Learning from providers

In November we ran two very productive sessions with 25 providers to discuss our plans for the capacity building grants that the Impact Management Programme (IMP) will offer as part of the Growth strand.

Thank you to those providers who attended the sessions and provided such constructive feedback.The main takeaways and our subsequent actions are summarised below:

On governance

The IMP steering group has oversight of the programme. Discussions centered on the need for a provider voice on the group that was representative and meaningful.

• Access has set up a provider forum to collect feedback from providers across their programmes. This will be used to make sure their views are incorporated into the programme alongside specific request from feedback from the approved providers.

On training

This grant programme is different from those that have gone before because both providers and ventures will receive training on impact management. Providers will receive training once they have been approved to work with charities and social enterprises. Charities and social enterprises will receive training before a grant application is submitted.

Training both providers and ventures will ensure that they speak the same language and put the ventures in the best position to decide the support they need from providers to improve their impact management.

• Providers were fully behind the impact management training and supported the proposed requirement that the chief executive of the venture attend the training session to ensure there is buy-in from the top.

On ventures

The programme wants to improve the way ventures use and learn from their data so that they can raise social investment or bid for contracts to improve their long term sustainability.

Providers thought it important that ventures showed a knowledge of their commissioning environment and had a good understanding of the future opportunities in this area. However it was also recognised that there is limited visibility in this area and this should be taken into account when reviewing applications.

Providers also recommended that the ventures had sufficient capacity to carry om this work. Again this programme differs from those before because providers and ventures will work together for 12 months which should give sufficient time for internal capacity to be developed and for culture change to start.

• The grant application will look for knowledge of future funding opportunities and sufficient internal capacity to embed impact management skills.

• To support culture change the programme will support the development of peer networks or action learning sets. Research in this area supports the view that one to one support is only part of the picture and networks, groups etc also have a role to play in embedding learning.

On providers

Many of the providers present had worked with charities and social enterprises to collect, improve and use their data.

It was recognised that a diverse set of skills would be needed by providers (engagement, facilitation, learning, quality assurance , change management, digital and tech) and therefore a diverse market of providers should be approved.

• The programme will be open to previous relevant work in the private sector and will encourage partnerships between providers where required.

Providers were keen to support the transparency principles of the programme and share their learning and outputs during the programme where possible.

• Providers will be asked to share broader learning with the sector.

Providers were keen that the principles of impact management could be applied at the organisational level and for campaigning organisations as well as at the programme level.

• The programme is open to applications that can demonstrate this.

Providers wanted to ensure that the views of other stakeholder were sought including social lenders and commissioners.

• These views are being sought and will be shared in futures installments.

Providers would be interested in an event to meet charities and social enterprises interested in making applications to the programme.

• We will seek feedback on this from ventures and set a date if they agree it would be of help in forming partnerships.

Next steps

The provider application process is now underway, with the first impact management session for approved providers 26 January.

Regional events are running from January to tell charities and social enterprises about the programme.

The first pilot grant application window will open February 13th and close April 10th 2017.