Provide CIC case study

Using our strategy advice to achieve healthy growth for the community

About Provide CIC

Provide is a Community Interest Company (social enterprise) delivering a broad range of health and social care services across Essex and in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, as well as the two London boroughs of Waltham Forest and Redbridge. It have an income of approximately £70 million, employ over 1,300 people and serve communities with a total population of more than 1.9 million people.

(Formerly Central Essex Community Services) they are a Community Interest Company formed as part of the Government initiative to separate the commissioning and provider roles of the local NHS.

The Company had an income of approximately £60 million but, as a social enterprise, any profits have to be reinvested back into the business or the community. Provide contacted Price Bailey to advise on its intention to use part of its profits to grow by acquisition.


From the first meeting it became clear that the Company’s intention was not based on any strategic intent, apart from to use its profitability to grow the enterprise. They had not yet envisioned a service they wanted to venture into or services where they wanted to grow. Many questions had not been thought through and more clarity over the right strategy, right targets and reasons for those targets was required.

How our services have helped

We led the management team through a series of discovery meetings in order to understand where Provide was weak and where they were strong – in order to fully understand how an acquisition could fit and what that acquisition would add to the business.

This had to meet Provide’s objectives as a CIC, whilst also help to spread their risk inherent in the business and provide a platform for future growth.

We worked with the board to develop a long term strategy, which helped define the type of acquisition that would best suit the enterprise’s values and enhance its services into the future.

Once this strategy was agreed, we set about finding suitable acquisition targets on the market which met the Company’s strategic objectives.

Our search was guided by a bespoke investment filter which was able to show how the risks and rewards of individual acquisitions, commercial investments, joint ventures and growth opportunities sat alongside each other individually and as a collective.

This allowed us to focus on the opportunities that were most relevant to the strategy and to structure a portfolio of investments that would drive future growth in an informed, logical and commercial way rather than working transaction-by-transaction. This filter created an in-depth understanding of suitable targets for both us as advisors and for Provide. The foundations we had created with Provide made the off-market search a much easier process.

Philip Richards, Provide CIC: 

We were impressed by the time Price Bailey took to understand our business and goals rather than treating us as just another client. They worked with us to help define exactly the direction in which we wanted to grow.

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