Business ethics policy

This policy is effective from 21 October 2021, and outlines how our values shape our business and our commitment to working in a way that’s ethical and fair.

Introduction

We believe that good business and ethics go hand in hand. From our very beginnings, using tech for good has always been at the heart of our work. Working ethically has become a driving force for our business.

We’ve always enjoyed developing positive working relationships with our clients built on transparency and good communication. We’re proud to say that many of our earliest clients remain friends of ours to this day. Our clients trust us, and we them.

For nearly two decades we’ve been working in digital accessibility, helping create a digital world that’s accessible to Disabled people. We embrace diversity, equality and inclusion in our work to the best of our ability.

Our commitments

We have made commitments to:

  • Be mindful of how our work effects people and society
  • Be responsible for our actions and their impact
  • Work with transparency and integrity – no hard sell or hidden costs, no dodgy deals

Scope and domain

The majority of our work is done within the United Kingdom, although we have some clients based in Europe and the United States of America.

Wherever possible, we aim to use UK-based digital service providers. However, some of our service providers operate and host their services outside of the UK.

Clients

We want to work with clients who share our values of being open, responsible and greener.

In 2019, we introduced some rules to follow when engaging new clients to help us work with more organisations that meet our values and avoid working with companies that we find to be unethical or having a negative impact on the world (negative screening).

From 2021, we made a move to focus the majority of our efforts on working with organisations that have a positive impact on the world (positive screening), or choosing to work with companies that have a good record for sustainability and ethics.

We will not knowingly work with organisations engaging in contentious activities or working in unethical sectors. This means that we assess potential clients for any concerns around environmental damage, human rights, workers’ rights, fossil fuels, gambling, human trafficking, tobacco, weapons, etc.

Suppliers

We care about our suppliers. We choose them carefully, and we look after them the way we’d like to be looked after.

We do this in the following ways:

  • We are signed up to the Prompt Payment Code, a voluntary code of practice for businesses, administered by the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on behalf of BEIS. Unless otherwise stated in our supplier contract, undisputed and valid invoices from SMEs will be paid within 14 days of receipt, and all invoices paid within 30 days of receipt.
  • We aim to purchase goods and services that behave ethically and have positive social and environmental impact. And we’re not afraid to take our business elsewhere. In 2021, we switched insurance provider due to our existing supplier’s poor treatment of small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We work with local independent organisations where possible.

Contracts with suppliers are established on a case-by-case basis. Suppliers are assessed for their alignment to our values, and are asked to consider the following when supplying goods and services to us:

  • Having policies on business ethics and sustainability
  • Paying a living wage
  • Not undertaking any work using forced labour or slavery
  • Avoiding involvement in illegal, immoral or otherwise contentious activities or unethical sectors such as fossil fuels, gambling, human trafficking, tobacco, weapons,
    etc.
  • Minimising negative impact on the environment

Finance

We value transparency in our clients and suppliers, not least when it comes to finance. The gap between us and where our money goes is wide, and that makes us uncomfortable. For example, the world is facing a climate emergency, yet trillions of pounds are still being pumped into the companies fuelling the crisis.

We commit to using our money for good, and have taken the following actions:

  • In 2019, we moved our bank accounts away from the big banks to those with more ethical and sustainable conduct
  • In 2020, we moved our pensions into ethical funds

Politics

We will never donate to a political party or politician. Workers are not discouraged from having political opinion or discussion, and they are free to support a chosen political party as individuals.

Bribery and corruption

We have a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption. We are committed to acting fairly and with integrity in all of our business dealings and relationships.

We reduce the risk of bribery and corruption by taking precautions with sensitive data and keeping appropriate and accurate records of all dealings with third parties. We take data protection seriously, encrypting sensitive data and restricting access to information to only those who need it within the company.

We will not:

  • Offer, promise or give a financial or other advantage to another person (i.e. bribe a person) whether within the UK or abroad, with the intention of inducing or rewarding
    improper conduct.
  • Request, agree to receive or accept a financial or other advantage (i.e. receive a bribe) for or in relation to improper conduct.
  • Bribe a foreign public official.

Modern slavery

We are committed to combatting slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.

As our business has a turnover of less than £36 million, we do not have a legal obligation to produce a modern slavery statement. However:

  • We agree that exploitation within all supply chains ending in the UK is a blight on our society, and we are committed to playing our part in eliminating exploitation
  • We understand that customers with obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 cannot comply with those duties without our cooperation

We have examined our business activities and those of our suppliers and we confirm the following:

  • Within our own business, no relevant offence relating to slavery or human tracking has been committed
  • We have made enquiries of businesses that supply directly to us and we are confident that no relevant offence is committed in that business
  • To a reasonably practicable extent, we have examined our supply chains and have found no evidence of slavery or human trafficking