The purpose of this report is to give a balanced account of Provident Financial’s performance across a range of social, ethical and environmental indicators. Below, you will find some highlights from the past year. Please refer to the Downloads section for a full copy of our report.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE

I am pleased to welcome you to Provident Financial’s 2018 Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report.

In 2018, we made significant progress in delivering against the operational objectives that we set ourselves at the beginning of the year. We have also established a solid corporate governance foundation and strategic blueprint upon which we can build and embed a culture that is focused on achieving sustainable financial growth through the delivery of better outcomes for our customers and other key stakeholders, and by taking account of our wider societal impacts."

Malcom Le May

Chief Executive

HEAD OF SUSTAINABILITY

In my message in the introduction to last year’s CR report, I made the point that in 2018, it was essential that we reinforce and build on the importance and relevance of our purpose – Provident Financial’s reason for being. Not only in the way that we operate our business, ensuring that we continue to lend responsibly and sustainably to our 2.4 million customers, but also in the way that we treat our people, contractors and suppliers, the role we play in our local communities and as a steward of the environment, and how we engage with our shareholders and debt investors, regulators and the tax authorities.

Throughout the year, this is precisely what the Group has done."

Rob Lawson

Head of Sustainability

 

Our purpose and strategic drivers

To help us to balance delivering responsible and sustainable products, services and partnerships to our customers, maintain high levels of regulatory compliance, and provide a stimulating and rewarding workplace for our employees, while generating appropriate, sustainable returns for our shareholders, we invested time throughout 2018 building a Blueprint for the future of the Group which is aligned to our existing responsible business strategy.

Our Blueprint brings together why Provident Financial exists as an organisation, framed in the context of the role that our business plays in the lives of our customers. It also sets out the strategic areas of focus and the key priorities that will drive both competitive advantage and commercial success for the whole Group. Finally, it articulates how these focus areas and priorities will be delivered and sets out the behaviours that will be needed to succeed.

38%
of our Board are women
£1.7m
invested in the community
12,409
tonnes of CO2e offset
87%
Provident home credit
customer satisfaction rate
2,415
hours volunteered by
staff during working hours

Supporting customers

The purpose of our business is to help put people on a path to a better everyday life, by offering credit to those who really need it and struggle to access it from mainstream banks. However, we understand that with this comes with great responsibility. This is why we have reviewed our Social Impact Programme, which traditionally focussed on providing grants to local community organisations and charities, to include a work stream dedicated to improving the level of support we provide to our vulnerable customers, as well as our staff who are working on the front line with them.

We understand that our customers can find themselves, at times, in financially challenging situations due to unforseen circumstances such as ill health, loss of income, family bereavement or other significant life events. 

Therefore, we ensure to have call centre staff who are trained in recognising signs that might indicate a customer could be classified as ‘vulnerable’, or may be facing financial difficulty, whether in the short-term or long-term.

We have developed relationships with organisations and charities such as IncomeMax and the Money Advice Trust, who provide training to our staff to help them communicate effectively with such customers.

We also provide financial support to the money advice sector, so that our customers, as well as wider society, can gain free and low-cost access to money advice. Organisations we fund range from National Debtline, AdviceUK, Money Advice Scotland, The Institute of Money Advicers and The Money Advice Liaison Group.

Social impact

Our community investment activities are delivered through our Group-wide social impact programme. The strategy of this programme is to invest in activities and initiatives which seek to address some of the key factors which, on their own or acting together, can reduce someone’s likelihood to be accepted for credit. These factors include: lack of literacy or numeracy skills; disabilities and/or mental health issues; unemployment or under-employment; low levels of educational attainment; and low, uncertain or fluctuating incomes. The social impact programme delivers community investment activities under the following three work streams:

Our core themes

Customers

Education

Community partners

What we do

Invest in activities and initiatives that address key factors which affect someone’s likelihood to be accepted for credit.

Support both children and adults in their education, helping them secure a brighter financial future.

Support community projects in areas where people are more likely to face social and financial exclusion.

We do this through

Funding money and debt advice programmes as well as working with mental health charities to ensure we can support our customers when they are feeling vulnerable.

Providing literacy and numeracy education as well as insights into the world of work.

Providing grants to grassroots organisations and charities through Community Foundations who will support local people in improving aspects of their life.

Why we do this

To ensure that our customers, as well as others who might face financial difficulty, can recognise the barriers to financial inclusion, overcome them, and secure a positive financial future for themselves.

So that we can help raise aspirations of both children and adults who live in disadvantaged communities so that they can have a better chance of having a future that sees them included in society.

To help people overcome personal difficulties that might be preventing them from feeling socially or financially included in the communities in which they live and work.

Gender pay gap

Below, is our most recent gender pay gap data, which we are happy to report has lessened in areas. We are committed to achieving a greater gender balance across senior levels so that we can continue to lessen the gender pay gap and promote equality and inclusivity.

Provident Financial Management Services Limited

PFMSLgenderdataImg Created with Sketch. 69.9% 30.1% Male Female Upper quartile 57.1% 42.9% Male Female Quartile 3 45.1% 54.9% Male Female Quartile 2 35.2% 64.8% Male Female Lower quartile Gender representation by pay quartiles 84.0% 61.3% Bonus Median Mean 30.2% 30.4% Hourly pay Median Mean Pay and bonus gender gap as at 5 April 2018

Vanquis Bank

VBgenderdatalmg Created with Sketch. 64% 36% Male Female Upper quartile 53% 47% Male Female Quartile 3 45% 55% Male Female Quartile 2 40% 60% Male Female Lower quartile Gender representation by pay quartiles 25.6% 62.9% Bonus Median Mean 11.6% 23.5% Hourly pay Median Mean Pay and bonus gender gap as at 5 April 2018

Provident Personal Credit

PPCgenderlmg Created with Sketch. 48.9% 51.1% Male Female Upper quartile 43.2% 56.8% Male Female Quartile 3 29.9% 70.1% Male Female Quartile 2 49.4% 50.6% Male Female Lower quartile Gender representation by pay quartiles 0.0% 21.8% Bonus Median Mean 0.0% 4.9% Hourly pay Median Mean Pay and bonus gender gap as at 5 April 2018

Diversity & inclusion

To help us deliver on our commitment to reducing our gender pay gap and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, we became a signatory to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter and appointed a Group-wide equality, diversity and inclusion lead – Catherine Diamond, who is the HR Director at Moneybarn."


 

 

Charley Davies General Counsel & Company Secretary

We are committed to creating a positive step-change in the senior leadership gender balance across the Group by supporting women in or aspiring to leadership positions. We are investing more in our gender diversity efforts and expect an increase in our gender representation at Executive and senior leadership level over the coming years. We are setting the foundations on which to build upon, focusing action around attracting, retaining and developing female talent to contribute to us achieving gender balance over time"

 

Catherine Diamond HR Director, Moneybarn

Mental health & wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing.jpg
65
staff have joined the Mental Health First Aider network
120
staff have attended mental health workshops
94
Moneybarn customer-facing staff now trained to support vulnerable customers

Ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of our colleagues is imperative to the success of our business. In our line of work, it is also vital that we have staff who are trained to deal with customers who may be suffering from mental and physical health issues. Therefore, we have appointed a colleague to focus solely on providing mental health and wellbeing support to our colleagues and customers.

So far, we have partnered with leading mental health charities to establish a Mental Health First Aider network in the workplace, and provide further training to our call centre staff  who work with customers who have been identified as ‘vulnerable’.

Environment & ethics

We recognise the importance of acting on climate change as it poses a significant risk to global society and the economy. Therefore, we are committed to reducing our environmental impacts.

12,409
tonnes of CO2e
emitted in 2018
10,588
tonnes of CO2e emitted
through business travel
5,784
MWh of energy
used in our offices
85%
of waste recycled or
sent for energy recovery
3 out of 4
of our main offices are
certified to ISO14001: 2015

Offsetting our carbon footprint

Like any other company, our business activities impact the environment, whether these occur directly as a result of the energy that is used in our offices and by our people when they travel, or indirectly through our supply chain. We are focussed on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions emitted through our business activities, and we do this firstly by having an environment management system in place, ISO14001: 2015, which is audited annually.

We collate all our energy usage, business travel mileage and waste data in order to analyse where our progress is, and where we might have challenges. We are only legally obliged to calculate certain measures when it comes to the greenhouse gas emissions our business creates, however, because we want to be transparent and accountable when it comes to our carbon footprint, we are always expanding the voluntary measures  we report so that our stakeholders can have a fuller view of the environmental impact of Provident Financial. Therefore, our total CO2e emissions may not reduce year-on-year. This is why we committed a long time ago, to offset our carbon footprint.

This year we offset our total calculated carbon footprint, 12,409 tonnes of CO2e, through the purchase of Gold Standard certified carbon credits in the Yuntdag wind power project in Northwest Turkey.

Carbon_Footprint(resized).png

MODERN SLAVERY

 

We have continued to progress our supply chain work, specifically in the area of tackling modern slavery. We delivered  a workshop to CR and procurement personnel from across the Group to raise awareness and understanding of the changing expectations around human rights and modern slavery risks, and have introduced questions on modern slavery to the due diligence process for the onboarding of new suppliers.

“The workshop was very informative and opened my eyes to industries and work practices that you wouldn’t normally expect to be exposed to risks associated with modern slavery. After the event, a reassessment of our supply chains was necessary to highlight those businesses that posed the greatest potential risk from a modern slavery and human trafficking perspective.” Steve Schools, Head of Procurement, Consumer Credit Division

Targets

Lending responsibly to our customers

Finalise the dashboard of KPIs/metrics for the Provident Financial plc Board’s Customer, Culture and Ethics Committee which relate to both the delivery of good customer outcomes and the wider corporate culture agenda.

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Achieve 40% female representation in the Group’s senior management population.

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Publish a new Provident Financial Group equality, diversity and inclusion vision and policy to create a consistent approach to recruitment, retention and pipeline development of the best talent.

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Establish a network of Mental Health First Aiders across Provident Financial Group.

Investing in communities

Support the National Numeracy campaign to ensure more adults in the UK benefit from knowing how to use numbers well and develop a numeracy programme for partner schools in Bradford.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Review the waste management process in our home credit branch offices and at head office with the aim of implementing recycling schemes, as well as sending waste for energy recovery.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Engage with the Provident Financial plc Board through its relevant Committees (e.g. the Customer, Culture and Ethics Committee and General Risk Committee) on the United Nation’s SDGs, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and UNEP-FI Principles for Responsible Banking.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Review the use of plastic across our entire business operations, with the aim of eliminating single-use plastic.

Treating our suppliers fairly

Provide more in-depth information for our annual Modern Slavery Act Statement.

Engaging with the investment community through CR

Increase engagement with Provident Financial Group’s shareholders and debt investors on the Group’s new purpose and strategy, and how the CR programme is linked to both of these.

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