Simon Berry's blog

Story #1

Innovation in Youth Services

Sue was a youth worker and worked in the Children's Services Department of the local council. She is married to David, an IT sales executive.

In his mid teens, their son was expelled from school. At this point Sue and David experienced service delivery from a user's point of view for the first time. They had a difficult two years trying to engage with non-joined-up support services which were delivered in a way that suited the service deliverer more than the service user.

Sue and David thought they could do better and started to do research. They came across the Open Innovation Exchange on the web. They realised they were not alone in thinking that public services could be improved and they also realised that you could do it from 'outside' public bodies. But where to start?

The Open Innovation Exchange (OIE) Website aggregated information from all sorts of sources. You could also register and ask questions but they decided not to dive straight in. Instead, they noted that there was a local event supported by the OIE which they registered for.

At the event, the full extent of the support available became clearer. They registered on the OIE website and were able to ask questions of known experts and read the answers already provided to other registered users. As well as providing a brilliant 'just in time' source of expertise, the system enabled them to identify others with similar interests and peer to peeer exchanges also proved really helpful. They also learned of the unLtd programme and were successful in getting a £5,000 grant to release Sue from her day job for 3 months to develop her ideas.

. . . . six months later . . . .  read more »

Q and A gets 92 reads

At 1:30pm David Wilcox posted our first stab at the Questions we might be asked at interview and how we would respond (to some of them) and by 8:30pm 92 people had read them . . . you can read them and advise us here.

We've been shortlisted!

The 21 bids have been read and 4 have been selected for interview and ours is one of them. Well done everyone! Here is the email from John Craig received today:  read more »

*STOP PRESS* We've been nominated for an award! BUT you'll need to comment else we'll lose out to Downing Street (YouTube)!!

This collective, open effort to put a bid in to run the Innovation Exchange has been nominated for an award under the 'Modernising Government' category of the New Statesman New Media awards by Nick Booth at Podnosh. He explains why he made the nomination in his article 'Open source tendering - New Model or New Madness' which can be read here. There is an audio interview with David Wilcox, our mentor in all of this, at the end of the piece, which is excellent.  read more »

Open Sourcing this approach

The approach we have used to develop this bid has generated a lot of interest and so we thought it would be useful to 'open source' the process so that others can pick it up, use it and develop it further.

What this means in practice is that we will write up what we did and invite others to add ideas for improvement. We will do this, as time allows, over the next couple of weeks.

Audit Commission - report published

Audit Commission Report

We tried to get hold of this report during the preparation of our proposal but it was at 'confidential draft' stage and although the Audit Commission did consider releasing it to us, they didn't in the end on the basis that it would give us an unfair advantage over other bidders.  read more »

The 'out takes'

We were restricted in the number of pages we could submit by the tender rules and there are things we would have liked to have explained more fully, had we had the time and space.

The OTS did say that they would follow-up if they needed further explanation of things so I hope we have done enough that they feel follow-up is worthwhile.

In the meantime we will be loading the 'out takes' up here.

Final versions of workpackages

Please find attached the final versions of the workpackages with the financial information removed (for tender rules reasons).


Bid Sumitted

Here’s the proof. The bid on its way from bike to bid reception. I bumped into John Craig in reception which was nice. I am sure it was a coincidence or maybe it was because we were causing a bit of concern setting up to film outside! But it felt good anyway.

He was friendly and, reading between the lines, I think he’s been really interested in the approach we’ve taken. They are expecting ‘a number’ of bids and I got the impression that it was number about halfway-ish between 15 and 25. So, as we breath a sigh of relief and can get our lives back, the hard work starts for them.

Our full bid less financials (for tender rule reasons) is attached to this post.

Thanks again everybody. This has been a really enjoyable and thought provoking experience. I, for one, am going to have to completely re-think the way I do most things!

I've just got off the train . . .

. . . in Euston on my way to deliver the bid and have a post mortem lunch with Dan and David Wilcox. This is just to let you know that despite one or two last minute hiccups the bid did get finished and will be with the Office of the Third Sector by noon. I will post a copy here before the end of the day.

This has been a tremendous experience in many different ways. So much more stimulating and creative than the ‘cloak and dagger’ approach to ‘consortium building’ and bid writing. And the final product is all the richer for it. This is certainly the best tender I’ve every had a hand in producing (maybe you guys always work to these standards!).

But anyway, in a sense this is just the start of a process not the end. If we are chosen to run the OIE it will be a learning process for everyone and we will want to incorporate that learning as we go along and the OIE will evolve. That evolution can start now.  read more »

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