Charged with the mission “To assemble and dissemble best practice in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technological area for the benefit of the Charity Sector”, the WCIT AI/ML Learning Exchange for Charities (AI4C) was born in 2018.
Essentially our purpose is to provide practical advice and thought leadership to support charities embarking on the use of Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning and in particular via CALM and Missing People, the two winners of the WCIT 2018 Charity IT Award. Furthermore, to harness the experiences and lessons learnt by these projects, and those of other charities, for the wider benefit of the charity sector.
To join charities must be willing to share their experiences and lessons learnt, anonymously, if they so wish. It is strictly a sales free, vendor neutral, technology agnostic environment that runs on the Chatham House Rule.
We run monthly workshops to discuss specific topics and share lessons learnt. Experts in IT, academics and leading industry practitioners speak at our topical quarterly events.
Information, insights and lessons learnt are captured and held on a repository available for further reference to members. This also provides a useful space for people to chat in between meetings.
Charity members come from a broad range of organisations. Although their size and focus may vary, they all share the same challenge of how to achieve the most with the precious resources they have available. Current charity members include: CALM, Missing People, AbilityNet, the Brain Tumour Charity, Cancer Research UK, Samaritans, Family Lives, Asthma UK, Mencap, Family Fund, Humankind, NSPCC, Back-Up and Carers UK.
WCIT Members are professionals from a variety of IT backgrounds. They herald from a wide range of industries, commerce, academia, and public sector but each one is committed to giving back in some way and so all lend their time and expertise on a pro bono basis.
The Arts Panel, founded in 1992, helps not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations make effective use of IT, digital and social media to connect with their audiences, share artistic and learning content and run an efficient and sustainable organisation. It does this through its IT4Arts initiative, set up in 2003, which provides pro bono project help on request and by running regular workshops and executive breakfast briefings attended by many of the most famous arts organisations in the country.
The best way to get a flavour of IT4Arts is to explore the public Web site we run for our members: www.it4arts.org.uk
You can see presentations from recent workshops by searching on IT4Arts in YouTube and you can follow us as @IT4Arts on Twittter.
IT4Arts has over 160 members – from household names like the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and the London Symphony Orchestra to small organisations with only one or two part-time staff. The programme helps its members make effective use of IT, digital and social media to connect with their audiences, share artistic and learning content and run an efficient and sustainable organisation.
It does this through
Our workshops are lively and full to capacity. We have had speakers from the Southbank Centre, English National Opera, the Tate, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the National Theatre, the London Symphony Orchestra, IBM and Accenture, to name but a few.
The Careers Panel provides support and assistance to ITC members, military personnel, and school leavers from the Lillian Baylis Technology School (LBTS) and the Hammersmith Academy who are in need of employment advice, guidance or direction in planning their next steps. In addition it has assisted organisations such as Thames Reach with their clients who are looking to re-enter the workforce after long periods of unemployment. All of this work allows the Panel to make a significant impact in the lives of a variety of people looking for guidance regarding a career in IT.
To help with this need, the Panel offers an individualised coaching service from a number of experienced Industry Professionals who know how to take advantage of today’s job climate. In addition the Careers Panel runs a very successful Schools Day which brings together A-level and BTEC students from LBTS with Panel members to discuss life after school, what to expect at university and/or in the job market, and regales them with a few tales of our experiences starting out in the world. The Panel also organises a number of lively events at which members and guests are invited to attend to hear speakers on a diverse range of subjects, such as Non-Executive Directorships, Social Media and Employment, and personal suitability for different career roles.
The Panel warmly welcomes any member of the Company who wishes to become involved and is particularly interested in increasing our contingent of new Freemen. .
The Panel also runs a number of other initiatives:
Cito panel has its genesis in the Recreation and Leisure Panel (now the Pro Bono Panel) who, in 2006, decided it would acquire a Thames Waterman’s Cutter as the Company Barge. This was in keeping with a tradition of Barge ownership dating back to times when the principal and safest means of transportation in London was by the river. The Barge in those times would have been used to carry the Master and the Clerk along with other members of the Court about its business. It would have also been used to represent the Company at ceremonial occasions such as the Lord Mayor’s show which up until 1856 took place on the River Thames.
The Panel now manages and maintains the Barge and participates in a number of ceremonial events and races throughout the year to raise funds for the Company. The Cutter is kept at Greenwich Yacht Club with which the Panel has developed a close association. The Panel organises rowing sessions on the River which are open for Company members to participate. In 2013 the Panel was happy to welcome the members of the WCIT Yacht Club and will be looking through its relationship with Greenwich Yacht Club to provide events and activities to those with an aquatic disposition.
The Communications and Public Relations Committee oversees internal and external communications for the Company. The objective of communication to members of the Company is to foster pride in the achievements of the Company and its members, across the whole breadth of the Company’s activities, with a view to increasing levels of member engagement.
The Committee prioritises its activity and resource to support the Company’s strategy across the four pillars of our activity (charity, education, industry and fellowship), including:
Information technology can transform the learning process and make it widely available to all in society. We apply our technology management and entrepreneurial skills to promote equal access to learning and to help educational organisations improve the learning experience.
We focus in particular on the schools that we support, the disadvantaged, and on best practice in the use of technology in schools. We expect to make the most difference by concentrating our efforts in a small number of high impact projects.
The network of schools that we support and work closely with includes Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth and the Hammersmith Academy.
The Entrepreneurship Panel (“EP”) was formed for WCIT members who were previously, or are currently, entrepreneurs in a technology company as well as those who give advice and support to them. In the context of EP, an entrepreneur is, “an innovator who develops new technologies and embodies these within a corporate structure in the hope of improving the world and/or making a profit.”
The level of assistance which EP seeks to provide is broad. The mandate is to offer a wide range of practical guidance and support to technology entrepreneurs, ranging from financial to commercial and tactical to strategic. Whilst EP is restricted to tech entrepreneurs, the sectors in which they market and sell their innovations are not limited.
EP supports the WCIT’s four key areas of activity: Charity, Education, Industry and Fellowship
How does EP support Entrepreneurs?
EP is extending the number of support activities it provides both directly from EP members as well as via connections to third party organisations.
EP has access to pitching services via the Innovation Warehouse. These are aimed at earlier stage companies seeking angel investment.
In addition, details of how other specialist investment funds can be approached on either a direct basis or via third parties– ranging from venture capital to full private equity – is being arranged. One example is Tech London: https://www.tech.london/investors
EP has built a strategic and operational framework to assist companies in improving their chance of achieving a successful exit. It comprises a two-stage approach: a tool to assess the current status of a business; and mentoring to move forward towards the desired outcome. In addition, a video library provides more assistance from experts within the EP.
Video Library – EP is creating a video library or ‘playbook’ that will capture and provide access to the knowledge, experience and tools which WCIT members have gathered over the years. The video will be on specific topics and last between 90 and 120 seconds, i.e. they will be short and to the point. The playbook will be a free-to-access, comprehensive video resource to support tech entrepreneurs across the full business lifecycle: from start-up through scale-up to maturity and eventual exit.
Events – Growth Tech
Growth Tech events allow three entrepreneurs and a keynote speaker from a specific sector (e.g. FinTech, MediaTech, PropTech) to highlight the near-term IT issues which are impacting them and how these are being overcome.
The events are open to members and non-members of WCIT and are usually attended by around 40 to 50 people. The presenting companies gain access to the other EP support services. EP has enabled more than a dozen entrepreneur led tech companies to present at Growth Tech events; and these have a combined value of over £50m and employ more than 100 staff.
The Equality Committee is committed to encouraging diversity amongst WCIT’s membership. Our aim is to ensure that our members are truly representative of all sections of the IT industry and society, and that each member feels respected and able to give of their best. Diversity on the grounds of gender, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, marital status (including civil partnerships), religion, disability and age is encouraged.
The Equality Committee organises a series of events promoting diversity among our membership and the wider community.
Terms of Reference
The Ethical and Spiritual Panel aims to encourage the development of the ethical and spiritual dimensions of daily life in the IT industry. The Panel’s multi-faith activities address a wide range of ethical and spiritual issues that are relevant to IT businesses, their customers and employees by:
The ESP includes members from any faith community, and conducts its business in an inclusive and tolerant way. It offers the opportunity for members to work together in a mutually supportive manner, sharing ideas, experiences and approaches to living that are true to the highest ethical and spiritual principles.
We are committed to providing a range of informal events for WCIT members. We are looking for new and active members to join the panel.
Panel objectives are:
There are also a number of Inter-Livery events such as tennis, swimming, bridge, sports day, and quiz evenings in which WCIT members often participate.
The Financial Services Technology Panel provides a forum for those members working in Fintech to share knowledge and experience.
The Golf Club is for members and their guests who enjoy golf. We participate in several events:
The Government Panel was established in December 2008 to act as the focal point for the Company’s interactions with central and local government , and to advise other Company committees, panels and members on the best ways of contacting, influencing and doing business with government. It has over 40 members including politicians, civil servants and suppliers to government, but is also open to members who simply have an interest in this area.
The panel meets six times a year, either at Information Technologists’ Hall or in Westminster, often with a guest speaker.
The Homelessness Panel aims to assist those who are homeless, or at danger of being so, through initiatives to increase digital inclusion and by supporting homelessness charities. IT has long been necessary to help people get off the streets and find work. But nowadays an online identity is required even to claim any benefits, so digital inclusion has become a matter of basic subsistence for those most at need in society.
The Panel’s origins were in the Thames Reach Working Group. Thames Reach is a large London based homelessness charity that the WCIT formed a relationship with in 2014. Since then, WCIT has been providing charitable funds for implementing technology and digital skills training to support the rehabilitation of homeless clients back into work. WCIT has made donations to aid the role out of Wi-Fi and technology to five supported housing projects, and the provision of a digital skills worker.
This has led to many individual success stories and buoyed by this, the working group aspired to broaden the scope and widen our impact. Therefore, the new Homelessness Panel works with London based charities, and beyond, to access pro bono support on specific needs but also runs regular events with speakers on topics around homelessness and technology.
We aim to act as a catalyst for the creation of new ideas and facilitation of inter-charity cooperation related to IT. In addition, we wish to leverage other panels and working groups within WCIT and beyond to deliver skills, capabilities, and practical support to homelessness charities. Through them, and with the invigorated Government approach to homelessness, we hope to make a real and lasting difference to many people’s lives.
Always looking for new ideas and contributors.
The Industry Committee is the Company’s vehicle for the encouragement of best practice, the sharing of knowledge and experience, and advancing the understanding of information and communications technology in the City and wider community.
The Industry Committee stimulates interest in all aspects of information and communications technology so as to bring sustainable advantage to relevant organisations in the UK, especially in the City of London. It contributes to the general advancement of information and communications technology, choosing, as priorities, relevant issues where information and communications technology can make a difference.
Current activities include:
The Committee also organises regular events where expert speakers offer insight into one of the topical industry issues of the day.
The objective of the Panel is to promote “the City of London” (and the UK Financial Services sector which it supports and promotes) as “the best place to go on-line”: not only the safest and most secure, but also the best at taking remedial action when things do go wrong.
The means is to position the panel, and others with which it collaborates, as a global hub for leadership and co-operation in taking action against abuse, rather than focussing on “mere” awareness, prevention and protection. There are many groups and ‘associations’ dealing with matters relating to ‘Information Security’, and the intention is not to replicate or ‘compete’ with existing initiatives or organisations, but to provide a forum where they can exchange good practice in working together across boundaries.
To that end we aim to involve, as full panel members or as guest advisors, those in a position to help set the agendas of government and business, including with regard to programmes of co-operation, professional codes of practice and regulatory requirements.
The panel meets quarterly. Each meeting is planned around a possible area of work, usually to be organised in co-operation with others, such as the Information Security Awareness Forum, the Charities Security Forum or the Cyber Champions.
We are also the official lead of the WCIT affiliation with the Joint Forces Cyber Group.
This new group is focussing on building momentum, connecting with the industry, WCIT members and other livery companies.
ITCC members participate in numerous livery and external meetings related to IT and Climate Change including the prestigious British Standards Institute’s (BSi) Net Zero Barometer Report (Jan 2021) – ‘How are UK businesses managing the transition to net Zero’. Net Zero means any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The report gave some very interesting findings.
Many external institutions have showed great interest in the ITCC strategy and aims and are wishing to participate in joint events.
As a social group we are planning to arrange a number of social events and other activities which bring together and support our members, as well as develop the diversity of the company and industry at large.
Holds regular monthly meetings for WCIT members and guests to explore the subject of technology within Medicine and Health. These meetings are held in a hybrid environment, i.e. “in person” and virtual to be as inclusive as possible., usually on the 3rd Tues each month at 5.30pm. The meetings last about an hour and for those that come along, a social in the Hand and Shears afterwards is the norm. These events are “free” to attend.
Once a quarter, we hold a Keynote Speaker event at the WCIT Livery Hall where we invite prominent members connected with the Health Service to share technical progress and developments. These events are encouraged as “in person events” followed by networking over a drink afterwards. These events usually carry a small fee to cover costs.
The panel was restarted in March 2022 and is hoping to develop initiatives to help NHS Trust Boards develop a better understanding of the digit revolution and how it can help improve health care for all. Watch this space
As WCIT members we understand the potential that IT offers not only to transform business but also to enhance public services and help social enterprises to develop. Smaller organisations in the social sector can benefit enormously from effective use of IT and social media but many struggle to understand the options open to them and to choose the best way forward for their organisations. The Pro-Bono and Projects Panel works with the social sector to address these issues, drawing on the considerable talents and experience of Company members.
This programme offers you a fantastic platform to use your IT and related skills to help the charity of your choice. The panel and WCIT bring you a structured, managed environment in which to do so. It is run by like-minded people who strive to produce a professional experience for charity customers, but who understand the diary pressures on working members.
Where can I find details about volunteering opportunities?
All requests for volunteers are shown in the news feed on the website. They are also listed on the WCIT LinkedIn Group.
The Panel meets 4 or 5 times a year, usually at the WCIT Hall. The meeting agenda mainly consists of reviews of current engagements – this is an opportunity to share the work being done and to seek advice and input from other members.
Meetings usually conclude with drinks in a local hostelry.
In addition to the formal meetings, we usually organise two social events every year – one in the Summer and one at Christmas.
New members and guests are always welcome.
Our two main annual events are the Capercaille Cup and the inter-livery clay pigeon shooting competition.
The principal purpose of the Technology Panel is to provide guidance to both members and the Hall team on all technology activities across the Company. This includes identifying and reviewing technology innovations and opportunities to benefit the WCIT and its membership.
In addition, the Panel seeks to promote the best use of digital and other technologies across the Livery movement.
Wine Club events are a convivial way of doing some informal networking at the same time as finding out more about the wine you are drinking. Recent Club events have covered wines from Champagne and Burgundy. No previous knowledge is required.