Posted: 07 Oct. 2020 5 min. read

How Trust, Transformation and Resilience are shaping our practice in Scotland

This is not quite the year I’d expected. Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of the work our teams have done across Scotland, helping clients respond to the pandemic. In March, we managed to transition nearly 800 people in Scotland in a matter of days to working from home, ensuring they were safe and able to serve our clients.  We have had to change the way we work and we have worked with our clients to help them do the same. 

Last week, we launched our Annual Report, focusing on Trust, Transformation and Resilience. The report brings together the firm’s financial performance for the year to 31 May 2020 alongside its Transparency Report, and the story of the firm’s Purpose.

The last financial year finished in the shadow of COVID-19, which has first and foremost been a human tragedy, but also brought with it a level of global disruption we have never seen before.  The pandemic has prompted a period of reflection, particularly around the role of business within wider society and how businesses, including Deloitte, must build trust, drive transformation and strengthen resilience to succeed.

COVID-19 has placed a greater focus on what being a responsible business means. We will continue to help clients consider their impact across a range of areas, including climate change, ethical supply chains, the safe storage of data, and responsible investment and lending strategies.

We ourselves have also taken the step to accelerate enhancements to the firm’s own governance, committing to reforms that will improve audit quality, increase choice, and restore public confidence and trust in audit.

The acceleration of change brought about by the pandemic has been huge, provoking us and our clients to think about the business we want to be and what needs to change to thrive.

To that end, we are transforming and opening a number of regional technology hubs across the UK. In Scotland, we are also in the process of launching an Investment & Wealth Management hub, which will provide an opportunity for us to invest in relevant skills, build on the teams deep sectoral capabilities and further Deloitte’s commitment to ‘levelling up’ its regional footprint.

COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on organisational weaknesses and challenges, and we have supported clients since March as they have responded and embedded financial, operational, and reputational resilience into areas such as the supply chain, workforce, digital, and cyber security. This will continue to be vital for businesses over the coming months so that leaders can react at pace, survive, and thrive.

Finally, while this has been a year of significant change, there have been some positives. We reached our target of helping one million people overcome barriers to education and employment through our One Million Futures programme, and are now looking to do even more to build skills as we aim to help another 5 million people across North and South Europe by 2030.

COVID-19 has also demonstrated the difference business can make to society.  In addition to helping clients respond to the pandemic, we have helped charity partners such as Social Bite adapt to the needs of a more digital future, while our team in Edinburgh worked with the Royal Bank of Scotland, and provided funding and logistical support to help provide over 8000 meals to struggling communities during lockdown.

Despite the disruption of this year, our commitment to society, our clients and our people in Scotland is something that will not change, and building Trust, Transformation and Resilience across our operations is critical to achieving our ambitions over the coming months and years ahead. 

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Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams


Stephen’s experience over the past 30 years has always been exclusively with retail financial services clients. Stephen is a member of the Board of Deloitte NSE, Chair of the UK Oversight Board and is the Chairman of Deloitte NSE's own Audit & Risk Committee. Previously Stephen worked on secondment for the EBRD in Eastern Europe, and spent 6 years in South Africa where he worked with local financial institutions. His present external audit clients include a number of regulated banks and other retail financial services businesses; including a number with an international presence. He also leads a number of propositions in the Challenger bank space, and leads a number of assurance and advisory projects in this space; including internal audit arrangements, regulatory advisory work, and work on assessing corporate governance and risk management frameworks. Recent other projects in which Stephen has been involved include: leading a HM Treasury CCA investigation resultant from a significant redress programme,  leading the reporting accountant work on the IPO of a now listed bank; leading the due diligence on behalf of a number of investors into a failing Building Society, and  Undertaking a number of S166 reviews on behalf of the regulator in relation to corporate governance and risk management at Challenger Banks.