Case Studies

The Tabernacle Global Ministries


ABFL was invited by Lex Associates LLP and Fortress Capital to assist the Tabernacle Global Ministries “the Tab” in sourcing development finance to create a new D1 church building and to refinance an existing mortgage on a Grade II listed former temperance hall in previous use as a Snooker Hall in Lewisham. This would create a second church for the Tab in the area to cope with its fast growing congregation and to provide a community hub for a range of services. The sum involved was just under £3 million.


ABFL sourced appropriate lenders and managed a selection process, involving the Trustees of the Tab, and once the appropriate lender was selected, to then work closely with the Tab and its Project Manager to ensure that the lender and the Tab were able to agree upon terms conducive to funding the main development and fit out work and to complete the refinance of the existing mortgage. This involved assisting the Tab to ensure that its reporting and modelling processes that the lender required were created and fit for purpose alongside the Tab’s own processes.


The funding due diligence work took nearly a year to complete, but the loan facility (including refinancing) was finally legally completed in November 2017, and work has now commenced on an 18 month fit out programme scheduled to complete by the end of December 2018 at the latest.

Northamptonshire County Council


ABFL was invited by Public Health Action Support Team CIC (PHAST) to project manage a 4 part workstream project for PHAST that was being delivered to Northamptonshire County Council (NCC). This is the second phase of work being undertaken by PHAST with NCC, following an initial strategic work phase from July to September 2014. The work involved ensuring timely reporting & production of series of deliverable covering:

Information and Intelligence for Public Health Data; Healthy Hospitals – an public health awareness strategy for the county’s hospitals; Developing a Memorandum of Understanding between CCGs NHS Acute Trusts and Northamptonshire County Council leading to the creation of a “Core Offer” of public health services, and finally work on improving sexual health outcomes for the population of Northamptonshire.


ABFL created a Programme Management Office function for PHAST and liaised with the NCC PMO in order to create a timely reporting, information sharing and meeting structure, using PRINCE 2 methodology. The project programme ran from October 2014 to April 2015 with an interim audit review in January 2015 and a final closure report for work delivered prepared in May 2015. ABFL PMO functional work was also responsible for managing the agreed budgets between NCC and PHAST.


All work was completed to time and budget. All reports were delivered in a regular and timely manner, both on PHAST systems and on the NCC SharePoint data management system, for dual audit purposes. Following on from this work, the Council commissioned a County Wide public health event called Healthy Northamptonshire. This one day multi faceted conference was project managed by ABFL working with PHAST and delivered in September 2016 with several keynote speakers from the Department of Health and NHS.

Leeds City Council
As part of the Mutuals Support Programme (MSP) led by the Cabinet Office, Leeds City Council was seeking support to help conclude the transfer of its Learning Disability Community Support Service from Council ownership and control into a new Social Enterprise in the form of a staff led mutual. The annual in-house budget for this work is in excess of £20m, and care services provide support to over 1000 adults with learning disabilities with a staff team of around 650, accounting for 20% of the entire learning disability client “market” in Leeds. This process has been discussed internally by the Council since 2013 and with its key senior staff employees and unions, and the aim was to ensure a smooth “go live” transition in 2015/16.

Working as part of the consortium team led by Geldards LLP, ABFL (through Mike Deacon) worked closely with Leeds City Council to develop a business plan and Implementation Plan, to articulate the best route forward. This involved “checking and challenging” their existing business plan and assumptions, and then adapting a workable solution for all parties. The work was complex due to Council strategic reviews and complex tax, finance, legal and governance issues arising during the process.

Our findings were iterated from July 2014 to June 2015, with a proposed “go live” date of 1 August 2015, after Leeds City Council approved the mutualisation process in March 2015, after our work had helped to iron out most of the key issues. A new Organisation – Aspire Community Benefit Society Ltd, was created, with an appropriate legal and governance structure to ensure a smooth transfer and handover of contractual and staffing arrangements within an agreed 5 year core contract.

Some Examples of Deals Arranged and Completed

€2m Invoice Finance Facility for German engineering company.
£400k Leasing Facility for Catering Equipment for a FE College.
£325k of Single Invoice Finance funding for a perfumery business.
£5m Floor Plan Funding Facility for a Slovakian manufacturing company.
£750k Commercial Loan for long established property company.
£2.5m HP Credit Facility for Independent Fleet Management company.
£2.5m Confidential Invoice Finance facility for an Independent Fleet Management company.
£2.78m Development Finance Loan for a London church organisation.

Brent Council

As part of the Delivering Differently Programme for Young People (DDYP) led by the Cabinet Office, Brent Council was one of 11 Local Authorities seeking new ways to deliver Youth Services, despite facing future financial challenges. With support from the Cabinet Office under the DDYP programme, Brent Council was seeking ways to deliver its services in a more targeted and efficient way, seeking a model yet to be determined that engages with the entire community including VCSE organisations, local business and most importantly, taking the views of young people and their communities directly into consideration.

Working as part of the consortium team led by Geldards LLP, ABFL worked closely with Brent Council to develop various models within an Options Appraisal, which involved intense and direct interaction with all local stakeholders and senior Brent Council staff to identify the most pressing issues, and to articulate a series of service options based on the available financial and human resources from 2016/17 onwards. These were proposed to Brent Council, together with an outline Implementation Plan.

The report findings were submitted to Brent Council in April 2015 and to the Cabinet Office as the DDYP co-ordinator. Based on the findings and recommendations, Brent Council decided on its future Youth Services pathway for 2016/17 onwards in May 2015 and adopted our report to help them implement its agreed course of action.

Public Health Action Support Team CIC

To create a Social Enterprise Community Interest Company for former senior NHS Public Health Executives wishing to establish a Public Health Consultancy in 2008.

To ensure that a suitable business and public health partners were identified to enable the organisation to be able to function immediately to serve its NHS clientele in the UK, mostly in England providing a range of evidence based public health research, consultancy and public health personnel and interim and consultancy support.

Mike Deacon was able to ensure that the correct organisational framework was created, using suitable banking, legal and accounting partners to ensure probity and proper establishment, whilst the organisation was busy delivering work. The establishment deliverables were concluded within a few months from conception. Mike assumed the role of Company Secretary in parallel with my long term consultancy position until November 2010 to enable the business to be soundly established as a niche professional public health consulting organisation. ABFL (Mike and Marion Deacon) continues to work with PHAST as consultants on various projects.

During her career with the NHS/PHAST CIC, Marion Deacon has been responsible for the management and co-ordination of the following training programmes:

Training projects delivered include the following:

Developing obesity care pathways (face-to-face and interactive e-learning)
Portfolio Development for Public Health Specialists re:
– Public health intelligence and surveillance
– Leadership and collaborative working
– Evidence-based public health
UKPHR Portfolio Training:
Provision of a training programme designed to support staff in developing the knowledge and
skills required to meet a variety of ‘Knows How’ gaps, as identified by the client, to assist with
successful registration to the UK Voluntary Public Health Register
Informing Healthier Choices – Department of Health (DH): a national strategy to improve the capability and capacity of the Information and Intelligence (I&I) workforce and to support the personal and professional development of the I&I skill base of the wider public health workforce (see separate Case Study)

Weight Management Programme, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
Breastfeeding Review, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
Mental Health Needs Assessment, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
NHS Berkshire – Managing 10 events across the county for the public regarding the rollout of new commissioning services (consultation and awareness

National Public Health Leadership Programme (DH): a residential/modular programme for people working in the NHS, Health Protection Agency, universities, local government, voluntary sector, as part of the Chief Medical Officer’s Project to Strengthen the Public Health Function
Health: Everyone’s Business – a 6-month course for senior level Local Authority staff in roles that influence council policy
• Influencing without Authority
• Leading Remote Teams
• Managing Change
Public Health Practitioner Development Skills Programme (validated as Postgraduate Diploma of Special Study in Public Health Practice – University of Westminster): a 6-month programme for health visitors, midwives, practice nurses and environmental health practitioners
Public Health Awareness Skills Learning Sets: a series of interactive workshops that raise awareness of the need for public health and health services development skills (wider public health/community public health)
UKPHR: London Top Up Training Programme for generalist/defined specialists wishing to join the Voluntary Register
Faculty of Public Health Part A Revision Programme: a series of 10-weekly seminars for public health practitioners and trainees wishing to sit the FPH Part A Membership exam. Seminar involve working through the exam syllabus, including critical appraisal, data manipulation, epidemiology, statistics, health protection/communicable disease, health economics, organisation and management, medical sociology
Development and provision of resources for the HealthKnowledge website – a public health information repository


Informing Healthier Choices – A Department of Health Programme


ABFL (Mike Deacon) was appointed by Public Health Action Support Team CIC (PHAST) to act as their programme manager for the delivery of this Department of Health Programme from 2008-2010.    This was done to time and substantially under budget.  Visit

Programme Summary

Major health problems in many communities were highlighted in the Wanless Report Securing good health for the whole population (February 2004) and acting on Wanless’ recommendations, the Choosing Health (November 2004) initiative was launched. ance/DH_075488

At the same time, it had become clear that local authorities, health authorities, GPs and community groups, were not being provided with the kind of useful, local evidence they needed to plan their actions. And yet these are the groups whose work is key to improving health and wellbeing, and preventing illness and disease. Their plans and spending need to be based on actual evidence about what is going on in health in their area, and it is the responsibility of public health Information and Intelligence to meet these needs. A consultation on how to deliver better health knowledge, and new data and the tools to use it, led to the establishment of Informing Healthier Choices (IHC).

The programme‟s vision was:

“To improve the availability and quality of health information and intelligence across England and to increase its use to support population health improvement, health protection and work on care standards and quality.” 


What IHC set out to do 

Six key health areas were targeted and IHC set out to deliver basic information and tools to provide both a qualitative and quantitative picture:

  • Tackling health inequalities
  • Reducing the numbers of people who smoke
  • Tackling obesity, including promoting exercise
  • Improving sexual health
  • Improving mental health and wellbeing
  • Reducing harm from alcohol and encouraging sensible drinking

New data and tools were not enough, however. Standards for the public health information and intelligence community needed to be raised.


The four ‘boxes’ 

To address these issues, four “boxes‟ or Aims were established for the IHC programme:

  1. Improved workforce capacity and capability.
  2. Improved data and the tools to use it.
  3. Creation of stronger organisations using intelligence appropriately.
  4. Development of web-based support for health intelligence.


The full case study can be read and downloaded by clicking onto this link

A summary of the IHC Legacy work outcomes can be read and downloaded by clicking this link

Manchester City Council
As part of the Delivering Differently Programme for Young People (DDYP) led by the Cabinet Office, Manchester City Council was one of 11 Local Authorities seeking new ways to deliver Youth Services, despite facing future financial challenges. Since 2011 Manchester City Council has outsourced most of its youth services to a wide range of providers, including many from the voluntary sector. As part of its future planning, and with support from the Cabinet Office under the DDYP programme, Manchester City Council was seeking ways to deliver its services in a more targeted and efficient way, seeking a detailed appraisal of all current delivery models and reviewing these. Extensive stakeholder engagement work was undertaken with the community including VCSE organisations, local business and most importantly, taking the views of young people and their communities directly into consideration as a core, central component for all youth services.
Working as part of the consortium team led by Geldards LLP, ABFL worked closely with Manchester City Council to develop various models within an Options Appraisal with supporting Implementation Plan, and to articulate a series of service options scenarios with potential solutions taking into account on the existing delivery models and provider cohorts across the City.
Our findings were proposed to Manchester City Council in April 2015, for consideration and possible adoption of some of our conclusions and recommendations from 2016/17 onwards linked to a review of the commissioning strategy. This work enabled Manchester City Council to evaluate the current position and to realign and adjust commissioning in the future to adopt the most appropriate options to fit within the available financial envelope.

Brightstripe – Cultural Health CIC
Brightstripe spun out from Herefordshire Council in April 2013 and is now providing arts, cultural and health and wellbeing service activities across Herefordshire to a variety of commissioners, customers, users and individuals. Their work is supported by a 3 year contract until March 2016 with Herefordshire Council to maintain these services previously under the Council’s control.
ABFL led a consortium to help Brightstripe develop a more commercialised approach to their service activity offerings. ABFL and its team focused on the marketing and brand development aspects of its services, which were analysed, unbundled and then repackaged with a new overarching social business and brand identity. ABFL’s evaluation of Brightstripe’s social business covered: • Marketing Strategy and Brand Redesign and Reconfiguration • Business Viability (Strategy, Marketing, Risk and Planning) • Financial Forecasting • Detailed Transition and Action Planning (working closely with the Board of Brightstripe)
ABFL presented its report to Brightstripe in October 2013 with clearer messaging and a structured Action Plan to complete no later than April 2014, based on its recommendations and findings. Brightstripe implemented our business and marketing plans and is growing as a sustainable, independent mutual social business providing a focused range of arts, cultural and health and wellbeing services in Herefordshire.

Pembrokeshire College

ABFL was invited to provide a Technical Commercial Feasibility Study Report for Pembrokeshire College (the “College”) to assess the possibility of creating a new commercial consultancy business focusing on its specialty area of composites (marine and other engineering composites), where the College has a long and established reputation in education and training. This is one of six such studies being commissioned by the College in 2013/14 for completion by the end of 2014, to explore new avenues of revenue generation for the College in the future.

ABFL prepared a detailed report highlighting all of the key issues and areas, including business, financial and organisational capability and capacity and primary and secondary research with market viability testing and discussions with key staff within the College.

The report reflected the findings of the research undertaken, and that a financial assessment of the requirements of the consultancy business was evaluated against the backdrop of the support capacity within the College, both human and financial. Recommendations were provided and the final Report was submitted to the Welsh Government, who has funded the College to explore new commercial opportunities that it has identified as having potential to evolve and grow. These ventures were specifically targeted by the College for their potential to generate income outside the core education and training remit of the College.

ABFL presented its report to Pembrokeshire College in September 2014 and thence onto the Welsh Government by the College with its own views on the conclusions and recommendations in the report. Based on the report, the College advised its next steps to the Welsh Government and acted accordingly.

North Tyneside Council

ABFL was part of a consortium team led by Blandy and Blandy LLP that was engaged by the Cabinet Office Mutual Support Programme to help a potential public sector mutual social business (PSM) to test their assumptions about market dynamics, develop their business plan and governance model, and assess the viability of their proposals (including financial modelling) and to prepare a transition plan with associated legal documentation. The intention is for the Complex Care Management Ltd (CCM), the PSM, to commence trading as an independent not-for-profit social enterprise from April 2014. ABFL’s role, was to create a robust business plan that supported the market analysis and financial forecasts undertaken.

To help justify the creation of a social enterprise that delivers the Council’s aim to become a commissioning only authority, including provision of complex care delivery within adult social care in North Tyneside. CCM’s conviction was that as an independent social enterprise it believes it can improve health and social care outcomes and cost savings both for the Council and other commissioners.

After the work was completed, CCM presented the case for spin out to North Tyneside Council, including a detailed transition pathway, business case (viability, market analysis and benefits to the parent body) and growth strategy. This was agreed in principle by the Council and is now being transitioned and implemented working alongside the local CCG group.

Suffolk County Council/Sensing Change

Sensing Change provides statutory adult social care services (social work rehabilitation and support) to adults with sight and/or hearing loss in Suffolk. The team provides niche sensory loss support services worth c.£1.8million per annum in Suffolk. Staff within Sensing Change previously worked for Suffolk County Council’s Sensory Team but began to spin-out when they successfully became one of the Department of Health’s Social Work Practice Pilots. The team went ‘live’ in October 2011 and was the first of the social work pilot sites to do so under the aegis of the Department of Health

The team has developed its own strategic commissioning model, and works independently of the Council.

Working as part of the consortium team led by TPP Law – Geldards LLP, ABFL worked closely with Sensing Change to evaluate progress and to assess business viability to be proposed to the divestment team at Suffolk County Council, for full mutualisation. The business strategy, planning and viability assessment was led by ABFL within the team. Sensing Change has had its service delivery and overall business assessed to ensure that as it now operates, it can continue to give value for money for users, and the community at large.

The findings were submitted to Sensing Change in September 2013. This has been proposed to the Council and to the Department of Health for evaluation. The organisation has used our work to shape future commissioning and corporate and governance structures since then.

Shropshire Council/People2People CIC


Working with TPP Law Ltd (now part of Geldards LLP) as the prime contractor, ABFL was asked to provide a strategic, business and transitional five year plan for People2People CIC (P2P). P2P is operational as a Community Interest Company (CIC) since January 2012; part of the social work practice pilot programme run by the Department of Health

The objective was to enable the P2P to develop a robust business plan to include a re-usable financial model, to understand their financial sustainability, and to adopt legal structures and governance models that meet their needs. The work was funded by the Cabinet Office through its Mutuals Support Programme.


Working as the business consultant for TPP Law Ltd who was commissioned to do the overall work, ABFL developed a robust business plan and growth strategy for P2P, including assessing total on-going running costs of P2P outside the authority, and taking into account the cost of dealing with initial liabilities – such as required under the TUPE and Fair Deal Regulations.


The business plan and strategy was approved by the P2P senior team together with a full legal and governance appraisal of the P2P organisation. This was then submitted by P2P to Shropshire Council for approval and adoption. Based on our post consultancy feedback following completion of the assignment in March 2013, P2P became a fully-fledged mutual organisation handling a sizeable portion of Shropshire Council’s annual multi million pound adult social care budget.

ABFL Articles and Publications about Community Interest Companies


Mike Deacon has been a pro-bono technical adviser to the Regulator of Community Interest Companies since 2009.

In September 2015, a white paper on governance was published, compiled together with the Regulator for Community Interest Companies and its technical advisers including Mike Deacon, by Bates Wells Braithwaite, that provides insight into the role of Governance for Community Interest Companies. It can be found here.

This is a piece Mike Deacon wrote for the 2014 Annual Report about the CIC Technical Panel.  Please click on the link to read and download.

The full Community Interest Companies Annual Report 2014 can be found here

The full Community Interest Companies Annual Report 2015 can be found here