Johnston Press is committed to operating all of the Group’s business activities to the highest standards of business ethics and integrity. These principles are reflected in the Group’s approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Group’s code of ethics is supported by clear policies and procedures for addressing relevant issues. Policies are made available to employees with supporting guidance and are designed to protect both the employee and employer. The Group seeks to act as a fair and reasonable employer and is very aware of its responsibilities to readers, customers, suppliers, shareholders, other stakeholders and the environment. Some of the many community orientated activities the Group is involved in are explained on page 29 of the Annual Report and more can be found on our website, www.johnstonpress.co.uk.
The Board has delegated the day-to-day responsibility for all matters related to Corporate Social Responsibility to the Executive Directors. They are assisted by the Company Secretary who also chairs the Group’s Carbon Footprint Taskforce.
Responsibility for formulating, updating and ensuring adherence to Group human resources policies and relevant legislation has been delegated to the Director of Human Resources, who reports to the Chief Executive Officer on these issues.
The Directors regularly review issues relating to the Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility Statement.
The Group seeks to monitor developments in relevant environmental, social and governance issues and to respond to changes in legislation, regulation and best practice. Environmental, social and governance risks are assessed as part of the Group’s ongoing risk analysis.
We have more than 4,300 employees in the UK and Republic of Ireland and our aim is to attract, retain and engage the best people in a high performance and supportive culture that drives business performance and recognises that a diverse workforce adds clear value for our employees, our customers, our shareholders and the communities we serve. We fully support the principle of equal opportunity for all. Our procedures allow any employee to report behaviour that is contrary to our policies or is in any way of concern to them. We recognise a number of trade unions at an operating company level in both the UK and in the Republic of Ireland and have employee forums at a Group and operating company level for communication and consultation.
An all-staff survey conducted in the first half of 2012 helped identify areas for improvement and staff development. All employees had the opportunity to have their say and help develop action plans for their areas of the business. A second survey took place in January 2013.
Our subsidiary businesses have differing pay structures based on their size and local market conditions. Progression within these pay structures is based on competence, achievement of qualifications and performance. We also operate bonus schemes for executive and sales staff.
Our Disability Access policy is included in our Personnel Policies & Procedures manual. As part of our health & safety audits (and property maintenance programmes), we seek to ensure that access to our sites does not discriminate against disabled employees or customers.
To assist disabled users of our digital products, the Group continues to make improvements to its core internet sites in accordance with WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards and in line with W3C recommendations.
Our total workforce is represented by 48.6% male and 51.4% female and our age profile is as follows:
Our newspapers and websites remain trusted providers of information in the communities we serve and our journalists work incredibly hard to provide the content our audiences expect across a variety of media.
In keeping with one of our strategic objectives to build online audiences, our websites, mobile sites and tablet and Smartphone apps are drawing ever greater numbers of visitors.
Our journalists have taken advantage of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to instantly update audiences. Journalists also regularly Tweet from council meetings, other public debates and court cases. The Peterborough Telegraph tweeted updates on court proceedings from the trial of the parents of Tyler Whelan, a boy murdered by his stepfather.
Our websites provide the latest information across a wide range of topics – and are often the first to break a story. The News Post Leader in Whitley Bay was the first to break online the suicide of PC David Rathband, the policeman blinded by gunman Raul Moat, and the Wigan Evening Post and Lancashire Evening Post were the first to alert the world that Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins had been knocked off his bike by a car in Wigan.
Our journalists are also getting creative in driving online audiences: The Edinburgh Evening News took the idea of multimedia to new levels when the team wrote and produced its own pop song and video (including vocals from the editor) to mark the first all-Edinburgh football cup final in 116 years. The video went viral, attracting an incredible 130,000 views on YouTube in just 10 days – the equivalent of one every seven seconds. The result was a huge PR spin-off for the newspaper on TV and radio, an increase in sales of 40,000 and more than 100,000 additional website hits.
Campaigns and fund-raising activities build strong links with audiences and 2012 proved no exception as our titles continued to cement their roles as the voices of their communities.
The Hartlepool Mail launched its We Can Do It campaign to encourage readers to support a food bank for those in need in the town. The target was three tonnes of food – but readers donated 4.5 tonnes in less than three months. The Doncaster Free Press' campaign, Let’s Get Doncaster Working, won praise from local and Westminster politicians after succeeding in getting several unemployed people back to work. The Hastings Observer’s long campaign to rebuild the fire-ravaged Hastings Pier has borne fruit with £11 million funding now provided for the project, and the Harborough Mail launched a campaign to refurbish every war memorial in the district ahead of the 100th anniversary in 2014 of the start of the First World War.
The Yorkshire Post has an enviable reputation for successful campaigns and in July it hailed the success of one its most significant ever. Its Give Us a Fair Deal campaign, calling for action to help the regional economy and narrow the North/South divide, resulted in action on a third of its 60-strong ‘bank of ideas’ to support Yorkshire.
Taking part – and often organising – community events remains a key focus for our titles. The Fife Free Press organised the first ever Raith Rovers FC Hall of Fame Show which was a 475-seat sell-out event attended by celebrities such as Gordon Strachan and Val McDiarmid. It raised £7,500 for Raith Rovers and will be held again in 2013. All our Northern Ireland weekly titles were involved in highlighting the unsung heroes in their communities as part of a ‘People Who Make Us Proud’ initiative which saw the public invited to nominate worthy recipients in their towns. And the Lancashire Evening Post helped mark the Preston Guild – an event held only every 20 years – with daily 24-page specials, publication of the official souvenir and a microsite online featuring news, updates, audio and video of the events.
Some of our titles celebrated their own anniversaries, recognising long histories of serving local people. The Sheffield Star marked 125 years with special supplements, an exhibition, a specially brewed ale and a visit from Prince Andrew. East Midlands Trains also named one of its engines The Sheffield Star. The Burnley Express also marked 125 years of publication – its specially brewed ale ended up on sale in the members’ bar at the Houses of Parliament and a special spicy sausage was created called Hot Off The Press. And the News Letter in Belfast celebrated its 275th anniversary with messages from The Queen, Prime Minister David Cameron and Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson. It is the oldest English language daily newspaper in the world.
For further examples of our involvement with the communities we serve, please click here.