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Wellingborough, England, NN29 7EH
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+44 7802 957938

Consultancy services for the charity and not for profit sector.  Strategy Development, fundraising, governance, collaborations and partnerships.


Governance review

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 Healthwatch Essex since 2015; helping enhance its governance, develop new strategies and grow its trading subsidiary (HWE Insights Limited).

HWE logo

Healthwatch Essex was set up in 2013 to be the charitable vehicle for delivery of statutory Healthwatch services in Essex. It is an innovative and forward thinking charity fully committed to providing an independent voice for the people of Essex on health and care services. This case study outlines the review we undertook into Healthwatch Essex's governance arrangements and our subsequent work to support their trading subsidiary, HWE Insights Limited.

Almond Tree Strategic Consulting worked with Healthwatch Essex in guiding us through a potentially difficult governance review. I’m pleased to say that Julian was an exemplary consultant throughout this work. He brings a remarkable depth and breadth of knowledge and a close attention to detail, but always provided his advice, guidance and written outputs in a succinct and accessible manner. He worked to time and to budget in delivering the review, and was always willing to ‘go the extra mile’ when necessary. I couldn’t recommend Almond Tree more highly.
— Tom Nutt, former CEO, Healthwatch Essex

governance review

In 2015, Healthwatch Essex decided it needed to streamline its cumbersome 3-tiered governance arrangements to make governance more effective and efficient and to ensure stakeholders and residents in Essex continued to have a strong voice in what the charity does. In addition, Healthwatch Essex wanted to ensure that it could take on further research and consultation work, beyond its statutory Healthwatch role, without compromising its independence and reputation amongst stakeholders.

The governance structure, at the time, consisted of a Board of Trustees, a Strategic Body and various classes of membership, each with differing but overlapping powers and roles.

We embarked on a multi-pronged review including a desktop review of documentation, a survey of Trustees and members of the Strategic Body and telephone interviews with key stakeholders (including Essex County Council whose consent would be required for any proposed changes).

We recommended a more conventional flat structure with a Board of Trustees (who would also be the Members of the company), rights for residents of Essex to make representations at the public meetings of the Board (the law requires most Healthwatch meetings to be held in public) and a separate Strategic Advisory Group to enable stakeholders to input to the charity's agenda. So that Healthwatch Essex could diversify and grow its income and activities without compromising its statutory roles, we recommended establishing a trading subsidiary to undertake all non-statutory activities, thus giving a clear separation between the statutory and other work.

The proposals were approved by the Board and Essex County Council and adopted at a General Meeting of the Charity in 2016. We helped to establish the trading subsidiary (HWE Insights Limited), with a board that includes Directors who are independent of the parent charity. We also prepared a range of new policy documents and procedures to tighten up various aspects of the governance of both the charity and the trading subsidiary.

strategic planning

We were subsequently engaged by Healthwatch Essex and HWE Insights to develop a strategy for HWE Insights and feed into the strategy for Healthwatch Essex. Our Director, Julian Lomas, was also invited to be a Director of HWE Insights (and continues in that role), to advise on governance, income generation and strategic planning.

Since then, HWE Insights has grown its activities significantly, with annual income now into six figures, and is making a modest contribution to the running costs of the parent charity. There are exciting plans for further growth and diversification over the next few years. We are delighted to be helping Healthwatch Essex and HWE Insights grow the impact of their work for the benefit of people in Essex.

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