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Capacity: The Public Services Lab

Capacity: The Public Services Lab is a joint venture between Catch22, Interserve PLC, Big Society Capital and Clubfinance to build the capacity of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector to compete successfully for public sector contracts.

At the end of last year we won Big Society Capital’s Business Impact Challenge with our concept, the Public Services Lab (now Capacity), a joint venture between Catch22, Interserve PLC, Big Society Capital and Clubfinance.

The Lab will give the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector the chance to compete successfully for public sector contracts. It brings these sectors together to collaboratively create new approaches which achieve significant change. It will work with commissioners to create new opportunities for small and medium sized charities and mission led organisations.

The Lab has developed significantly over the last 12 months. Incorporated, it has appointed an impressive leadership team based in the Cunard Building. Chief Executive Chris Catterall joined from The Reader where he was Director of Enterprise. Chair Christopher Graham recently completed a seven year term as Information Commissioner and is currently Vice-President of the Council of Liverpool University.

Capacity is already winning acclaim, awarded ‘Innovative New Idea’ at the 2016 Finance for the Future Awards. The award celebrates the year’s most innovative new idea with the potential to have a tangible impact on society, in line with the United Nation’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Public Services Lab Leadership Team
The Capacity Leadership Team

Chris Catterall says:

‘Charities, community groups, and social enterprises will often have the most to offer in delivering services that really make a difference. The problem is that all too often they don’t have the scale or business back up to win the key contracts.All too often the opportunity is lost to deliver services that could work better for communities.

We want to create a more collaborative environment which gives the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector the chance to compete successfully for public sector contracts but most importantly create new approaches which achieve significant change.’

Chris Catterall continues:

‘We don’t pretend we have all the answers, but we have the commitment of a unique joint-venture partnership to create the environment where public services can be dramatically improved by bringing investors, companies, commissioners, service users and delivery bodies, the community and private sector outsourcers together to achieve that in and around the Liverpool City Region.’

The Lab has had fantastic initial traction from across the public, private and mission led business sector. It launches officially in March, where an initial plan will be published for consultation.

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