Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Build Your Impact with Pro Bono Operational Research: Free half-day workshop for charities

Operational research is the science of better decision-making. Pro Bono OR was created to allow UK-based organisations in the third sector to benefit from OR consultancy at no cost. During our last eight years of operation we have helped over 100 charities, from tiny volunteer-only to household names.

Do you have some organisational issues you would just like to get some advice on? Interested in finding out more about  how our free consultancy scheme or Operational Research can help you? Then this workshop is for you. 

WHAT TO EXPECT

9.45                Doors open

9.45-10.15      Registration, coffee available

10:15-10.45    Introduction and welcome:

10.45-11.30    Some examples of Pro Bono OR case studies

      • Ian Seath (RSPCA)
      • Shamim Rahman (Action West London)
      • Jane Parkin (Crimestoppers)


11.30-12.40   Comfort break, and round table discussions of how OR can help address your problems

12.45-12.50   Closing words

12.50-13.30   Lunch and networking

13.30             Close

Book Your Free Place
The event is free to attend but space is limited, so places must be booked in advance with a maximum of two places per organisation.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

New Project with Mencap: locating data that can help change the world for people with a learning disability




Mencap Project


The data landscape: locating data that can help Mencap change the world for people with a learning disability
Project:
Identify and evaluate open data sources that could help Mencap in targeting and operating services. 

Project description:
Mencap has a great number of analytical questions – such as “What are the chances we will be able to recruit staff for a new service” and “Which local authorities are fulfilling their obligations with respect to people with learning disabilities” - that could be better answered if Mencap could find suitable data on social, demographic and other factors.
The volunteer is asked to work with the Insight and Analytics Lead and Research Manager to identify what are the most burning questions, and what sort of data might be useful; search for open sources of this data; and assess the extent and quality of each source (for example the age of the data, how frequently it is renewed, its geographic extent, whether it is available specifically for learning disability, its reliability, its accessibility) to provide a directory of resources for the Data and Research teams. 
No specific skills are required other than general OR skills; but people who already have some knowledge of open sources of social and demographic data are particularly invited to apply.

Time commitmentInitially 3-5 days (spread out as needed): half a day to establish and firm up on requirements; 2-3 days of desk research; and half a day to document and present the findings.
LocationThe project can be undertaken entirely off-site, though for the initial discussion and reporting, the volunteer would be welcome to meet the customer at their offices in Golden Lane, London.

If you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to amy.hughes@theorsociety.com by 30th October 2019.

The OR Society fully supports equal opportunities. As such, we welcome applications from the partially sighted or blind, or those with disabilities.

Information about the organisation: 
Mencap is the leading voice of learning disability. Everything we do is about valuing and supporting people with a learning disability, and their families and carers.The services Mencap provide range from round-the-clock care to helping someone join in with local leisure activities, providing advice and information on things like employment and education, helping someone to live independently for the first time, and even things like reporting a crime to the police.

For further information about Mencap, please visit https://www.mencap.org.uk/ or email Owen.Bowden@mencap.org.uk

For further information about the Pro Bono OR scheme, please visit:www.theorsociety.com/Probono  or email ProBonoOR@theorsociety.com

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

New Pro Bono Project: More Kids, More Running: using OR and data science to help Kids Run Free to grow


Kids Run Free Project

More Kids, More Running: using OR and data science to help Kids Run Free to grow

Project:

Use insights from data analytics, and decision support, to help Kids Run Free make key business decisions and explore potential opportunities and challenges

Project description:

Kids Run Free has been growing steadily, with children getting involved in running either through schools or through ‘Park Kids’ open events akin to ‘parkrun’ (indeed, many children and parents go on to participate in ‘parkrun’). It has a fair amount of data on children’s running, from its app for Park Kids, and a large amount of data from schools for school-based activity (Marathon Kids). It also has some data from more in-depth sample surveys.
This project has two parts:
  • to analyse the data in more depth, building on Kids Run Free’s own analysis, to explore for possible insights: for example, into trends, individual progression, or demographic factors
  • to provide data analysis and decision support facilitation to help Kids Run Free with strategic decisions, such as considering whether to change the business model to become less reliant on major donors.
The volunteer is asked to start by working with the CEO to decide what are the key decisions and questions to be addressed, and shaping the project accordingly. This may mean focusing only on one or other of the two parts.
This project would suit people with skills in the cross-over area between data science and OR, with the ability to do a ‘data hack’ to explore possible insights from the data, and the ability to support decision-making using concepts such as MCDA or strategic choice together with facilitation skills. Whilst it could be undertaken by a single volunteer, it would be ideal for a team.

Time commitment Initially 4-5 days (spread out as needed). 
During the first consultation with the Kids Run Free CEO, the volunteer(s) should agree how their time will best be used. It is likely that there are opportunities to do more than 5-days’-worth of analysis or decision support, but the work is easily ‘chunk-able’, and any analysis/decision support beyond the amount of volunteer time available should be specified as a follow-on project as part of the final deliverables.
LocationThe volunteer(s) will need to be physically present for the initial consultation and for any facilitation. Data is available off site and meetings can be done by video calls if needed. Of course face to face is always a bit more effective when discussing learnings.

If you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to amy.hughes@theorsociety.com by 15th October.

The OR Society fully supports equal opportunities. As such, we welcome applications from the partially sighted or blind, or those with disabilities.

Information about the organisation: 
Kids Run Free’s mission is to create free, fun and sustainable outdoor running opportunities for toddlers to teens, igniting their passion for sport and physical activity and encouraging them to become healthier, happier, and more confident. Since launching in 2010, Kids Run Free has seen an amazing 180 thousand children nationwide participating in their programmes. Most recently, in March 2018, Kids Run Free expanded to the Netherlands with a pilot of their schools’ programme.

For further information about Kids Run Free please visit https://www.kidsrunfree.co.uk/ or email Martine Verweij (martine@kidsrunfree.co.uk)

For further information about the Pro Bono OR scheme, please visit: www.theorsociety.com/Probono  or email ProBonoOR@theorsociety.com

Friday, 13 September 2019

New Pro Bono Project: Kent Refugee Action Network






Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) Project

PODIO data system development/improvement and scenario planning for Strategic Plan 

Project:
To develop Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) PODIO data system to make it fit for purpose to capture and report their work, and to support the development of KRAN's strategic implementation plan given different scenario’s.
Project description:
To analyse, assess and develop KRAN's current PODIO system so that it is fit for purpose. The volunteer would also be required to host a half day of training for staff members for the new version. KRAN already have a list of requirements that the PODIO needs to be able to do and what the current challenges are of the existing system.  
KRAN has a potentially rich source of data but the organisation do not have the mining capacity to draw out trends of, for example, the type of services used over time, the specific service demand by type of asylum seeker (age, gender, literacy, ARE risk). KRAN also wish to increase their reporting capacity to include impact over time, length of involvement, and to report on impacts by type of asylum seeker. 
In addition to this, the volunteer would ideally take KRAN's new Strategic Plan and Impact Plan and work with the CEO, trustee’s and staff to develop an implementation plan given different scenarios (Political, economic, social etc) which are outside of KRAN’s control.

Time commitment 6 days ( 3 days before December, 3 days January – March 2020) 

LocationIt is expected that the volunteer will attend a workshop on October 18th, to gather background information about KRAN, PODIO and the current issues. Work can be done remotely. 
The new 5 year Strategic Plan is to be presented for approval at the AGM on the 12th December 2019.
Dates and times in early 2020 to explore scenario’s with Trustee’s and staff, and then with CEO to inform the development of the implementation plan of the new Strategic Plan will be agreed between the volunteer and KRAN. 

If you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to amy.hughes@theorsociety.com by 8th October 2019.

The OR Society fully supports equal opportunities. As such, we welcome applications from the partially sighted or blind, or those with disabilities.

Information about the organisation: 
The Kent Refugee Action Network works with young refugee and asylum seekers (RAS) who are striving to live fulfilled, independent and successful lives in their communities. Over the past 15 years KRAN has grown to develop a number of projects in response to the needs of young RAS. KRAN provide a mentoring partnership project matching local volunteers in the community with young people, provide education and independent living skills through their Learning for Life project and have established an advocacy and support project to ensure that young people receive the best support and services as they go through the transition to life in the UK.

For further information about KRAN, please visit https://www.kran.org.uk/ or email razia@kran.org.uk

For further information about the Pro Bono OR scheme, please visit:www.theorsociety.com/Probono  or email ProBonoOR@theorsociety.com

New Pro Bono OR Project: Analyse local poverty challenges to inform strategic planning








L’chaim Chabad Foodbank Project

Develop an analysis of local poverty challenges to inform future strategic planning 

Project:
Research and provide data on the scope and type of poverty challenges the communities the current L’chaim Chabad foodbank services face, to inform future plans. 
Project description:
The Chabad Foodbank Initiative was launched due to an increase in poverty in the local area. Volunteers locate surplus foods from suppliers, caterers and wholesalers and then distribute it free of charge to needy families (currently 70) in the community. These families come from diverse backgrounds and include single parents, families whose breadwinner has been made redundant, is elderly, or is ill and infirm. 
The service has grown to meet demand, rather than in any planned way, and there is a need to step back and review how best to provide services for the future.
The project would:
Review historical data on demand met by the organisation
Identify sources of information on poverty in the local community (challenges and trends)
Analyse those information sources to determine opportunities and needs 
Present options for future foodbank models to take forward into strategic planning
Knowledge/Skills required: Desk research, analysis and reporting

Time commitment 5-6 days 
Location The volunteer would need to visit the offices in Salford for an initial kick-off meeting with the client and again at the end of the project to provide a project review and recommendations (Postcode: M7 4LN. The rest of the project (desk research & analysis , possible interviews and report writing) could be carried out remotely. 

If you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to amy.hughes@theorsociety.com by 24th October 2019.

The OR Society fully supports equal opportunities. As such, we welcome applications from the partially sighted or blind, or those with disabilities.

Information about the organisation: 
L'Chaim-Chabad is a community organisation that serves the community of Greater Manchester. The volunteers of the Chabad Foodbank Initiative locate surplus foods from suppliers, caterers and wholesalers and then distribute them free of charge to needy families in the community. They currently distribute food to over 70 families on a daily basis. The Foodbank also provides emergency, short term food supplies to individuals and families who hit a crisis situation for whatever reason.

For further information about the Chabad Foodbank, please visit https://www.lchaimfoodbank.co.uk/ or email foodbank@lchaim.org.uk

For further information about the Pro Bono OR scheme, please visit:www.theorsociety.com/Probono  or email ProBonoOR@theorsociety.com

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

New Project: How to achieve more for less?






Carers Support Centre Project 2

Achieving more for less!

Project:

Review current operations, identifying opportunities to achieve ‘more for less’, in a climate of reducing resources and increasing demands on services.  

Project description:
CSC delivers a wide range of activities and services, see link here and would benefit from an external review to explore opportunities as to how they could work differently (making savings where possible), in order to prepare for anticipated reductions in Local Authority spending in the next financial year.
It is anticipated that the volunteer will:
  1. Liaise with Keith Sinclair and discuss feedback from a recent Senior Management away-day which focus on the need for current operations to be reviewed.
  2. Spend a day at CSC, meet with the senior management team and staff individually to explore options for streamlining operations/systems, which could improve efficiency and increase capacity
  3. Prepare a paper summarising possible options for managing anticipated reductions in resources and discuss this with Keith Sinclair before producing a final report.
Requirements: 
The volunteer(s) should have experience of examining efficiency using tools such as process mapping, and knowledge of some options scoring system such as Decision Matrix Analysis would be useful. Experience of working with the third sector would be helpful. 

Time commitment 5 days over 3-4 months
LocationThe volunteer would need to spend a day at CSC meeting with staff and investigating their current use of impact measures at their offices in Bristol (Postcode: BS16 2QQ). The rest of the project could be carried out remotely

If you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to amy.hughes@theorsociety.com by 23rd October.

The OR Society fully supports equal opportunities. As such, we welcome applications from the partially sighted or blind, or those with disabilities.

Information about the organisation: 
The Carers Support Centre work to promote the rights and improve the quality of life of children and adult family carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Their vision is to make sure carers are identified, recognised, valued, respected and supported in their caring role. CSC have more than 12,000 local carers registered with them and deliver services with 40 (full time equivalent) members of staff and over 170 volunteers..

For further information about Carers Support Centre please visit https://www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/ or email Keith Sinclair at KeithSinclair@carerssupportcentre.org.uk

For further information about the Pro Bono OR scheme, please visit: www.theorsociety.com/Probono  or email ProBonoOR@theorsociety.com

New Project: Improving organisational impact measures to help us “blow our trumpet louder”!








Carers Support Centre Project 1

Improving organisational impact measures

Project:

Carers Support Centre (CSC) needs to develop and implement smarter reporting tools in order to effectively measure and demonstrate the impact of their activities. 

Project description:
CSC has identified the outcomes they need to measure for each of their activities and researched various tools for doing this effectively and efficiently. They need to do this in order to demonstrate the value of their work to funders which is becoming increasingly more important given the current financial climate they are operating in. 
They want to be able to visualise their impact by way of infographics that can be based on simple electronic measures routinely collected by staff, when they are in contact with the carers they support. They need to ensure that the impact measures are routinely collected and agree how they should be used.
It is anticipated that the volunteer will:
  1. Liaise with Keith Sinclair, investigate the work that has already been done at CSC on impact measurement, and meet with staff to see how the current measures are being used.
  2. Investigate available mobile survey and reporting tools 
  3. Write a report summarizing findings of current use of impact measure reporting at CSC and recommendations for future developments
Requirements: 
The volunteer(s) should have experience of impact measurement and reporting and be comfortable with investigating different available systems. Experience of working with the third sector would be helpful.

Time commitment 5 days over 3-4 months
LocationThe volunteer would need to spend a day at CSC meeting with staff and investigating their current use of impact measures at their offices in Bristol (Postcode: BS16 2QQ) . The rest of the project could be carried out remotely.

If you feel you are able to offer your assistance please complete the application form and return along with your CV to amy.hughes@theorsociety.com by 23rd October.

The OR Society fully supports equal opportunities. As such, we welcome applications from the partially sighted or blind, or those with disabilities.

Information about the organisation: 
The Carers Support Centre work to promote the rights and improve the quality of life of children and adult family carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Their vision is to make sure carers are identified, recognised, valued, respected and supported in their caring role. CSC have more than 12,000 local carers registered with them and deliver services with 40 (full time equivalent) members of staff and over 170 volunteers..

For further information about Carers Support Centre please visit https://www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/ or email Keith Sinclair at KeithSinclair@carerssupportcentre.org.uk

For further information about the Pro Bono OR scheme, please visit: www.theorsociety.com/Probono  or email ProBonoOR@theorsociety.com

Build Your Impact with Pro Bono Operational Research: Free half-day workshop for charities

Operational research is the science of better decision-making. Pro Bono OR was created to allow UK-based organisations in the third secto...