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Founder looks back on 18 years of social value with Collins McHugh.

In the year that YouTube launched, King Charles married Camilla, and the Conservative’s won the general election, a similar momentous happening in Cheshire led to a quiet revolution in the responsible business arena.

Barry Collins founded Collins McHugh, with the aim of bringing clarity to the CSR agenda and helping company’s build and enhance responsible business practices, creating a social and environmental legacy.

Eighteen years later, the company has an impressive client list that includes two of the Prince of Wales’ Charities: Business in the Community and Mosaic, Co-Op, Peel Group, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Gallagher Group, CIOB, Yodel and the Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT).

Here, Barry looks back at his three decades in the industry:

“I think the biggest change over the past few years, is the fact we no longer need to be a rallying call for good CSR in business, we simply champion the best ways to do it. Companies recognise that it’s no longer acceptable to focus simply on the bottom line, customers want to do business with those that deliver social value and demonstrate consideration for the impact their operations have on people, the environment or society.

“We learned pretty quickly that simply ‘telling’ our clients wasn’t enough and that its collaboration that delivers results. For CSR to be effective, it needs to be part of the fabric of how a business operates and that requires engagement and commitment throughout the organisation.”

Perfect Partners

A partnership approach is the bedrock of Collins McHugh, and it began with the very first client, Barry explains:

“Speedy Hire took a chance on us back in 2005 and we went on a journey together. We helped them to understand what good CSR looked like and how responsible business practice could tie in seamlessly with all the other major functions of the business including Operations, HR, H&S and supply chain engagement. This collaborative approach paid dividends as Speedy were ranked no.1 in the Observer’s independent review of responsible business practice in the FTSE350, after only 11 months.

“A copy of this first report is framed and displayed in the office.

“A key change since penning that report is the diverse way social value is measured and how different this can look. In the early days, the perception of CSR was charitable works or a ‘volunteering day’ for staff. Now we look at benchmarking and reporting; sustainability and measuring carbon footprint; Environmental and Social governance and mental health training – the scope of our work and business has expanded exponentially.”

Currently, Collins McHugh provides assessments for global standards using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and is an AA1000AS (2018) licenced provider for accrediting stakeholder engagement.

“Looking back at how the business has grown and adapted, one thing has remained constant - a commitment to our core values of honesty, transparency and openness. We are laser-focused on finding the most efficient, cost-effective solutions to achieve results for our clients and this has given us long lasting relationships with clients that are a joy to work with.

“In celebrating this business milestone, we’ve found the people we work with are, without exception, committed to enhancing every aspect of their company’s responsible business practices and building a social and environmental legacy to be proud of. And we are proud to be a part of that journey, helping to create positive change on a day to day basis. We’re thankful for the past 18 years and very much excited by the prospect of the next few decades.”


A firm believer in leading by example, Barry has recently become a business ambassador for Walking With the Wounded, helping to demonstrate how veterans can play a key part in improving diversity of thinking and staff within a business and its supply chain.

At Collins McHugh we can help you every step of the way. If you’d like more information, please do get in touch on 0330 223 2965 or email

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