Helping public bodies improve what they do

A unique English/Scottish consultancy co-operative is poised for growth after receiving finance from The Co-operative Loan Fund.

Centrifuge Consulting, which has offices in Newcastle and Glasgow, provides a range of social and economic consultancy mostly to local authorities and other public sector organisations from northern England to central Scotland. Its work includes strategy/policy development, monitoring and evaluation, service design, business planning and community consultation.

“We aim to help public bodies improve what they do and to access additional resources such as European funding,” explained Liam Marsh, one of the co-operative’s directors.

Centrifuge Consulting was set up as a workers’ co-operative in 2007 by Liam Marsh and Alastair Thomson. Both had extensive experience in social and economic development and both had a strong commitment to co-operative principles.

“We feel passionately about co-ops and about engaging communities in co-operative solutions to social and economic problems.” said Liam.

Public sector consultancy is a highly competitive marketplace in which Centrifuge has done well by consistently offering good value for money. Working with a growing group of associates, Centrifuge is taking on larger contracts but this can cause cash flow difficulties. The Co-operative Loan Fund was happy to provide a loan that would give them the working capital needed to lay a firm foundation for growth.

Ian Rothwell, of The Co-operative Loan Fund, said: “Centrifuge have established a very good track record in a difficult market, so we are very happy to help them develop. They are also very committed to co-operation in the way they work and in the consultancy they provide, and that can only be a good thing.”