Community involvement

As a business that generated more than £2.8bn of revenue in 2014 in the UK, we've a responsibility not just to our clients and employees but to broader society. Our vision of doing the right thing for our clients, our people and our communities is, at the highest level, about giving something back through sharing our talent.

Our approach

Our PwC in the Community programme is designed to make the biggest possible impact on behalf of our most significant community stakeholders, using our professional skills and experience in ways that fit with our business aims, which are to:

  • tackle current UK issues;
  • use our extensive networks for the mutual benefit of our community partners and our people;
  • use our regional network and share our knowledge to amplify our impact;
  • apply our unique impact measurement skills to our community work;

Our community activities are underpinned by The PwC Foundation.

We focus on developing long-term relationships, where possible, so that we can make a lasting difference. And we offer a portfolio of support which includes financial contributions, pro bono and discounted work and the volunteering time of our people. This mix of activities offers our people a choice of ways to contribute, so that as many of them as possible can benefit from the opportunities available. This year, over 5,500 of our people volunteered – roughly a third of our workforce in the UK.

We’ve measured our community investments for many years but are looking to understand our impacts, too – find out how we’re doing in measuring the benefits of our volunteering programmes.

Opportunities and risks

There are few risks associated with our community involvement, although we're careful to make sure that no activities fall foul of our independence and compliance policies. But community activities provide us with a way of offering interesting experiences to our people, which strengthens our career proposition to potential recruits and existing employees.

The growing interest in measuring the social value of business activity, and in social enterprise as a way of tackling some of the toughest social issues in Britain, means there is increasing crossover between our community work and our work for clients in the public and not-for-profit sector. So our community programmes inform our client work and vice versa. And our community work engenders in our people a better understanding of value beyond financial accounting, as part of their overall awareness of sustainability.

Next generation community affairs

We've set our priorities so that we can make our programmes as relevant and impactful as possible for both our communities and for our business. We're focusing on addressing the challenge of unemployment in young people and disadvantaged groups, through our extensive programmes to support academic attainment and job readiness in schools, and we're increasingly supporting social entrepreneurs to try new ways of tackling pressing issues in our communities across the UK.

For example, our next generation community affairs programme included the creation of a hub for social and environmental change (The Fire Station), the opening of a social enterprise bistro and bar (Brigade) and the launch of our first knowledge exchange (the Centre for Social Impact).

Located in a renovated fire station near our office in London Bridge, the lower floors house the award-winning Brigade bar and bistro, a joint venture social enterprise spanning the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and bringing together the complementary skills of PwC, De Vere Venues, The Homes and Communities Agency and social entrepreneur Simon Boyle to tackle homelessness and unemployment.

The upper floors host our community affairs programmes and are also home to our strategic community partners, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and Social Enterprise UK. By concentrating skills and resources in this way, we’re able to share what we know and learn for the benefit of all the social entrepreneurs we support across the UK.

We now have six Centres for Social Impact in Scotland, Leeds and Birmingham, creating a network of knowledge centres across the UK to engage with social enterprises near our large regional offices. And our PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club now has over 220 members, receiving a range of training and support opportunities.

We’ve also mapped our volunteering activities to PwC’s core competencies, to help staff identify how volunteering can be part of their overall development and encouraged them to consider corporate sustainability as they set their annual objectives. This means we can now quantify the business benefits of our volunteering.

Find out more on our pro bono and discounted work, financial contributions and volunteering, or see how we’ve been recognised for our community work through our awards.