NPC has had a relationship with The Scout Association for a number of years. Our Chief Executive, Dan Corry, is a passionate former Scout. The Scout Associations’ Chief Executive, Matt Hyde, has reciprocated by speaking at various NPC events, and we have also had the chance to develop relationships with other members of staff who have attended our training and seminars.
In 2016, the Association asked us for more targeted help, but wasn’t sure if they wanted a defined consulting project. After some discussion, we concluded that a retainer arrangement would work best. The Scout Association would drive the work, but we would be on-hand for advice, phone calls, facilitation—whatever was needed at any time.
Between 2016 and 2018, we helped the Association to think about a theory of change, measurement techniques, and survey design. We reviewed outputs and debated approaches. Over time, we enjoyed becoming a team coach and a critical friend. We involved different parts of the NPC team depending on the query, further deepening the relationship.
As a result, the type of impact we believe we have achieved with the Association is soft. There was no one big project or report, but rather a steady transfer of knowledge and skills that developed their confidence and capacity. They told us ‘being able to validate the process gave us a lot of confidence. The steady upskilling of lead staff, with constructive debate about process and content, meant we got to the right place.’ This is increasingly how NPC likes to work—‘walking with people’, rather than ‘doing things to or for them’, as this improves their ownership of the output and capacity within the organisation.