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Sept seminar speaker’s blog: How to partner with commissioners to support their goals

Date: 22.07.19 |Categories: Featured, Uncategorised

How to partner with commissioners to support their goals, by combining the power of Community Asset Transfers and public works loans.

When E3M member, Rachel Law, took Rochdale’s Adult Social Care provider arm into a fully independent social enterprise, standing still was not an option. PossAbilities CIC was born and since 2014 has grown from 200 to 600 staff; increased turnover from £6m to £12m with a projection of £15m; made a surplus every year; built reserves from zero to £3m, and achieved CQC Outstanding status on two consecutive occasions.

The figures, though impressive, tell only part of the story. The real story is about grasping the opportunity to develop a culture that embraces openness, creativity and innovation, along with a desire to work with commissioners in new ways. When Rochdale Council developed a strategy designed to expand the range of housing options for people with learning disabilities, the idea of the Cherwell Village Apartments was born. Seventeen self-contained apartments with a co-located farm, wellbeing garden and a funky place, ‘The Social Lounge’, where vulnerable adults can meet up with friends and make new ones. It’s a place where people can live, work, volunteer, learn new skills and socialise, all whilst being in the heart of a vibrant local community.

To make this happen, PossAbilities and Rochdale Council worked together to use existing under-used mechanisms incorporating Community Asset Transfer and cheap finance available to the council through the Public Works Loan Board. For the council this has helped them towards a strategic objective at little or no cost and will deliver six-figure savings; for PossAbilities it represents a further demonstration of innovation; better lives for the people they support; and a commercial proposition.

To find out more from PossAbilities’ Business Development Manager, Malcolm McClean, come to our September seminar, Public Benefit Partnerships: commissioning for innovation, social value and impact.