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GTKPB - September 2018



** Get To Know Pro Bono - Issue 8 **

16th September 2018  

Pro-bono Committee

This will be my last Pro Bono Committee newsletter for a while as I’m stepping down as Chair with immediate effect.  After 6 years with the Company, and 7 years of “retirement”, I am rebalancing my priorities and will not have the time to commit to the role over the next 9 months or more. I will remain on the Committee and PM Patrick Chapman will take over as Chair (for a second time!).  I thought therefore that this was a good time to take stock of the past year or so, although there is one new opportunity in here.


The Committee work hard at ensuring that requests for support from potential clients are appropriately qualified and the most suitable consultants from our volunteer Members are deployed on each assignment.   The initial qualification work that must be carried out in response to an enquiry has been shared across the Committee members over the past few months, and this has work well, but as a result I don’t think we have been publicising our efforts sufficiently via this newsletter.  I’m sure we’ll rectify that going forward.  We have certainly been busy, with a wide variety of charities being supported through mentoring and management consulting services such as strategy development, business planning, workshop facilitation and improving governance.   Recent client organisations include:

  • One Digital

  • FACE

  • Community Catalysts CIC

  • Bags of Taste

  • Volunteering Matters

  • St George's Childcare

  • The London Irish Centre charity

  • North Herts Emotional Support in Schools Service (NESSie)

  • Royal School of Church Music

  • Magic Me

  • The Brain Tumour Charity

  • YMCA England and Wales

  • YMCA England and Wales

  • The Fore

  • Raise Your Hands

  • Community Managed Libraries Peer Support Network

  • Sea Cadets

  • High Ground

  • Bioregional

  • Acknowledging Youths


Pro Bono Consulting and mentoring services would simply not exist without our volunteers so here we acknowledge and thank them for their efforts during the year:

  • Kanan Barot
  • Alan Broomhead
  • Gia Campari
  • Patrick Chapman
  • John Corneille
  • Alistair Dixon
  • Simon Engwell
  • Denise Fellows
  • Robert Fonteijn
  • Jim Foster
  • Sally Garratt
  • Bob Garratt
  • David Glassman
  • Malcolm Green
  • Bob Harris
  • Tom Jenkins
  • Alan Latham
  • Douglas Mancini
  • Steve Mayhew
  • John Pulford
  • Noorzaman Rashid
  • Natasha Roe
  • Gwen Stirling Wilkie
  • Karol Szlichcinski
  • Liz Walker
  • Chris Wilson
  • Nanette Young
  • And me!



The names shown above represent about 50% of our members who have indicated an interest in pro bono work. It is our aspiration to increase this participation rate in 2018/19.  

Several members also contribute significant amounts of their time to Charities and CICs with which they are directly associated, but which are not WCoMC clients per se.  These efforts are duly acknowledged here.  You know who you are.  

A new short-term opportunity: LEAH  (Learn English at Home)

LEAH support isolated ethnic minority adults with low levels of English in South West London.  Their fully-trained and experienced volunteer tutors offer bespoke ESOL lessons in the learners' homes and small group classes in community settings.  All services are free of charge. 

LEAH is coming to the end of a three-year strategic/business plan, and beginning to think about the next three years.  Unsurprisingly, it faces several challenges common to small charities.  There is a growing need for the services described above, and LEAH is keen to meet that need, especially with the government spotlight on English as a key success factor in integrating communities.  For LEAH, this means increasing its income, scrutinising its delivery model and identifying partners with whom it can work to extend its reach and offer.

LEAH is looking for a speaker/workshop facilitator on the topic of capacity building for the annual Board 'Awayday' on Tuesday 9 October – so this is a bit urgent.    This will require preparation with some of the trustees and then run a great workshop for them… a few days effort I’d have thought.  More information here.

If you think you can help – and this really ought to be right down our street - then please contact Patrick Chapman.

Youth Business International (YBI)

As I'm sure you know we support the accreditation of YBI's network of some 50 international members by providing independent assessors. During 2017-18, six accreditation reviews have been completed in the following countries: Hong Kong, Poland, Kenya, Barbados, Trinidad and South Africa.  The number of assignments was somewhat lower than in previous years as YBI appointed a new CEO in January 2018 who wished to take stock of the YBI business strategy and the role of accreditation. We are pleased that the future programme has been reconfirmed, and the Company’s Charitable Fund has agreed to provide a grant towards the cost of accreditation visits.

We have also carried out a major consultancy assignment for the YBI central team in London during the year – take a bow Chris Wilson. Taking this and all the accreditations into account, our contribution to YBI in 2017/18 would be worth about £200,000.  YBI remains our biggest client: the relationship is managed by Bob Harris, who has also been appointed to the YBI Accreditation Committee.

Short term volunteering opportunities:

Recognising that not everyone can manage to support longer pro bono assignments we have introduced members to a range of opportunities to volunteer without too much commitment of time, which can be summarised as follows: 

Short sharp interventions – e.g. workshop facilitation.    Like the one above. You never know what can come out of such events.  - I recently ran such an event for a London based charity – Volunteering Matters - and I ended up acting as their Interim Finance Director for three months.  

The Company has joined up with LSL, Livery Schools Link, to offer a very simple way for Liverymen and Freemen to register their interest in volunteering to visit Schools (that’s schools generally – not just “Livery Schools” - and a range of other establishments) and to help in areas such as Career/Motivational talks, becoming a Governor (or even recommending a friend).  You can sign up here.

Pro Bono Evening Events

We held two major events during the past year. The first, in September 2017, was to hear about the result of research with which we helped CassCCE, and to get input and ideas on how WCoMC can continue to work with OCS and the Charity Commission on the design and management of a major programme of action to strengthen charity governance.

The second was in February 2018 with Big Society Capital. The focus was:

  • to hear about and discuss the theory and practical reality of social investment and Big Society Capital’s work and
  • to hear about the “GET INFORMED – Social Investment for Boards” campaign, the mentoring offer for charities and social enterprises. Resources are available for our own mentoring work, networks and clients.


Over the past year or two we have received a handful of Pro Bono requests that were, upon examination, for legal advice.  During 2017/18 First Warden John Corneille and Freeman Tom Jenkins worked with iProbono, a charity which provides pro bono legal services to individuals and charities in the U.K. and abroad. The charity has volunteers from major law firms and in-house corporate legal functions. Because of this work we now have an informal relationship between WCoMC and iProbono, where we can cross-refer pro bono requests, which will increase our joint capabilities to support client organisations.

Charities Supper

The Charities Supper continues to be one of our showcase events.  I will not rehearse the January 2018 supper here – it went very well.  But I will ask you to put next year’s event in your calendars:  WEDNESDAY 16th January 2019.  I can assure you that I’m leaving it in good shape with 3 excellent speakers from client charities already lined up.  Watch for more on that in the coming weeks.


Under the continued leadership of David Glassman and Nanette Young, we have continued to develop our pro bono mentoring capability, and Members of the Company have responded to Charities’ needs.  We had planned another “master mentor” training workshops with attention directed to involving members new to the Company.  However, with no clear demand from members no such workshops were held.  Nevertheless, demand from clients is strong, and over the past few months the number of requests for mentoring support have exceeded those for consultancy, so a further Mentoring Forum is planned for November 2018.

Get To Know your Pro Bono Committee.

This time - me.  I was a transport nut in my 20s, even becoming a graduate trainee at London Transport, where I was a contemporary of Sir Peter Hendy – and look what happened to him.  But finance beckoned, and I qualified as an accountant in 1984.  After a spell as a real accountant I ended up in PW / PwC from 1990 – 2000. Having fallen foul of the infamous Coopers merger I moved around a bit and went independent in 2006, spent some time working in India, the US, Trinidad … and Reading!   My specialism, if I have one, is change and programme management, although I seem to have gone back to my Finance roots recently with a couple of Interim FD roles in Charities … all good fun. 

I joined the Company in 2012, having had a less than satisfactory volunteering experience at the London Olympics.  Like many of our members I wanted to “put something back”.    I’ve been a member of the Pro-Bono Committee for most of the time since then, in which role I have personally undertaken about a dozen pro-bono assignments as well as acting as Chair for the past 21 months. 

My passions are travel & transport, great food and rock music (especially live), and I’m off to combine many of these in a grand tour of the world.  Having a granddaughter in Australia also acts as a major magnet.   

I’m not disappearing completely, and I’ll see you sat the Charities Supper in January. Thank you for your support over the past couple of years and, as ever, for reading this far.   


Thank you
​Kind regards

Steve Cant

Steve Cant
Chair, ProBono Committee



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WCoMC is a collegiate forward looking Modern City Livery Company; we maintain City traditions,
share expertise and information between fellow members and give back to the community through our pro bono activities.
We provide a unique opportunity to engage with those shaping the future of the UK, particularly management consultants working within the City.
WCoMC is a Chartered Charitable Organisation (Privy Council Reference C877) and a Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (Company No. RC000819).