Responsible business

Oxford Biomedica is committed to its role as a responsible business and the Group has developed a policy and strategy to ensure it meets this objective. The responsible business committee, which has been established, is chaired by John Dawson, the Group’s Chief executive Officer. The Groups responsible business mission is to deliver life changing gene therapies to patients in an ethical and socially responsible way. The Group’s work is governed by its values.

The Group’s strategy is focused on a number of main areas:

People

Safety
Being able to deliver the Group’s products and services both safely and sustainably is the number one priority. Via the systematic evaluation all of activities, the Group ensures that significant risks are identified and controlled in such a way as to minimise the risk to employees and anyone else who may be affected by the Group’s acts or omissions. The Group endeavours to maintain its facilities and equipment to the highest standards.

The Group’s Health and Safety Management System covers all aspects of its work, from working with biological materials, to use of display screen equipment. The Safety Management System continues to evolve and grow with the organisation, and the Group has taken steps to improve consultation in developing policies and procedures to ensure they adequately reflect working practices. Improving employee engagement is a focus for the year ahead, and the Group plans to run a safety climate survey in the first quarter of 2020 to actively engage all staff and identify areas for improvement.

Oxford Biomedica continues to have a first-class safety record, with no reportable incidents in the reporting year. Health and Safety is a standing item on the Board’s agenda, and the Group has taken steps to improve the metrics used to monitor performance in this important part of the business. The Group is committed to meet both the letter and spirit of all health and safety regulation and best practice.

Values
The Group’s company values are: ‘Have integrity’, ‘Be inspiring’ and ‘Deliver innovation’.
These three values govern the way that the Group does business, how the Group works together and the interactions the Group has with all its stakeholders.

The Group’s values are also reflected in the people processes – the Group looks for evidence that the job candidates share the values. The values are an important factor in measuring performance, and the Group recognises and rewards adherence to the values.

Diversity
The Board and senior management are fully committed to providing equal opportunities to all employees, irrespective of race, gender, religion, national origin, disability or any other personal characteristics, and embrace diversity in all forms.
The table shows the gender split across the organisation as at 31 December 2019:

 
Male
Female
Total
% Male
% Female

Board including non-Executive Directors

 

7

 

1

 

8

 

87%

 

13%

Senior managers

22

14

36

61%

39%

All other employees

234

276

510

46%

54%

Total

263

292

554

47%

53%

 

Under new government legislation that came into force in 2017. Oxford Biomedica is required to publish an annual gender pay gap report.  The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed relative to men’s earnings. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2017 can be downloaded here. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2018 can be downloaded here. The Gender Pay Gap Report 2019 can be downloaded here.

The Gender Pay Gap Report for 2019 has been prepared by the Group and the Group is pleased to report an increase in representation of female employees at the more senior levels of the organisation over the last year. This has had a positive impact on the Group’s gender pay ratio.

Reward
The Group is committed to providing competitive reward packages for all employees. The Group participate in industry specific pay surveys which inform the salaries which are reviewed annually. In 2020, the Group is introducing a company-wide cash bonus scheme which will give employees at all levels the opportunity to share in the success of the Company by receiving a cash bonus linked to their grade level and their own personal performance.

Through the Group’s comprehensive benefits programme, employees are encouraged to save for the future, via the pension plan. The Group also provide employees with protection should they fall sick or be unable to work through long term disability. The Group has recently improved maternity pay provision, and increased sick pay benefits.

The Group also provides all employees with the opportunity to own a share in the business through share option and share save schemes.

Training and Development
The Group invests in the development of its people at all levels. Every employee has a development plan, and throughout the year there are a range of development courses, both classroom based and on-line offered to all employees.

The Group has a modular Management Development Programme which is offered to all managers at OXB. Managers attend modules in various management related topics over a period of several months, and are given support to embed their learning throughout the programme. During 2019, around 100 managers attended this programme and a similar number will benefit from it in 2020.

Training is also essential for ensuring compliance with the Group’s processes and the safety and wellbeing of everyone who works in the facilities.

Employee Well-being
The well-being of the Group’s people is very important. The Group has an on-site occupational health service, which, in addition to providing job specific health surveillance, is also available for medical referrals and advice on general well-being. In 2020, the Group is also focused on providing support to help identify and manage mental health issues in the workplace.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the safety and well-being of our staff is paramount. The Group has a duty of care towards all employees, and therefore the Group expects some of our staff to be required to self-isolate to prevent the possible spread of infection. The Group continually assesses the risks for employees and regularly communicates with staff on the ongoing situation and has implemented steps to contain any spread such as publicising good personal hygiene practices, provision of hand sanitiser in common areas, wearing of face masks, staggering of shifts, enforcing a travel management prevention strategy and encouraging people to work from home.

Employee Communication
The Group acknowledges the importance of communication and consultation across the business. The Group uses a variety of communications channels to share information on the business, science, and other topics of interest to employees. These include regular all-employee town hall briefings, R&D seminars, employee newsletters, and work-related social media. The Group is currently reviewing its communication strategy, including the channels used to ensure that the Group is able to keep all its employees engaged as the business grows.

Community

The Group recognises the value of being a good local citizen in the Oxford community. The Group endeavours to achieve this by delivering positive benefits for the community, such as creating new high quality jobs, establishing an apprenticeship scheme and by establishing links with schools and other local educational establishments. The Group seeks to behave as a responsible neighbour, complying with national and local laws and regulations, particularly with regard to emissions and waste, property planning and the traffic impact caused by its employees. The Group has a well-established Cycle-
To-Work scheme and interest-free season ticket loans to help minimise its traffic impact on the local area.

Apprenticeship scheme

As part of the Group’s focus of delivering local benefits and providing high skilled jobs to the local community the Group has established an apprenticeship scheme in collaboration with Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community and the University of Kent. Currently the Group has eight apprenticeships in operation including school leavers from the local community which are enrolled on a training scheme in the highly skilled areas of Manufacturing and Analytical testing. The Group is committed to supporting the apprentices through support and training and expanding the scheme in the future.

Charitable Giving

This year the Group setup the Helping Hands Team as part of its commitment to its chosen charity SeeSaw (charity registration 1076321). SeeSaw is an Oxford based charity providing support for bereaved children, young people and their families when they face a death in the family.
The Group’s Helping Hands Team and employees organised and participated in a number of events during the year. This included participation in the Oxford half marathon, a Fire walk and Christmas raffle. These activities and a donation from the Group meant that Oxford Biomedica raised £9,500 for SeeSaw in 2019.

 Charity
Donation

SeeSaw (Employee donation)

£8,200

SeeSaw (Group donation)

£1,300

Total

£9,500

 

Environment

Environmental policies & initiatives
Oxford Biomedica fully recognises its responsibility to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment, its neighbours and the local community. Much like its Health and Safety Management System, its Environmental Management System continues to evolve and grow with the organisation. The Group is mapping its system against ISO14001 with the aim of having a certifiable system in place by the end of the next reporting year. The Group complies with all regulations covering the processing and disposal of laboratory waste, and uses qualified licensed contractors for the collection and disposal of chemical waste and decontaminated biological materials.

No laboratory waste goes to landfill sites.

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

As an organisation of over 250 employees the Group has engaged with ESOS, in compliance with EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27EU). This has involved an ESOS Phase 2 energy assessment based on 2019 data covering all aspects of its energy usage. The recommendations from that audit will be incorporated into the Environmental section of the Group’s Responsible Business policy and will form part of the environmental targets for the coming year.

Greenhouse gas emissions report

The tables below show the Group’s usage in 2019 and 2018 of energy and water at its sites in Oxford, UK. The Group has also estimated its total CO2 emissions and has indicated its “environmental intensity” on a per employee basis, an important indicator of its activity

2019
Unit
Usage
Usage per employee
CO2 emission (tonnes)

Electricity

MW hours

4,974

9.6

1,271

Gas

MW hours

3,599

6.9

662

Water supply

Cubic metres

11,799

23.0

4

Other activities (estimated) including waste disposal and travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

778

Total

 

 

 

2,716

 

2018
Unit
Usage
Usage per employee
CO2 emission (tonnes)

Electricity

MW hours

4,169

11.4

1,180

Gas

MW hours

3,225

8.8

593

Water supply

Cubic metres

6,330

17.3

2

Other activities (estimated) including waste disposal and travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

590

Total

 

 

 

2,365

 

Waste and Energy efficiency

The Group is committed to energy efficiency and has a number of policies to decrease energy usage where possible. For instance, when existing lighting needs replacing the Group switches to LED lights which are significantly more energy efficient than traditional lighting systems. The Group is looking at reducing the water usage throughout its sites in its facilities with more efficient system controls. In its Windrush laboratories the Group has passive infrared light sensors in all areas that have been refurbished to ensure lighting is extinguished in areas that are not currently in use.

Waste Management

The Group continues to review its waste management systems to manage waste more effectively. This includes:
• recycling all paper and cardboard waste, aluminium cans, glass, plastics and printer toner/cartridges.
• use of different waste streams to increase processing efficiency.

Integrity and Ethics

The Group is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in its business activities in the UK and overseas.

Anti-bribery
Oxford Biomedica’s policy on preventing and prohibiting bribery is in full accordance with the UK Bribery Act 2010 as well as other relevant overseas legislation and all employees receive training in this matter. The Group does not tolerate any form of bribery by, or of, its employees, agents or consultants or any person or body acting on its behalf. Senior management is committed to implementing effective measures to prevent, monitor and eliminate bribery.

Whistleblowing
Oxford Biomedica’s compliance activities include the prevention and detection of misconduct through policy implementation, training and monitoring. As part of this effort, the Group’s employees are encouraged to report suspected cases of misconduct in confidence and without fear of retaliation. Concerns and allegations are thoroughly investigated with disciplinary action taken where necessary, up to and including dismissal and reporting to relevant authorities.

Clinical trials
The Group instils transparency, safety and ethics in all aspects of its responsible business, including the design and conduct of its clinical trials. The Group’s clinical studies are designed with patient safety as a paramount concern and the protocols are agreed with the relevant national regulatory authorities, as well as local ethics committees and institutional review boards at clinical trial sites, before any patients are treated. The Group also has standard operating procedures in place under a controlled Quality Management System to ensure compliance with appropriate guidelines and legislation.

The Group is also committed to transparency, and this website provides information on ongoing clinical trials. Relevant trials in the EU and EEA are automatically posted on the EU Clinical Trials Register (www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu) and the Group also discloses its trials on a US government-sponsored website (www.clinicaltrials.gov).

Human rights and anti-slavery
The Group fully respects human rights and conducts its business in accordance with the letter and spirit of UK Human Rights legislation and the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015. Oxford Biomedica’s Board of Directors has approved a Modern Slavery Transparency Statement in compliance with section 54 of the Act which can be downloaded here. The Group’s facilities are all located in the UK, where its policies accord with human rights regulations and its supply chain operates in territories with strong commitments to human rights safeguarding.

Animal testing
It is a regulatory requirement that all new therapeutic products must be appropriately tested for safety before they are administered to patients, and there is currently no alternative to using animal models as part of this process. The Group is committed to following the principles of the three “Rs” in safety testing: replacement, refinement and reduction of animal testing. These principles ensure that animal testing is only employed when necessary and where there are no alternatives. The Group minimises the use of animal models by cross-referring LentiVector® platform data packages for regulatory authorities.