Clarkslegal is proud to support the Bangladesh UK Environmental Foundation, Contact the Elderly and Magic Breakfast as our nominated charities.
Each year staff will nominate and vote for charities local to our offices that the firm will support. In response to staff demand, the firm also supports most of the national fundraising appeals such as Comic Relief, Children in Need, Jeans for Genes and Sport Relief.
We regularly host events to raise awareness for our charities among our clients and friends.
Clarkslegal (via the CEIP), through the Bangladeshi diaspora community links in the UK, has helped to set up the Bangladesh Environmental Foundation (BUEF) in Cardiff, in April 2015. The trust is based on charitable donations from Bangladeshi and UK nationals residing in the UK. Michael Sippitt is the Honorary Adviser of the BUEF.
The BUEF focuses on promoting sustainable development in Bangladesh by the preservation, conservation and the protection of the environment and the prudent use of natural resources, as well as educating the public about environmental issues. In simpler words, the BUEF promotes the uptake of environmentally responsible projects that will last a long time and will help as many people as possible.
In June 2017, the BUEF launched a project focused on providing clean water to the Bangladesh community based in Joykalas (a densely populated area of Sunamganj District). This project was successfully completed in May 2018. According to the findings of previous surveys, water sources in the area are contaminated with arsenic and iron. To address this problem, an alternative safe drinking water plant was installed by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) with financial support from the BUEF and technical support from DAM-UK.
The main aims of the project were to:
We are pleased to announce that the installation of the water plant now allows 150 families to collect safe drinking water. It is anticipated that 300-400 families will benefit from this service in the future.
This project also facilitated a strong community involvement at all stages, from the election of a management community (formed of nine members from the local community), to the creation of one job (to operate the plant), as well as the generation of additional revenue by selling the water at a minimum price (to ensure plant maintenance, for example).
Contact the Elderly is the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people. We aim to do this by organising monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people (aged 75+) who live alone, and volunteers within their local community, offering a regular and vital friendship link every month.
Whilst we work closely with numerous statutory and voluntary organisations concerned with older people, our service remains unique.
We provide a group activity that encourages inter-generational links and friendships to develop between older group members and volunteers. Our groups operate at weekends, when most community services for older people are not available. Moreover, Sunday has been highlighted to us by our members as being a particularly lonely day of the week. They are kept purposely small, and they meet in the welcoming environment of someone’s home.
Increasingly, research highlights the link between loneliness and ill-health in later life, including depression, certain heart conditions and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Magic Breakfast is a registered charity in the UK, ensuring that no child is too hungry to learn through the provision of healthy breakfast food and expert support to schools. A hungry child cannot concentrate so will miss out on half a day of lessons, every day, if not given anything to eat.
Magic Breakfast support schools with 35% or more pupils eligible for free school meals, or with 50% Ever 6 FSM, delivering nutritious food and bespoke advice on the optimum way to reach every malnourished and vulnerable child.
As our newest chosen charity for 2017, we look forward to helping and supporting Magic Breakfast in any way that we can- including volunteering at their fundraising events, and with monetary donations.
Each year our staff are challenged to complete 100 days’ volunteering for charities and community programmes of their choice. To date this has included supermarket food collections, tree planting, supporting soup kitchens, running half marathons, an inter office cycle ride and hosting tea parties for the elderly.
We also spend a lot of time supporting added value initiatives for our clients, particularly not-for-profit organisations, such as staff mentoring schemes and making our meeting and video conference facilities available free of charge.
We offer employability for students at our schools, colleges and universities. We also provide students work experience placements and help LPC students with mock tribunals and preparation for their advocacy exam. In collaboration with accountants, we deliver a commercial awareness session for law and accountancy university students.
In 2015, the firm decided to engage with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). As a participant of the UNGC, we support the Ten Principles of the Global Compact. These are part of our long-term strategy and are embedded in our operational practices. We are also working in collaboration with our partners to uphold the value of the Ten Principles, as well as contribute more broadly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We also commit to issue an annual Communication of Progress (COP), a public disclosure to stakeholders on progress made in implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. This year we decided to pursue COP GC Advanced level, as we felt our performance and coverage of the Ten Principles has significantly improved compared to three years ago, when we embarked on this journey.
A short summary of the four areas covered within the COP can be found below:
We are addressing relevant human rights issues in a variety of ways, such as enacting relevant internal policies and engaging with communities of which we are part.
Regarding our contractors and suppliers, where we are able to, we apply terms of business when we enter a business relationship. These include provisions regarding ethical business practices, in full accord with professional obligations on qualified solicitors. To date, we can confirm that no unethical behaviour of our staff, contractors or suppliers has been brought to our attention.
The Clarkslegal LLP Charity is committed to supporting established charities chosen by its staff. A Charity Committee oversees the selection of the chosen charities and helps organise staff fundraising and provision of other support to the charities. Each office is invited every year to nominate charities for the coming year and then votes on a shortlist. Additional information regarding the charities that we support can be found at this link.
We were represented by our Chairman at the 2017 United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneva 27 – 29 November 2017.
We have a number of relevant internal policies, including an Equality and Diversity, Equal Opportunities and Anti-Harassment Policy, Health & Safety & Staff Welfare Policy, Grievance Policy and Whistleblowing Policy.
Due to our scope of work, we advise on any aspect of employment law in our jurisdiction. For example, we have specific services which cater to modern slavery prevention (which include mitigation measures to prevent forced, compulsory and child labour, discriminatory working practices and encourage freedom of association). Our aim is to raise awareness of this topic externally and we therefore participate (as speakers) at minimum 4 events per year (including on modern slavery), in order to raise awareness. Additional information regarding the Modern Slavery services that the firm delivers can be found at this link.
We annually represent the UK Employer Delegation led by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This year, one of our solicitors attended the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference, 28 May - 8 June 2018. Our aim is to constantly ensure we understand the international context and how the ILO is developing the agenda regarding conventions to which countries have signed up to, as well as how they comply with these conventions.
Being mostly office based, the nature of the operations makes our direct environmental impact relatively small. There are specific actions which we have nonetheless taken, to prevent and minimise such impact.
We have an Environmental and Sustainability Policy, which highlights our commitment to achieving environmental best practice through our business activities. We implemented a range of measures to prevent environmental impacts in the first place. We are encouraging our staff to not print documents, unless necessary. All paper that we use for printing is recyclable and all our paper waste is recycled through partner organisations. Our toner cartridges are recycled and our computers are donated to a charity for reuse or are recycled as per legislative requirements (WEEE Regulations). We segregate our waste internally and recycle specific waste streams, which are subsequently removed by the building maintenance services.
Our permanent aim is to continually reduce the environmental impacts of our business. We are achieving this by regularly reviewing the costs of our operations and taking appropriate measures. We have recently moved one of our offices into a more modern building, which is BREAAM rated and considered the energy efficiency of our future offices prior to the decision to move office.
Internationally, Forbury Investment Network is the operating arm of the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP). CEIP is promoting trade and investment in technologies focused on providing sustainable products / services in the Commonwealth. We have a number of CEIP Associates, SME organisations which provide sustainable technologies, for which we constantly make relevant business introductions, to facilitate trade within the Commonwealth. This leads to value creation not just for our CEIP Associates, but also to the communities in which these technologies are implemented, ensuring that a sustainable local eco-system is created. We are constantly tracking progress of successful introductions, so that we can report on developments when needed / required. This programme is sponsored and supported by Clarkslegal, for benefit in particular to developing countries. Additional information regarding the CEIP can be found here.
With regards to Anti-Corruption, we have internal policies specifically designed to tackle this issue: Anti Bribery Policy, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment Policy, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Staff Training, Whistleblowing Policy.
All our policies include specific definitions for cases of bribery and how these can be prevented, including the bribery of a foreign official, suppliers, hospitality and entertainment and facilitation payments. Any breach of this policy may lead to disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct (included within Disciplinary & Dismissal Policy). Any instruction to cover up wrongdoing is also a disciplinary offence. If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a Partner, the employee should not agree to remain silent.
We also have a Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Training Policy. This policy records the training to be provided to staff on money laundering, terrorist financing and client due diligence matters. As part of the organisation’s induction programme, all new fee earners and all new members of the accounts team will be required to complete the on-line training programme and the test to be completed at the end of this training. The on-line training lasts approximately one hour and the quiz takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. On completion of this training, a specially designated member of staff must be notified by email, so that the training record is updated.
More detailed information on the above four areas can be found in our COP document.