Provide CIC – How employee ownership inspired resilience and a people-first response to the pandemic

Provide was established as a CIC ten years ago as part of the Government’s initiative to separate the commissioning and provider roles of the local NHS.

Today, Provide delivers a portfolio of more than 40 NHS and Social Care services to a community of more than 4.5 million children, families and adults in homes, clinics and primary care settings across Essex and East Anglia.

As an employee-owned enterprise, every Provide colleague, from frontline medical staff to administrative support staff, is given the opportunity to become a member of the company for just £1. As a member, they have a say in the future direction of the company and can make suggestions for improvements and influence how profits are reinvested.

Provide also reinvests back into the local community, directly through guidance from its employee stakeholders and governance team and bodies including the Essex Community Foundation. In the last ten years Provide has donated £3 million in funding and match funding to charities, education and community organisations.

People transforming lives

With a vision of ‘transforming lives,’ Provide’s core values of care, innovation and compassion have shaped the organisation to become the region’s largest partnership provider of high-quality health and social care services. At the centre of Provide’s success is its commitment to living its values, with an embedded ethos to drive excellence, and empower every one of its 1200 staff with opportunities to innovate, collaborate and develop skills that enable resilience and agility at every touchpoint of the organisation.

In 2020/21, the delivery of health and social care services was tested in an unprecedented way. Almost overnight, Provide faced the challenge of adapting its delivery of care to thousands of existing patients, with a rapidly escalating responsibility to meet the needs of thousands more impacted by Covid-19.

Incredible achievements

What happened next has been an incredible achievement in service delivery, agility and resilience, but has also evidenced the caring, can-do culture of Provide and its people. Within hours of the first restrictions, Provide pivoted its operations, mobilising teams to support critical NHS operations, initiating virtual service delivery to ensure continuity of care, and engineering ground-breaking technology that would extend its reach and capability.

On 21 March 2020, just days after the first restrictions were announced, Provide launched a full-service, multi-agency health, lifestyle and support portal to serve the people of Essex. Transitioning services online, recruiting and training an army of volunteers and delivering one-call support for the most vulnerable people, the Essex Wellbeing Service (EWS) has been a lifeline for more than 21,000 service users. The service has delivered almost 61,000 outbound calls, answered 74,500 calls within 30 seconds, and completed more than 11,600 hospital discharge welfare checks. In 2021, the EWS is enabling hundreds more staff and volunteers in the rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme.

An outstanding organisation

Mark Heasman, Group Chief Executive said, “Provide is an outstanding organisation. As a member-owned CIC, we live our values and mission to transform lives by being ambitious, innovative and compassionate. As a not-for-profit, we have the ability to deliver an exciting collision of commercial dexterity and care. We are a truly agile organisation with an extraordinary culture that has two things at its heart; our patients and the people we serve, and our staff.”

For Provide, employee ownership is enabler, growing an organisation where people are supported to collaborate, learn and achieve. The organisation and its people have shown that employee ownership can enable people-first delivery, care and a commitment to go above and beyond in the most challenging of times to deliver excellence, innovation and agility in care.

These are just some of the major outcomes achieved by Provide CIC teams during the 2020/21 Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Rapid deployment of bronze, silver and gold incident command centres, operating 365/24/7 during the pandemic
  • Developing and mobilising one of the UK’s most successful test and trace programmes
  • Virtual consultations to reduce waiting times for children with ADHD
  • Essex-wide introduction of virtual training sessions for specialist paediatric services
  • Multi-agency, virtual and on-site collaborative working for integrated service delivery
  • Development of a dedicated Children’s Services website to enable parents to self-manage through a single touchpoint for resources and support
  • Supporting care homes and social care with training, PPE, additional services and tactical support to support staff and residents through the pandemic
  • Supporting Primary Care with the delivery of additional healthcare care services and clinics for shielded patients
  • Rapid rollout of joint working with hospitals, palliative care teams, community nursing and care teams to enable responsive, consistent support to vulnerable patients.
  • 14-day deployment of a system-wide real-time bed bureau
  • Virtual self-referral, clinical resource and triage system for MSK services
  • Rapid delivery of a postal sexual health testing service

How do you thank more than 1200 people who go above and beyond every single day? We hope with recognition for their dedication and compassion on Employee Ownership Day 2021.

In the meantime, we have delivered a luxury Whittard gift box to every member of staff with a thank you from Provide for being amazing employees and being living proof that we are #BetterTogether