Our approach to solving social injustices often involves situations that most organisations are not inclined or resourced to resolve and that means, from the outset, we face tough challenges. Consequently we have to be very thorough in the due diligence stages that lead up to the launch of a project. The pages in this section give some indications of this due diligence process.
In order to be adequately sensitive to the social injustices that we address, we consult with a wide range of experts in the particular topic.
We believe the most important lessons of all are learned from those people who endured social injustice themselves. Therefore at the foundation of our operations is interaction and feedback from the people we aim to serve, to guarantee that we do not simply provide what are generally regarded as good ideas, but sensitively and thoroughly make life better for our service users.
Download our Strategic Plan for 2017-20 for more details of our work over the next few years.
Identifying an injustice
How do we identify social injustices that we believe are solvable from within our resources? Often the initiative comes from those who campaign for such people. They bring ideas to us and ask us to contribute our resources and skills as partners or as crusaders.
One example of this initiative is our very successful partnership in the Re-Unite project where Housing for Women had made a study of the injustices suffered by homeless mothers on their release from prison. They needed the support of our resources to create a role model solution. In this project, we were also greatly assisted by Baroness Corston’s review which was published in March 2007 fast tracking the analysis of the injustice.
We welcome ideas being brought to us. If you have beliefs that there is a social injustice in this country that could be alleviated by the provision of housing and support services, we would welcome an informal discussion with you.
Do remember that ideas, in their final form, must conform to our project preference areas and our 10-criteria but if you are not sure of how, don’t worry; we are happy to brainstorm with you to test how ideas could be made to work.
Quantifying a need
Before we commit to a project, we need to thoroughly understand the number of people who are suffering the injustice so that we can assess the size of social payoff. As well as understanding the size of the need, we also require to understand all the characteristics of the need, especially such things as:
- Where would service users come from?
- What networks are necessary to put us in contact with potential service users?
- What is the lead-in time between identifying service users and actually bringing them into a potential project?
- Are service users ready to enter our project from the outset or do they need a preliminary induction process?
- What is a complete inventory of the challenges that the service users face and what specification of help is required to overcome their challenges?
- What special sensitivities need to be addressed in order to resolve the plight of people suffering an injustice?
Answering the many questions, a few of which are indicated above, means that we need to work with expert partners so that we do not simply develop “good ideas” but that we create effective, very beneficial solutions that change people’s lives for the better, permanently.
The business plan
We believe we owe it to our future service users, our partners and to our reputation to undertake a thorough due diligence process before committing to a project.
Our philosophy is to avoid problems wherever possible by anticipating them and planning solutions rather than proceeding on a ‘trial and error basis’. Applying this philosophy enables us achieve proof of concept efficiently.
To plan for success from the outset, our due diligence process appraises at the following;
- the culture issues
- the financial planning
- the legal issues
- public policy
- organisation and systems
- human resources
- critical measurements of outcomes
- risk management
Formalising long-term agreements with those partners necessary to make the project successful.
Our business plans do require an investment of time and energy and sometimes professional advice. We have systems, templates and model documentation that enables us to work with partners to develop business plans fairly quickly and our experience shows that we can do this with committed and well-resourced lead partners within a period of about four months.
The operations plan
So that service users get all the benefits of the preliminary planning work, a detailed operations plan is produced prior to the agreement to proceed with a project. This is an agreement with our operations partners (those that will manage our houses and act as service providers to the service users) and specifies who will do what, at what costs, to what standards and at what frequency. The operations plan also defines how this work will be measured, how it will adapt to improvements and opportunities so that the project evolves in response to experience and inputs from our evaluation partner.
Our operations plans further evolve during the first 12 months of a project, after which they become “how to do it manuals” that can be updated as necessary and finally offered in the public domain when it is time for the replication phase. The operations plan is often a useful component along with case studies that we use as part of our final objective of changing public policy.