Our Social Values
At John O’Conner, we not only believe in offering a service that is essential, we are also committed to offering such services in a way that enhances the quality of life of our service users – while representing value for money to our clients.
Providing social value at John O’Conner means placing our customers at the very heart of the services we deliver. By customers, we mean both our clients and end users. We design and deliver our services to ensure that every section of the community feels the positive impact of our business activities. We go above and beyond customer expectation to deliver services that offer economic, social, and environmental value.
Local Employment – As a LANTRA Investors in People accredited company, John O’Conner fully understands the importance of recruiting local people. Our aim is to always provide local work experience opportunities for all sections of the community – especially those who are less able to compete for jobs. 40% of work experience placements with John O’Conner have converted to full time employment – something we are immensely proud of.
John O’Conner actively gets involved in local employment initiatives through some of the following:
Extended Work Experience Scheme – We were the first company to sign up to the government’s new extended work experience scheme, working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus. To date, we have provided opportunities for over 100 individuals under this scheme and we continue to expand opportunities to new entrants.
Volunteer Placements – We support volunteer placements and have worked closely with ChoicES Supported Employment Service (part of East Sussex County Council, Adult Social Care, Learning Disability Directly Provided Services), Groundwork Trust and MIND, the mental health charity. We provide guidance and support for adults with learning disabilities who want to work on a full-time, part-time or voluntary basis.
Seetec – We work in partnership with Seetec, a government funded welfare-to-work and skills training programme, to help people find their way back into work.
Work Taster Placement Schemes – We are currently participating in the Work Taster Placement Scheme. The scheme is ‘to offer people less able to compete for jobs the chance to experience different working environments and help them identify their skills, abilities and strengths’. We believe this will help to remove the barriers that disadvantage and disablement puts in front of those who might otherwise be capable of making a valuable contribution to society.
Technological Innovation – John O’Conner utilises our online Performance Management Software to assist with the management of our grounds maintenance contracts. This system is advanced, yet simple and effective, and provides a means of exchanging and processing information necessary for successful contract delivery. It is designed to be paperless, work alongside the council’s existing systems for quality assurance, and simplify communication between clients and John O’Conner.
John O’Conner is experienced in partnering with clients to deliver social value on our contracts. We have done this in a number of ways, including:
Supporting Apprenticeships – John O’Conner supports apprenticeships, targeting local young people (aged 16-25) who have little or no work history, or a low skills base to maximise their effectiveness. To date, we have provided over 100 apprenticeships and work placements. In addition to horticultural apprenticeships, we also offer apprenticeships in business administration, land based engineering and groundsmanship (fine turf). Some of our personnel give their time as ambassadors for the scheme.
Community Projects – We are actively involved in community initiatives such as ‘friends of’ groups and volunteer groups, which are integral to the way we work. Our personnel contribute their time freely, attending meetings and working hand in hand with the community to improve local green spaces.
Similarly, John O’Conner is able to partner with our clients to achieve Green Flag Awards. Our Operations Director, Neil Cain and several other managers, are Green Flag judges. Our team mentors and encourages our teams to ensure continued success in the Green Flag scheme.
At John O’Conner, we are always mindful of the impact our business activities have on the environment, which is why we ensure that we minimise that impact through the following ways:
Working Towards Zero Landfill – We work closely with our clients to avoid the use of landfills whenever possible. This includes optimising waste recovery from co-mingled litter bins, operating a 100% green waste recycling policy – using chippers and shredders at source to produce locally sourced mulch and soil conditioner materials – and ensuring that plastics, cans etc. are collected and recycled.
Supporting Local Recycling Projects – John O’Conner supports local recycling for many clients, including Christmas tree recycling, as well as supporting and promoting the provision of free, locally recycled compost for residents to use in their own gardens or allotments.
Partnership Waste Recycling – Plants and vehicles are serviced, maintained and repaired locally to the contract. Waste from vehicle and plant servicing is recycled through our ISO 9001 approved partner Highspeed Course Care, and all scrap metal is recycled locally.
We are fully compliant with The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive). We work with our waste partners for the collection and compliant disposal of all equipment covered by the directive, including appliances, IT equipment, lighting equipment and power tools. Difficult waste – such as those applicable to the Hazardous Waste Regulations, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations or the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations, is only moved once permission from the local authority has been granted.
For more information on our social value projects and initiatives, contact a member of our team today.