Better Know a B: Ingeus
Ingeus is a founding member of the B Corp community in the UK. Since 2002, they have grown to become a leading provider of services that make a positive, lasting difference to people's lives.
SD | Tell us a bit about the history of your company?
Ingeus was founded in Australia by Australian entrepreneur Therese Rein, who was inspired by the plight of her disabled father. Her father’s courage, determination and will to work taught Therese that work really mattered to people. Often, all they need is simple resources and encouragement to discover their own unique strengths, to build on their capabilities and to reach optimal independence. So on that principle, Therese formed Ingeus - a now international business.
Across all of our services, in each of the 11 countries where we operate, we are privileged to be able to make a genuine difference to people’s lives. Whether that is through our employment, health, youth, skills or justice services.
SD | Why did you become a B Corp?
Our purpose has always been to help people to improve their lives. We started doing this through helping people to find employment, then though skills and now also support people through our youth, health and justice services.
We are also a for-profit company and we have always believed that combining our strong social purpose with the benefits of being a private sector company are complementary. This is because as a private sector company we need to deliver success and be competitive in order to thrive. It drives us to continually innovate and become more efficient and ultimately, helps us to support more people to improve their lives. It’s profit with purpose.
For these reasons when we heard about the B Corp community launching in the UK, we thought it was a great match with how we work. In a way, we have always operated like a B Corp, there just hasn’t been an external accreditation for it before now.
SD | What excites you about being part of the global B Corporation movement?
Being a founding member of the B Corp community in the UK is hugely exciting for us. Every day we witness people finding the confidence and courage to effect enormous change in their lives. We then see how these changes impact the people around them – we see the power of using business as a force for good. This is what is so exciting about the B Corp movement – it understands for-profit companies can also have a strong social purpose.
Being part of the B Corp community allows us to meet and hear from such a diverse group of people. Their stories and experiences adds value to our thinking and determination to use business as a force for good.
SD | Can you tell us about the impact that your company is having in the world?
We are always looking for new ways to tackle the social challenges of today, only delivering services that we know will make a lasting difference to individuals and communities.
Ingeus has grown and diversified over the years. We now deliver probation services, skills, training and apprenticeships, National Citizen Service (NCS) and health services including the National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP). However, for us, it always comes back to facilitating positive change among people and helping them take charge of their lives.
Most recently we have started delivering NDPP which focuses on helping people to reduce their risk of getting Type 2 diabetes and supporting them to live healthier lives. Type 2 diabetes is one of the UK’s biggest health challenges – there are currently 2.8 million adults with the disease in England, and around 200,000 new diagnoses are made every year. Combining our experience of delivering large-scale programmes and working alongside a range of health professionals means we are well placed to make a real difference.
Ingeus also deliver National Citizen Service - a pioneering government initiative aimed at developing life skills, confidence and experiences of our young people. It encourages personal and social development by working on skills like leadership, teamwork and communication. Participants also develop a social action project to deal with local issues they are passionate about in their community.
Our delivery of NCS will see us engage with 64,000 young people over 3.5 years and we will work with 10,000 people as part of NDPP.
SD | What benefits have you seen since certification?
Becoming a B Corp member is yet another way of telling others what we stand for. The impact internally has been palpable – we’ve not only said to our colleagues that this is who we are, but we’re actually proving it through our evidence-based membership. And by being accredited we’re letting our customers and suppliers know that our standards are high and that we’re serious about our mission.
SD | How did your other staff react to the certification?
Our people always tell us how important our purpose is to them and the certification from B Corp is an incredible acknowledgement of the work they all do each day. Employees understand the extensive assessment process we had to go through to receive our accreditation and value what we have achieved together. As well as helping people to improve their lives, we also acknowledge that we are a private company and we must deliver success and remain competitive and being a B Corp is a fantastic way of celebrating this.
SD | What has changed in your organisation as a result of taking the B Impact Assessment?
The Ingeus values are very closely aligned with that of B Corps. Our company values have recently been reignited by our team of 40 strong Values Ambassadors and our people are truly living the Ingeus values every day. Our values are evident in everything we do and formed a huge part of our company wide employee events as well as employee awards.
The B Corp recognition drives us even move to innovate, enhance our efficiency and ultimately support more people.
SD | What does the year ahead hold in store for your company?
We’re busy creating more opportunities to deliver services that matter. In the UK, there are new employment and health programmes around the corner. Our work on National Citizen Service and the National Diabetes Prevention Programme are also priorities along with developing our skills services.
SD | Who is your B Corp crush?
Number one has to be Ben & Jerry’s – not least because we love ice cream! Like us, they are a large organisation and part of a large structure, so we have a lot to learn from businesses like theirs.
SD | It’s 2020, 5 years since you certified as a B Corp, what does the movement look like?
Our hope is that B Corp will continue to develop into, and engage with, larger global organisations as well as SMEs. B Corp deserves to do well, and we’re proud to be part of it.