Corporate social responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility Policy


1.1 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) context is about understanding the charity’s impact on the wider world and how we can leverage this impact in a positive way.

1.2 NatCen strives to be an asset to the community within which it works, supporting the social, cultural, intellectual and economic development of our community. NatCen is committed to integrating social and environmental elements into the organisation’s operations and interactions with stakeholders.

1.3 This policy, including our policy statement, is intended to provide the framework for the organisation to establish and maintain a culture of social responsibility.

1.4 The Chief Executive has overall responsibility for the implementation of the policy and will make the necessary resources available to realise our corporate social responsibilities. However, all employees of NatCen are responsible together and individually for our successful implementation of this policy.

1.5 This policy applies to all staff, freelancers and interviewers employed by NatCen and all are required to adopt the Corporate Social Responsibility considerations described in this policy into their day-to-day work activities.


2.1 At NatCen, we define CSR as follows:

  • Conducting business in a socially responsible and ethical manner;
  • Protecting the environment and the safety of people;
  • Supporting human rights; and
  • Engaging with, learning from, respecting and supporting the communities and cultures within which we work.

In terms of what CSR will mean to NatCen, it is essentially a term to capture how we impact and engage with our employees, customers, community, the environment and suppliers (the “core CSR areas”) for the benefit of society as a whole.


3.1 At NatCen, we recognise we must integrate our organisational values and operations to best meet expectations in relation to the core CSR areas.

3.2 We will adopt a consistent approach across all of our activities.  As a responsible organisation, NatCen will undertake its activities in a manner that ensures:

  • We operate in a socially responsible and ethical manner, with high standards of integrity and practice;
  • The environment is managed sustainably, as far as is possible;
  • We are committed to supporting and embracing community projects that are aligned to our strategic aims and enhance our operational reputation and ability;
  • We demonstrate our commitment to our responsibilities through our actions and within our corporate policies;
  • Support for programmes that are inclusive in their nature and span all social backgrounds and cultures;
  • The organisation is engaging with, learning from, respecting and supporting the communities and cultures with which it works; and
  • All feedback that we receive from our customers is taken seriously and we will maintain open dialogue to ensure that we fulfil the requirements of this policy. 

4.1 Our policy statement sets out the principles that will guide decisions and help achieve our outcomes in the core CSR areas.

4.2 As a charity, we are always mindful of our obligations within the countries in which we operate and to the public we serve. Across the core CSR areas, we will look to embrace new government and devolved administration initiatives, where affordable, including for example on pay gap reporting and modern-day slavery.  

4.3 Looking After Employees: Our employees are at the heart of everything we do, including our ability to deliver a customer experience that meets customers’ requirements, and we understand the instrumental role they play in our success.

4.3.1 We will promote equality and consider the interests of our employees including their welfare, health and safety.

4.3.2 We will operate an equal opportunities policy for all present and potential future employees and will offer our employees clear and fair terms of employment and provide resources to enable their continual development.

4.3.3 We will maintain a clear and fair employee remuneration policy, as well as maintaining relations with one or more Unions of their choosing and/or maintain fora for employee consultation and business involvement.

4.3.4 We will identify competency needs and provide training and professional development to staff to meet those needs.

4.3.5 We will provide, and strive to maintain, a clean, healthy and safe working environment in line with our Health and Safety policy and safe systems of work.

4.3.6 We will align our recruitment and retention approaches with UK Government and devolved administration policies, where possible and resources allow, including using employment schemes (such as apprentice schemes) for the wider benefit of the population.

4.4 Customers: NatCen will seek to ensure that it deals responsibly, openly and fairly with existing and potential customers with a service hallmarked by integrity, quality and care by:

4.4.1  Adopting a “Customer Promise” published on our website and disseminated to our customers;

4.4.2 We will share our knowledge and expertise with customers and across the social research community, including through the dissemination of research outcomes and via formal training - the latter primarily via our “not-for-profit” NatCen Learning brand;

4.4.3 Ensuring that all our advertising and documentation about the business and its activities are clear, informative, legal and produced with integrity;

4.4.4 Being open and honest about our services and telling customers what they want to know, including what we do to be socially responsible;

4.4.5 We will register and resolve complaints in accordance with our standards of service - ensuring that on those occasions where things go wrong, we acknowledge the problem and deal with it;

4.4.6 We will listen to our customers so that this can help us improve the services we offer to them;

4.4.7 Ensuring that we benchmark and evaluate what we do in order to constantly improve our competitive edge in the marketplace;

4.4.8 Our contracts will clearly set out the agreed terms, conditions and the basis of our relationship and will operate in a way that safeguards against unfair business practices;

4.4.9 We will conduct and prioritise high impact work with customers that will bring benefits to the United Kingdom and beyond.

4.5  Community: NatCen is committed to building mutually supportive relationships with the wider community including national and local concerns. We will also ensure that our work with our local communities involves, subject to resources:

4.5.1 Building relationships and/or partnerships with organisations around us, including educational establishments, the relevant councils, local fora, businesses and community groups near our various locations;

4.5.2 Encouraging occasional volunteer work in community activities, where it will have positive impact;

4.5.3  Engaging with and supporting local schools and colleges;

4.5.4  Supporting local fund-raising activities, where it will have positive impact.

4.6  Commitment to Environment: Protection of the environment in which we live and operate is part of NatCen’s values and principles and we consider it to be sound business practice. To ensure that we care for the environment in which we do business, NatCen will:  

4.6.1 Strive to improve our environmental performance and impact, including through pro-active initiatives and active monitoring and review;

4.6.2 Ensure employees and contractors are responsible and accountable for contributing to a safe working environment, for fostering safe working attitudes, and for operating in an environmentally responsible manner;

4.6.3 Seek out and implement waste reduction, re-use and recycling opportunities through active monitoring and review;

4.6.4 Encourage greener transport by encouraging staff to walk, cycle to work and use other greener travel options;

4.6.5 Ensure a high level of business performance while minimising and managing effectively risks to the environment.

4.7 Suppliers

4.7.1 We are committed to working with suppliers who have good business ethics and meet the standards we hold in high esteem.

4.7.2 We will not work with partners or suppliers who compromise us ethically or look to compromise our independence;

4.7.3 We aim to develop relationships built on shared trust and communal responsibility;

4.7.4 Encourage our suppliers and contractors to adopt responsible business policies and practices for our mutual benefit;

4.7.5 Operate in a way that safeguards against unfair business practices.


NatCen Policy
Owner: NatCen HR Team
Last revised: April 2021