Strengthening Organisations

/ Strengthening Organisations

Reduced public funding and  a ‘more for less' funding culture means that organisations delivering public services are on a journey of transition and transformation - they need to be innovative, resilient and strong.  Rocket Science builds the strength and sustainability for organisations in all kinds of ways.

What we do

Diagnostic and support tools

Rocket Science has developed a series of diagnostic tools to help organisations identify their strengths and weaknesses and put in a programme of support to help the organisations grow and develop and track their journey.  These tools which are often provided free through support contracts we deliver for organisations such as Greater London Authority and Big Lottery Fund help organisations to objectively assess their position and provide an action plan for future development.

  • The VCS Assist tool looks at overall organisational capacity to understand where improvements in staff skills, governance, business development and fundraising could best be made. It is a useful starting point as an assessment of strengths and weakness and as a free tool, invaluable for organisations to determine what support they need before they bid for funding.
  • Rocket Science, through its work evaluating the effectiveness of VCS support programmes, has identified 15 indictors of organisational resilience and sustainability. We have developed a simple distance-travelled tracking tool to help organisations assess how they are improving their resilience over time.
  • Many organisations do not know how much it costs to deliver their services to one person. In contracting, assessments of value are made against unit costs and our experience shows that many organisations under-price their services and end up counting the cost.  We have developed a simple unit cost pricing tool to help price services more accurately giving bidders the confidence to say no (or yes) to a contracting opportunity.
One to one advice and support

Through our VCS Assist programme in London, Investment and Contract Readiness Funding and Village SOS in the UK (Scotland), Rocket Science directly supports community groups, voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises with one to one advice and support.

  • We supported a medium sized provider of services to learning disabled people, articulate the impact of their employment and skills service in London. We created a visual representation using infographic software to promote their impact (35% job outcome rates) and the process enabled them to map their aggregated costs and performance across all of their funded programmes.
  • We are providing business planning and advices to emerging start up or developing social enterprises through Village SOS funding in Scotland. As a lead partner, working with Senscot and Forth Sector we are providing advice to assist projects move their idea to a plan and creating peer to peer networks to help organisations help themselves.
Partnership support

Rocket Science works with partnerships at every stage of their development from starting and struggling through to reviewing their focus or understanding their impact.  We have developed a range of tried and tested approaches and tools to help them assess and review their effectiveness and put in place plans for development and progression.

  • We have developed a toolkit for assessing partnership performance for Scottish Enterprise and an on-line partnership assessment scorecard for the Scottish Community Safety Network.
  • We helped develop an assessment process to review the effectiveness of Local Action Groups as part of LEADER to help them plan for EU funding 2014-2020. This involved creating a partnership assessment scorecard which was made available on-line and enabled us to assess the ‘readiness’ of the partnership to bid for future funding.
Building skills and confidence

Rocket Science runs a number of training and development workshops as part of its portfolio of capacity building support for VCS organisations.  We have developed half and full day training sessions on:

  • Perfect your pitch – helping smaller suppliers develop their offer to Tier 1/Lead Partner/Prime Contractors which includes a ‘dragons den’ style pitch role play and review
  • Customer journey mapping – this workshop helps organisations chart the journey of clients through their services so that they can pinpoint where these add value in the customer journey and the distinctiveness of their offer.
  • Pricing services – a workshop to help organisations who have mapped their customer journey price their services more accurately, including understanding direct, indirect and variable costs.
  • Measuring your impact – a quick introduction to impact measurement and theories of change which debunks the jargon and helps organisations to make an informed judgement of which approach to take.
  • Evaluation methods – a one day workshop aimed at the non-researcher to help them understand the evaluation process and how to plan data collection as part of their delivery. This is delivered as part of our added value offer to evaluation support contracts.


Action learning and sharing knowledge

Rocket Science has built a strong reputation for designing and delivering highly regarded action learning programmes either through learning and development contracts for clients including DWP, Shaw Trust, Local Government Association or as an integral part of  formative evaluations  for organisations including Big Lottery Fund, Scottish Government, Citizens Advice and Third Sector Capacity Fund.  We believe action learning to be a highly effective way of empowering people to learn and share their experiences to improve process, delivery and performance.  We also believe it to be an effective way of embedding a sustainable approach to building organisational capacity, intelligence and knowledge whilst valuing the skills and experience of teams.

  • Rocket Science working with Rose Regeneration ran an action learning set of 17 local authorities and a national community of practice (nearly 1000 members) to support local government deliver their own assessments of local economies between 2009 and 2012.  We developed a series of tools, guidance and processes to build internal capacity and worked with district councils to support their contributions in two-tier areas.
  • We worked with UKCES on developing an action learning programme to support their teams create a culture of internal learning and review to learn from their employer and skills investment programmes.
Bid-writing support

Rocket Science has been contracted by organisations bidding for contracts for public service delivery collectively worth well over £1bn including; the Work Programme, NOMS ESF Commissioning and Transforming Rehabilitation.    We help at all stages of the bid development process, from designing the model and supply chain through to writing and critiquing some or all of the bid sections.

  • Most recently Rocket Science provided bid writing and financial modelling for the only successful Transforming Rehabilitation bidder without a private sector lead partner.
  • We helped win an £18million ESF contract developing the model, supply chain and bid from a standing start within a five week window.
  • We also support smaller organisations develop their capacity to write and win bids. We use our knowledge from managing grants, programme evaluations and developing application forms to provide the external expertise to either write a successful bid, act as a critical partner, or increase internal capacity for bid writing through training and development.

Facilitation and Event Support

Most of our facilitation work involves small bespoke workshops but we often design and run larger events and conferences.  Our clients include the United Nations Development Programme, UK Government Departments, The Scottish Government, NHS, and Jobcentre Plus and a large range of local partnerships and organisations.

  • We were asked by the City and Hackney Health and Wellbeing Board to help them review their annual plan and develop the board’s priorities for the next 12 months. We arranged pre-event information and preparation which enabled us to focus our efforts to identify and agree priorities on the day.
  • For the Gwarchod NI evaluation we arranged to bring together individuals from across the childcare sector in Wales in a World Café format to test out new approaches to supporting childcare in rural areas. This was run simultaneously in Welsh language and the output from the day formed recommendations in a blueprint for rural childcare.
Interim help and mentoring

When you need an extra pair of hands, a fresh perspective or dedicated mentoring, our staff and associates can provide interim support to help you design and mobilise projects.  We bring practical experience alongside specialist skills and expertise to help you through periods of change and transition.

  • We provided project mobilisation support for a new employment and skills project over a period of six weeks, whilst the organisation recruited for a full time post.
  • We were seconded into the City of London for a period of three months to capture insights and data on adult and community services for part of the research into a review on early intervention.
  • We are currently providing a staff secondment into a service improvement agency to support the development of new service pathways for individuals.




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