HCT Group, previously known as the Hackney Community Transport is a renowned social enterprise based in the United Kingdom, delivering a wide variety of transport services. The transport social enterprise was founded in 1982, and it provides transport services categorized into multiple classifications to serve the needs of the community best. The services include community transport, social services transport, London red buses, education and training, Park and Ride as well as school transport (Britishcouncil.cn, 2018). As such, the business runs multiple community initiatives in the transport sector, besides main stream bus and social services transport. As a registered charity organization and a corporation limited by guarantee, the HCT Group has multiple ventures including but not limited to Southwark, Bristol, Lambeth Community Transport, Leeds Alternative Travel Limited, T Plus Jersey Ltd, and Guernsey Ltd. It has a joint venture with the Goodwin Development Trust and Ealing Community Transport Ltd as well as CT Plus Humber Company. The company provides quality and safe transport services to over 30 million passengers annually with 732 vehicles and a total of 13 depots (Prnewswire.com, 2018). The company earns revenues through transport contracts that it wins in the transport sector marketplace, translating the service to higher standards of transport (Hctgroup.org, 2016).
Chief among its corporate goals is the desire to support its employees and people working in the mainstream bus industry by allowing them to access their training facilities. The business organization aims to deliver quality, customer friendly and convenient services to individuals in need owing to physical or mental disability, poverty, sickness, age, and lack of safe and adequate public transport. The company also commits itself to relief the pressures of unemployment by providing training programmes and creating employment opportunities for public benefit. With the growth in the HCT Group's scale, it is apparent that the company comfortably provided passenger trips amounting to 400,000 in 2016, with its Learning Centre supporting approximately 200 people with employment opportunities. In its corporate goals is the desire to exhibit further growth in social impact and scale, offering quality services, listening and profound innovation to all communities that it serves. In 2017, the net income of the company increased to PS756,680 from PS389,175 in 2016 before the inclusion of net actuarial losses on all salary pension schemes (Hctgroup.org, 2017).
The corporate social responsibility is core to the objectives of the company as the profits earned from the commercial service delivery are reinvested into a given community's transport services where the company operates. Also, the company uses the benefits to create projects with highly significant social impact on the local members of the community it serves (Kay, 2015). The organization often channels funds into the society by partnering with native community transport corporations because of the role that their expertise and local knowledge plays in the exercise. In so doing, the organization serves vulnerable people in the society by ensuring that they have access to essential services, education, jobs, and rather interestingly, the pure liberty of movement. Unemployed individuals are ultimately given access to training on the requisite knowledge and skills, after which the company offers them employment opportunities. Consequently, the company contributes actively to the local economy, actively discovering and unearthing novel ways of making the community a better place to live and work through its operational practices (Katz and Finch, 2018).
In 2016, the HCT Group conducted a study in Jersey where 1556 Jersey bus users completed the survey. Out of 10 young adults, seven confessed to having saved money by using the bus service while 1 in 5 disabled people acknowledged the easy access to essential services through the bus transport services. Interestingly, 3 in 10 new bus users said that their social lives had significantly improved. 28% of the participants said the use of bus transport service had improved their confidence, 19% attributed the improved personal mobility to the bus, 29% said they had become more independent after using the bus service. 33% of the young participants, well almost a quarter-acknowledged that the service contributed to their new access to employment as the bus connects their places of residence to their workplaces (Social Enterprise UK, 2017).
HCT Group operation mode
The effective employment of this operational model has seen the group make tremendous progress in matters of business growth, with a track record spanning multiple transport services. In its operation, HTC Group focuses on growth and empowerment, often investing its mainstream social impact activities in high economic deprivation areas. In so doing, the company prides itself in providing livelihoods to more significant numbers from the low-class statuses. The Group helps vulnerable people to access a variety of opportunities through the bus transport service, bringing down barriers for aged and physically or mentally disabled people in a bid to promote genuine social impacts. The 2016/17 annual report indicates that 58% of the total number of employees lived in poverty-stricken areas. Hence the company operates to ensure that the pay-roll promotes regeneration (Hctgroup.org, 2017).
In 2016, the company engaged in disability outreach project to train its drivers and improve their disability awareness. The 1-2-1 Programme, on the other hand, entailed training novel users of wheelchairs and other disabled people how to travel independently without being over-dependent and avoid loneliness out of immobility (Hctgroup.org, 2016). In another operation, the HCT access card is availed to people suffering from or living with "hidden disabilities" to communicate personal transport-related needs to any active HCT driver (Hctgroup.org, 2017).
Profit distribution summary
Drawing from the information provided in the company's financial statements and subsequent analysis of the annual reports, the company often aims to direct its expenditure to local suppliers in the community it serves or in high deprivation areas. More often than not, an explicit measure of the company's expenditure is directed to vulnerable and marginalized members of the company. The 2016/17 annual report indicates a 6% increase in the amount accrued to supplier expenditure in economically deprived areas, up from 23% in the 2015/16 report to 29%, representing PS4.18m (Hctgroup.org, 2016). The charity reserve balance was PS4.6 in 2017, and the reserves were not held for restriction purposes (Hctgroup.org, 2017).
While the balance on the pension of the reserve was PS186,000 in 2016, it increased to PS259,000 in 2017. During the distribution of profits, a designated fund is maintained in the charity to represent the total funds invested in the company's tangible fixed assets, hence cannot be readily used for working capital objectives. As at March 2017, the balance on the charity's designated fund totaled PS2.2m compared to PS1.6m in 2016. After deduction of the funds outlined above, the balance in the general reserve for 2017 was PS2.6m. The charity used the money to finance the Walthamstow site temporarily. The total income in 2016/2017 financial year was PS49,904,902. The expenditure on charitable activities was categorized into three (community transport, public sector contracts, and training programmes). PS2,638,682 was directed towards community transport in philanthropic activities, PS45,391,770 was invested in public sector contracts while PS1,086,691 was used to finance the training programmes. Net income for 2017 was PS756,680 (Hctgroup.org, 2017).
HCT Group is a social enterprise company operating in the UK. Its success is mainly grounded on the delivery of high quality and customer-focused mainstream bus service with a corporate goal of fostering social impacts to vulnerable people. Its success over the last years can mainly be attributed to its model of operation which has seen it grow in scale and social impact, particularly to disabled people, young unemployed adults, new users of the bus transport system and older people. The model entails the reinvestment of company profits to community projects, social service transport, empowerment through training and employment. As such, the gains are vested in the creation of community value instead of being distributed to the company's shareholders, promoting equity and social justice for all societal members
The Board members, who hail from diverse locales, put into practice their experience and sector-specific knowledge serving the immediate and imminent needs of the organization. Most importantly, their knowledge base is ascertained through a regular appraisal exercise that is done on an individual and collective basis. To ensure that the executive administrators bring on-board up-to-date, innovative ideas, appropriate governing skills, and customer-centered approaches, the Board and senior executive members are subjected to periodic sector-specific audit. To cement its operation grounds, expand its reach and increase turnover, the company operates in multiple London Boroughs and a number of towns outside London such as Manchester, Leeds, Jersey, Guernsey, Wakefield and Bristol (Hctgroup.org, 2017). To gauge outcomes in measurable, rigorous manner, Group's research department employs the Big Society Capital results in the matrix to analyze social impacts, establishing shared approaches for the employed measurement (Hctgroup.org, 2017). The review exercise fosters continuous improvement in three significant ways which promote the success of the company. First, the exploring novel practices in impact reporting that can apply to the bus transport service, improving data collection and accuracy across regions. Lastly, the application of lessons from past experiences to create more innovative approaches for the betterment of the company's service delivery.
Britishcouncil.cn. (2018). HCT Group | British Council. [online] Available at: https://www.britishcouncil.cn/en/programmes/society/social-entrepreneurs/case-studies/hct [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
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Hctgroup.org. (2017). Annual report and financial statements. [online] Available at: http://hctgroup.org/uploaded/HCT%20Group%20Accounts%202017.pdf [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Hctgroup.org. (2017). HCT Group Social Enterprise bus operator - HCT Group's financial information. [online] Available at: http://hctgroup.org/financial_information [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Hctgroup.org. (2017). Impact report 2017: breaking barriers, building impact. [online] Available at: http://hctgroup.org/uploaded/hct-group-impact-report-2017.pdf [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Katz, M. and Finch, E. (2018). The social spotlight. [online] Buzzacott.co.uk. Available at: http://www.buzzacott.co.uk/Buzzacott/media/buzzacott-media/Resources/Buzzacott-The-Social-Spotlight.pdf [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Kay, L. (2015). HCT Group raises PS10m in 'largest impact investment deal.' [online] Thirdsector.co.uk. Available at: https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/hct-group-raises-10m-largest-impact-investment-deal/social-enterprise/article/1375957 [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Prnewswire.com. (2018). HCT Group Secures PS17.8 Million in Funding to Tackl...
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