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Strategy Consultancy

We support organisations to move forward with a clear vision and strategy for success – facilitating progress and drawing on our insights, research and expertise around organisational development. Examples of our work include external-reviews of boards, highly acclaimed training programmes for CEOs, CEO performance management, and the delivery of visioning and strategic business planning projects. We also support organisations with marketing and communications, and in bidding for additional work or contracts to ensure their continued sustainable development and growth.

To ensure the highest standards of advice and recommendations, we draw on our reputation as a thought-leader, analysing research, key developments and the latest evidence around organisational development. Our team of consultants and associates are all experts in their fields, ensuring that each project is informed and delivered by the best. Our work includes:

 

Organisation Development Workshops

Our visioning and strategy development sessions are designed either for trust boards, SLTs, staff and wider stakeholders, to undertake visioning, strategic planning and development planning for their organisation.

Our development sessions are intended to support leaders to navigate the changing policy, societal and economic trends that impact on their organisations and will have a key influence on their success going forward. We draw on our extensive research and analysis of organisational development, ongoing monitoring of policy and research, and our work with many dozens of CEOs and boards nationwide.

We work carefully with your organisation to identify the key objectives you wish to achieve, the stakeholders you wish to engage with, and to reflect the context and circumstances that your organisation faces. Our development sessions are considered to be engaging, inspiring, insightful and – most importantly of all – of practical benefit in taking forward a successful organisational vision and strategy.

“Many thanks to Forum Strategy for an excellent day, which has helped us define our vision and strategy for serving every child in our school communities. You have got us off to a strong start!”

Gatehouse Learning Trust

“Forum Strategy enabled our trust to review its progress and inform future planning. The quality of the information and presentation provided was excellent and made things clear and easily able to be understood.

Forum Strategy provided exactly what was required as our MAT reached a critical time in its development. As a board of trustees, we have been able to make clear decisions for our future direction and Forum provided us with a positive starting point.

I would unreservedly recommend them to schools to facilitate accurate assessment of their present position and what is required for future planning.”

Pam Burton Chair Trustees, Brighter Futures MAT, 2017

 

Board Reviews

This process is intended to support charity and academy trust boards to reflect on their effectiveness, areas for development, and training needs. Organisations such as the Department for Education have suggested that boards look to undertake a thorough, preferably external review of their own effectiveness and readiness for future growth / development. This is to ensure that a trust has a clear view of the skills it will need in its next phase of growth and robust plans in place to fill any gaps through training or recruitment.

The review includes a series of workshops, meetings and interviews with Forum Strategy, questionnaires and a comprehensive final report with clear recommendations. Our work is informed by associates and staff with a background in corporate governance, organisational development, and advanced legal training. It is carefully informed by best practice thinking on corporate governance and organisational development.

The format is as follows:

  • An introductory workshop providing an overview of the process and why it matters to the board’s ongoing development (1 hour).
  • A 360 degree review of the effectiveness of the board through surveys and one-to-one interviews (focusing on areas such as strategic planning, composition and delegation, committee structures, challenge & relationships, stakeholder relationships, training, understanding and use of data etc.)
  • A skills-audit based on wide ranging research into the competencies and ‘experience and qualifications metrics’ for governing boards.
  • A succession planning audit and review of recruitment strategy for future appointments.
  • A workshop session discussing key outcomes from the review and ‘next step’ planning (3 hours).
  • A final report on the outcomes of the process and next steps.

 

“Isle Education Trust Board worked with Forum Strategy to ensure independent input and challenge  for our Board evaluation.

The process was explained to all Directors at the beginning to ensure ‘buy in’ and to make clear the importance of the exercise.

The Forum team were ultimate professionals taking us through the process in a logical, straightforward manner and ensuring that key themes were captured.

The timing for us was critical and led in to further strategy events and Trust-wide engagement. Through this exercise we were able to verify our strategy and ensure a relevant plan for the future. We will now move forward with confidence. Thank- you.”

IET Board

 

“Forum Strategy’s knowledge of the MAT sector, coupled with support from their experienced governance advisor, allowed our board to undertake a deep review. A variety of activities ranging from observation, interviews and online surveys enabled Forum to give us clear feedback on what we did well and what we could enhance further. The whole process from start to finish was comprehensive and allowed for a deep understanding of our context and needs. This coupled with the best practice and experience brought to us through this process from Forum will no doubt strengthen even further the work of our board. Recommend for boards that want to be challenged to be even better.”

Severn Academies Education Trust

 

Organisational (Academy Trust) Reviews

Forum Strategy’s organisational reviews support academy trusts to identify their strengths and development needs across our six areas of organisational development. The review team provides a full report of the review with recommendations.

The review involves:

  • A 360 online survey of trustees and senior staff, based on our framework for organisational development as set out in Being The CEO;
  • A desk review of key trust documentation, undertaken by a senior consultant, an accomplished former trust CEO, and our research team;
  • An interview day where a representative group of trustees and staff (including the Chair and CEO, as well as central team members, headteachers and others) are interviewed in-depth around emerging themes and areas for development;
  • A feedback and discussion session with the CEO and their team, before completion of the final report.

The six areas of organisational development are:

  • Vision and leadership narrative
  • Governance and oversight
  • Improvement models at scale
  • Being an employer of choice
  • Organisational sustainability
  • External and strategic partnerships

A trust will need to commit 1.5 days to the process, as well as encouraging a number of staff to complete the survey (which takes up to one hour). The review itself – including report writing – takes five days in total.

Our reviews are underpinned by our extensive experience of trust development (including the framework in Being The CEO), our extensive resources and thought-leadership around academy trust development, reference to our ongoing analysis of Ofsted’s summary evaluations of trusts, and insights from our experienced consultants and leaders.

A full report is published within two weeks of the feedback session.

For more information, please contact [email protected] 

 

CEO training and coaching

Forum Strategy runs an aspirant and new CEO programme, as well as providing coaching to new and established CEOs. Our support for CEOs is based on our four foundations and six dimensions of the role, as outlined in Michael Pain’s book: Being The CEO.

 

CEO Performance Management

Forum Strategy provides external advice to boards on the performance management of CEOs, drawing on our thinking, research, and understanding of the context in which organisations currently find themselves in. We work closely with boards in setting priorities that are aligned with the organisation’s vision and strategic priorities, ensuring that performance management is maximised as a lever for organisational development and accountability, whilst also contributing towards supporting the CEOs professional development.

 

Bid writing

Forum Strategy provides bid writing services, drawing on our expertise in research, communications, and policy and strategy development.

Our team provide advice, project management, and support – including PR and corporate comms development, throughout the process. Our regular funding and grants briefing subscription service also ensures that many of our clients remain appraised and updated on many of the funding opportunities available across the charities, third- and education sectors.

We have successfully supported organisations for bidding for projects worth millions of pounds in terms of investment – including the establishment of new free schools.

At Forum Strategy we take on board responsibility for helping you to navigate the process of bid writing and securing funding, whilst also providing the highest standards of research, drafting and project management.

 

Strategic and funding & grants briefings.

“It is vital for CEOs to block off meaningful amounts of uninterrupted time, to give themselves space to think, reflect and prepare.” Harvard Business Review 2018

At Forum Strategy, we know how challenging it can be for CEOs, trustees and other senior leaders to access and reflect upon the latest intelligence and analysis. Our strategic briefing service ensures that leaders have access to timely, relevant and insightful updates – both general and sector specific – so that they are sufficiently informed to plan ahead and respond to emerging issues that may affect their organisations.

Our strategy briefing summarises key research, policy developments, and opinion, and is highly valued by many CEOs, trustees and senior leaders across the country as a source of intelligence and for supporting their ongoing professional knowledge and development.  Our funding and grants briefing – which is published each fortnight – is an essential read for any organisation that is committed to generating income and ensuring its sustainability by accessing wider resources.

“Thank you to Forum Strategy for your helpful weekly briefings. I really appreciate getting them & am grateful to your team for keeping me on my toes and thinking ahead all the time!” Regional Director of a MAT.

 

In addition, Forum Education delivers (working alongside our partners) six regional networks for academy trust Chief Executives. Many MATs and other education providers subscribe to Forum Education’s strategic briefings, which provide leaders with a weekly update on the latest developments across education policy, research, funding & resources. Find out more about our networks here

For more information, please contact: [email protected]