By Lord Steve Bassan, chair of the BITC Place Taskforce.
A narrated version of this blog is available at the bottom of the page
Business in the Community (BITC), the UK’s largest responsible business network, has launched a taskforce-led enquiry into the involvement of business in place-based regeneration. The organisation is examining how best to stimulate business support for the UK’s most hard-pressed communities and trying to better understand where and how businesses can work in partnership with the Government, local authorities, community groups, and other corporates to bring about long-lasting change.
To help us do this, we have launched a Call for Evidence, which is open to all organisations across the public, private, and third sectors. We are setting out to capture and showcase ‘what works’ in transforming communities across the UK, with the aim of creating a blueprint for businesses so that they can understand their role in place-based transformation. Our ambition is for this blueprint to be utilised from businesses leaders to policymakers to, increase business engagement in regeneration and inform policy at a critical moment as the levelling up agenda takes shape.
Business in the Community’s Call for Evidence is open until 5 November, and the findings will be shared through a report by April 2022 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of BITC.
So why should ACEVO members get involved and what difference do we expect to make?
BITC’s Place Taskforce provides an opportunity to bring the voices of leaders from across the UK together. We can only understand the role that businesses can and should play through listening to the first-hand experience of those organisations that have been tackling inequality, poverty, and social exclusion in our communities for decades.
We believe that the work of levelling up is too important to be left to government-led initiatives alone. BITC, alongside other third sector organisations, has been striving towards a levelled up country for decades, it is part of our collective DNA. What we now need is to make the case publicly for a better understanding of what actually works, and provide a blueprint for businesses so they know how to make it happen.
We want to make it easier for both large corporates and SMEs to engage with and transform their communities. Historically, businesses share their knowledge and experience, make their resources available and give pro-bono time, but step back from making long-term commitments. We believe that the impact of Covid-19, the potential unintended consequences of Brexit, and the urgency of climate change means this has to change. Few enquiries shake the world, but this one might, and it couldn’t be more timely.
How to get involved
BITC’s Taskforce wants to receive your ideas and input, so please submit written evidence. We are also hosting verbal evidence sessions, roundtables and discussions, and carrying out visits to places where business-led transformation has worked. If you want to get involved, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business in the Community is very grateful to Oxford University’s Government Outcomes Lab for their research support on this project, and for the Barrow Cadbury Trust and the LGA for sponsoring our work.