Q&A about Connect Hackney commissioning

Meet the Funder – Connect Hackney, Complex Needs Q and A

Meet the Funder – Connect Hackney Complex Needs Q and A

26/02/19

1) Q. The statistics used in the presentation mainly referred to people who are 65+, can I confirm that you are interested in working with people 50 and over?

A. Yes we are.

2) Q. Will there be a networking event for people to develop partnerships?

A. We don’t have a networking event planned but you could use this session as an opportunity to meet potential partners.

3) Q. In the ITT it mentions additional money for working with BAME communities?

A. That is from an old version of the ITT which was sent out to selected people for feedback, apologies. We had considered this approach as a way of engaging BAME communities who hadn’t participated in the programme. The feedback that we received was that combining to two issues would be too complex. We will be targeting BAME communities as part of a future commissioning cycle.

4) Q. Are you looking for novel projects to find out new approaches that work to reduce isolation or for projects that you already know work?

A. We’re not being prescriptive because we recognise we’re not the experts on the selected themes – you can bid to deliver projects that are trying out a new approach or for interventions that you know will work. In both cases you need to give a clear rationale for why you think the proposed project or intervention will work for the client group in reducing levels of isolation, and feelings of loneliness. Connect Hackney and the Ageing Better programme is focused on learning and that includes learning from projects that don’t work, and understanding why.

5) Q. Can we submit partnership bids and if we do, does it mean that an organisation can’t also submit their own solo bid?

A.You can submit a partnership bid and also a solo bid.

6) Q. Does this funding include salaries?

A. Yes it does and it should enable staff to attend meetings including the quarterly CH learning network meetings.

7) Q. We will probably partner with a care home – do you consider people living in care homes as at risk of isolation?

A. Yes, you can be lonely in a group and be isolated in a care home. We are aware that living in a care home can cause isolation, for example, some older LGBT people feel forced to hide their sexual identity when they move into care homes, so we recognise there are a range of different factors going on in care homes that result in people feeling lonely and isolated, and we would be keen to learn more about this, and what can be done to combat these issues.

8) Q. We are a relatively new and small organisation and we’ve previously only received small amounts of funding, will this count against us?

A. No, so long as you are able to demonstrate that you can manage the funds responsibly and meet our due diligence checks and the requirements of our funder the National Lottery Community Fund. We assess each bid on its own merits, and this will include a financial assessment of individual organisations financial health, and their ability to manage the value of the contract.

9) Q. Can we deliver a project for clients across multiple strands?

A. Yes, however you would need to demonstrate how you will segregate the learning to show which interventions work with which client groups. Ageing Better and Connect Hackney are focused on learning from the projects we commission and part of the rationale for these funding streams is identifying what kind of support works for these different client groups. So you would need to evidence how you would do this in your application.

10) Q. Are certain legal structures excluded?

A. No.

11) Q. Is there an amount that we need to charge people, it mentioned £3 in the ITT?

A. We aren’t suggesting that you should charge people, it’s just guidance for projects who are considering charging for their services. Research shows that some people engage more with services that they have to pay for, however we also don’t want the fee to be prohibitive. £3 is given as guidance, but isn’t necessarily a cap, but we wouldn’t expect it to be much more than this.

12) Q. If we’ve been funded through Connect Hackney before does that mean we can’t apply again?

A. No. Previously funded projects can still apply.

13) Q. Are we generally looking at a numbers game (will projects reaching more socially isolated older people be prioritised)?

A. We purposely didn’t include targets in the ITT. We recognise due the complexity of the client groups we want to engage and the unique nature of the interventions we want to commission, we didn’t feel it appropriate to place a firm quota on how many people projects should engage. We will look at numbers in terms of value for money, but if a project is aiming to work with a higher number of people than another project, but the other project has a more rigorous rationale for why they are adopting a certain approach we would also take that into consideration. The questions in the ITT are weighted to take different aspects of the bid into consideration, and ensure that we fund the projects that most closely meet the criteria.

14) Q. Is the learning network for all the projects or just the current projects?

A. It’s for the phase two projects that are currently running. There are 15 projects running now, which the successful bidders from this commissioning round will join.

15) Q. Can you apply for less than 85k?

A. You should apply for the amount that makes sense for your project. If you applied for a lot less than 85k then we would discuss it, however it might be hard to get the impact that we want for significantly less than 85k. Also the projects will last for 18 months whereas historically they have run for 2 years. The total funding envelop is £340,000, which allows us fund up to four projects, up a maximum of £85,000 each. If projects come in under the cap, any reserves will be re-invested into the Connect Hackney programme for other workstreams. Any projects costing more that 85k will need to be match-funded to make up the difference.

16) Q. Are you looking to just fund 3 projects?

A. Yes, this is what we planned initially – to find one project in each strand as a minimum. But given that we have an underspend from last year, we decided that if  we receive two very strong bids in one strand we would consider making one additional award, if we consider that we would, as a result, generate new learning to feed into the national evidence repository.

17) Q. Can you use the funds to work across different boroughs?

A. Connect Hackney funding is specifically for Hackney residents. If your project delivers support and activities for people from other boroughs then you will need to raise other funds to cover that element of your project. This will need to be made clear in your application, as well as the funding streams you have that will be funding any additional locations.  

18) Q. Can the project work with unpaid carers?

A. Yes, we understand that if a project works with people with dementia for example, it may include support for the carer and benefit them. However the people primarily benefitting from the project should have dementia, and be/or at risk of social isolation. 

19) Q. Can the funding be used to continue sessions that were previously funded?

A. The project doesn’t have to be totally new but Ageing Better is about testing new approaches to loneliness and isolation. However there may be interventions that have been running previously but that haven’t been evaluated and therefore could contribute valuable learning to the national Ageing Better evidence base. As long as they fulfil the criteria that we can learn from them and that have a clear rationale as to why they would reduce loneliness and isolation in the client group then they wouldn’t be excluded. However, reducing loneliness and isolation should be at the core of the project, and shouldn’t be seen as an ‘add-on’.

20) Q. Can you send additional documents or links to social media, with the bid?

A. No, but if you are shortlisted then there may be an opportunity to share this information at the interview stage.  

21) Q. The £85k – would that need to be spent over 18 months or could it be split multiyear (two years, for example)?

A: The Connect Hackney programme runs until March 2021, and therefore all funded projects need to finish by December 2020, to allow the final three months to feed the learning into the final evaluation. As such, there is a maximum of 18 months delivery time, plus any time between April – Jun 2019, which we have currently earmarked as ‘set-up’ time.

22) Q: If we have a project which receives some CCG funding at present (but doesn’t cover the full costs), but we wish to supplement the income for the project so that we are less reliant on the sometimes ad hoc nature of CCG funding (which always carries with it risk of not being renewed and the unreliability that brings to planning long term). Would that be OK? We want to be able to secure funding which gives us confidence for the next few years as our fundraising team continues looking and applying for future funding. Can you let us know your thoughts on this?

A: If you have an existing project which is CCG funded, and you want to use this funding to support that project there are two considerations. Firstly, does the project meet the criteria? And secondly, will the project engage older people (50+) who are either socially isolated and/or lonely, or older people who are at risk of social isolation and/or loneliness. If yes to both, then that wouldn’t preclude you from being able to apply, you would just need to make the above clear in your tender submission.

23) Q: If successful through the different stages, when would the funding likely arrive for successful charities? Would it be Q1, Q2 or Q3 or Q4 of 19/20?

A: Funding will be available in quarter one, however when specifically will be determined once all the necessary set-up documentation has been completed, and returned to us.

24) Q: ITT Part A 1.3: Please could you supply draft copy of the proposed service level agreement so that we can assess potential contractual risks and liabilities? This is particularly important as at the very least we will need to see a draft SLA because the ITT Part A states that you will issue a signed SLA to the successful bidders to constitute acceptance of the tender.

A: Click link to see draft SLA: Connect Hackney Draft SLA.

25) Q: ITT Part A 1.5: Please could you provide more detail about the payment schedule agreed between HCVS and the National Lottery Community Fund? For example, are payments monthly, quarterly, in advance or arrears? This will help us to assess any income risk to our own organisation in the event that the National Lottery Community Fund does not pay HCVS promptly.

A: We receive payments from The National Lottery Community Fund, quarterly, in advance of delivery

26) ITT Part A 10.1: Please could you clarify whether providers are required to commit resources to complete their own evaluation of services over and above internal service monitoring and cooperating with and arranging meetings/access for HCVS’ Researcher-in-Residence?

A: Provides should within their budget, consider any resource requirements to administer the Common Measurement Framework (CMF) questionnaire, quarterly monitoring return (Excel spreadsheet), attendance at the quarterly Learning Network, and engagement on an ad-hoc basis with our Embedded Researcher. You may also want to think about any additional monitoring data which you want to collect that will inform you own internal monitoring and evaluation of your projects, enabling you to make adjustments where necessary, and that also allow you to develop and evidence base, that can support any future fundraising efforts as part of any sustainability plans.

27) Q: ITT Part A 10.3-10.4: Please could you clarify whether the Common Measurement Framework questionnaire will be administered by the provider or by HCVS?

A: The CMF is to be administered by the service provider, and then once complete, remove the cover pages, and the insert to Connect Hackney, who will anonymise and input onto the national evaluator (Ecorys) database.

28) Q: ITT Part A 15.1 and Appendix 7: Please could you clarify whether the attached data sharing protocol is up-to-date? We are conscious that GDPR has come into effect but is not referenced in the document.

A: This was an oversight when the documentation was uploaded, and an up-to-date data sharing agreement will be circulated to all successful bidders to sign and return, which is GDPR compliant.

29) Q: ITT Part B page 2: Our delegated authority structure allows our local Head of Region to approve and sign off bids and contracts of this value. Would you be happy for the bid document to be signed in line with our agreed delegated authority procedure? We would then ensure that the final service level agreement is signed by any two of Chief Executive, Company Secretary or a Director.

A: Yes

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