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Corporate Responsibility at Serco

Our commitment

As a provider of public services we are committed to operating with a public service ethos and recognise our responsibilities. Our commitment to corporate responsibility recognises evolving political and economic landscapes, public expectations, our broader impact as a company and how all of these align to the outcomes our customers seek to achieve.
In 2015-2016, we refreshed our Group strategy, clarified our purpose and established the new Corporate Responsibility Committee of the Board. In 2017, we have continued the refresh of our corporate responsibility agenda through development of a new corporate responsibility framework, to better reflect our strategy and the manner in which we conduct our business.

The framework defines our principal areas of responsibility and will help to guide future practice and behaviour whilst facilitating measurement of our performance, forming a foundation for enhancing how we conduct our business for years to come.

Our corporate responsibility framework structure

Corporate Responsibility framework

Our corporate responsibility framework is structured around:

Our Values:

Our Values shape the way everyone in Serco works and behaves.

Behaving with integrity and treating people with respect:

We operate morally and ethically, with respect for human rights.

Our customers:

We are driven by our public service ethos to help our customers create positive outcomes for society.

Our people:

We are committed to enabling the development, wellbeing and safety of our people. 

Our world:

We are responsible in how we impact the communities, economies and environments in which we operate.

Our owners:

We are determined to protect our shareholders’ interests and create long-term, sustainable value for them.

Public service:

Everything we do is motivated by our desire to be a trusted partner of governments, delivering superb public services that transform outcomes and make a positive difference for our fellow citizens.

Our corporate responsibility governance

Our key responsibilities are recognised within our business strategy, for which the Serco plc Board has ultimate responsibility. Specific matters reserved for the Board include health and safety and the Group’s Values, culture and ethical direction. The Board has established a Corporate Responsibility Committee (CRC) which focuses in four areas: health and safety, people, ethics and our corporate responsibility (CR) framework.

Mike Clasper is Board sponsor for CR and chairs the CRC, reporting activity to the Board and raising specific issues for consideration and action. Overseeing our approach to all aspects of CR, it met four times in 2017 to review progress and performance across the framework.

Members of the CRC are responsible for promoting our approach to CR and its effective implementation across the Group. This is agreed with the Executive Committee, which oversees its implementation.

Elements within the CR framework have designated Group Leads, responsible for engaging with Divisional Chief Executive Officers to develop strategy, objectives and performance indicators, and for monitoring and reporting performance to the Executive Committee and CRC.

Each Divisional Executive Management Team (EMT) incorporates appropriate elements into their operational and strategic plans. Delivery and performance are reported to Divisional EMTs and Group Leads for review, consolidation and Group reporting

Our Serco Management System

The Serco Management System (SMS) is our management framework. It describes how we do business and defines the rules governing how we operate, behave and deliver our strategy, including all areas covered by our CR framework.

At the heart of the SMS are 16 Group policy statements and 23 Group standards. Group policies are owned by Group Functional Directors, signed by the Group Chief Executive and approved by the plc Board. They define our strategic commitments and apply across the Group. 

Group standards reflect our Values and define the minimum standards we must achieve, focusing on mandatory requirements applicable across the Group.

Group, Country, Divisional and Local operating procedures build on these foundations within the SMS, providing direction on how to achieve mandatory requirements and comply with relevant laws and regulations in the countries within which we operate. Operating procedures are sensitive to local customs, traditions and cultures. All elements of the SMS are subject to a schedule of regular review, ensuring they meet our needs and are up-to-date, relevant and appropriate.

In 2017, a new Privacy policy statement and new Group Standards for Insurance, Human Rights and Information and Data Privacy were published and the Insider Information and Share Dealing Standard was replaced with a more detailed Group Standard Operating Procedure and Share Dealing Code.

Employee and manager responsibilities regarding SMS compliance are clearly defined and all employees complete appropriate SMS, Code of Conduct and Values training on joining Serco and periodically during their time with Serco. Our Group Consequence Management Standard defines how instances of non-compliance are managed.

To provide management assurance, a ‘three lines of defence’ model has been implemented to test business compliance. Each level of assurance informs our risk management process and the delivery of local, regional and Group improvements.

1st line of defence:

At an operational level, local controls are implemented to ensure customer, legal and regulatory requirements are met. In addition, an annual SMS self-assessment process is undertaken across the Group which helps managers increase their understanding of SMS requirements and improve compliance with SMS controls by completing actions for any areas of non-compliance identified.

2nd line of defence:

A programme of Division-led retrospective compliance assurance reviews test compliance with SMS controls and risk management processes. Reviews against the SMS are carried out at contract, Business Unit and Divisional levels.

3rd line of defence:

Internal Audit provides independent review (sometimes delivered by independent external parties) of the design and operating effectiveness of our controls. External Audit is also used to test control effectiveness in areas of the business where there is a customer or legal requirement.

Our Code of Conduct

Our Code of Conduct helps us to drive continuous and consistent responsibility and behaviours across our organisation. Based on our Values it forms part of the SMS, clearly and concisely defining our expectations of operational and behavioural compliance.

Our Code applies to everyone who works for and on behalf of Serco, regardless of role, location and background, and confirms what they can expect of us as well as what we expect of them. 

All Serco employees are expected to know, use and live our Code.

This year we have reviewed and updated our Code. Key changes include: reflecting our position regarding human rights, in particular human trafficking and slavery; adding detail on the importance of personal security; and communicating improved means of reporting issues through our enhanced online Speak Up portal and case management system, including the facility to ask questions and for managers to capture issues they have managed locally. These changes have been fed into an update of our Supplier Code of Conduct.

We have also added a behaviours section to support our Values, enabling employees, people managers and leaders to better understand the behaviours expected of them.

In 2018, we will develop a condensed code for temporary workers.

Visit our Code of Conduct.

Our Values

Our culture is based on a set of four values - Trust, Care, Innovation and Pride – that shape our individual behaviours and hence the way the company behaves. They help to ensure we are all working from a commonly understood base that can be consistently applied across our organisation.

Embedding our refreshed Values and monitoring our culture

Following the refresh of our Values in 2016, we have continued to embed them in our ways of working and the business consciousness.

Our Divisions have driven the Values through local and regional initiatives, including alignment to Divisional engagement, recognition and corporate responsibility activity.

From a Group perspective, the Values are being incorporated into the SMS, our Code of Conduct and all existing channels, publications and resources. For example:

  • Our annual employee engagement survey, Viewpoint, and our premier programme of employee recognition, the Pulse Awards, are now aligned to our Values, enabling us to measure values-based engagement and celebrate values-based behaviour.

  • Our Values are now integrated into our Code of Conduct, Leadership Model and annual Performance and Development Review process, enabling us to clearly define our expectations of values-based behaviour and ensure they are met. Our bonus payment ‘Values gate’ enables us to reward performance aligned to our Values.

  • Our Values are also being incorporated into our approach to recruitment, enabling us to recruit people who share our desire to make a positive difference and have the capacity and commitment to deliver the services our customers expect.

Alongside our ‘Speak Up’ whistleblowing process, these elements also enable us to regularly assess and reinforce our culture, as defined by our Values. Our Viewpoint Culture Index comprises engagement levels for each of the four Values and provides insight into our culture as perceived by our people (covering ethics, integrity and diversity and inclusion).

Culture Index results inform annual engagement action planning while we continue integrating our Values into our internal processes.