WHO WAS THE CLIENT AND WHAT WERE THEIR CHALLENGES?

Lankelly Chase Foundation (LCF) aims to bring about lasting change in the lives of people currently most disadvantaged in our society.  They focus on the way disadvantage clusters and accumulates particularly homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues, violence, abuse and chronic poverty.  They provide support to pioneering people to grow ideas, relationships and evidence so they can help to reshape the way everyone approaches social disadvantage.
To help them respond quickly and effectively to changing demands and provide the board with more space for strategic decision-making, LCF took the decision to delegate all grant decision-making powers under £300,000 to the executive team.  Alongside this, LCF were starting to invest more heavily in non-grant ‘programme’ activity with the objective to invest in and influence the systemic causes of social disadvantage beyond the scope of any single organisation.  As a result of these changes, LCF were looking for support to refine their decision-making processes with a particular focus on the ‘programmes spend’ for review and sign-off with the LCF board.

HOW DID WE HELP?

We discussed the objectives of the review with each member of the senior executive team and programmes team in one to one conversations, before holding a workshop with the senior executive team to reflect on the feedback collated and co-design a new framework that would help LCF achieve its objectives, and still provide the board with sufficient strategic oversight.  The final output of this was an agreed, draft paper for the Board which was subsequently signed-off. Practical Governance has continued to provide ad hoc advice as LCF have sought to embed this framework across the organisation.

WHAT IMPACT HAS THIS HAD?

The process helped LCF to challenge themselves and reflect on the key changes they needed to make to enable this change in delegated authority to work effectively.  Part of that process was understanding the impact of those changes on the way in which the senior executive and wider team would need to communicate.  By carrying out individual conversations and working together with the senior executive team to co-design a framework, we were able to reach a consensus that reflected these challenges, and draft a paper that was subsequently approved by the Board. As LCF has started to embed this process, they have continued to enhance and refine the approach, leading to further important changes that incorporate not just the process for decision-making across programmes but also across their grant funding activity.

 “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.  It was refreshing not to just get a report, but instead to have a draft the paper we could take to our board, saving us time and helping us meet some fairly urgent internal deadlines.  The Practical Governance work was really the starting point internally for ongoing and really important discussions – it has laid a solid foundation from which we are continuing to build.  I also really value the relaxed, ongoing relationship and occasional advice – I’d recommend them to anyone exploring governance changes”
Jess Cordingly, Director, Lankelly Chase Foundation

WHAT DID WE LEARN

One of the most important learnings from this project was to emphasise the significance of holding one to one conversations with staff across the team, giving them an opportunity to voice any fears and us a chance to truly understand the challenge before bringing people together to co-design possible solutions.  This creates an environment in which everyone feels a part of the process, so the end product is much stronger and more lasting.  We will continue to follow this approach on nearly all our projects – it takes time but is absolutely worth it in the end.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE?

This work was completed over a period of around 3 months and took a total of 6 days.  We continue to provide ad hoc advice if required and are in touch with LCF regularly to get a sense of the progress they are continuing to make.