17th January 2013

Considered being a School Governor?

SGOSS – Governors for Schools, a national charity set-up in 1999 by the Department for Education recruit volunteers with transferable skills to become school governors. SGOSS services are free to schools, volunteers and employers. Being a school governor is one of the most important voluntary roles in Education. Schools are in real need of skilled volunteers with an external perspective to contribute to their strategic leadership. This includes making decisions regarding budget, curriculum, building management and school policy. The support of good school governors is invaluable for maintaining and improving school performance. You don’t need to be a parent to apply; anyone aged over 18 with an interest in raising the standards of education can volunteer. At any one time, around 33,000 governor positions are vacant. Every one of these vacancies is an opportunity for schools to benefit from the skills of people in their local communities. The benefits run both ways.  A recent study by the City of London Corporation into school governance shows that no other volunteering opportunity in education allows for such extensive professional development. The current Chief Executive of SGOSS is going through the application process herself, and promises us that it is simple, easy and […]
10th January 2013

The Rehabilitation Revolution

I am currently recruiting a Chief Executive for a charity called Foundation who provide support housing and specialist services to adult offenders, so it was with interest that I read the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling’s announcements yesterday regarding a rapid expansion in the use of private and voluntary sector organisations to supervise short-sentence prisoners when they leave jail, on a “payment by results” basis. Under the proposals which have been dubbed –  The Rehabilitation Revolution, a nationwide Justice Data Lab will also be established to help rehabilitation organisations access data on reoffending. And the government will offer £500,000 to voluntary and community sector groups to help them as they prepare to bid for probation contracts. Going beyond the hue and cry that an announcement of this kind inevitably attracts,  this is surely an opportunity for the incoming CEO and Foundation , which is well positioned to play a part in delivery.  It strives to maximise positive outcomes for its clients and the wider community and has been pioneering and innovative in its approach to reduce re-offending, working at a local level and with Probation and criminal justice partners to achieve significant results. But there is an inherent risk and potential […]
7th January 2013

Trust me, I’m a fundraiser!

‘Fundraisers are all alike; it’s just spin, spin, spin.  How do I know what I’m really getting?’ This is a fairly typical conversation that I have with Chief Executives time and time again. As a senior fundraiser turned recruiter, I have a good insight into what leaders are looking for in their top fundraising staff… or so I thought. More people than ever before are questioning the authenticity of fundraisers. Often, they start a briefing by requesting that I don’t give them the ‘usual suspects’.  This is one of the problems of working in such a specialist industry, the same names for the top jobs keep coming up. So, I have the challenge of finding my clients their ideal candidate, a person who really wants their particular job, as well as ensuring that these candidates can prove that they can be trusted and successful fundraisers.  My advice follows, but essentially I do this by following the numbers and helping fundraisers to communicate their success to prospective employers in an authentic way. Very simply, here is a checklist that all prospective employers should expect to see: Candidates who acknowledge the work of the wider team and steer clear of a CV […]
2nd January 2013

Doom & gloom or personal development and challenge – what’s your mantra in 2013?

The news so far this year has been dominated by the Fiscal Cliff, which refers to the economic effects that will result from tax increases and spending cuts which aim to reduce the US budget deficit.  The US must implement these measures at some point or continue to overspend, but if they had come through now, and in full, they would probably have pushed the US back into recession. These measures have now been delayed in the hope that economy will strengthen and cope better with these measures when they inevitably come through.  But they can’t avoid the tough decisions forever! Here in the UK, local government continues to suffer with cuts to some councils’ core grant allocations could be as high as 15% next year – potentially rising to almost 40% by 2014-15 according to LGC analysis of data on the local government finance settlement.  The calculations are complex but it is clear that budgets will continue to reduce for the foreseeable future. The combination of national budget deficits, stuttering economies and financial markets that lack confidence means only one thing – government spending must fall – and therefore compromise becomes critical, particularly in areas such as adult social services […]
20th December 2012

A look back at the highlights of 2012

2012 has been an exciting year: We’ve completed ground-breaking projects with some of the country’s leading organisations, we’ve had fun and we’ve made a difference. Here are some of Peridot’s highlights of the year… Local Government Recruitment The recruitment of eight Team Managers for Cheshire West and Chester’s Children’s Social Care Social Work Teams has already shown marked benefits in their external assessments and improvement. Throughout the year, we placed a number of interim managers at local authorities including Southampton City Council, Wokingham Borough Council, Slough Borough Council and the London Boroughs of Richmond and Camden. We recruited the Head of Service Learning and Achievement and the Head of Service Commissioning for Warwickshire County Council and successfully appointed two Assistant Directors for Slough Borough Council’s senior management team. 2013 will see the launch of our new look leadership development programme for Assistant Directors and Heads of Service in Adult Social Care. Watch this space! Trustee Recruitment and Board Effectiveness Consulting We are proud to have launched our Trustee Board Effectiveness Service, which is closely linked to Trustee recruitment and we are already working with some big name clients, that we are looking forward to sharing with you in 2013. We […]
19th December 2012

Our Christmas Volunteering for Kids Company

Peridot gives time to Kids Company this Christmas The operations team at Peridot kicked off our Christmas party by spending the afternoon volunteering at Kids Company to respond to their Christmas Appeal. Kids Company was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996. The charity provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children. Their services reach 17,000 children across London, including the most deprived and at risk, whose parents are unable to care for them due to their own practical and emotional challenges At Christmas, Kids Company supports over 3,500 children and produces more than 1,500 mail sacks of gifts. The charity is calling for volunteers to help with the wrapping, sorting and packing of all the donated gifts, and the Peridot team offered to help out.. As part of our two-stage volunteering exercise we took part in an afternoon’s wrapping of presents, picking the most challenging shaped gifts to wrap and label! The second stage – our workshop to help the school-leavers plan and write their CVs and to help them manage an interview, will take place in the New Year. It was a lovely afternoon: we wrapped, packed and labelled, we stuck ribbons, bows and sparkly string to […]
28th November 2012

Peridot’s story: Starting up during a recession

Peridot was set up in 2008 during the economic downturn, yet the business has thrived and the recession was in fact the opportunity they needed. Peridot’s founding partners, Grant Taylor and Dawar Hashmi, were recently interviewed for Ingenious Britain, an information and news resource for small businesses, to find out what the pair learnt from starting their own company. This is how it went… Why did you decide to branch out on your own?  Dawar Hashmi: In short: disillusionment with the industry, and anger at the practices of some of the consultants working without the appropriate business ethics that should be in place when operating with socially-focused organisations. I had lost faith in the services we were offering and in the organisations I worked for. It was all about how much money we were bringing in and not true consultancy work. It was completely sales driven, regardless of how they pitched externally. Grant Taylor: We were fed up with corporate drivel – meetings for the sake of meetings, reports for the sake of reporting, and the office politics that occurs too often and detracts from what was really important.  We just wanted to deliver great work to clients who deserved […]
14th November 2012

When and how should a Trustee Board meeting be held?

A recent conversation with a potential candidate for a Trustee role had me wondering about Board meetings and Trustees’ ideal situations. The candidate was asking when and how regular the meetings would be for the charity I was working with.  This was going to be a deciding factor in whether or not he applied for the role of Trustee, and I started wondering how important this was to Trustees in general. I thought about my role as a Trustee for Working Families and talked to my business partner, Dawar about his role as a Trustee for Age UK Brent, and found that we both have meetings at similar times and for a similar length of time. I wanted to build a better picture of Board meetings, so a colleague and I put together a short survey. We took responses from 50 Trustees from a range of charities about their Board meetings. We asked when they were held, for how long and how often. We asked them what their ideal meetings would look like and how much time they would like to commit to meetings.  We also asked whether the times and regularity of meetings influenced their decision to become a […]