Agencia head underlines need for ethical approach to bring security for UK businesses exploring overseas markets

Helen Gibson, Managing Director of Agencia.

A Yorkshire business has renewed its commitment to ethics and honesty as it tackles issues from terrorism to pandemic disease around the world to pave the way for investment by British businesses.

Agencia, based at Hessle in East Yorkshire, works on transforming lives by creating the stability in developing communities which can then provide a platform for positive change.

Helen Gibson, Managing Director of the company since 2016, said the problems they face can pose a threat to the UK’s international and domestic interests, and that the solutions start with ensuring trust and credibility.

She said: “A lot of the work is trans-national and cross-border and there is a blurring of our own domestic and international interests because of issues including terrorism, organised crime and pandemic disease which are all threats to our country.

“It is about working to create a more stable environment for the people who live in these places and for others to come in and consider setting up businesses as part of the prosperity agenda.

“Some of the places we work have had stability issues in the recent past and in some territories those issues are ongoing. Businesses need assurances that their people and their investments will be safe and we maintain that in overcoming the obstacles, the way we work is as important as the outcome.”

Agencia’s success in delivering more than 400 health and justice contracts in 16 countries was recognised by the company being appointed as Northern Powerhouse Export Champion this year. The company also won best small business at the 2017 National Family Business awards, has qualified for a number of central government frameworks and is on the register for the UN Global Compact sustainability initiative.

Helen highlighted some of the company’s achievements and challenges as she addressed colleagues and clients from across the UK and from as far as the United States at a conference organised to mark the tenth anniversary of her joining Agencia. 

The event also showcased some of Agencia’s health activities in the UK, from providing business support to more than 300 general practitioners through its Primary Care Direct service to running successful projects in northern Lincolnshire to combat substance misuse and painkiller addiction.

Kath Lavery, Chair of Yorkshire Ambulance Service speaking at the event as a member of the Agencia Advisory Board, said: “The NHS has some of the brightest brains in the world but we are short of money and short of people and medicine costs are rising like crazy.

“Demand is constantly rising based on lifestyles and the problems of poverty and we are once again in reorganisation. But the NHS is the biggest values-driven organisation on the planet and Agencia understands the NHS and shares those values.”

Steve Pitts, Agencia’s Director of Justice, Security and Policing, spoke of the company’s increased international activity in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Kenya.

He said: “A lot of our work has been about supporting countries who would like to become members of the EU and it is also about protecting the UK’s interests from the threat of corruption and organised crime.”

Helen said the next ten years are likely to take Agencia further into uncharted territory, and that an honest approach from all sides will be essential.

She said: “Over half of our business is international,. We are looking to grow our work in the Western Balkans and South East Europe, East and North Africa and China and we are now in a position to encourage others to consider exporting by sharing our own knowledge and experiences.

“Sometimes it feels as though we are working against all the odds but our strategy remains to continue to grow in the right way. We must hang on tight to our values and use them to navigate the best way forward.”

[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]