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Corporate responsibility

The Directors are aware of their statutory duty to promote the success of the Company, as required by Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006. As stated in the Act, this means having regard to, amongst other things:

  • The likely consequences of any decisions in the long term;
  • the interests of employees;
  • the need to foster business relationships with suppliers, customers and others;
  • the impact of operations on the community and environment;
  • the desirability of maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct; and
  • the need to act fairly as between members of the Company.

This duty underpins the Board’s decision-making processes and the Group’s strategic direction, with due consideration given to the long-term impact of its decisions on shareholders, employees, customers and wider stakeholders. Practical measures that the Board takes to ensure the interests of these stakeholders are reflected in the Board’s decision making process are as follows:

Workforce engagement

The Board is fully committed to ensuring that the opinions of employees across all regions and business areas are regularly sought and factored into its decision-making process. The Group has put in place extensive measures to engage with its employees and these are described in full in the Directors’ Report on page 19 including practical examples of how these have been applied during the year. Through these engagement activities the Board is able to gather opinions and ideas from the wider workforce, identify any communication gaps or common areas of concern and address these through the Group’s activities.

Shareholder engagement

The Board engages with institutional shareholders via investor roadshow programmes which are undertaken via a combination of in person meetings and video conference meetings. Regular updates are received on the views of the Group’s major investors and these are factored into the Board’s decision-making process and to ensure that the Group’s market communications meet investor needs. All shareholders are encouraged to submit questions prior to the Annual General Meeting and to lodge their votes ahead of the meeting to ensure that these are counted. The Annual Report is sent to shareholders at least 20 working days before the Annual General Meeting and each issue for consideration at the Annual General Meeting is proposed as a separate resolution. All Directors generally attend the Annual General Meeting. During 2022 the Group communicated directly with its major investors on the forthcoming renewal of its Remuneration Policy and Executive remuneration arrangements and responded in full to any queries that arose during this process. The vast majority of responses were supportive of the approach being taken. Further details of this consultation process can be found in the Directors’ Remuneration Statement on page 52.

Client engagement

The Group is proactive in engaging directly with its clients to monitor and continually improve its service delivery and client satisfaction levels. The Board receives monthly reports on client related matters, including support ticket levels, services delivery and project status reports, which enable it to identify any trends or any areas requiring specific oversight or investment. In the event that any concerns are raised by clients, the Group ensures that these are addressed swiftly and that proactive engagement occurs to ensure ongoing high standards of service delivery.

The Group seeks direct engagement with clients through regular Client Advisory Boards in each region and these directly inform its product development and innovation strategies. The Group also holds CFO Forums for prospective and existing clients to actively engage in wide-ranging discussions around pertinent issues and publishes its Digital CFO magazine offering expert commentary around similar issues. Feedback received from clients through these forums and through regular day to day interaction with the Group’s client-facing teams were used to inform the Board’s decision making process during the year in relation to product strategy, investment priorities and service delivery models.

Strategic partner engagement

The Group works with a range of leading organisations to deliver long-term value to its clients, including advisory, consulting, integration and technology providers that bring complementary services and solutions to its client base.

The Group engages with its partners through regular product and thought leadership briefings and a comprehensive sales and delivery enablement program. The Board actively encourages feedback from the Group’s partner firms on the quality of its services and products to support continuous improvement.

During the year, the Group identified a new strategic partnership opportunity with Microsoft in respect of Fynapse and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, and this partnership was formalised in December 2022. Regular two way engagement between Aptitude and Microsoft was undertaken during 2022 to shape this partnership arrangement, for the benefit of both organisations’ stakeholders.

Supplier engagement

The Group engages closely with its suppliers and has internal procedures to ensure that appropriate due diligence is undertaken on these firms. Engagement with any new suppliers is subject to a formal process and requires final approval from an Executive Director. Significant supplier contracts of a recurring nature require approval from the Board as a whole.

Suppliers are chosen according to their ability to meet the Group’s own high standards and to demonstrate values that are consistent with those of the Group. Regular engagement takes place with key suppliers, monitoring their performance against contractual obligations and providing regular feedback in order to foster and support long-term relationships for the benefit of the Group. In the event that delivery standards do not meet the Group’s expectations, proactive steps will be taken to communicate and address these directly with the supplier to ensure that there is no detrimental impact upon the Group’s activities.

During the year engagement activities with the Group’s suppliers included a review of suppliers in conjunction with the integration of MPP Global Solutions into the wider Aptitude group, to ensure that the suppliers for the Group as a whole were best placed to meet is operational needs.

Engagement with the wider community

The Board ensures that the decisions made are responsible and ethical by taking into consideration the wider society external to the organisation. The Group is committed to contributing towards the communities in which it operates as a business. The Group operates a charitable donation scheme whereby it will match the funds raised by employees for specific charities (on a £ for £ basis) up to £500 per event. The Group also supports or organises regular activities to increase awareness and raise funds for its chosen charities both in the United Kingdom and internationally.

The Group’s charitable activities are co-ordinated by its regional social committees and employees are actively encouraged to partake in them at a regional level. A key focus for us in 2022 was to support the people of Ukraine where we helped to raise funds and donated to a number of charities, as well as supporting employees in Poland to host Ukrainian nationals in their homes. Additionally other key initiatives included sponsoring employees from a number of our locations to take part in the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and our team in Boston completing a Basketball Hoops challenge, all of these raising money for charities such as NSPCC in the UK, Indigenous Marathon Project in Australia and the Alzheimer’s Association in the USA.

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