From block grant to spot purchasing

I went to an excellent seminar the other day, in which Bristol City Council’s health and social care commissioning team explained key changes in how they are going to fund various organisations around the city. But while the changes make sense financially and in terms of service user choice, they could spell problems for the provider organisations concerned. Continue reading

Social Impact Bonds: What’s the deal?

They are being touted in some quarters as the solution to the funding crisis in public services. A way of bringing private sector investment to address social issues. Perhaps, even, as the successor to the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). But what are social impact bonds and how do they work? Continue reading

Time to be open about costs

Organisations in the not-for-profit sector, just like their private sector counterparts, require time, effort and resources if they are to be managed effectively. But there is increasing criticism from some quarters of the level of management and administration costs that these organisations incur. Charities and other not-for-profits need to be more confident in explaining their costs and in making the case for good management. Continue reading

The era of best practice is over

It’s bad news for finance directors. When it comes to improving the finance function, there is no silver bullet. There is no super new technical wizardry or consultancy sleight of hand that will transform things overnight. And there is most definitely no such thing as best practice, no one-size-fits-all approach that will make your finance troubles go away. Continue reading

What is ‘lean thinking’?

I’ve spent much of the last few weeks working on process improvement, productivity and efficiency savings. One of the topics that has come up time and time again is ‘lean thinking’. However, it is often held up as a panacea for all kinds of ills, with little in the way of explanation or justification. So here, in a nutshell, is my beginners guide. Continue reading