Catching up… One of first social enterprises to receive investment from DH fund goes bust

I managed to miss this story first time round… Secure Healthcare, a social enterprise providing healthcare for prisoners went bust in September of last year.

Secure had a contract worth more than £5m a year with Wandsworth prison in London but went bust with debts of over £1m, forcing NHS managers to step in to protect the jobs of 70 frontline employees and ensure that the jail’s 1,600 prisoners continued to receive medical services.

According to sources quoted in the piece in the Guardian, Secure faced a ‘perfect storm’: a fixed-price contract that couldn’t be renegotiated despite spiralling costs; DH investment that was primarily restricted to capital expenditure; Futurebuilders investment ring-fenced for the development of new business; and banks’ reluctance during the credit crunch to negotiate a rescue package.

It may be old news but there are  important lessons here for social enterprises generally and especially those in public service delivery.

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