The Best Network


The BEST Network applied had to the BIG Assist infrastructure support programme for the resources to engage Development in Social Enterprise to undertake a review of its governance structure and work with members and the executive team to inform strategic decision-making. Putting in place a robust business plan – often required by contracting authorities – was also a key priority.

“The requirement for a new strategic framework had been identified but there simply wasn’t the capacity to work on it internally. High value opportunities were floating around and the fluid marketplace in which we operate was bringing new challenges from bigger players.”Ray Walker, Chief Executive, The BEST Network.

“New structures such as local enterprise partnerships and DWP contracts were also coming on stream, so there were a number of major stakeholders we needed to build stronger relationships with.

“Development in Social Enterprise approached the work through a series of facilitated workshops involving internal and external stakeholders and quickly demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of our market, our member base and the funding environment which gave us great confidence in the end product.”

“The business plan captured where the organisation was and where it should be going. It asked pertinent questions and offered an independent perspective that we trust and value.”

“We are now elevating our profile and engaging in far more strategic conversations with funders and implementing key recommendations made by Development in Social Enterprise such as expanding our membership beyond Birmingham and exploring new markets such as health and social care.

BEST have since used the business plan as a working document – updating and revising in response to market changes.

The business and the market doesn’t stand still, but the groundwork to bring our thinking up to date and provide us with a solid base from which to move forward has been really valuable.”