Managers’ Strategy Meeting Notes – 11/04/19


Updated: 04/10/19


Management Team Strategy Meeting Notes

Present: Keith Whitton (KW), Jane Simpson (JS), Graham Walker (GW), Richard Trotter (RT), Wayne Duff-Godfrey (WDG), Michelle Eaves (ME), Chris Goldsmith (CG)

Below represents a brief summary of the meeting

A discussion was held about ACT’s overall strategy and the Strategy Discussion paper was referred to, in particular “controlled growth”. A discussion was held with regards to KPIs and it was agreed that these should be in relation to what ACT delivers i.e. – Numbers of Service Users, number of support hours delivered, number of volunteer hours offered etc. as opposed to commercial financial targets such as turnover. Anything that will help us measure our public benefit should be recorded. RT – for each service we should consider why are we doing this, is there a wider discussion to be had? Should we be in this market?


DAOS - Looking to optimise what we already do. Perhaps moving into private sector such as Ports, BT. ME to consider what are the constraints and what are the risks? What does this look like over 9 months, then the next 18 months? And finally to 2 years. ME mentioned stronger collaboration with hospitals, improvement in skills in the team and making stronger links with GP surgeries. ME to consider what the measures will be e.g. increase in referrals from hospitals? Consider what is achievable with the existing resources and what resources you would need to achieve more. DAROS – ME looking to deliver the new contract which commenced on 01/04/19 (3 years with potential for 2 year extension). Aim is to perform well to secure the extension (all subject to Public Health funding). ME to look over the next 18 months as above. What will this look like? Advocacy and IV – tender likely to come out in October/November for new contract to start 01/04/20. What is the risk, what is the potential for success? Dependent on how the contract is presented – i.e. if part of the wider Advocacy projects, then ACT too small a player in the market. Before we do tender, we should consider why we are doing this – the service will be delivered anyway so service users will be in the same position whether we tender or not. ME talked about using this as a way in to the private children’s care home market and offering Return to Care services for a fee. ME to sketch this out – what is the potential market/who are the customers etc.


WDG split his services into two distinct groups – those that supply Housing Management with Support (a service to both tenants and landlords) and those which are advice services. Housing Management and Support has increased 6 fold over the last 3 years, with the growth of the Syrian properties and other TTS. WDG felt that the team were just playing catch up and needed to look at resources to manage the properties and support in the most efficient way. A discussion was held with regards to creating a new role within the team to manage the properties, (landlord negotiator to deal with repairs, H & S and other LL negotiations) which would free the housing officers up to concentrate on support rather than housing management. It was agreed there was no need to outsource this, especially with the skills and knowledge being TUPE’d in from NottingHill Genesis. It was agreed that WDG would plan to make this happen and look at re-structuring the team to create this. He would then look to build the skills within the support side to increase their knowledge of dealing with challenging behaviours and those affected by trauma. Advice services – 2 new Sodexo services started on 01/04/19. Goal is to embed these within the prison environment – currently vying for both space and for time with prisoners with other agencies. WDG would aspirationally like to be able to influence delivery and operations within the prison service. When the Sodexo contracts are retendered, ACT need to be in a position to be the “go to” provider of these services to remain in the contracts. As the 21 CRCs reduce to 10, Suffolk and Norfolk will become part of the Eastern region. GW asked is this then the time to think about expansion. There is potential for growth in the wider estate and WDG confirmed that we might be approached to deliver some work in Bures and Warren Hill. In summary – for WDG it is the time to consolidate and get into the “right” organisational place. As with ME: A plan for the first 9 months – what will success look like, what are the measures, what are the constraints and what are the risks? Then 9 – 18 months… Then up to 2 years.


Money Advice – discussion on why, leading to agreement this is a core charitable activity. Recognised that its not perfect, but we have to go where the money flows – e.g. funds from Comic Relief for victims of DA plus monies for Offenders from Sodexo. Currently providing more “action” (such as DROs/ongoing creditors) than “advice”. CG explained his vision of a money advice continuum, with preventative work and advice at one end through to DRO action etc at the other, with a range of interventions along the way. Vision included employment of less experienced staff to deal with the preventative end and to upskill them along the way to develop into full-blown qualified case workers. CG expressed a 2nd view of money advice being there to underpin all ACT’s services. He also spoke of a 3rd option, being a full money advice service aimed at the emerging number of people who needed advice but had nowhere to go. CG spoke of volunteer utilisation and his view on how this could be improved including having MA mentors who worked with service users preparing them to cope with their finances after the money adviser had completed their work with them. Currently money advice volunteer are more desk based doing follow up work. CG thought that could make better use of their time delivering aspects such as We Are Digital. In summary, CG wants to use volunteers differently and more extensively. Could we do more work in Children’s Centres? Can we broaden what we do to incorporate more clients? To deliver more work in the community would require more charitable funding. KW remarked that we could be missing a trick. The new Money and Pension Service had helped us shape our unique model through the What Works funding stream, using outreach and upskilling other professionals to increase capacity. The evaluation was really only half complete and we needed to continue this work to see the real benefits. Looking at schools and colleges – surely we could do more to influence the skills of the 16+ age group? Look at 6th forms and colleges where the curriculum was not so packed. A discussion was held with regards to the private sector – could there be market for the provision of Money Advice to the likes of BT employees? CG to consider all these points, again with the same timescales as above, but include consideration of where resources i.e. funding to provide these services will come from. CG then discussed the AA service, which we have had in Suffolk since 2001 and is core to our volunteering offer. As Norfolk contract is new, CG’s aim is to standardise the two services and embed a quality service in Norfolk as we have in Suffolk. Targeted volunteer recruitment is needed. Both services need to work to NAAN standards and we need to improve our training package to get NAAN accreditation. Issues with YMCA Trinity in Cambridge with Kings Lynn crossover also need to be ironed out. We could look at geographical spread if contracts become available, but if not, then we should aim to embed a quality service so we can get the 2 year extension at the end of the 3 years (subject to NCC commitment to offering the extension). With regards to SEND Mediation, a service held since 2016 – CG looking to broaden the mediation offer. Mentioned Family mediation, potential housing. KW confirmed that our previous mediation service provided neighbourhood dispute mediation also. We should have capitalised on the previous service, but those in post at the time were not able to achieve growth. JS noted that the police had recently referred a family case to ACT and paid for the service. They were pleased with the outcome and had mentioned that they had more cases which could potentially come out way. Having a commercial mediation service again was a real potential. With the high profile of the reduction of homelessness, there should be a market to prevent evictions? In addition, could we look to push the service (SEND and other types) into Norfolk. CG to consider timeframes/risks/constraints/resources for his proposals.


As time was running out, it was agreed that the best offer for business support would be to see the strategies developed on the operational side and then write our own strategies to support them. On a standalone basis, CP noted that we wanted to expand the room rental offer.