Case Study: Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust
Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust operate sports and leisure facilities on behalf of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council. Responsible for six separate sites across the borough, the team at the Trust are committed to providing high quality leisure opportunities in partnership with the community.
After taking the decision to invest in the implementation of a certified Environmental Management System at the beginning of 2013, Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust achieved successful certification to ISO 14001 in less than 10 weeks from their initial meeting with a BAB Assessor.
As a large organisation within the community, Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust (NBLT) were aware of their impact on the environment and wished to improve their environmental credentials beyond the systems already in place. Dave Taylor, Head of Operations at NBLT, was keen to implement a robust Environmental Management System (EMS) that could be verified by a third party, and ISO 14001 fitted the bill.
Jason Field, Business Development Manager for the Trust, was also becoming increasingly aware of the importance of demonstrating a credible EMS when bidding for new business; with more and more public sector contracts citing ISO 14001 in tenders.
“We had noticed ISO 14001 becoming more commonplace within tender applications, with local authorities seeing it as a key point in demonstrating that environmental management systems are in place. That’s when we took the decision, as whilst we had made efforts to reduce our environmental impact in the past, it was time to take a more professional approach through a standard that would provide us with certification via a third party.”
With overall responsibility for implementing an EMS across the Trust, Dave and Jason were understandably overwhelmed by the task ahead at the outset. With demanding day jobs, setting aside the management time can be a challenge for any business and NBLT took the decision to work alongside Right Directions – a consultancy providing quality management and health and safety support to organisations in the sports and leisure industry. Right Directions were able to advise and support NBLT in the design and implementation of their EMS, which then effectively ‘fast-forwarded’ them through the ISO 14001 assessment process. Jason says;
“When we were initially discussing implementation of ISO 14001, having had an overview of the standard, it was quite daunting considering the number of sites we have. When we started to break down the number of days we would need to devote to this, our initial reaction was – who can put their day jobs on hold to do this?
Working with Right Directions and the framework that ISO 14001 provides meant that we weren’t reinventing the wheel. We were able to work with existing scenarios and re-package them to suit our own organisation – it saved a lot of time and effort by using something that had been proven to work previously.
In the end, I think we spent three days in total putting the EMS together, which made the best use of everyone’s time.”
By preparing the ground-work beforehand, NBLT were in a great position when they took the decision to instruct a certification body to assess their EMS. It was their consultancy firm that recommended the British Assessment Bureau (BAB) based upon previous experience of working with us.
“We had received a recommendation to use BAB from the people providing consultation to implement our EMS – they had found BAB to be very straightforward and accommodating to their requirements. In addition, having researched the competition, we found they offered great value for money.”
Once instructed, BAB first conducted a Gap Analysis and delivered a detailed report describing all of the required actions prior to the formal audit. Dave says of this process;
“BAB came in once we had established an environmental manual and carried out internal audits of our systems. Our BAB assessor was very informative at our initial meeting, and was impressed at how far down the line we had come. Obviously, some parts needed tweaking – there were some parts we had to go away and take a look at, which we did do.”
Once NBLT had made the necessary adjustments and was ready for the formal Audit Assessment, a BAB Lead Assessor made the required arrangements for the Audit to take place.
“The assessor that undertook our final assessment was very approachable – he communicated really well and established great rapport straight away. He wasn’t trying to catch us out in any way – he would tell you where things were good, and also if anything was missing in any way. Overall, it was a good experience.”
BAB is committed to ensuring clients progress and achieve outstanding results through the application of effective standards and management best practice. The benefits of this include a more motivated workforce, less re-work and increased customer satisfaction. Clients tell BAB that gaining certification can also help to gain funding, qualify for tenders and set them apart from competitors. Dave says;
“Our ISO 14001 certification has been of great benefit to the Trust. By gaining certification we now stand out from our competitors – when tendering for new business it’s now a requirement we can ‘tick’. Prior to certification we would waste time attempting to detail the environmental practices we had in place, without having the evidence of how this was monitored on a day to day basis. ISO 14001 provides us with the framework to do just that, and local authorities recognise this in tenders.”
As a large organisation within their community it was also important for NBLT to improve their environmental credentials and demonstrate this to their customers. The way in which NBLT have achieved this with the support of an enthusiastic team is exemplary and truly sets them apart from the rest, as Dave attests:
“We gave employees ownership of the EMS by appointing ‘Green Champions’ across each of our sites. Elected employees were responsible for ensuring that we conformed to the guidelines in our environmental manual and for generally improving environmental management from within the sites. In this way, we never felt like we were fighting employees – everyone was keen to be involved and could see that what we were doing was positive.
As a result, we now have a very clear policy on the environment and have significantly reduced our waste to landfill, reduced our energy consumption, and continually look at green options to save on resources – it is now part of everyday business.”
Their considerable efforts to promote a greener organisation also rub off on the customers that use their facilities:
“It’s positive that people see we are making a conscious effort when they come to use our facilities. We have our green notice boards up, which display our environmental policy and our recycling bins are capable of sorting the majority of waste from our centres. It helps people to feel good about the facilities they use.”
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