WHO WAS THE CLIENT AND WHAT WERE THEIR CHALLENGES?
The Centre for Youth Impact (the Centre) is a community of organisations committed to working together to advance thinking and practice in evidence and impact measurement in provision for young people. The Centre was launched in 2014, with Cabinet Office support, and a vision for all young people to have access to high quality programmes and services that improve their life chances. The Centre believes that embedded approaches to impact measurement, which directly inform practice, are key to creating better outcomes for young people and they exist to make this a reality.
From this community, the Centre has now emerged as a high-profile initiative in its own right, and in order to secure its future and deliver against its vision, the team wanted to revisit their mission, strategy and values, and explore whether becoming an independent charity would help them to better achieve their goals.
HOW DID WE HELP?
We worked with a small team of the Centre’s staff, advisors and funders to start from the beginning and explore the vision and mission, understanding in more depth the key challenges that the Centre exists to solve, and how they might best go about responding to those challenges. We have also started the process of establishing the Centre as an independent charity, including helping them determine how to tackle the operational implications (such as legal obligations and back office support), as well as engaging with key stakeholders from across the youth sector who are interested in the Centre’s work.
WHAT IMPACT HAS THIS HAD?
The Centre now has a much clearer and more unified sense of its vision, mission, values and immediate strategic priorities. There is a much clearer path ahead for the future development of the organisation, and a greater understanding of the benefits and commitments required to establish the Centre as an independent body. This has already enabled the Centre to more confidently engage with key funders and stakeholders, helping to secure its future and enhance its impact.
“We’ve really valued having people we can bounce ideas around with openly and honestly during this transition period. 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 (both as an organisation and as individuals), 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. I know I can always give them a ring on pretty much anything, in scope or not. It’s helped me to feel supported through some big, challenging questions and feel much clearer and more confident about the future”.
Bethia McNeil, Director, The Centre for Youth Impact
WHAT DID WE LEARN
One of the most important things we can do is make it clear that we are always on the end of the phone, so clients can call us or email us with any challenge they feel we might be able to help with and we’ll get back them quickly – without a sudden bill appearing that they weren’t expecting. If we can’t help, we will try to find someone who can. This openness and responsiveness is really valuable for people when big changes are happening, or when even the word ‘governance’ brings people out in cold sweats. We need to ensure that this approach doesn’t change as we grow.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE?
This work took place over a period of two months and has involved two facilitated sessions with key staff and stakeholders, alongside specific pieces of work with the Centre’s Director. Altogether this work has taken 5 days up to this point. We will continue to work with the Centre as they establish themselves more formally as an independent body.