Third Sector Excellence Awards 2011: Best Employer - Winner: Save the Children UK

Awarded to the voluntary organisation that makes the best use of its human resources policies to create a satisfied and productive workforce

Save the Children UK
Save the Children UK

Save the Children UK, the international children's charity, believes that its mission and ethos are key to attracting the right staff.

The charity says that it continually aims to make sure staff are happy, their views are heard and represented, and they have the opportunity for personal development.

Mark Lafferty, deputy HR director at Save the Children, and Joan Coyle, its HR director, collect the award from host Rev Richard ColesThe charity has put in place a performance management system, developed through a combination of workshops, the internet and a comprehensive written guide. The system involves '360-degree feedback', which encourages staff assessment from subordinates, peers and supervisors, as well as self-assessment. All staff have clear annual objectives and personal development plans, all of which are linked to their pay.

Among the charity's policies to improve staff relations and morale are generous leave policies for maternity and personal emergencies, generous redundancy packages, flexible working arrangements, counselling and personal development opportunities. In its entry for this award, the charity said it aimed to continue to make improvements: a new paternity policy is expected next year.

The charity aims to remain in the upper quartile of the charity sector for pay and tracks it through surveys. It also has monthly staff meetings, publishes a weekly internal bulletin and allows staff to express their views through blogs and discussion boards.

"Staff surveys consistently show that we offer interesting and rewarding work, and a positive, energising work environment," the charity wrote in its entry. "Our culture is underpinned by a set of policies that makes the charity family-friendly, a competitive employer and a place to develop skills, interests and careers."

The judges felt that the charity had done all that could be expected of a major employer to look after its staff. "This organisation understands the need for caring, motivated staff who are keen to maximise the charity's purpose," said Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Social Enterprise London.


John Hemming - Head of tax, Wellcome Trust, and chair, Charity Tax Group

Jonathan Lewis - Former chief executive, Social Investment Business, now chief executive, Bromley Healthcare

Allison Ogden-Newton - Chief executive, Social Enterprise London

Uday Thakkar - Managing director, Red Ochre


Amnesty International UK

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