Lessons learnt from Year 2 of the Consortium Innovation Project

7 April, 2019


Blog written by Jennifer McLamb, Consortium Innovations Manager (Bristol Sexual Violence Support Consortium)


Voscur hosts my role, as Consortium Innovations Manager, that is grant-funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales. I work with the Sexual Violence Support Consortium to strengthen collaborative working practices and move towards a more streamlined model of delivery.

We are approaching the end of the final year of the project, and so this post features a run-down of the past year’s achievements and what will be next for the Consortium.

What has the Consortium achieved?

Communications – a video explaining the consortium, produced to share our aspirations more widely, has had multiple uses, including 238 views on YouTube. It clearly demonstrates our collaboration and why we are working together.

Consortium Shared Assessment – our shared assessment has been developed collaboratively, involving staff at all levels of our organisation. We celebrated with a launch event in October, which received in-kind support from KPMG and was attended by staff and trustees. This received very positive feedback. Those who had not previously been involved in the consortium work as intensively as its directors were able to come together around a shared vision.

Social enterprise – Voscur has been working on a feasibility study to assess the demand for paid-specialist counselling for survivors of sexual violence, funded by Awards for All, the National Lottery Community Fund. This will explore whether there are further options to reduce waiting lists and ensure more survivors access support at the right time for them.

10-year Theory of Change – we defined our collaborative strategic vision for 2028, taking into account changing landscapes and emerging challenges, and the milestones to achieve this. This has meant that, while we are already operating effectively, we are able to demonstrate to survivors, staff and funders, that we are already thinking ahead to the ‘gold standard’ of partnership working.

Reflections on the final year of the project

Learning what works – managers of South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre (SERICC), Lee Eggleston and Rebecca Brant, have been invaluable partners, sharing their knowledge and experience with us to inform how we develop our own single point of access. Also, their commitment and enthusiasm was very powerful when they presented at our Shared Assessment Launch.

Expert support – advice and support from an industry expert, with a background in the rape crisis sector, was invaluable to the development of our shared assessment. Our funder, Lloyds Bank Foundation, engaged consultancy support from Sara Scott at DMSS Research. The DMSS website includes available research and evidence, which has informed our work.

Effective – the Consortium has grown in strength as a supportive network, which informally shares experience, policy and practice. This can reduce duplication and influence change in each individual organisation. This is particularly beneficial as the organisations navigate uncertain and/or challenging times.

Responsive – the Consortium has developed significantly as a partnership during the Innovations Project. The trust and respect between partners enables the Consortium to respond flexibly to new opportunities, as well as any issues that arise.

The future for the Consortium

What has been achieved so far will continue beyond the life of the Consortium Innovation Project and will contribute to survivors receiving better coordinating services. It is clear that the Consortium is a committed and supportive partnership that is stronger and more effective together.

However, the project has also laid the vital foundations for further consortium development and whole systems change. As the Consortium Innovation Project comes to an end, I look forward to seeing the great strides the Sexual Violence Support Consortium make as a collaboration in the future. Watch this space!

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