The Public Services Lab, the joint venture to help charities, community groups, and social enterprises to compete successfully for public contracts, has announced the appointment of its leadership team.
Chris Catterall, currently Director of Enterprise at The Reader Organisation, based at Calderstones, has been appointed Chief Executive of the Lab, and Christopher Graham, former UK Information Commissioner, has been appointed independent non-executive chair.
The Public Services Lab is a joint venture between Catch22, Interserve, Big Society Capital, and Clubfinance. The project won last year’s Business Impact Challenge which sought to encourage and support proposals from the private sector to establish ‘social businesses’ that would deliver a positive social impact whilst simultaneously operating along commercially sustainable principles.
Chris Catterall has developed The Reader from the first Arts Faculty ‘Spin-Out’ from the University of Liverpool, to a national social business which pioneered the use of shared reading to support health and wellbeing. Chris has tripled revenue through activity in health, justice and education sectors and diversified The Reader’s offer through the acquisition of Calderstones Mansion House which has included the completion of a £5m capital fundraising programme and the creation of three new social enterprises including The Reader Café and Ice Cream Parlour.
Christopher Graham recently completed his seven year term as Information Commissioner. On 1 August, he was appointed Vice-President of the Council of Liverpool University where he was himself a student – and President of the Guild of Undergraduates, 1971-2. He sat on Liverpool City Council from 1971- 1974, serving on the Social Services and Education Committees.
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.’
The Public Services Lab will set out ideas for improving public services through the involvement of local charities and social enterprises. An initial draft plan will be published for consultation.
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.’