Journal Pay Fair campaign gathers momentum as North East businesses sign up to NIBE pledge

Co-founder of the North East Institute of Business Ethics, Caroline Theobald, says late payment is becoming a major talking point

Bridge Club managing director and co-founder of the North East Institute of Business Ethics, Caroline Theobald
Bridge Club managing director and co-founder of the North East Institute of Business Ethics, Caroline Theobald

Just three weeks on from its launch, The Journal’s Pay Fair campaign is progressing steadily, with a growing number of North East businesses showing their support for its aims.

As well as asking regional firms to adopt a fair and responsible approach to paying companies in their supply chain, we are encouraging them to sign up to the Business Ethics Pledge created by the North East Institute of Business Ethics (NIBE).

So far, 35 have done so, agreeing to join with others to discuss the value of business ethics in society and to help transform their workplaces for the better. Three additional companies have also signed up as Institute members since the campaign kicked off on October 7.

“The feedback we’ve had - particularly from small businesses - is that late payments are a real problem for them,” said Caroline Theobald, managing director of Bridge Club Ltd, who co-founded the Institute with the Reverend Glyn Evans.

“Their view is that they deliver services on time, so why shouldn’t they receive payment on time? It’s an issue that’s becoming of increasing importance both at a Whitehall level and within the business community.”

Set up in May 2013, NIBE acts as an independent regional resource that aims to place ethical behaviour at the heart of the North East’s business community.

Drawing on research from the London-based Institute of Business Ethics, it offers access to a community of people interested in the subject, as well as thought-provoking events featuring practical advice and more.

The organisation is overseen by an influential steering group and has the backing of Newcastle University Business School.

Following the success of the past few weeks, Ms Theobald said it would now look at governance, finalising its constitution to continue momentum as a “force for good to be reckoned with in the North East”.

“What we need to do now is consolidate things, as it’s still very new,” she said. “We’re thankful to the businesses that have signed up for membership and we’re going to follow everybody up and find out what they are interested in.

“We’re hoping to be able to run events with the help of businesses, so we need to keep our finger on the pulse and listen to them about what they want to see.”

Ms Theobald added that the more people who discussed the importance of prompt payment the better.

“If it’s shoved under the carpet, then people think they can get away with bad behaviour,” she said.

“The great thing about the campaign is that it brings it out in the open and people can see the issue from different sides.

“It can be a real problem for businesses, but, on the other side, we’re saying that if you treat people right, they will treat you right during difficult times.

“Supporting the Pay Fair campaign, makes good business sense. We also want to promote the North East as a good place to do business in.”

For more information and to support the campaign, see http://www.nibe.org.uk/

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