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The Work People CIC social enterprise was established in April 2013, with the aim of tackling the underlying causes of unemployment, and providing holistic support and advocacy support services to help disadvantaged people overcome the barriers to securing meaningful employment.

They deliver free and funded services to unemployed in areas of high deprivation, by creating a hub for employment support, bringing together a range of partners to deliver support services, training, facilitates and courses, and an IT suite for researching and applying for jobs.

The business model consists of:

– Public funded contracts including those from Local Government, Skills Funding Agency and Department of Work and Pensions
– Employment Agency commercial income supplying temporary and permanent staff to businesses and organisations
– Renting training and desk space to partner organisations

They have successfully grown their employment hubs in Hastings and St Leonards, developed a successfully operating commercial recruitment arm, secured public sector contracts for employability and training. They are now gearing up to expand regionally and this year have successfully secured a place on the UnLtd Big Venture Challenge programme.

To achieve their growth they required support to capacity build their operation in:

– Measuring Impact
– Performance management processes and systems for contracts and commercial readiness.
– Business strategy
– Securing investment and funding
– Consortium building for DWP contracts

Economic Change CIC has been working with them since August 2013 in the following areas:

Business Strategy & Performance Management

With the aid of the Growth Accelerator grant, we helped the work people to align management responsibilities and goals, define their business strategy and performance indicators and implement performance management processes and systems.

We assisted the Work People with:

a. Facilitated Business Growth Strategy Session with Managers
b. Review of Management Information and Processes
c. Guidance and Training in Salesforce CRM to develop a performance management system
d. Introduction to Big Potential for raising investment for the temp agency.

• A Business Growth Strategy was being implemented by the management team
• Implementation of Salesforce CRM to manage new contracts and related outcomes and outputs.
• Separate management and financial processes established for the new recruitment agency which is now generating an income.
• The Work People CIC successfully secured funding from East Sussex County Council.
• Application to Big Potential has been submitted to help raise investment.

Consortium Building and Contract Readiness

With a move towards prime contracting by national government contracts, The Work People saw the need for a consortium of local delivery partners to be created to enable the local suppliers to effectively bid for commissioning opportunities realised by national government departments, including DWP. Economic Change helped the Work People CIC to secure funding to build a local consortium of providers and to effectively prepare for a DWP Social Impact Commission called the Youth Engagement Fund.

We assisted The Work People with:
Preparing a funding application to the DCLG Our Place programme, an identified funding source for the building the consortium. Out of 120 Our Place Applications, it was nominated as one of 20 applications, which was seen as Breaking New Ground and received the maximum value of £37k of financial & consultancy support.
This funding enabled us to work alongside The Work People team to:
a. Facilitate consortium meetings and project manage the Our Place project.
b. Design a Theory of Change Model for Tackling Unemployment in Hastings
c. Undertake a Cost Benefit Model for the proposed Employability Service
d. Facilitate a partnership and prepare a PQQ and application for an East Sussex-wide Social Impact Bond Proposal to the DWP Youth Engagement Fund.
e. Prepare a proposal and presentation, and directly approached and presented to 3 social investors to support Social Impact Bond Proposal.

Successful Outcomes

• Developed a cross-sector partnership for collaboration and joint-tendering
• Undertook community consultation to determine and represent stakeholder priorities to the public sector funding bodies.
• Secured Our Place funding to help a new consortium submit a DWP Youth Engagement Fund Social Impact Bond Proposal for £3m, which has successfully progressed pass the PQQ stage with 23 to 27 points.
• Secured offers from two investors for the Social Impact Bond proposal – Big Issue Invest and Bridges Ventures for £600k.
• Contracted with and used Numbers4Good for financial modelling and SPV model.

‘Heather Black has been a key factor in the growth of our social enterprise. Through coaching, consultancy and training she has helped me and my management team deliver social impact and financial returns through improved systems and effective change management.

Heather has also been instrumental in pulling together the Into Work Partnership and submitting a full application to the Youth Engagement Fund.

I plan to work with Heather as we continue to grow our business and would recommend her to anyone looking to grow their social impact or financial output. Her experience and enthusiasm are a delight to work with.’

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