#IWD2022 Blog: Liz Benison, CEO, ISS UK & Ireland

This International Women’s Day, I’ve pledged to challenge the biases that affect all of us in the workplace — from my colleagues pursuing careers at ISS, to my daughter, who will be embarking on her own career path after she graduates from university this year. While much progress has been made since I started working, there’s still a long road ahead to achieving a truly gender-equal world. 

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#IWD2022 Blog: Amanda Fisher, CEO, Amey

Diversity and inclusion are usually treated as enhancements, not as core to business success. But organisations need a real strategy to embed diversity and inclusion – not just a series of tactical measures that may or may not add up to a plan.

That’s why at Amey we have Freedom to Perform, a culture where initiatives are aimed at changing the whole workplace rather than being based on the hope that a few more women will be encouraged to fit into existing working practices.

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#IWD2022 Blog: Catherine Roe, Chief Executive, Elior

In 2021, we set targets to increase the number of women in our leadership team, middle and senior management, and the number of female chefs. We are pleased to be ahead of our target in each of these areas; one of the key activities helping us achieve these aims is our Womentoring programme, specifically aimed at helping female colleagues to fulfil their potential.

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Statement of Best Practice on Partnership Working between larger businesses or VCSE organisations and SMEs

The Business Services Association (BSA) today publishes a Statement of Best Practice on Partnership Working between larger businesses or VCSE organisations and SMEs.

Better partnership working and involvement of SMEs brings benefits to partners and clients, to the economy and to society as a whole. Larger organisations benefit from a healthy and more diverse supply chain, SMEs can benefit from the capacity, support and reach of larger organisations, and together they can achieve more.

The document looks at ways in which partnership working has been developing and improving in recent years, and why this should continue to happen.  It then shares some specific examples of best practice which BSA members have put into effect and which it hopes will be adopted elsewhere.

It highlights some of the challenges faced by SMEs and identifies five routes to best practice in partnership working between larger and smaller organisations:

  • Actively Encouraging SME Partners and Supply Chains
  • Prompt Payment
  • Aligning Objectives
  • Social Value
  • Building Relationships with SME Partners and Supply Chains

Mark Fox, Chief Executive of the BSA, said: 

“Everyone needs to contribute in full if the UK is to recover quickly, sustainably and equitably.  

That means the public sector, and private sector and VCSE organisations large and small, together in harness, working towards the same common goals.

This Statement sets out some examples of what has been achieved. But we are all on a journey, and we recognise that much more needs to be done. We hope this Statement will highlight examples which all larger businesses can learn from and adopt.

We are grateful to all BSA members involved in drawing up this Statement, and to the Federation of Small Businesses for their advice and support and for endorsing its principles. 

This is an example of the sort of the collaboration we need if we are going truly to build back better in the months and years ahead”.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:

“Strong partnerships between businesses of all sizes is essential to our goal of levelling up the whole country and making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

This welcome statement from the BSA highlights the importance of businesses working together and paying their partners on time, and builds on the government’s work with the Small Business Commissioner to tackle the toxic issue of late payments.”

Notes to Editors

The BSA represents large and small business and VCSE providers of services and infrastructure projects across the private and public services. Its members deliver ICT, BPO, facilities management, construction and infrastructure services, managed public services and some professional services such as banking, accountancy, consultancy, and legal services. Some BSA members are micro, small or medium-sized enterprises; others work closely with thousands of SMEs as supply chain partners or in other ways.

For further information, please contact Peter.Campbell@bsa-org.com or Gemma.Parrick@bsa-org.com.

HMT Green Book Review – videos

Here are links to three videos by those involved in the Treasury review of the Green Book, as published alongside the Spending Review in November 2020.

Video: Tom Aldred, HMT Green Book Review team lead

Video: Mark Williams, training workstream lead for the Green Book Review

Video: Heads of Professions from across government endorsing the Green Book

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BSA/Polar Insight procurement survey published

In Summer 2020, the BSA and Polar Insight partnered on a survey of members to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector and to explore key factors relating to procurement across the private and public sectors.

Download the survey report here:


Or click here.

BSA response to Prime Minister’s announcement, 22nd Sept

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons today, Mark Fox said:

“The Prime Minister has announced a series of further measures to restrict movement and action with the aim of arresting the further spread of the virus. These measures will have a direct impact on BSA members. As you know we are in good and constructive daily discussion with Ministers and officials to ensure your views and experience are heard by them and that their plans are clear to you. These moves by the government are likely to be the first in a series of actions over the coming weeks. Our priority is to keep you informed and to ensure your views are heard.”

The Prime Minister’s full statement is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-commons-statement-on-coronavirus-22-september-2020


Keynote speech – Seminar on Business Values: Learning from Lockdown

Adapted from a keynote speech delivered by Sean Haley, Regional Chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland, at the BSA’s seminar on Business Values: Learning from Lock Down, 24 July 2020

This year, the world has been thrown into turmoil, but it has also shone a light onto what really matters to people.  As governments, businesses and households start to emerge from the crisis phase of the pandemic, we start to build an economic recovery.

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Key workers need more than applause

Since the Covid-19 lockdown was introduced, we have witnessed an incredible industry-wide response, writes Sean Haley, Sodexo Regional Chair.

FM and food providers have repeatedly demonstrated the value of our sector by collectively responding quickly and efficiently.  Sodexo and its competitors have played a vital role to set up and operate Covid-19 testing centres and Nightingale hospitals around the country.  It has been a Herculean effort that no one foresaw would be needed, but one which was achieved through partnerships that formed within just days.

We have been able to do this because we are an agile, flexible, diverse, caring industry with experts in catering, cleaning through to fire safety, energy, event management and much more. We have shown that we are more than just service providers. We are strategic partners who can adapt, innovate and work in partnership to get things done.

Our people have met the challenge of providing core services safely into hospitals, barracks, schools, factories, test centres and prisons, to name a few.  They are often working in extremely difficult conditions, on the front line, adapting to meet new demands and challenges – and they are laying the foundations for our national recovery from this crisis.

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CPS guidance: What constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live

The Crown Prosecution Service have produced a useful practical guide as to what might and what might not constitute a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave the place where individual’s love, which the NPCC have reproduced to help police officers. It notes, however, that each case still needs to be considered based on the individual facts as they present themselves.

Download it here:


Crisis management in uncertain times

Mike Penrose, Founder and Chief Executive of the Sustainability Group, draws on his extensive experience in this blog on crisis management. 

During periods of uncertainty and crisis it is all too easy to focus on the immediate needs of your organisation and its employees. To deal with the overwhelming amount of work that comes with the necessity to rapid adapt your ways of working, the sheer volume of day to day stuff that needs doing, and most importantly staff welfare and support.

Clients push back work, cashflow gets squeezed and order books get thinner. Some of the measures announced by the chancellor will help organisations through this difficult period, it is an unprecedented bail out, proportionate to these difficult times, and to be widely applauded (unless you are self-employed, but that is another article). Continue reading “Crisis management in uncertain times”

Putting social value into action


Adapted from a keynote speech delivered by Sean Haley, Regional Chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland, at the National Social Value Conference 2020

In November last year, the British Academy set out the changes they believe companies need to make to become “purposeful businesses” – changes that they say lie “at the heart of the future of capitalism, the future of humanity and the future of our planet”.

This is not new to Sodexo. We were one of the first few companies in the world to place social value at the core of its mission when it was founded in France in 1966 – and we have always sought to do good business in a good way.

Ten years ago, we published our global corporate responsibility roadmap – Better Tomorrow 2025.

We have plans in place across our business to reduce our impact on climate change, to cut waste, to recruit people from marginalised groups like ex-offenders, to cut plastic from our supply chain, to spend more money with local suppliers and SMEs and promote more women into leadership roles.

This is all well and good but we know that this isn’t enough to meet the challenges we face, because it is not over-dramatic to say that we are living in a time of crisis.

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Business, social enterprises & charities must find new ways of working with Boris’ government

Boris Johnson’s huge General Election victory is good news for the political stability and support business needs to succeed. Government will now continue to be a strong support for innovation and enterprise. The principles of the free market and free flowing trade will be re-affirmed in the corridors of power across Whitehall. The fundamental threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, with the crushing threat to jobs and wealth creation that it represented, has been resoundingly seen off. For those running and employed by businesses of all shapes and sizes – which is the vast majority of us – the Conservative victory is very welcome indeed.

Not only businesses of course compete in the market place. Social enterprises and, although they frequently bridle at the suggestion, so do charities. Charities compete for donations, for public sector contracts to deliver government services at home and overseas, and for our attention and support.

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