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Case study: Rochdale Borough Council and PossAbilities CIC

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Client: Rochdale Borough Council and PossAbilities CIC

Date: June 2013 - ongoing

Challenges faced by the client: As part of the Council, Rochdale Adult Social Care team delivered a range of services for the local community, primarily for people with Learning Disabilities and Older People. The team decided to explore “spinning out” of the council (to become PossAbilities Community Interest Company) through the Cabinet Office’s Mutuals Support Programme, which funded the Mutual Ventures team.

There were some compelling reasons for the service to spin out of the Council, including:

  • To have the freedom to be innovative and creative in-service delivery;

  • To enable staff and service users to have greater involvement in how the organisation is run, with the intention of boosting productivity;

  • To allow any surplus to be reinvested for the benefit of the community;

  • To safeguard jobs by seeking additional income streams;

  • To access new funding streams currently unavailable to a council-based service e.g. charitable grants;

  • To be able to provide services to people with personal budgets (they could not sell services to personal budget holders from within a local authority);

  • To create more efficient systems and processes.

Once launched as an independent employee-owned organisation, PossAbilities CIC, the Chief Executive and the Leadership Team where keen to explore growth through winning new contracts, establish robust governance and operational systems and to achieve organisational resilience.

Support offered: Mutual Ventures has had a seven year relationship with the team at PossAbilities from the initial exploration and establishment of the new organisation to supporting its growth and sustainability up to the present day.

To support the establishment of PossAbilities CIC, MV supported the team to develop a robust five-year business plan and financial model, test the viability of the service as an independent social enterprise and develop a detailed transition plan. We had a big focus on ensuring that this would be an organisation which was genuinely part of the communities it served. Our team then supported the implementation of the new organisation which launched in April 2014 as PossAbilities.

Since then Mutual Ventures has provided support to help the company develop and grow sustainably, supporting the ongoing development of the organisation’s vision and mission, governance and operational systems and processes (including financial) and supporting the exploration of growth opportunities. We have also supported the organisation to think strategically about the future and how it integrates with and establishes a position within the wider Integrated Care System and the Greater Manchester environment.

Our Managing Director, Andrew Laird, now sits on the PossAbilities Board of Directors and continues to provide pro bono support through this role.

Outcome achieved: Rachel Law, Chief Executive, PossAbilities: “Mutual Ventures’ support to develop our business plan, and then turn it into reality, has been invaluable. Their team were able to quickly and effectively continue with the work already undertaken and generate a feeling of confidence and trust amongst staff. Their robust and practical approach, coupled with their impressive knowledge and experience and a continual focus on delivering on their promises, was greatly appreciated by the team and was a major factor in the success of the project. I would highly recommend Mutual Ventures.”

PossAbilities has grown consistently since its launch in 2014 including winning contracts outside of Rochdale and adding new services. The MV team has supported PossAbilities on this journey.


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