Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Innovation at the Wardens' & Court Assistants' Course - 20th September 2010

The Livery Committee is an organisation that tries to help Livery Companies build effective relationships with the Corporation of London, the Court of Common Councilmen, the Court of Aldermen, and the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs. The Committee organises Common Hall, when the Sheriffs and the Lord Mayor are elected. (This is a duty of a Liveryman, and great occasions to witness - if you haven't already done so, do put it in your diary for next year.)

Another of the Livery Committee's tasks is education and they run short evening briefings for Liverymen (I am glad to say that Marketors regularly attend - please keep applying, they only cost £10 and are a great introduction to the City Civic). They also run, once a year, a full day's course for those approaching the chair of their Livery Company i.e. Wardens and Court Assistants. The agenda normally covers the role of the Corporation, of Aldermen and Common Councilmen, the Planning Office, the City of London Police etc. This year there was a new session, "Helping the Livery to understand and support the Business City". This was the first mention of the source of wealth-creation on the course.

The stimulus was a request from Sheriff Peter Cook to help the Livery do more to support the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs in their role as ambassadors for the City and for financial services across the UK. The request landed on the desk of the Financial Services Group and I volunteered to create a presentation to fit the 25 minute slot for the audience of more than 100 from most of the Livery Companies. Anyone who attended our dinner at Mansion House will have heard part of the story (sorry - I used my own company as guinea pigs). I am awaiting the quantitative feedback but, on the day, the response seemed favourable.

"I love Lucy" - 16th September 2010

No, not Lucille Ball (for those old enough to remember her), but a beautiful Holstein dairy cow pictured here in Bakers' Hall Yard last Thursday. Some of the other people in the picture are the Master of the Tobacco Pipe Makers and one of his Wardens (with smoking hats and gold tassles), the Master Actuary (red bonnet) and (in the tricorn hat on the left) the Master of the Environmental Cleaners.
This needs a little explanation!
The Environmental Cleaners organised a charitable walk around the Livery Halls for a party of Masters, accompanied by one of their Wardens or Court Assistants. (This is another of those occasions designed to introduce you to your colleagues in other companies.)
Sounds easy doesn't it? Until you realise that you have 40 halls to visit and the route is 8.5 miles long, all on very hard pavements. But Senior Warden, Jim Surguy, and I didn't let that daunt us. Taking the advice of an old soldier friend, I rubbed vaseline between my toes in the morning and put on two layers of hosiery. We met at Stationers' Hall at 8 to collect our gowns and (obligatory) bonnets. The route march set off from Armourers' Hall at 9 and returned at 5. In between I have to admit that we were regularly fed and watered at some of the halls on the route, for which we give heartfelt thanks.
And what about Lucy? She was a surprise visitor arranged by the Master Farmer, brought up to the City with her handlers in a trailer from Plumpton College, to remind us all where our food really comes from.

Modern Livery Companies in company - Monday 13th September 2010

30 Modern Livery Companies have come into existence since the Master Mariners in 1926. Twice a year the Masters and Senior Wardens of these companies have a dinner together (each person at their own expense) organised by each company in turn. This is an unusual assembly: at most Livery events the Master is accompanied by the Clerk and they are two of relatively few guests among many liverymen of that company.

So why do it this way? The purpose is to enable Masters and, especially, Senior Wardens to start meeting their peer "year group" who will become part of their personal networks in their year as Master and beyond. An example of the importance attached to fellowship across the companies. (Each year group forms a Past Masters' association to keep in touch with each other, so these relationships can last for the rest of one's life.)

On this occasion the guest speaker was Sheriff-elect, Richard Sermon. He was our Clerk's guest at our Installation Dinner in January - Adele has been one of his supporters on his journey to being elected last June. Richard has also just been interviewed by Court Assistant Andrew Marsden and Liveryman Deborah Marmor as part of a Marketors' project. So he certainly knows about the Marketors.

In his speech he praised the contribution of the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies (of which we are a member) and emphasised the importance of the City recovering its reputation for trustworthiness and ethical behaviour. Hear, hear!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Boris Bikes are Bonza

So here you have the Master Marketor about to make her first journey on one of the new Barclays Bicycles which are popping up in blue ranks all over London. I have been longing to have a go for weeks and finally did it last Friday.
(Members of the Marketors may recall that my theme for this year is Sustainability. One leg of sustainability is the environment, but actually I did it for fun too.)
The system has been designed with enormous care and it worked a treat for me. You have to register and get sent your key but once that's done, you're away in seconds. Just plug in the key, pull out the bike and off you go. (I did a practice run up a quiet side street to get the saddle height right and to test the brakes and gears.)
The bikes are stable and easy to ride. There are only 3 Shimano gears - a great relief to those of us brought up on Sturmey Archer clickety clicks, before the days of 21, 24 or even more gears. As you can see there is a "basket" on the front with a bungee to hold on to your bag. The reflective jacket and helmet are my own - strongly recommended but not provided.
So off I spun from CASS Business School, across the City, over the river and back to Waterloo station, parking the bike in a slot beside the Festival Hall - all in less than 20 minutes. Cheaper, healthier and more fun than the tube or bus. And I'm not a regular cyclist.
Our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, is also registered. She is taking advantage of the two hours of bicycle training offered by Westminster Council to residents who want to use the scheme. What a brilliant idea the whole thing is.
Note for ladies - definitely a trouser and flat shoes activity. Narrow skirts a no no, and I don't think you'll catch me doing this late at night in an evening dress either.

Back in the saddle

August was quiet for external events, but internally our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, and the committee have been working hard on the preparations for the Charter event in October. She also organised our first walk through of the ceremony at Guildhall, together with the (helpful and encouraging) Equerry-in-waiting to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, who will be presenting the Royal Charter to us.

1st September and the Livery world wakes up again. A conference on World Class Cities: World Class Universities was hosted at CASS Business School. Speakers included Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics, Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, formerly Chairman of the Corporation of London's Policy Committee, and Angela Knight of the British Bankers Association. Lots of interesting snippets that I can use for my own forthcoming presentation to the Wardens' and Court Assistants' City Course on 20th September.

2nd September and I witnessed Court Assistant Peter Rees delivering a tour-de-force presentation on marketing planning to a 10-strong team from the Guildhall Libraries. In a little over 2 hours he took them through a structured, joined-up approach that they could do for themselves. Supported by Michael Harrison and Sue Garland Worthington, all very well received. This is part of our highly active Outreach work - more than 60 projects being supported by Marketors who give their time pro bono to charities and others. I have asked for an estimate of the financial value delivered by this great team - I bet it's more than we give in cash terms to charities and educational awards.