2020 Annual Report

View from the regions

An interview with Pauline Biddle

Supporting economic growth beyond London

The Prime Minister has spoken about the importance and strengths of our nations and regions. I see the same qualities, daily, in our own business.

This year we achieved growth of six percent. We’ve also seen our client relationships deepen as we’ve helped them respond to, and recover from, the COVID-19 pandemic. Our 7,500 people based outside London have been at the heart of this.

Our hubs network

Designed to support our clients in some of the most dynamic and significant regional sectors, our hubs have stimulated local economies through job creation and by fostering collaboration and growth.

Following the launch of the Tech Foundry in Reading last year, we’ve now launched two more hubs, the Health Tech Catalyst in Birmingham and the Life Sciences Catalyst in Cambridge. Both are building on the skills within their ‘home’ cities – Birmingham has one of the biggest, most advanced hospitals in Europe while Cambridge boasts 400 leading life sciences firms as well as its renowned academic resources.

Our next location will be Edinburgh, where we will base our Investment & Wealth Management hub. Launching in early 2021, it will reflect our capabilities and connections in the sector but critically, create a community that will invest in skills, and help organisations navigate the critical themes and challenges they are facing, such as climate and sustainability.

“While I know this is a period of seismic change, I also know the strength that lies in our devolved nations and regions and the determination that lives there.”

A voice for the regions

We’re engaging with local and combined authorities, metro mayors and local enterprise partnerships to help them develop growth plans and bring businesses together.

In the South West, we’ve been working with the University of the West of England and the West of England Combined Authority to boost the area’s professional services sector and increase capabilities in FinTech and legal technology.

More recently, as the economic impact of the pandemic started to become clear, we partnered with membership organisation techUK on a series of digital discussions. Designed to accelerate the use of technology to enable recovery, the events brought together representatives from the public and private sectors in cities such as Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. The results will now be shared with government.

We also took part in the roundtable sessions led by the Business Secretary that looked at the levelling-up agenda and its role in the UK’s economic recovery and growth.

Our societal impact

Business has a responsibility to give back to the regions in which they operate. We’ve supported 21 society partners outside the capital, including through the pandemic. This has ranged from fundraising to providing vital services, such as phone lines for children and lunchboxes and laptops for those in need.  

The devolved nations and regions contributed more than £1.1 million in fundraising and time to community initiatives and impacted over 26,000 futures through societal programmes in FY20. It played a significant part in ensuring the firm achieved, ahead of schedule, its ambition of helping one million people get to where they want to be through access to education and employment.

We will support our society partners, as well as our clients and people, as we continue to understand the impact of COVID-19. I’m very aware of the huge challenges that are being faced by everyone, regardless of sector or the street or town in which they live.

The future

We know the biggest commitment we can make to recovery, and greater equality, is investment in people, and in particular the next generation of the UK workforce. In Wales we have been designated as an Anchor Company in the Welsh Economy, and now employ around 1,200 people in our Cardiff practice.

In Northern Ireland last year, we recruited 74 BrightStart apprentices, 33 graduates, 18 placement students and brought 45 into our business through Academies. There is no question this brings new ideas and fresh perspectives to our business and for our clients. We also estimate a fifth of our entire practice in Belfast originally joined us as apprentices.

Pauline Biddle was previously Managing Partner for the Regions, Deloitte UK, and has now been appointed as Managing Partner of Clients & Industries, Deloitte UK as of 1st October 2020