Corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of SQA. In 2015–16, our staff, stakeholders and customers continued to support our CSR strategy ‘Giving Something Back’.
Our CSR Team is responsible for developing, delivering and evaluating all CSR activities across SQA with colleagues and external stakeholders. The team directs and supports the work of our CSR champions.
Leading the communication and dissemination of CSR activities into business operations is our highly motivated and effective team of champions. All 21 champions are volunteers who bring creativity, innovation, commitment and imagination to their roles in driving and promoting CSR to colleagues across SQA.
volunteered in 2015-16
of volunteering 2014-15
SQA staff have 21 working hours each year to use for volunteering and supporting local communities. Subject to a line manager’s agreement, staff are encouraged to participate in a wide range of volunteering activities that cover the following criteria:
- Young people and social inclusion
- Enterprise and employability
- The environment and sustainability
- Human health and well-being
Volunteering can be carried out a few hours at a time, or as full days, and can take many forms — from helping out at a school, to working with someone in a mentoring capacity, to helping to rebuild a community garden.
SQA’s nominated charities
SQA staff supported two nominated charities through staff volunteering and fundraising activities in 2015–16. Children's Hospice Association of Scotland (CHAS) was selected for Lowden while Revive MS Support topped the polls in Optima. Both charities will be supported by SQA fundraising activities between 2015 and 2017.
CHAS is a charity that provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people who have life-shortening conditions for which there is no known cure. CHAS runs two children’s hospices — Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch — and a home care service called CHAS at Home.
Revive MS Support is a charity that provides vital therapy, advice and support to people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) in the heart of communities across the west of Scotland in order to enhance their well-being and empower them to live full and productive lives.
CSR Annual Review
There has been a heightened understanding of CSR across SQA. In 2015–16, an increased number of staff volunteered, and an eclectic and innovative range of partnerships, opportunities and engagements took place.
Here are some of our highlights from the past year:
- We joined many other public bodies in Scotland and became a national ‘corporate parent’ under the Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act 2014.
- We worked with Who Cares? Scotland — a national voluntary organisation, which provides a range of advocacy, advice and support services for children and young people with experience of care up to the age of 25. Who Cares? Scotland is commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide training for National Corporate Parents.
- SQA digital champions volunteered to tutor community janitors from the Wheatley Group in IT skills.
- We were shortlisted for Business in the Community Scotland’s Award for Environmental Leadership in 2016. The award recognises outstanding environmental leaders, whether individuals or organisations, who have exemplified inspirational, visionary and innovative leadership and action for the environment.
- Activities over the year promoted Fairtrade, including Fairtrade Fortnight from 29 February to 13 March 2016.
- We supported the Trussell Trust foodbanks in both Lowden and Optima.
- SQA’s Healthy Working Lives Gold Award was renewed in 2015, confirming that SQA has made an exemplary commitment to maintaining and improving health in our workplace.
- In July 2015 Investors in Young People (IIYP) awarded SQA with the Good Practice Award, which seeks to reward and recognise employers who demonstrate excellence in recruiting, retaining and training young people.
- SQA’s award winning MAC group set up a number of staff-focused events during the year to promote a healthy lifestyle to all colleagues.
You can find out about the complete range of CSR activities and achievements in SQA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Review.