CEOs Olly Benzecry and Sacha Romanovitch in Advisory Group of IEP

21 September 2017 4 min. read

Olly Benzecry, managing director of Accenture UK & Ireland, and Sacha Romanovitch, chief executive of Grant Thornton UK, have joined leaders from business and civil society organisations to launch the UK government’s new Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP). The initiative will see the constituent members work together to identify and help solve societal challenges.

The government’s Inclusive Economy Partnership has been launched, with the hope that leaders from businesses and civil society can work together to develop solutions to societal challenges. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Karen Bradley chaired the first meeting on Monday 11th September 2017. The Partnership will be led by an Advisory Group of 14 chief executives from a wide range of businesses and civil society organisations. The new organisation is being convened by the DCMS and Cabinet Office, with support from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Earlier in the year, a study from the non-profit organisation Good Things Foundation found that more than 15 million Britons struggled to get the best use out of the Internet – something further alienating a disproportionate number of underprivileged individuals from the poorest socio-economic sections of society. The government’s new Partnership will sit at least twice a year over a three to five year period, looking to support organisations which aim at addressing issues relating to financial inclusion and capability, mental health and the transition to work.

Inclusive Economy Partnership

Inclusive Economy Partnership

The Inclusive Economy Partnership website states that solutions from organisations that address these challenges are eligible for support and funding to scale up their work to address the three main areas. Between January and March 2018, businesses and civil society partners will work with successful applicants to expand their work and that those without enough resources will be granted up to £20,000.

Over 80 individuals from business and civil society have already signed up to working groups for each of these areas, which will develop solutions to help tackle these issues over the coming months. Launching partners include National Grid, Nationwide, O2, TechUK, NCVO and Big Lottery Fund, as well as consulting firms Accenture and Grant Thornton.

Olly Benzecry, managing director of Accenture UK & Ireland, is one leader on the advisory panel*. Having been with Accenture since 1992, Benzecry has also been a board member at The Tech Partnership, a network of employers collaborating to create the skills for the digital economy, since 2011. The group’s ambition is to deliver the skills for a million digital jobs in the UK by 2025, and the role will have provided him with a well-grounded understanding of social alienation in relation to the financial inclusion considerations that this new partnership will also centre on.

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Grant Thornton UK, has, as well as being on the advisory committee, been announced as the co-chair along with Caroline Mason, the chief executive of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Romanovitch has been CEO at Grant Thornton UK since 2015, having initially joined the firm in 1990, after completing a Masters in Chemistry at the University of Oxford. She initially became a partner with the firm in 2001, before ascending to become partner for people and culture on the company’s leadership board in 2008 – a role which provides her with valuable experience for the task ahead with the Inclusive Economy Partnership.

Sacha Romanovitch en Olly Benzecry

Speaking after the inaugural meeting, Romanovitch said, “The UK is at a pivotal point in its history and collaboration between sectors has never been more important to address the big challenges we face in our society and economy. This initiative comes at a perfect moment to mobilise a growing movement of purposeful businesses who see themselves as an integral part of society and solving societal challenges as part of their core business. The aim of The Partnership aligns with our firm’s purpose to shape a vibrant economy with better outcomes for all and I am delighted to be taking an active role.”

* Other members of the Advisory Group are John Pettigrew, chief executive of National Grid; Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide Building Society; Mark Evans, chief executive of O2; Robert Noel, chief executive of Landsec; Jacqueline de Rojas, president, techUK; Caroline Mason, chief executive, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Mark Norbury, chief executive, UNLtd; Peter Holbrook, chief executive, Social Enterprise UK; Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive, NCVO; Dawn Austwick, chief executive, Big Lottery Fund; and Cliff Prior, chief executive, Big Society Capital.