The benefits of ethical business: why Silver Birch Care signed up to the Good Business Charter

Silver Birch Care is a family-run business operating high quality, fully-staffed semi-independent homes and independent outreach support provisions for young people aged 16 and over. They are accredited with both the Good Business Charter and the Living Wage Foundation. Marketing Manager Shazia Lalani talks about why Silver Birch Care decided to sign up.

At Silver Birch Care we were proud to celebrate our three-year anniversary as a member of the Good Business Charter in February this year. The Good Business Charter is an accreditation that UK organisations can sign up to in recognition of responsible business practices. It measures behaviour over 10 components which collectively cover care for employees, suppliers, customers, and the environment.

We were the first social care provider and one of the first 20 employers to sign up to the Good Business Charter. We were also the first 16+ semi-independent care provider in the UK to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, meaning we pay a wage rate calculated based on the real cost of living to all our directly employed and contracted-out staff, which is an essential component of being a member of the Good Business Charter.

Silver Birch Care Team Members

Ethical business

There’s a great quote by Good Business Charter founder Julian Richer which sums up why we signed up to both the Good Business Charter and the Living Wage Foundation:

“You will sleep better at night if you run a good business; it’s good for society if you treat your staff well and pay your taxes, and thirdly your business will benefit.”

Our ethos has always been to treat people how we would like to be treated, and to show respect, honesty, and fairness at all times. We believe that everyone has the right to be paid fairly and to have that little bit extra for gifts, trips, or one-off expenditures. This is why we always pay all our staff above the real Living Wage, which is especially important in today’s cost of living crisis.

“I am grateful for the pay rise which is above the real Living Wage rate. It is nice to see this expression of gratitude from the management team and is highly appreciated!” - Silver Birch Care colleague

We were already following the components of the Good Business Charter, including through our accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation, therefore signing up was a way of formalising our commitment to continue operating in an ethical manner. We feel that adhering to the components of the Good Business Charter should be standard practice for any organisation. 

“In the few short months I’ve worked for Silver Birch Care I’ve already seen that they take inclusivity very seriously. For example, they sent a ‘Ramadan timetable’ round to everyone to be used by young people and staff who observe Ramadan. They’ve also made provisions to ensure that the sleep-in shift times are adjusted so that staff can assist young people observing fasting with the pre-dawn meal prior to commencing their sleep-in shift. I haven’t ever worked with an organisation that took the initiative to be inclusive and accommodating to this extent.” - Silver Birch Care colleague

Making our business stronger

It gives you an edge as a business too. The care industry has a poor reputation when it comes to pay and working conditions, and in today’s current climate it’s difficult to recruit across the industry. Being accredited gives prospective staff the reassurance that they’re always going to be supported, because it demonstrates that you’re committed to looking after your staff.

“Thanks to the Silver Birch Care team for this incredible pay rise and the birthday bonus. It makes us feel valued and appreciated. It will go a long way to help our motivation and productivity.” - Silver Birch Care colleague

Accreditation has also boosted our profile amongst our local authority partners. They trust that we genuinely care about the young people we’re responsible for because they can see we look after our team, the planet, and society. This has had a tangible impact on our business, with referrals and placements increasing since becoming accredited. New Ofsted regulations due to be implemented soon will impose greater obligations on care providers, so having our ethical business practices recognised through the Good Business Charter and Living Wage Foundation will help us stand out as the market becomes more competitive.

On top of making our organisation stand out to prospective employees and solidifying our existing relationships, accreditation with the Good Business Charter and the Living Wage Foundation gives you access to excellent support, resources, and opportunities. This includes regular informative updates, and invitations to insightful events and networking opportunities with other like-minded employers. A key benefit for us has been the opportunity to raise our profile, being spotlighted on numerous occasions and even winning awards. It’s also allowed us to achieve other accreditations such as the Mayor of London’s Good Work Standard which sets the benchmark for the highest level of employment standards in the capital.

Take the leap

Like us, some care providers will already be following the Good Business Charter components, so it makes sense to formally become accredited. For others, it might take some changes to how they operate, but the benefits in terms of improved recruitment, retention, motivation, and reputation, as well as knowing you’re doing the right thing, will far outweigh the costs.

“It is an honour and a privilege for Silver Birch Care to be the first social care provider that joined the Good Business Charter, and the UK’s first 16+ semi-independent provider to be accredited by The Living Wage Foundation. My team are the beating heart of the organisation, and we pledge to always pay above the Living Wage rate. We all have an important part to play in supporting our local communities and our planet, therefore I would strongly urge others to join us on this incredible journey, and help make a real difference by joining the GBC and LWF today.” - Karim Lalani, Chief Executive of Silver Birch Care

Find out more about the becoming accredited with the Good Business Charter here.