Our 'social value health check' identifies quick-wins to increase performance and deliver greater impact for your money
Our work - with social enterprises, social businesses and charities - starts with the challenges you are facing. We work at strategic level and with mangers, providing advice, training and mentoring to enable you better manage social performance and be more effective in achieving your goals:
We focus on:
Being clear about who you seek to serve, who you are currently reaching and who is excluded and why;
Understanding the needs of the different groups of clients and the opportunities and risks they face;
Defining your ‘theory of change’ to be clear about the steps you take to deliver social value and impact;
Aligning your performance, HR, risk and other management systems to your social goals, ensuring that you consistently deliver your services with quality;
Setting up appropriate information systems that enable managers to make good decisions and provide accountability to stakeholders.
Turning around a Ugandan microfinance organisation
In 2010 UGAFODE was losing clients, staff and money. It had a poor reputation as a result of offering products and services poorly aligned with client needs, the bad practices of its external debt collection agency and high levels of client complaints and default.
A health check identified three key areas to improve:
• Increasing access to services for target clients: Tackling exclusion meant thinking through service design, physical location, and aligning staff incentives to support financial inclusion. Information systems to track client profile were introduced, and reported at management and Board level.
• Increasing benefits delivered to target clients: Financial services are used for investment to increase income, smoothing income to meet daily and life-cycle needs, and coping with emergencies. To better fit these goals Ugafode introduced new credit products to support different needs, and introduce a range of savings products to match clients’ anticipated and unanticipated needs.
• Improving client service and ensuring clients are not harmed: UGAFODE introduced a code of conduct for staff and client services officers in each branch. It also strengthening its client grievance mechanisms and debt collection processes. It also aligned staff incentives and management systems to support these aims.
Through these changes UGAFODE transformed. By 2012 it had become profit-making, increased loan client outreach by a third, doubled its loan portfolio and been voted the ‘most trusted MFI in Uganda’ in a national client survey. Read more here.
Improving debt collection processes of UK city council
Working with Toynbee Hall, we conducted a financial well-being health check for a city council. The aim was to improve the impact of debt collection processes on resident well-being. The process analysed the theory and practice of multiple departments involving a review of policies and process documentation, discussion with senior managers, service managers and front-line staff. The report highlighted practical recommendations for improvements of service implementation as well as strategic issues in relation to the management of debt collection.