Lieutenancy and the University of Northampton

Proposed changes to company law – are you ready?

As a result of COVID, here in Northamptonshire there are signs of a sustained shift in collaboration between the public, private, charity and academic sectors – with a growing ‘multi-stakeholder’ approach being adopted by local businesses. This is in line with national trends and also society’s growing

expectations of business. Last month, a new cross-party initiative launched in Parliament – the Better Business Act campaign. It now has over 400 companies signed up to promote amendments to the UK Companies Act through the adoption of the following basic principles:

- Interests of society and environment to rank alongside shareholders

- Directors empowered to advance the interests of all stakeholders - Businesses to report on how they balance people, planet and profi t

If the above becomes law it will no longer be a choice to align the long- term interests of people, planet and profi t but an obligation. To fi nd out more see T is column has addressed many of these issues over the past few

months, with the Lieutenancy and the University keen to act as catalysts for positive change in our business community, helping businesses see and adapt to the latest trends. In this vein, the fourth Lord-Lieutenant’s Leaders’ Forum was

held in April, entitled ‘Co-creating Value for the Common Good’. Two keynote speakers - the leading academic in this area, Dr May Seitanidi of the University of Kent and a Visiting Professor at the University of Northampton, and the author, philanthropist and campaigner John Nickson - looked at trends in cross-sector working and their key success factors, sharing examples to inspire us all. Activities of this kind are supported by the University’s Centre for

Sustainable Business Practices (CSBP) which, along with the Lieutenancy, off ers a non-political, non-commercial and evidence-based platform for research and action. With the backing of the Lord-Lieutenant, James Saunders Watson, CSBP is currently working on two innovative projects, one charity focused, the other centred on business.

Business - Build Back Better CSBP is collaborating with a group of successful local businesses, all of whom are doing some great things in terms of CSR - corporate social responsibility. T ey have come together to share their experiences and act as exemplar case studies for others in the county. Build Back Better ‘Beacons’ as it were – but please forgive the alliteration!

Charities – Survival and Independence CSBP is also engaged in a project to review the county’s charity sector – given growing concerns about its survival and independence. T is project kicked-off with an Issue paper outlining the sector’s problems, and this will be followed by an Insight paper reviewing best practice nationally, then, as the project progresses, a Consultation or Green Paper off ering some alternative ways forward. T e fi nal publication will be an Impact paper reporting our conclusions and recommendations for charities, businesses as well as local government policy.

74 ALL THINGS BUSINESS At the same time, we will be looking for ways to

Adrian Pryce DL Associate Professor, Strategy & Society CSBP, University of Northampton

bring the two sectors – the for-profi t private and not– for-profi t third sector – closer together and unlock much-needed innovation. T is will help address the biggest social problems in our county - the county’s Hidden Needs as identifi ed by the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, NCF, a partner in these initiatives - as well as generate new opportunities and benefi ts for business..

Call to action Big, bold, hairy, audacious goals? Maybe – but the longest journey starts with the fi rst steps! COVID has accelerated not only the need but also the opportunity for positive and lasting change. T ese initiatives are examples of how an active Lieutenancy, working with an engaged and innovative University, can help the county and all citizens, charities and fi rms thrive and prosper. If more local businesses and charities engage

with us, we can raise the profi le of Northamptonshire for all the right reasons – and in so doing generate a few more National Honours and Queen’s Awards, areas in which the county is under-represented and something the Lord-Lieutenant is keen to change. CSBP now has a number of business, civic and

charity leaders joining us as External Associates – and welcomes more. If you and your organisation would like to get involved, raise your profi le and enhance your reputation as well as keep ahead of the latest CSR trends and key issues, please do get in touch. Are you ready for the Better Business Act?

To fi nd out more about any of the above, contact Adrian via or call 07720 297402

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