Getting our house in order - building specification

What emerged from the business planning prioritising was the need to give urgent and important attention to processes of community and partnership capacity building. The pictures capture the group’s thinking on 4 key areas:

·         Community engagement

·         Mapping need

·         Youth participation

·         Partnership working

·         Wraparound support


Getting our house in order - built in not bolted on

As there are a number of models to take on leading sustainable youth provision, what might be some of the organisational change issues to help our organisation engage effectively in this new policy and commissioning environment?


Using a simple version of Peters and Waterman’s 7 S model of organisational change, small groups identified issues across aspects of the organisation:

·         Shared values

·         Style of leadership

·         Strategy

·         Staff

·         Skills

·         Structures

·         Systems

SWOT 4 organisation options

So what are the different organisational models of sustainable community based youth provision?


The group considered the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of 4 options:

·         Current local authority lead and small tenders to the Voluntary and Community Sector

·         Housing association

·         Groundwork or other voluntary sector organisation

·         Community or youth mutual


A couple of photos of the group in action followed by the findings.

Business plan building blocks

What does intelligent commissioning look like? In some areas, cuts are being met by a salami slicing approach with loads of disjointed small scale lots mitigating against collaborative partnership and community working.


Fergus Beesley, Executive Director Groundwork Sheffield, shared a more intelligent model developing in Coventry. 


The Here 2 Help consortium, owned and run by local voluntary organisations, was launched on 21st February at an event attended by over 60 people. Facilitated by members of the founding group of 12 local charities, the event gave a detailed presentation on the aims and workings of the consortium as detailed in the membership prospectus.


The consortium will provide a new way for local voluntary organisations to work with the Council and other statutory agencies to deliver cost-effective services for the people of Coventry. The consortium will enable smaller local voluntary organisations to work collaboratively and tender together to compete more effectively against larger, national commercial organisations, thus helping to keep a strong local provider base in the city, close to Coventry's communities. The consortium has been set up by a founding group of 12 local charities, chaired by Voluntary Action Coventry, and forms part of wider discussions with senior officers of the Council since early 2010.

Take a stand

The group took a stand on 4 tough statements from totally agree through to totally disagree and debated notions of rights, the position and status of young people, our views and approaches to young people and how to help change happen.


The 4 statements were:

1. Young people have equal rights as residents

2. Young people are the main causes of nuisance in their neighbourhoods.

3. We are failing young people in their neighbourhoods and communities.

4. We will make little progress without the participation of young people in the decisions that affect them where they live.


The conversation helped us:

·         Explore vision and values behind community based youth work responses.

·         Debate core ideas and principles of children and young people as residents.

·         Gain agreement about core vision and values underpinning neighbourhood responses to young people.


The picture is of the group’s stance on the last statement.