Change can be as Good as a Rest!
I think it is clear that we’ve all had to be agile and responsive over the last few months in both our home and work life to be able to respond to situations as they change on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Every colleague I have spoken to has had to rethink the way their organisation delivers their services, the way in which their staff work and still focus on achieving outcomes for the people who need their services more than ever.
The beauty of micro and small organisations, and social enterprises in particular, is that I find they have always been able to respond quickly to change or to improve in an innovative and dynamic way. They make changes in a day or week that large bureaucratic organisations in every sector used to take months if not years to make if they even thought about making them in the first place. These large bureaucratic machines have now found themselves having to respond quickly and purposely and I think that if there are any positives to be taken from the current situation it has been the opportunity for all organisations, not matter what sector or size, to implement new ways to deliver their services, new ways to support service users that may better meet their needs and new ways for staff to do their jobs. Indeed, although it doesn’t work for everyone, many staff report that working from home has enabled them to improve their work life balance. There have been changes that some organisations would have never seen themselves making, such as letting staff work from home, at all let alone within a period of weeks.
I have been exceptionally impressed by the way in which the 100+ delivery partners 3SC currently contract manage have, with our support, swiftly and adeptly implemented changes that have allowed them to keep delivering their services virtually to the best of their ability. The news pages on our website www.3sc.org showcase some of the excellent work that has been taking place. In some cases, this virtual delivery has enabled them to increase the breadth of their services and expand their referrals to individuals who may have found it hard to engage in the face to face world. As we start to enter a ‘recovery’ phase, I know that many of our delivery partners intend to keep some aspects of their virtual delivery that have worked well for them. This ‘learning’ for delivery partners and commissioners alike has to be a positive to come out the awful situation we have all found ourselves in.
Even with everything else going on, the release of, and recent deadlines for submissions to be on, the DWP CAEHRS and MOJ Dynamic Framework won’t have escaped anyone’s notice. The services to be commissioned through these frameworks are substantial. It was disappointing to see that only Tiers 1 and 2 on the CAEHRS framework have been released and Tier 3 which offers opportunities for smaller organisations has been delayed. The MOJ Dynamic Framework is meant to be set up so that organisations of all shapes and sizes can apply to deliver offender rehabilitation and resettlement services but my worry is that, yet again, the very small organisations who deliver fantastic services will be left out in the cold unless organisations such as 3SC engage them in consortia and we will fight their corner and engage them to the best of our ability.
3SC is always looking for ways to collaborate with partners old and new, both large and small and from differing sectors adding value through our expertise in the creation and management of third sector supply chains. We provide access to the diverse (and often niche) expertise of the third sector and robust contract, performance and quality management of a diverse supply chain through a single gateway. We undertake rigorous due diligence (with an accompanying support package that helps organisations to meet this criteria) to select organisations that can deliver and accountability for supply chain results which we know is valued by many of our Primes and Commissioners. Our survey of them earlier in the year showed our added value to them in supply chain management alongside the everyday contract management. 100% agreed that 3SC works collaboratively with them to continuously improve the services delivered by our supply chains to their customers/service users and 100% agreed that 3SC works collaboratively with them to ensure the supply chain delivery meets the needs of their organisation and requirements of the contract. We are currently being assessed for the Merlin Standard and all of our contract management staff are undertaking a qualification in supply chain management to ensure we continue to improve our supply chain management services to be the best available.
As well as supporting those organisations we contract manage to not only deliver their services virtually but work together better, we have been busy supporting our 3SC Members. We had a well-attended, excellent webinar recently presented by Scott Keyser, the writing guy, on how to improve your bid writing. There is an article on that event and from Scott in this newsletter. No matter how long you have been working in business development there is always room to pick up new tips and techniques and Scott gave us lots of those. We have the next webinar for 3SC Members (and non-members for a small fee) planned for 30th September 2020 where the session will focus on how to build mental toughness and resilience during times of uncertainty and how it adds great value to your people and organisations – something we could all do with a little bit of right now. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend. I hope to see you there.
Finally, I couldn’t write this without mentioning the fantastic job being done by everyone at 3SC. Everyone has risen to the challenges that are being thrown at them on a daily basis and I am proud of each and every member of staff and grateful for the support we get from our exceptionally supportive and knowledgeable 3SC Board Members.
Joanne Cholerton, CEO, 3SC