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The Children's Society reduce bidding process waste

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Results & ROI

  • One single new process designed for Ringfenced and Restricted Income (RRI) Bidding (previously four separate ones)
  • Lowest appropriate sign-off level rule established, meaning less cost attached to higher paid staff
  • One accessible and agile information sharing site created – storing bids centrally
  • Redesigned forms – error-proofed and designed to speed up application sign-off time
  • New roles established in the team – enabling clarity, movement and structure to the process and bids

The client

The Children’s Society (TCS) is a charity, with a mission to fight child poverty, neglect and help children have a better chance in life. TCS had no real experience with continuous improvement prior to working with Ad Esse. TCS embarked on an organisational diagnostic, followed by Phase 1 of a full Lean Transformation programme. The Ringfenced and Restricted Income (RRI) Bidding Process was identified as review priority for Phase 1. Ringfenced and restricted funds are those given by a third party for specific purposes, to be used within a given timeframe.

The challenge

TCS was undergoing considerable change leading up to this review, with the Lean Transformation programme and a Cost Reduction work-stream running simultaneously. The process appeared to be performing well in terms of win rate (67%), but findings from the organisational diagnostic uncovered some significant issues, including the lack of a clear process, unnecessary sign-offs, and the same model being used for every opportunity regardless of risk size. The overall purpose of the review was to redesign the complete end-to-end process for securing RRI by developing a standardised process for applications, proposals and bids. The objective was to increase the charity’s ability to identify, develop and track opportunities, whilst innovating and producing high-quality proposals that increase sales.

The approach

The review was broken down into three stages:


Staff interviews, SIPOC(Supplier/input/process/output/customer analysis), data analysis and a current state Value Stream Map were completed to identify the issues. Unclear roles, duplication and silo working were found to be the main problems in the process.


A new ‘future state’ process was designed (implementable in the short-medium term), alongside a standard suite of tools and templates stored in one location to prevent duplication and time lost searching for documents.


A 32-item implementation plan was produced, with the bidding success rate being measured against a much lower cost base and a significant improvement in the Return on Investment (ROI) expected – winning similar levels of business at a much reduced headcount.

The benefits

  • Improved communication between Business Development team and other internal teams (previously teams worked in silos)
  • Improved Communication between HQ and the regions
  • Clarity over the bid pipeline – helping to establish true income in the future
  • Process and opportunities tied in with the strategic funding framework
  • Reduced waste in applying for inappropriate opportunities

“We have achieved success by working together across all directorates. Its been a real one organisation, one team effort. I am very excited about the future and us delivering on our strategy.”

Paul Maher, Head of Business Development