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Recovery Autumn 2018 – President’s Column

R3 President Stuart FrithOn 20 July 2018, Council met to consider the findings of our strategic review and considered the first steps of its implementation. This was always going to be at the forefront of my ambitions for my year in office and it will no doubt continue into next year when Duncan Swift assumes the mantle. I have been an R3 member for the past three decades. There has been some introspection from time to time but I cannot remember a review as comprehensive as this one. We have put everything under the microscope this year to make sure R3 is fit for the future.

We have had some really constructive input from members – and non-members – as part of the review. This included thoughts from the 80 people from across the profession who have taken the time to sit down with our independent Strategic Review team, the delegates who provided feedback at our annual conference, and the members and non-members who took part in our recent Strategic Review survey. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts so far.

We are at the point now where we’ve identified key themes and work streams to be developed over the course of the rest of the year. R3 and Council will be setting up working groups of members and others in the profession to lead on implementing changes in the coming months. The work of these groups will lead to some changes which will be seen by members, some which won’t be as visible, while other parts will feed into a new R3 strategic plan.

One key project for us is to look at which of our services are valued by members, where we can improve, and what members want us to do less of. From our member survey, we know that our core services – including lobbying for members, technical and educational support, and thought leadership – are all highly valued by our profession and are good foundations for us to build on. There is so much positive work which R3 already does, and it is obviously important we don’t lose sight of that. Our work on ‘member value’ will support the rest of our Strategic Review work streams.

Among the more pressing issues for us to address as part of the review are R3’s membership options and R3’s larger events, such as the annual conference and the London & South East ‘Ladies Lunch’. On these issues, a number of things stood out from our member survey and stakeholder interviews, such as interest from members in the idea of corporate membership and in bringing the annual conference back to the UK. There is more we can do to support younger professionals, too. With 2019 membership renewals approaching and dates for key events already in the diary, we are working as quickly as we can to incorporate some of the member feedback in our planning. We do not want to rush into things, though, so changes may be incremental, this year and next. Some ideas we are working on need careful analysis to make sure they are both commercially viable and fair to members across the profession.

Another key part of the review is making sure R3 is relevant to those working throughout our profession – and trying to define exactly what ‘our profession’ is. This means representing insolvency practitioners, but also making sure turnaround and restructuring experts, and others, have a voice, too. Encouragingly, respondents to our survey were much more likely than unlikely to feel that R3 does represent the ‘whole spectrum’ of the profession, from insolvency to turnaround; even more members felt that we should be doing this though, so there is work for us to do to close the gap between member expectations and what we deliver already.

As above, some of our core services are very highly valued by members: 95% of our survey respondents said it is important that R3 lobbies for and promotes the profession; 94% said it was important for R3 to provide technical, training, and education support; and 88% said it was important for R3 to have a thought leadership role. While R3 has a great track record to shout about on these functions, we can’t be complacent. Our member engagement has already given us some great ideas about how to improve what we do in these areas, including shifting the way we deliver courses, providing members with more opportunities to feed their concerns and views into our lobbying work, or simply improving how communicate what we do to members. All of our work in these areas will be looked at to make sure we’re meeting member needs.

Finally, we will also have working groups looking at R3’s member communications and corporate governance. It is important that members can keep up-to-date with what R3 is doing, and have plenty of opportunities to get involved.

At the heart of the Strategic Review is making sure R3 responds to member needs and ensures members’ voices are heard – and that goes for the review itself. Although our working groups are getting underway with their projects, it’s not too late to have your say. Please do keep sharing your thoughts with me or R3 staff when you see us at R3 events, or by emailing me. Do keep an eye out for updates on the review as well.

I know the good work R3 has done to support our profession since it was founded. I want to make sure R3 has the same impact for years to come. This review will help R3 meet the needs of members now and in the future, wherever they work in the profession, and wherever they have got to in their careers. We have made a great start – and we are all set for the next phase.

Finally, also at the Council meeting we announced that Colin Haig of BDO will succeed Duncan as your President in 2020. I am delighted that Colin will be joining the executive committee immediately and will be assisting carrying on the work that we have commenced.

Stuart Frith
R3 President

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.