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Love Your Community - Quality Mark

As public attention increasingly focusses on the social responsibility of organisations, consumers are increasingly aware of a business’s ethical behaviour and will use that knowledge to choose who they buy from. This can be a positive opportunity for small businesses to gain the support and loyalty of the local community, as they also become aware that customer trust in a business can help them establish their brand and grow their business. CDF has noticed that many small businesses are evolving and actively following what corporates would label ‘CSR’ principle with very real and measurable benefits.  

And small businesses are increasingly likely to find themselves in this spotlight as a result of the Social Value (Public Services) Act which applies to public sector contracts. It applies to those both directly competing for contracts, as well as those small businesses acting as part of a larger value chain as a sub-contractor. Either way, there will be growing expectations to have credentials which demonstrate respect for society and the environment. 

Whilst being socially responsible has some real advantages for small businesses, it is also about continuous improvement and CDF believes this approach can be developed and adopted as part of the business culture. Those who want to step up their activities and learn to do things better or on a larger scale will find value in engaging with the Love Your Community process. 

The Love Your Community quality mark was developed by CDF to recognise small and medium enterprises with a track record of successful community engagement. It indicates that an organisation has a positive relationship with communities and can help improve the quality of life for individuals and the wider community … who may also be customers, staff and suppliers. As a quality assurance process, it looks at the systems, approaches and methods companies have in place to deliver high quality community engagement; the framework, which is a means of gathering evidence to demonstrate this can also help demonstrate how a business has met the requirements of the Public Services Social Value Act for public sector procurements.  

CDF recognises that businesses and communities have a vital stake in each other - businesses provide enormous value to communities as employers, trainers, investors, providers of needed services and products to communities and as community development partners and sponsors. And businesses can sometimes create risks for communities – environmental and economic - which then need to be managed. Demonstrating ethical and socially responsible practices which includes effective community engagement will not only help businesses build their profile within the community, but also be seen more favourably by contractors and local authority commissioners.  

The Love Your Community quality mark was designed with small businesses in mind and aims to be affordable, practical and achievable, offering a method of planning, reviewing and evaluating their community engagement activity.  It also offers a robust way of demonstrating the added ‘social value’ of a business to potential clients and a means of differentiating a brand. Ultimately though, it is a means of celebrating a business’s community engagement achievements.

To see how a small chain of coffee shops, a construction company and a housing association gained from participation in the process, read their case studies.

 

Alison Seabrook

Chief Executive

Community Development Foundation

Alison Seabrooke
About the Author

Alison Seabrooke

CEO Community Development Foundation. A social entrepreneur, Alison is passionate about ensuring that communities get the support they need, when they need it. Over more than 20 years she has founded and run a number of community-based organisations.

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