Central Bedforshire Council have been using Knowledge Maps to successfully enhance their Procurement service for several years. They have recently taken the decision to extend the use of Maps to Children and Adult Services which plays a vital part in the overall services remit of the organisation.
Further information about the project will be provided as it gets fully underway. In the meantime, if you would like to talk to First Adapt about how Knowledge Maps could also benefit your organisation, then please get in touch.
Faced every day, as we are, with the plethora of technologies which deliver us with information ranging from breaking global news events to the trivia of which celebrities are doing what and with whom, it's not difficult to feel swamped before you've even started your working day. Part of the issue is our own growing addiction to technology itself. TV and radio have long been the main accompaniments to a rushed breakfast and the chances are that most will already have logged on to see if there are any more urgent emails to respond to, even tho' they didn't log off until well past midnight. And this all before mobile messages or voice mails have been checked out. With Facebook and YouTube having rapidly become an integral part of daily life, Twitter has now joined the huge phenomenon that is social media. It's a fact: we live in an age of information overload where we are more proficient at generating information than managing it.
First Adapt's latest customer, Cumbria based West House are totally dedicated to making a difference to the lives of people with disabilities and their values reflect this:
Chief Executive Officer, James Cox (below), explains why the organisation decided to implement Knowledge Maps.
"We have found working with First Adapt extremely valuable. We provide service across dispersed teams and it is vital that our managers and staff are able to access up to date and accurate information at all times.
The First Adapt Knowledge Map system has enabled us to manage this information in a far more consistent and user friendly way than ever before. We also expect to save time and resources by moving away from expensive and ineffective paper based systems".
If you would like more information about Knowledge Maps or to be put in contact with another organisation already using Knowledge Maps, please get in touch.
Challenge, compare, consult and compete – the Value for Money (VfM) mantra by which providers must abide in order to stay ahead of the game. But what steps are required to ensure that this is truly embedded in how an organisation operates?
The first step has to be taken at the top and the Board needs to agree the main objectives of a VfM strategy and how these tie in with its overall business plan. This in itself requires a real understanding of how well the organisation is doing and how it compares with others in the sector. Time needs to be spent internally on performance evalution and externally via benchmarking with other providers. This will also give a steer of where improvements need to be made and where new services can be offered.
Developing clear operational plans from the top level strategy is crucial not only to ensure excellent communication at all levels within the organisation but also as a vehicle for staff involvement and performance management. By cascading objectives and actions, the strategy itself will remain dynamic and relevant to what is happening on a day to day basis.
But it is not just about buying goods and services at the price/quality mix. It is also about customer involvement since they are best placed to help shape these services so that they are tailored at the local level. This approach also favours the longer-term interests of the organisation, its customers and stakeholders. Collective procurement, partnering and Shared Services are also increasingly being adopted as routes to more professional procurement strategies.
Another important step is making sure that there is a comprehensive and up to date library of policies, processes and operational documents.
Our Procurement Map has been specially designed with this in mind and allows you to make this information available to all staff across via an organisational intranet.
So, is your organisation operating an efficient and easy- to-use tendering process in an environment which frees up staff to operate effectively?
A central database of standardised processes and template documents guarantees improved operational efficiency. The majority of our customers have chosen to implement the Procurement Map for these very reasons and with the experience we have gained from numerous projects, we can offer a standard template design which substantially reduces the amount of in-house resource required to implement the maps.
Download more information about our Procurement Map.
It's true, organisational policies and procedures can be hard to work through and digest. A Knowledge Map can turn these into a set of easy to us, graphical questions and answers. The Maps save time for your organisation and ensure good consistent advice for staff (and customers if used externally). It is also a useful tool for organisations considering home working.
First Adapt Director, Ann Martin, talks with Cumbria CVS staff
In partnership with First Adapt, Cumbria CVS currently offer two Knowledge Maps directly. For further information, click HERE
With Governance cited as a top priority by many organisations, what are the key issues facing organisations wanting to get it right?
It’s about ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and good practice and having an effective Board who can deliver on the organisation’s objectives and set its strategic direction whilst adhering to core values
Whilst it may appear self evident, implementing a Governance strategy which is going to work requires a clear understanding of Governance itself. Organisations are often prone to diving in at the deep end without taking due consideration of factors which will have a huge impact on the success of the business. These include, but are not limited to:
- the blend of Board members in terms of their skills, responsibilities and experience
- the approach to risk, financial constraints and challenges
- the performance management tools in place to ensure objective and thorough monitoring
Governing bodies which perform well usually have a strong Chair who has a clear understanding of the role and an ability to focus on strategic issues. At the same time, members working with the Chair need to be able to challenge and discuss views put forward.
The blend will also be determined by the type of organisation in question, from its size, its values, the services it delivers and the community it serves. In some cases, tenants may well make up the majority membership. Whatever the blend, members need to clearly understand the organisation’s policies and procedures particularly with regard to finance and accounting. On- going training is therefore key to ensuring that the governing body is up to date and well informed.
Governing bodies face a multitude of issues which can make it difficult to focus on the core ones. However, all organisations will be facing the challenges placed on them by the demands for more tailored services and developments against limited resources. Interestingly, it is the trio of the spending cuts, housing benefit changes and the general economic outlook which come out as the top issues facing organisations - all of which are externally driven. The key here is to avoid overloaded agendas and setting too many objectives at the same time. Keeping it focused will be a more productive route.
A Governance Map provides a comprehensive tool for managing what is after all a mission critical aspect of the business. Many of the issues highlighted can be dealt with effectively via the systematic consistency provided by the maps. To find out more, just get in touch.
Terry Gittens, Procurement Policy and Process Manager for Central Bedfordshire Council, recently addressed an Eastern Region Procurement Group to talk about his experiences of developing an interactive Procurement Toolkit.
The main focus of the presentation was to make members aware of the benefits of a Toolkit approach. For Central Bedfordshire, the avantage of working with other councils was that the resulting toolkit used plain English, provided a clear guide to the procurement process, used standard templates and offered links to procurement guidelines and documentation.
Central Bedfordshire say that the Tookit simplifies the overall process, providing:
• Latest guidance, maps the process
• Easy access to the latest Documents
• Easy access tools (Time calculators, Evaluation docs)
• Easy access to frameworks
• Includes contract/supplier management (SRM)
• Makes savings by value add - rather than lengthy process
First Adapt, worked closely with Central Bedfordshire on the development of the Toolkit and have seen interest in the Procurement Knowledge Map increase significantly as a result.