Cogent Ventures logo

Provider: Cogent Ventures

Location:
  • West Midlands

Website: http://cogentventures.co.uk/

Contact:jim.brooks@cogentventures.co.uk

Sector experience:

Areas of expertise:

Organisation overview:

Cogent Ventures was formed in May 2012 with the specific purpose of providing business advice services to VCSE organisations that are involved in the provision of health, social care and community focused services including supported accommodation.

Our approach to impact management is about putting impact maximisation at the heart of the strategic agenda. Services can then be developed that will achieve lasting positive outcomes for targeted beneficiaries. When this approach is supported by the development of robust performance management systems our clients see opportunities to improve and also to communicate impact to commissioners and funders.

Social impact services include:

• Development of theory of change
• Impact led strategy development
• Evidencing and valuing social outcomes and impact
• Impact led development of new services
• Calculation of social return on investment
• Reporting systems development
• Social impact marketing.
We also support our clients to win contracts, raise social finance, and with Tax & VAT planning.

Case study 1: Murray Hall Community Trust

Sector:

  • Physical health

Focus of project:

  • Programme design / theory of change facilitation
  • Developing impact plans
  • Performance management
  • Data management & analysis

MHCT is a charity based in the West Midlands working within a public health and social model of health. MHCT have recently taken over an old community centre and are in the process of developing it to provide much needed 'day hospice' support for young people with life limiting conditions. MHCT wanted us to support them to fully understand and articulate the social impact that can be delivered for potential service users and help them to develop their business plan for the centre based on clear impact related objectives and also to raise investment to continue capital development.

Our starting point was to support the mapping out of the Theory of Change for the centre. We facilitated a number of sessions including a day long workshop where delegates representing stakeholder views considered the intended change that the centre should deliver, inputs from each stakeholder groups perspective, the activities that were planned to be delivered, key outputs and the outcomes, focusing heavily on potential services users. We used material from the workshop to develop indicators that will be used in a bespoke reporting system that is now being developed through the Impact Management Programme. This ongoing work includes the implementation of a SalesForce based CRM impact management system which will allow the management team to monitor performance and drive service improvements. The work was also used to inform the basis for capital plans.


Case study 2: Foresight

Sector:

  • Housing & local facilities

Focus of project:

  • Programme design / theory of change facilitation
  • Developing impact plans
  • Performance management
  • Developing new products and services

Foresight is a Grimsby based charity that provides services for people with physical and learning disabilities. They wanted to identify the social impact that could be achieved from developing a new accommodation project and to facilitate this by carrying out an impact analysis on apartments that they already own and also to look for opportunities to improve impact. The output from the work was also to be used by the Foresight Board to inform the necessary investment decision and to help attract funders.

We carried out a full impact assessment of the existing supported accommodation provision and used this to inform a forecast assessment of the proposed accommodation project. The work involved spending a great deal of time conducting interviews with existing Foresight tenants and other stakeholders to establish a robust theory of change but also to seek opportunities for improvements in impact performance at the planned accommodation around factors such as access to exercise facilities and support needed to reduce unplanned access to health services.

The work led to a decision to go ahead with the planned development and we have since worked with Foresight to firm up plans including the establishment of social impact metrics and the development of reporting systems. We have also supported Foresight to attract investment of £1.2m to develop the scheme which is now out to tender with construction partners.

Case study 3: Better Pathways

Sector:

  • Mental health & wellbeing

Focus of project:

  • Programme design / theory of change facilitation
  • Developing impact plans
  • Performance management
  • Developing new products and services

Better Pathways is a charity that helps people with mental health issues to prepare for and gain employment. Part of the offer is a packaging business offering clients the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. However, many clients were not progressing to permanent employment. Better Pathways asked us to conduct a full business review of the packaging venture including its social impact with a view to seeking investment for further expansion and impact maximisation.

We began with an impact mapping (Theory of Change) workshop with Directors and senior managers based on the social mission of the organisation. We then facilitated the assessment of the performance of the packaging business against this using 'client journey mapping' techniques to derive an understanding of performance and opportunities for impact improvement. This led to the development of a plan to redesign the way in which the packaging operation worked including the development of performance metrics in relation to social impact.

The work led to a fundamental redesign of the service, in part achieved by engaging with more service users using a time limited model, supported by intensive one to one development. This will lead to significantly greater impact in terms of employment outcomes and also an offer to trade customers that will help them to demonstrate their own corporate social responsibility.