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Effective engagement with stakeholders at Board level and throughout the business is essential to enable us to meet our strategic purpose and our business objectives. The Board is aware that actions and decisions taken by the Company can impact our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate.

The Chairman and Company Secretary provide support and guidance at Board meetings to ensure sufficient consideration is given in Board discussions to the impact of Board decisions on stakeholder groups and these are documented where appropriate. The relevance of each stakeholder group may change depending on the issue under discussion, so the Board seeks to understand the needs and priorities of the relevant stakeholders throughout the decision process.

The Board has undertaken a review of its key stakeholders. On pages 12 to 15 of our Strategic Report, we set out our principal stakeholders and how we engage with them. The Board engages directly with our investors and employees and through the CEO who is a Board Director, with customers, suppliers or local communities. The detailed engagement is carried out by our CEO, the Executive Management team, as well as our commercial and functional business teams.

Principal decisions

We consider our ‘principal decisions’ as decisions and discussions, which are material or strategic to the Group and those that are significant to any of our stakeholder groups.

The following are examples of how the Board considered the interests of its key stakeholders when making decisions:

Case Study: Culture

The Board has ultimate oversight of the development of the people and culture programme to contribute to a sustainable business and ensure this is delegated to the CEO and his management team to deliver throughout the Company. During 2020 the focus due to the impact of Covid-19 has been on the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of employees to boost resilience, prevent burnout and maintain 'business as usual' as far as possible, albeit in a new homeworking environment. The Board is supportive of new flexible working patterns, the implementation of options designed to tackle meeting and email overload and the use of social and collaborative platforms designed to create space for employees to think and work differently. The Board is supportive of opportunities for employees to give back to the community and support STEM initiatives. We also created virtual work experience opportunities for our employees’ children. By fostering an environment where employees are supported, this allows them to have a balance in their work/personal lives. This has meant our engaged workforce has continued to move the business forward and operate efficiently which has benefitted all our stakeholder groups.

Case Study: Covid-19 budget

The Board was actively involved in discussing the proposals brought forward from management to take actions in its 2020 budget for the impact of Covid-19. The Board had to take into account a number of stakeholder factors in approving a new 2020 financial plan called the Covid Defence Plan.

As part of this, the Board made a decision to terminate an identified capital expenditure programme. In arriving at the decision, the Board had to balance on the one hand the commitments made to suppliers whilst on the other hand, the commitments made to partners about the ability to support future capabilities. In arriving at the decision the Board concluded terminating the programme aligned with the Group's strategic plan to 'survive' and did not jeopardise existing relationships with partners. The Board also reviewed cost saving measures and where a reduction in headcount should be made. The Board approved a targeted reduction in headcount and the closure of offices in certain locations and reflect the changed economic situation, particularly in our Aviation business. The Board considered the targeted headcount reduction would support the ongoing viability of the business for the benefit of our overall employee group, our investors and our partners as a whole.

Case Study: Implementation of employee share plans

The Board approved the implementation of a new all employee participation share plan under which all employees receive participation units on a given date in each year they are employed. On an ‘exit event of the existing investors’ each participation unit is converted into a one-off cash bonus based on the increase in value delivered to the Company’s investors. Alongside the all employee participation plan the Board also approved an additional incentive plan for Senior Leaders.

The Board considered the ability of the Group to attract and retain talent needed for the future. The Board also considered the incentives necessary to encourage behaviours from employees in delivery of the business strategy. The Board concluded that the opportunity for employees to participate in the future success of the Group would align the interests, culture and values of employees with investor stakeholders and deliver overall improved value to our partners, customers and suppliers.