This website uses cookies to help us understand the way visitors use our website. We can't identify you with them and we don't share the data with anyone else. If you click Reject we will set a single cookie to remember your preference. Find out more in our privacy policy.

Social Business Review 2018: Letter from our Chairman

Our Chairman, Jim McKenna, reflects on the journey we've been on during the last five years in 2018's Social Business Review

04 January 2019

To understand this year’s Social Business Review I believe it’s important to reflect on the past five years.

In 2013 Catch22 took the decision to become a “social business”. We are very proud of being a charity, and of our 200 years of charitable heritage. But we think our approach marks us apart.

Unlike traditional philanthropically funded charities, the majority of our income comes from delivering specific services for others. Today, contracts fund the majority of our delivery and we use a mixed economy of strategic grants and partnerships to fund our reform programmes. It’s a model that means our service users are protected and we can focus on our “Endgame” of public service reform.

Internally we’re agile, we have adaptability, an ability to work across sectors and a willingness to draw from what works in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

At Catch22, “social business” means making decisions with the heart of a charity, and the mindset of a business.

As one of the first to use the term social business, we have faced scrutiny. We have been challenged by those sceptical about charities delivering public services at scale. We have been challenged by those sceptical of charities being efficient. This year, five years after we began the process, I am proud to point to lives we’re changing on the frontline, and the innovation we’re fostering in national systems, and I feel confident in the decision.

2018: Five years on

Five years on, our stakeholder survey shows that Catch22 is known for both its high quality delivery and innovative approach. It shows that majority of our stakeholders now understand what a social business is.

This reputation for delivery has this year opened up entirely new opportunities. Whether it’s designing and delivering new support for adult victims of crime, or being approached by government to run highly specialised support for asylum seeking children, today Catch22 plays a meaningful role in reforming public services, from the outside in.

And working in partnership with our stakeholders is key to this success. We are grateful to all those we work with, big and small. We are accountable to those who benefit from our work, to those who work in partnership with us and those who simply support our work, and we must continue to work together across sectors to transform delivery and improve peoples’ life chances.

Resilient and diverse colleagues

While we have reshaped Catch22 to manage social challenge, the need remains.

There is no doubt that this has been a tough year. Prisons are in crisis. Education faces huge resource issues. Social workers are facing enormous pressure and local authorities continue to try to do more, with less. It makes the work that we do, the work that we want to do, very difficult.

But adversity can foster innovation too and quality services. I have seen that when the going gets tough, Catch22 colleagues stay the course to get the job done.

None of the impact we’ve delivered this year would have been possible without our people. Our staff are not an overhead – they are who and what we are.

I am very pleased that this year we have been able to celebrate their impact and look forward to more so in the year ahead.