Shovels, fire fighting and forward planning!

I’ll come onto the shovels in a minute. Fire fighting always takes our time; we need to deal with what is urgent and important and then we find time to plan. In my experience something else always comes along before I quite sit down to the plan. Sometimes we have to set aside the immediate and look at what is coming up on the horizon and plan for it.

Nic and I are developing Inspiring Partnerships to support organisations and businesses to work together to do that planning but also to be stronger to face and take on the day to day activities.

The work that I undertook with Jen Wingate in 2011 for the University of Northampton was around understanding social value and how that can be measured. It takes time to attend a training session and then use the new skills and knowledge to review the data you hold and think how it can be better presented and utilised. Not all organisations will complete a formal Social Return on Investment process after the course but all will gain from the greater understanding of their projects and organisations. Value will come from discussions about how to use that new understanding in procurement and commissioning exercises and also in local publicity. We need to take time out to review and plan for the future and improvements are made this way. Inspiring Partnerships are currently developing courses to run on this topic again so do let us know if you are interested – discounts offered to the early birds of 2013!

The Government’s announcement last week on Regional Growth Fund emphasised the need for planning to maximise opportunity. The Round 4 announcement by Nick Clegg in Yorkshire set out how businesses and organisations can submit bids of no less than £1M by the middle of March. The Government website said that projects had to be “shovel ready” as money needs to be spent by 2016. The successful bidders will be those ready to go long before the announcement and those with skilled bid writers alongside the other professional expertise.

Our expertise is in working with people to think strategically about activities, project and programmes of activity, consider the future together and plan for it as a stronger team than before. We are juggling children, business and pretty stressful voluntary commitments and know that it will never be perfect but if we enjoy the process of getting there, we will probably achieve more as a team in the future. Now where is that shovel?