‘Jobs on merit’ focus as responsible business gongs return

Businesses that award jobs on merit rather than social background are being sought as London’s top responsible business awards return.

Applications have opened for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, held by the City of London Corporation to recognise businesses across the capital which go the extra mile to benefit society.

This year’s awards, which will culminate in September with the first in-person Dragon Awards ceremony since 2019, include a category open to firms across the UK which work to advance socio-economic diversity in business.

Last year’s winners included the developers of an app mobilising volunteers to shop for vulnerable people during the pandemic and an online maths tutoring platform.

Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny said:

“In London we strive to be in a position where we are the world-leading centre not just for finance, commerce and culture but also for achievement based on merit – where people can succeed regardless of where they come from or how they speak.

“This year’s Dragon Awards gives us an opportunity to recognise businesses across the country which are working hard to drive socio-economic diversity, with all the benefits that brings for companies, individuals and society as a whole.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to recognise companies which find creative and innovative ways to benefit the communities they operate in, and would urge businesses large or small to get their application in and help us celebrate their achievements.”

The Lord Mayor is co-chair of the Government-commissioned taskforce aimed at boosting socio-economic diversity in financial services, and social mobility is one of the themes of his year in office.

Research commissioned by the City Corporation found nine in 10 senior roles in financial services are held by people from higher socio-economic backgrounds, compared to a third of the UK working population as a whole.

The Dragon Awards are organised by Heart of the City, the City Corporation-funded charity which supports hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises with their responsible business programmes.

The awards  are open to businesses of all sizes and sectors which build strong community relationships, tackle disadvantage or inequality, promote inclusion or boost skills.

This year’s categories are: Inclusive Employment; Boosting social impact; Heart of the City award; Community partners; Innovation and; Lord Mayor's Award - advancing socio-economic diversity in business

Businesses can find more information and apply online at www.dragonawards.org.uk/apply

Case study: ‘Winning this award is really humbling’

Described as an 'Uber for volunteers', volunteering app onHand was a winner in last year's Lord Mayor's Award for Innovation During Covid 19, praised for mobilising volunteers to shop for vulnerable people during the pandemic.

onHand CEO Sanjay Lobo said:

“The feedback from the people we’ve been able to help has been fantastic – we’ve had people calling us in tears or leaving handwritten notes for volunteers. At a time when they weren’t able to have any physical contact, this was a vital way for people to have some human interaction.

“The success of schemes like this shows the huge amount of goodwill that exists across the UK. Winning this award is really humbling and builds on the incredible momentum building for businesses doing good and delivering profit with purpose.”

Picture captions

- Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny

- Sanjay Lobo, founder of 2021 Dragon Award winner onHand

- onHand volunteer Alex Adams (right) with Walter Pepper

- Responsible business stock images

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –  www.cityoflondon.gov.uk