SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NEWS
Our newest Social Enterprise Spotlight is Karen Spencer and Gravitas Outcome Services. Read and share their Q&A interview below!
What’s your social and/or environmental mission?
To enable creative Social Enterprises to compete with larger more corporate services. In this period of austerity, driving factors are often fiscal, when they should be impact focussed. It is important to be professional in both areas.
How do you do it? (client group, practical daily work, customers etc)
Gravitas Outcome Services are a small organisation, allowing us to respond personally and flexibly to meet the needs of our clients. We implement our Case Outcome Recording System(CORS) to improve service provision, increase funding streams and contribute to positive outcomes. Evaluation and monitoring can appear daunting, but with good software it can be simple, effective and even pleasurable.
What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur?
I (Karen, a Psychologist),had worked for various public sector organisations, using both good and bad recording systems. John (my partner in business and life), a mathematician and software developer, had built systems that were business critical in banks and credit card companies. Together we wanted to apply our skills to something more worthwhile. Already on the management committee of a mental health service, having a son with mental health needs, we started there…
What are your current projects?
Our biggest project at the moment is expanding the web based aspect of our system. This development has allowed us to grant access to service users who canview and contribute to their own records improving personalisation. One of our services (providing family support with additional support needs), permit contributions to records and reviews,and activity booking online. Care-coordinators can have caseload access too, increasing their profile in the local authority purchasing circle.
What exciting things do you have coming up?
This year we were awarded a certificate of excellence in Mental Health services and won the ‘Best for Charity Technical Support’ in the Scottish Enterprise awards. We hope to use these to help to expand our client base. Every new client is an exciting opportunity as learning what is important to them motivates us to adapt our system accordingly, improving our service to every one of our clients.
Who do you want to work with more?
The most important thing about our clients is that they should care about providing the best possible service to their clients. We have one service that is going to expand into a franchised social enterprise this year, CORS is an integral part of this possibility. We have also worked well with services that work in alliance as records can be shared when appropriate, this proves to be an interesting challenge.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Marketing, we are absolutely hopeless at selling ourselves. We love what we do and give an excessive amount of time to every question we receive. We need to ensure that we can maintain this sustainably into the future, for this we must always be ensuring growth.
What top tips would you give to other social enterprises?
Never be afraid to reach out to others for support. Talking to other social entrepreneurs helps you to remember that you’re not alone. Often their advice is invaluable, but if nothing else it is usually encouraging when you realise they are finding things just as difficult you. The ‘why’ not the ‘what’ is what takes you forward.
For more information about Gravitas Outcome Services, please visit their website and make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep updated with their work.
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