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Solihull’s VCSE is Ready for Success

R4SDirectoryVCSE organisations working in Solihull are celebrating their achievements on Development in Social Enterprise’s Ready for Success project. The project followed our successful Community Enterprise for Success programmes of support for local VCSE organisations and has been funded by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s transformation directorate.

The Ready for Success project is part of “Solihull Together for Better Lives” which aims to transform social care and health services to increase choice, control and independence by ensuring health and social care services meet current and future needs. 23 organisations took part in the bespoke programme of support designed to ensure organisations were prepared for future commissioning and procurement of services (tender ready).

In March 2016 organisations attended and awards ceremony to recognise their achievements and saw the formal launch of the Health and Wellbeing Networking Directory. Karen Murphy, Assistant Director, Public Health and Commissioning thanked the group for engaging with the six month business development programme. Karen continued “We know that the process of commissioning and procurement can cause anxiety for smaller local organisations, and not be a pleasant experience if ill prepared. Procurement practices have traditionally tended to favour big organisations and we hope programmes like this will go some way towards levelling the playing field. We are committed to investing in our local providers and this piece of work has flagged up learning for us too, things we can do better. Above all, we see you as our partners and thank you for the work you do.”

David Lane, Chief Executive at Development in Social Enterprise said: “Since last October we have worked closely with organisations delivering a wide range of services including advice and guidance, advocacy, mental health, recovery support, and therapeutic indoor and outdoor activities. There was a genuine desire amongst the group to identify and address development areas, explore business opportunities and build relationships with one another for the benefit of service users.”


“I don’t think we should fear our competitors, we should just know who they are”

Dave Training 2

CEO of Development in Social Enterprise, Dave Lane, delivered a free Social Value Care Act workshop on Thursday to care providers in Solihull.

Attendance from organisations including Accord came along to learn about updates to the Care Act, where to find funding, the tendering process, creating added social value and marketing and diversification – knowing your market and identifying gaps in the market to deliver more effective services.

Key features of the session included a group exercise, where attendees were asked to think about what their added social value as an organisation is.

Various responses from attendees including “we pay the employer the national living wage and no less”, “we always ensure we employ locally sourced staff”, “schemes including dress down Friday and donating to local food banks every week” and “always seeking out local suppliers who use locally sourced goods, to provide for our events, including local social enterprises”

Dave also ran through the various types of tender exercises and the process. He said that most tendering is done online through procurement websites called ‘e-tenders’. There are several stages in the tender process, starting from the Expression of Interest (EOI), Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), Invitation to Tender (ITT) and Assessment against the criteria.

It is also likely that the applicant will be required to attend a further clarification interview or presentation. In addition, there could be a 10 day cooling off period in case someone challenges decisions, further contract negotiations and monitoring and performance management before the tender is complete.

A useful Tender portal noted in the session was CSW Jets – specifically for those operating in the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire areas.

For more information about how to apply for Tenders on the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s website click here

Dave Training

Diversification and Marketing

80-20 rule – 80% of business comes from 20% of clients.

Important messages from this part of the session included knowing how your organisation can generate other income and how to market to new customers.

“A mixed market does not necessarily mean your organisation needs to deliver everything, there may be opportunities with partners, who can help to provide and deliver an extra service that may have been impossible on your own”.

“I don’t think we should fear our competitors, we should just know who they are” Dave Lane, CEO DISE

The session was also being filmed by Reel Eyes Films – Simon is currently collating photographs and video shots for a short film for DISE.

You can check what Reel Eyes are up to on their Twitter page.

Photographs above- courtesy of Reel Eyes Films (19/02/2015)