Ethics Policy Statement

Purpose
Our Ethics Policy outlines how our values and ethics shape our organisation and the way we work.

As a mutual organisation, the Society was established in 1923 to deliver a positive social impact by helping working people to save, and by pooling these savings together, to buy a home of their own. Throughout this time, we have been committed to doing the right thing for our customers, colleagues, and our wider community.

Our values of Partnership, Responsibility, Openness, Understanding and Dedication underpin the positive behaviours the Society expects in everything we do; the way we operate our organisation, treat our customers and work with our colleagues and staff.

Treating Customers Fairly
We commit to:

  • Always treating our members & customers fairly
  • Ensuring the opinions and voice of our members are heard
  • Communicating with our customers in plain language that is easy to understand
  • Being transparent about fees and charges and keeping them at reasonable levels
  • Providing products and services based upon our customers identified needs, circumstances, and priorities
  • Training our staff to identify customers who may be in a vulnerable situation and supporting these customers with additional care and sensitivity
  • Handling personal and sensitive information appropriately and keeping it safe from accidental or intentional loss
  • Adopting a responsible approach to lending
  • Helping customers avoid financial problems and dealing sympathetically with those who need additional help

Treating Staff & Colleagues in a Transparent and Personal Way

  • We aspire to develop a diverse and inclusive workplace, reflecting values of fairness, equality, inclusion, compassion, and non-discrimination. Our staff should be – and feel – safe from harassment and bullying. They should feel free to discuss concerns internally with their line manager or externally to our Whistleblowing champion without fear of consequence
  • We aim to offer a competitive level of pay and ensure all our employees are paid at or above the UK’s Real Living Wage
  • We adhere to all UK employment law and regulation, including the Human Rights Act, Modern Slavery Act, and the Equality Act
  • It is important that our staff work in a safe environment which is conducive to their physical and mental wellbeing. We have a Health and Safety Policy in place and adhere to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and other identified UK safety and fire regulations
  • To ensure the knowledge of staff is maintained and to limit risks to our customers, all staff undertake a programme of annual training on key subjects, such as data security, financial crime, and vulnerable customers

Conducting our Business Responsibly and in a way that Builds Trust

  • Our policies and controls align all our activities with UK laws and regulations. We also formally monitor whether we are complying with these policies
  • We proactively communicate with our Regulators in an open and honest way to ensure that we maintain our excellent relationships with them and provide information which is timely and clear
  • Anti-bribery & Corruption, along with the Society’s controls against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, is covered in our Financial Crime Policy, which is fundamental to our business. Staff are trained annually to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and the ‘red flags’ they should identify
  • We are committed to developing business relationships with high quality suppliers and partners who themselves are committed to operating under ethical and environmental standards equivalent to our own – including in the fair treatment of customers, employees, and other stakeholders
  • We understand our responsibility to be respectful of our planet and seek to continuously reduce our environmental footprint. We comply with relevant legislation and are seeking to implement additional targets and monitoring procedures to address any significant environmental impacts that are identified and are working to offer products and services to proactively encourage “greener homes”
  • We play an active part in our local community and participate in a range of charitable and voluntary activities which help to make a positive difference to the communities where our members and staff live and work

Approved by the Board of Directors on 27 October 2020