Camelot’s social and ethical audit is proving a complex task.
I joined Camelot in October 1998 to develop our infra- structure to map, measure, improve and communicate our corporate citizenship. I quickly discovered this is no simple task.
Camelot is a young company that has uncomfortably sat on some interesting fault lines in the British psyche. It is also the most publicly visible part of the institution called the National Lottery.
The Lottery itself is a partnership between the government, the Lottery Commission (our regulators) and the bodies that distribute the money to beneficiary organisations.
These partners are collectively responsible for the National Lottery. Yet each is focused on its own task. The tasks are different, the organisations diverse. Some distribution bodies have other income streams and established cultures. Some initially concentrated on establishing their identities. We now have a new regulatory structure with five commissioners. We need a culture change to alter the focus and establish a shared vision in which we are each proportionately accountable to the National Lottery’s stakeholders as well as our own organisational stakeholders.
In year five relationships are beginning to settle down. There is greater awareness of the joint responsibility for promoting and protecting the National Lottery brand. But there is still a long way to go.
This is the context of our social and ethical audit. The company must account for itself as a corporate citizen against the expectations of our stakeholders. But it must also measure against reasonable expectations and recognised responsibilities of our partners. This complexity makes Camelot’s audit such a fascinating challenge.
Our own immediate stakeholders are the public, our employees, retailers, suppliers, shareholders, community and pressure groups. But we stand in proxy for the Lottery as a whole – our stakeholders raise issues that more rightly belong to the other partners.
We have appointed a new non-executive director, Louise Botting, an independent advisory panel and independent auditors, to ensure the integrity of the audit. However, we must also reach an understanding of what each of the partners needs to do to fulfil the expectations of our shared – as well as our individual – stakeholders. This means sharing our audit findings with them and in co-operation, defining more clearly proportionate responsibilities for each of us.
Sue Slipman joined Camelot in October 1998. She was previously director of the Gas Consumers Council (1996-98), director of the London TEC Council (1995-6) and director of the National Council for One Parent Families (1985-95). She is currently a member of the government’s Better Regulation Task Force.
Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 45 – April, 1999