Firms championing diversity in the workplace, providing free legal aid to victims of the 2017 terror attacks and supporting unpublished writers from under-represented backgrounds, are among this year’s winners of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards – the capital’s top responsible business gongs.
The firms were honoured at last night's Awards dinner at the Mansion House in the heart of the City. The Awards, hosted by Lord Mayor Charles Bowman, celebrate businesses of all sizes and sectors who demonstrate how they are tackling social problems in London and the wider UK.
The annual Awards, run by the City of London Corporation, revealed that this year’s applicants supported nearly 1,800,000 people across the UK, helped create over 5,000 jobs and provided over £15,300,000 in support for their local communities and enterprises.
The London firms mobilised 11,922 business volunteers who contributed over 43,100 hours to local community groups, schools and individuals across the UK.
This year has seen a huge variety of winners, from publishing houses to legal firms, from charities to architecture companies.
Firms championing responsible business practices to create a lasting legacy of better business trusted by society were recognised by the new Lord Mayor’s Award - Business of Trust Champion, an award open to firms from all sectors and of all sizes.
The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards also recognises the work of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This year SMEs David Miller Architects, patent and trademark attorneys Beck Greener and regulatory technology firm Enforcd Ltd all won awards.
The 2018 winners:
Regional Impact Award - Penguin Random House UK
won for its WriteNow initiative, a campaign which aims to inform, inspire and ultimately publish writers from under-represented backgrounds. The scheme includes workshops offering advice and information for unpublished writers, and a year-long mentoring programme for the most talented and promising new voices. The initiative has so far supported 300 people across the UK.
Accelerator Award – Macquarie
provides financial, in-kind and pro-bono support to help grow and accelerate Leadership Through Sport & Business, a charity that aims to increase the social mobility of people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Its ‘Progression into Work’ boot camp and employment programmes prepare young for careers in finance. As a result of the partnership, LTSB has seen yearly intake triple and the charity has grown from 2 to 12 employees.
The Inclusive Employment Award - David Miller Architects (DMA)
hosts week-long work experience placements for students to encourage them to consider careers in the built environment. Five of the students, representing 25% of the workforce, have become full-time employees with DMA, who have supported them to become architects. The programme is highly structured, giving students the opportunity to work on a real client brief, while developing transferable skills, and providing leadership opportunities to junior DMA staff.
The Innovation Award - Hogan Lovells
provides pro bono representation, with Victim Support representation through an innovative collaboration, to victims of the 2017 London terror attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge, Borough Market and Finsbury Park Mosque, and the Manchester Arena bombing. Hogan Lovell’s support is significant as they provide legal representation for families whose cases fall outside the scope of public funding. They represent victims at the Coroner's inquests into the attacks and through Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme applications for compensation and provide 14 families with a 24/7 phone number as they help them through the legal proceedings.
Community Partners Award - Thames 21
developed Thames River Watch in partnership with Tideway, described as a ‘Citizen Science Project’ where volunteers collect data about litter and water quality to maintain a database about the health of the Thames. The programme has impacted communities across the London with over 1,000 volunteers, including 833 students engaged through the programme, giving residents a sense of ownership and responsibility through their community. The programme has been a key factor in progressing its activities and has supported Tideway’s legacy delivery and skills development of its volunteers.
Heart of the City Award - Beck Greener’s "STEM: Branching Out"
initiative encompasses a variety of activities aimed at inspiring and encouraging young people from underrepresented backgrounds, to consider careers involving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, and raising the profile of the Intellectual Property profession, in order to improve ethnic and gender diversity of the STEM professions. It also provides its staff with opportunities to develop their skills in areas such as communication, leadership, presentation, and project-management.
Sir Martyn Lewis Award - ThinkForward’s partnership
with ICG Specialist Asset Management supporting London East Alternative Provision School. ThinkForward aims to prevent youth unemployment. It does this by intervening early and working long-term in schools with disengaged young people aged 13 to 18 who have been identified as being at high risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).
ThinkForward's Ready for Work Programme ensures students get vital exposure to the workplace, helping hundreds of young people across London and the wider UK.71% of students from the programme have ended up in employment, education or training.
Lord Mayor’s Award - Business of Trust Champion winners:
is one of the world's leading specialists in design and manufacture. It aims to exceed all customer expectations and be a business that is reliable and can be trusted. The firm also offers an extensive apprenticeship programme with a long record of attracting young people into apprenticeships through its ‘grow your own’ initiative. It regularly holds events such as apprenticeship open days, opening its doors to the public. AESSEAL also supports the ‘Women in Engineering’ programmes at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Queen’s University Belfast.
Regulatory technology firm Enforcd Ltd has an ambition to change the financial services industry for good. The SME’s service allows firms complying with financial regulation to keep abreast of regulatory developments and effectively communicate them to relevant teams within their organisation. The Enforcd platform Teamwork function and app pull together key thinking in the industry on regulatory issues from over 20 law firms and consultancies, and build out a library of advice, analysis and news linked to themes founded on a central database of enforcement actions from over 30 regulators. Enforcd allows firms to crowdsource initiatives to combat bad practice.
Previous Dragon Awards winners have reported winning new contracts, improved internal relationships, stronger reputations and increased PR as a result of taking part in the scheme.
Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said:
“Companies can make a tremendous difference by identifying gaps, pioneering new policies, and working with underrepresented groups – or, simply, by giving whatever money, time, or skills they can. This year’s well deserving Dragon Awards winners have done just this.
“These firms are working hard to make a difference in a huge range of areas, from promoting social mobility in the workplace to supporting and attracting new young talent to industries with skills shortages.
“We need to recognise and celebrate the innovative work that firms are doing within their responsible business initiatives. It’s no longer simply about engaging with local communities. It is about benefitting workforces and creating a better and fairer society.”
Rachel Engel, Regional Head, Macquarie Group Foundation, added:
“Macquarie is committed to supporting social mobility for young people through education and employment opportunities, so we are thrilled to win the Accelerator Award for our partnership with Leadership Through Sport and Business (LTSB).
“Our relationship with LTSB is based on a long-term investment which is more than financial; it’s volunteering support, skills and expertise and the shared passion for the cause that really helps both organisations transform the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Siena Parker, Head of Creative Responsibility, Penguin Random House UK, commented:
"We’re so excited for WriteNow to be recognised by the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the impact WriteNow has in supporting talented new writers and giving them a platform to share their stories with the world.”
Over the last 31 years, businesses which have applied to the Awards have helped over 10 million people, mobilising 200,000 business volunteers and giving nearly £250 million in donations and in-kind support to London’s communities.
Since they were founded in 1987, the Awards have attracted high quality applications from a variety of organisations across London- from SMEs to big City firms.
The Awards form one part of the City of London Corporation’s commitment to working in partnership with businesses, charities and neighbouring boroughs to create a more responsible, inclusive and competitive London.
As a further sign of this commitment the City Corporation funds Heart of the City, a charity that supports SMEs across London to set up responsible business activities and take them to the next level.
Its charitable arm, City Bridge Trust, gives £20m every year to charitable and community organisations across London.
It works closely with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which runs City Giving Day, a celebration of the City of London’s philanthropic and responsible business activities.