumstances

Right answer because:

We believe that part of being a successful business is being socially responsible. We have a responsibility to support the communities we work among, and we will try to support you in the social and charitable activities you want to undertake. 

Of course it is impossible to support every request of this kind, so each case must be judged on its own merits. Our Code says:

“We will try and support you in charitable or community activities but these decisions will be made at a local level by your management teams.”

In this case, there are other members of the swimming team to be considered, but if the amount of the donation is not excessive it could very possibly be allowed.

In any event the decision would have to be made by local management. Anyone with a direct connection to the club should excuse themselves from the decision-making process to ensure its transparency.

All reasonable requests will be heard and responded to, but a final decision will be made at a local level by the appropriate management team.

No. Employment at Serco can’t be seen to benefit family or friends

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 2

I’ve volunteered to help a local charity that my client is heavily involved with. She is delighted and has asked if Serco is willing to assist in any other way. Should I help and is Serco able to get involved?​

No. If it’s a client’s charity our involvement could be misinterpreted

Wrong. Please try again.

Yes, volunteering for local charities is positively encouraged by Serco

Wrong. Please try again.

In principle yes, but because it’s a client, we’d need to check

Right answer because:

We actively encourage involvement and participation in charitable activities and causes. But of course there may be circumstances where we can’t get involved, or need to be very cautious before we do.

In this case there could be reasons why we might have to refuse. For example, if there are negotiations under way with this particular client that are at a sensitive stage, then our participation in the charity he is involved with could be misinterpreted as a form of bribe or improper influence.

But this is not the case here. The client is happy and the employee is acting in good faith, so in this situation everybody wins.

Whenever we consider any case involving working in the community we have to consider all the factors. If we do decide not to get involved, we undertake to always explain our reasons in full to the charity or client in question.

Serco assesses its contribution to community projects and activities annually through its Corporate Responsibility (CR) report. Our stated aim, as written into our Code, is to “improve lives and make a positive difference. So we consider what’s important to our customers and our surrounding communities.”

Dilemma 3

Negotiations for a big contract renewal are going well. At the end of a meeting a senior customer mentioned his son’s soccer team is struggling to get a sponsor and wondered if Serco might be interested. What are the risks of sponsoring this team?

None. Serco’s sponsorship of the team can only aid in negotiations

Wrong. Please try again.

A very high risk of Serco being accused of bribery and corruption

Right answer because:

There is a clear conflict of interest here. The sponsorship has the potential to be perceived as a bribe even if the intentions of all parties are innocent.

The request would have to be discussed with senior management before any decision was made, but our Code asks us to “avoid actual conflicts of interest and the appearance of them.” It also says:

“Under no circumstances will we approve any irregular payment or payment in kind to win business, encourage others to act improperly or influence a decision in our favour.”

Any hint that we are trying to bribe someone to decide in our favour could seriously damage the company’s reputation worldwide so must be avoided at all cost.

In this case we are in the middle of trying to renew a contract, so the timing of the request is a very real concern. If negotiations proved successful, it would be very difficult to answer any accusation that the customer solicited a bribe, and we gave it, even though there weren’t any actual underhand motives.

That’s why in matters of fraud, bribery and corruption and potential conflicts of interest, our Code keeps stressing that we must take care to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing.

A small possibility that this could look like bribery. Caution is needed

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 4

An important customer has asked if Serco would make a large donation to a local charity that he's patron of. It is a legitimate charity doing important work. Can we donate?

Possibly, but such a donation could be viewed as a bribe

Right answer because:

The matter should be discussed with senior management before any decision is made, but let’s look at the issues they would have to consider.

Our Code firmly states that we must understand the risks of bribery and corruption. Even though in this case the donation is to a recognized charity, this still has the potential to be perceived as a bribe because an important client of ours is the charity’s patron.

The intentions of all parties might well be innocent, but we need to look carefully at the context.

Timing would be a major concern here. Are we involved in any on-going negotiations with the client? Is there any way at all that this donation could appear to be some form of kick-back?

In this case it looks like none of those things apply, and this is a legitimate local charity – something we try to support. So it’s probably okay.

But the important point is that we do need to take care. Serco maintains its global reputation for fairness and transparency by strict adherence to our Code, which states: 

“Under no circumstances will we approve any irregular payment or payment in kind to win business, encourage others to act improperly or influence a decision in our favour.”

No, it would be a bribe

Wrong. Please try again.

Yes. In this case it’s a good cause and a valued customer, so we all win

Wrong. Please try again.