It’s really been about bringing a financial and commercial lens to the organisation.
One of my main aims was trying to encourage the team to think long-term about continuity of service. The perception from around the board room was that ‘we’re a business that provides houses and we need more houses’, but actually what became evident to me is that it’s a business that provides services, and whilst the houses are important, first and foremost the USP of that business, and what makes such a difference to individual lives, is the ‘service wrapper’. It’s our Community Workers, the individuals with the lived experience who have been an addict and got themselves back on track, and the support services that sit around them, that keep people on the right path and make the difference. What became clear to me was that protecting the continuity of this service was really important. I encouraged the team to recruit more people, which not only had the benefit of providing employment for some of our service users, but also mitigated a service continuity risk that existed within the organisation.
Secondly I tried to encourage them to place a greater financial lens on the business plan. To look at how dependent the CIC was on grants and how the organisation could become self-funding. I encouraged the board to consider how we can enable other businesses to support our aims. As a result we created a ‘service leavers kit’ which provides some of the essentials that individuals will need as they embark on their new, independent journey, and which can be funded by sponsoring business partners. It was a great solution, because many businesses want to support social value causes but struggle to find the time to do this. By sponsoring a service leavers kit, or providing the elements within them, they are actively doing good in a way which works best for them.