Commercial masterclasses, February-May 2015
The events received 100% rating ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ on the overall training session and also on presentation and facilitation (based on 148 evaluations).
90% of the delegates thought that the training had helped them:
- know more about the funding, policy and commissioning context
- better understand commercial risks and opportunities
- feel more confident to engage in public service delivery markets
- better understand business processes and implications for contracting with the private sector
- know more about other sectors’ drivers, motivations and culture.
Commissioning masterclass (health & social care), March-April 2015
The sessions achieved 96% ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for the overall training session , 93% for the relevance of the training to their role, 96% for presentation and facilitation, and 95% for the administration.
90% thought that the training had helped them:
- know more about the funding, policy and commissioning context in health, prevention, wellbeing and care services
- be more aware of what is required to establish a coherent and ‘sellable’ service delivery offer
- feel more able to create/ respond to health opportunities and contract with the private sector, where appropriate.
Adam Redfern is the Senior Manager at SESKU Academy, based at the Burntwood Community Centre in South Kirkby, West Yorkshire. SESKU Academy provides activities to improve young people’s personal development, reduce isolation and exclusion and strengthen social attributes of the community.
Adam attended the 2 day Commercial Masterclass on 17 and 18 March 2015 in Wakefield. At the end of the day he commented that:
“The course was great. Really informative and I feel more confident approaching commissioners in the future”
In the last year, SESKU Academy has heavily invested in their building, including creating a games room, classroom, touchscreen TVs and outdoor laser quest.
The Commercial Masterclass inspired Adam to think about approaching some local commissioners and negotiating contracts for use of the newly refurbished building. Just before Easter, he contacted Wakefield Family Services and mentioned SESKU’s space, geared to young people.
“The course got me to reflect on things as a senior manager. We thought we had to deliver everything to make income. But I’ve since come to the conclusion that if we put our brains into making the centre a fantastic place that people want to come to, it’s also got a commercial value.”
Wakefield Family Services put Adam in touch with the pupil referral unit and he went into negotiations with them about using the building, including a trial period. Three months after the Masterclass, SESKU now have a contract with the pupil referral unit for around £16,000 per term. Two of SESKU’s youth workers and accredited trainers are also working alongside the teachers from the pupil referral unit.
“It’s been such a success that the pupil referral unit now want to negotiate for a full year’s contract.”
This new contract has given SESKU Academy sustainability. The arrangement works well because it makes use of the building but the timings don’t interfere with SESKU’s other activities.
“We’ve used the facilities to sustain the services.”
Adam believes that the key was in making the approach to the commissioner, instead of waiting for an opportunity or service to be advertised.
“Once you wait for a specific thing to be put out there, someone else often has an idea already and will get in with that. It’s about preparedness meeting opportunity. If you can estimate and predict what the government and funders are prioritising, then your actions will align yourself with the opportunities. This is the key to sustainability”.
Adam feels that the first section of the Commercial Masterclass gave him the prompt and the confidence to make an approach to a commissioner. Adam had already laid the groundwork before the Masterclass in terms of developing the building, facilities and staff, and therefore was ready for an opportunity.
The idea is “snowballing” and Adam has already had interest from another organisation working with vulnerable children to use the space. He reflects that in future he needs to ensure all of the management costs are fully built into any contracts. But this initial arrangement has got staff and trustees and SESKU thinking more strategically about the commercial value of things.
“The Masterclass helped me not to be scared to investigate income opportunities. For us, it’s obviously not just about making income; it’s about making a difference. But this helps us to make a difference. I know that the centre won’t just close down in a few years now if we couldn’t sustain the services. Everything we’ve set up will continue.”