Oiling the Wheels of Partnership by Judith Denyer
At Prospects we have various accreditations for the way we work in partnership with subcontractors, but sometimes it is a contract that brings us closer and helps us find better and innovative ways of working together.
In London we are working on a number of European Social Fund (ESF) funded contracts which, along with funding innovative approaches making a very real difference to young people, bring partners together to deliver impactful work.
In a world of reduced funding, there is a very real possibility that organisations become parochial and protective of what they do and as a result are reluctant to work with partner organisations. ESF challenges that perception, because we accept we are not always best placed to deliver the programmes of support specified to London’s diverse population across the 33 local authority areas. As a consequence, we develop ‘supply chains’ of organisations that we subcontract delivery to, on the basis that they are better placed geographically or in terms of experience at identifying and supporting some of the most vulnerable young people into sustainable learning and work. Well managed subcontracted delivery results in more innovation and personalisation while at the same time drives up the standards of our direct delivery.
In London, we have worked extremely hard to ensure that our ESF funded delivery aligns with the Prospects programmes of support commissioned by local authorities, schools and colleges. We insist direct ESF and local authority/school commissioned delivery is managed at a local level and advisers and mentors work as single teams from the same offices. This maximises the number of referrals between the teams and ensures young people receive the right support, at the right time, regardless of how it is funded.
ESF presents us with an opportunity to work across Prospects young people and adult services to deliver employment and skills solutions, not only saving money but also sharing expertise.