Our approach

We challenge outdated governance practices with a focus on people and purpose before systems and processes.

We believe that too often passionate people are held back by poor governance, undermining the impact they are aiming to achieve. Too often our approaches to governance, ownership, collective action and decision-making exclude or marginalise people and steer change away from mission and purpose; too often they are focussed on linear and predictable theories of change. This leads to creating strategies that are not fit to help tackle the complexity of many modern-day social challenges; that lead people to compete and silo activities rather than collaborate; that undermine rather than strengthen efforts to achieve social progress. Current support available in these areas is either too often one-sided in ideology, or follows a compliance first, overly theoretical and off the shelf approach that doesn’t truly help people move things on to the next level.

We are trying to do things differently.

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. We don’t do standard packages or traditional events, nor do we pretend to know it all. But through practical, hands on support, we can help you to diagnose and prioritise action, find other specialists to help where needed, and work with you to make the process easy and relevant to what you need. And we wont charge you the earth.

Our services

Governance & strategy reviews
Community ownership & leadership
Brand & storytelling
Culture, values & team development
Supporting partnerships & networks for social impact
Training & facilitation
Operational & systems support
Alternative governance, ownership design & development

Our clients

We work with passionate people who share our mission to create a more equitable and sustainable society. Our clients, partners and collaborators come from communities, networks, movements, organisations and institutions with a commitment to social change of all shapes and sizes; whether formal or informal; for profit or not-for-profit; within the UK or internationally.

Some examples of our work

White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures
wrnv.org.uk

For the past three years we have acted as Financial, Operations & Governance Director for WRNV Ltd, a community-led development company in Hastings which takes on iconic, old buildings and converts them into a mixture of residential, workspace and community uses under a Community Land Trust model. This has been a ground-breaking project involving not just two large buildings owned by WRNV, but as part of a much wider neighbourhood ‘eco-system’ of buildings, local businesses, community organisations and local government organisations with a vision for neighbourhood renewal.

“Practical Governance have been an invaluable support to the board and staff of WRNV since 2016, helping us with everything from day-to-day governance issues to the complex detail of our shareholders agreement. They are a pleasure to work with - committed, imaginative, patient and pragmatic. I could not recommend them highly enough”

Jess Steele, Director WRNV Ltd

MAC-UK
mac-uk.org

MAC-UK is a London-based charity seeking to transform the health, social and economic inequalities of excluded groups, primarily working with young people. We worked with the board and senior executive team through a series of 1:1 conversations, alongside the whole staff team and trustee workshops, to design and implement a new strategy and governance structure. Whilst avoiding over-complication and retaining independent oversight, the strategy was designed to work in tandem and stay true to the founding organisational values.

“Truly outstanding combination of expertise in and curiosity about leadership, governance and impact. The PG team worked well together, complementing each other's specialist skill sets. We were able to be challenged by you because of the trust and respect that you had built. You gave us the confidence to reach our ambitions in a practical, time bound way. You were patient with our circumstances and context. You were unfailingly professional, kind and 'on a level' while bringing a richness of experience and diversity of thought to our project.”

MAC-UK Coleadership team

Protecting Community Assets Inquiry
protecting-community-assets.org.uk

The Inquiry was instigated by Practical Governance- who acted as Secretariat - and funded through a combination of foundations and central government. It was formed in response to high-profile instances where assets held by local communities, which had received significant public investment, fell out of community hands. It brought together a wide range of contributors, all of whom have direct experience of managing, supporting or funding community assets and who have been willing, not just to understand the challenges and opportunities, but help to shape some recommendations as well as some practical ideas. Its interim report was released in September 2020 and we are currently working to take forward a number of the practical ideas. Most notably a pilot with 4 participating community assets to establish a Community Asset Protector body that can help safeguard community ownership and use over the long-term.

“This inquiry has been a collaborative effort to identify practical tools and initiatives that will reduce the loss/failure of community assets. We now need to collectively continue the momentum that has been built and seize the opportunity to turn these ideas into actions”
Rob Benfield, Social Investment

Greater London Authority
thesocialchangeagency.org

On behalf of the Social Change Agency, for the last two years we have been evaluating the Mayor’s Citizen Led Engagement Programme. In collaboration with the GLA this programme aims to make London fairer and more inclusive, and to encourage active citizenship. Each annual evaluation involved co-production with 6 communities who had been a part of peer research activity designed to amplify the voice and influence of communities in shaping public policy, where they had previously been underrepresented.

“We are consistently impressed with how well you approach collaborative working and the rigour and quality of the output of the work. The other partners of our work together have said "you are the best consultants we have ever worked with" and they have come back to us to continue working with us.”

Betsy Dillner, Social Change Agency

Photo: You Press Roots LDN Community Research Project volunteers. Credit aimvphotography.com