Spinning out – our proposal (and getting started)

Our proposal was to ‘spin out’ a council team and create a social enterprise providing accurate and up to date information, facts and figures to inform local decisions.

An organisation which was jointly owned and operating in a community setting. One which speaks to communities, academia and business with as much ease as its members already do with public service agencies. This will be a flagship service, building on innovations such as Offices of Data Analytics and the Trafford Innovation Lab and operating with an explicit social purpose.

‘The offer’

  • Produce original research content, analysis and visualisations and meet statutory obligations to produce needs assessments for the local authority.
    Collate, share information, facts and figures about local communities.
  • Help local communities to generate their own content and help build the overall capability of local areas to understand themselves.
  • Provide management support and mentoring to organisations and support strategic partnerships in order to increase analytical capacity and maintain in-house skills.
  •  Deliver an overall saving in resources needed to conduct research by spreading the cost across many interested parties and reducing the need for expensive consultants.

The market

  • Public sector agencies, to efficiently meet statutory duties and to meet the demand for tighter resources by generating a better understanding of the communities they serve.
  • Academic organisations who need to demonstrate direct impact of research activity by ensuring academic research is joined up with appropriate decision makers.
  • Community organisations and businesses, who want to understand data for themselves, as well as those who want to stay informed about their local area.


  • We were building on a small, trusted team of local authority researchers with over 25 years’ experience of working with data and in informing decision making in the public and voluntary sectors.
  • We had helped enable local communities take ownership of Open Data activity in Bath and North East Somerset and have a track record of innovation and efficiency in delivering statutory needs assessment requirements.
  • We had already created relationships with academia, small business and communities. This proposal was seen as a logical next step for that work.

How would we do it.

  • We wanted to spin-out’ certain functions of Bath and North East Somerset into a new ‘mutual’ organisation. Mutuals are organisations which have left the public sector (spun-out), but continue to deliver social purpose and have strong staff involvement.
  • We believed that our business model may have been eligible for an initial procurement exemption. Meaning we could arrange an initial contract in order to give ourselves time to become fully market ready. Alternatively, we would prepare to compete.
  • We believed that by using the existing staffing budget from the council as well as some in-train project resource we had a sufficient revenue to get started.

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