This blog is mainly Dominic Ellison's musings of trying to spend money ethically and to support local communities.
Dominic is Managing Director of Hackney Co-operative Developments and also a Director of London Co-op Development, Co-operatives London and the Vortex Jazz Club, Executive Council Member of Hackney CVS and Third Sector representative of Hackney Economic Development Network.
So we will just change our branding to the word “social,” and then say “business is social.”
I thought you would want to be one of the first to know.
Salesforce.com Withdraws Applications to Trademark the Term “Social Enterprise”
SAN FRANCISCO, September 4, 2012 – Salesforce.com [NYSE: CRM], the enterprise cloud computing company, announced today it plans to withdraw its applications to trademark the term “social enterprise.”
For nearly two years, salesforce.com has been evangelizing the term “social enterprise” to describe how social and mobile cloud technologies are empowering companies to connect with customers, partners and employees in entirely new ways. When salesforce.com applied to trademark the term in the IT sector earlier this year, members of the social sector expressed concern that it would cause confusion around the meaning of the term. The social sector, including both non-profits and for profits, define the term “social enterprise” as organizations that apply commercial strategies to improve human and environmental well-being such as reducing poverty or improving education.
Salesforce.com has engaged in a dialogue with a number of these concerned parties, listened to their feedback, and is now withdrawing its applications to trademark the term “social enterprise.” In addition, salesforce.com will look to remove any references to “social enterprise” in its marketing materials in the future.
Comments on the News
“It was never our intention to create confusion in the social sector which we have supported since our founding,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, salesforce.com. “As a result of the feedback we received, salesforce.com has decided to withdraw its efforts to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’ and plans to discontinue its use in our marketing.”
About salesforce.com Founded in 1999, salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing leader. Using salesforce.com’s social and mobile cloud technologies, companies can connect with customers, partners and employees in entirely new ways. Based onsalesforce.com’s real-time, multitenant architecture, the company’s platform and apps give customers the tools to create a social front office and revolutionize the way they sell, service, market, collaborate, work, and innovate.
On Monday I attended the wonderful Compass Annual Lecture, delivered by Richard Sennett (author of The Craftsman, The Culture of the New Capitalism, The Fall of Public Man, The Hidden Injuries of Class, The Corrosion of Character and Respect in an Age of Inequality) and entitled ‘The Craft of Cooperation’. The lecture drew from his wonderful new book ‘Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation’ (which he was kind enough to sign my copy of) in which Sennett argues that cooperation in itself is a craft which is developed through listening and discussion rather than debate (‘Craft’, as you can see from his previous work, is usually central to Sennett’s investigations) and it is something we need to work on developing within ourselves.
The book and the talk focused on what Sennett describes as the most urgent challenge in contemporary society; living with those who are different from us, that is - different in terms of race, religion, ethical values, social status or wealth. As human beings we tend to avoid engaging with people who differ from us and our political systems are divisive, creating tribal separatism. In his book, Sennett tries to uncover why this is the case and what we can do about it.
He investigates how people can co-operate in cyber-space just as they do at work, in local politics or on street corners, and by tracing the history of cooperation back through to medieval times (via the communes of Paris), successfully argues that the capacity for co-operation is an elemental part of human nature. Sennett skillfully traces the history of cooperation in a fragmented journey that sees how capitalism drew on, but failed to capitalise on such interaction and tried to condense this fantastic read into an hour-long lecture.
He was joined by a panel consisting of Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK (who sponsored the event); Lisa Nandy, MP for my hometown, Wigan; the Guardian’s Deborah Orr; Hannah Worth, Director of Chamberlain Forum and the evening’s Chair, Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass.
To begin with, Sennett separated the social left from the political left by explaining that the political left emphasise solidarity, whereas the social left aim for co-operation and value human interaction as an end in itself.
He spoke of how in children’s development we learn about the relationship between co-operation and competition, i.e. defining the rules of the game.
In this he gets to explain his theories of dialectic and dialogic and that the listening skills we commonly fail to develop are those required to ascertain the intention behind somebody’s words (i.e. not what a person says, but what they mean). Sennett explains that it is because we listen to people’s words and not meanings that we come away from a conversation with a fractured understanding.
He speaks of declarital speech (I believe x, y and z) and ‘the fetish of assertion’ verses subjunctive expression in which, as Sennett nicely put it, ‘people learn to take ‘perhaps’ seriously’ and open up a space to explore and co-operate. These ideas around language are beautifully explained in the books in analogies around musicians playing together.
Sennett distinguishes between sympathy and empathy and argues that sympathy is the moral base of co-operation, whereas empathy us a cooler emotion, a curiosity about the other person rather than assuming an identification with them. Empathy, Sennett argues, serves us better as we don’t presume we understand what others are going through. The well-meaning, middle class community organiser telling the poor and disenfranchised ‘nothing you experience is foreign to me’ is damaging and it is far better to respect our differences, rather than try to feel that we are all the same. Sennett teaches that when you practice empathy with people, they learn to be empathic too.
(All of these points are greatly expanded upon in the wonderful book, which I heartily recommend, not only to those who are committed to the co-operative movement, but also to anyone interested in how evolution, sociology and anthropology all lead us to understand that it is co-operation, not competition, that is the implicit human characteristic which has shaped how we function as societies across the world.)
Ed Mayo came in to explain the need to un-learn competition, which is taught to us at a very early age at school and worsened by the fact that schools themselves are in such harsh competition with each other. He spoke of the beauty of the language of the early co-operators such as our forefathers, the Rochdale Pioneers. Terms such as ‘friendly lending societies’, Mayo argues, thoroughly sum up the ambitions of the co-operative economy. Bringing this to the current day he spoke of his recent visit to the Tamworth Co-operative Society and the member of it’s board that he saw at work in the boardroom and also on the street as a lollypop lady. He reflected on how, in mainstream business, this woman’s gender, class and lack of vocality would surely have provided barriers which combined would prevent her from ever reaching a position on the board of such a large organisation. It was a wonderful example of the beauty and benefits of co-operation and I think that story helped a lot of people to, well, get it.
Last night I thoroughly enjoyed an excellent presentation by Ted L Howard, Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative, focusing on the Evergreen Co-operatives, a path-breaking network of green worker cooperatives in some of Cleveland’s poorest neighborhoods.
Introduced by Neil McInroy (@nmcinroy) of CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies), the event, entitled ‘A New Local Economic Development: Learning from the Evergreen Co-ops model in London’ aimed to give a background to the Evergreen Co-ops model and invite discussion about how such a model could be transplanted into the UK, and I do mean the UK rather than London as the audience had come from far and wide, with representatives from London-based worker and housing co-operatives, Co-operatives London, the Co-operative Group, some public sector bodies (I think that Leeds Council represented the furthest traveled public servant at the event) and Transition groups from far and wide.
Ted, wisely, chose to forgo a long introduction to the history of Evergreen and instead showed a short film. I would be foolish not to learn from him, so here it is;
The Evergreen Cooperatives are a confederation of employee-owned, for-profit companies, which are deeply rooted in the community of Cleveland Ohio and hire locally. They focus on the creation of meaningful green jobs and keep precious financial resources within their community. In true co-operative form, and as far as I ascertained during the seminar, completely in keeping with the principles spelled out by the International Co-operative Alliance, workers earn a living wage and build equity in their firms as owners of the business and have democratic control of said businesses.
The businesses are, as the name suggests, green in nature and comprise of Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, Ohio Cooperative Solar and Green City Growers Cooperative. 10% of each companies annual profits are clawed back to a central Evergreen fund to support the establishment of future co-operative businesses.
EVERGREEN COOPERATIVE LAUNDRY IN NORTHEAST OHIO. PHOTOS JANET CENTURY
There were a great many lessons for worker co-operatives (and aspiring co-operatives) to take away from the evening, but from my point of view the lessons were especially pertinent for Co-operative Development Agencies (such as Hackney Co-operative Developments of which I am MD) and so I hope to address the interest of both in my notes here.
From Ted’s presentation, it seems that Evergreen see themselves very much as a modern, North American Mondragon and look to use their established worker-owned and controlled businesses as a place-making entity. There business model is entirely based on locality and they recognized from the very beginning the size of the market that is occupied by Ohio’s Anchor Institutions and their starting point for establishing businesses is, of course, not establishing a highly profitable empire, but addressing the needs of the local people who form part of America’s 100m people living below the poverty line. Interestingly, the demographic make-up of the neighborhoods which Evergreen target for recruitment coincide with the communities most likely to be convicted of felonies, meaning that as a consequence approximately 1/3 of the worker/owners have a criminal record. In Ted’s words (or near enough), Evergreen are ’Putting wealth-building materials into the hands of those who cannot normally reach it’ - isn’t that what co-ops are essentially for?
Ted also made a point that I found particularly resonant in the context of the UK’s Work Programme, most skills-for-work training schemes train people in generic work skills, in locations where there are few jobs, meaning that they leave training to go back to benefits. Evergreen only trains people for positions that exist, and once the training is complete, existing members of the co-operative vote over whether the particpant should be invited to join the co-op.
As Ted explained, Cleveland’s once thriving manufacturing and financial services industries have declined in recent years. The ‘Anchor Institutions’ that he refers to are the biggest organisations in the city, such the hospitals, the University and the Cleveland Foundation who by their very nature are anchored to the city and cannot leave. As Ted put it ‘if your organisation is anchored in a place, in a community, you have a self-interest in ensuring that community is strong and healthy’. And so it is with this savvy business proposition that Evergreen seek the custom of these institutions, as opposed to appealing to any philanthropic inclination.
Evergreen’s business then meets the needs of these institutions, and it is quite obvious that laundry, food and energy (at the point of construction) are big contracts with such organistaions. Interestingly, Ted also pointed out that when looking to move into new markets, Evergreen do not seek to go into competition with services that meet needs locally (‘what would be the point of setting up a new local enetrprise if your just putting the guy living out of town out of business’) but look to either growing markets, or those met by far-removed companies.
When asked about the ‘spark’ that set this development off, Ted spoke of how ‘things had basically got so bad we had to try something new. We recognised that where the economy of the city had moved was away from finance, business and marketing and to a large social economy, the not for profits became the biggest industry in the area… We saw an opportunity to get the hospitals, the schools, the university to collaborate for the first time and we could use the Cleveland Foundation as a trusted neutral organisation to do so’.
(Start-up capital came from a combination of philanthropic money, via the Cleveland Foundation, which established a revolving loan fund, Federal Government long-term loans [20 years at 2%, are you reading Mr. Cameron?] and use of Tax Credits. I’m not certain exactly how the USA Tax Credit system works, if you are, let me know. For the future Evergreen are looking to raise finance through Community Share Options. We have a number of great examples of those in the UK, I am particularly interested in the Brixton Energy co-operative solar project at present.)
So what, for me, makes this an incredibly interesting model is that rather than simply a paragon exemplar of successful worker co-operatives (in which, by the way, all employees get their healthcare completely taken care of without having to contribute extra cash personally, apparently that’s pretty much unheard of in the US), there is a major lesson for Co-operative Development Agencies to learn here in creating the environments for co-operation to thrive, by involving the key regional infrastructure institutions, not only as customers, but as partners working co-operatively.
Evergreen were able to act as a conduit to join up the development planning of the large institutions, apparently for the first time. In addition to obvious strategies such as joint-purchasing, this meant co-operation such as sharing their closely guarded capital development strategies, by which they identified beneficial infrastructure changes, for example in transport, which benefits all of the stakeholder organisations as well as the community at large. Evergreen were able to work with these organisations to create an employer assisted relocation fund to move the anchor institution employees (the vast majority of whom commuted in from out of town) into Cleveland. (the scheme basically works as a $15-20,000 loan, which is forgivable if you stay put 5 years. The Anchor Institutions, Local Government and philanthropists put into this fund).
Working with such large organisations as a new supplier is often not straight forward. For example, though Green City Growers Cooperative is supplying fresh ingredients to them, it does not do so directly, but by supplying the large corporation who supply the complete catering needs of the institutions. Evergreen recognised in this as an opportunity to address the fact that the majority of fresh food is transported to North East Ohio from far away, (Pretty much every head of lettuce in the city came from California’) by working co-operatively with the institutions, who would use their influence as major customers of the corporations to demand that any food they supply to them which is produced by Green City must be sourced from Green City. And when the time came for the institutions’ contracts to be renewed with these corporations, heavy hints were given that it would be looked favorably upon if these ingredients were sourced locally not only for the food they supply to them, but to all local customers.
In terms of the City Government, Ted admitted they may have been slow at first to participate, however they became an invaluable element of the partnership, helping them access land, funneling resources, recognizing the importance of of the Evergreen Cooperatives project as an economic development strategy that meets the most excluded.
So, the question remains as to how we can learn from this model and apply it to the UK. One major difference which we face is that the type of anchor institutions Evergreen target are not, in the UK, autonomous purchasing bodies, but part of our Local Authorities and the NHS. If an American hospital or University is a huge unwieldy beast to deal with, they should try dealing with an English council! It may be interesting to see how the spin-out agenda effects this, particularly if the movement is successful in ensuring that many organisations that do appear as part of this Coalition Government agenda establish themselves as fully fledged co-operatives, and how the growing number of ‘Co-opertive Councils’ will work with co-operative supply chains.
I am certainly going to research more on Evergreen and see what lessons can be drawn. And of course Cleveland is now higher on my list of places I need to visit. Thanks to all involved in organising last night’s events and to all who attended and participated to very inteeresting debate.
The event was kindly supported by Co-operatives UK (the national trade body that campaigns for co-operation and works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises) and hosted by NewStart Magazine (the UK’s Leading Regeneration Magazine) and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) (an independent think-tank/doing organisation involved in regeneration, local economic development and local governance) at The Hub Westminster (a place for social startups to take ideas to action and impact).
Ted Howard (born 1950, Ohio) is a social entrepreneur and author. He is the founder and Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborativeat the University of Maryland and serves as the Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice with the Cleveland Foundation. For more than 30 years, Howard has worked for non-profit organizations including UN agencies and The Hunger Project (source - wikipedia) My apologies to Ted for rather loose use of quotes, I hope that if they are not word perfect, they accurately sum up the meaning he was conveying.
This is going to be a very quick one. I just wanted to let you know about a new website called Voluntary Sector Cuts, which has been launched collaboratively by umbrella bodies and voluntary sector organisations including NCVO, Acevo, Navca and regional voluntary networks.
As public sector funding cuts begin to bite, it is vital that their impact on the voluntary sector and the people it works with is understood. Voluntary Sector Cuts is a new collaborative project which maps intelligence about voluntary groups experiencing reductions in public sector funding.
They are inviting you to share your experience of statutory sector cuts in a simple, quick online form. This is open to staff working for organisations that have been cut, or volunteers, or lobbyists. All cuts are made public in a google spreadsheet, and can be seen using the map and visualisation tool on this website.
Your contribution will be crucial to building a wider picture of the scale of the challenge ahead in your community, your region, or nationally.
Local area public sector cuts are hitting the smallest organisations the hardest, these are the organisations which are deeply embedded within their communities and serve those most in need. It is all-too-common for such organisations to have been reliant on a single source of Local Authority funding, be it grant or contract, and many of these organisations are now becoming the first victims of cuts in local spending. This has obviously lead to a massive surge of organisations looking to replace their local authority money with new grants from trusts and foundations, Lloyds TSB have reported that eligible applications were up by 24%, that is 2,529 eligible applications compared to the around 900 grants that they award.
This crisis has long been on the horizon and I am still terrified by how little was done by so many organisations to protect themselves for when the big day came. Too many organisations have been too reliant on single-stream funding for too long, it seems engrained in their culture and as it has often been council funding, many organisations are now having their funding completely withdrawn, or in the case of a number of Children’s charities I have worked closely with, having their grant continued but with a 90% cut.
I have long counselled on the need to diversify your organisation’s income stream, be that by multiple grants or a mixture of grants, contracts and trading activity. For advice on securing your organisation’s sustainability, please contact me.
I also read today that Amnesty International UK, the pioneering Human Rights organisation, are considering moving some of their work from their none charitable to their charitable arm, in order to collect more gift aid. The organisation is split in two, with the charity funding it’s projects and the company carrying out its campaigning work, which law heavily restricts charities from doing. Amnesty are now planning to look at what work undertaken by the company (which has a turnover broadly equal to that of the charity) would withstand scrutiny from the Charity Commission and be deemed charitable.
Moving this work to the charity would therefore allow them to claim more Gift Aid, however it would also reduce the amount that the company is able to reclaim in VAT, which is still a hot topic for charities.
When I was working with the OTS, a lot of my time was spent advising faith-based organisations working in public service delivery.
There were often difficulties for such organisations accessing money which does not easily fit their organisational ethics, based on firmly held religious beliefs. One recurrent example was Big Lottery funding, which was problematic for those ethically opposed to gambling. Many organisations even felt uncomfortable accepting statutory contracts.
I would often quote the Salvation Army’s founder, William Booth ‘Give me your dirty money, and I will wash it in the tears of the poor’. The argument held some sway with many organisations, but others would tell me that they, for the example of Lottery Funding, understand all too well the problems of gambling addiction and could play no part in that industry, even reaping the rewards for a good cause.
I know other organisations who have reluctantly accepted money from oil companies, where that does not specifically counter their organisational principles, but has gnawed at the conscience of the individuals heading the organisation. However they have seen the benefits of investing that money in acheiving positive impact.
There is another issue and that is one your charity or social enterprise’s public image. Recently the National Gallery received a great deal of negative press due to the BP sponsorship of the Portrait Awards, in the wake of the oil spill disaster.
Japan Tobacco International, the international arm of the world’s third largest tobacco manufacturer, Japan Tobacco, has entered a five-year partnership agreement with Leonard Cheshire, according to their annual report.
Under the agreement, JTI, which owns brands including Silk Cut, Benson & Hedges and Camel, will fund an IT programme run by the charity.
Leonard Cheshire is an excellent organisation working for people with disabilities, one for which I have volunteered a number of times in the past. They support over 21,000 disabled people in the UK and also work in 52 countries. As well as campaigning, they provide innovative services which give disabled people the independence that other functions of our society make hard to access. I have no doubt that the money will be spent very well.
But how does it sit with the beneficiaries of this charity that money spent has come from the sale of 435 billion cigarettes worldwide?
I will be watching closely as I think there will be interesting arguments on both sides. Please do contact me with your comments, for inclusion in this article.
Well, it’s officially the most miserable day of the year, at least according to a segment of this morning’s Today Programme, and I admit that I was feeling quite that way when I was soaked through and trying to fight my way on to the London Overground. However, we’re too resilient to let this mar our days, so on with the news…
Director of the Development Trusts Association, Steve Wyler will lead the new organisation, Locality, formed after a merge with Bassac. Joanna Holmes, chief executive of Barton Hill Settlement, will take the role of chair. The two bodies, which already work from the same building, announced a merger after extraordinary general meetings in November last year and you can read more here. I have had extremely good experience in dealing with both the Development Trust Association and Bassac in the past and therefore have high expectation of the new body.
Labour claims that the government bill designed to devolve power to local communities actually hands ministers significant new powers. Caroline Flint says “The Tory-led government’s claim to support localism is a sham. Despite their promise to devolve power to communities and local authorities, they’re actually taking power away from local people and giving more to Whitehall ministers,”. Meanwhile, party leader Ed Miliband is claiming the notion of ‘Big Society’ for Labour. Ed, who was Minister for the Third Sector when I first worked with the Office of the Third Sector (as it was under Labour) tore into Labour’s style of government under Tony Blair andGordon Brown as he promised to rebuild a grassroots movement that would go beyond “the bureaucratic state” and look to local people for answers. Amidst a number of swipes at his predecessors, Miliband told a Fabian Society conference that Labour had to reclaim the “big society” as it was an idea in tune with its values, not the Conservatives’. “Only Labour can build the good society. Society can only function if based on progressive Labour values,”.
A new 5-day intensive course in Public Mental Health is available at Warwick Medical School.
Public Mental Health and Wellbeing: Measurement, Determinants and Promotion will run from 28 February - 4 March 2011
‘Today’s public health practitioners need to understand the interplay between mental and physical health, and the impact on healthy lifestyles to ensure the success of a range of public health programmes - including those that aim to prevent heart disease, cancer, and other long-term conditions.’
The course is open to those who are engaged in promoting public health and will provide a theoretical and practical grounding in current issues in public mental health. Download a copy
This new course is the first of its kind in the UK and draws on unique research currently being undertaken at the University of Warwick. The development of this module has been sponsored by the Learning for Public Health West Midlands and is supported by the National Mental Health Development Unit Wellbeing Programme
Finally, anyone who lives in my part of town will have been aware of the anniversary we just passed of the New Cross Fire, which killed 13 young black people at a birthday party 30 years ago. This blog is not really a forum for local issues, but this article by Darcus Howe is a poignant reminder to us all of why we need to keep these events, and the way that our society deals with them, at the front of our minds.
Shelter have launched a brilliant app called Local Housing Watch, enabling users to check the provision of affordable housing in their area and lobby councillors to up their game.
The Co-operative Loan Fund, provided by the Co-operative Group to assist the start-up and development of viable co-operative enterprises in the UK, aims to strengthen the size and scope of the co-operative sector through the provision of ethical, accessible loan finance.
They are now offering loans to a maximum value of £75,000 over a maximum term of 10 years, to assist the start up and development of Co-ops across the UK.
The loans are available to co-operatives that require loan finance to:
Set up as a new co-operative.
Expand their size and scope.
Assist an employee buyout or company succession.
Purchase a property or business.
Purchase capital equipment or create working capital.
Loans are charged at or near market rates and have lowered initial capital and interest repayments.
I had a very interesting meeting yesterday with my colleagues at London Co-operative Developments exploring how we can help start-ups in London make full use of the new opportunities coming. Please get in touch with me if this is you, and particularly those who are in Dalston, where we at Hackney Co-operative Developments can also help you with business premises.
Finally, a survey finds that 60% of staff would volunteer with support from employers. But it also found that 19 per cent of those questioned said their employers could do nothing to encourage them to volunteer. Twenty-five per cent said they were neutral about the idea. Sixty-three per cent of managers said they believed volunteering supported employees’ career progression, and 76 per cent of staff reported that volunteering increased their sense of wellbeing.
The Guardian have launched a one-stop shop for arts funding news which promises to corral what they can into one place in an attempt to get a better grip on what is something of a confused picture, and they want your help.
they are asking for you to keep them informed of what is being cut in your area, whilst also opening up a forum to debate the wider issues: why is public funding of the arts important? How do we compare with other countries? Are some cuts good?
Elsewhere, Manchester Council attacks the Government amidst it’s action to axe 2,000 jobs. The Labour-controlled council claims it is being forced to axe 17% of it’s workforce due to front-loading and the redistribution of money from Manchester to more affluent areas.
Lynne Berry writes that using voluntary sector organisations to reform the NHS would be a win-win situation. Lynne argues that the voluntary sector can lead the way in helping the NHS to reform and to embrace the big society, but acknowledges that the voluntary sector has to build capacity and demonstrate the economic value of concepts such as trust and neighbourliness; it has to make volunteering into a commodity. NHS Managers, however, question whether the voluntary sector has the capacity to provide large scale services. There is the option to leave your comment.
More than 1 million families are set to lose out under the government’s flagship welfare reforms, according to leading financial thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) . Among those who will be worse off under the new system will be lone parents and families with savings of over £16,000 who will, on average, lose in the long run, the IFS said.
Just to ensure this isn’t all Guardian news, Third Sector Magazine’s Austerity Watch panel are pessimistic, claiming 2011 will be a bloodbath. As well as posing worrying questions, members of the panel give their Action Points.
Social entrepreneurs have traditionally gone it alone, working long hours to try to build their dream and change society, picking up any free tips and advice available along the way. But as education and training providers realise that more people want to run businesses that are not brutishly capitalist, a greater number of courses are being introduced that focus specifically on social enterprise, including BA in social enterprise run by the Bromley-by-Bow Centre, in partnership with the University of East London (UEL), University of Bradford foundation degree, Masters at Liverpool John Moores, Glasgow Caledonian Business School and Oxford Business School and, of course, the School of Social Entrepreneurs, of which I am a fellow and which is opening it’s tenth UK-based school (in Suffolk) this month.
Smaller social care charities are faring worse than larger ones as council cuts bite. See how two charities from different ends of the scale are coping with the downturn in this article, which looks at North Yorkshire community and public transport provider the Little Red Bus Company facing uncertain times despite its efficiency. By the end of the 2010-11 financial year it will have lost 15 of its 52 public sector contracts, worth £437,000. Others are up for retendering in April.Read also how providers must be prepared to have services decommissioned by councils and then to be re-commissioned to provide something different and more efficient.