Tackle new and different ways of working at WCVA's summer conference

Engage Cover engTuesday 9 July 2013

Liberty Stadium, Swansea

The third sector is being encouraged more than ever to work in partnership: to bid jointly for funding, to develop collaborative approaches to service delivery, to operate regionally and nationally, and to reduce duplication and achieve efficiency savings.  

WCVA's summer conference will explore new and different ways of working: from informal networking through joint delivery of services to full merger; within the third sector and with the public sector.

Offering keynote speeches, workshops and discussion sessions, the conference will explore the technical and relational aspects of collaborative working, discuss the benefits and obstacles of joint working; and help you make informed decisions about whether and how to work collaboratively.  

It will be a day to rethink accepted ways of working and explore how the third sector can work together to meet the challenges ahead.

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9:00       Registration, coffee and exhibitions

Breakfast networking (booking essential)

10:00     Welcome from Chair and opening remarks

10:05     Partnership working for public service delivery

Professor Tony Bovaird, Professor of Public Management and Policy, University of Birmingham

10:25     Shared voice

Fran Targett, Citizens Advice Cymru and John Puzey, Shelter Cymru

10:45     Morning coffee

11:15     Breakout sessions AM

12:30     Lunch

13:30     Breakout sessions PM

14:45     Afternoon tea

15:15     Integrated working across the sectors

Professor Marcus Longley, Professor of Applied Health Policy and Director of WIHSC

15:40     Retreat, restructure or redefine? The next steps for the third sector in Wales

Graham Benfield OBE, Chief Executive, WCVA

16:00     Close

Breakfast networking

BrecwastThis optional networking session is a great opportunity to meet other delegates, promote your organisation, get tips and hints on networking and put them into practice.

This is a chance to explore opportunities for collaboration in an informal, facilitated session over breakfast.

Led by Participation Cymru


Breakout sessions - morning

1.   Working together, growing together - Consortium development

Working in a consortium can be a useful vehicle for organisations to access bigger public service contracts, increase their buying power, share back office costs, improve their marketing and become more sustainable. But working with others on a formal basis can sometimes be a complex and time-consuming business. 

This workshop will provide an overview of consortium development, from the Wales Co-operative Centre's Consortium Development Team. It will cover the key considerations for developing consortia, explore a range of different consortia models, and provide top tips for establishing and managing a successful consortium.

Rhian Edwards & Sarah Owens, Business Succession and Consortia, Wales Co-operative Centre

2.   Sharing back office services

For organisations seeking to streamline their activities and realise efficiency savings, one option is to consider sharing their back office functions in order to reduce duplication. Such functions might include payroll or purchasing, ICT or telephony services, or human resources. This workshop will provide a practical overview of the key issues third sector organisations need to consider when exploring whether and how to share their internal services. 

Connect Assist is a social enterprise established in 2006 that connects charities and third sector organisations with their service users. It has considerable experience of working in partnership with several charities helping them to streamline or integrate their services and work in collaboration.

Patrick Nash, Connect Assist

3.   The story of a successful merger 

Merger is a subject that often generates heightened emotions and anxiety. Merging can be a complex and challenging process, but for organisations that share common aims, there are considerable benefits to be achieved.

Rhian Bowen Davies will discuss the process she went through in the establishment of Calan Domestic Violence Services: a merger between Lliw Valley Women's Aid and Neath Women's Aid. She will share her experiences of seeing a merger through to completion; discuss the reasons for deciding to merge; and explore some of the difficulties that arose during the process and how they were overcome.

Rhian Bowen Davies, Chief Executive, Calan Domestic Violence Services

4.   The Welsh offices of UK charities

Third sector organisations that work across England and Wales face a number of political and operational challenges: engaging with different networks and structures; negotiating the devolved and non-devolved policy areas; and understanding the cultural and language considerations. Leaders in the Welsh third sector also often have to bear responsibility for all the internal functions of their offices.

This discussion session will consider how the relationship between the Welsh office and the 'head' office of UK organisations can be effective and productive. It will explore good practice principles for working in group structures; how the devolved arrangement can be an opportunity for charities working across England and Wales; and how senior staff in the Welsh offices might usefully link together for mutual benefit.

Stephen Brooks, Director, Electoral Reform Society Wales

5.   A tale of two sectors: Effective relationships between local authorities and the third sector

The relationship between the third sector and statutory bodies in Wales has fluctuated over the years from highly constructive to largely ineffective.

Last year the Welsh Government commissioned Practical Wisdom R2Z and Wavehill Ltd to undertake research to help inform its decision on whether to introduce legislation placing a statutory requirement on Welsh local authorities to establish compacts with the third sector in their areas.The Case for Statutory Compacts between Welsh Local Authorities and the Third Sector, published in March 2013, gave a summary of the issues and made recommendations which will inform the Welsh Government's consultation.

In this workshop, Practical Wisdom R2Z will discuss the key ingredients of a successful relationship between the third sector and public sector at a local level. Based on the research, the workshop will highlight good practice examples from across Wales and beyond, explore the benefits and limitations of written agreements between the sectors, and consider the case for statutory compacts in Wales.

Meta Zimmeck & Colin Rochester, Practical Wisdom R2Z

Breakout sessions - afternoon

6.    Collaboration in Action - a six-partner collaboration for Joseph Rowntree Foundation

In early 2012 a group of six voluntary sector organisations decided to put a proposal together in response to a Joseph Rowntree Foundation invitation to tender for research on 'Ethnicity and Poverty in Wales'.  The partnership used the WCVA draft memorandum of understanding to guide our working relationships.  This discussion session will give colleagues an opportunity to understand how we worked together and to see how this might be a model they could adopt or adapt for their own purposes.

Ian Bottrill, Development Director, CaST Cymru and Derith Powell, Chief Executive, Community Development Cymru

7.    Charity and business - a new relationship?

The potential for achieving mutually beneficial relationships between the business and third sectors is considerable. The private sector can support charities and voluntary organisations with business development, and the third sector can support businesses deliver social responsibility. But although there are numerous examples of engagement between the sectors, they tend to be short-lived and piecemeal.

This discussion session will consider the opportunities for more effective, structured partnerships between the third sector and the business sector. It will be a chance to debate how to establish longer-term, more formal relationships between the sectors in Wales, that build on the distinct characteristics and contributions of both.

Simon Harris, Wales Director, Business in the Community

8.    Replicating good ideas

Do you have a good idea that could work elsewhere? This workshop will explore how ideas can be developed, shared and replicated as a means of growing your organisation.

Craig Carey, Head of Operations at Social Enterprise UK, will give an overview of the options for replicating successful business models based on the learning from 3 national replication programmes, including licensing or franchising, taking delegates through the practical steps for putting replication into action. 

Kelly Davies, founder and Managing Director of Vi-Ability, will share experience of developing her social enterprise from its origins in North Wales to expand into different areas.

Kelly Davies, Vi-Ability & Craig Carey, Social Enterprise UK

9.    Community and service user-led collaboration

Drawing on his experience of working in Wales and England, Patrick Harkness will share learning about the vital ingredients needed for successful inter-agency working and collaboration with service users and frontline staff. Focusing on the merger of two housing providers, the workshop will discuss the lessons learned about outreach, communication, negotiation, alignment, recruitment, induction and the development of an evidenced based neighbourhood investment strategy, with residents in the lead. 

Patrick Harkness, Consult Capital

10. Tendering with partners

For organisations operating on their own, tendering for public service contracts can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. But for organisations bidding together, there are added complications. How do you develop a credible and coherent tender when working across organisational boundaries, within short timescales?

This workshop will address the key considerations when tendering with partners. It will offer step by step guidance through the tendering process, from identifying partners, through exploring structures for consortia and developing the tender, to contract award.

Gareth Coles, Public Service Delivery Officer, WCVA