Bexley Beaumont is of the belief that the interrelation of economic, environmental, and social factors is material to sustainable, long-term value creation and we are committed to conducting our business focussed on the triple bottom line that prioritises social and environmental considerations alongside that of revenue generation.
In order to formulate this, we have consulted the World Economic Forum’s paper on Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism alongside the 10 Principles of the Quoted Companies Alliance Code 2018 on Corporate Governance (QCA Code) to give us a holistic understanding of ESG standards and reporting metrics. This has resulted in our creating three pillars to the business model – Governance, Planet and People - that both fully incorporate and exceed the scope of the QCA Code.
This has resulted in our creating three pillars to the business model – Governance, Planet and People - that both fully incorporate and exceed the scope of the QCA Code.
Bexley Beaumont is a boutique law firm delivering legal services across a range of practice areas and sectors to a broad client base from private individuals to global, publicly traded entities.
Bexley Beaumont’s lawyers are self-employed, contracting with Bexley Beaumont through personal service companies. Their remuneration is on average 70-75% of billable income, with the remainder going to Bexley Beaumont for overhead costs and provision of centralised services. Bexley Beaumont’s lawyers largely work from their own offices although can use office and meeting room space in either of the London or Manchester offices. They are fully supported by BBSupport, which provides services including compliance, insurance, junior lawyer support, marketing, accounts, and technology.
While a decentralised model geographically, a culture of collaboration and cohesiveness pervades the organisation and Bexley Beaumont recruits new lawyers of the highest calibre, with proven billing potential, who they also believe will engage with this culture. Thus, lawyers join an inclusive, close-knit organisation whilst also having autonomy and flexibility over their careers, clients, billing, workspace, and they are fully supported by the central team.
The short to medium term strategy is to continue to grow the Bexley Beaumont team whilst maintaining our inclusive and collaborative team culture. To attract lawyers who will bring new practice areas and skillsets to the team therefore expanding our client offering and to also attract lawyers who will strengthen and bring depth of expertise to the existing teams at Bexley Beaumont. We aim to expand the geographical reach of lawyers and to continue to attract the very best talent. We aim to scale with intent, staying committed to our vision and values as we grow and ensuring our ways of working and our policies and procedures evolve and develop as we grow as a business.
Karen Bexley and Anna Beaumont hold 49% of the shareholding with the remaining 2% being held by the non-executive director Gordon Lane. Karen and Anna are the majority shareholders and the executive directors of Bexley Beaumont. Karen and Anna are aware of both their responsibilities as a statutory director and as a shareholder. They both have previous management experience and experience from other directorships.
The Board recognises its duty to promote the best interests of the company’s employees, its need to foster the company’s business relationships and to consider the impact of the company’s operations on the community and environment. Bexley Beaumont aims to meet these responsibilities through several channels:
From our first day Bexley Beaumont has been committed and passionate about creating a philanthropic culture. Starting with small steps (and called Our Good Intentions) the aim is to work collaboratively as a team and with the Bexley Beaumont clients to fulfil our corporate and social responsibilities. Our Good Intentions is integral to everything we do and core to Bexley Beaumont and we have always maintained that our contribution to our community will grow as we grow. Our Good Intentions can be found on our website.
From Year 3 of Bexley Beaumont, there will be a three-pillar framework for CSR, Climate Action and ESG. We also have employee ambassadors within Bexley Beaumont to meet with the Board at least every 6 months to ensure that day to day operations and board decisions take account of this triple-bottom line approach.
We are committed to ensuring we foster a positive supportive environment for lawyers and employees in relation to mental health and wellbeing. Our Employee Representative works with the board to maintain a wellbeing strategy which involves liaising with BBSupport for feedback and areas of potential improvement.
We are aware that one of the challenges of our dispersed business model is that lawyers are largely working by themselves running their own companies and this means reduced interaction and raises the risk of their feeling isolated or alone. Consequently, we focus on building comradery and togetherness through weekly updates, guest talks and firm-wide events for the lawyers. We have introduced Wellness Wednesdays and there is a section of the Intranet dedicated to tips, tools and articles around this topic which are frequently reviewed, updated and maintained. The appointment of a firm-wide Wellbeing Representative is something we will implement in September 2022 in line with our anticipated revenue and personnel growth.
As we grow as a business, we will aim to increasingly integrate the ambassadors and representatives into the decision-making process, potentially with the creation of a Steering Committee. This committee will have terms of reference to advocate for the implementation and strategic direction of initiatives and projects while supporting and challenging the Board in respect of decisions they make and how Bexley Beaumont operates. This development is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
Our environmental and social commitments are further outlined under our 2nd and 3rd Pillars (below).
In addition to the formation of the above Steering Committee we will also consider introducing an Audit Committee by 2027 to help identify and manage risk at Bexley Beaumont. There is a regulatory requirement for firms of a certain size to undertake external risk audits and we have complied with this requirement without compromise since year 2 of the business, despite such compliance in all areas of audits not being mandatory; irrespective of our size we believe an external yearly risk audit is best practice. We nurture and inspire an internal culture of continuous improvement and we constantly challenge how and why we do things to ensure best practice.
Opportunities within the business are considered and reviewed at Board level with the non-executive director and the two executive directors, all of whom are also shareholders.
The unitary Board comprises a non-executive director and two executive directors. Core provisions include: a separate chair and CEO, a balance of executive and independent non-executive directors and transparency on appointments and remuneration.
Non-executive directors are expected to commit enough time as is needed to fulfil their duties. The Board will consider recruiting an additional non-executive director as the business grows.
The Board will also consider a Steering committee as more particularly described above in Principle 3 and an Audit Committee as detailed above in Principle 4. Once the Board has enough independent NEDs to implement Remuneration and Nomination committees, these will be considered in line with the recommendations of the various corporate governance codes. The Board will also consider at an appropriate time a Client Committee comprising of clients of Bexley Beaumont to ensure we are listening to those we represent, we understand how they want us to work and what is important to them and that they have a forum to provide their opinions, views and feedback.
Directors should have necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities. The non-executive director at Bexley Beaumont has a vast amount of experience gained at other much larger organisations as well as being a Chartered Accountant and is FCA registered. The executive directors also have previous management and leadership experience and hold roles as either a trustee, governor or non-executive director on other larger organisations.
Should a new Board member be appointed or a Committee incorporated, it will be part of the process to ensure there is appropriate training and that they are aware of their obligations and responsibilities. Terms of reference will be required for any new Committee, and a skills gap analysis undertaken to ensure Board members have the necessary skills and experience. The IOD and Chambers of Commerce operate informative courses on these topics and we may consider these courses for senior management in due course while attendance at CPD events and training will be encouraged.
The Board meets monthly, and papers are produced and circulated one week prior to the Board meeting. The Board papers include a set of KPIs which are monitored each month with a status update report against each KPI, which are set yearly for the business.
In addition, the Board will consider the introduction of a yearly board performance appraisal and how this may be structured as the business evolves and develops to ensure the Board is performing at its maximum. This will allow each member to be given the opportunity to feedback on each other and discuss their performance and evaluate their contribution to the Board. Once a second NED has been appointed, we will introduce annual meetings for the NEDs to hold in a relaxed setting without the executive directors being present for them to discuss the performance of the board without oversight. We are committed to fostering an open-floor policy and welcome challenge and criticism as the best means of ensuring good governance.
Our Mission, our Values and our Culture were all established in the first year of Bexley Beaumont and are set out on the Bexley Beaumont website. Each month, all Board decisions are taken with respect to and in consideration of our Values and our Vision.
As we grow as a business there will be an ongoing requirement to review these to ensure they are still relevant and applicable. We anticipate this will happen from year 5 onwards. In addition, we have a culture of constantly trying to embed our Values into day-to-day decisions of the business and include as part of our daily interactions with each other and our suppliers, clients etc. We internally showcase examples of where our values and behaviours have been aligned to our corporate values.
This is more particularly described above in Principle 3, 5, 6 and 7.
When we have more than one non-executive director, we will propose that they hold annual meetings together to discuss the performance of the executives and then feedback to the Board.
We are constantly seeking to maintain good governance by reassessing our position at certain temporal and financial checkpoints. We have created and routinely update our Corporate Governance Gantt chart available on request as a means both of ensuring transparency and accountability in our corporate governance goals but also to ensure we stay focussed on these corporate governance goals at each stage of growth.
A monthly firm get-together is hosted by the CEO and all employees and lawyers are invited to attend. The CEO reports on the progress of Bexley Beaumont, new projects and initiatives, discusses how we are performing both culturally, operationally and financially as a business and shares as much information and knowledge as possible whilst maintaining any duties of confidentiality. There is the opportunity for questions during the get-together and it is the aim of the CEO to be as open and transparent as possible to ensure that everyone in the organisation feels part of Bexley Beaumont.
There are several other communication and value led initiatives such as Friday Sharing Successes, team get-togethers in practice areas, knowledge sharing and CPD opportunities, best practice sessions, coaching sessions and a number of other events both virtual and in person all of which provide communication opportunities and the ability for the CEO to answer any questions the team may have.
Going forward we may move to a more structured Quarterly State of the Company meetings.
While our current size, corporate form and turnover do not necessitate mandatory energy and carbon reporting under the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting Scheme (SECR) 2019, we do not think that this alleviates the need for accurate climate-related performance disclosures.
Bexley Beaumont is a member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA), which provides a platform where we benefit from the collaboration and sharing of environmental initiatives amongst like-minded law firms. The LSA also provides a carbon calculator which enables us to monitor our ongoing performance in relation to our climate action policy. Our Climate Action Ambassador has implemented supplier environmental due diligence procedures in order to ensure Bexley Beaumont’s upstream and downstream emissions are minimised. In addition, Bexley Beaumont has created an ‘Econet’ page on the company intranet that provides environmental education and training resources for the company’s lawyers to engage with.
Strategy: Please see our Climate Action Plan for more information.