Bright Idea Bulb


a shared passion for making a difference


Ian mentored me at a crucial stage of development of my Social Enterprise Talk for Health. He had a quite extraordinary ability to distil complicated problems onto one page, in a simple series of images, which made it easy for me to see the way forward. Ian was always calm, intelligent, wise and supportive. Since my year of mentoring with him I have had two large and successful contracts and my Social Enterprise is thriving. Thank-you Ian!

Nicky Forsythe, Social Entrepreneur

Elliot's ability to understand both the letter and spirit of good governance along with the detailed priorities of the charity commission and how to address their concerns is in my view second to none. His advise was absolutely invaluable in helping us adopt the correct structure and secure our registered charity status. I have no hesitation in recommending him for any governance challenges, no matter their complexity.

Rend Platings, CEO at Sugarwise

Rachel has worked with the Rural Action Derbyshire team on a number of projects. She brings energy, clarity and inspiration to everything she does. She has a talent for bringing out the best in people and has helped our staff to develop skills in enterprise development, strategic development and bid writing. Her coaching input to our team helped them to secure a significant funding bid in a very competitive environment. I can’t recommend her enough!

Beverley Parker, CEO at Rural Action Derbyshire

Sue has been working with the BSN since 2014, initially identifying some serious risks and reworking our governance accordingly. We really valued her work on this and didn’t want to lose her advice, so asked her to remain involved. Since then she has renegotiated our journal contract on substantially better terms, led a strategic review, and taken a lead on our COVID-19 response, in addition to everyday advice and support. Sue’s work for the BSN has moved us on to another level and hugely increased what we are able to do in support of neuroendocrinology. She is a great asset to the BSN. The depth and breadth of Sue’s experience of managing learned societies has been invaluable.

Dr Giles Yeo, President, British Society for Neuroendocrinology


Charity Strategy


Client Y's Council appointed us to carry out a governance review of the society as a matter of good practice as none had been carried out for many years. They didn't feel they had any specific problems although the new CEO had identified that their decision process seemed cumbersome and also seemed to make it too easy for strong characters to bypass the correct process. The review looked at many aspects of the society, but a major one was the complexity of their structure for a relatively small society. We were able to simplify this and, as a result, to simplify the decision process and remove the loophole, as well as dramatically improving the level of engagement by the trustees. A key aspect of the process was providing a range of real-life examples from other societies to illustrate the various options presented.

"It's so obvious. I don't know how we couldn't see it before."

Charity Governance


An existing charity client who were unhappy with their current auditors asked us to assist them with the process of putting their audit out to tender both for reasons of price and service. We were asked to create a long list of potential advisers and to put together an Invitation to Tender (ITT). A list of 8 auditors was selected and the ITT sent out. 6 responded and we were asked to give our views on who should be shortlisted. Our suggestions were agreed by the CEO and Treasurer and as a result were asked to draft questions and sit in on the interview panel. 3 firms were interviewed and the firm selected were not the cheapest but gave the best value for money. The result was in excess of a 50% saving in professional fees year on year, a better service and a happy client.

Charity Change & Improvement


A large member owned society was looking to improve efficiency without sacrificing customer service or employee experience.We were appointed to lead the creation of a centre of excellence covering operational change & improvement across the large, multi site function.
The remit of the engagement covered analysis, solution design and delivery against current hotspots together with the organisational design, professional education and working processes for the future. Using a blend of tools and methodologies, the emerging team that we led, delivered in year multi million £ benefits, transformed the change initiation process and root cause analysis approach, led the deployment of process automation and set up an externally recognised skills  development scheme. The resulting Process Excellence function has been described as 'a real asset to the organisation, completely changing how it thinks about process'

Charity Funding


A rural based charity needed support with applications for funding, as their primary bid writer had retired mid-way through a proposal.Rather than write the Stage 2 proposal, the charity preferred a coaching approach, upskilling the two remaining members of staff in the team.
Over a 2 month period, we supported the 2 members of staff to build on the Stage 1 proposal and make sure the Stage 2 final application represented what they wanted the project to achieve and met the criteria of the funder.
We divided the funding application into manageable chunks of work, as the 2 members of staff still needed to deliver on their day to day activities. We met with them to ensure they understood what their vision of the project was, confirm any changes since Stage 1, clear linkages to the funders criteria, and we divided the application content between them.  
During meetings they would send us drafts of their work for edit/critique, and we also agreed a timetable in advance to help manage day jobs and this application.  We particularly concentrated on evidence of need and the financial breakdown, ensuring we included all relevant project spend that supported the outcomes we had agreed to deliver. We developed a clear proposal, and our last action was to edit for grammar and spelling, as well as word count, but demonstrating our methodology for this to the team, so they could continue to apply the learning moving forward.
The application was submitted on time and was successful.  The charity secured much needed funding to continue the essential service delivery and two members of staff were more confident in their approaches to writing funding applications for the future.

Charity training


We were asked to carry out some training for the trustees and senior leadership team for a large local charity on the subject of Risk. The idea was that although they had a well-developed Risk Register there was a concern that it was seen as too much the province of the executive team and that the trustees were not as fully engaged as they might be.
We tailored a half day course for a mixed group of trustees and executives which commenced with some generic risk training and then we split into mixed groups without access to the Risk Register to brainstorm the major risks that each group thought were the issues. Having then fed back to everyone the findings (and in the process identified some new risks the Register had not identified) we then went back into the groups where they reviewed a redacted version of the Register which showed only the gross risks to see how they thought they might mitigate what they saw as the 5 major risks
Again, there were some unexpected surprises and the net result is that a mixed team of trustees and executives have revisited and not only filled in some gaps but have identified new areas of mitigation.
“We thought we were on top of this but its amazing what an independent facilitator can stimulate in the way of a new slant on things”



phone: 01164 782871

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