Made in Lambeth II

October 18, 2012

#madeinlambeth

As many of you will know, a second Made in Lambeth event took place last weekend here in Brixton at the Town Hall. I think I can safely say it was a real success! Firstly thank you ever so much to all of you who came along, braving London transport when so much of the tube was down. It was really appreciated and the impressive turn out at the weekend shows us how enthusiastic people are to make a real difference to where we live.

The making and creating on all three projects was substantial and we have some brilliant work to take forward together over the coming weeks and months. Some of the outputs was as follows:

  • Neighbourhood networks – This project started life as a concept called ‘Street Friends’ and soon turned into ‘Our Street’. The idea is to create networks of neighbors working together on their streets to improve the immediate area where they live. The idea grew out of the Community Freshview project, where feedback told us one of the most positive changes this project has is getting neighbors to talk to each other, often for the first time. This leads to increased interaction and positive change.  Communtiy Freshview is resource intensive however, and ‘Our Street’ is about providing even more people with the tools and support they need to get on with projects they want to do themselves, knowing they have the full backing of the council to do so. Some of the tools created over the weekend included a website design which includes content about what can be done legally and how to do it, notice boards to gather ideas on your street and a sticker to put in your window which says that ‘im a friendly neighbor  please ask me to help out.’
  • Connectors – The next project was around identifying the people in the community with skills and connections who we should target with opportunities to volunteer and to get them involved in community projects. This was a wide ranging brief that took in skills mapping, volunteering and inclusion. A number of strands came out of this. One group looked at promotional materials to illustrate that volunteering is something that is extremely positive in many ways and created the ‘Superstar Volunteer’ idea. This included a video that set out what people personally get out of being a volunteer. Another group worked on developing a website that aggregates volunteering opportunities in the borough. And another group developed the idea of ‘The Nest’, a space provided by the council in council buildings for entrepreneurs and social enterprises to work together and with the council, bringing in people with skills from the community.
  • YLC – The Young Lambeth Cooperative had an incredible time of it and from the off it was clear they would achieve what they set out to achieve  What was really powerful was the involvement of young people themselves who left the weekend having gained a lot of experience in working with professionals on a project that would have a tangible impact on their lives. The group managed to create a strong brand for the YLC, sticking with the name ‘Young Lambeth Coop’ but using the abbreviation YLC. They came up with a logo and font and tested this out with the young people who were present. They developed a communications plan based around social media and mediums that young people wanted to use, as well as creating a website. They also explored ideas around incentives, and what would encourage young people and their parents to get involved in the YLC.

So now that we have these projects up and running, alongside the three projects still going from the first event, we want to keep momentum going and plan for another two day Made in Lambeth event sometime in the near future. Firstly we will host a catch up event for you to all come along and continue to work on your projects and to discuss any ideas you might have. At the event last weekend we suggested the 24th for a catch up, but unfortunately that is no longer possible, so instead we would like to invite you to the Town Hall in Brixton on Tuesday 30th October between 6-9pm to meet up with your old team mates and possibly go for a drink afterwards! Let me know if you are able to come along at npierce@lambeth.gov.uk

 

Finally we have some pictures and the twitter feed from the event:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/goodfornothingflickrs/sets/72157631776623535/

http://storify.com/g00dfornothing/made-in-lambeth-12-14th-october-2012

 

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the 30th October!

Nathan


Made in Lambeth catch up – 12th July

July 13, 2012

Yesterday afternoon the Made in Lambeth team had a great catch up at the Town Hall in Brixton. It was a chance to get an update on the three projects that were developed at the last event, as well as looking forward to the next event and what projects we could work on in October. Council staff were pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who showed up! It shows that people are keen to stay involved and to contribute to designing and creating local services. A brief round up of the main points follows.

The website project is going well, we are working out ways to build up the content in the new website using the work done on the open source website developed at Made in Lambeth. The Love Your Space project is being pushed forward by Public Realm services, who are keen to maintain this as a community led project which allows people to identify unloved spaces and then enable them to do something about them themselves. The design for coproducing Healthwatch will go to cabinet in September, and the plans for this are based on the output from the Good for Nothing event. If approved, they will want to revisit the Good for Nothing Healthwatch team to get involved in the coproduction process.

Following the updates there was some really strong and useful feedback on the first event which we can take forward to the next one. This includes:

  • The council needs to be clearer about letting go and transferring power. Being clear that it wants the public to lead on projects, giving permission to take a project and run with it.
  • Develop a project pack for each of the new projects selected that includes background information, data, contacts etc.
  • Identify networks outside of twitter/facebook in order to encourage people with skills to come along. Think about offline networks locally to attract a more diverse range of skilled people.
  • Think about some methods of incentivising people to come along – a crèche?
  • Ownership of projects continues to be important, need someone there who is clear they have the resource to take the work forward beyond the event. Also they could share this ownership with a service user / recipient?
  • The group didn’t feel that much more structure to the events was needed, but did feel that the goals of the event should be more strongly defined at the outset. Especially around doing not talking, voting with your feet and divide and conquer.
  • There was enthusiasm for having regular evening meet ups, but people wanted the format to be different and to learn from our own mantra – less talking more doing! A date for the next one is the 1st August and will take place later on in the evening so that Good for Nothingers can get there after work. Need to think about how we create a space for doing, and can use this space to select future projects.

Following this conversation we started to talk about projects for the next event. Some specific projects were discussed, and from this some clear themes started to emerge:

  • Asset mapping – this came up again and again. There is a need for communities to start to identify the skills in their borough and learn how to engage and enthuse with people who have the skills needed for particular projects. There is a need to learn how to recognise skills – for example someone may be great at project planning, but they wouldn’t necessarily call their skills ‘project planning’. A pool of resources needs to be created which could be utilised by a range of projects.
  • Adding value to existing networks –there is a diverse range of communities and different groups and networks in Lambeth, an excellent resource that would largely welcome being utilised. Yet bringing them together to work presents its own challenges, how can we do so in a way that adds value, not undermines organic structures. A problem which Made in Lambeth could happily tackle!
  • Incentivisation – Why should people get involved in the cooperative council, what’s in it for them? In order to engage people you need some form of reciprocity, Made in Lambeth could explore this and come up with ways of engaging the unengagable!

We can explore these themes in more detail at our next get together. As mentioned above the next meeting will be on the 1st august at 6pm, and we hope to create a more relaxed set up with no set agenda. If you want to come along do so between 6-8pm, with the aim of making things as much as possible. If you have any ideas for this, please let me know.

Another date for the diary is the 13/14 October 2012 – the second Made in Lambeth event.

See you then!

Nathan Pierce


Investment & Contract Readiness Fund

May 30, 2012

This new £10m fund will support ‘social ventures’ to raise investment or win contracts to run public services. It is now open for applications and is run on behalf of the Office for Civil Society by the Social Investment Business.

Social ventures are defined as registered charities, social enterprises, community and voluntary organisations, social businesses and mutuals. These organisations can apply for grants of between £50k and £150k to purchase investment and contract readiness support from an approved advisor.

Proposals must be designed to prepare the social venture to raise an investment of at least £500,000 or win contracts of at least £1 million.

The first deadline for applications is 31 July 2012 and the fund will then re-open in September 2012. More details are available via the following link:

http://www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org/category/news/2012/pound10-million-fund-opens-to-help-ambitious-social-ventures-access-new-investment-and-win-contracts/  


FSA registration for mutualised service providers

April 20, 2012

Kevin Jacquiss (a partner at Cobbetts LLP who we have worked with a number of times) has written in this week’s Guardian local government network about the requirements now being placed on mutualised service providers to register with the FSA. Real emphasis on that sense of being genuinely different and accountable to the community – beyond the “warm glow” of just saying you’re a cooperative. Interesting stuff.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/local-government-network/2012/apr/17/mutualised-services-provider-registration?CMP=


The Big Society and the voluntary sector : Parliamentary Briefing Note

March 28, 2012

In a February 2011 speech, the Prime Minister described the Big Society as his “absolute passion” and as “a different way of governing, a different way of going about trying to change our country for the better”. The Big Society involves three key elements:

• Community empowerment: giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area

• Opening up public services: enabling voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises, and employee-owned co-operatives to compete to offer public services

• Social action: encouraging and enabling people to play a more active part in society

This parliamentary briefing note provides further background to the Big Society concept; the role of the voluntary and community sector and outlines some of the Government’s initiatives in this area.

 http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05883


An invitation from the Transition Institute – Spin out camp – Free admission – Thursday, 29 March 2012

March 22, 2012

We are delighted to invite you to our first Transition Institute Spin-out Camp (North West). This is the first of a series of three that will be held throughout the year. Come along to an inspiring and informative day, a neutral space to explore some of the most current debates and issues in public service reform. The event is aimed at both practitioners and commissioners who are delivering and procuring public services respectively.

The event is taking place on Thursday the 29th March, 9:30 – 15:00 at the lovely offices of Hempsons Solicitors in Manchester, at Portland Tower, Portland Street, M1 3LF (venue map can be found here)

The programme consists of an interactive, action-packed day of three practical workshops that are being delivered by experts in the field:

  • Building a viable Business: lead by Ernst & Young
  • Innovation in delivery models: lead by the Young Foundation
  • Legal issues (covering issues such as governance and TUPE): lead by Hempsons Solicitors.

In addition to the practical workshops and networking opportunities, after lunch we will be presenting and discussing our second Transition Institute Starting Point Paper on the theme of Commissioning and procurement with social value.

This paper is intended to set up the basis for a debate to build up a collaborative piece of research. In keeping with this joint approach, we will be hosting a focus group at the event (open to all attendees) to capture thoughts and comments so that we can ensure that this document contains practical guidance for all the relevant issues and concerns. Every person attending the event will receive a copy of the publication beforehand.

Places are limited so please sign up soon. If you wish to register for this event, please go to http://spinoutcampmanchester-eorg.eventbrite.co.uk/

If you require further details, please email us at hello@transitioninstitute.org.uk

Also if you want to know more about the spin-out camps please refer to: http://www.transitioninstitute.org.uk/2012/01/31/introducing-transition-institute-spin-out-camps/


The Social Enterprise Guide

March 2, 2012

Social Enterprise UK  is the national body for social enterprise and has a wealth of information, news, advice and resources on it’s website here http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/.

The Social Enterprise Guide for people working in local government is full of really useful information and explains how social enterprises can help to meet many local authority strategic objectives, it also gives lots of practical advice about how teams within local authorities can engage with social enterprises to benefit their communities.

The guide contains some really useful information on the different legal models that social enterprises can take, ideas and information about commissioning and procurement and how to support the creation of social enterprises spinning out of the public sector.

The guide can be downloaded here: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/uploads/files/2012/02/local_authority_guide_final1.pdf

The resource library is here: http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/advice-support/resources


January round-up

January 27, 2012

As the first month in 2012 draws to a close, there are a few things from the last month that might be of interest.

Firstly David Cameron made a speech on 19 January announcing that the Government will introduce a Cooperatives Bill to Parliament before the next election. Currently more than a dozen statutes govern cooperatives and mutuals, with many being outdated. The Government’s plan is to consolidate these into one statute to make it easier for people to set up and run a cooperative. Currently there are no further details on the content of the new Bill, other than the press release from 10 Downing Street, but as soon as there are they will be published on the toolkit.

The London Community Foundation (formerly Capital Community Foundation) have updated the list of grants they administer that are available to organisations in Lambeth. These include:

  • Lambeth Festivals and Outdoor Events Fund;
  • Lambeth Community Fund; and
  • Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards.

For more information on these funds and others, visit London Community Foundation’s website – you might want to consider signing up to the e-bulletin to receive news about the latest funding opportunities.

Moves continue at a national and European level to ensure public procurement rules can support local jobs and businesses. Chris White MP’s Private Member’s Bill has gone through its third reading in the House of Commons will receive its second reading in the House of Lords before the end of the month. The Public Services (Social Value) Bill aims to strengthen the social enterprise business sector and make the concept of ‘social value’ more relevant and important in the placement and provision of public services. If passed it will require local authorities, when entering into public procurement contracts, to give greater consideration to economic, social or environmental wellbeing during the pre-procurement stage.  More information can be found in an interview he gave to Third Sector News.

Just before the end of December, the European Commission published revised public procurement directives, following a consultation through 2011. The proposed changes include:

  • Greater flexibility to negotiate
  • Simpler rules on dynamic purchasing systems
  • The ability for procurers to evaluate suppliers’ past performance
  • Enablement of electronic marketplaces
  • More flexible and less burdensome rules on supplier selection
  • Faster procurement through shortened time limits

Further information on these proposed changes can be found on the Cabinet Office website.

The council has continued to look at procurement processes and a recent seminar for council officers explained how to include community benefits in new contracts and tender processes. The slides from the seminar are available here, and will be useful to both commissioners within the council and people from organisations interested in bidding for work with the council.

In December the Public Administration Committee of the House of Commons published a report into the Government’s Big Society initiative. The Committee’s findings included a warning that the Government’s plans lack clarity and need an implementation plan, and that the Government should consider creating a ‘Big Society Minister’. The report also calls for greater clarity on the roles of charitable, private and public providers of public services and urges ministers to outline how issues of accountability in terms of quality and regulatory powers will be managed in the Big Society project, and in particular accountability for public expenditure.  The full report is available on the House of Commons website. Of particular interest to the cooperative agenda are the sections on Social Impact Bonds and Public Service Mutuals.


Employee ownership – some useful publications

December 8, 2011

Below are some really useful documents about employee ownership.

Time for Social Enterprise, a report from the Social Enterprise Coalition which was published in February 2011 includes interviews with people from the public, private and social enterprise sector and looks at what more needs to be done to enable social entrepreneurship in the UK. It has a particular focus on the issue of social value, and how this can be incorporated more into public procurement and society’s mindset more widely.

Model Growth, Do employee owned businesses deliver sustainable growth? is a research report looking at whether employee owned businesses deliver greater benefits than other business ownership models. The conclusions include the view that small- and medium-sized employee owned businesses (EOBs) do significantly better than non-EOBs; the profitability of EOBs correlates with giving employees greater autonomy in decision-making; and that EOBs are better employers not only in consistently recruiting more employees but also by rewarding them with higher wages. On the more negative side, EOBs confront more regulatory and policy challenges than non-EOBs, and they can have difficulties obtaining favourable financing from institutions that are more accustomed to dealing with listed companies.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on employee ownership produced a report in 2008 on how employee ownership is changing the face on business in the UK, including in relation to public services. Their conclusions in that regard are “that whilst the evidence base is currently, and inevitably, scanty with regard to the contribution of the co-owned sector to public service provision, it strongly suggests that coownership offers real potential as one model for public service provision, with some notable and powerful points of differentiation compared to other models, which underscore both performance improvement and public support and confidence.”

Some interesting food for thought. Enjoy!


Mutuals Information Service

December 7, 2011

The Mutuals Information Service has been set up by the Cabinet Office to offer information and resources to anyone interested in setting up a public service mutual, or who wants to learn more about this area.

The website has information about the key steps towards becoming a mutual, case studies, and perhaps most usefully, information on how to access the Mutuals Support Programme. This free service is designed to help promising mutuals develop by providing the professional expertise and advice they do not have access to and can’t fund themselves. It will focus on the ‘pre-spin out’ phase, where access to finance can be particularly restricted, but will also consider supporting existing spin out public service mutuals.

The process for accessing this support is as follows:

1) The Mutuals Support Programme will take referrals for promising organisations from the Mutuals Information Service Hotline. If you are interested, the number is 0845 5390 543
2) Referrals which meet the criteria (available on the website) will go the Mutuals Support Programme Approvals Board in the Cabinet Office.
3) If approved, Cabinet Office will contract with suppliers for the support needed
4) Information and learning from the support will be shared on this website

The presentations which are attached below give more information on the kinds of support that will be offered by the Cabinet Office. There is also a presentation that was delivered by the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) this highlights some of the views that they have captured from the voluntary sector about public sector reforms.

NCVO Presentation

Cabinet Office Presentation