MEA Council to spend over £5,000 for Business in Community membership

Mid and East Antrim Council’s Policy and Resources Committee has agreed to spend £5,750 for platinum membership of the Business in the Community Scheme.

The decision was taken at a committee meeting in Larne’s Smiley buildings on February 17.

According to a council report, BITC help its members to “realise business benefits from their CR (corporate responsibility) activity, including improved corporate and environmental reputation, increased levels of employee engagement, cost reduction and improved financial performance.”

The report continues: “BITC would work with Council senior management team to agree priorities and identify appropriate initiatives to support Council, including strategic support to develop a structured action plan, B1TC staff identifying and supporting appropriate activities, policy and practice guidance, support in engaging key stakeholders, access to networks and best practice, platforms with key audiences and benchmarking and reporting.”

The £5,750 membership fee includes “in-depth discussion with 4-8 senior decision makers in order to inform the depth of the action plan.”

However, despite the cost of the subscription, the report acknowledges that the benefits to the Council of becoming members of BITC are “primarily non-financial.”

Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee John Stewart commented: “A number of people who had been involved in the service, which is assessed year on year, felt that given the services provided it was good value for money.

“There is the community aspect of it; identifying businesses and social enterprises so that council can better interact with them. It is tied in with economic strategy.”

Other businesses who are already members of the BITC scheme include Caterpillar NI, Kilwaughter Chemical Company Ltd, Larne Harbour Ltd, Ledcom, Shrader Electronics, AES. Moy Park and Wrightbus.

In its membership proposal to MEA Council, BITC suggests that MEA Council could encourage community involvement by developing a schools programme, adopting a charity of the year, and developing a themed approach to volunteering. The proposal also says it has a number of suggestions for internal and external branding.