Mentor ADEPIS Impact Survey

posted 27 Jun 2014 00:07 by mark bowles   [ updated 27 Jun 2014 00:18 ]


We are currently working with PSHE Solutions to provide insight into the impact of the Mentor-ADEPIS service. You can help us by completing the short survey below and tell us about your experiences of the service. If you haven't yet heard of, or used Mentor-ADEPIS we would still like you to complete.

Please share the direct link for this survey with colleagues -

For further information on the work of Mentor-ADEPIS please visit their website by clicking here.

Informed - TTE's Drug and Alcohol Education Service in Oxfordshire

posted 19 Feb 2014 15:46 by mark bowles

January saw the start of our new drug and alcohol education service for all schools and PRU's in Oxfordshire. The service is funded until Dec 2015 and will see us working with 000's of young people from a wide range of schools.

The service will enable us to develop a range of innovative approaches to drug and alcohol education contributing to the available evidence base.

For further information visit the Informed website or get in touch.

Delivery about to commence!

posted 3 Oct 2013 04:10 by mark bowles

All training for Risk-Avert is now completed, our pilot schools will now be delivering the programme to staff across Essex, all young people in year 8 screened and over 10% identified as appropriate for the programme.

Great to be moving into the next stage of the project, more updates to follow.

Introducing Risk-Avert

posted 12 Jul 2013 12:55 by mark bowles   [ updated 19 Feb 2014 15:47 ]

We have recently launched our latest intervention. Risk-Avert has been developed by ourselves in partnership with Essex County Council.

Risk-Avert is an innovative programme which identifies young people who may be susceptible of engaging in a range of risk-taking behaviours.

10 schools are currently taking part in Essex with more local authorities interested. 

To find out more about the programme please visit 

Holographic Training Sessions

posted 1 Apr 2013 03:27 by mark bowles   [ updated 1 Apr 2013 04:58 ]

We have teamed up with Intergrated Holographic Solutions (IHS) a provider of BS (Blended Solutions) to the training industry. This new technology will enable us to transmit life size holographic images of our trainers via the web to venues worldwide with the help of modified data projectors.

This approach will help us meet our comittments to the environment and continue as a sustainable business. This is acheived through the obvious savings that transmitting live holographs of ourselves will have on travel.

The technology also allows us to transmit our images in the body of well known celebrities, this element of the technolgy is limited at present but will increase as more providers take up the service, launch celebrities include Michael Bolton, Sebastian Coe and Sporticus from Lazy Town.

We are very excited about the opportunities this technology offers our business and hope to deliver our first session using the new system in April 2013.

For more details please contact us.

Mark Bowles, Director, The Training Effect

Framework Agreements in the Public Sector – Good or Bad for Providers

posted 28 Mar 2013 00:13 by mark bowles

The past 2 years has seen unprecedented growth in the number of local authorities commissioning services through the use of framework agreements. The growth can surely be explained through public sector spending cuts and the need for local authorities to account for spend, seek value and possibly move towards becoming commissioning, rather than, provider organisations.

For the uninitiated a framework agreement is between one or more buying authorities and one or more suppliers which sets the terms (price, quantity etc) under which the supplier will enter into one or more contracts with the authority in the period during which the framework agreement applies.

Frameworks help suppliers to actively participate in national and large collaborative contracts where the framework is often divided into specialist or geographical lots.

The value of the framework is the estimated value of all contracts envisaged to be awarded under the agreement during its duration.

The duration of the framework must be limited to 4 years except in exceptional circumstances (the duration of the call off may be different and will be determined by the terms of the framework).

The most common framework agreements seem to be related to training and support services. Providers are accepted onto the relevant area of the framework dependent on their particular area of expertise.

For The Training Effect we have been accepted onto 6 framework agreements for training, learning and development in the past 2 years. Out of these contracts we have so far received and delivered one training course, one course from six framework agreements, not huge volumes for sure.

This may be due to our position towards the specialist end of training services for the public sector or it may be due, in part, to local authorities slashing training budgets and overestimated the value of said framework agreements in the first place.

Whatever the reason I still feel there is real value in providers being accepted onto framework agreements. It demonstrates a high level of professional expertise and demonstrates to potential customers that your organisation can and do provide services to local authorities and providers.

On the whole framework agreements are positive for providers, as long as potential provider organisations use them as part of their overall sales strategy, a reliance on them for regular business is probably unrealistic.

For smaller on newer providers they can create a level playing field and ensure that smaller organisations can compete with larger and more established providers for local authority contracts, assessed as they will be against the same criteria.

Mark Bowles, Director, The Training Effect

Five things I learnt this week

posted 23 Mar 2013 16:08 by mark bowles   [ updated 23 Mar 2013 16:13 ]

        1.     People can still motivate themselves for a cause –

NHS Cuts

Its quite easy these days to believe that people don’t care much for politics. But the public sector spending cuts have had one positive outcome, public demonstration. I was in Canterbury this week and went along to the carnival against the cuts, held at the cathedral to coincide with Cameron’s arrival.

The sight that really struck me was the woman in the wheelchair holding a placard which read ‘NHS cuts are crippling me’, I would bet good money that half the people there, including this woman had never protested in their lives. Good work.

        2.     Starting a business is a good option for some young people –

I did my training with the Kent Foundation this week to become a volunteer mentor and very good it was too. Until hearing about the work of KF with young entrepreneurs I hadn’t given much thought to young people starting a business, I now see that in the current climate it is a really good idea for some and should be actively promoted. As the ‘third way’ alongside employment or education it can offer excellent opportunities and I’m very glad KF and other organisations around the country are supporting YP’s to consider it as a career choice. Just consider some of the facts on the issues briefly:

        ·      The unemployment rate for 16-24 year-olds is 20.5% - more than 1 in 5

        ·      Young people are three times as likely to be unemployed than other age groups. And this problem is getting worse...

        ·      More than 4.2 million people registered as self-employed. [Source – Office of National Statistics, June 2012]

You can find more information on the work of the Kent foundation at


        3.     English Rugby still has a loooonnng way to go

We knew that anyway I guess, still……


        4.     75% of charities have a turnover below £100,000         

I learnt this fact at a charities conference I attended this week hosted by the institute of directors in Kent.

I was a little surprised by this as most of my work with the charity sector is with larger ‘NGO’ style charities deriving most, if not all, their income from tendering and enjoying pretty large turnovers. This is opposed to ‘tin rattling’ charities of which the above statistic suggests there are still many. This was a little surprising to me and I guess my narrow involvement has potentially skewed my view of the sector, we are talking big numbers here, consider for a second there are 180,000 registered charities in the UK. This figure also does not include the charities with an income below the 5k threshold, so over 135,000 charities at the lower end of the scale.

The picture below from the charities commission demonstrates it better than I can:


As you can see in the diagram above a really small number of charities are responsible for a HUGE amount of the 8bn revenue charities receive in the UK.

I guess the question is, are they still charities in the traditional sense of the word? And does it matter that a few take such a huge amount of the revenue? Does it impact on the fundraising potential of those smaller charities at the local level?

5. More people have mobile phones than toilets

The numbers speak for themselves. Six billion of the world’s seven billion people have mobile phones, but only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or sanitary latrines, according to the United Nations. Some 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, have no access to proper sanitation and 1.1 billion people defecate in the open.

So there we are, five things i learnt this week, please feel free to tweet or comment on anything you have learnt this week. Thanks for reading.

 Mark Bowles, Director, The Training Effect

The first cut (wasn't) the deepest

posted 21 Mar 2013 11:34 by mark bowles   [ updated 24 Mar 2013 00:52 ]

I met an old colleague and friend today, a very talented drug and alcohol worker, one of the best I have ever encountered actually.
We met for coffee and then attended the carnival against the cuts at Canterbury Cathedral, planned to coincide with the arrival of world religious leaders, royalty and probably most importantly, the Rt Hon David Cameron.

I enjoyed the event immensely, it reminded me of my younger student days and I felt energised by the turnout (which wasn't huge) and the fact that people can still be motivated for a cause they believe in, and there was a man in a Guido Fawkes mask.

Anyway, I got rather depressed later when i did some reading on the current trend of public sector spending cuts, borrowing, low growth and the almost inevitable need for tax and NI increases post 2015, an important fact to remember: 
  • Spending cuts since 2010 have only totalled around 9%
This really flies in the face of government rhetoric on this issue. The talk of deep cuts, living beyond our means and changing the landscape of the public sector doesn't ring true. 

"Year-on-year real cuts in departmental spending have effectively come to end for the period of this parliament," Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Heres a nice graphic which describes the current trend:

It certainly makes grim reading and proves the point of the article, we havent really seen anything yet in terms of spending cuts and tax increases.

If the current trend continues the next government, whoever they are, will be the most unpopular in history due to the huge cuts and tax increases they will have to bring in right the current rates of borrowing. The conservatives pay lip service to cuts in spending but the amount of borrowing we are currently seeing coupled with the absence of growth mean we are heading for the so called fiscal cliff anyway, maybe just at a different date.

Mervyn King was widely reported to have said in 2010 that the election was 'one to lose' due to the state of the economy, it would seem that this statement (if true) is more apt for the upcoming election in 2015.

What will the impact be on the most vulnerable in society?

In short, terrible. 

Coupled with low growth the outlook for Britain looks bleak. And what about Scottish Independence? No matter which side of the political divide you are on this is going to cost a huge amount of money both sides of the border, and with some of the most vulnerable in the UK living in Scotland how can a failing economy support effectively two separate countries. I have to say personally while I 100% support the right of anyone to decide their own future there cannot possibly be a worse time to dissolve the union. 
We currently see public sector bodies and institutions joining forces constantly to save money, not through ideology but necessity. Separating two countries at this moment cannot be a good idea, for anyone.

A bad time to be vulnerable, sick, unemployed, English, Scottish or Welsh.

Mark Bowles, Director, The Training Effect

Minimum Unit Pricing - Lessons from Canada?

posted 2 Feb 2013 06:19 by mark bowles


I came across an interesting piece on minimum unit pricing on the BBC website and the experience of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. They have implemented minimum unit pricing in the provence and are claiming 8% reductions in consumption after 10% rises in cost.

The article can be found on the BBC website here so I wont repeat the content. What struck me however is can we really transfer policy from such a vastly different area and expect similar results? Love to hear some opinions.

Mark Bowles

Funding for supporting links between CCG's and the VCSE sector

posted 1 Feb 2013 05:19 by mark bowles

Funding to build partnerships between clinical commissioning groups (CCG’s) and the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector have been revealed by The NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB).

It look like twelve areas will receive up to £50k each to support the Building Health Partnerships Programme (BHPP).

It’s hoped that the funding will support VCSE groups to be fully involved in identifying gaps in healthcare services, and the ways in which they can contribute to filling them, and the ideas and programmes they develop will be shared across England.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

The 12 areas were selected to build on existing good examples of engagement work and to reflect a diversity that will allow the learning to be of benefit across England. They are: Bristol; Croydon; City & Hackney; Dudley; Durham; Hampshire; Bradford & Airedale; Manchester; Shropshire; Staffordshire; Swindon; and Wakefield.

Neil Cleeveley, Director of Policy and Communications at NAVCA said: “Involving charities, community groups and social enterprises in the design and delivery of health and social care services improves local services and offers value for money.

"This programme will help commissioners and voluntary organisations work together to bring real and lasting benefits to local communities. Indeed, the lessons we learn have the potential to make a difference beyond health and care services to influence the commissioning of all public services.”

This seems like an sensible approach and should generate positive outcomes for both the CCG’s and the VCSE.

We provide consultancy and bid writing services to several charities, the level of expertise and transferrable skills relevant to the healthcare sector is significant.

At their best projects such as this can contribute to the mixed economy needed for the future development and protection of the NHS, the risk is can the VCSE compete with the larger CIC’s and private sector companies also interested in healthcare?

Mark Bowles

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