Three of the UK’s biggest banks and eight of the UK’s top law firms have joined together in an unprecedented alliance to change avoidable working practices that can cause mental health and wellbeing issues for employees.
The Mindful Business Charter, developed by Barclays alongside law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, is the first time banks and their legal services providers have come together to reach a shared agenda for supporting mental health and wellbeing.
A signing event this week marks an important first step in adopting the charter by Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and law firms Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons.
All of the signatories have committed to a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks. Performance against these principles will be monitored as part of relationship review meetings.
In signing, these organisations pledge to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter.
Philip Aiken, Managing Director at Barclays said:
"Barclays takes the health and wellbeing of its employees very seriously and that extends to our external advisors who we view to be an extension of our legal function. The take-up of the Charter from so many of our banking and legal counterparts shows the power of collaboration to foster change. I believe it shouldn't stop there. We hope that in time these principles will be applied in all organisations across all sectors."
Richard Foley, Senior Partner of Pinsent Masons added:
"Professional advisers are often in a position of privilege, so it is easy to underestimate or overlook the impact of the work they do on their wellbeing. Mental health issues impact people at all levels and in all sectors. Changing working practices have increased those pressures significantly. It is not good enough to just accept that as the price we have to pay. We have a responsibility to make changes."
Charles Penney, Senior Partner at Addleshaw Goddard continues:
"Mental wellbeing has a huge impact on organisations and individuals, their friends and families. In many instances small changes can have exponentially positive impacts in reducing stress. This in turn helps improve retention, motivation, and productivity while addressing absenteeism. We are proud to be working alongside Barclays and Pinsent Masons in driving this charter forward."
The Charter has the support of mental health charity Mind, the Law Society, LawCare and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.