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Stakeholder engagement

We believe that to secure our long-term success, we must take account of what is important to our key stakeholders. This is best achieved through proactive and effective engagement, which helps us to identify and focus on the issues that matter most and factor stakeholders’ views into our decision-making. Active stakeholder engagement is a key part of how we manage risks and unlock opportunities.

While the majority of engagement with stakeholders takes place within the business divisions and is led by divisional management, the Board engages directly with certain stakeholders. The Directors are also kept regularly appraised of all stakeholders’ views through divisional reports to the Board, so that Directors are able to have regard to such views in their decision-making, as illustrated by reference to various stakeholders’ interests in our Section 172(1) statement on page 32 and the case studies on pages 33 and 34 of our 2022 Annual Report. We also engaged with our key stakeholders in conducting the materiality assessment that shaped and informed our ESG strategy (please see page 55 of our 2022 Annual Report for more information). 

Understanding and balancing the respective needs and expectations of our stakeholders over the past year has been as important as ever and we remain committed to doing so. 

 

Customers

Ensuring our customers are at the heart of our decision-making is crucial to our strategy. Understanding their changing needs, preferences and behaviours helps us to ensure that our offering remains safe, fair, current and appealing.

Key areas of interest

  • Player protection
  • Customer experience
  • Relevance of offering
  • Health, safety and wellbeing

How we engage

We host, serve and engage with our customers each and every day by means of digital interfaces and conversations in our venues and remotely. This includes discussing their overall experience, safer gambling, affordability and welfare. We also regularly engage with our customers through quantitative and qualitative research to seek their views, opinions and insights into how we can improve our products, services and user journeys.

2021/22 highlights

  • Sought customer views on our approach to protective measures as pandemic restrictions were lifted.
  • Utilised customer insights and considered customer feedback as part of Mecca and Grosvenor brand development and decision-making in connection with the redevelopment of venues including Mecca Luton, Grosvenor Glasgow Merchant City, Grosvenor Blackpool and Grosvenor Bristol.
  • Conducted intercept interviews, accompanied visits and four mixed age customer groups made up of both infrequent and regular bingo customers after the reopening of Mecca Luton in May 2022.
  • Utilised an ‘always on’ customer survey focusing on customer experience in Mecca venues, which can be completed in-person or via an app.
  • Conducted an online survey among a nationally representative audience based on age, gender and social class to understand the size of the casino and bingo cross-channel markets and customer views. Also utilised customer focus groups made up of representative samples of online and venue customers who evaluated a set of proposals designed to enhance and encourage cross-channel play.
  • Conducted player research and sought feedback on products and user journeys, utilising the output in product development and to inform our approach to user journey refinement. This led to, amongst other things, safer gambling tool development work, game tile optimisation and registration improvements

 

Our people

Our people are the heart and soul of the business and central to its success. We depend on their passion and commitment to implement our strategy and ensure our customers are served in the best possible way. 

Key areas of interest

  • Opportunities for progression
  • Inclusion and diversity
  • Fair pay and reward
  • Opportunities to share ideas and make a difference
  • Health, safety and wellbeing

How we engage

We seek an open dialogue culture and host forums throughout the year to enable the exchange of opinion between colleagues and the sharing of views with senior management and the Board. Other engagement methods include, but are not limited to, monthly Group and business unit Town Halls, frequent newsletters and corporate communications to share news and developments, employee opinion surveys, regular performance and development reviews and venue visits by Board members and senior management.

We also continue to offer a confidential whistleblowing hotline to all colleagues.

2021/22 highlights

  • Regular communication Group-wide by way of our Get Connected programme.
  • Social media forums for Grosvenor and Mecca colleagues to express views and share news.
  • Monthly Town Hall meetings with Q&A sessions available to colleagues in all jurisdictions to attend.
  • Held workshops to assess further ways to develop and enhance our safer gambling culture and rolling out further tailored training in response.
  • Employee Voice meetings attended by elected representatives from the business, senior human resources management and the Chief Executive.
  • Talking STARS and Leading STARS forums held and attended by the designated Non-Executive Director.
  • Conducted a full Employee Opinion Survey in September 2021 and a ‘pulse survey’ in May 2022 and implemented action plans following a review of results.
  • STARS values awards continued to recognise individuals and/or teams for demonstrating Rank’s values in their work, nominated by their peers.
  • Embedded our six ED&I colleague network groups: Wellbeing; Women; Racial Equality and Diversity; LGBT+; Families; and general ED&I (incorporating religious celebrations).
  • Introduced a range of activities and initiatives to make sure that our workplace is an enjoyable and supportive place to work, such as massages, yoga classes, providing breakfasts and lunches and arranging other social events, and inviting a psychotherapist to talk on mental health.
  • [email protected] programme.
  • Open dialogue with trade unions.
  • The Board considered workforce engagement updates from designated Non-Executive Director (who is also chair of the Remuneration Committee), providing insights from our colleagues both positive and negative from the regular cadence of employee forums throughout the year.
  • Board Directors conducted site visits to engage firsthand with colleagues.

 

 

Communities

Community links are as important to Rank and its people as they are to our customers. Our businesses are more likely to succeed when they are part of healthy and supportive communities and we are committed to making a positive contribution to them. 

Key areas of interest

  • Charitable initiatives
  • Positive community impact
  • Employment
  • Reputation

How we engage

Our venues are community hubs in which people spend leisure time and engage and interact with other customers and with our colleagues. The strength of our business is in part due to the long-term trust and relationships which exist between our colleagues and customers, who very often will have known each other for many years. A key learning has also been how integral the role of our venues and keeping communities engaged has been particularly during, and as a result of, the pandemic.

We engage with the local community through volunteering, charity work and providing employment and work experience opportunities. 

We are particularly proud of our eight-year partnership with Carers Trust.

2021/22 highlights

  • Continued to support our communities as the pandemic eased and continued to make support calls to Mecca customers including those self-isolating.
  • Supported the ‘Everyone Deserves a Christmas’ campaign by distribution of hampers to local vulnerable and isolated people.
  • Raised £284,484.51 during the 2021/22 financial year for Carers Trust, which works to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. This included an invitation to carers to take a break and enjoy a Mecca Bingo club game or Grosvenor venues’ afternoon tea.
  • Promoted local vacancies according to postcode regions and their local job centres and colleges to ensure job seekers can find local employment and one which has proved to be successful recruitment method.
  • Considered community contribution and impact when considering estate strategy.

 

Regulators and legislators 

Regulators and legislators play a key role in shaping the gambling landscape and an ongoing open dialogue is essential to ensure we better understand the expectations underpinning regulation and that regulation is founded in an understanding of the customer. Regulators also monitor the high standards by which we operate.

Key areas of interest

  • Openness and transparency
  • Compliance with laws and regulations
  • Consumer fairness and player protection
  • Policy and the direction of future gambling regulation

How we engage

Establishing and developing relationships with elected parliamentarians, government officials, industry peers and key stakeholders (such as campaign groups and media) remains a key focus, particularly in the UK this year with the wide-ranging review of gambling legislation that is underway. We conduct such engagement ourselves and also through industry bodies, such as the Betting and Gaming Council (‘BGC’), the Casino Group (within the BGC) and the Bingo Association. We strive to establish strong working relationships with the aim that our contributions are valued in terms of delivering customer-oriented laws and regulations. 

From a compliance perspective, we participate in regular meetings and communications with the UK Gambling Commission (‘Commission’), as well as other regulatory bodies and authorities by whom we are licensed.

2021/22 highlights

  • Undertaken a programme of engagement with MPs and media during the year ahead of the anticipated UK Government’s White Paper for gambling reform.
  • Scheduled a programme of MP visits to local constituency Grosvenor Casinos.
  • Attended and hosted at the Labour party and Conservative party conferences.
  • Executive appearances in front of a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, addressing representatives in Parliament in relation to the UK Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005.
  • Chair attended the Commission’s chairs roundtables during the year.
  • Chief Executive attended a meeting held at the BGC offices with the Commission’s CEO during the year.
  • Regular contact with officials in DCMS, including the current and former Gambling Minister, as we sought to articulate the case for legislative change that supports Rank’s strategy.
  • Members of BGC, Bingo Association and JDigital – lobbyists.
  • Submitted Annual Assurance Statement to the Commission.
  • Worked on a transparent and collaborative basis with the Commission and our other regulators.
  • Responded to the Commission’s consultation in relation to Licensing, Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

 

 

Shareholders and investors 

We adopt an open and transparent approach with our shareholders and analysts to communicate our performance and use their feedback to inform our strategy and decision-making.

Key areas of interest

  • Strategy, performance and outlook
  • Leadership capability
  • Executive remuneration
  • Corporate governance
  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance

How we engage

We adopt a proactive approach to investor relations, conducting a comprehensive programme of regular contact and consultation throughout the year. Our investor relations programme includes regular updates, meetings, roadshows and our Annual General Meeting. The other key way in which we communicate with all shareholders is via our corporate website, www.rank.com.

2021/22 highlights

  • 38 meetings held with shareholders during the year, in addition to quarterly meetings held with the majority shareholder.
  • Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Investor Relations took part in a scheduled programme of major shareholder engagement to discuss interim and final year preliminary results and analysts following announcement of final preliminary results.
  • Chair and Senior Independent Director engaged with shareholders in response to specific meeting requests, which included discussions on ESG.
  • Consultation with major shareholders on the Recovery Incentive Scheme which was subsequently approved by shareholders at the 2021 AGM.
  • Received votes from 93.19% of shareholders for the 2021 AGM.

 

Suppliers

We have relationships with circa 1,200 suppliers, ranging from small businesses to large multinational companies. We aim to operate to the highest professional standards, treating our suppliers as key business partners and operating in a fair and reasonable manner, encouraging supply chain transparency and promoting fair working conditions.

Key areas of interest

  • Robustness of our business
  • Long-term partnerships
  • Fair engagement and payment terms
  • Collaborative approach

How we engage

We have a dedicated procurement function which engages with our suppliers with the aim of optimising the way that we work with them. We build relationships regionally and locally to better understand the markets from where we source products and services. These relationships and good communication were particularly important during the pandemic, both for the period for which our venues were closed, but also in relation to the collaboration required to implement closures and reopenings.

2021/22 highlights

  • Worked with our suppliers to ensure a pragmatic approach to recovery from the pandemic.
  • Implemented new software solution to improve management of contract life cycles.
  • Implemented a refreshed supplier relationship management framework to support improved ways of working whilst driving value creation for both Rank and its partners.
  • Worked with suppliers to ensure smooth transition during platform migrations undertaken during the year.
  • Provided training to suppliers and contractors as appropriate when visiting our venues.
  • The Group’s Modern Slavery Statement, which is submitted to the Board for approval each year, can be found on www.rank.com.