We were delighted to appoint David Abbott as Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Wellness in Summer 2021. David oversees the creation and implementation of Olliers’ social responsibility objectives. He is responsible for developing a programme of philanthropy and coordinating our volunteer efforts. He is also responsible for raising standards of employee satisfaction and promoting a general culture of wellness.
Olliers’ charitable work
Olliers workforce are committed to raising monies for various charities throughout the year both as a team and also individually. The ongoing pandemic made it difficult to be involved in as many fundraising efforts as has been possible in the past but despite that, over the last year Olliers has been involved in the following:
- In October 2022, the Manchester Legal Walk, raising money for the North West Legal Support Trust , which provides free legal help to those facing problems such as homelessness, debt , mental health difficulties, employment issues and injustice.
- The firm also in October 2021 participated in numbers in the Pretty Muddy 5k run at Tatton Park, raising a substantial sum for Cancer Research.
- In December 2021, Olliers colleagues donated a large quantity of food to the Manchester Central Foodbank.
- Olliers regular assist the Castlefield “Clean and Green” group in litter clear-ups and planting activities. Olliers has for a number of years been involved in regularly assisting in the maintenance of the Castlefield Roman Gardens; it is anticipated that that work will continue into the future.
Olliers runs a popular intern scheme each summer for law students and recent graduates. The scheme is very popular; it gives young people who are considering a career in criminal law the opportunity to spend a week seeing the law in action , attending courts, police stations and prisons alongside our experienced staff. A number of graduates who have participated in our scheme have subsequently gone on to find a position within the firm.
In addition , several of Olliers’ senior lawyers participate in student mentoring schemes run by Manchester universities.
Olliers’ employee contributions to community
At Olliers we encourage employees to become involved in their local community on an individual basis as well as the various corporate initiatives referred to above. We feel that by allowing employees to give back to the wider community and the charitable causes that matter to them most, it can fulfill an important sense of purpose and allow people to use their skills in a different way from their day-to-day work, in turn, contributing to overall employee happiness. Staff are encouraged to participate in projects of their choosing and are given additional ‘special leave’ to facilitate the same.
Olliers’ recent employees individual contributions to their community are as follows:-
- Volunteering at weekly park runs
- Marshalling at the Race for life
- Volunteer visitor for Age UK – visiting old people with no family and little support network, at their homes
- Arranging collection of old spectacles to donate to Specsavers to be utilised in their charity to supply glasses to people in need in Africa
- Arranging recycling of printer cartridges to raise money for Breast Cancer
- Volunteering for football and cricket coaching and team management
- Being a school Governor
- Donations to NSPCC
- Donations to British Heart Foundation
- Volunteering at a local primary school to assist in educational classes and in the preparation of food
- Some staff volunteer with their child’s school to assist on days out
- Alex Preston sits on the Criminal Justice panel for the Greater Manchester Autism and Learning Difficulties Strategy
- Alex Preston sits on a panel at the Prison Reform Trust about criminal justice and autism
Olliers’ employees individual contributions to their community in the last year are as follows:-
- David Philpott is Chair of the European Movement Macclesfield and East Cheshire which is a community campaigning group
- David Philpott is involved with Homing Books Cheshire – an organisation which collects donated second hand books to make them available for children to read at home.
- David Abbott regularly volunteers at weekends with Castlefield Clean and Green , who garden and litter-pick in the public spaces in the City Centre
- Hannah Poole took part in charity spin where she cycled 1227 miles at the gym over the course of 2 weeks. The money raised was spent on Christmas presents and chocolate for both the children and staff at Warrington hospital. Hannah then took part in the delivery of them on Christmas day. She also contributed to the local foodbank and took part in a charity walk.
Caring for the environment
We are committed to running a business that is environmentally sustainable and we continually strive to minimise our impact on the environment. Olliers’ sustainability drive is led and co-ordinated by our by CSR Lead David Abbott. We have ongoing debate to ensure we maintain and develop an integrated, comprehensive and practical sustainability policy that ranges from how we source our energy and office supplies, to how we print and recycle.
The nature of our work as a law firm means that we do not inherently have a high environmental impact but we aim to reduce our carbon foot-print through good practice. This includes:-
- Our ‘Turn it Off’ campaign – automatic lights in our manned office so minimal waste of electricity. Ensuring all lights and equipment are switched off when not in use and computers are powered down every night
- Ensuring that water is used efficiently – good maintenance – no dripping taps
- Installation of mains-fed water cooler machines as opposed to a bottled supply
- Using out of date letterhead/stationery for drafts/notes and message pad
- Our Recycling scheme – recycling as much waste as possible such as paper and plastic bottle tops
- Printing in mono and double sided where possible
- Digital working where possible and our paperless drive to reduce unnecessary printing
- Use of video conferencing facilities to attend upon clients in prison rather than travel by car to the various prison establishments
- Emailing correspondence to courts, police, barristers, experts and clients to reduce postage costs
- All our office groceries are bought from the locals shops thereby reducing carbon emissions.
- We’ve rid ourselves of plastic cups for the water fountain and now only use glasses
- We promote the use of reusable take away cups
- We have cutlery so staff don’t need to use single use plastic cutlery
- We have blinds to block out the sun to avoid having to cool the office down electronically
- Shred it – recycle all our confidential waste (collections reduced to keep carbon footprint to a minimum) and working towards being paper free
- Reduced the hours our office is cleaned to reduce electricity
- We encourage the use of car sharing, cycling to work and promote green vehicles for company vehicles
- Encouraging working from home to reduce carbon footprint
- Energy saving hot water boiler rather than kettle
- Energy saving fridge
- Previously donated unneeded ladies toiletries to the Booth Centre
- Our energy is sourced from renewable sources
- Our office and cleaning materials are sourced from environmentally responsible suppliers
We measure our sustainability performance by external, objective standards. We strive to go beyond a purely centralised, ‘top down’ approach and encourage a culture of sustainability and invite suggestions from all member of the team. Through a range of events throughout the year we encourage engagement with environmental initiatives.
Valuing the individual
Encouraging individuality is very much part of the Olliers culture. The firm provides an environment which allows everyone to develop and grow regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, maternity or pregnancy, race, religion or belief. At Olliers we are committed to ensuring that each member of the firm treats all of their colleagues with dignity and respect.
We aim to foster an environment which focuses on the talent and potential of each and every one of our team and is somewhere individuals from all types of background are able to flourish and achieve their ambitions in a happy, supportive and cohesive and environment.
We actively promote an environment which welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds. We have an inclusive culture in which every person is valued and is allowed to make an individual contribution in a working environment which is free from any form of discrimination.
Olliers is committed to being a diverse and inclusive place in which to work and conducts an annual survey of its staff.
Olliers aims to provide a happy working environment for its employees and this has been achieved by:
- Good employee relations
- Regular review of training needs – the firm is committed to giving every member of staff the opportunity of fulfilling their potential
- Providing funding and time off work to attend courses
- Encouraging staff to develop areas of specialism
- Open door policy
- Good internal communications
- Equal opportunities
- Health and Safety Procedures
- Flexible working patterns to assist with childcare
- Flexible working patterns to assist employees with their individual charitable work
In a time when the pandemic has meant that home working has become the norm for many, it is particularly important for there to be opportunities for colleagues to get together.
Olliers Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Wellness David Abbott, organises a variety of trips, which enables colleagues to enjoy some non-legal time in office hours as part of Olliers wellness programme.
2023 workplace wellness events:
- A trip to the John Rylands Library
- A walk near Marple
- A trip to the ‘Golden Mummies’ – Manchester Musuem
- A walk in Lyme Park
- Castlefield Viaduct
2022 workplace wellness events:
- Several walks in the Peak District, in North Yorkshire and to more local woodland
- Watersports day at Sale Water Park, canoeing etc
- Van Gogh art event
- Sistine Chapel art event
- Axe throwing event
- Amazonia photography exhibition
- Cricket at Old Trafford
- Manchester Viaduct (National Trust garden) visit
- Guided Walking Tour of Manchester
- Alderley Edge mines trip with Derbyshire Caving Club
- Cinema trip
- Ice skating trip
2021 workplace wellness events:
- Trip to RHS Gardens Worsley
- Manchester Art Gallery trip
- Several walks in the Peak District and to more local woodland
- Treetops aerial adventure
- Watersports day at Sale Water Park, canoeing etc
- Van Gogh Alive art event
- Trip to watch Macclesfield FC
- Trip to the National Football Museum
- Cinema trip
- Ice skating trip
All of the above ensures that the firm retains a well-trained, well-rounded and motivated team who are equipped to deal with the challenging environment of criminal law.