SME Member of the Week: Principle One
Principle One is the second of December's SME Member of the Week. This month, techUK are focused on social value and showcasing how our SME members are creating social impact through their business, such as through charitable or humanitarian causes, staff volunteering opportunities for employees, or community initiatives.
Principle One was founded in 2018 by Al MacIvor, Maggie Scott and Ben Sadler. Our core focus is supporting UK Law Enforcement and other central government customers in addressing the impact of technology and legislative change on the delivery of their core missions..
How did your company start?
Principle One was founded in 2018 by Al MacIvor, Maggie Scott and Ben Sadler. Our core focus is supporting UK Law Enforcement and other central government customers in addressing the impact of technology and legislative change on the delivery of their core missions.
All three of us have built our careers delivering for customers in this domain; organisations who work to make the UK a safer place. We wanted to continue supporting this vital work, but to do it differently; by building our own company, focusing on our values – including delivery methodology, staff development and engagement with the wider society around us.
Over the last four years, our team has grown to over 50 customer facing staff, bringing together expertise in systems engineering, business consulting, software delivery and data analytics. We work throughout the full project lifecycle, from problem definition through to outcome delivery. We work on large scale change programmes, typically enabled by technology and take a holistic approach to solving our customers’ problems.
How does your company contribute to this month's theme?
Social value is a key driver for Principle One - we have put in place a strong programme which supports a range of partner organisations whose values we share. These organisations are working in areas we are passionate about: supporting law enforcement, diversity in STEM, wellbeing and tackling inequality.
Our longest standing partnership is with Police Care, who provide support to officers, police staff and veterans who have suffered harm as a result of their policing work. Several of Principle One’s team were police officers or staff before joining us and are only too aware of the pressures that working on the front line can place on both physical and mental health.
We have been involved in fund raising and provided pro bono consulting support to help Police Care as they grow and offer a wider range of services, particularly related to mental health support. Our fundraising efforts have included an all-team sponsored walk during one of the Covid-19 lockdowns, which improved the physical and mental wellbeing of our team as well as raising money. The sportier members of the team have also run a half-marathon, a 10k and got on their bikes for the London to Brighton ride.
Principle One is also part of the Lilian Baylis Technology School’s Adopt a Student mentoring programme. This is a school close to our office in Vauxhall, and several of our team are mentoring locally based sixth formers from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, providing insight into technical consulting, including work experience.
Who's behind your company?
All too often, large organisations can lose sight of just how important an asset their people are. Since Principle One was set up, our people have been at the heart of the organisation and have driven delivery to our customers and growth of our team. We are proud of the fact that several of our staff have joined as personal recommendations from existing team members; if our team tell their friends or family to apply to work for us, we take that as a good sign.
Our people are drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds and have joined as interns, graduates and experienced hires. We focus on getting work life balance right, recognising that this will mean different things to different people throughout their careers and ensure our staff share in the success of the business.
What’s your perspective on the present and the future of this month's theme?
Committing to social value is an increasingly visible trend, across organisations of all sectors and sizes. Customers, particularly public sector ones, assess social value initiatives as part of their bid processes. However, it is vital that these commitments are underpinned by meaningful action; deeds not words.
Issues such as supporting mental health and staff wellbeing need to be given priority throughout the company culture, not just signalled on social media. An example is promoting wellbeing via a healthy working culture. While we focus on meeting our customers’ often challenging timescales, we have worked to avoid a long working hours culture by default, as exists in some consultancies. We also strongly encourage our staff to fully use their annual leave allowances. As well as being the right thing to do for the team, this also supports strong customer delivery by making sure our team are not working at an unsustainable rate.
Many people expect more from their employers than ever before, they want to feel that they work for an organisation which shares their values and makes a positive contribution to society. We believe this will only become more prevalent in the future. We support our staff to make a difference outside work by offering additional paid leave on a matched basis for causes that are important to them on a personal basis. This has included personal charity projects or even supporting a member of staff in representing the UK internationally in women’s handball. This strengthens our culture by allowing the team to include causes they are passionate about in their working lives and to support each other both in and outside of the workplace..
Our team is growing all the time, reaching and rapidly passing the milestone of 50 permanent employees in October this year. We have seen our portfolio of work grow significantly over the last year, working both directly for public sector customers and through our partnerships with other TechUK members and have been delighted to join the Strategic Delivery Partnership framework as part of CGI’s supplier Eco-system this year.
We also work actively within the ACE framework, collaborating with other Vivace community members and have now seen many of their early stage mission-impact projects translate into longer term relationships with ACE’s end customers. We’ve also been delighted to support TechUK in their cross industry working groups, both around data interoperability across policing and in the more recently launched RASSO working group, giving our subject matter experts an opportunity to work collaboratively with partners across the technology industry.
What does the future look like for your company?
We are growing all the time but ensuring that we do so at our own pace, focusing on strengthening our culture and broadening the skills and experience we can offer our customers. Our staff now have the opportunity to work on a broad portfolio of projects, enabling them to develop their careers with us and work both in Principle One teams as well as in partnership with others.
We are looking forward to continuing this growth in 2023, with a focus on recruitment at both graduate and experienced levels and diversifying our workforce further with the launch of our first apprenticeships.
We will remain focused on our customers’ core mission and how we can best support them through the mix of skills and experience that we can offer, our growth enabling us to offer better end to end support as we can take on larger scale opportunities or provide larger teams within rainbow teams.
Asks for other members
Joining TechUK last year was a significant milestone for us and the opportunities it’s provided us with to connect with large and small organisations have been invaluable. We’re looking forward to more of the same in 2023, and getting to know a wider range of organisations where there is scope to partner. Our focus in Law Enforcement, which is reflected in many of our social value initiatives, means we can offer a combination of strong technical skills and deep domain expertise and welcome the opportunity to collaborate on larger deliveries.
SME Member of the Week: January, Digital trade
For January's SME Member of the Week, we’ll be focusing on digital trade. Digital trade offers a powerful route to economic growth for SMEs, as businesses with international footprint are more profitable, productive, resilient and see expansion in growth. For Janauary, we want to showcase SME member's who have tapped into overseas export opportunities and taken advantage of the UK’s trading partnerships worldwide to successfully export their product or service in international markets. Submit your case study here.