Substance is committed to ensuring that good governance is applied throughout all aspects of our business.

As well as adhering to ISO 27001 standards, we strive to ensure that are governing systems and processes are transparent, incorporating strategic planning, risk management and performance management.

To demonstrate our commitment to good governance, we have created a Governance Statement that encompasses our responsibilities, decision making processes and company policies.

Working processes
ISO 27001
Good company policies

Our Values

Be Useful

We do what we do because we want every organisation we work with to be as effective as possible. We make sure that the technology products we create and the research insights we deliver have a practical application and provide a genuinely useful roadmap for organisations to understand and improve what they do.

Be Human

Data and technology are only ever one part of the story. It’s the people behind it that really matter. We take an individual approach to every project, working on the ground to understand each organisation and the people involved in it. Our technology products and research insights come from and make a difference in the world in which our clients work.

Be Inclusive

We want as many organisations as possible to access the benefits of better data and better insights. We create technology products that are simple to use and to train others in their use. We produce reports that are straightforward to understand and interpret. We work with other organisations to increase awareness and understanding of data and research and of their role in raising the game of the sector.

Be Interesting

Data and research can be the greatest asset an organisation has. We want to make the process of managing, understanding, and using data and research insights an interesting and rewarding experience for everyone. This means making our technology products and our reports interesting and engaging to use, and being interesting and engaging people to work with.

The principal activity of the company for this year was the provision of data, insight, evaluation, programme management and software services to organisations providing a range of personal and community development services; particularly those operating in the sport and physical activity sectors. The work is helping organisations to improve their effectiveness, demonstrate impact and value, deliver better outcomes and influence policy and practice.

In 2023 we intend to realise growth plans across our data, insight, software, programme management and social valuing offerings. It is hoped that this will accelerate growth in revenues ahead of administrative expenses to ensure greater profitability.

Thank you

The directors would like to take this opportunity to thank staff and shareholders for their continued hard work and commitment.

Board Members

Dr Tim Crabbe
Dr Tim CrabbeChief Executive

He has thirty years’ experience of leading multi-disciplinary research teams investigating the social aspects of sport and physical activity. Alongside his core role Tim is heavily involved in company operations, leading Substance’s social valuing work alongside strategic input into our work with GM Moving, a whole systems approach to tackling inactivity in Greater Manchester, and the Chances social outcomes partnership.

He previously lead research and evaluation projects focused on the use of sport and physical activity as a social policy tool for the Home Office; chaired the consortium leading the DfE Information and Signposting Project to promote youth activities; led the research and development of Sportworks for Sported; and helped initiate and lead the Inspiring Impact programme. With a succession of publications to his name, Tim is widely regarded as one of the leading authorities in relation to the research, development and analysis of sport and activity-based policy initiatives.

At the weekend he is generally to be found riding the roller coaster that is Crystal Palace Football Club.

Dr Gavin Mellor
Dr Gavin MellorDirector of Data & Insight

… including Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Popular Culture between 2002 and 2006. His research interests focus on the use of sport for social development, and he specialises in developing data strategies for large organisations and national programmes. Gavin has managed and contributed to several high-profile research projects for clients including Sport England, the Premier League Charitable Fund, the English Football League and UEFA. Gavin also helps to manage technical developments for Substance including its Views system.

Why Gavin works for Substance

“I became a founder member of Substance because I believe in making research and insight useful for organisations delivering social interventions. My work is focused on breaking down traditional barriers between research and practice and supporting organisations to embed good quality data collection and reflective practice in their everyday operations. Outside of work, I spend most of my time listening to music from the late 1960s and early 1970s and supporting Stoke City FC.”

Lauren Ford
Lauren FordHead of Operations and Chair

Previously working in the fashion retail sector for many years, after gaining a BSC degree in Human Sciences Lauren became the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Manchester United Foundation working within the departments of education, community cohesion, health, disability and the Girls Football Centre of Excellence. It was this role that first introduced her to the world of monitoring and evaluation, impact measurement and Substance.

With a keen interest in all aspects of Operations Management and a Prince 2 qualification in Project Management, Lauren leads on managing all day to day business activity, as well as providing managerial support to research and technology projects.

Why Lauren works for Substance

“It’s great to be involved in a busy, growing organisation. My role requires me to be involved in many areas of the business, meaning that It’s never a dull day at Substance Towers! Away from Substance my interests include fashion, sport, lots of socialising and a very varied taste in all genres of music.”

Aidan Hughes
Aidan HughesNon Executive Director

…including operating as the Finance Director at the Sage Group from 1993 to 2000. He is an investor and adviser to a number of international private technology companies and is treasurer of Kids Kabin, a Newcastle based children’s charity.

Why Aidan works for Substance

Substance is of special interest to me as it combines technological solutions with social programmes aimed at helping some of the most vulnerable in society.