AF Blakemore - Gap analysis using the CR Index

In 2015 AF Blakemore completed BITC’s CR Index on a private basis as a baseline assessment around its responsible business activities and performance. The CR Index was used as a management tool to further integrate responsible business into all parts of the organisation.

The challenge

AF Blakemore wanted to get an overview of its responsible business performance. The company did have an existing CR programme and knew of varying degrees of engagement throughout the business. The next step was to pull all existing information together, to understand how much information was being collected and how this information could help the company going forward.

AF Blakemore wished to use a tried and tested tool to conduct a gap analysis of its programmes and to understand their strengths and areas for improvement. The aim of conducting this strategic and holistic assessment was to create an action plan and take the company's approach to corporate responsibility to the next level with a focus on the core business and on opportunities instead of risk mitigation.

What we did

BITC identified the CR Index as a perfect management tool for AF Blakemore to assess, measure and report on their responsible business performance in a systematic and integrated way.

First, AF Blakemore conducted a self-assessment using the CR Index survey. BITC then reviewed the provided information in detail and compiled an in-depth management report outlining providing expert feedback on key strengths, areas for improvement, key recommendations for next steps as well as good practice examples.

BITC noted, for example, the strength of AF Blakemore’s community programme and encouraged it to continue the good work in this area. It BITC also suggested they enforce the leadership around its community investment to ensure accountability from the top as well as setting more impact orientated performance targets.

To engage the Leadership team at AF Blakemore, BITC presented the key findings and recommendations to the Managing Director, Peter Blakemore, and other key decision makers. On the basis of the management report and presentation, AF Blakemore has identified core recommendations for the company to focus on in 2016/2017.

The project has already demonstrated impact.  For example, significant changes have been made in the way corporate responsibility is governed throughout the organisation as a result of the CR Index project.  Some of AF Blakemore's nine divisions already had divisional CR Committees which had been key drivers in building a culture of responsible business, but which were not greatly integrated due to being separated by division.  Furthermore, they weren’t part of the core business decision making process.

To increase integration, AF Blakemore is now establishing cross-divisional steering groups for workplace, marketplace, environment and community. This supports collaboration between divisions on common risks and opportunities.  The steering groups will also provide regular update reports to the main AF Blakemore Board and thus be better integrated into the strategic decision making process.

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What we delivered

Business benefits

  • Ongoing expert support throughout the project and validation of information provided

  • Gap analysis against a holistic management framework

  • Comprehensive feedback report including:

    • Benchmark against sector peers

    • Areas of strength

    • Key areas for improvements

    • Recommendations for next steps and the business case behind

    • Good practice examples

  • Action tool to be used by the company to implement recommendations

  • Feedback presentation to engage Leadership

  • Provided a practical framework for managing Corporate Responsibility across the company

  • Brought different functions in the organisation together to understand and manage the key issues for the business

  • Supported the identification of material issues, risks and opportunities for the business as well as long-term strategic thinking

  • Improved AF Blakemore’s objective and target setting as well as reporting practices and performance measurement

  • Triggered change in the company’s CR governance structure

  • Identified good practice across the business and improved internal learning and communication

  • Resulted in an action plan approved by the Board to further integrate responsible business through the company