The impact of enabling

From one member of staff, 10 enablers and a tiny budget in June 2000, the programme spread into all areas of policy and practice relating to the built environment.

By 2009/10, the in-house team was 38 strong, supported by 258 enablers. Over 900 projects and 380 different clients had support from CABE enabling over a 10-year period.

Increasingly, work has been funded from sources other than grant-in-aid, as the value and professionalism of the service became better known across the public sector. Additional income – for example, through service level agreements with government departments and other agencies – peaked at £3 million in 2009/10 and brought in nearly £13 million over the lifetime of CABE.

Evaluation of enabling work underlines its value for money. Of 1,003 people who had direct experience of CABE support, surveyed in 2009, 84% said that having enabling support had definitely changed their project for the better, while 52% said it had improved the way their organisation worked, enhancing its ability to deliver good design.

Notably, the word ‘enabling’ and the service and methodologies that CABE created have now been adopted by many other organisations in the public, charitable and private sector.