REGROUP: How to crack company culture


“How to crack company culture”

(SPOILER: it’s less about what you say, and more about what you do) 

With Katy Leeson, former MD of Social Chain, Lesley Dixon, CEO of PSS and Dave Sweeney Exec Director of Partnerships at Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership  

Date: Thursday 16th June, 2pm – 4.30pm 

What does ‘a great culture’ really mean, and how do you get one?  

This topic comes up every working day at Capacity, whatever type of project we’re delivering it’s often the foundation that either enables or blocks change. In the last ten years we’ve all become more aware of its importance, of the need to create exciting and happy workplaces that make going to work enjoyable not a chore. That’s the expectation of most employees today, and right now, after the most pivotal change we have seen in working history, the ‘great resignation’ means we’ve got to think about the connections between great culture and great leadership and deliver on the promises we make.  

We want to use this event to really understand this word ‘culture’. Often overused, (and often misunderstood) it’s one of those topics that can be difficult to plan for, after all it’s less about the ‘what we do’ and much more about ‘how we do it’. Search online today for ‘great company culture’ and you’ll find a hundred books you can read, TED talks you can watch and inspirational stories you can follow, but where do you even start? We all know it’s not something that happens overnight – it’s something that takes planning, graft and absolute unwavering commitment.  

On the day, we’ll be talking to three leaders from the North West, people who know what it takes to build amazing places to work (don’t worry we checked they’re staff think it’s a great place to work too). As leaders who know a good bit about high levels of employee engagement and feedback, we’ll find out more about what it means to them and their teams, the work that they’ve done and the platforms and potholes they’ve found along the way.  

Katy Leeson

Katy has an impressive record of leading and inspiring meaningful change both within her most recent role as MD of Social Change and through her client work. She believes culture and values are the most important thing a leader can focus on, that great ‘buzz’ of an ambitious workplace, one with clear ambition and vision. Katy supports organisations to think about the role of culture in attracting the best talent, and the importance for leaders to have a commitment to those ways of working to not only recruit but retain the people they want.

Lesley Dixon

Lesley has been a CEO in the third sector in Liverpool for the last 10 years, transforming the now 103-year-old PSS in terms of direction and culture. With staff engagement levels to envy, Lesley will share her key insights from the journey she’s been on, the challenges along the way and what she thinks are the most important considerations if you truly want to create a place people love working in.

Dave Sweeney

Dave has 24 years’ experience working in Health and Social care, and (put simply) his job is all about getting people to work well together, whether that’s within internal teams or across projects. Dave’s a true ‘people person’ with a unique approach to his public sector role. His ability to connect with others and keep them motivated is critical as his teams face the steep challenges that come with working within the NHS. s on, that great ‘buzz’ of an ambitious workplace, one with clear ambition and vision. Katy supports organisations to think about the role of culture in attracting the best talent, and the importance for leaders to have a commitment to those ways of working to not only recruit but retain the people they want.

REGROUP for 2022 is back!

How is it March already?!
This year is moving by quickly!


We’ve took the time to speak to many leaders over the past couple of years, and we don’t know one CEO, Director or Senior Manager that hasn’t spent a good bit of it in fire-fighting mode.

As we all know, that often means leaving those things you’d usually do (the things that are about developing yourself, your networks and thinking for the longerterm) off the ‘must-do’ list!

The feedback we’ve had has told us that hearing from some of the top voices in business, charity and public services was just what the doctor ordered – that it gave a touch of inspiration and advice when you needed it.

So, we’ve had a long think and we’ve decided – we’re not going to stop at speaker events, we’re turning REGROUP 2022 into a broader, more interactive range of events and tools that are free to anyone working in public and/or community services in the North West and Wales.  

This year, we will be bringing you a mix of:   

  • Keynotes: These sessions run for up to one hour and feature speakers who share our values and visions for public services. They generally talk about their experiences in their particular sector and at the end take part in a Q&A with their audience. These will be held typically online as a lunchtime session, so you can have your lunch as you have a listen.  

  • Huddles: These small round table sessions have targeted invite lists focused around key themes, and by being part of the REGROUP network (and registering your areas of interest) you’ll be on our radar as booking are made. These events will be led by an facilitator (and expert on the topic at hand) from the Capacity team and on occasion a special guest to stimulate discussion.  

  • Socials:  These events are designed to bring sector leaders and decision makers across multiple industries together in a more relaxed environment. The aim is to create connectivity across organisations and leaders, and to unpick those barriers/blockers together.

  • Stories: As leaders it’s so easy to get lost in the day job, so each Friday afternoon we love to put things into perspective. Every month we will share a story to remind you of the impact you and your teams are having on real people. So, as you close that laptop for the weekend you can remind yourself that all your hard work is worth it.


So, what to do now? Well, keep an eye on our website and socials for some new and exciting events to be announced very soon!

Capacity Associate Roles

Capacity Associate Roles

We’re on the lookout for some brilliant Associates to join the team…

  • Excited by the prospect of working on an ever-changing portfolio of projects across health and social care?
  • Specialist in a key commercial area such as service design, impact management or marketing and communications?
  • Great at quickly acquainting yourself with new projects and people?
  • Capacity is looking to recruit specialist associate team members who can support projects on an ad-hoc basis, as and when briefs fit their expertise and availability.

Are you:

  • An impact specialist? (We call them “data crunchers”).
  • A marketing and communications whiz? (We call them “storytellers”).
  • A delivery mastermind? (We call them “project managers”.)
  • A community engagement expert? (We call them “listeners”).
  • A tech-minded design guru? (We call them “digital innovators”).
  • A public service specialist? (We call them “service designers”).
  • A veteran leader? (We call them “mentors”).

If you’d like to learn more about any of these opportunities, get in touch via to speak to one of our Project Leads, who will identify areas of need across our current projects and match them with your skillset and experience.

Capacity CEO, Chris Catterall joins Local Trust Board

Picture of East Cleveland Big Local

Capacity CEO, Chris Catterall joins Local Trust Board

Picture of East Cleveland Big Local

Our CEO, Chris Catterall is one of four new trustees who have been appointed to place-based investment charity Local Trust’s Board.  These appointments now bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from a range of disciplines including local government, property development and national policy. 

Joining Chris on the Board of trustees are:

  • Matt Bell, Corporate Affairs Director at global property business Grosvenor
  • Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council
  • Charlotte Pickles, Director of think tank, Reform

David Warner, Chair of Local Trust said: “This is a crucially important time for Local Trust. Over the past few years, the charity has taken rich learning from the communities it supports across the country to drive change to champion community-led investment and drive even further change.

Now, with the end our strategy in sight, we are really pleased to be joined by four individuals from across the country with completely different experience and perspectives. Their knowledge and skills will be invaluable in helping us, not only meet our aims, but ensure that community power is firmly on the national agenda now and beyond 2026, so all neighbourhoods have the opportunity to flourish.

Chris added: “I am thrilled to be joining the Local Trust Board. This is a very important time to work as closely as we can with our local communities and make sure we listen to the challenges they are facing.

Through place-based investment we have the chance to make some real and impactful change and I look forward to working with Local Trust to achieve this.”

The appointments come at a strategically important time for the charity, as it seeks to maximise the impact of its work and secure a legacy beyond 2026, when its pioneering community-led investment programme Big Local, is set to complete.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and delivered by Local Trust, Big Local is a resident-led funding programme providing people in 150 areas in England, that have historically missed out on funding, with £1.15m each to spend across 10 –15 years to create lasting change in their neighbourhoods.

The four new Trustees will be formally appointed at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting in November 2021

REGROUP with Jon Yates

Jon Yates

with... Jon Yates

The last 18 months have been some of the most challenging our sectors have faced. We’ve seen families devasted, professionals burned out and systems overwhelmed, what good can come from that? It’s been a heavy price to pay but increasing recognition of our public and third sector (of long-standing underfunding and undervaluing of colleagues) has rocketed and that is something to we at Capacity want to help maintain. Therefore, we’ve decided to both celebrate and stimulate this recognition with a series of events that will run from September to November this year – the REGROUP ‘Never More Needed’ series.

The full programme is still being finalised and will be winging its way to your inbox shortly, but in the meantime, I’m delighted to announce our first speaker, Jon Yates. Jon has a vast amount experience on both the commissioner and provider side of youth services, playing key roles in national policy development and project leadership with the Department of Education, founding sector leading youth organisations and now working as Executive Director the Youth Endowment Fund. Jon’s was ahead of most in seeing the potential this pandemic had to achieve something positive and his perfectly timed book ‘Fractured’ presents us as designers, commissioners and providers of public services with much food for thought as we reflect on the pandemic and its ability to unite people across all walks of life. The book and Jon’s thinking is based on the principle that ‘what unites us is stronger than what divides us’ and we believe this thinking and way of living is a great mantra for us to take into the coming years as our societies, and our sectors, start to recover.

The event will take place via Zoom on Friday 10th September at 10am, so keep it free if you can. To save you the task of cut and pasting this information across we’ll send you a diary invite over the next few days.

We really hope you can join us to in the first of this new series, I look forward to seeing you there.

Just email Chris Witterick at to book your place  

Children’s Residential in the Liverpool City Region: It’s time to shake things up

Children’s Residential Care in Liverpool City Region: It’s time to shake things up

Today the children’s residential marketplace is overwhelmed by organisations that are ultimately led by profit, not purpose. Where homes aren’t privately-owned, they are run by Local Authorities or by the voluntary sector and even then, it’s a challenge (due to scale, capacity or red tape) to really shake things up.

It’s frustrating for those of us working in the sector, so how must it feel for a young person living in it?

Over the last eighteen months Capacity has worked with care-experienced young people in the North West, and the commissioners who are responsible for their care. What did we find? That they all agree on one thing: we need to stop expecting change if we keep doing things the same way. Young people want us as providers to put the focus of residential children’s homes in the ‘right’ places – on giving stability, hope and opportunity to every young person they engage with. We believe this can and will happen, and this is what Juno is here to do: introduce a model that measures success not on risks managed, audits completed or beds filled but on heads stimulated, hearts warmed and hands held.

We Are Juno CIC will be owned by the team who work there, meaning everyone has an interest in it being the best it can be. So, we’ve got the thoughts of the young people, we’ve got the plans to work, we’ve got our first home being setup, now we need great people to join the Juno team.

We’re looking for a Head of Homes and a Registered Manager to help us make this way of thinking a reality for children and young people in the Liverpool City Region. We want people who have big dreams for them and people who will use every bit of their being to help make those dreams a reality. If that sounds exciting to you (or someone you know), visit our Juno page and get in touch – let’s start changing lives by changing yours.

Visit Juno here.

The Capacity team is growing

The Capacity team is growing!

We’re delighted to announce that we have recruited three new positions, promoted four existing team members to Directorate level and are currently in the recruitment process for an additional two team members.

Meet the latest additions to our team:

Rachael Stott

Associate Director: Rachael is a highly-qualified communications professional with a wealth of experience in both public and third sector organisations, across Liverpool City Region. Rachael joins Capacity on a consultancy basis, developing a refreshed marketing strategy and bringing communications expertise to the senior leadership team.

Paul Simon

Development Manager (Children’s and Young People): Capacity’s newest Development Manager, Paul, will be the first member of the team with extensive Public Sector experience, and we are delighted to have this new perspective, particularly as we approach the launch of our biggest Children’s Social Care project to date. Paul will be joining the team in December, keep an eye out for more information then!

I think the internal promotions and the additional team members are a great step in recognising what we have delivered and the maturity of the organisation.
Jim Perrie
Chair, Capacity board of Representatives

We are also celebrating the promotion of four existing members of the Capacity team; a well-deserved recognition of their commitment, hard work and expertise in their respective areas.

Emma Lord

Director: Emma’s portfolio of work predominantly sits in Primary Care, working with nine Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across the North West in the past two and a half years, adding capacity to the management teams and “keeping people on track, coming up with ideas when necessary but also crystallising existing ideas.” As one GP recalls: “we wouldn’t be where we are today without Emma’s support.” Emma has also lead on a major project with Public Health England, and supported Clore Social Leadership to pilot their first ever Leadership programme in Liverpool City Region.

Grace Nolan

Director of Operations: Grace works across internal and external projects, and is described as Capacity’s ‘dedicated generalist’. Almost since Capacity's inception in 2017, she has ensured the smooth running of the organisation, be it HR, client management or project management. Externally, she is currently Project Managing a major Primary Care contract, Community Care Collaborative, as well as leading recruitment campaigns for Adult Social Care client, Catalyst Choices CIC, while writing bids to the tune of £600,000 for a client organisation working in Criminal Justice.

Sarah Morris FCA

Director of Finance: Sarah is known at Capacity for her passion for numbers and Microsoft Excel formulas. It is this passion that has led Sarah, a qualified Chartered Accountant, to leading the internal Finance team, as well as being seconded out to clients to support their account management. Recently, her time has been spent working with the SLT at Catalyst Choices, one of our Adult Social Care partner organisations, and with Community Care Collaborative, implementing more effective systems while upskilling its existing staff team.

Sophie Clarke

Director: Sophie oversees all Capacity projects sitting within Children and Young People’s Services. She is driven by achieving real and lasting improvements in children’s lives. A considerable proportion of her current work lies in establishing and developing Capacity’s first Children’s Residential Care venture, launching late 2020. In addition, Sophie is leading a number of strategic projects with Local Authorities and the third sector in Liverpool City Region, having recently produced a key report for Senior Public Service Commissioners that considers how small and local organisations can play a bigger role in public service delivery. This report will be published in January 2021.  

Danny Kruger Event Review

with... Danny Kruger MP

Danny is MP for Devizes and Government Advisor, Founder of ‘Only Connect’ and ‘West London Zone’. His career has spanned the Third Sector as well as Journalism and Politics.

On Wednesday 29 July, Danny joined us to discuss some of the findings of his recent report on community responses to Covid-19, which he has compiled at the request of the Prime Minister.

Some things we learned from the webinar include:

Danny is a strong advocate of the devolution of parliamentary power to local and regional level
Greater financial investment is required post Covid-19 into regional funding pots (such as Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Offices)
The surge in people who volunteered to support the NHS was remarkable; but unusual for a national call-to-action. Danny suspects that it will need to be localised in order to be sustainable in the future.
We look forward to reading Danny’s full report and will be keen to hear the responses and feedback of the VCSE sector in Liverpool City Region.

Watch the full webinar below.

I didn't anticipate to what extent people were willing to volunteer for a national effort. My belief in localism and communities, and my suspicion of government led me to believe that people don't want to volunteer for some abstract thing... even at Local Authority level. But they volunteered for the NHS in amazing numbers... the fact that people were prepared to step up for a national effort; I wonder if that's sustainable. 
Danny Kruger
MP for Devizes and Government Advisor