In February 2014, Birmingham City Council launched the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility which aims to ‘boost the local economy through support to the local supply chain, creation of job opportunities and ensuring employees are paid a fair wage’.[1]

The Charter is set of principles to which Birmingham City Council is inviting its suppliers to commit. The charter enables businesses and social enterprises to consider the contribution that they can and do make to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the city and have this contribution formally recognised through the Business Charter for Social Responsibility.

Further commissioning and procurement within the council will take account of the Charter and the actions taken by suppliers to adhere to their charter commitments. The Charter principles describe a range of different ways in which signatories to the charter can and should maximise the benefits of their work for the Birmingham community including:

  • Local Employment – creating employment and training opportunities for all
  • Buy Birmingham First – take account of social and economic impact of buying goods and services from within the local economy
  • Partners in Communities – play an active role in the local community,
  • Good Employer – support for staff development and adoption of a living wage
  • Green and Sustainable – protecting the environment, minimising waste and energy consumption and using other resources efficiently
  • Ethical Procurement – apply high ethical standards within own operation and wider supply chain
  • A number of businesses have already signed up to the Charter.

Key features of this approach

Using the public commissioning process to influence behaviour:- through the charter, the Local authority is helping to raise awareness of the importance of these issues for place shaping.

Getting more from public expenditure: – using the public money that is already being spent in Birmingham and attempting to maximise its impact and real value for money.

Charter conditions proportional to contract size: the level of commitment from businesses will depend on the size of the contract or grant that they have from the council.  Contracts and grants less than £200,000 have aspects that are voluntary and mandatory.  For contracts which amount to more than £200,000, the principles and policies of the Charter are mandatory.

Carrot and Stick: Birmingham City Council is committed to using supplier performance against charter commitments as a condition for future procurement opportunities. However, as well as this being used as a “threat”, the council is already public recognising companies that perform well through an annual awards ceremony.

To learn more

Full information about the Charter on FindItInBirmingham

Birmingham City Council newsroom article on the awards ceremony

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