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E3M Alchemy: Partnerships for Success in Transforming Local Services

Event Date: 21.09.2016 |Time: 09.00 - 17.00 |Location: Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre |Categories: Events, Markets, Measurement, Models, Money

Brilliant visual representation of the day by

E3M Alchemy 2016 – London, 21 September

This was a very successful day, spent exploring the ‘art of the possible’ in the transformation of local public services.

Senior public service commissioners, leaders of commercial social enterprises and social investors came together to share perspectives and to think in new ways about local solutions.

Delegates gleaned new and practical ideas about how to approach local challenges, as well as extending their range of useful contacts and potential new partners to realise their ambitions.


  • explored new and innovative ways to create services that solve local problems
  • shared experience and knowledge, and learnt from others – they were part of the *Alchemy*
  • made new connections
  • learnt together

E3M Alchemy – the Castleville challenge

Highly participative, delegates were given a challenge to work on at their table, as part of a mixed group, and the exercise drew on the knowledge of everyone present.

Ideas from the day are being collated and will be presented to a panel of senior local politicians, policy makers and leading thinkers on public service reform.

Those ideas were stimulated by a range of inspiring presentations that were cleverly woven throughout the challenge during the course of the day.

These included:

  • The Barcelona Open Procurement Challenge. Anna Majó of Barcelona City Council shared how the city was able to get more from its procurement in a way that also stimulated local economic growth and job creation. She explained how they used an innovative two stage procurement process involving a competition of ideas and a negotiated procedure to solve city wide problems.
  • Commissioning for outcomes & impact. Niall Bolger, CEO of Sutton Council, shared the vision of commissioning for outcomes and measurable social impact, as well as how the Council engages residents and citizens in the commissioning process.
  • Commissioning innovation in practice. Dai Powell of HCT Group, Adam Kybird from Bridges Ventures and Megan McGovern of Surrey County Council talked about how they are working together to create a new approach.
  • Unlocking social and community capital through the Public Services Lab. Chris Wright of Catch 22 explained the new Public Services Lab.
  • Evidence based service design and the theory of change. Peter Grigg of the Children’s Society gave a service provider’s perspective, while Jim Clifford of BWB spoke about how to use impact measurement to inform service design.
  • A new partnership model for Health and Wellbeing. Scott Darraugh of Social adVentures profiled the Health and Wellbeing Partnership LLP, a collaborative model that supports growth and greater impact of social enterprises in public service markets.
  • Crowdfunding to increase the impact of local government spending. Niraj Dattani, Head of Community Development at Spacehive and Harrow Councillor, shared the experience of Spacehive’s work with the Mayor of London and cities such as Manchester, York and Hull, as well as with the social enterprise GLL.

An Inspiring and Interactive Programme

The groups examined different elements of the challenge relating to innovative commissioning, new models for delivery, investment, impact measurement and the culture change required to make new things happen.

They covered the key elements for success in creating transformative new partnerships to tackle problems and meet local needs:

  • Markets – the ‘art of the possible’ , e.g. innovation partnerships and co-design/co-development/co-investment
  • Money – social investment, e.g. new forms of patient capital, new models for SIBs, financing PBR, crowd funding to build community assets
  • Models – e.g. joint ventures, spin-outs, social primes, and consortia
  • Measurement – a clear theory of change; articulating social value; robust metrics; sensible proxies for long-term impact
  • Culture – making it happen; the building blocks for transformation

A higher resolution version of Fiona Macpherson‘s brilliant visual representation of the day is available to view and/or download here.


  • Adam Kybird – Investment Associate, Bridges Ventures
  • Anna Majó Crespo – Operational Director, Barcelona City Council
  • Benjamin Taylor – CEO, Public Service Transformation Academy
  • Chris Theobald – Associate Director, BWB Advisory and BWB Impact
  • Chris Wright – CEO, Catch22
  • Dai Powell – CEO, HCT
  • Garath Symonds – Assistant Director Commissioning, and Prevention, Surrey County Council
  • Jacqui McKinlay – CEO, Centre for Public Scrutiny
  • Jim Clifford – Partner & Director, BWB Advisory and BWB Impact
  • Jonathan Bland – MD, E3M & Social Business International
  • Julian Blake – Partner & Co-Head: Social Enterprise & Charity, BWB
  • Niall Bolger – CEO, London Borough of Sutton
  • Niraj Dattani –  Head of Community Development, Spacehive & Councillor, London Borough of Harrow
  • Peter Grigg – External Affairs Director, The Children’s Society
  • Samantha Butler – Head of Commissioning Academies, Office for Civil Society and Innovation (DCMS)
  • Scott Darraugh – CEO, Social adVentures

Get tickets here