Stepping Out NOW                                September 2015
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Celebrating Five Years

It was Stepping Out’s 5th Birthday on September 1st. So what have we learned over the last five years?

Appropriately enough we would point to five important lessons.

1. It is almost always true that a new business coming out of the public sector outperforms what went before.

2. The reason this happens is that there is something very powerful and important about giving leaders the freedom to make the service work in a new way.

3. That a more positive organisational culture is the ‘Secret Sauce’ enabling these ventures to achieve more with less.

4. That most of the 100 or so new spin-out businesses would have gone further faster with an existing player as a partner to speed up commercial learning.

5. That the people leading new ventures need world-class support around them because it’s a hard personal journey.

Over the last five years we are delighted to have helped the formation and growth of over 50 organisations and to have made some important contributions to the way the sector has developed. We’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thanks to all of our clients, you’ve been a delight to work with.

Ask the Expert


Click here to read the responses.

David Oldham of Stepping Out has spent ten years working in an accounting practice and twenty years working in the not-for-profit sector, ten of them as a Finance Director of Papworth Trust, a disability charity delivering housing, care, training and employment support throughout the East of England.

This month we asked David the following:

1. What is the role of the Finance Director in Social Enterprise spin-offs?

2. What is the difference between how accounting is done inside and outside the public sector?

3. What kind of finance skills do spin outs tend to bring on board when out?

4. Does social investment have a role to play in spin outs?

5. What do you notice most often when you are involved pre-spin out?
6. What are the financial 'signs of promise' you look for when assessing a potential spin out?
7. What is the biggest financial headache for spin outs and what is the Aspirin for it?
8. What kind of financial information do Boards need from Day one?

On the Sofa 

This month, we are joined by Sarah Sharlott, Chief Executive of three year old social enterprise and spin out; Realise Futures. To read Sarah's words of wisdom, click here


Good Reads/Watch

What type of Social Entrepreneur are you? - Craig Dearden-Phillips in Pioneers Post

Leading The Way - Iain Hasdell from EOA

You Tube Video Interview with Councillor Colin Noble by Craig Dearden-Phillips

What went wrong at Kids Company? - Third Sector Magazine article by Craig Dearden-Phillips

A Healthy Market - By Tom Nicholson of Porge Research

Devo bids process blasted for promoting ‘short-term’ plans - By Dan Peters in The MJ

We can close the productivity gap - by Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and chair of the cabinet of Core Cities

Looking for a Finance Director?

We have worked with many of our clients to fill the business critical position of Finance Director. Our experience over the last five years means we understand what makes the ideal candidate for these roles.
We have experienced associates with expertise of working at director level in social enterprises and spin outs, and can place FDs on an interim basis quickly to ensure business continuity, with someone who really understands your needs. We have also run numerous successful campaigns to recruit financial directors on a permanent basis.

David Osbourne from Catalyst Choices had this to say about the service from Stepping Out:

"Catalyst Choices have been utilising FD support through Stepping Out for the last twelve months. This started pre-launch as we began to put the final touches to our financial model which supported our case for spin out.

When Catalyst Choices launched, it was an easy to choice to continue to access our FD role through Stepping Out – the package of support has been extremely flexible -  suiting our fairly fluid and hectic first six months of operation. The need for a commercial and business focussed FD role has been extremely important to us in this early period of our existence.

The Stepping Out offer has given us exactly what we need in terms of strategic financial support, it has brought a clear commercial focus to our thinking, played a part in our board development  and in addition the FD has become an integral part of our senior team (not just ‘another consultant’).

It is very clear that investing in this support through Stepping Out has provided excellent value to our developing organisation giving us the expertise we needed right from our launch on day one. We aim to continue to access this support for the foreseeable future."

If you have an important senior position that needs filling, either as an interim or as a recruitment piece of work, Contact us today

Congratulations to our customers for their nominations

* Chums,
* Leading Lives
* Realise Futures
* Chime Audiology
* Medway Community Healthcare

UK Social Enterprise Awards 2015

Congratulations also to customer Aspire Community Benefit Society who spun out the Leeds Adults with Learning Difficulties services this August. Great to have worked with you on your journey.


Social Enterprise, Work and Wellbeing Conference 2015 - 24th September 2015

Nominations close for 2015 UK Employee Ownership Awards - 14th September 2015

Social Saturday 2015 - 10th October 2015

Social Value UK Annual Conference - 19th and 20th October 2015

SEUK Awards Ceremony - 26th November 2015


Support and investment to grow your business
If you are looking for support to grow your social business contact us 01223 781145 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 Rachel Willer at
r and let’s start the conversation.
Copyright © 2015 Stepping Out, All rights reserved.

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