Seafox Management Consultants Ltd
Office F6
The Enterprise Village
Prince Albert Gardens
Grimsby
N.E. Lincs
DN31 3AT

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Our Blog

Posted By: Liz Baghurst

PRIVATISATION OF THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR!

 

Voluntary organisations are under increasing pressure to become more like businesses in order to ensure their survival as the state tightens its belt. Funding towards the sector has never been more competitive and contracts are a big part of the funding mix for many organisations.

The NCVO estimates that the voluntary sector contributes £11.7 billion to UK gross value added, equivalent to 0.8% of the whole of the UK GVA which is comparable to that of private industrial sectors e.g. the GVA of agriculture is £8.3 billion.

Selling services whether to the customer direct or the public sector via a commissioning route requires a substantial shift in mentality. Charities specialise in providing services that are free at point of access and help those at the margins of society not catered for in the mainstream, their flexibility, community spirit and responsiveness are key values. These values do not always sit easily in a charging model. There will be trade-offs to make between ensuring the organisation’s financial sustainability and protecting its values and those of its volunteers. 

Furthermore we have moved towards systems of economic reward for voluntary work, whether using a ‘carrot or stick’ approach. The Government’s flagship Work Programme has made unpaid community work a requirement for claiming unemployment benefits. Whereas Hull City Council has announced plans to launch a digital currency called the HullCoin which it will donate to people in return for carrying out voluntary work. The HullCoin can be used to pay Council Tax or Rent bills and in future may be used on the high street.

What is clear is that Voluntary Sector organisations need to work towards a wider funding mix as being reliant upon a single source of grant funding is a high risk approach. The sector needs to learn how to earn – make sure that your staff and volunteers understand the potential of earned income and invest in specialist skills like tender writing, bidding and research to find the best fit.

The Voluntary sector needs to capitalise on opportunities to attract new income and motivate a new generation of volunteers whilst also continuing to offer a place for those with altruistic intentions to do what they do best.

 

Posted By: Simon Dwyer

IT'S SHOWTIME!

 

In the past few weeks Seafox have been attending, meeting and greeting at two key sector shows. Firstly, Multimodal 2014 which is the UK & Ireland's leading transport and logistics event, and last week the Brussels Seafood Show, the world's leading seafood industry event. What was paramount is that both shows signalled that both sectors are having more money to invest in show-casing their goods, services and products – a sign of our improving economic times?

Multimodal had a good representation of 'key players' from across UK & Europe and other companies within the vast supply-chain were visible, more so than previous years. The Multimodal organising team has made great strides in bringing together companies from road, rail, sea and air, plus warehousing, IT and other value-added services. Perhaps the tide is turning for the logistics sector and congratulations to all who made an effort to contribute to the event’s 15% growth during its seven year tenure. 

Brussels Seafood Show was, as usual, vast with virtually every country in the world represented. I compare Brussels to walking round the world in the space of a few hours ! Thousands of people call in to the show each of the three days to make deals, trade, meet suppliers & customers plus participate in being part of a global network of seafood professionals. The industry, according to those very nice people from Islandsbanki and the FAO, produced 157 million tonnes of seafood in 2012 and the outlook is over 160 million tonnes for 2013. Within 10 years total production will be in the region of 180 million tonnes, split equitably between wild-caught and aquaculture production. They go on to report the consumption of seafood is increasing, with China leading the way - presumably as their disposable income and affordability to buy protein increases year on year.

The equally very nice people at IntraFish invited Seafox to their Seafood Leadership Luncheon and we were fortunate to receive a presentation during lunch from Simon Smith, Icelandic Seachill Group, who spoke passionately about the success of the Saucy Fish product produced in Grimsby. Saucy Fish is a great story about how to evolve the idea and R&D into manufacturing and a seafood phenomenon that is now an export product too - all rolled out in a very 'cool brand'.

Seafood and Logistics are at the heart of Seafox funding & grants and business support services and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting our friends from both sectors during the past few weeks.  It’s good we have sometimes contributed to the successes and wish them all well in the future.