July feels like it’s been a long month. A lot of ground covered both mentally and physically seems to have taken its toll a bit and I’m feeling quite empty and lacking in my usual drive and passion. A day off and a short trip away to visit family at the end of the month has helped a bit, so I’m really looking forward to a longer break in August when I’m taking a couple of weeks off for our family holiday in Wales.

Evening bike ride, Bramling Road, near Wingham, Kent.

This month our pre-application university visits for my eldest son have taken us to Southampton, Birmingham, Warwick and Bristol this month, having gone to Nottingham and Loughborough last month.

While we’ve spent a lot of time on the road, it’s been good to show him different places and start to see the subtle differences between the likely university experiences he might have – which have been hard to discern from online open days.

Earlier in July it was good to get together near Bristol with a number of colleagues from across The Panoply, meeting many of them for the first time in person. We spent the day talking about how we will deliver our future plans together, spent the evening with an 80s themed party and then went surfing the next day.

We began the month by releasing our preliminary results for 2020/21. The detailed market announcement is here, but the key highlights included revenue up 62% to £51.1m with an organic like-for-like revenue growth of 19%. Adjusted EBITDA increased 87% to £7.1m against £3.8m for the previous period.

It was great to be able to share such an impressive set of results, particularly for a year which began with so much uncertainty for us all and was delivered with our team members working in unprecedented circumstances throughout.

But a key part of the announcement was being able to share news about what I’ve spent a lot of time and mental energy working on for the past few months. Our success in progressing towards our commercial and impact goals for 2023 meant that we have taken the decision to build on this success and set a more ambitious vision for 2025, including

  • Achieving a run rate revenue of £200m (£150m public sector, £50m commercial sector) by March 2025, putting us into the top 20 public sector suppliers in our markets.
  • Delivering 10-15% organic revenue growth per annum.
  • Delivering improving EBITDA margins
  • Halving the 21 gaps that we have identified across representation, pay and inclusion for employees from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Achieving net zero status.

In practice this means launching a new integrated client value proposition, delivered under a single new brand replacing the existing brands of companies that have joined the group and The Panoply brand itself. We’ll be moving towards being one agile, progressive and integrated company, with full independently assessed B-Corp certification demonstrating our commitment to balance purpose and profit in all we do.

There’s plenty to do to make all this happen and the challenge is an exciting one to be part of. Collectively across the group we’ve achieved a lot in a very short space of time, which gives me a lot of confidence in the team of colleagues I work with across our companies and our ability to make this vision a reality together.

So while I end the month feeling more tired and lacking in energy than I have in a very long time, I’m looking forward to playing my part in the future of The Panoply and creating a truly differentiated digital services business – a truly exciting journey to be part of.