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2017 Shortlist | Off the Record

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Off the Record

Winner – Managing Turnaround


Who they are

Off the Record (Bristol) is a mental health service and movement for children and young people aged 11-25 resident in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

What they’ve achieved

Off the Record faced a large number of challenges. The commissioning landscape in which it operated was changing fast, towards a more commercial market. On examination, OTR found a slew of issues, including lack of strategic direction, overdependence on a local authority grant and a failure to measure impact.

It needed to take stock and step up. So the board, together with a new chief executive, led the charity through a root and branch strategic review. They rethought the charity’s purpose, from a counselling service for young people to a mental health service for the same audience.

This enabled Off the Record to diversify its activities, increase impact, grow income and develop a more progressive culture.

Off the Record’s turnaround has been impressive. Income has increased by 1,500%, and the number of young people accessing the service has risen more than tenfold. The charity has expanded the range of services it offers and developed new partnerships. At the same time it has strengthened user participation, including establishing a shadow board.

Why they’re a winner

Off the Record (OTR) has reinvigorated the charity around a renewed sense of purpose. The board and senior leadership team has achieved phenomenal growth and developed a stronger focus on user needs and participation.

This is illustrated by the enhanced involvement of children and young people through the new shadow board, demonstrating how OTR truly values the voice and opinions of beneficiaries.

The judges felt that Off the Record is a great example of a learning organisation. The board’s own “critical introspection” shows it’s willing to consider its own performance, refocus efforts and take corrective action where needed.

OTR staff share learning by teaching at several universities, such as Exeter, Bristol and the University of West England. The charity has demonstrated how managing turnaround is not just about income, it’s also about building the spirit of an organisation.


Hear from Off the Record about their entry

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