WHO WAS THE CLIENT AND WHAT WERE THEIR CHALLENGES?

The Power to Change Trust (PTC) is a new charitable trust, set up in 2015 with a £150 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund to support, develop and grow community business across England.  As a new organisation in early stages with a first-time CEO, PTC experienced many ‘start-up’ challenges and needed support to operationalise the strategic plan and ensure there was clarity around staff roles, responsibilities and internal reporting.

HOW DID WE HELP?

Practical Governance supported the CEO and executive team to work through its strategic objectives and operationalise them.  This involved reviewing roles and responsibilities across the staff team, establishing clearer links between individual job roles and the overall organisational strategy, supporting the re-design of internal and board reporting including delegated authorities, management accounting and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as project managing the initial phase of the outsourced customer relationship management (CRM) system.

WHAT IMPACT HAS THIS HAD?

We were able to highlight where there were ‘unknown’ gaps and work with the team to design ways to address those challenges. With our help, PTC has embedded stronger and more fit for purpose operational structures and decision making processes, embedded new internal reporting procedures including KPIs and a bespoke CRM system.  The net impact has been for the organisation as a whole to develop a deeper sense of collective responsibility for the future of the Trust from the Board down.

 “One of the most valuable things about the way Practical Governance work is that you become ‘insider-outsiders’.  You are insiders, because you really got to know the team and our needs – we all felt you were on our side and committed to our cause.  But you were also outsiders, because you were able to gently challenge and identify ‘blind spots’, making suggestions that you believed in and were clearly in our interests, even if they weren’t always comfortable at first.  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

WHAT DID WE LEARN

In some cases, the ideas we came up with were perhaps over processed or over-engineered for the size and stage of Power to Change.  We learnt quickly, adapting as the work progressed but the key learning for us is to remember to always keep things simple, taking one stage at a time.  With every piece of work we do, we are now asking ourselves if we could simplify it.  This has really helped us and our clients to focus on the must-do’s rather than the nice-to-have’s.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE?

This work took place over a period of 6-9 months and was intensive at times, comprising more than 50 days of work.  We continue to provide support and guidance to the Trust on some aspects of governance, with our latest project focussing on helping review and strengthen the Trust’s commitment to its organisational values.