annington annual rep 2019-web - Page 30



Strategic report | Corporate responsibility
Corporate responsibility
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES CORPORATE
RESPONSIBILITY PLAN
For the Group, acting responsibly and
being successful commercially go hand
in hand. To be a sustainable business,
how business is done is as important as
what is delivered.
The Group’s commitment to corporate
responsibility is based on a firm belief
that it will help maintain a commercial
advantage, manage risks within
operations, increase efficiency and
enhance the Group’s reputation with key
stakeholders.
Having recognised the changing
demands of society, regulations and
the need for companies to reduce
their environmental impact, the Group
monitors the approach to sustainability,
to ensure it is aligned with the views
of key stakeholders. To help manage
the various social and environmental
initiatives that take place across the
Group and to align them with its
business priorities, management
have captured these activities within
a strategic framework, the Building
Opportunities Corporate Responsibility
Plan. The four cornerstones of
this framework are its people, the
environment, its customers and partners,
and its communities.
CARING FOR PEOPLE
Management values employees’
commitment and in return provides
excellent opportunities for personal and
professional development. Employees
are encouraged to develop personally
and professionally and invest in their
development through formal training
programmes, challenging work
assignments and having all employees
participate in annual appraisal and
development reviews. Annington’s
RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
employees have a wide range of
professional skill sets so training is
assessed and tailored to meet specific
individual needs. The nature of the
training is, therefore, very broad and
includes both technical and soft skill
based training. In the financial year, the
Group invested an average of £2,568
(2018: £1,933) per employee with 100%
attending training programmes.
The Group recognises that the nature
of the business has environmental
and social impacts and that it has a
responsibility to consider and minimise
these impacts where possible. There
is guidance as to how the Group, its
suppliers and its contractors should
operate to achieve this.
Management is committed to
encouraging and achieving a working
environment where equality and diversity
are recognised, encouraged and
valued. At 31 March 2019, there were
42 employees (2018: 38) with employee
turnover at 5.3% (2018: 18.6%) and the
overall gender split of the workforce is
as follows:
Male Female Total
The Board
Senior executive team
All employees
8
1
9
2
1
3
21
21
42
The health and welfare of employees
are taken seriously. Employees are
supported by being offered flexible and
remote working to anyone experiencing
personal difficulties. To help ensure the
wellbeing and safety of employees,
there are a number of initiatives
including encouraging employees to
take regular BUPA medical checks;
providing safety guidelines around
winter driving and good practice tips on
reducing sedentary issues in the office
environment.
A strong health and safety record
continued with no reported employee
work incidents (2018: nil), no reportable
contractor incidents (2018: nil) and no
incidents reportable under Reporting
of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous
Occurrences Regulations 2013
(2018: nil).
30 | Annington Limited Annual Report & Accounts 2019
Given the geographic spread of
the Group’s portfolio and proximity
to MoD bases, there may be some
concern about contamination
resulting from previous uses. However,
historically, only two sites released by
the MoD have been found to have
any traces of contamination. In both
instances, remediation strategies were
implemented resulting in the removal of
any contaminants and the affected areas
being signed off as ‘clean and inert’.
The Group complies with all legislation
and Health and Safety regulations with
regards to the handling of hazardous/
contaminated material. Given the age of
some of the properties, there have been
instances where asbestos has been found.
Any such materials have been, and will
continue to be, professionally removed
and disposed of or, where advised to do
so, left in situ but appropriately treated,
recorded and labelled.
Concrete is one of the predominant
materials found on the MOD estate and
following the demolition of six blocks of
apartments at Brize Norton, constructed
largely from reinforced concrete panels,
the decision was taken to separate the
reinforcement from the concrete and to
crush the arisings to achieve a certified
type 1 material. This will be used in the
construction of footpaths and nonadoptable highways and can also be
utilised as a bed and backfill for drainage
and services. Since construction began
approximately 120 tonnes of waste
was produced, of which 97% has been
recycled, with some of the resultant
material being reused directly on site
without the need for transportation.
In line with the Sustainable Procurement
Policy, management has a preference
for using materials and products that
can be ethically sourced and have a
low environmental impact, assuming
their technical performance meets
the required standards and they are
economically viable. Over the past two
years, Annington has further developed
its supply chain, enabling far more
visibility and control over the materials
sourced for use in current and future
projects. The Group has worked closely
with a major national supplier when
compiling material specifications for its
projects at Little Thetford, Allington and
Bordon. At Brize Norton, construction
continues on the 135 units being built
utilising a timber frame system, which is
considered inherently more sustainable
than conventional construction methods.
In addition to these measures, at Brize
Norton, the Group is adding 8 bat
boxes and 34 bird boxes to ensure that
wildlife displaced by the demolition and
construction work have a suitable habitat
in which to roost. The rehoming of
wildlife that are affected by demolition
of properties has been a feature of
previous developments, most recently
the refurbishment of units at Gamlingay.
VALUING CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS
The Group takes its responsibilities to
the communities and environments in
which it operates seriously. The Group
seeks to work with partners and suppliers
that subscribe to its business standards
and values.
Where possible, effort is concentrated
on improving the ‘street scene’ to make
the communities in which houses are
situated more desirable places to live.
This can include landscaping, installing
off-road parking and upgrading the
external appearance of properties.
Thorough checks are performed on the
electrical, plumbing and heating systems
and any defects or issues that might
affect a mortgage are rectified.
The Group strives to make home buying
as trouble-free as possible by managing
the sale process for their properties,
through regular engagement with
agents and solicitors, aiming to ensure
all buyers receive a consistent, fair and
timely process. Where appropriate,
buyers are offered the Seal of Approval
incentive, providing the buyer with
the comfort that the electrical, heating
and internal water systems have been
professionally checked and serviced and
that, should they fail within the 28 day
period from legal completion, the Group
will repair them free of charge. The
Group has set a target of responding
and dealing with any issues arising within
14 days and have achieved this in 79%
(2018: 89%) of cases.
This year Annington had its first Help
to Buy sale. This government backed
scheme aims to help first time buyers,
and those looking to move home,
purchase residential property in the UK.
The government lends buyers of new
build homes up to 20% of the cost of a
newly built home, leaving the purchaser
to find a 5% cash deposit and a 75%
mortgage to make up the balance of the
purchase price.
The Group operates under The
Consumer Code for Home Builders
which applies to all home builders
registered with the UK’s main new
home warranty bodies: NHBC, Premier
Guarantee and LABC Warranty. The
Code consists of 19 requirements and
principles that home builders must meet
in their marketing and selling of homes
and their after-sales customer service.
In addition, the Group offers a two year
warranty alongside a Customer Care
Charter.
Many of the Group’s suppliers and
contractors have been partners for years.
The partners are an extension of the
business and the Group is committed
to treating them fairly. The right
partners are selected who have years of
experience in the industry so they deliver
the best result for the Group and its
customers.
Suppliers and contractors are required
to share the Group’s commitment to
quality, health and safety, environmental
issues and promote sustainable
practices. The Group is committed to
providing a safe working environment
both in its offices and at the sites where
contract partners are refurbishing homes.
Both the Group and its contractors’
safety management systems comply
with UK Health and Safety. The Group
is registered with the Considerate
Constructors scheme and during
the year one of its Main Contractors
achieved certification of “Performance
Beyond Compliance” which indicates
this contractor demonstrated a higher
level of consideration, beyond statutory
requirements, to its neighbours, its
workforce, and the environment.
The Group is passionate about
strengthening local communities
by supporting charities and making
charitable donations to a diverse range
of good causes. This can involve funding
a variety of activities – from supporting
local schools by donating equipment to
providing funding to support specific
projects or initiatives.
Annington Limited Annual Report & Accounts 2019 | 31

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