Regulated by Ofsted, Inicio Group (Inicio) provides crucial support to young people aged 16 and over. Driven through a commitment to support and safeguard some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society, Inicio was recognised as 2023’s Youth Social Care Organisation of the Year. CEO, David Thompson spoke to the magazine to talk us through the team’s achievements and history.
Inicio is led by a central cornerstone of values, informed by a central mission to do everything in its power and under its remit to give young, vulnerable people the best possible support. For David, it’s essential that these values, its vision, remains the north star for all of the team’s decisions, ensuring Inicio remains focused and dedicated.
The crux of Inicio’s services is to provide accommodation and support to those that would be identified as ‘children looked after’ or ‘children in need’ – those who are in the care of local authorities. David explains more: “Our vision, mission, and values underpin everything that we do, and whilst they have evolved slightly over the last 13 years, the fundamental principles that they were first built upon have remained the same: children come first – always! We are an ethical provider, recognising that services funded by tax payers’ money should be delivered in such a way that profit does not become the leading factor. Our approach to children’s social care is about ensuring that the child’s voice is central to all decision making, without compromise.”
“Our mission is to support and safeguard vulnerable children and young people as they prepare for adulthood by nurturing wellbeing, fostering independence, establishing interdependence, and promoting individuality.”
Naturally, as CEO of Inicio, David plays a key role in ensuring that the company remains on its founding path, all while driving the group to greater growth. Of course, as David moves on to explain, his team’s passion cannot be overlooked in any capacity – it is through their collective and continued hard work that Inicio can achieve what it achieves. Through his leadership, David endeavours to empower and invest in his team’s capabilities, trusting them to do their best work without needless oversight. “As a leader, I believe in investing in my team, empowering my team, and listening to my team. These beliefs have supported the growth of my organisation, but also supported my growth from an individual with a start-up idea, to the Group CEO and sector leader that I am today.”
By cultivating the team’s talents, David has well prepared the company in a period of relative upheaval as a result of the recent Department for Education legislation, The Supported Accommodation (England) Regulations 2023. “The effects of which are really being felt across the country,” he comments. “This is the single biggest period of change experienced by our sector and impacts over 1,200 organisations supporting over 7,000 vulnerable young people. As a CEO, it was my responsibility to navigate these changes with my team and to ensure we were prepared for the legislative changes, and able to exceed the regulations. All of which have been achieved. As a sector lead, I also felt it was important to create an environment in which best practice could be shared across a community of providers, and I did this through regional forums and the launch of our sector’s first national supported accommodation conference in March 2023. I have been able to do this thanks to the support of my team at Inicio and using resources from within my organisation.”
With that regulation in hand, the focus for David has pivoted towards expansion. As of right now, Inicio operates firmly out of the north of England, though David is only too aware of the needs in other regions for the services and support Inicio specialises in, as he outlines in more detail. “I see Inicio as a disrupter within the children’s social care sector, and I want to expand our service offering to include children’s residential homes and edge of care support for families. I really feel the sector needs ethical providers to challenge the profiteering from children’s social care and deliver a new service model that is led appropriately, with children central to the service delivery, and morals and values at the forefront of all business decisions.”
“Ensuring the voice of all child and young people remain at the centre of all key decision making.”
As we come close to the conclusion of our conversation with David, we asked him for his advice on leading a business – of any size and in any industry. “Be passionate, be patient, and believe in your values. My journey as a CEO has been turbulent at times, and I have not always made the right decision and have had to learn from those mistakes just as much as celebrating the time when I have got it right. I learnt that passion is key from day one, and patience will allow you the opportunity to achieve your goals in the right way, at the right time; just remain focused and keep moving forward.
“Always be curious and never stop learning, seek feedback from peers and see it as a gift, be prepared to reflect. Be open to change, the ability to adapt is more important that you would believe when starting out.”
Flexibility is key in this changeable world, and an ability to ‘roll with the punches’ is a skill that all leaders should look to attain. This has never been more evident that in the last five years. Equally, no leader should consider themselves above well-meaning advice. Ultimately, it’s this ethical mindset and responsible leadership that has cultivated Inicio’s success on a landscape of constant challenge and led to the team’s recognition in the SME Business Elite Awards programme.
For business enquiries, contact David Thompson, Group CEO from Inicio Group on their website – www.inicio-group.co.uk
Address: The Genesis Centre, Garrett Field, Birchwood, Warrington, WA3 7BH
Telephone: 0161 418 4180