Reinventing Partnerships

Monday, July 04, 2016

18:00 - 21:00

Is the binary world where business makes money and NGOs do good coming to an end? Are deeper partnerships between these strange bedfellows critical to both parties unlocking their potential?

GSK and Save the Children, Interface and the Zoological Society of London, O2 and UK Youth are partnerships that hint at a future of convergence. Where the private sector delivers more public good, and where charities and NGOs have greater reach. Where society benefits, and faith in capitalism is restored. Are we smoking the funny stuff?

For many, the defining feature of these partnerships is that they are strategic. They identify the strengths of each partner and the mutual benefit, and create foundations of trust and respect. The business benefits include higher levels of employee motivation, a lower cost of accessing new markets and product innovation.

On the 4th July we heard from architects on both sides of the partnerships. Phil Thomson sits on the GSK executive team and is responsible for Community Partnerships. Tanya Steele is interim CEO of Save the Children, and has been intimately involved in the partnership with GSK. Interface’s Miriam Turner has pioneered partnerships with Zoological Society of London and Philippine fishermen. Gib Bulloch was formerly Exec Director of Accenture Development Partnerships and is a thought leader on X-sector convergence.

With Axel Threlfall at the helm, we explored issues such as;

  • What benefits have the pioneer partnerships delivered for both sides?
  • How should a business choose the right charity partner?
  • What needs to happen to align motivation and build trust?
  • How can partnerships help to deliver the Global Goals?
  • What is the downside risk if these partnerships fail?
Speakers

Axel Threlfall Reuters

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Gib Bulloch Accenture Development Partner...

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Miriam Turner Interface Inc.

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Phil Thomson GSK

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Tanya Steele Save the Children

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Round Tables

Choosing a partner

How important is it that charity partners reflect the broad values and business strategy of an organisation? How can you identify the different potential partners available? What are the things you should consider when choosing a partner, from an alignment of commercial interests to the quality of the management team?  And what is the ideal length of a commitment?

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What does a good partnership look like? Is there a best practise when it comes to good partnerships? It would be useful to come up with some sort of template or code of practise that organisations can use to refer to when setting up a partnership. To ensure there is consistency in a partnership for example, between charity values and business objectives. It would be good to get a framework in place for the partnership so that expectations are set from the offset. A good example of this is the Network Rail case study.
An attendee experienced resentment in only having a global partner charity. Prefer to have a mix of local and global partner charities – it has actually been seen that local charities raise more for local funders.
An attendee has a long standing partnerships with Princes Trust and has been impressed by how business focussed/ minded they are in terms of their planning, strategic over sight, impact numbers shared. Choosing a big charity to partner with means that they have more experience working with corporates (know how corporates work) whereas smaller charities are not always seen as stable (there’s a risk of them going bust). Big vs small is an important consideration when partnering up.
Rather than having individual partnerships it could be more beneficial to look at the overarching vision of a programme e.g. “Prevent diarrhoea in children” and then partner up with organisations that would support this vision. Gives more scope to invite more partners in.
Moving away from employee selected charity partners (usually kids and cancer) to more strategic business selected partnerships. Looking at issues such as social deprivation and suicide. Can make a business case for why preventing suicides on railways has financial benefits for Network Rail.
Working with Samaritans, it’s a long term partnership, and if there was a change of partners there will be an issue with Intellectual Property e.g. logos, design
Is an advisory service a partnership? If no money has exchanged hands but there has been a clear benefit – is that a partnership.
Not all businesses realise the benefit from charity, in putting together a programme and delivering on it such as the resources involved e.g. labour

Climate partnerships

Most would agree that individual companies can’t go it alone on climate change, but where does power lie in different collaboration models? Is it industry forums such as the UKGBC? Or are pledge mechanisms such as the RE100 demonstrating that peer pressure is the way to go? How important is knowledge sharing to delivering a low carbon economy?

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Most would agree that individual companies can’t do it alone on climate change, but where does
power lie in different collaboration models? Is it industry forums such as the UKGBC?
- It is important to develop a collective understanding of what limiting global temperature rise to 1.5-2oC really means for businesses.
- There should be collaboration between and within countries and within sectors crossing international boundaries when it comes to carbon taxation in order to have a biggest effect and avoid the problem of carbon leakage and the current inconsistent approach.
- Organisations need to partner in order to implement new ideas and have appropriate financing in addition to the necessary verification and certification of the new technology/product.
- Industry forums are required to identify topics that could benefit the climate and facilitate collective discussions to stimulate voluntary action and make the case for associated regulation. UKGBC and The Consumer Goods Forum are both good examples of this model.
- A lot can be achieved by engaging the end consumer. An example is the plastic carrier bags where there is decrease in resources used as well as a decrease in the costs of the shops to buy the bags for the customers.

Or are pledge mechanisms such as the RE100 demonstrating that peer pressure is the way to go?
- Peer pressure can affect decisions of companies and drive change. An example is CDP supply chain reporting programme which has driven an increase in the scope of emissions reported by companies. However, the companies that report to this are mainly the big players and SMEs are in danger of missing out on the opportunities created by involvement in these supply-chain programmes.
- It is important to set some standards that need to be followed by everyone within a sector/industry in order to have aligned targets and pledges and ensure that existing standards do not overlap/compete with each other. Sectors should collaborate collectively on this to ensure fair competition.
- Pledges such as Carbon Pricing Leadership should be implemented globally in order to have bigger effect.
- UK is a world leader in carbon pricing but there needs to be better collaboration with other countries as well.

How important is knowledge sharing to mitigate/adapt to climate change?
- Capacity in society: the general public needs to get involved since the partnerships need to be accepted and welcomed by them. There needs to be a social licence to operate regardless of the nature of the partnerships that requires the sharing of knowledge with other people.
- We need partnerships in order to combat climate change. Partnerships are fundamental to create change which many people fear. Thus organizations need to work together to develop the best solutions, safety nets such as some legislation that will create a safe zone of operation as well as create the space for improvements.
- All members need to be involved and create competition within and amongst partnerships in order to get more people involved and leverage greater scale of climate change action.

Energising internal partnerships

The challenge facing most energy and sustainability teams lies in engaging influential internal functions such as marketing and finance. How can they turn them into partners in meeting their objectives? Is it about winning hearts and minds, or presenting solutions in their language? To what extent is this an experience and skill set problem…?

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Structural obstacles
• Often where the CSR team sits within an organisation determines the strength of their internal partnerships.
• CSR strategies tend to be made at a global level by the core head office team. But sometimes the teams that implement the strategies locally, sit in very different functions in the organisation. This structure at a local level affects the strength of their internal partnerships.

Communications
• It is important to speak the same language as your internal partner. This can be very challenging, as different functions can see the same project through different perspectives.
• Some CSR projects are easier to get buy-in, such as energy saving projects, but it is often much harder to get people on board with projects that have more intangible benefits.
• To help communicate the benefits, it is often necessary to engage the right people at every level of the organisation, not only senior management. It can be very useful to map out who are the movers and shakers within an organisation.
• De-mystifying your own CSR team’s purpose is also important to communicating benefits to partners.
Long-term thinking
• Difficult to build long-term internal partnerships within an organisation that has a short term outlook. CSR projects do not fit into quarterly reports but take a much longer time to see results.
• The key thing is for CSR people to take risks, challenge the status quo and forge good relationships across the board.

Conclusion
• Internal communication is critical to gaining visibility and understanding within an organisation. The more colleagues know about the CSR team and its projects, the more they will understand and believe in the projects.

Food partnerships

Producing food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Food businesses are also well placed to become a major part of the solution. Can effective partnerships between food companies and conservation charities help to accelerate this process and to deliver long term and sustainable financial returns alongside net environmental benefits?

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Producing food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Food businesses are also well placed to become a major part of the solution. Can effective partnerships between food companies and conservation charities help to accelerate this process and to deliver long term and sustainable financial returns alongside net environmental benefits?
• The solution isn’t necessarily just profit. Reputational and operational risks are also on the line, therefore the partnership should extend to the entire supply chain, liaising NGO’s intels and network and leveraging business capacity to request changes from the public sector.
• Partnership needs to incorporate a bigger and common purpose between NGO and businesses, rather than just specifically on supply chain to ensure credibility of the partnership. Aim for the optimal point with maximum value from the spectrum of possible partnership.
• Multi-sector partnership could be challenging with many difficult compromises to make. Due diligence is important and should factor in trust and reputation. The balance between difficult partnership and the scale of impacts is also crucial.
• Potential common goals could be developed between businesses and NGOs, with the willingness and knowledge to invest in a different business model.
• Third-party verification helps to engage small companies, allowing them to tap in and participate in policy changes, and to benefit from cost sharing in the group. Potential synergy and common interests from the industry could also drive collaborated partnership with NGOs, with materiality of impacts in mind. Pre-existing alliance may not be the best fit but will get small companies a good starting point.
• Due diligence from partnership could help to set baseline, which is commonly the first hurdle for small companies to make changes.
• It is possible and necessary to leverage partnership to transform agriculture into an industry with net environmental benefits in the long term.
• Changes and pace needs to align with sustainable model instead of unsustainable economic model in order to achieve changes in time.
• Consumer engagement and awareness are important to create the market pull, offer financial terms for such changes.
• Whether sustainable changes could be achieved fast enough is uncertainty without changes in rules (policy), dramatic shift, and new market place creation.

Partnering with suppliers

One of the most critical relationships for an organisation is with its suppliers. Rather than looking to control suppliers within traditional business constraints, greater value can be realised through a partnership approach. This roundtable will discuss the notion and practicalities of such an approach and the benefits this can bring to all parties.

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- It was agreed by all parties that innovation, trust and transparency are key when forming a business partnership whether this be with another business/supplier or with a charity/NGO. It was also agreed that a medium to long term outlook is important when creating a successful partnership, rather than just looking at short term ‘wins’/gains.
- A partnership is an investment and will therefore have risks associated with it. These risks should be considered by both parties before a partnership is formed and during the partnership. Is a partnership worth a decrease in profits if there are other benefits? Will bad PR for one business affect the other?
- A good partnership is generally considered to present win-win situations for both parties i.e. to be mutually beneficial. The partnership may act to attract new business or strengthen existing relationships. A good partnership will have overlapping objectives and one business’s agenda should not be enforced on the other(s).
- Trust is possibly the strongest binding element in any partnership and in balancing what each side brings to and gets from the arrangement will also rely upon the building of mutual respect over time
- Certain costs (such as time to implement systems, gain certifications, undergo compliance audits etc) and risks (such as restricted access to peer customers and too much customer squeeze) do exist and need to be managed, if not averted – a regular review of the relationship is an obvious step towards this
- What does a ‘partnership’ mean in practice? Who should look to approach who? How do you go about building a partnership? What qualities/features should you look for in a good business partnership? What would the client/customer/business/supplier gain from a partnership? How can a partnership improve people’s lives? Are partnerships easier given globalisation and the interconnected world?
- Often a supplier is chosen based on quality, cost and the ease at which they can supply a product/service. Do we need to ‘change the conversation’ and choose a supplier based on other/additional factors i.e. company objectives, common values, sustainability goals etc. or will both become the norm ?
- It is important to consider the value chain associated with both sides of a partnership and that buyers are sufficiently educated that they understand the complexities of the supply chain?
- Does a partnership require a fundamental shift is business? The idea of Purpose vs Profit was considered. Are businesses really interested in investing in a sustainable partnership with purpose? Is common ground an important aspect? Do small suppliers have the resources and the time to align with larger companies e.g. audits, accreditations etc. Would a close partnership preclude business with others?
- Can business de-risk through integration with suppliers? E.g. investment alongside or within a charity would help to align a company’s values with said charity creating/promoting shared values. A blended finance model.
- How do you know if you have a good/successful partnership? Happiness index? Profitability? Employee engagement/satisfaction? Customer satisfaction? Good PR?
- A good partnership is one that can demonstrate shared values in a non-commercial manner e.g. alignment of sustainability goals and GHG reduction targets?

Examples
- Sainsbury’s growers and farmers are part of a ‘buyers’ club’ which enables them to pool resources and bulk buy items such as animal feed at a reduced rate in addition to reduced energy and water rates. This relationship is mutually beneficial.
- Fairtrade champions the first stage of production e.g. the small holder/farmer and a core partnership between the buyer and seller is considered to be critical in order to meet demand. The supply chain must be considered.
- The food and drink industry tend to have short term contracts therefore, it is difficult to consider long term effects of partnerships with suppliers and to consider other benefits to a partnership other than profit margins.
- The concept of the ‘moral compass’ was discussed. One participant explained that each time their company received a brief, it is processed through the ‘moral compass’, involving all employees in order to ensure that the work aligns with company values. Any briefs that fail are turned away. This has a direct impact on the work that is taken on by the business and therefore profitability.
- Boots operate a number of factories in mainland Europe which are also used by other cosmetics brands (a manufacturing network). Although these companies are not directly in partnerships, Boots can review management information from other brands which can feed into their systems and given them new ideas.
- An example of a partnership which did not work well was between Boots and Theranos (the 2016 Theranos scandal). Theranos were accused of using falsified data resulting in a loss of trust and disbandment of the partnership. This example shows the importance of trust and transparency in a partnership.
- H&M currently publish where their items of clothing come from. This information is publically available on their website and is considered to be good for business. Customers are starting to take more care in where they buy products from and want transparency.

Reinventing partnerships

Drawing from the panel discussion, we’ll digest the new generation of business / charity partnerships. What is it that separates them from a traditional world of corporate philanthropy? What is meant by “deeper partnerships”? What role will they play in the future, and how could they unlock trillions of capital for the Global Goals?

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TABLE 6A
Creating a deeper relationship needs understanding of each partner’s needs and opportunities, but how long does that take?
- Partnerships need time to develop naturally – at least a year to get to know community & working style and to get over tensions.
- Depends on size of companies (big name & bureaucracy vs. smaller charity & faster results) and how long people stay in corporate (9 years) and charity (18 months) sector for.
- Should spend as much time as needed first aligning core objectives in a partnership to make everything else go smoothly.
- Partnerships should be designed from the front for others to join later, ‘ownerless’ even, as potential benefits of others joining later are gigantic, e.g. Nike + active sports.
- Need to design long-term value to build legacy even after partnership is over, e.g. Commonwealth Games.

After building trust, how can we make partnerships stay on target and see the value that we want?
- Business case and triple bottom line needs to be very clearly laid out, but not so obvious with employee engagement programmes. Requires a leap of faith from CEO but best to use initiative rather than be pushed to change.
- Lack of knowledge of sustainability/climate change a big barrier to making decisions. Measuring impact allows you to scale up partnership but is a big investment.
- Mature relationships allow for questioning and challenging each other. Mutually beneficial: expert from NGO can sit on environment board, companies can help NGO with business practice.
- Partnerships go through cycles of testing → execution → reflection. With each new cycle you can stretch horizons and take bigger risks.
- Responsibility not just with CEO; values and strategic framework need to be aligned all the way down the organisation to the last detail for partnership to work properly, e.g. supply chain logistics.
- Small charities may have a very narrow focus therefore difficult to match values exactly. Also need skill to deal with large corporates (can be terrifying).
- Much more successful trying to develop things on the ground rather than through middle managers.

In terms of unlocking trillions of capital, how much appetite is there for partnerships and how much money does it take?
- Appetite more about advocacy and government playing their part to enable business to effect change – another partnership to negotiate?
- Publicly declare tangible outcomes to gain interest from potential partners, especially as we digitise.
- Avoid dependencies so that partners grow and become more successful. Key to this is transparency about partnership length and funding.
- Bringing together different organisations and frameworks of social investment is good but hard to get funding if no-one takes ownership. As partnerships get bigger it puts more pressure on goals – divide into focused clusters and find entrepreneurs to ‘spark’ these groups.
- End in itself shouldn’t be about unlocking trillions, but ‘big hairy goal’ (although that may need trillions to unlock it).


TABLE 6B
Key theme – Associated tensions related to the future considerations for partnerships

1. Charities often campaign against very same businesses that are potential partners; and often have heavy reliance on funding from them
- Can’t afford to risk losing reputation/ independence along the way or ruining opportunity with a potential partner
- Bring competences together to create solutions

2. In large multi-stakeholder relationships (i.e. business; government and charities), biggest challenge is agreeing on who in the driving seat
- Smaller partnerships where narrow in on a specific focus, sometimes most effective. Example: Supply chain issues addressed through: Nestle’s CARE Audit Programme
- Start small - partnerships first piloted and then scaled through networks; then bring in other partners as required
- Incubation hubs such as the Foundry -> encourage corporates to connect with social entrepreneurs
- Not always about large complicated partnerships; a spider’s web of networks able to adapt to local situations is more powerful. Presents a new way of tapping into new ideas and to scale

3. Commercial partnerships specifically, still pose a level of insecurity from the non-profits perspective
- Partnerships work best when a combined distribution of time, funds and surplus all considered – a holistic approach

4. Objectives may be shared, but motivations can differ widely (internal and external partners)
- Need to identify and understand what these are and then find a way to work around them
- Get brand/function/finance to think differently about innovation, combining commercial and social objectives leading to exciting possibilities
- Have to think differently about what it is and how it is done whether same- or cross-sector

5. Pre-competitive/same-sector collaboration
- Co-creation is ideal scenario. A possible solution is an instruction coming from a big brand.
- Partners given something new and different to engage with through activation of the organisation’s supply chain, where suppliers and partners required to work together


6. Charities a potential hindrance to innovation
- Certain processes/regulations within large charities can often be restrictive. Often lack the clout that small community partnerships may have; more mobile/flexible. Same applies to big established organisations.
- The key is transparency and reporting – and therefore need to select partner organisations that can match what is required in terms of impact monitoring and measurement

7. Power dynamic between partnerships with different organisational sizes -> is it ever really a true partnership? Especially at the beginning of the journey, where not yet any long-term commitment, how much bargaining power do partners outside of business have?
- No real meeting of minds
- Pooling of same sector resources may be required to build momentum and scale as all competitors doing similar things

8. Pro-bono partnerships more often conducted on a local level; national and corporate level however more focused on philanthropy
- Homebuilding sector operates in a cyclical nature -> boom and bust cycle. Boom: things are working well -why should we change anything; Bust: can’t afford to take risks, survival is key – do nothing
- Leadership needs to enlighten middle management to think differently

9. Tendency in large retailers to move away from philanthropy in order to build legacy through longer term CR programmes and partnerships


TABLE 6C
Challenges, what do we expect to get out of the discussion?
• How to transform systems?
• How to establish partnerships?
• How to stimulate the interest of young people in the development sector.
• How to engage corporate social investments?
• Africa focused work, how partnership ties with SDGs, especially around equality.
• How do we get the less “glamorous areas” of partnerships created?
• Which bits of partnerships are really delivering and which ones are worth dropping?

Drawing from the panel discussion, we’ll digest the new generation of business / charity partnerships.
What is it that separates them from a traditional world of corporate philanthropy?
It’s the way an organisation structured and the way activities are being reported back. It’s about making it personal. Clarity about what each side is getting as well as a clear set of KPIs.

Both parties are to bring something to the table and something to gain from the partnership. It’s being more strategic about those intentions. It has to be linked to business, so it makes a stronger business case. For example sustainable fishing – a company has an access to the market and charity has expertise. Contracts sometimes might be a bit problematic, charter could be easier to manage. Shared understanding of each other’s objectives is key, partnerships are relationships.

What is meant by “deeper partnerships”?
It’s very similar as this is about being strategic and open. Having deep programs. Buying a service could be a bit transactional, thus relationships are important. Co-creating is very important. Relationships are taking you to other areas and you start co-creating.

Is there less of a power divide and more equal voices in deeper partnerships?

Is deeper better? If there is a change of leadership depth of partnership could be an issue as it may be wiped away. For a deep partnership you’ve got to have a multilayer buy in and to have multiple connections at various levels. Co-creation keeps everyone engaged. Deeper partnership could be around one issue, but it needs to be built in operational model.

What role will they play in the future, and how could they unlock trillions of capital for the Global Goals?
Do we need to set up new forms of entities in order to achieve the SDGs? Could it be a collaboration between two start-ups or does it always need to be with a corporation? Small innovative disruptive projects can demonstrate the new ways of doing business and delivering social benefits, so the corporations would pick it up. Disruptive projects have to make a business case and make it interesting for big corporations.

Deeper partnerships are about relationships rather than transactions. And these relationships are to be across the organisation with multiple layers. Good and a clear governance is also important for “true partnerships”. Successful partnerships are given budgets not from the CSR departments, but are budgeted from business operations.

The art of partnership

What makes partnerships work? How would you rank issues such as trust, mutual self-interest, clear targets and measurement of outcomes? Which partnerships do you admire and why? What are the relative strengths of businesses and charities, and how can partnerships play to these strengths? How do you know if a partnership has been successful?

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TABLE 7A
What is the difference between a philanthropic relationship and a partnership?

In the former, the funder donates money to what is perceived as a good cause, and lets the charitable body carry out what it deems will better the cause; the latter is more about both parties putting in skill and expertise, co-creating and working towards a shared goal.
What makes partnerships work? Partners work best together when they:
• Know what the benefits are, and are clear on what success looks like for all – even if this evolves or is revised at a later stage. Honesty is key here.
• Establish a governance structure early on, and agree on terms of reference.
• Build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
• Agree KPIs and other metrics, which are followed from the get-go.

Which partnerships do we admire, and why?
• British Gas and Shelter – a partnership that helps create homes. The brand alignment here is strong, but also British Gas employees have become engaged with regular volunteering at Shelter charity shops, showcasing the true long term value for both partners.
• Ben & Jerry’s and Greyston Bakery in New York. The company sources all of its brownies from this bakery/social enterprise in order to boost local community skills training.
• CDP and the big four consultancies for their partnership on annual reporting – CDP able to complete high quality work on schedule, and consultancies gain credibility and understanding within the sustainability space.
• A local Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water - a long standing partnership that prioritises conservation of local ecosystems. Benefits include profound employee engagement; protection of endangered species and, as a result, a boost to the local economy.

How do we get to cross-sector, multi-partner collaborations?
The breaking down of silos and sectors is happening a lot quicker as a result of the internet and social networks. Certain issues are easier to approach cross-sector partners with, and may be funded more often. One such topic is water, e.g. Anglian Water’s Water Taskforces have successfully brought together actors across industries.
Why do certain partners choose to remain anonymous or want to minimise the PR that can be generated from certain partnerships and projects?
Some organisations, while doing well in one area of their CSR strategy, may not be achieving highly in others. This is why certain partnerships require risk management; particularly in our digital age, where everything comes under public scrutiny.

The role of the NGO

How can NGOs best influence corporate strategy? How do the approaches of Greenpeace and WWF differ, and how could they be more effective in the way they work with sustainability teams? What is the right revenue model? Should they be consulting more with business, or does this undermine their power? Do they need different skill sets?

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How can NGOs best influence corporate strategy?
- The days of lobbying are not in the past and there is a need for organisations such as Greenpeace to remain active in this space.
- Although lobbying does speed up the process and get issues on the agenda, few NGOs are able to both collaborate with business and lobby. There is a need for different organisations to focus on each area.
- There was agreement on the table that NGOs are often challenged to be more critical by corporates, a trend that has been seen over the last 10 years or so. Although an NGO is unable to be too critical of a company that funds it, getting the balance rights and being a ‘critical friend’ is an effective way to influence.
- NGOs that publicly benchmark organisations on CR indicators can have a good impact. It’s important to do this in a way that doesn’t damage partnerships e.g. by using another organisation to carry out the ranking to maintain a degree of independence then privately holding businesses to account.
- Encouraging NGOs, campaign groups and businesses to share knowledge through events such as round tables is effective. This provides an environment where there is pressure to improve.
- Company to company relationship can be effective in this space.
- Getting organisations to collaborate in the pre-commercial space is a big part of the solution.

Getting a partnership right
- There was discussion around where a partnership begins and ends in organisations that work very closely together. Once embedded, how does each organisation ensure their aims are being met? There are often grey areas for an NGO and they may need to compromise on their mission/ values to make the partnership work. It can be damaging to an NGO’s reputation and undermine its credibility if there are too many grey areas.
- Getting the cost right is a challenge experienced by many in the discussion.
- Non-disclosure can be a barrier to effective influencing of strategy and sharing best practice between organisations. However legal teams are often able to sort this.

What is the right revenue model?
- We can have a tendency to think of an NGO receiving funding from a corporate to deliver independently but this is increasingly not the case.
- There was some discussion around how an NGO’s funding affects their approach. For example, as Compassion in World Farming’s funding model is based heavily on public donations this means they identify as providing ‘mission driven free consultancy’ and don’t currently accept funding from business.

Venue Detail

Bank of America Merrill Lynch: King Edward Hall

King Edward Hall | 2 King Edward Street | London | EC1A 1HQ

Directions

Bank of America's offices are a very short walk from St Paul's tube station (Central Line). Exit the station at Cheapside/Newgate Street. Go past the BT centre, with it on your right-hand side and take the first available right down Edward Street. Continue down this road for 80m and the entrance to the venue is on your left-hand side.

Do not go to the main reception desk at their offices when you arrive. You are looking for an entrance that leads you directly into the King Edward Hall.
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