Organising to unleash social change
We support passionate people to organise to unleash social change, rather than constrain it. Our clients range from big businesses, large foundations, charities and social businesses; to local partnerships, small community groups and grassroots networks. We regularly see poor governance hold people back, prevent them working well together, or worse undermine the change they want to see. Available support is usually expensive and too often follows a standard, tick-box approach full of unnecessary jargon and disconnected from an understanding of the people involved, their motivations, their ambitions and their relationships. We try to do things differently. We provide hands-on governance support and experiences to networks, partnerships and organisations with a social mission. We work with you to come up with practical next steps, and support you to test and refine these so they become part of how you work. And we won’t charge you the earth.
“Too often I’ve worked with consultants that think they know best and just give you a bunch of standard recommendations then leave you to it. It’s not been like that at all with Practical Governance – it felt like they got to grips with who we were and what we needed really quickly, gave sensible advice and challenge, moved to practical next steps quickly, and opened up a two-way conversation so we could explore things together and be guided rather than dictated to”Bethia McNeil, Director, The Centre for Youth Impact – December 2016
“Their style is so genuine and supportive that the group gels because they are there and any conflict is handled honestly and respectfully because they create that atmosphere. They are all about the mission which is refreshing in comparison with the vast majority of consultants I have worked with!”Maff Potts, Director, Camerados CIC – December 2016
“The process helped everyone to be much clearer not just about what they should be doing but why they are doing it. It was really lovely reading the values to our volunteers, they all agreed: “this is what Fordhall is to me”. It has been immensely useful and has strengthened the bond between staff, volunteers and our work.”Charlotte Hollins, Custodian, Fordhall Farm – October 2017
“Without Practical Governance’s intervention and process we wouldn’t be at the point we are at now. Our board is conducting its strategic business in a much more thoughtful way, and working to a more strategic level. We have a clear set of actions that we are fully behind as a board and executive team.”David Warner, Trustee & Chair of Finance Committee, Toynbee Hall – September 2017
“Rather than having some consultants that only know what they’re doing in theory, Practical Governance have been there – supporting, involved in, or on the Boards of organisations like ours so they get what it’s all about. Everyone finds them easy to get on with, pretty important here because they wouldn’t have got very far without it.”Warren Carter, Chairman, the Bevy – December 2016
“We really appreciated that you took the time to sit with the team and plan and test things together, building our internal capacity, giving us tools we could use, and guiding us through the harder work of actually driving through and embedding changes”Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive, the Power to Change Trust – December 2016
“What was most valuable was to have someone objective that was able to guide us through this process carefully and sensitively, challenge appropriately and ensure we reached a collective decision – I’d recommend them to anyone exploring governance changes”Jess Cordingly, Director, Lankelly Chase Foundation – January 2017
We try to be straightforward, honest and clear. We’ll tell you what we actually think. We’re more interested in keeping things simple than writing a glossy report. We don’t do hidden charges or unexpected invoices.
We really want to understand a problem before we tackle it. We take the time to get to know you. We’ll help you analyse and seek out evidence. We’ll bring in other people to get alternatives points of view.
We really care about working in the best interest of your social mission and will work hard to ensure you see the value through to the end. We help you get going. We help identify the next step. We support you to test and refine what you do until it works.
We believe building strong relationships is critical to what we do. We’re always ready to talk. We treat everyone with respect, no matter their status or background. We focus on people first, and process later.
We provide hands-on support and experiences to networks, partnerships and organisations with a social mission. We do this through consultancy, but also through events, training, mentoring, communications and research.
We believe good governance is about the right people, with the right attitudes, working to the right strategy who share good quality information and are supported by the right systems and structures to deliver their best. This covers a broad range of areas but always starts with people and their attitudes, or in other words skills, relationships and shared values
Governance means many different things to different people. The challenges people face are hugely diverse, so it’s simply not possible to be a complete ‘governance expert’, or have one set approach. We don’t do standard packages or traditional events, nor do we pretend to know it all. But we can help you to diagnose and prioritise action, find other specialists to help where needed, and work with you and others to make the process easy and relevant to what you need.
A selection of previous projects
“It feels like something significant was unlocked as a result of the away-day we had with Practical Governance, and we haven’t looked back since”Designs in Mind
“The process helped everyone to be much clearer not just about what they should be doing but why they are doing it. It was really lovely reading the values to our volunteers, they all agreed: “this is what Fordhall is to me”. It has been immensely useful and has strengthened the bond between staff, volunteers and our work.”Charlotte Hollins, Custodian, Fordhall Farm
A 2 day hack exploring the practical realities of building a social movement fit for change in collaboration with The Social Change Agency