Stephen Lloyd obituary
The Guardian, by David Brindle
Lawyer who helped to modernise the charity sector and conceived the idea of the community interest company
The modernisation of the UK charity sector and the emergence of social enterprise as a powerful new force owe much to the skills and commitment of the lawyer Stephen Lloyd, who has died in a boating accident aged 63. He is credited with having conceived the idea of the community interest company (CIC), which was brought into being in 2005 by a reform of company law. The new legislation meant that, for the first time, it was possible to establish a company that used its profits for the public good or, as Lloyd put it, "to achieve a marriage of private and business wealth with charitable purposes". In the past nine years, almost 10,000 CICs have been registered.
Lloyd is said to have insisted with typical self-deprecation that he came up with the idea of the CIC while in a wine bar. It built on the rich tradition of co-operatives, community enterprises and trading charities, and provided a structure by which the benefits of a business could be shared between the social entrepreneur and the community it served. It has played a key role in facilitating the growth of social enterprise, now a sector contributing at least an estimated £18.5bn to the UK economy, and is being replicated internationally.
Lloyd’s other achievements in almost 40 years’ service as a lawyer included bringing a lengthy test case on behalf of the Environment Foundation against the Charity Commission for England and Wales, which established the promotion of sustainable development as a charitable objective. This benefited organisations including the Fairtrade Foundation, and was later incorporated into the Charities Act 2006; Lloyd served as legal adviser to Lord (Robin) Hodgson’s review of the act in 2012.
A restless source of ideas, Lloyd came up with the notion of a low-cost insurer for not-for-profit organisations, part-owned by the sector itself. The result, Charity and Social Enterprise Insurance Management, set up in 2007, now insures more than 2,000 charities and social enterprises. He also co-founded Trustees Unlimited, another joint venture, which helps organisations to find high-quality trustees and non-executive directors.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: "Stephen’s unparalleled expertise, combined with his innovative thinking and sheer passion for the work of charities and social enterprises, made him rightly one of the most respected figures in the voluntary sector."
Lloyd was born in Barnet, north London, to Thomas, a civil servant and linchpin of the Catholic community, and his wife, Mary (nee Haggith). He attended Finchley Catholic grammar school and Bristol University, where he read history and met his wife, Lorna, and later studied law at Cambridge. After graduating, he and Lorna taught in Sudan for a year with Voluntary Service Overseas – an experience that left a lasting impression on them both.
Trained at the leading law firm Freshfields, Lloyd moved briefly to the Frizzell insurance group and then, in 1980, was lured to the fledgling commercial and charity solicitors Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB), where he was to spend the rest of his career and where the somewhat maverick ethos created by the founder, Andrew Phillips, suited him perfectly. Rising to senior partner, he ensured that the much expanded BWB maintained its close connection with the changing and evolving not-for-profit sector, turning its charity division into the charity and social enterprise department and becoming himself the undisputed top legal expert on social enterprise, social finance and social investment.
Among many other projects, he helped to create the legal framework for the Eden Project in Cornwall. "His views were always fresh and generous," remembered the project’s founder, Sir Tim Smit. "He was one of those rare people for whom it can be said that when he walked into a room, the room felt the better for his being there."
Many CICs are in the environmental sector, which was always close to Lloyd’s heart: he was an enthusiastic cyclist and sought to live a sustainable lifestyle. Despite his Catholic upbringing, he and Lorna attended Quaker meetings in Blackheath, south London, near their Greenwich home, and raised their four sons in the Quaker tradition. He had a subversive streak, and once lent one of his sons a business suit so that he could be admitted into and then protest against an arms fair.
In addition to numerous chairing roles and trusteeships, Lloyd continued to practise law and had recently been advising the Warburg Institute in its dispute with the University of London over the future of the institute’s library.
At the time of his death, while sailing off the Pembrokeshire coast – he was a member of Newport Boat Club – Lloyd had just opened a further chapter in his career. Having recovered from cancer, which had forced him to take seven months’ leave, he had returned to work at BWB to take on a fresh challenge as senior counsel and chairman of BWB Ventures, a newly formed business to advise charities on impact measurement.
He is survived by Lorna; their sons, Toby, Jamie, Edward and Humphrey; and their grandchildren, Rosa, Gwen, Alice, Otto, Nancy and Casper.