Monday, September 12, 2016

Peninsula Local Services Integrated Trust (LIST) feasibility study into a Social Impact Bond model for preventing children from entering care

OPM Group supported Peninsula LIST, a special purpose vehicle set up by the local authorities of Devon, Cornwall, Torbay and Plymouth, to explore the feasibility of commissioning an intervention designed to keep children from entering care through a Social Impact Bond model.


The four local authorities in the South West were keen to explore not only the potential of a SIB model for commissioning services, but also to do so via a Special Purpose Vehicle that will enable the commissioners to adopt a flexible approach in attracting a wider range of commissioners over time. There was also interest in the SPV, potentially, being an instrument for drawing down finance as well as generating income.

What did we do?

The project was specifically in relation to children on the edge of care, and involved an audit of project processes, assessment of the LIST and Social Impact Bond business models and capture of lessons learnt and best practice from the project. This involved looking at potential investor interest and motivation; examining the effectiveness of structures and processes that engaged with practitioners and the public; critically scrutinising the business case and relevant risks; as well as assessing the evidence base that supported various alternative interventions.


The project directly influenced strategic decisions taken by the four local authorities, who came to the conclusion that a SIB model will not be appropriate for all four areas. Instead, individual authorities, such as Torbay, proceeded to explore feasibility in their local authority area; while Cornwall took the decision to provide an identified intervention in-house. The SPV model of co-commissioning has since influenced subsequent SIB models elsewhere.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Essex County Council Social Impact Bond for Multi-Systemic Therapy

OPM Group has been conducting a three-year evaluation of the first local authority-led Social Impact Bond in the UK and worldwide


Essex County Council, with funding from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office, commissioned the evaluation of the Essex SIB with the aim of learning from the experience and informing the development of future SIBs. The evaluation is the only one in the UK, to date, that focuses on the impact of the SIB itself (rather than the impact of the intervention procured through a SIB), and looks at whether this model for commissioning adds value.

What did we do?

Three annual iterations of surveys, interviews and focus groups with a range of commissioners in Essex and other local authorities that have commissioned MST (but not via a SIB); with social investors; with intermediary organisations; with strategic and operational staff from the service provider; with other professionals in the local area working on related services; as well as key stakeholders in the three Central Government departments.

Two additional unique features of this work are: (a) the convening of an international practice share group to draw on emerging learning from the global community and to feed in lessons learned from Essex; and (b) an economic assessment that surfaced (and monetised) a number of ‘invisible costs’ associated with the SIB, borne by Essex County Council, the service provider, and others.


This work has attracted significant attention from the outset and on an ongoing basis. Formative lessons learned are regularly fed back not only to Essex but also to the Central Government departments. The Essex experience has directly influenced later SIBs. Within Essex, we facilitated three learning sessions for commissioners and those in commissioning support functions. There has also been annual conferences to disseminate findings and lessons learned more widely.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Coach training course delivered by OPM receives award from leading professional body

OPM’s Institute for Leadership (ILM) Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring course has received an Accredited Award in Coach Training status by the Association for Coaching (AC).

Dedicated to promoting ‘promoting excellence & ethics in coaching’ worldwide, the Association remarked that the programme:

The Association for Coaching offers accreditation of coach training programmes to drive the highest standards in coaching. AC Coach Training Accreditation signals to students that OPM’s ILM Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring meets the AC standard for comprehensive coach training, encompassing the application of coaching competencies, working within ethical guidelines and providing practical experience.


Please visit the ILM training and Leadership and Organisational Development pages for more information on OPM’s training offer.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Participant interview: ILM Level 7 certificate in executive coaching and mentoring

Lucy Pollard, an executive director at a Global US investment company recently completed our ILM Level 7 certificate in executive coaching and mentoring. Here, she tells us about her experience of the course.

What first attracted you to the programme?

I was really keen to get qualified in executive coaching and I was drawn to OPM because they look professional and I liked the way they give a diverse perspective from the public sector. Another factor that played a big role is that unlike many similar programmes, this one is group-based and gives you the chance to get lots of practical experience.
What do you think you’ve gained from the programme?

Firstly, now that I can say that I’m a qualified executive coach, and having been through a rigorous programme and assessment, I feel much more credible from both a professional and personal standpoint. Secondly, I feel much more confident from a skills-set perspective in terms of being up to speed with the key methodology and the latest thinking. I also feel much more self-assured about being a good coach, which really matters when I’m coaching people who have very limited time and high-pressured jobs.

I feel like the programme has set me up for success, not only because it gave me lots of opportunities to practise, but because it’s given me a solid foundation to build on. Having support and guidance up-front has also been really helpful in terms of building up a strong skill-set and learning what my strengths are. It’s given me a self-awareness that I wouldn’t have got if I’d done just done the programme on-site.
Have you had the chance to use the techniques that you learnt from the programme?

Yes. I work with high performing vice-presidents who are recognised as being future leaders, and it’s been really valuable to be able to challenge their perspective. These are the type of people who don’t usually have the opportunity or the time to take part in coaching. But they’ve been very receptive to it and I feel that I’ve made a real difference to how they are performing in their jobs. I also feel like I’m still constantly learning. For example, even if a session doesn’t go as well as I would have hoped, now I can evaluate exactly why that was and work out what I can improve next time.
You said one of the attractions of the OPM programme is that it’s mostly public sector, whereas you come from the private global investment sector?

In a fast paced working environment learning and development tends to be lean and efficiently timed. In reality this means a day’s course could become a two hour course, and so on. One of the key differences with this programme was that the tutors and participants have the time and patience allocated to this to spend more time to looking at best practices in coaching, leadership and management thoroughly.

I also found it interesting to hear the different challenges that you have in the public sector versus the private sector. A lot of my colleagues are quite young and ambitious, and they can get promoted very, very quickly. This brings up a whole set of different challenges that they have to face. Whereas in the public sector, there seems to be more focus on career longevity – people have been in their positions for much longer.

Finally it was fascinating to hear the different scenarios that coaches are facing now that public services are having to operate in such a lean and high-pressured environment.

On a more personal note, it was great to be able to build a network of contacts outside of the private sector, where all my previous learning has come from.
What did you think of the structure of the programme?

I thought pace of learning was very well structured as I was given lots of time to think and to practise, and my tutor was simply an excellent teacher. We were given so much support and direct teaching, without which I don’t think I would have passed as I wouldn’t have had the time to really invest in it.
And finally, would you recommend the course to your colleagues?

Yes, I already have. One of my team members is currently on the course and I have very strongly recommended it to my colleagues.
If you are interested in taking part in our executive coaching and mentoring programme, please get in touch with Yee-Mai Koo at or on 0207 239 7874.