Better Together

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Better Together: Social & commercial partnerships build a fairer working world

United Kingdom
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

More and more people need to work flexibly – and yet just 3 per cent of all job vacancies in the UK offer such possibilities, with salaries of £20,000 or more. Talented professionals are leaving the workforce because of this - and yet business needs their skills. As such, Timewise has pioneered a partnership programme to bring corporates together, to share the business benefits, ‘uncomplicate’ the idea of flexible work and open doors for all.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Whether to raise children or manage work around other responsibilities: millions of people need flexible work. Yet the market for such jobs is hidden and clustered around low skilled roles. Stimulating the growth of quality part time vacancies will not only help to increase maternal employment and raise family living standards but also help employers to reach a whole new pool of talent. While most job creation projects focus support to help a candidate feel ‘job ready’, the Timewise Partners programme works to stimulate the supply of jobs directly and accelerate changes in workplace culture – by enabling the sharing of best practice.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We aim to lead a new conversation with the UK's leading businesses, in order to open doors. Timewise Partners proactively explore ways to use flexibility as a strategy to aid career progression, through roundtables with leaders from approx 22 businesses. We help business move from strategic intent, to operational reality. Each company is at a different stage along the journey. Some already recruit roles as ‘open to flexibility for the right candidate’; others want to test this out; still more want to learn from other businesses . The ultimate goal is creating a working world where the need for flexibility - whether on hours or location - won’t hold you back.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We had been having two different conversations with different parts of J.P. Morgan. One about how they could open themselves up to a more diverse talent pool within their business. The other about they could help to make social change happen by generating new opportunities for low income families. We found that we could work across both aims by collaborating on flexible working. They have supported us to generate 1,000 quality part time jobs for low income families in London to help tackle maternal worklessness. We have worked with them to drive a major strategic change at a global level to open new roles up to flexibility at the point of recruitment.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We aim to: • Create a vibrant, visible market for flexible work (10,000 jobs and beyond), making the candidates visible to the the employers, and vice versa • Ensure that everyone can access the market – through additional funded support and mentoring programmes • Spread best practice and influence policy – both through UK government & international media

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No-one has looked at trasforming the recruitment market to introduce flexibility like we do. Legislative changes are happening, but no-one is looking at how to practically stimulate jobs, and implement flexibility, apart from us. The 'diversity' problem within business is well understood. Many businesses want to increase the representation of women internally, particularly at board level. While they have engaged with initiatives that 'speak' to women, such as coaching programmes or using executive recruiters who specialise in headhunting women, we get to the heart of the issue: the conversation that's held behind closed doors, within business. Supporting and addressing their real concerns. Helping them find practical, straightforward solutions that work for business. Building and shaping a vibrant, flourishing flexible recruitment market, that's all about modern work.


The Timewise Partners programme requires entrepreneurial people who can see, and are driven by long term vision rather than short term financial gain (which created the problem in the recruitment market in the first place). It requires people like Karen and Emma: game changers. Individuals who can find a commercial solution to a social problem while keeping the vision at their core. And it requires pioneering Partners of the same mindset, who are motivated to achieve change within their organisations, and be true partners on the journey. People who are prepared to look at changes in the system affect real results, and who prefer transformation to the safety of the status quo.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
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Social business (CIC)

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Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

Job Creation: Entries in this category create new jobs for people away from the labor market.

What awards or honors has the project received?
Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

Corporate partners:

• J.P.Morgan
• Diageo
• EY
• Accenture
• Bank of England
• Mercer
• Oxford Instruments
• PwC
• Credit Suisse
• Costa
• Simmons & Simmons
• Thomson Reuters
• Wragge & Co
• Citi

Public sector partners:

• Camden Council (& UK’s first ever Timewise Council)
• Greater London Authority
• Hackney
• Haringey
• Islington
• Lambeth
• Waltham Forest
• Peabody

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Timewise has 56,0000 candidates registered, with over 2,500 jobs advertised each year. In 2011/12 we found our work was directly responsible for over £500,000 of economic impact (£270,000 net impact to the state, £260,000 net impact to families). The average part time wage we secured for job seekers was 51% higher than the market average. The Timewise Partners programme is key to boosting these figures even further - by encouraging employers to think about the quality and kind of jobs they open up on a part time or flexible basis, we seek to stimulate the flexible jobs market - & shape it at the same time.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]


Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

The project part grant funded and partly financed through commercial income.

We will achieve sustainability in two ways:

(i) by increasing number of Timewise Partners...

...through membership, advisory & training fees. The project will cover its own costs once we have more Partners on board (and numbers are already growing rapidly, we have gained 22 partners since April 2013)

(ii) We also run a recruitment agency and jobsite in our not for profit group...
... these are both profitable and as the project grows, it will drive more recruitment to these businesses with profit invested back into it.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Ten years ago, Karen Mattison searched for a job at her level of skill and ability, that she could also fit with family. All the ads she saw for flexible roles, were for very low skilled, low income roles advertised. One day, at the school gates she realised that she was surrounded by other women in the same position: here was a pool of talent with ample skill and experience, that surely businesses would benefit from accessing – she decided to do something to connect the two. After teaming up with a former colleague, Emma Stewart, the pair conducted interview after interview with employers, and realised that there was one key systemic problem: the old-world recruitment industry was not fit for modern work culture. New vacancies rarely mention flexible working options, rendering great opportunities effectively “invisible” to the very pool of talent they court.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

From the start, we needed to engage advocates internally i.e. ask our Partners, quite boldly, to look internally at own flexible working practices. Finding the first few businesses to engage in this conversation took time, but paid dividends, as our Partners have since become champions and multiplied fast. These forward-thinking businesses are happy to role model good flexible working practice both internally and to the wider world. They recognise their role as key influencers of other employers and want to give back - but also to learn from others. They key challenge, is maintaining our multiple relationships, as people naturally change roles - and meeting the needs of our busy pipeline of potential further Partners.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

This project, which is all about shared learning and education, is governed through three elements:
1) funding agreements via the Timewise Foundation
2) additional contractual relationships through the Timewise Partner programme
3) a peer-led approach - content for roundtables is only ever planned one ahead to make sure they are responsive to needs of the group.

An important part of governance is in Timewise creating a "safe" place for open and honest discussions, that get to the heart of issues / solutions, without formal minutes.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

We have a transformative approach to creating social and economic impact - and look at the role of employer in a whole new light. Taking the example of J.P.Morgan, we have provided new skills for the business' resourcing and management team through training and new awareness re: flexible working at the point of designing a job. We have built new employer networks for Timewise via a global programme run by J.P.Morgan that gives us access to social innovators in Spain, France and Germany to share learning. We are also building a new model for flexible working at a localised level through Timewise Councils programme, helping local authorities (often the single biggest employers in their community) became traiblazers for change, What's unique about our Partneship programme, is that it encourages businesses to interact and share learning regardless of competition, for the good of all.

How did you find out about this competition?

Told about it by Felicity McLean