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ORGANISATION REFERENCE: D

THE ORGANISATION
ORGANISATION DESCRIPTION:
Organisation D was set up within one Local Authority area in the West Midlands to deliver
services for disabled people. It is a disabled peoples user-led organisation, in that majority
of the Board of Management have a disability. It opened the Independent Living Centre
(ILC) in 2000, with services including a drop-in for advice and an offer of basic equipment,
access to an in-house occupational therapist, a youth group and an information point. It has
since developed other services including a horticultural service on three sites, an
employment and skills service for hard-to-reach clients and a service for those on Direct
Payments (SDDS), where people with a personal budget (social or health) are supported;
this includes managing the direct funding payments they receive on their behalf. The Direct
Payments service has extended and the organisation now offers this, under contract, across
several authorities in the West Midlands, and further afield. The organisation currently
employs 30 staff.

WHY THE ORGANISATION APPLIED TO THE LSF


The organisation has faced challenges around the control of the ILC and a significant cut in
funding to deliver services, resulting in surrendering the lease of the building and
negotiating reduced space within it with the Local Authority. The Local Authority owns the
building, and as funding to the organisation has been reduced, the Local Authority has
moved its own staff into the building. There had been a concerted public campaign in the
past in support of the organisation and against cuts in funding, which had antagonised the
Local Authority and not resulted in retention of funding.

The Chief Executive is relatively new in post, having previously been the Finance Director,
and wanted to maximise the opportunities for developing and extending the reach of the
Self Direct Support Service (SDDS) delivery, including making it more inter-active for users
and also because of the potential to strengthen the organisations core funding and reduce
its reliance on one Local Authority for funding. Work would include developing their
website to be more attractive and more inter-active, so that users can find resources for
themselves, and commissioners can see what the organisation can provide for them.

In addition, the services they provide in terms of horticulture and employment have a great
deal of potential cross-over with each other, but currently work in a silo-like manner, so the
organisations staff identified that some strategic, structural and organisation changes
needed to take place before these services could work in a holistic and more effective way.

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We knew we were delivering a good service on the direct payments, our feedback was
great, but our visibility and product didnt look great compared to our competitors. We
were difficult to find, and we wanted to offer more to our users and potential users.

We are seen as the Independent Living Centre, but have faced so many cuts we cannot
continue to deliver the same level of service in the current climate. Developing our core will
give us options about what we choose to deliver and how, targeting those we see as being
in greatest need.

THE LSF PROJECT

WHO WAS INVOLVED AND WHAT WERE THEIR DIFFERENT ROLES?

The project had a lead advisor, and also another advisor. This was a conscious decision, in
order to offer exactly the support they were looking for. The lead advisor helped them
develop the strategic view, kept the organisation focused, and supported the Chief
Executive to drive this forward, whilst the other advisor worked on specific outcomes,
working with internal and external stakeholders e.g. review and development of the market
and marketing opportunities in relation to growth of SDDS, gaining an understanding of the
organisational, structural and other changes needed to achieve necessary changes.

The business that gave voluntary support is a local multi-million pound family business. It
was chosen because it is very well connected within the area, and the Chief Executive of
the charity wanted to grow Organisation D to reflect the success of this business. The
business volunteer was very busy, but the main strengths he brought were networking and
connectedness, and Organisation D hopes to be more highly regarded locally as a result of
their links with him and his business.

WHAT WAS THE LSF FUNDED PROJECT AIMING TO DO?

The LSF funding supported the following activities and functions:

Some back-filling of some of the CEO role to enable her to focus on strategic
development.
The development of a marketing and communications strategy, including new
branding and website functionality.
Re-structuring of the horticulture and training services.
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Developing and growing the SDDS service.
Increasing the profile of the organisation locally, with the aim making it a bigger
player.

ASPIRATIONS FOR THE LSF PROJECT WHAT SUCCESS WILL LOOK


LIKE IN 6 MONTHS, 12 MONTHS AND 5 YEARS

At the early stages of the project, the evaluators asked the organisation to describe their
aspirations for their LSF project. The aspirations were that:

The organisation grows to be a recognised market leader in the field of SDDS, in


terms of quality of service and best practice.
The organisation continues to deliver quality services for disadvantaged disabled
people in the local authority area where it is located.
It becomes self-sustainable from a mixture of contracts, spot funding and other
income generation.
It develops a robust Client Record Management system (NB This is funded from an
external funder, but the work will be done in conjunction with the LSF work).

Partway through the At the end of the After 5 years Who for?
project funded project

A clear Website up and Website continually Service users


communications running, developed to
plan in place, with functionality tested, support the SDDS Commissioners of
contractors improved service to service. services
identified to users, more
develop the website attractive to Indirectly (through
commissioners contracts secured),
the organisation

Strategic change Changes to services Improved and Service users


raised with staff agreed sustainable services
still being delivered Commissioners of
services

Staff

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Partway through the At the end of the After 5 years Who for?
project funded project

Management team Improved focus Improved service Service users


committed to from managers delivery
strategic change Staff

All staff have an CRM system CRM system The organisation


understanding of developed and underpins reporting
what can be agreed on effectiveness Funders
achieved through
good CRM systems

PARTWAY THROUGH THE PROJECT

10 months into the delivery of the project, the organisation felt that they had achieved the
following successes:

They had completed the restructuring to some services, in order to deliver a more
holistic and integrated service.
Their website and re-branding was agreed, commissioned and in technical
development.
They had secured (or regained) a significant Local Authority contract for the next 3-4
years, which they had lost in 2013.
They had secured an additional new contract.
In a professional manner, they had managed a reduction in some of their services
due to a lost contract (known before the LSF project began) and improved the
working relationship with the funder.
They won a regional award sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce, against
stiff (and much larger) competition, e.g. the Air Ambulance service.

They were particularly proud of the resilience in the team. The loss of the contract (see
above) would previously have had a significant and negative impact, instead because of the
work done on organisational change and re-focusing the delivery, the team were able to
see this as an opportunity and work together to secure additional funding.

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They were then intending to focus on ensuring the work already begun on the integrated
services - has meant a culture change for a number of staff - continued to develop,
including possibly moving into new opportunities for trainees identified in partnership with
our business advisor.

AT THE END OF THE LSF PROJECT

Having now come to the end of the LSF funded project, the organisations feels that they
have achieved the following successes:
They are now helping more people, and some clients bring a fee with them which
adds to the organisations sustainability.
They have secured additional funding from other sources to continue the work on
integration developed through LSF, and this includes expanding to a new site.
The relationship with the Local Authority is significantly improved; they have re-
secured Local Authority contracts, and some challenging issues with retention of
their phone number (which is currently linked to the Independent Living Centre,
rather than their own offices) have been dealt with smoothly because of the
improved relationship.
They have secured the contract for Direct Payments within their own borough.

They achieved some things that they didnt expect:


They didnt expect to win the award for the Community Champion of the year and
probably would not even have entered for this award previously, so it is not only an
indicator of success, but also of organisational confidence.

The project lead considered what these successes have meant for different stakeholders
at different stages of the project.

For me For the organisation For clients For the sector

A SHORT TIME INTO THE PROJECT

I am more confident Staff understand the Some will not notice Too early to tell
(CEO) need for change, any difference,
and are on board others may do.
(New clients may be

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For me For the organisation For clients For the sector

attracted by the
revised website).
Staff continue to There will be
develop and have additional
embraced change opportunities for
clients in terms of
work/life
experiences
The management
team is stronger and
is taking a more
strategic as well as a
managerial role
The organisation has
secured two
additional contracts
since the LSF work
began, adding to its
sustainability, and
broadening its base
The organisation has A more holistic
secured Power to service to clients
Change support, to
continue to develop
the integrated
service

PARTWAY THROUGH THE PROJECT

More confident still More confident a More opportunities Higher profile


but having to work member of staff felt in the integrated (through winning
really hard the organisation service the award)
was ready to
compete for an
award
Better integrated Better service for
across the growing those on direct
and employment payments
projects

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For me For the organisation For clients For the sector

Improving
relationship with
the Local Authority

AT THE END OF THE PROJECT

Confident the More resilient, sees More services on Championing work


organisation is on challenges as offer at additional with and for
the right track and opportunities locations disabled people has
in my own ability to a higher profile
deal with challenges (mainly thanks to
the award)

More sustainable Improved website They are working


is already winning will mean a better towards being
new funding for the service for those leaders in their own
integrated service who want to self- sector and have
manage their direct regained this
payments position locally

More sustainable Integrated services


has secured more provide an
contracts for direct additional offer to
payments clients
More sustainable -
Able to track the
impact on clients to
show how effective
they are

Reflecting on their achievements, they think that there were some things that really
helped them
The project lead felt that the key catalyst in the success for this organisation was the
advisor. This person, who was known to the organisation prior to the LSF project, was
pivotal in supporting the CEO to keep the project on track. Having funding that allowed the
CEO time and space to concentrate on the project was also said to be really important, and
the work that the other advisor undertook on stakeholder mapping and impact was also
described as invaluable. The advisor will be remaining in contact into the future, and the
organisation would have no hesitation in commissioning them in the future if the need
arose.

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And there were also some things that hindered what they could achieve:
The only small hindrance that they experienced was the delay to the start, and some small
technical issues at the beginning with the ODT, but these did not have a massive impact.

There was a technical issue with transferring their phone number to the new office, mainly
down to BT, which delayed the launch of the website, as they understandably wanted to be
sure that any contact details were not going to change shortly after the launch, this also
had an impact on printed materials they were producing to back up the new website..

THEIR ASPIRATIONS FOR LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY

The organisation is significantly more confident in their ability to remain sustainable into
the longer term. For them, sustainability means continuing to deliver quality services to
clients in need, through securing contracts commissioned from funders and by increasing
income from Direct Payments as more clients use the service.

They now have a positive (as opposed to negative) relationship with the Local Authority,
and have begun to secure funding from them once more, whereas the previous pattern was
one of withdrawal of funding and support. In addition, they have been able to work
together on a tricky technical issue (the phone line and number) which appears to be
reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

Further evidence of their improved sustainability was described as the securing of new
funding from a range of new sources to expand the services which were reconfigured
within the LSF scheme. They believe that part of this is because the services are now better
integrated.

The project lead noted that staff and Board members within the organisation are more
resilient; previously loss of funding would have been seen as a threat, now it is seen as a
challenge. The example was given of staff confidence, where they identified the
competition from the Chamber of Commerce as something that the organisation was
worthy of entering; winning it boosted them even further. The CEO reported she
personally feels more confident in her own abilities, more skilled and more resilient to deal
with any challenges that may emerge in the future.

The LSF contribution to this was described as the funding to free up the CEO time, and in
the focus and skill of the advisor, who supported the CEO to drive the programme of
change forward. Although it cannot be stated categorically that the LSF funding led to
subsequent funding from other sources, the CEO attributes the gaining of this additional
funding to take forward the changed services - and in some cases to deliver new services -

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to their new readiness to address tenders earlier, and with better evidence, all of which
stemmed from the LSF project.

THEIR EXPERIENCE OF THE LSF PROGRAMME

GETTING STARTED WITH LSF

The organisation began the work with the principal adviser in advance of the funding being
secured, on April 1st 2016. This was because the organisation was facing some funding
pressures and wanted to begin the work on developing their strategic thinking around this.
The project really took off once the funding was in place, and back cover was able to be
employed for the CEO, and this is when the second advisor came on board fully.

They found the ODT helpful. The issues that arose in that formed the basis for an Action
Plan, and the information it provided also provided evidence for a subsequent successful
funding application to a trust fund for the work on the Client Record Management System.
The group queried whether the exercise would be repeated at the end of the process.

PARTWAY THROUGH THE LSF PROJECT

At this point, the organisation reported that delivery of the project had gone as expected,
although some things were taking longer than anticipated. They believe that this this
might have been because they had under-estimated the amount of time needed, but also
because they took the approach of getting it right as opposed to merely getting it done.
This meant that an additional branding person was brought in to develop this aspect of
work; it was originally envisaged this would be done by the website developers, but they
realised that the re-imaging needed a branding professional. The branding professional
and the website developers worked together to ensure that the image and content met the
organisations needs.

The relationship with the Local Authority, which had been poor, was much improved by this
time. There was a potential challenge over a lease, but this was approached
professionally, with agreement reached more easily. It appeared that the organisation had
secured a reputation of being professional and delivering quality services, in advance of the
re-branding.

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The work with the business volunteer had been a little delayed but was under way, using a
two-pronged approach. The CEO of organisation D met with the Businesses senior officers,
and information about systems especially finance and HR was then shared with a view to
making improvements, where appropriate. Parallel with this, the CEO of Organisation D
meets the CEO of the business who is advising them at local events, and this informal
contact led to increased networking and potential increased opportunities for service users,
in terms of work placements within the business, and also within some of the networks
with which the business advisor is linked.

NOW AT THE END OF THE PROJECT

Looking back over the whole period of the LSF funding, the project lead reflected that
delivery had gone smoothly, but has taken longer than expected, and this meant that one
of the outputs - the revised website with the ability for clients to use it interactively and
therefore for the organisation to gather data to measure impact - is not yet up and running.
This is because it took longer than expected to go through some of the necessary processes
to ensure that the website will be fit for purpose, not only now, but into the future. The
test phase is now being completed, and it will shortly be launched in a soft launch, with a
more dynamic launch later this year at the organisations 21st Birthday celebration event.

The organisation noted that the process was harder work than expected, but that the pay-
offs have also been greater, in terms of skills across the organisation including the Board,
and increasing the client base.

It has been much harder work than I expected, and we needed to be on top it and not let
things slip due to competing demands. The advisor was really helpful with this, nudging us
where necessary and supporting us to continue on with challenging issues, such as re-
structuring the services.

With the benefit of hindsight, they think that they got the design of project about right, but
it just needed more time it was, in reality, an eighteen month or two year project. Apart
from this, they feel that project has worked really well.

The funding they secured from new sources for the growing projects will develop these on
to a new site and expand the integration with the other projects.

The relationship with the business advisor was not as strong as the relationship with the
other advisors, but the organisation had already secured funding from another source
(Lloyds Foundation), which brought with it a critical friend who, in effect, played this role
for them. NB they had not secured this funding at the time of applying to LSF. This link with
the business advisor may continue as it is locally based and they share networks

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IN TERMS OF HOW LSF WORKS, THE ORGANISATION REALLY LIKE

The flexibility of the programme


The way it funds core costs to free up the CEO to do the strategic thinking needed
The ability to pick their own advisor was key

BUT THEY THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER IF

They had received the confirmation and funding at the time originally envisaged, and had
not had to start without it. It ran for a longer period, in this case eighteen months to two
years.

IN ONE SHORT PHRASE, PARTWAY THROUGH THE PROJECT, THEY DESCRIBED THEIR
EXPERIENCE OF LSF AS

Positive, meaningful and collaborative.

AND NOW THAT THEYVE REACHED THE END, THEY SUMMED UP THEIR EXPERIENCE OF
LSF AS

hard work, but really worthwhile

LEARNING

LEARNING FROM THE EARLY DAYS

At this stage in the project, the organisations project lead noted several different lessons:

Invest the time you need at the start to agree how the project will run, timescales
and responsibilities
The advisors role needs to be structured and focused.
Clarity about roles the Chief Executive has to drive this, not the adviser, and the
organisation needs to do the work, not the adviser. For this reason, organisations
need to be prepared to work during the process on things other than their core
functions.

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LEARNING FRON PARTWAY THROUGH THE PROJECT

Dont under-estimate both the time and the resource needed to achieve
change. Part of our success so far has been because the advisor has worked over
and above her hours to encourage us to keep on track.
A member of staff entered the organisation for the award, which we see as a
measure of how confident and proud the staff are .winning the award gave us
both a boost, but also massive good (and free) publicity.
Developing resilience within the team means we can see changes as opportunities,
rather than threats.

KEY LESSONS REFLECTING BACK FROM THE END OF THE PROJECT

The project lead noted how they had learnt the importance of being more pro-active in
their preparation for tenders. Also, in future, they will begin work on legacy in relation to
short-term projects right at the beginning of delivery, rather than later on in the project.

.. we have learned to respond and plan in a more timely manner, and not just be re-active;
but this also means that if we need to react, e.g. because of an unexpected cut in funding,
we are better prepared and more resilient..

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON THAT THEY WOULD LIKE OTHER ORGANISATIONS IN A
SIMILAR POSITION TO THINK ABOUT IS

Securing the right advisor and working with someone in whom there is complete
trust in their skills and ability to help the organisation make changes, some of which
can be very challenging.
Its a very short timescale, be prepared to work very hard.

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