The Bank encourages colleagues to support the community and charitable causes that they care about. Each year, Bank staff are invited to nominate and then vote for the charities that they particularly wish to support. The Bank's current charities of the year are Child Bereavement UK and Samaritans.
Last year, the Bank staff chose Haven House Children’s Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support as the charities they wished to support. The Bank helped raise £320,000, through a range of staff fundraising initiatives, the largest amount ever raised by staff.
Part of last year’s fundraising total was raised at the charity auction of low or special serial numbered polymer £10 banknotes. The proceeds were split evenly between the Bank’s two charities of the year and a third charity - Candlelighters, a children’s cancer charity in Leeds - voted for by Bank staff in the banknotes area. Each charity received almost £90,000. The Bank also held a charity banknote auction for the polymer £5 in 2016 which raised £194,500 for the charities chosen by Bank staff (which were then the Lily Foundation, Myotubular Trust and Bliss).
In addition, Bank staff supported a wide range of other charitable causes, in line with the Bank’s charitable giving guidelines. In the financial year 2016/17, Bank staff helped to raise over £164,000 for other good causes within its guidelines. The Bank has also played host to multiple events and receptions for a wide variety of charitable causes ranging from research into Alzheimer’s disease, supporting children in the UK who are blind and partially sighted, Target Ovarian Cancer and the Carers’ Trust.
The Governor and Deputy Governors have also personally committed time to raise funds for charities. For example, the Governor has supported many events for the Bank’s charities during his tenure, including planting a tree in the gardens of Haven House Children’s Hospice, hosting a Macmillan coffee morning and supporting the Bank’s recent ‘Brew Monday’ event for the Samaritans.
The Bank also supports charities in other ways. For example, Bank staff undertake a wide range of volunteering activities and during financial year 2016/17 gave 785 days of their time. This includes mentoring children from less advantaged backgrounds, taking on a role as a school governor, and volunteering to support the homeless or elderly.
Staff volunteers also regularly take part in “insight days” at the Bank for young people across London from lower socio-economic backgrounds. These are designed to ensure that the Bank is accessible to people from a wide range of backgrounds, educate them about what the Bank does and perhaps inspire them to seek employment at the Bank in the future. During 2017 the Bank welcomed around 75 students and expects to welcome a greater number in 2018. This complements the work of Bank staff in local schools. In the current academic year over 50 staff will regularly volunteer at schools in Tower Hamlets aiming to inspire the next generation by helping younger pupils with numeracy or literacy skills, and older pupils prepare for job interviews or higher education.
The Bank’s charitable, community, diversity and wellbeing initiatives were all brought under the umbrella of its dedicated Inclusion team in 2016. The Bank’s approach to inclusion is outlined in a speech ‘Reflecting diversity, choosing Inclusion’.
As part of its approach, the Bank publishes its gender and Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) targets in its annual report and is working on a range of initiatives to increase female and BAME representation in senior roles as well as across the Bank. Governors are held personally accountable for delivery of strategies in their own areas of the Bank to achieve these targets. The Bank is also signed up to and supports the Women in Finance Charter.
We have ten employee networks that reflect the diversity of people working at the Bank.
We promote an inclusive working environment that encourages staff to contribute their unique perspective to the Bank’s work.
In 2016, we started to publish targets for gender and ethnic diversity in our Annual Report. We have also published figures on the current representation of women and black and minority ethnic people at the Bank:
We fully support and comply with the recommendations of the Women in Finance Charter (Gadhia Review), which was launched at the Bank in March 2016. This includes setting gender targets, linking variable pay of our Executive Directors to gender progression and assigning an Executive (Joanna Place, Chief Operating officer) to be responsible for gender diversity at all levels.
We provide a number of services to support our staffs’ health and wellbeing. These include:
In 2016, we were shortlisted in the BITC Responsible Business Awards for the Bupa Wellbeing at Work Award. Our work to challenge mental health stigma was highlighted, including our internal training for line managers and the work we’ve done in partnership with mental health charities and our Mental Health Network. Since then we have produced a short film in which some of our staff talk about their mental health experiences.
We have also shared information on our approach to wellbeing with other organisations. We provided a case study for the City Mental Health Alliance, and examples of the way we approach mental health for the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Mental Health.
We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and the environmental impact of what we do. Our environmental programme, ‘Greener Bank’, is supported by a staff-led network of around 50 Green Champions across the Bank.
In 2016 we established our carbon footprint for the first time. We have used this to set ourselves a challenging target: to reduce our overall carbon emissions from our direct operations by 20% by 2020. This is our first-ever carbon reduction target, and we’ll be reviewing it regularly to make sure it reflects any material changes to how we operate.
Our main areas of focus to help us achieve the target will be increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, reducing our use of resources and adopting more environmentally friendly business practices, such as printing less, recycling more and using technology to reduce travel.
Recent examples of our work to reduce our environmental impact include: