This snapshot, taken on
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.

Programmes and Projects

UK National Initiatives

On this page you will find out about the range of activities that the UK Government is involved with across the CR agenda.

Cabinet Office - Office of the Third Sector

The Office of the Third Sector was created in May 2006 when the Active Communities Directorate in the Home Office, and the Social Enterprise Unit, in the former Department for Trade and Industry, amalgamated. The decision to place the OTS at the centre of Government in the Cabinet Office was taken in recognition of the increasingly important role the third sector plays in both society and the economy.

The Office of the Third Sector supports the following projects and programmes: Charitable Giving, Youth Volunteering

Department for Communities and Local Government

The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) was created in May 2006 and takes a strategic lead across Government on:

• increasing long term housing supply and affordability and tackling homelessness;
• cohesive, empowered and active communities and citizens;
• strong and accountable local Government and leadership;
• better local services and environment;
• regeneration and investment in our towns, cities, regions and neighbourhoods;
• resilience and the Fire and Rescue service.

One of our main strategic objectives is to build prosperous communities by improving the economic performance of cities, sub-regions and local areas, promoting regeneration and tackling deprivation.

As part of this, we aim to promote and engage the private sector to participate in neighbourhood renewal and regeneration projects and we work closely with Business in the Community to achieve this aim. This link provides further information on our current and recent work.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has policy responsibility for museums, galleries and libraries, the built heritage, the arts, sport, education, broadcasting and the media and tourism, as well as the creative industries and the National Lottery.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently involved in the following CR-related projects: Creative Partnerships (Schools and Creative Professionals) and Cultural Diversity Network (Broadcasting)

Contacts: E-mail:, Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7211 6200

Department for Education and Skills

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) aims to give children an excellent start in education, to enable young people to equip themselves with life and work skills, and to encourage adults to achieve their full potential through learning.

Projects and Programmes: The DfES has links with CR through the following work; Business Relations Team, School Business Links

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

DEFRA’s aim is sustainable development, which means a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come, including:

  • A better environment at home and internationally, and sustainable use of natural resources
  • Economic prosperity through sustainable farming, fishing, food, water and other industries that meet consumers' requirements
  • Thriving economies and communities in rural areas and a countryside for all to enjoy

Projects and programmes
DEFRA is currently involved in the following CR-related projects: Sustainable consumption, Sustainable production, Environmental management systems, Environmental reporting, Flexible environmental regulation,

For further information, visit the following websites: DEFRA Sustainable Consumption and Production
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Sustainable Consumption and Production

Department for International Development

The Department for International Development’s overall aim is to reduce global poverty and promote sustainable development. We focus our efforts on the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but also contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development in middle-income countries, including those in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Central to our policy is a commitment to the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015.

We work with government departments and development agencies to promote coherent, poverty-reducing international action on CR. We are also looking at ways of involving the private sector in poverty reduction, through their CR activity.

Projects and Programmes
We support the following CR-related initiatives: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Ethical Trading Initiative
Just Pensions, Fair Trade

Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

BERR's goal is to create the conditions for business success and help the UK to respond to the challenge of globalisation. Our work involves helping people and companies become more productive by promoting enterprise, innovation and creativity by:

  • Championing UK business at home and abroad
  • Investing heavily in world class science and technology
  • Protecting the rights of working people and consumers
  • Standing up for fair and open markets in the UK, Europe and the world.

The UK Sustainable Development Strategy commits all government departments to produce sustainable development action plans. BERR's latest Sustainable Development Action Plan (SDAP) is available here.

Projects and programmes
BERR has been involved in the following CR-related projects: Skills for CR practice, The business case for CR, Raising awareness, Support for Small and Medium sized businesses

Department for Transport

The Department for Transport is currently involved in the following CR-related project: Promoting Travel Plans

For further information on Travel Plans and other transport-related CR information, visit:

The Department for Transport’s local transport home page
The Scottish Government travel plans page
Transport Energy’s best practice travel information site

Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the Government’s welfare reform agenda. Its aim is to promote opportunity and independence for all.It delivers support and advice through a modern network of services to people of working age, employers, pensioners, families and children, and disabled people.

Projects and Programmes:
The Department for Work and Pensions has links with CR through the following work; Responsibility for the UK’s membership of the International Labour Organisation, Promoting the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Promoting the ILO Declaration on Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, Contributing to the ILO Business and Social Initiatives Database, Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation, A Fair Globalisation for All

In addition to this, the Department for Work and Pensions is also a member of the UK OECD National Contact Point Steering Board which oversees the UK NCP and plays a key role in promoting the labour principles of the UN Global Compact.

A recent speech from Rt. Hon. John Hutton, when he was Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions, to the Global Compact Policy Dialogue can be found here

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is the leading public body for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales. It's our job to make sure that air, land and water are looked after by everyone in today's society, so that tomorrow's generations inherit a cleaner, healthier world. The Business section of our website details a wide range of initiative to support CR initiatives which help green business

Projects and programmes: Improving your business performance - Good environmental management goes hand in hand with good business performance. These pages contain information on our research work targeted at influencing the environmental policies of business, and specifically the finance and investment sectors. Our research work is designed to support and complement our pension fund investment strategy, supporting our belief that companies that manage and reduce their environmental risks are well run, profitable companies.

Our most recent publications in this are include:

Environmental Disclosures - a review of the environmental disclosures of the 500+ companies within the FTSE All-Share.

Carbon Management & Neutrality - a joint report with Standard Life, addressing some of the issues surrounding the topic of carbon neutrality. 

In addition it includes our section on environmental accounting, which provides practical advice, based on our own experience of developing an environmental accounting system, on how implementing such a strategy without an organisation can deliver both financial and environmental savings.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is to co-ordinate and pursue UK policies abroad. The FCO works on CR at three levels.

Overseas, with the support of our network of Posts, we promote CR principles to governments, companies and civil society and explain the role that they can play in promoting sustainable development and preventing conflict.

Multilaterally, through the CR activities of international organisations, we help to incorporate CR action in the outcomes of international fora, such as the Africa Action Plan, which emerged from the G8 Kananaskis Summit, and through the World Summit for Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation.

In the UK, we seek to mainstream CR in the FCO and UK Trade and Investment by ensuring that international considerations are adequately reflected in the Government’s CR policies, and by using out network of UK contacts in companies and non-governmental organisations to further the Government’s CR objectives.

The UK Embassies Overseas website which includes news and events that promote the UK's policies and activities to host countries.

The FCO is currently involved in the following CR related projects and programmes: UN Global Compact, Voluntary principles on security and human rights, Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights

Together with the Department for International Development, we also promote the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive

Health and Safety Executive

Britain's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for the regulation of almost all the risks to health and safety arising from work activity in Britain. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. HSE and local Government inspectors enforce the law.

HSE’s ‘A Strategy for Workplace Health and Safety in Great Britain to 2021 and beyond’ includes in its aims:

  • Protecting people by providing information and advice; promoting a system of goal-setting regulations that sets goals; undertaking research and enforcing the law where necessary.
  • Influencing organisations to embrace high standards of health and safety and to recognise their social and economic benefits.
  • Developing new ways to establish and maintain an effective health and safety culture in a changing economy so that all employers take their responsibilities seriously, the workforce is fully involved and risks are properly managed.

Projects & Programmes:

CR-related programmes for HSE include considering health and safety at board level, public reporting by companies on health and safety, and maintaining a health and safety performance index. Click here for a summary of these programmes.

HSE has produced free guidance relating to CR. Visit the HSE website where you can also find guidance on specific health and safety issues.


(i) Promoting health and safety as a key goal of the Corporate Responsibility agenda.This report was commissioned in order to consider the current thinking within CR with respect to occupational health and safety, the views of the key CR players on occupational health and safety in the CR agenda and the actions that the HSE could take to raise the profile of occupational health and safety in the CR agenda.

(ii) Corporate Social and Safety and Health at Work by the European Agency for Safety. This report explores the interactions between CR and safety and health at work, both at company and policy level.

Contact: Further information can be obtained from HSE’s Infoline on 0845 345 0055 or email


We have produced free guidance relating to CR.That guidance and the current work programme can be found on the HSE's website where you can also find guidance on specific health and safety issues.

For Example,
(a) HSE and the Institute of Directors have jointly published new guidance ‘leading health and safety: leadership actions for directors and board members’, developed in collaboration with key stakeholders. The result is a persuasive, user-friendly document written ‘by directors, for directors’. The guidance is designed for use across the public, private and third sectors, by organisations of all sizes. Although it uses the terms ‘board’ and ‘director’, it is also applicable to organisations that do not have a board and to individuals who are governors, trustees, senior officers, chairs, chief executive etc.

(b) HSE has published over 40 case studies illustrating the benefits of director leadership on health and safety.

(c) Detailed guidance on what should be included in annual reports is available. As a minimum, a company's annual report should address key health and safety issues including the effectiveness of its systems for controlling health and safety risks, and include information on:
i. the broad context of company’s policy on health and safety;
ii. its health and safety goals, and the progress made towards achieving them;
iii. the arrangements for consulting employees and involving safety representatives.

A study on the level and quality of reporting undertaken by UK businesses has been published by HSE.

Home Office

The Home Office is the Government Department responsible for internal affairs in England and Wales. It works to build a safe, just and tolerant society, to enhance opportunities for all and to ensure that the protection and security of the public are maintained and enhanced.

The Home Office is currently involved in the following CR-related project: Charitable Giving.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs’ aim is to ensure society’s financial wellbeing. Our main functions are:

  1. We collect and administer direct taxes, such as Corporation Tax and Income Tax and National Insurance, and indirect taxes, such as Stamp Duty and VAT and Excise duties.
  2. We pay and administer Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Child Trust Fund.
  3. We protect you by enforcing and administering border and frontier protection, environmental taxes, the National Minimum Wage.

We hosted a Corporate Responsibility Summit on 24th October 2006 at which HRH the Prince of Wales and the Chancellor of the Exchequer made key note speeches. They launched a debate about how the private, public and voluntary sectors can overcome the barriers to working together, learn from each other and have a greater impact on the issues that face our society. A report of the summit can be found here.

Working with the Chartered Institute of Taxation and Sustainability, we co-hosted a business breakfast for leaders from large businesses, major investors and tax advisers to discuss what part responsible tax behaviour plays in Corporate Responsibility.

We are facilitating further discussion and action on this issue through our consultative forums.

We collect and administer a range of taxes, levies and duties through which the government seeks to change economic behaviour that impacts on the environment. These taxes are described in more detail here.

We administer the tax relief on donations to charities through payroll giving. This is an effective way of enhancing the monetary and social value of the link between donors and their nominated charity. Over 10% of our own staff make donations in this way. You can find out more about this here.

We work with the voluntary and community sector on many of the issues facing our society, particularly to help some of our most vulnerable and hard to reach customers. More about this relationship can be found here.

With responsibility for so many activities that impact on the well-being of people and businesses in the UK, we must be leaders by example. Our plans for transforming our organisation into one that is fully and consistently corporately responsible are here.

Her Majesty's Treasury

HM Treasury is responsible for formulating and implementing the UK Government's financial and economic policy. Specific objectives include promoting UK economic prosperity and stronger economic growth, and expanding economic and employment opportunities for all.

HM Treasury has hosted occasional CR-related events. In October 2006 the department collaborated with HMRC to host a summit on responsible giving, attended by HRH Prince Charles and Prime Minister Gordon Brown (then Chancellor). The summit showcased UK collaborative best practice through exhibition stands and workshops, and brought together leaders from business, the third sector and government to share ideas on how to integrate and sustain corporate responsibility activities across individual businesses and sectors for long term benefit. Find out more here

HM Treasury is currently involved in the following CR-related initiatives: Support for the Third Sector, Volunteering and charitable giving, Community Investment Tax Relief, Unclaimed assets

Scottish Government

The Scottish Government is committed to encouraging business to contribute positively to society, in whatever form this might take. It believes that CR should be about enabling, not regulating. Businesses are encouraged to tell the Government how they could help to deliver Government objectives and Government policy areas are encouraged to think how businesses using CR could help in the delivery of these objectives.

CR impacts on all of the Scottish Government’s strategic objectives. A wide range of current Government policies promote aspects of CR in the areas of wealthier and fairer, healthier, safer and stronger, smarter and greener. Partnerships with business can help to deliver policy objectives

Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment Northern Ireland

The 2008/11 Programme for Government (PfG) outlines the link between the economic, environmental and social priorities of the Northern Ireland Executive. Growing a dynamic innovative economy is at the heart of the Executive’s PfG, but, Departments’ policies and strategies recognise that the development of the economy is inextricably linked to the development of society and the enhancement and protection of the local and global environment.

In line with the guiding principles of the NI Sustainable Development Strategy and the NI Biodiversity strategy the Executive recognises the importance of promoting socially and environmentally responsible practices so that in the pursuit of a dynamic, competitive economy, Northern Ireland does not lose sight of how economic growth impacts on the community and the environment.

To further this aim NI Departments have sought to work with and encourage organisations such as Business in the Community (BitC), the Princes Trust and Further Education Colleges to promote Corporate Responsibility (CR) in Northern Ireland. Businesses are encouraged to go beyond statutory obligations and voluntarily take further steps to improve the quality of life for employees, consider the interests of society and take responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, the local community and the environment. The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) works with stakeholders to improve systems for disseminating good practice examples and raising awareness of initiatives. Acknowledging that Businesses are the primary actors in CR, they are encouraged to contribute positively to improving their impact on society, in whatever form this might take.

Contact: Economics Division - DETI; E- mail:

What is the CR Alliance?

On 22 March 2006, the European Commission published a new Communication on Corporate Responsibility, and through it, launched the European Alliance for CR - an umbrella network for discussion and debate on new and existing CR initiatives by large companies, SMEs and their stakeholders.

The Alliance lays the foundations to promote CR in the future. It revolves around the following activities:

  • Raising awareness and improving knowledge on CR and reporting on its achievements;
  • Helping to mainstream and develop open coalitions of co-operation; and
  • Ensuring an enabling environment for CR.

The Commission has adopted this approach as it is convinced that companies’ CR activities can contribute to a number of its policy objectives, from increasing European competitiveness to making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

How will its goals be achieved?

The Alliance will be the hub of European activity on CR by enabling networking across a range of businesses and facilitating the exchange of experiences and knowledge of CR practices.

It aims to mobilise the resources and capacity of businesses and their stakeholders in order to:

  • Provide a valuable forum for generating dialogue;  
  • Fertilise ideas and stimulate new CR activity; and
  • Build partnerships between businesses and stakeholders

While the Alliance will be principally business-led and business-run, it is an opportunity to create new partnerships and develop new opportunities with other stakeholders - charities and other civil society organisations that benefit from the wealth of CR programmes businesses are engaged in.

Who can join?

The Alliance is addressed to individual businesses. This reflects the European Commission’s view that CR takes primarily a voluntary approach, encouraging engagement from a diversity of European businesses. The success of the Alliance and the effectiveness of its outcomes also depend on business engagement with other stakeholders, who are invited to make full use of the opportunities the Alliance offers, by working closely with businesses who would like to take part. Any business, whatever its size, can become involved.

How will the Alliance be run?

It is an informal grouping and does not involve specific rules or requirements, a charter, signatures or heavy processes, nor will it be managed by the European Commission. It relies on the support of business organisations and the business community itself. Business organisations such as UNICE, the European business federation, will help co-ordinate matters in relation to the Alliance, keep track of developments and activities and communicate them to companies. They will generally act as an interface between Alliance companies and the EU institutions, and foster contacts between those companies. The CBI will form the link in the UK and BERR will work closely with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Business in the Community (BitC), the leading CR charity supporting business.

What are the benefits:

The Alliance will:

  • facilitate higher visibility of companies’ CR activities in individual member states and across Europe;
    support networking and capacity-building opportunities;
  • provide a market place of ideas and practices across Europe;
  • demonstrate the value of voluntary business engagement and the difference it can make to a company’s triple bottom line;
  • encourage companies to understand and support the “business case” behind CR, highlighting incentives for involvement in CR projects and programmes;
  • highlight opportunities for using CR as a way to assess and manage risks, such as workforce management, environmental governance and operations in fragile states; and
  • foster dialogue with the European Commission on CR

How businesses can expect to be involved?

Businesses will be able to determine for themselves to what extent they would like to be involved. However, they are expected to:

  • be ready to share information about what CR activity they do and how they do it;

consider contributing on a number of key areas suggested by the Commission in its Communication on CR, for example:
innovating benefits to society;

  1. improving and developing skills for employability;
  2. responding to diversity challenges;
  3. improving working conditions in the supply chain;
  4. enhancing dialogue with stakeholders; and
  5. addressing issues of communication and transparency
  6. take part in periodic meetings to explore and develop projects in the priority areas under their own initiative

Commitment and mutual trust will be vital to the success of this initiative. The results will need to be ambitious, concrete and measurable in order to demonstrate that the natural path for CR is within the everyday business practices of companies.

How do you join?

More information on the Alliance is included in the Annex of the European Commission’s Communication

Summary of Communication

The Communication (published 22 March) states that CR can make a significant contribution to the competitiveness of the European economy and the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs. The Communication aims to make Europe a ‘pole of excellence’ on CR. A new approach that inspires more enterprises to become involved in the agenda.

It proposes that the European business community should publicly demonstrate its commitment to CR, sustainable development, economic growth and more and better jobs. This includes co-operation with other stakeholders. The European Commission is keen to give greater visibility to CR, to acknowledge what European enterprises already do in this field and to encourage them to do more.

In line with this approach the Commission has announced its backing for the launch of a European Alliance on CR - an open alliance for which European enterprises of all sizes are invited to express their support and contribute to developing CR across Europe. The proposed alliance is a loose umbrella, which will encourage a climate of participation and thinking on CR.