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Wellingborough, England, NN29 7EH
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Consultancy services for the charity and not for profit sector.  Strategy Development, fundraising, governance, collaborations and partnerships.

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Fundraising & Project Management

Almond Tree Strategic Consulting has supported Adviza Partnership to develop their funding strategy, win major contracts and project manage their implementation as well as supporting their governance.

We have supported Adviza Partnership for over a decade; helping them develop strategies and plans, win contracts and grants, manage large projects and maintain effective and efficient governance.

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Adviza is a medium-sized careers education, information, advice and guidance charity with really strong values, delivering outstanding results for young people and adults who may otherwise struggle to find work or learning opportunities. This case study outlines how we helped Adviza decide to bid for, win and implement National Careers Strategy regional contracts.

I choose to use Julian over other consultants because I know that his work is extremely thorough and well thought out.  He always meets deadlines and few revisions are required.  He uses his network well to enhance the quality of his consultancy and he is able to source specialist advice when it is required.  Above all else Julian works with care and concern for his clients and their projects, the impact of this is hard to measure but changes what he does from good to outstanding.
— Katharine Horler, Chief Executive, Adviza Partnership

Deciding the strategy

In late 2012, faced with severe cuts in local and national government funding for youth sector services, Adviza decided to diversify into providing services for adults.  After amending their governing document (with our support) to include objects that would allow them to support adults, the then Skills Funding Agency announced in 2013 the re-procurement of the National Careers Service (NCS) regional contracts.  As a successful NCS subcontractor, Adviza was naturally interested in extending their role in NCS to become a regional prime contractor; but would taking on this role across a wider geography be the right thing to do?

We helped Adviza undertake a detailed analysis of the options, including the financial viability of the payment by results NCS contracts and the strategic value of taking on a leadership role in careers services across a larger geographical area (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire).  Ultimately, a finely balanced decision was made to go ahead and bid for the contract, particularly given the strategic benefits of growing geographical reach and extending service delivery to many more adults.

Winning the bid

During an extensive and rigorous procurement process, we helped Adviza write their bid and participated in their presentation and interview with the Skills Funding Agency.  The result was that Adviza won the contract, worth around £3.5m a year.

Project management

Our role then shifted to project management of implementation of the new contract during the 6 months prior to the start date of 1 October 2014.  This involved:

  • developing a detailed project plan across multiple work-streams including legal, financial, HR, subcontracting, service delivery, premises, IT and stakeholder engagement;
  • coordinating activity across work streams and with subcontractors and suppliers;
  • chasing progress to ensure work both started and finished on time and within budget;
  • being the principal implementation contact for the Skills Funding Agency and ensuring that all reports to them were delivered to a high quality and in a timely way;
  • ensuring effective project governance including compiling progress reports, securing authorisation for changes and maintaining risk and issue logs; and
  • leading on a number of activities within the IT, legal and subcontracting work-streams.

The result was that the contract went live as planned on 1 October 2014.

the outcome

After significant early challenges in delivery of the service within the NCS payment by results framework, Adviza became one of the top performing NCS prime contractors.  In 2018, Adviza won the bid for the newly configured South West and Oxfordshire NCS contract (with our support both for bid writing and implementation of that contract).  The result is that Adviza has further extended the geographical reach and scope of its services for adults and enhanced its strategic role in the NCS.  We are delighted to have had a role to play in this success story and to continue to support Adviza.

If you would like to talk to us further about the support we could offer your charity or social enterprise, please contact us at julian@almondtreeconsulting.co.uk for a free initial telephone consultation.