The power of pro bono

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Photo above (left to right): Tracy Pepper (Director of Education, Catch22), Barney Wallace (Partner, OC&C Strategy Consultants) and Amelia Sussman (Investment Director, Impetus-PEF)

We are grateful to be supported by over 400 volunteers who give their time and expertise pro bono every year to transform the way our charity partners work and the impact they make.

Their support spans fundamental areas like business planning, HR, finance, fundraising strategy, leadership coaching and performance management.

This week, one of our longest-standing pro bono supporters, OC&C Strategy Consultants, generously hosted our annual pro bono breakfast. There, they talked us through the strategy project they undertook working alongside our charity partner, Catch22 over the past year and what this contributed to the work of the charity.

Working on Catch22’s project gave our team engagement, challenge and insight into a sector that is often hidden from view. The team were delighted to be able to test the Catch22 proposition with a wide range of commissioners and felt that the analysis, feedback and framing that we were able to provide, gave Catch22 a strong platform and confidence in their strategy going forward.” – Barney Wallace, Partner, OC&C Strategy Consultants

An estimated 140,000 young people are excluded from mainstream schools annually, often due to disruptive behaviour. Of these, nearly 4% are permanently excluded – meaning re-entry is not an option – and Alternative Provision (AP) is the only way they can achieve a secondary school level education.

Pupils referred to AP often come from chaotic homes where the support necessary to succeed in school is absent. Catch22’s alternative education provision offers high quality teaching and learning based on effective relationships that enable the achievement of life skills and meaningful qualifications. Learning is personalised and structured around individual student’s needs. As one of only a handful in this sector with national reach, Catch22 is working with more than 900 pupils per year who have been excluded from mainstream schools.

The project

Impetus-PEF’s work with Catch22 started in 2015 with a structured review of their Alternative Provision schools’ data. This informed a series of Driving Impact workshops led by us and delivered to a cross section of the Catch22 Education team. The workshops focussed on designing a model that would drive long term meaningful education outcomes for the young people they serve, whilst also developing the right skills and mind-set for successful and sustained employment. The model has since been developed by Catch22 into a blueprint for Alternative Provision and a two-year implementation plan that will enable Catch22 to implement, test and refine the model across its nine schools.

To inform the two-year plan, we were keen to help Catch22 test the blueprint in detail with those who commission Alternative Provision in schools and local authorities. So we matched them with international strategy consultants, OC&C. The project involved:

  • Building an understanding of commissioners’ objectives, priorities and drivers for young people aged 11-18 who are not in mainstream education
  • And in so doing, probe and test commissioner appetite for the new Catch22 proposition
  • Identify what commissioners are prepared to pay and where the limitations are
  • Understand Catch22’s positioning in the competitor landscape
  • Identify critical success factors and risks for Catch22 to be able to deliver the new proposition and to compete effectively and grow

OC&C completed over 40 commissioner interviews for the project and gave Catch22 an invaluable set of recommendations and insights that the charity could not have achieved without this support.

Barney and the OC&C team were outstanding. The time, thought and energy they invested to understand our work resulted in an excellent analysis and set of insights that has helped to shape our strategy and give us confidence that we will be delivering best in class Alternative Provision to the young people we work with.” – Tracy Pepper, Director of Education, Catch22

Since this project, Catch22 have gone on to win new contracts and are on track to deliver the blueprint model to over 900 young people.

To learn more about volunteering your time for a project like this, please register your details with us.

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Pro Bono

Join Impetus' pro bono network and share your professional skills to support our work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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Charity partners

Impetus wants all young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get the best support. Which is why we back the best charities working with different groups of young people, in different ways, all over the UK.
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