“At QinetiQ, trust is our most prized possession. Critical to ensuring we maintain that trust is our approach to ethics, integrity and reputation. This forms the foundation of how we do business and manifests itself in everything we do; our relationships with our customers and stakeholders, industry partners, and shareholders. It also drives how we work with each other”.
David Mellors, Acting Chief Executive Officer
We are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct. We know this is critical for our success because it builds trust and transparency between QinetiQ and our key stakeholders.
We have a Group Code of Conduct, and all our employees, our leaders and our board receive training in business ethics.
Code of Conduct
The Group Code of Conduct (updated in 2014) underpins how we do business.
Its purpose is clearly to articulate our ethical standards and provide employees with a guide to what is expected of them in their behaviour and business activities. It provides information on how they can get help, and also guidance on their responsibility to report, if they identify a problem.
Within the code we provide guidance to ensure employees are aware of, and understand, their ethical and legal responsibilities, and cover issues relating to employees, customers, shareholders and the community. Employees are given support on a range of topics such as diversity; safety; managing information; anti-bribery and corruption; and the environment.
Annual business ethics training is mandatory for all employees across the Group and for the Board. It covers a range of issues such as anti-bribery and corruption, diversity and conflict of interest. We also provide more in-depth anti-bribery training for those in higher risk roles, for example those who carry out overseas business. Employees are also asked to undertake refresher courses to ensure their knowledge is kept up to date.
Help and advice
If employees need help or advice, they are advised to talk to their manager first but we also provide ethics email advice services and a whistleblowing line. The contact details of our Group General Counsel are also made available for reporting issues or concerns to. The whistleblowing line is independently run and provides a confidential 24/7 service. We respond to a number of queries through the ethics advice services each year and all communication through the whistleblowing line is investigated. All of this advice is outlined in the Code of Conduct.
Strong governance underpins responsible business practice and the Group has Board and Executive level commitment to corporate responsibility through the Group Risk & CSR Committee. The committee meets regularly and receives briefings on all material Risk and CSR issues, including business ethics.
Our anti-bribery programmes are overseen by our Chief Ethics Officers who are senior executives. We adopt a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption.
Policy and process
Our policies, procedures and tools underpin our business ethics programmes. Included in these processes are risk assessment, due diligence, and sustainable procurement. How and what we buy is an integral part of improving our sustainability, so we continue to focus on the way we work with our suppliers. In the UK we are an active member of the MOD-Industry Sustainable Procurement Working Group. We have a robust process for undertaking due diligence, monitoring and audit of our use of commercial intermediaries; and we use expert third party due diligence providers to support our processes.
QinetiQ is an active member of the Corporate Responsibility Group. We are a signatory to ASD (Aerospace and Defence Industries Association Europe) Common Industry Standards and a member of the ADS Business Ethics Forum.