Keeping it in the family

The rationale for outsourcing services has long been an article of faith across the public sector. Lower costs, greater expertise, increased economies of scale. Or so says the theory, at least. And it is a rare local authority – or NHS trust, university or other publicly-funded body – that hasn’t contracted out at least some of its activities.

But what once seemed such a rock-solid argument appears now to be built on less-than-stable foundations. Continue reading

Universities encouraged to make financial information more visible to students

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is asking universities and colleges in England to present information about their income and expenditure in a way that is transparent and accessible to students and to the general public. This draws on research undertaken for HEFCE by Sockmonkey Consulting and the National Union of Students (NUS). Continue reading

Desirability, feasibility and capability

Like much of the public and not-for-profit sectors, several of my clients are currently faced with the difficult choice of which worthy projects and activities are to benefit from their financial support. And as the amount of money available goes down, the decisions get harder. In such cases, it’s vital to have a robust and defensible way of determining which ideas we support and which we have, regrettably, to let slide. Continue reading

Clubs and societies need good management, too

In addition to being a consultant, I’m also a regular human being. So when I’m not working, I like to spend time on my various hobbies and sporting activities. This includes being a member of several clubs and societies. But even at evenings and weekends, I can’t stop being a consultant, so am constantly on the lookout for ways to make these groups run more smoothly. And over the past few weeks, I’ve come across several issues that are common to many small organisations. Continue reading