Common Purpose UK

Common Purpose UK
Common Purpose UK
Founder(s) Julia Middleton
Type Not-for-profit organisation
Founded 1989
Location London, England
Area served International
Focus Education
Employees 125 worldwide
"Common Purpose" (with capitalized "P") redirects here. For concept in criminal law, see "Common purpose"

Common Purpose UK is a British charity that runs leadership development programmes across the UK.[1][2]

Founded in 1989 by its current Chief Executive, Julia Middleton,[3][4] its aim is to improve the way organisations and society work together by developing all kinds of leaders through a programme of diverse challenges and approaches.[5]

As of 2009, Common Purpose employs 125[6] staff and operates in 50 locations across the UK.[3][7]




Common Purpose runs a range of leadership development courses that offer participants the inspiration, knowledge and connections to help them become more active and engaged in society.[8]

Its courses run in 11 countries worldwide and aim at improving the way organisations work by increasing the number of informed individuals who are actively involved in shaping the future of the area in which they work.[3][8]


Common Purpose works with a wide range of organisations and individuals across business, public, voluntary and political sectors.[5][9] By January 2010, 12,000 participants were involved in Common Purpose programmes.[8]

Chatham House Rule

Its courses are conducted under the Chatham House Rule to encourage free discussion amongst participants.[10] This has caused some people to raise suspicion about the organisation.[11]

Bursary placements

Common Purpose offers bursary placements to help bosses of small and medium-sized business get through the economic downturn by enabling firms to make new contacts and secure more work.[12]

Education and young people

Your Turn is a leadership programme for Year 9 students that is conducted in five regions throughout the UK and challenges young people to think in new ways about their area and their world.[13]

CHANGEit is a collaboration between Common Purpose and Deutsche Bank. It has been designed to recognise the achievements and ambitions of young people between the ages of 11 and 18 who want to speak out and create positive change.[13]

Senior executives

What Next? is a course run by leadership development organisation Common Purpose and the Said Business School that can help executives identify opportunities to continue to use the experience they have accumulated during their careers.[14]

Thought leadership and campaigns

In January 2010, Common Purpose Chief Executive, Julia Middleton, interviewed 12 well-known leaders from the private, public and voluntary sector, including Sir David Bell and Dame Suzi Leather about the qualities needed for good leadership in challenging times.[15] The interviews were broadcast on video-sharing website YouTube.[16]

In July 2009, Common Purpose was commissioned by the Government Equalities Office to conduct an online survey of individuals in leadership positions and produce a report titled “Diversity of Representation in Public Appointments”.[17] Subsequently Common Purpose and the Government Equalities Office set up The About Time Public Leaders Courses, designed to support the government’s aim to increase the diversity of public body board members and the pool of talented individuals ready to take up public appointments. The schemes were formally launched in January 2010.


In July 2008, Common Purpose introduced a project in Bangalore, India, which took 50 people from different sectors, e.g. IT and banking, and encouraged them to share local and international knowledge in order to solve problems associated with trading in a recession.[3]

It has also run similar projects in Germany, to highlight the importance of having good facilities for the disabled.[3]

Related issues

In May 2008, the Yorkshire Post revealed that Common Purpose had been granted free office space at the Department for Children, Schools and Families in Sheffield in 1997.[18] A DCSF spokeswoman said the free office accommodation had been given in line with the policy of the then Education Secretary David Blunkett, a Sheffield MP, who had wanted to build better links with the local community. But Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, criticised the relationship between Government and Common Purpose as well as the fact it did not put the content of its training in the public domain.[18]

In August 2008, conspiracy theories about Common Purpose were mentioned in a House of Commons Library document entitled 'Eurosceptic Campaigns Alleging the Abolition of Westminster'.[19]

In January 2009, Third Sector reported that Common Purpose was to face no further action from the Information Commissioner's Office. The announcement came following ICO’s ruling in October 2008 that the charity was unlikely to have complied with the provisions in the Data Protection Act on processing personal data when it compiled a list containing the personal details of people who had made requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 relating to its dealings with public authorities.[20]


  1. ^ "Bursaries to help bosses". Derby Telegraph. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  2. ^ "Unlocking leadership potential in the NHS". Health Service Journal. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "In salute to leaders". The Economic Times. 7 May 2008.,prtpage-1.cms. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  4. ^ Claire Oldfield (November 2008). "Understanding strategy". Director Magazine. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  5. ^ a b Andrea Wren (2007-03-30). "Move outside your comfort zone". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Common Purpose - Company Profile on LinkedIn". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  8. ^ a b c "Common Purpose - Business Club Video". London: Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  9. ^ "Talent management special report: market overview". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  10. ^ "Common Purpose UK - Common Purpose Methods". 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  11. ^ "Common Purpose - The Truth, Not The Conspiracy.". Pits n Pots. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  12. ^ "Bursaries to help bosses". 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  13. ^ a b "TeacherNet, Charities". 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  14. ^ "Common Purpose offers help to redundant executives". 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  15. ^ "Good leadership in challenging times: what's the secret? | Public | Public". 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  16. ^ "Media attacks tested me, says Dame Suzi Leather". Third Sector. 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  17. ^ "Diversity of representation in public appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  18. ^ a b Waugh, Rob. "Elite trainer gets 11-year state freebie". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  19. ^ Vaughne Miller (20 November 2008). "Eurosceptic campaigns alleging the abolition of Westminster". House of Commons Library. 
  20. ^ "Common Purpose to face no further action from Information Commissioner". Third Sector. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 

Further reading

External links

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