The Directors remain confident that there is a significant need for the services for the Agency and that this will remain into the foreseeable future. Indeed there is a clear need for a larger resource to be available and that this will grow as the sector continues to grow in the County. Staff are being retained generally on a permanent basis and permanent funding to sustain the activities will be required.
There are many aspects of the promotional work of the Agency which have no commercial potential and these services will depend on the continued patronage of Partners and grants so that they can be delivered free of charge at the point of need. The widening of the membership of the Agency and the engagement of businesses as well as public sector organisations should enable the recruitment of funding to be spread more diversely.
The core service of the Agency, where grant funding has been secured, to clients is advice and guidance which is often required to be delivered free at the point of need. Where these services are intensive and lead to an income generating business, there is a case for making the service a paid for consultancy. In due course it is envisaged that almost all of the advice services offered will be on a consultancy basis.
Incubators, both virtual and physical, and clusters of social enterprises, are emerging as practical and feasible solutions of market development. More Agency activity will be directed at developing such initiatives as examples of good practice and as action research opportunities from which others can benefit. A degree of expertise in markets for health and social care services is being developed as a target particularly related to mental health opportunities.
Developments in funding of the sector suggest that work needs to be done to innovate access to finance. Outline proposals for a Key Fund of intelligence led finance have been developed in consultation with other stakeholders. The objective would be to create sources of finance which are directed by intelligence led approaches to most efficient use, through flexible investment akin to mezzanine finance. The Agency should be able to deliver the business advice necessary to create good investment decisions and will seek to work with others and their expertise in community, grant making, lending and business finance.
Other potential areas of development might include delivery of mutual solutions in succession for family and other businesses