Businesses such as us have a big part to play.Companies will have to report on their social and community activities under legislation expected over the next few years.
This follows the publication in 2002 of a White Paper on modernising company law.
"This is something that companies should be preparing for," said Hugh Welch, commercial partner with law firm Robert Muckle.
"Fortunately North-East public companies already do some excellent work in the area of corporate social responsibility, ranging from Greggs with its Breakfast Club programme to a wide range of activities that Northumbrian Water undertakes."
Robert Muckle has also undertaken a comprehensive programme to support the community. The Newcastle firm was one of five short-listed for the Pro Bono Short for pro bono publico [Latin, For the public good]. The designation given to the free legal work done by an attorney for indigent clients and religious, charitable, and other nonprofit entities. Initiative of the Year Award, part of the annual awards of the Legal Business magazine, and the only non-London-based firm on the short-list short-list
tr.v. short-list·ed, short-list·ing, short-lists
To include (a candidate for a job, for example) on a shortlist. .
Three years ago Robert Muckle established a corporate fund, administered by the Community Foundation, to which the partners have given pounds 130,000.
The firm's Community Committee, which does not include any partners, meets once a quarter to decide which organisations should receive help from it.
"It has been a huge success and has created a genuine sense within the firm that the partners are serious about their commitment," said Hugh.
The committee is working on its Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes Campaign, to help a women's refuge in Sunderland. The campaign is encouraging the firm's staff to donate basic toiletries toi·let·ry
n. pl. toi·let·ries
An article, such as toothpaste or a hairbrush, used in personal grooming or dressing.
toiletries npl → artículos mpl de aseo (= and cosmetics to help women and children who are often forced to leave home with nothing but the clothes they are standing in.
Other groups supported by the fund this year include Meadowell Connected's Barn project, Castle Morpeth Castle Morpeth is a local government district and borough in Northumberland, England. Its administrative centre is Morpeth.
The district was formed on April 1, 1974 by the merger of the borough of Morpeth and Morpeth Rural District, along with part of Castle Ward Rural Disability Association and Whitemere Community Primary School.
The firm has a well-established reputation for expertise in legal work for charities and numbers several large charities among its clients. It has the skills to help smaller voluntary organisations with free legal advice and members of the firm have assisted more than 35 organisations, ranging from the City of Newcastle For the council of the English city, see .
Newcastle City Council is a Local Government Area in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. Demographics
According to the Australian Bureau Statistics , there: Gymnastics Academy to the Whitley Bay and District Sea Cadet Corps.
"We are a commercial law firm, so we cannot help legally with issues such as domestic violence or housing problems or with community law centres ( those are not the areas where our skills lie," said Hugh.
"But we can use our experience as commercial lawyers to advise charities on structural issues, on whether an organisation should operate as a limited company and we can help with property or employment issues."