Two shared learning seminars were held in Rhyl and Cardiff in June 2012. We aimed to:
The seminars are one of the many ways in which the Wales Audit Office supports grant practitioners across Wales, covering the public and voluntary sectors and the main non-statutory funders too. This builds on the valuable work that we began in 2009 with the launch of our Grants Management module on the Good Practice Exchange. We strongly encourage grant practitioners to continue to use this network to share knowledge in the future.
Forty-five delegates attended from the Welsh Government, the WCVA, the Big Lottery Fund, several unitary authorities and the county voluntary councils.
Overall 84% of participants who responded to our post-event survey rated the seminar as very/useful. (16% very useful and 68% as useful); Comments included:
Delegates wanted advice on over thirty grants management issues. The 'high-level messages' are summarised below, along with the learning shared. We found that often we could match up 'enquirers' with fellow practitioners having relevant knowledge, skills and experience.
The shared learning seminars included expert presentations and provided a wide range of resources, all of which have been loaded onto our website.
Problems raised by delegates included:
Delegates wanted to know how to define impact and then communicate that effectively. A few recalled problems with handling enquiries from journalists.
Delegates received a presentation on the 'The Principles of Good Impact Reporting' as recently developed by the voluntary sector.
At Rhyl, there was also an informative presentation on the 'Results Based Accountability' (RBA) approach to impact and outcome measurement.
Support bodies asked how they could encourage third sector organisations to invest in good governance and for trustees to plan for the future.
We ran an expert workshop covering management and leadership, governance and planning. We also promoted the new edition of the Governance Code for the Third Sector here.
Delegates face a bewildering variety of quality standards and wanted to know about their value.
We also ran a workshop on the PQASSO Quality Mark, one of the five most common standards for the voluntary sector.
Further impact evaluation is arranged for Autumn 2012, when we will interview a sample of delegates by telephone. We will find out how they have used the contacts and other resources we made available in their day-to-day work, and see if any of their practices have changed.