Carillion awarded new charter mark for “integrity”

8 August 2014

Carillion has become the first construction firm to gain accreditation under the new ethical business standard Investing in Integrity (IiI), which upholds it to high standards on equality and diversity, HR practices, health and safety, and compliance with bribery and competition law.

The assessment scheme, introduced in 2012, aims to help businesses demonstrate to stakeholders that they have implemented appropriate ethical policies, procedures and practices.

Investing in Integrity is a not-for-profit company owned by the Institute of Business Ethics and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

Carillion was awarded “charter mark” status based on the results of an online self-assessment, followed by an independent appraisal, carried out by IiI partner and corporate responsibility auditor GoodCorporation. This involved site visits, staff interviews, employee surveys and a review of company documentation.

Full IiI accreditation is only possible after completing a two-stage audit process designed to ensure that responses given to the self assessment are supported in practice during the independent assessment, which must be completed within two years of the online submission.

The process covered all Carillion’s five business units and operations worldwide.

Carillion chief executive Richard Howson receives the Investing in Integrity award

Osama AlJayousi, group compliance manager at Carillion, told CM: “This accreditation is important to us given the huge worldwide focus on anti-corruption, recent investigations into G4S, and with the coming into force of anti-bribery legislation in the UK and US.”

He added: “Unlike other ethical accreditation standards that run a tick-box exercise and imposing a set of values that you have to follow, IiI is bespoke and rates you against your own values as a business and then it seeks to prove that you are exercising them in practice.

“Assessors looked into our policies on ethics and diversity, health and safety, HR policies and compliance with the bribery act and competition law. A member of every senior management team in every business unit was interviewed, 30 in total, and asked questions about how they conduct their jobs, whether they were aware of policies and procedures, how they demonstrate that they are ethical leaders and communicate ethical practice to teams during team talks.

“The information provided was then cross checked, for example if the HR director told them we had trained X amount of people, the auditor asked to see our training record as proof,” said AlJayousi.

Site staff were also questioned, he added: “They asked about whistle blowing and whether people were aware of the whistle blowing line, and believed that if queries were raised they would be dealt with with integrity and investigated or brushed under the carpet.”

After receiving its accreditation, Carillion was also sent a report containing recommendations on which areas it should be focussing on more in future. 

Organisations accredited under IiI can display the charter mark for five years, subject to an annual self certification process designed to demonstrate that there has been no material change in the firm’s ethical policies, procedures and practices.

According to the IiI websites, costs for accreditation range from £1,000 a year for companies of up to 200 employees to £3,000 a year for those with more than 2,000.

The independent audit is charged separately at a per diem rate of £1,250 plus VAT, per assessor. The duration of each audit ranges from two to three days for companies of up to 200 employees to over 20 days for those with over 2,000 employees.

The scheme has some similarities to the industry-backed BeFair Accredition scheme, launched in June by the CITB in association with Liverpool-based consultancy Constructing Equality.

A recently-completed pilot of the scheme saw 40 construction companies, both large and small, assessed and 33 accredited. Another five received conditional passes.

The CITB told CM it hoped the new framework would help stamp out outdated and unacceptable practices such as the imbalance of pay between different sexes – women in construction are paid on average 12% less than their male counterparts in the same role, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Leave a comment