Stepping Out NOW                                October 2014
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Time to Trade-Up

The commitment of all the main political parties to ring-fencing the NHS means only one thing for other public services - change or die. 

Nowhere is this more true than in local government.   

Councils which wish to see their libraries, culture and leisure services survive need to act rapidly if they are not to be lost in the next drive for austerity after the General Election. 

Social care is a particular challenge for Councils.  Need continues to rise as the population gets older but social care continues to be starved of money to feed the NHS - even though cuts to social care have been shown to increase further the pressure on the health service.

Again, something needs to give.   Our own research among Directors of Adult Services suggests that new delivery models, particularly those that can integrate social care with health care around the individual are very attractive. 

Because we know Councils need to look now at alternative delivery models, Stepping Out is presenting TradeUP, a half day pop-up event in six English Regions during November. 

There will be expert speakers, talks from spin-outs, business games and a Dragons event.  

This is a Councils-only event with only limited places left, so book on now to be sure of a place.

Stepping Out is here to help Councils to think about creating great new businesses that ensure that public services can carry on. 

So come along. 

Trade Up: Free Autumn UK Roadshow

Stepping Out will be taking to the road this Autumn to help Councils understand the real potential of Alternative Delivery Vehicles and commercialisation.

With contributions from a range of organisations that have demonstrated the financial, transformational and quality impacts that can be achieved, Trade Up is the place to find out how your Council can trade its way to a new future.  

Dates and locations in the Diary:

London - 5th November - more places released now
Birmingham - 7th November - 11 places left
Wakefield - 12th November - 1 place left
Cambridge - 20th November - 18 places left
Bath - 24th November - 10 places left
Salford - 25th November - 9 places left

To book a place or express an interest in attending, contact us at or to register click on the location above.


Ask The Expert - Can Councils really harness the potential of commercialisation?

David Robson is Managing Partner of David B Robson & Partners LLP

Of course you can't run a Local Authority like a business. But Local Authorities can definitely run businesses - and help others to run theirs better. It's a fallacy that Local Authorities don't have the capability to develop income generating ventures - ones that deliver worthwhile benefits to the local commercial and residential communities.

Most Councils have competent and intelligent people. Their perspective, mindset and skills can be changed. They can be equipped with the tools and techniques that underpin all successful commercial ventures. They can 'hijack' the entrepreneurial experience of others.

Of these requirements the shift in perspective and mindset is pivotal to determining the nature and scope of any commercial enterprise. As just one example, there is a tendency to understate the opportunity and implement a venture that's at best marginal in its contribution.

A successful business is able to leverage assets into markets where they answer compelling needs or wants. In the private sector this is often referred to as monetisation. It's fundamental to the success of 'commercialisation' in the public sector. Our experience also demonstrates that most Councils don't understand the exceptional value of 'hidden' soft assets they have under their control and influence.

The limiting perspective of Council management can result in an increase in the risk of a commercial enterprise, the very factor it's probably seeking to avoid. The marginal nature of a business can actually ensure its vulnerability. Whilst on the subject of risk, what's the greater risk – a single underperforming venture (that could always be sold or closed if necessary) or a revenue shortfall causing dramatic surgery Council wide?

Combining with misdirected perspective is the commonly held view that Councils don't have sufficient resources - “we have our day-jobs to do”. Yet, provided that the scope of the opportunity is significant (see above), 'insourcing' specialist resources on an interim or partnership basis should rarely present a problem. However, the aim should be for management, strategy and ownership to remain under the control of the Local Authority.

Another oft quoted barrier is that governance within the public sector is hugely different to the private sector. Yet the scrutiny of private companies in terms of their financial, social and state responsibilities are greater than ever. The key difference is what a Local Authority can undertake and how that is conducted. This is an area where innovative changes are already being made and where a great deal of development is being directed.


Balance CIC are currently looking for a new Head of Operations, applications close this Friday. Click here to find out more.  

Non Executive Directors wanted - Somerset CC are looking for local people to help steer the future of learning disability provider services. 

Of Note

Report predicts six scenarios for local government in 2020

Anglesey hands all council staff chance of redundancy
LGA: Cut to council crisis funding would affect ‘thousands’

Good Reads:

It takes courage to innovate

Making Sense of Mutuals

Last but not Least

Do all Public services have to be delivered by professionals?


21st October - Fit for the Future
: Leading the way in Health & Care featuring a workshop from Craig Dearden-Phillips

17th and 18th November - EOA Annual Conference 2014



If you’re looking to find contact details for key figures in public sector roles, Oscar Research offer a wide range of database services to support you in reaching key targets.  Find out more at


Support and investment to grow your business
If you are looking for support to grow your social business contact us 07887 414042 or

Join Our Talent Pool!
We get involved in some fascinating assignments and have associate opportunities for people with particular skills and experience that will help move our clients forward.  If you have a talent that you think those setting up and developing new public service delivery models could benefit from then we’d love to hear from you.  Send a CV and covering note to Rob Fountain at and let’s start the conversation.
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