Equal opportunities and diversity
Good employee relations, welfare, engagement, and diversity & inclusion are recognised as important issues for the Group. We are an equal opportunities employer and are committed to encouraging diversity & inclusion and eliminating discrimination in both our roles as an employer and as a provider of services. We aim to create a culture that respects and values each other's differences, that promotes dignity, equality and diversity, and that encourages individuals to develop and maximise their potential. We are committed, wherever practicable, to achieving and maintaining a workforce that broadly reflects the communities in which we operate. We continue to monitor our recruitment and promotion policies and practices to ensure that they are free of bias and discrimination.
The construction industry continues to be male-dominated, particularly in senior leadership roles that attract higher levels of pay, and this is reflected in our latest gender pay gap report, which we published in April 2019 for our two business units that are in scope of the legislation. Our report shows a median gender pay gap of 20.6% (Severfield (UK)) and 16.1% (Severfield (NI)) and we are pleased that the median for both Severfield (UK) and Severfield (NI) has seen significant improvement in the year due to an increase in the number of females recruited in more senior roles. Overall, Severfield employs 9 per cent of women across the Group in a wide variety of roles.
We remain committed to protecting and respecting the human rights of our colleagues and those who work throughout our supply chain. As a company operating within the UK, the key human rights issue we face is equality, which we address with training and promoting inclusivity.
Severfield considers its responsibilities regarding modern slavery with the utmost importance. The duties placed on us by the Modern Slavery Act are such that we make a public statement regarding the steps we have taken to minimise the possibility of slavery or human trafficking happening within our businesses or supply chain. Details of our approach to managing these risks can be found in our Modern Slavery Act transparency statement on the Company's website.
General Data Protection Regulations ('GDPR')
The harmonisation of data protection legislation across Europe through GDPR is designed to protect all EU citizens' data privacy. We take our obligations under this legislation seriously, and as such, have a number of practices in place to ensure the careful handling of individuals' personal information.
The Group is committed to collaboration, working towards the achievement of our customers' objectives as well as our own.
We are focussed on continually improving our offering to our customers, through developing innovative products and services, which will deliver 'Smarter, Safer, more Sustainable' outcomes and create additional value for our stakeholders. This requires agile and dynamic employees who are skilled in new and emerging digital technologies and are prepared to challenge conventional processes. We are committed to upskilling our people or recruiting new talent to meet this challenge.
During 2020, our focus has been on researching and developing new initiatives and innovations that can minimise the impact of activities on the environment, increase our application of Lean manufacturing techniques and further optimise our factory processes to enhance our operational efficiency and drive future margin growth.
We continue to devote skilled resource to reviewing and responding to developing technologies (including virtual reality and digital technologies). We have a centralised IT team dedicated to ensuring our IT environment is secure, giving us the confidence to invest in new technology and respond to IT risks. In 2020, we have continued the roll-out of new software including data analytics, workflow management and project-specific commercial and operational tools to better inform decision-making and improve efficiencies both in our factories and on our construction sites. We are also continuing to take steps to improve the integration of key systems, better automate workflows and, as part of our digital transformation initiative, reduce our reliance on paper-based information to facilitate more efficient ways of working. In addition, through our engineering forum, we have improved our approach to design, looking at new and innovative ways of working, including the use of enhanced BIM (3D) modelling.
Quality and accreditations
The Group is committed to providing our clients with the best possible service and protecting our workforce and to support this we have developed a range of appropriate management systems. Each system is managed in-house and regulated through external third-party assessment certification using recognised bodies. This gives us the confidence that customer requirements are recognised and delivered as well as providing the reassurance that we are properly trained and qualified to carry out our contractual and partnership obligations.
Quality (including welding quality systems), environmental, and health and safety management systems are approved by the BCSA, Steel Construction Certification Scheme ('SCCS') and The Welding Institute ('TWI'). Additionally, our information management systems are certified by The British Standards Institute ('BSI') and registration under the Qualified Steelwork Contractors Scheme provides extra confidence to our customers.
All of the Group's manufacturing facilities are CE marking compliant (certified to BS EN 1090:2) to meet the requirements up to Execution Class 4.
The Severfield Foundation
The Severfield Foundation ('the Foundation'), our registered charitable incorporated organisation, has continued to be a great success during the year, from raising funds and awareness for several local and national charities to encouraging engagement among our employees.
The Foundation's national partner charity is the Alzheimer's Society. Dementia is the UK's biggest killer, recently overtaking heart disease. Last year, the disease claimed the lives of over 70,000 people and as yet there is no known cure. Around 850,000 people in Britain are living with dementia, which is expected to rise to over one million by 2025, with the majority having Alzheimer's disease – the most common type. This two-year partner-relationship is due to end in 2021, when we will engage with our colleagues to take suggestions on which charity the Foundation will partner with next.
Along with supporting our national charity partner, the Foundation also worked with several nominated local charities for each of our company subsidiaries including Bolton Hospice, St Catherine's, Thirsk Community Care, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and York Mind.
The Foundation remains committed to work with, and support, its chosen national charity by raising funds, spreading awareness and by taking part in volunteering opportunities. This includes events such as the Great North Run, London to Paris Cycle, the Great North Swim and skydiving.
In addition to the charitable activities offered through the Group, we also encourage our employees to take part in their own fundraising events, supporting charities close to their hearts, and the Severfield Foundation aims to support such activities where possible.