The Public Services Lab advanced

North West
Consultants: 2
2nd Floor
Cunard Building Water Street
L3 1QB Liverpool
United Kingdom
0151 236 1664
At the end of 2015, The Public Services Lab was the winning entry in Big Society Capital's 'Business Impact Challenge'. The Lab was the product of a joint-venture proposal between Catch22 (a national social venture), Interserve Plc (a global outsourcing firm) and Club Finance (a social finance broker).

The Business Impact Challenge sought to encourage and support proposals from the private sector to establish 'social businesses' that would deliver a social impact while operating along commercially sustainable principles. Subject to due diligence and phasing milestones, the Lab will receive c. £10M investment in total, shared between the joint-venture partners (subsequently including Big Society Capital themselves).

What is 'The Public Services Lab'?

The Public Services Lab is a joint-venture between Catch22, Interserve Plc, Club Finance and Big Society Capital, which will launch in Liverpool in May 2017.

The Lab will bring together in one place all of the necessary conditions to enable the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to deliver more public services, with deeper involvement of the communities receiving those services. This will include capacity building and bid support to help providers to win contracts, back office infrastructure to overcome structural barriers, and a fertile meeting ground where services can be commissioned and designed differently. This is aimed at reconfiguring public sector contracts to make them more responsive to community need and accesible to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create a working environment where public services and be dramatically improved by bringing investors, companies, commisioners, service users and delivery bodies, the community and private sector outsourcers together to achieve that in and around the Liverpool region.

What does the Public Services Lab offer?

In response to the above vision and audiences, the Lab will offer a variety of products centered on Upskilling, Infrastructure and Collaboration activies:


  • Incubator and Accelerator - to grow capacity for VCSE to bid for and win contracts
  • Social Credit Rating - to support decision makers to take a more sophisticated view on overall delivery risk and upside of a potential VCSE provider
  • Joint prime - bidding opportunities for the VCSE to bid with the Lab itself, where they cannot yet meet the bid requirements alone


  • Back office services - ICT, HR, payroll, finance, legal, estates management, training and development, project management, mobilisation support
  • Citizen solutions - case management system, 24 hour service user helpline, virtual support, emergency signposting
  • Shared workspace - including meeting spaces and office facilities


  • Training and events - for all stakeholders to learn, share and network
  • Future shaping contracts - research and trend analysis, co design services, commisioner engagement, contract pipeline scanning and roadmapping, needs analysis, community/service user consultations
  • Community engagement - combining the thinking and activity of service design and delivery in one space to foster a culture of innovation and excellence