Sodexo has launched its Public Service Pledge, an ethical manifesto for its contracts and conduct, for citizens and communities.

The Public Service Pledge includes a set of commitments which are designed to help Sodexo UK & Ireland contribute to achieving a fairer and better society. These include a commitment to join the Living Wage’s Service Provider Scheme and a commitment to report on and address the gender pay gap.

The Pledge also details ways in which Sodexo will step up reporting on its public sector contracts, in order to increase transparency and accountability. Chief among these are pledges to publish the savings produced for Central Government through our contracts and to publish annually how we have contributed towards our Government clients’ stated target outcomes.

Sodexo employs 34,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, with over half of those working on Government contracts, in justice, defence, healthcare and education. In the last year Sodexo has won several high profile public sector contracts, including six of the MoJ’s community rehabilitation company probation contracts (in partnership with Nacro) and a five year contract with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, to provide cleaning, portering, retail and private patient services across its five hospitals in London.

Sodexo UK and Ireland’s chief executive Debbie White commented; “We very much believe that in our relationships with our clients, whether they be in the public or private sector, we sign a social as well as commercial contract. Our Public Service Pledge is designed to bring this to life; to give us a set of tangible actions, commitments and targets that will help us demonstrate our principles.
The Public Service Pledge is also about setting out our stall as a leading services company and fighting the corner for private sector provision in the public sector. We are eager to demonstrate the many positive examples of superb private sector provision of public services and how private sector companies can bring unbeatable value and outcomes to clients.

Speaking at the launch of the Pledge in Westminster, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said; "Reforming public services to improve their quality and drive savings for taxpayers is a core part of his Government's long-term economic plan.  We are on track to save taxpayers £20 billion this year compared to a 2009/10 baseline through efficiency and reform, and by reducing losses to fraud, error and debt. There's so much more to do in the years to come and we have ambitious plans to accelerate our savings.”

The Pledge commitments are included in full below. For further details and a video about the Pledge please visit

Full details of the Pledge:

1) Fully committed to consistent delivery of our promises, your outcomes, and your value for money

‘Coopetition’ and partnership - We know that we can often achieve better together. We pledge
to wherever possible first look at partnering with staff mutuals, SMEs, and Voluntary and Community Sector organisations in the delivery of public services.

Contributing to government outcomes - We know our performance is not always visible to the public. We pledge to publish annually for our UK business how we have contributed towards our government clients’ stated target outcomes.

Publishing the savings we make for government - Since 2010 we have made savings for UK taxpayers of several million pounds. We pledge to publish each year the savings produced for central government through our contracts.

Independent client satisfaction reviews - We want to deliver what we promise. We pledge to ensure all our public sector contracts undergo an independent client satisfaction survey every 12 months to assess their impact and outcomes.

Outcome based contracts of the future - We know that payment by results makes best use of public money. We pledge to support the Government to ensure new contracts are as outcome based as possible and reward real achievements not tick box inputs.

Better contract management to drive your objectives - We know that clear accountability ensures action. We pledge to appoint for each contract in the UK & Ireland a named individual
specifically focussed on contract management, in order to ensure we continue to drive performance to the letter of the contract and on what we have committed to deliver.

2) Transparent and truly ethical in how we deliver, in our use of public money, and in our conduct

Transparent with our revenues - In the interests of financial transparency, we pledge to publish
the annual revenues of each of our UK central government contracts where we are the sole contractor and where the Government allows.

Unannounced audits - In the interests of transparent performance, we pledge to welcome unannounced independent audits of all our UK central government contracts where we are the prime contractor.

Independent ethics and transparency inspector - We know that ethics are hard to contract for. We pledge to encourage the Government to introduce an independent inspector of ethics and transparency to provide oversight of contract management and ethical delivery.

Code of ethical practice and accreditation - We believe providers should be judged partly on their record. We pledge to encourage the Government to implement a code of ethical practice and an associated accreditation that requires certain standards to be met before awarded to providers.

Zero tolerance and leadership - We know that ethical culture, clear guidelines and leadership
within a business are crucial. We pledge through our Business Integrity Code that we will not tolerate any practice that is not born of honesty, integrity and fairness, anywhere in the world where we do business. Often this prevents us from operating in geographies with significant public sector markets, but that is a price we are proud to pay.

3) Enhancing quality of life and social justice in our communities through a genuine social conscience

A living wage - We know that paying the living wage improves quality of life. We pledge to implement the living wage for all our employees working in our head offices (in regions where formal rates are established); to wherever permitted submit a living wage alternative in all our bids; and to actively promote to our clients the adoption of the living wage.

Supporting the next generation - Apprenticeships are vital to help young people start meaningful
careers. We pledge to ensure that we employ 500 apprentices in the UK & Ireland by the end of 2016.

Defending the welfare of our armed forces - As part of our commitment to the armed forces, we pledge to employ over 350 ex-service personnel or reservists in the UK & Ireland by the end of 2016.

Reducing reoffending - In line with the Government’s commitment to reduce reoffending, we pledge that a previous criminal conviction will not automatically be a barrier to employment with Sodexo, and that we will pro-actively work to employ 20 ex-offenders or offenders on Release on Temporary License (ROTL) in the UK every year.

Equal pay for equal work - We are committed to equality of opportunity and equal pay. We pledge to undertake regular pay audits in the UK & Ireland, to publically publish the results by gender, ethnicity, disability, and by working pattern (FTE/PTE), and will commit to investigate and resolve any unjustifiable pay gaps found. Sodexo is the first company of its size to do so in such detail in the UK and we will share best practice with clients, suppliers and others to help foster equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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