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Support for BAME organisations in Manchester

Date: 24 Mar 2011

Eight Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) organisations from across Greater Manchester today graduated from an innovative pilot scheme aimed at supporting community-based organisations to bid for and win more outcome-funded contracts.

The unique six-month Provider Readiness Programme (PRP) was developed by five organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors in order to help broaden the range of contract-ready suppliers who are available to provide services, such as counselling, health and social care, housing advice and welfare-to-work services within their local communities. They included: Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO); Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations (CEMVO); MISPA, a Social Enterprise run by Manchester Metropolitan University; Salford City Council; and Serco Welfare to Work.

These organisations worked together to deliver the PRP free-of-change, which included bespoke training modules and business-to-business mentoring. All five partners provided business development expertise, as well as the time of their Senior Management Teams and the use of their premises for meetings and mentoring.

A graduation ceremony was held at Serco's offices in Salford Quays to recognise the achievements of the following eight organisations who took part in the programme:

. Asian Development Association Bury (ADAB);
. Creative Hands Foundation;
. Hibbert Community Regeneration Centre;
. Jcom Employment Agency;
. Manchester Active Voices Youth Empowerment Programme;
. Pakistani Resource Centre
. Salford Community Relations Project; and
. Wai Yin Chinese Women Society.

Speaking at the event, Bernard Clarke, Director of MISPA, said:

"It is fantastic to see such a pioneering partnership which is genuinely aligning agendas. This is an excellent example of how flexible skills and learning can be delivered to organisations to enable them to success."

The programme, which launched in October 2010, involved five half-day sessions covering a diverse range of topics, such as: responding to Local Authority commissions; performance improvement in a learning organisation; creating a change vision for your team; and addressing the specific challenges for BAME organisations.

However, to bring about real change, the PRP partners were also provided with individually tailored one-to-one organisational mentoring. The aim of this was to enable the participating organisations to embed the learning from the workshops into their wider organisation and ensure they are capable of delivering excellence at every level. 

Wai Yin Chinese Women Society is now more confident that they can deliver the high performance needed to achieve financial results. Jenny Tsang, their Finance Manager, stated:

"It has been really valuable to have the perspectives of a Local Authority, a University, a FTSE 100 company and two leading third sector bodies all delivering one programme. It's given us a unique challenge that we are now meeting".

Indeed, as a result of their involvement in the PRP, Wai Yin Chinese Women Society has recently joined consortium 'Manchester First', a leading Third Sector Consortium in Greater Manchester who already deliver health and social care contracts, to deliver the Government's new outcome-funded Work Programme contract, which will support long-term unemployed people into sustainable employment.

Gurbux Singh, Serco Welfare to Work's Contract Director, speaking at the graduation event, commented:

"Serco is extremely proud to have been involved in such as worthwhile initiative which will enable more third sector BAME organisations to bid for more opportunities in their local community. What has really impressed me is the desire among these organisations to change and innovate, without losing or compromising their core values".

All five partners involved in the PRP will continue to deliver ongoing support to the organisations that they have mentored. MISPA are producing a written evaluation to ensure continuous improvement for all future programmes. The intention is now replicate this programme with local voluntary and community sector mental health providers in the region.


For further information and/or photographs from the event, please contact:

Deborah John at Serco on T: 07738 896 649 or E: Deborah.John@serco.com


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